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Obituaries: Dodson, Grau, Colarusso, Helsley


Charles L. Dodson (1935 – 2013)

COPAKE—Charles L. Dodson of Copake died December 23, 2013 after a brief illness.

A resident of Copake since 2001, Mr. Dodson, a retired physical chemist, spent a considerable part of the past 12 years as member of the Town’s Comprehensive Plan Committee and its Economic Advisory Board. He redesigned, transformed and maintained the town’s website for a number of years. He was a member of the Steering Committee for the Roeliff Jansen Community Library and served for five years as president of the Clarion Concerts of Columbia County, which presents four Leaf Peeper chamber music concerts in the autumn.


Town Council Member Jeanne Mettler, chair of the Comprehensive Plan Committee, said that there were many good members, “but the one member most critical to the success of the committee – and to the quality of the Plan – was Charles.”  When he heard of Mr. Dodson’s death, Dr. George Beneke, who also served on the committee, said, “Charles quietly did more for Copake than almost anybody. He was a wonderful man and the only scientist among us.”

Mr. Dodson was born in Knoxville, TN, the eldest of three children whose parents, Margaret Berry Dodson and C. Leon Dodson, instilled by example a strong commitment to family, community and church.  Mr. Dodson entered Emory & Henry College in Emory, VA, as a pre-ministerial student but emerged four years later with a BS in chemistry and a BA in English literature.  Mr. Dodson met his wife, Vicki, at college through their shared interest in music. He directed the Collegians, an all male chorus, and sang in their quartet; they both sang in madrigal octets; both were cast as leads in Gilbert & Sullivan operettas; and both sang the leads in Bizet’s, Carmen. Another passion of Mr. Dodson’s was baseball and he earned some college tuition funds by playing short stop on a farm league team.

He earned his PhD in physical chemistry from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. He received an 18-month post doctoral fellowship to the University of Birmingham in England, followed by a 2-year post doctoral fellowship at the National Research Council in Ottawa, Canada, before accepting a position in the Department of Physical Chemistry at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, AL. His 15-year tenure there included a year’s sabbatical at the Department of Theoretical Chemistry at Oxford University in Oxford, England.

In 1981, he left academia to become principle staff scientist at Beckman Instruments, a biomedical research and manufacturing company in Irvine, CA, (now Beckman Coulter) where he remained until his retirement.

Years of hiking in the Smoky Mountains deepened his concern for the environment, piloting small aircraft was a revelation of wonders and listening to elders spin tales in his youth made him an inveterate story teller. Throughout his professional and retirement years, he maintained his avid interests in reading, all performing arts (especially music), visual arts, science and sports.

He will be held in deep and eternal love by his wife, Vicki, and his daughter, Alyssa. Always close to his heart was his younger daughter, Bronwyn, who died in a traffic accident in 1991. He will be lovingly remembered by his brother, Phillip R. Dodson and family and by his sister, Sandra K. McClure and family, both of Knoxville.

A remembrance of Mr. Dodson will be held at The Grange in Hillsdale, Sunday, February 23, from 1 to 4 p.m. with music and reflections beginning at 2 p.m. Anyone planning to attend should RSVP to Refreshments will be served afterward.

In lieu of flowers, charitable contributions in Mr. Dodson’s name may be made to: The Bronwyn Dodson Scholarship Fund

Chuck Allen, executive director, Fullerton College Foundation, Inc., P.O. Box 431; Fullerton, CA 92836,

Designate for Bronwyn Dodson Scholarship on check,; Clarion Concerts of Columbia County,; Roeliff Jansen Community Library,; Amnesty International,

Myrtle M. Grau (1922 – 2014)

RHINEBECK—Myrtle M Grau, 91, of Red Hook, passed away on Sunday, January 19, 2014 at Ferncliff Nursing Home.

She was an active member of the Red Hook VFW Ladies Auxiliary. She also has the distinction of being the first woman on the Board of Trustees of the Village of Red Hook.

For more than 25 years, until her retirement in 1984, Mrs. Grau worked at Grand Union in Rhinebeck.

Born November 4, 1922, in Taghkanic, she was the daughter of the late Harold and Lila Daley.

Mrs. Graue was predeceased by her husband of more than 25 years, Claude Grau.

She is survived by: her two sons, William Townsend of Red Hook and Randy Townsend of Pleasant Valley and a step son, Dr. Gerard Grau of Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Funeral services will be private.

Arrangements are under the direction of Burnett & White Funeral Homes, 7461 South Broadway, Red Hook.

To sign the online guest book visit

Robert C. Colarusso, Sr. (1929 – 2014)

ALBANY—Robert “Bob” C. Colarusso, Sr., 84, of Greenport, passed away Friday, January 24, 2014 at St. Peter’s Hospital.

Born February 14, 1929 in Hudson, he was the son of the late Mary (Weeks) and Peter G. Colarusso, Sr.

Mr. Colarusso was the co-owner and secretary/treasurer of A. Colarusso & Son, Inc. Limestone Quarry.

He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He was a member of the Hudson Fish and Game Club, the Greenport Rescue Squad, the General Contractors Association, the Building Contractors Association, the New York Materials Association and attended Calvary Assembly of God Church.

Mr. Colarusso is survived by his beloved wife, Nancy (Meltz) Colarusso; his devoted children, Nancy L. (Sherwood) Hall, Robert C. (Cindy) Colarusso, Jr., David (Pam) Colarusso, Louis (Jill) Tuczynski, III, and Todd (Sandy) Tuczynski; and his loving grandchildren, Jason (Amy) Hall, Janel (Cory) Capone, Robert Colarusso, III, Nicole (Kristopher) Cowan, David (Amanda) Colarusso, Jr., Brooke Colarusso, Morgan Colarusso, Tori Colarusso, Talika Tuczynski, Frank Dianda and Michael Dianda. Also surviving are his brother, Peter G. (Kathy) Colarusso, Jr., nine great-grandchildren, Alyxandra Hall, Maia Capone, Layla Colarusso, Maddox Colarusso, Olivia Hoffnagle, Joie Hall, Jason Hall, Jr., Lester Zaborski and Imnanuel Carreas; his great-great-granddaughter, A’mya Roberts, and his best fishing buddy, Frank Tomaso.

Visiting hours are 1 to 3 and 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, January 27 at the Bates & Anderson – Redmond & Keeler Funeral Home, Hudson. Services will be conducted at 2 p.m., Tuesday, January 28 at the funeral home. Burial will be in Cedar Park Cemetery. Pall bearers will include Jason Hall, Robert Colarusso, III, David Colarusso, Jr., Cory Capone, Kristopher Cowan and J.R. Heffner.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Calvary Assembly of God Church, P.O. Box 337, Stottville 12172 or to the Leukemia Society of Upstate NY, 5 Computer Drive West, Suite 100, Albany 12205.

Leonard William Helsley (1925 – 2014)

GERMANTOWN—Leonard “Lenny” William Helsley, 88, lifelong resident of Germantown passed away suddenly Tuesday, January 21, 2014.

He was born September 23, 1925 in Germantown, the son of the late Foster and Freda (Pimpl) Helsley.

After graduating from Germantown Central School in 1943, he began furthering his education at RPI. He left school to serve during World War II in the U.S. Coast Guard aboard the U.S.S. Newell (DE322).

Mr. Helsley continued his education after his service and retired in 1985 after 20+ years with the former V&O Press in Hudson. He also worked as a residential electrician and worked in maintenance for the Carmelite Sisters after his retirement.

Mr. Helsley was a 50+ year member of the Germantown Fire Company and an active member of the Reformed Church of Germantown.

He was predeceased by his loving wife, Barbara. He is survived by several sons, a daughter, 10 grandchildren, and a great‐granddaughter. Mr. Helsley always considered his children as his greatest accomplishment, and often spoke of how proud he was of them.

Calling hours will be 5 to 7 p.m., Monday, January 27 at the Yadack‐Fox Funeral Home in Germantown. The Germantown Fire Company will conduct services at 6:30 p.m. at the funeral home and the Reverend David Tipple will officiate at services at 7 p.m.

Memorial donations are requested to the American Cancer Society or Germantown Fire District.





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