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Obituaries: Becker, Rockefeller, Zullo, Sharpe, Zittell


Pauline Becker

COPAKE FALLS— Pauline Helen Misiasczek Becker, 93, went home to be with the Lord, Tuesday, January 7, 2014.

She was a long-time resident of Oneida Castle and is survived by her son, Blake and his wife, Sophia of Copake Falls; she also leaves behind four grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren, all living in the Hudson Valley.

The following remembrance, written by one of her granddaughters, gives a glimpse of Mrs. Becker in the midst of her transition from this life to the next:

“When we walked in to visit Gram that last day, her eyes lit up as she asked if I was there to go on the boat trip with her. She pondered aloud whether her eyesight would still be good enough to see out the ship’s windows. We giggled together while she talked about the crazy clothes we were wearing and I explained that it was like the Arctic outside. She fixed her eyes on my son’s sweatshirt and asked who I had brought with me; “Who is Burton?”  I assured her that Burton was the clothing label and that this was, in fact, her grandson, Lucas. She laughed and tears rolled from her eyes.

Now some might find Gram’s loose grip on reality sad or tragic, but I didn’t always see it that way. Gram had a way of mixing memory with whimsy and making it all a bit dreamy. Whatever you call it, I was just thankful. The time that I was blessed with these last few years allowed me to learn a little bit about the mystery that was my father’s mother; Pauline Helen (Misiasczek) Becker.  I learned that no matter how “full” she was, there was always room for “just a little” something sweet.  I learned that she could hear the word “dessert” while in a sound sleep.  I learned that she loved a little adventure and that she truly enjoyed a good, stiff drink. I learned that it’s never too late to build a relationship with someone.  I learned that you’re never too old to laugh at yourself or to learn something new.

My grandmother taught me many things just by being near her and I am going to miss her tremendously but I am so thankful to God for the near-century that He let her walk on this earth. I believe that she brought our family even closer together than we were before.”

Mrs. Becker’s ashes will be buried next to her husband, Frederic Blake Becker in the spring in the Oneida Cemetery.

Arrangements are with the Peck and Peck Funeral Home, Copake. To send an online condolence visit

Dean Russell Rockefeller, Jr. (1976 – 2014)

RHINEBECK—Dean Russell Rockefeller Jr., 37, of Rhinebeck passed away Thursday, January 9, 2014 in Rhinebeck.

He was born March 10, 1976 in Hudson.  He was the son of Dean R. Rockefeller, Sr., and Betty Stover.

He attended the first ever Head Start class in the city of Hudson. He attended Hudson City Schools for most of his life, and graduated in 1995 from Waterford High School.  In younger years, he loved snowmobiling and skateboarding, and was a longtime member of the Boy Scouts of America. Mr. Rockefeller loved being outdoors, horticulture and sports.  He was an avid San Francisco 49ers fan.

He is survived by siblings Robert Rockefeller of Las Vegas, Nevada, Stacey Rockefeller of Claverack, Katy Ziegler of Greenport, Michael (Deanna) Rockefeller of Castleton-on-Hudson, Desiree Elliott of Craryville, Lori Rockefeller of Claverack and Sharon (Paul) Garrison of Claverack. In addition, he had many cousins, aunts, uncles and friends. He was predeceased by parents Dean and Betty (Stover) Rockefeller.

He is also survived by his daughter, Haleigh Rockefeller, and was a beloved “daddy” to Dustin Hapeman, Adrianna Williams and Isabella Williams, all of Milan. He will be sorely missed by his extended family, friends and those whose lives he touched throughout his life.

A celebration of Mr. Rockefeller’s life will be held Monday, January 20, 2014 at noon at the Milan Town Hall, 20 Wilcox Circle, Milan. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in trust for Haleigh’s future.

Wendy M. Zullo (1960 – 2014)

CLAVERACK—Wendy M. Zullo, 53, of Claverack died Saturday, January 11, 2014 in Claverack.

She was born April 25, 1960 in Sharon, CT, the beloved daughter of Howard and Marion (Taylor) Milton of Millerton.

She was employed by Livingston Hills Nursing Home as a certified nursing assistant.

She is survived by her husband, Herbert Zullo; two daughters, Jennifer Cade of Buffalo and Rebecca (Dwayne) O’Neill of Hollowville; two sons, Brian Zullo and Christopher Zullo, both of Claverack; her sister, Laura Campbell of Copake; three brothers, Dale Milton, Michael Milton and James Milton, all of Millerton; two grandchildren, Dylan O’Neill and Taylor O’Neill, both of Hollowville; several nieces and nephews.

Calling hours are 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, January 14 at the Bates & Anderson – Redmond & Keeler Funeral Home, 110 Green Street, Hudson.

The funeral will be held at 3 p.m. Wednesday, January 15 at St. Thomas Lutheran Church, County Route 27, Churchtown. Burial will be in St. Thomas Cemetery.

Donations may be made to the Herbert Zullo Family in care of the funeral home.

John G. Sharpe (1930 – 2014)

GREENPORT—John G. Sharpe, 83, of Greenport died at home, January 7.

He was born in New York City, graduated from Germantown High School and attended New York University where he obtained a degree in journalism.

He graduated from the U.S. Army Engineer School at Fort Belvoir, VA, the Ordinance School in Aberdeen, MD, the Empire State Military Academy Officer Candidate School and retired as a major from the U.S. Army Reserves after 30 years of service.

He is survived by: his wife, the former Joan Sherman of Germantown; four daughters, Elizabeth Fisher (John Albin), Barbara Groll (Peter), Susan Reh (Joseph) and Jennifer Taylor (Christopher); nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren; his brother, George Sharpe; several nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by his parents, John G. Sharpe, Sr., and Ada Crawford Sharpe, and two brothers, Robert and Frank.

He established the Sharpe Insurance Agency in Hudson in 1957 and the Sharpe Self Storage in 1987.

Additionally, he was an advisory board member for Norstar-Bank, part-time instructor at Columbia Greene Community College, a trustee for Columbia Memorial Hospital, past director of Columbia County Historical Society, won the Distinguished Service Award in 1961, the Man of the Year award from the Columbia County Association in the City of New York, and won the 1972 Abraham Lincoln Award for Community Service from the Columbia County Young Republicans.

He was chairman of the Columbia County Civil Service Commission, member of the Hudson American Legion, Hudson Elks Lodge 787, Masonic Lodge 374 and was chairman of the Columbia County Republican Committee from 1969 to 1976 and 1984 to 1987.

Additionally, he was a member of the Hudson Power Boat Association, past director of the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, past president of the Hudson Jaycees, and a member of the Reformed Church of Germantown.

Calling hours were held at the Yadack-Fox Funeral Home, 209 Main Street, Germantown, January 12. A celebration of Mr. Sharpe’s life will be held privately at the convenience of the family at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested memorial donations be made to the Wounded Warriors Project, 370 7th Avenue, Suite 1802, NY, NY 10001 or at

Anne Wilshusen Zittell (1928 – 2014)

LILBURN, GA—On Tuesday, January 7, 2014, Anne Wilshusen Zittell, 85, of North Chatham passed away unexpectedly, though peacefully, of natural causes while visiting her daughter and family in Lilburn, Georgia.

She is survived by: her devoted daughter, Anne Adair Peters; her son-in-law, Ron Peters, and her grandchildren, David and Catherine Peters, and also by four nieces and two nephews. Her beloved husband, the Honorable Warren E. Zittell, a former judge and district attorney of Columbia County, predeceased her in 1996.

She was born in New Haven, CT, January 15, 1928, the daughter of the late Dr. Herbert and Mildred Adair Wilshusen.

She was predeceased by her younger brother, John Peter. Mrs. Zittell was graduated from St. Lawrence University, Canton, with a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology with the great class of 1950. She also received a Bachelor of Science degree from the Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing at Columbia University, where she did graduate work at Teachers College in public health nursing and health education. Mrs. Zittell had a life-long passion for healthcare that included career positions as a nurse educator at Columbia Memorial Hospital School of Nursing and Russell Sage College. Upon her retirement she was manager/coordinator for the Eddy Long-Term Home Health Care Program. Her interest in healthcare never waned. Among many other organizations, she was active for many years with the Columbia Memorial Hospital Auxiliary’s Tri-Village Branch, the Columbia County Unit of the American Cancer Society and served in various leadership capacities with Columbia County Community Healthcare Consortium, especially with their Palliative Care Program. Many Columbia County residents over the years benefited from her regular visits to assist them with medications and other aspects of their personal healthcare. It was her passion to assure that people had the option of being properly cared for at home.

Not only did Mrs. Zittell hold wide-ranging leadership positions in the healthcare community, but her interests and devotion to other community interests were significant as well. She was a long-standing member of the Hendrick Hudson Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Hudson Fortnightly Club and the Kinderhook Garden Club. She was a past member of the Board of Trustees of the Columbia County Historical Society and a Republican organizer at both the state and local level. She was also a Trustee of Concerted Effort, an organization devoted to using the arts to educate children.

A resident of Copake and later North Chatham, giving to her local community was a passion. She was a member of the Church of St. John in the Wilderness, Copake Falls. With Maryanne Byers they began El Caballo, a 4-H Club devoted entirely to horsemanship, another one of her great loves. More recently, she was a trustee of the North Chatham Free Library, the North Chatham United Methodist Church and of the Ghent Playhouse and she was a trustee and vice president of the North Chatham Historical Society since its inception in 1997.

She had a great love of theater and music, especially opera. She was a passionate supporter of St. Lawrence University, where she also met her husband and which is her daughter’s alma mater as well. One of Mrs. Zittell’s passions was travel. She set foot on every continent, including Antarctica.

A celebration of Mr. Zittell’s life will be held Wednesday, January 15, 2 p.m. at Christ Church, Episcopal, Hudson. The family will greet friends in the Parish Hall following the service.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Palliative Care Program of the Columbia County Healthcare Consortium, 325 Columbia Street, Suite 200, Hudson 12534 or at










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