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OBITUARIES: Harris-Braun, Williams, Griffin, Clum


Ellen Key Harris-Braun (1966 – 2016)

EAST CHATHAM—Ellen Key Harris-Braun, 50, of East Chatham died at home Friday, October 28, 2016.

Born in Atlanta, Georgia, she attended high school in Rochester and graduated summa cum laude from Yale University with a BA in anthropology. A life-long science fiction reader, she turned her honors thesis on the use of anthropological concepts in science fiction into an application to Del Rey Books, the sci-fi division of Random House. There, in the early 1990s “before the Web” she began an email newsletter, including writing advice, that ultimately became the independent Online Writing Workshop, which she and her husband, Eric Eugene Harris-Braun, directed. During her last few years at Random House, she was part of a pioneer group in charge of that publisher’s online projects.

Mrs. Harris-Braun was a midwife. She trained as a childbirth instructor after the birth of William, her first child, then became a doula after the birth of Jesse, her second. As she began her midwifery studies, she served first as a public member of the Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers and then as director of data development for the Midwives Alliance of North America’s division of research. As a certified professional midwife, she attended home births in Massachusetts and New York, working with River and Mountain Midwives and Local Care Midwifery.

She and her husband designed the data collection software for MANA’s statistics website, an ongoing project that recently led to the publication of a landmark study of almost 17,000 planned home births. In 2014 she received the MANA Star Award for her contributions to the profession, and that organization has named its two research awards—one for students, one for practicing midwives—in her honor. In 2015 the Midwifery Institute of Philadelphia, where she had been pursuing graduate studies, established the Ellen Harris-Braun Midwife Scholar Award and presented the first one to her.

Her love of words and her sharp wit—”often described as not TSA-approved”—were relished by her friends and family and have been passed on to her children. Evidence can be found on her blog, World of the Sick/World of the Well, an account of her illness that is at once informative and, almost to the end, a delight to read (

In addition to her husband and children, Mrs. Harris-Braun is survived by: her mother, Kathryn Key Montgomery of New Orleans; her siblings, Anne Montgomery Hunter of San Francisco, Debra S. Hunter of San Rafael, California, Lisa M. Hunter of Madison, Wisconsin, James Paul Hunter of Atlanta, and their father, James Paul Hunter of Charlottesville, Virginia; her step-mother, Laurie Randolph Barili Harris of Atlanta; her brother- and sister-in-law, Jens and Spee Braun; 10 Harris cousins; and beloved members of the Quaker Intentional Village-Canaan. Her father, David Jesse Harris of Atlanta, preceded her in death.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, November 12, 11 a.m. at the Old Chatham Quaker Meetinghouse. Her family and friends are grateful to the helping circles that have sustained them and to Rufus Collea, MD, Elizabeth Hanlon, RN, and Jeffrey Arp-Sandel, MD. Memorial gifts may be made to the Ellen Key Harris-Braun Research Fund at the Foundation for the Advancement of Midwifery (

Arrangements are with the French, Gifford, Preiter & Blasl Funeral Home, 25 Railroad Avenue, Chatham. Condolences may be conveyed at

Shirley M. Williams (1924 – 2016)

HUDSON—Shirley M. Williams, 92, of Kinderhook died Thursday, November 3, 2016 at Columbia Memorial Hospital.

Born September 14, 1924 in Valatie, she was the daughter of the late Chauncey and Bertha (Fischer) Kinnicutt.

Mrs. Williams was the longest living member of the First Presbyterian Church in Valatie and very proud of the fact that she and her husband Robert were married for 65 years. She enjoyed animals, jigsaw puzzles and crocheting and was very devoted to her family.

She is survived by: four children, Sherry Petrosky of Valatie, Deborah Hannett of Greenport, Robert A. Williams and Brian R. Williams, both of Valatie; eight grandchildren, Mark A. and David M. Smith, Michael L. Hannett, Tricia Wilhelmsen, Jeffrey R. and Kristin Hannett, Christopher C. and Lauren A. Williams; eight great-grandchildren, Nicole A., Marissa A. Ryan J. and Grace L. Smith, Connor J. and Mikayla L. Ploof, Katlynn and Kaiden Wilhelmsen; several nieces and nephews.

She was predeceased by her husband, Robert Williams and her sisters, Edna Kowalski and Harriett Kinnicutt.

Funeral services will be held Monday, November 7, 11 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, 3212 Church Street, Valatie with the Reverend Kathi Jones officiating. Burial will follow in the Woodlawn Cemetery, Valatie.

Calling hours will be Sunday, November 6 from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Raymond E. Bond Funeral Home, 1015 Kinderhook Street, Valatie.

Memorials may be made to either the First Presbyterian Church, P.O Box 267, Valatie 12184 or the Valatie Rescue Squad, P.O. Box 242, Valatie 12184.

Christopher Griffin (1955 – 2016)

RHINEBECK—Christopher Mark Griffin, 60, a longtime Rhinebeck resident who grew up in Red Hook, passed away Thursday, November 3, 2016 at Northern Dutchess Hospital.

Born December 22, 1955 in Rhinebeck, he was the son of Vincent and Marjorie (Hefferman) Griffin of Red Hook.

He graduated with honors in 1974 from Red Hook High School. He went on to earn his bachelor’s degree from SUNY Oswego in 1978 with a double major in computer science and German.

He started his career as an intern with IBM while still in college and continued with IBM for a long and successful 36 years.

Mr. Griffin’s first job at IBM was as an associate programmer on the second shift in Kingston. He eventually retired as a senior engineer consulting for IBM’s largest customers in Europe, Asia, South America, the United States and Canada. He was well-traveled during his career, visiting major cities throughout the world.

An avid downhill skier, he enjoyed skiing the Catskills, Killington, VT, and the Swiss Alps during adventures with family and friends from Rhinebeck and Red Hook.

Mr. Griffin was an accomplished saxophone player both in high school and college. He was fluent in German, and enjoyed studying the Romance Languages.

A competitive and accomplished high school athlete, Mr. Griffin played varsity football, basketball, tennis and golf. He was a former longtime active member of the Red Hook Golf Club and was instrumental in recruiting new members.

A two-time cancer survivor, Mr. Griffin was active in counseling cancer patients and survivors throughout the Rhinebeck area in later years.

A kind and gracious soul, he is survived by: his loving parents, Vincent H. and Marjorie Griffin of Red Hook; his brother, Scott F. Griffin of Rhinebeck; his sister and her partner, Elizabeth Crockett and Paul (Pruitt) Estok of Clermont; along with many aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and colleagues throughout Rhinebeck, Red Hook, and Columbia County.

He was predeceased by his brother-in-law, Paul J. Crockett.

Funeral services and interment will be private. A celebration of Mr. Griffin’s life will be announced.

Memorial donations may be made to the American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 22718, Oklahoma City, OK 73123-1718.

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

To sign the online guest book visit

Evelyn Clum (1919 – 2016)

LIVINGSTON—Evelyn Clum, 97, of Livingston died Friday November 4, 2016 at Livingston Hills Nursing Home.

Born March 21, 1919 in Union City, NJ, she was the daughter of the late Charles and Evelyn (Lanfare) Fenning.

Mrs. Clum graduated from the Columbia Memorial Hospital School of Nursing in 1940 and worked at the hospital in obstetrics for more than 20 years. She also worked at the Rip Van Winkle Clinic in Hudson for Dr. Bardwell.

After her retirement she assisted her husband with the operation of their farm in Livingston.

Survivors include: her loving daughter-in-law, Barbara (Peter) Lasher of Livingston; grandchildren, Kathleen (Nick) Guner, Cindy (Bob) Jennings, Rhonda (Ken) Alimonti and Thomas (Julie) Lasher and six great-grandchildren, Ellie and Bryan Guner, Riley and Emma Jennings, Jeremey and Nick Lasher.

She was predeceased by her husband, Kermit; son, Kermit Jr.; two sisters, Edith DiPeri, Dorothy Hampton and three brothers, Hermance Fenning and Raymond Fenning and James Fenning.

Calling hours will be held Sunday, November 6, 2 to 4 p.m. at Yadack-Fox Funeral Home, 209 Main Street, Germantown.

Funeral services are Monday, November 7, 11 a.m. at the funeral home. Burial will follow in the Livingston Rural Cemetery.

Memorial donations may be made to a charity of one’s choice.

Condolences may be expressed at

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