Columbia Memorial Health (1) Careers

OBITUARIES: LaValle, Yang, Wirth, Hinkein, Basmajian


Clayton W. LaValle (1937 – 2021)

PHILMONT—Clayton Walter LaValle of Canaan passed away March 8, 2021 in Philmont.

He was born March 5, 1937 in Middletown and raised in nearby Pond Eddy. He was the son of the late Edythe and Walter LaValle.

He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the State University of New York at Albany. He taught mathematics at Chatham High School in Chatham for the entirety of his 33-year career, and was a member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. After his retirement in 1992, he volunteered as a driver for Meals on Wheels and served as the program’s coordinator for the Town of Canaan. He also served as treasurer of the Chatham High School Booster Club and on the board of the Chatham Little League. Mr. LaValle was a lifelong fan of the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers; was an avid skier, and loved spending time on the shores of Queechy Lake.

He is survived by: his wife, Sallie Buhler LaValle; two children, James LaValle (Kristen Boddy) and Elisabeth Overmyer (Peter); grandchildren, Quinn and Birdie LaValle, and Annabelle and Samuel Overmyer.

Family services will be at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Columbia County Meals on Wheels program, Columbia County Office for the Aging, 325 Columbia Street, Hudson 12534. Condolences may be conveyed at

Ellen Y. Yang (1929 – 2021)

GREENPORT—Ellen Yu-Yung Yang of Greenport died peacefully in the early morning Wednesday March 10, 2021. She was 91.

She was born in Shenyang, China, November 24, 1929. Burial and services will be private at George Washington Memorial Park in Paramus, NJ. To leave online condolences visit

Phyllis Wirth (1928 – 2021)

Phyllis Wirth

WEST TAGHKANIC—In the early morning hours of February 28, 2021, Phyllis Wirth, 92, of West Taghkanic passed away peacefully, surrounded by family, ending her battle with Parkinson’s.

She was born in 1928 in Moussoorie, India to missionaries George Asa Ackerly and Dorothy Eggleston Ackerly.

She received her psychology degree from Westminster College, PA, and her master’s in education from Russell Sage College, Albany. She taught first grade at the Greenport Elementary School for many years. One of her most rewarding experiences, aside from being a grandmother, was her part in the creation of the Hudson Day Care Center. Following the daycare’s inception she continued for many years to show support by volunteering at the train station’s snack bar raising money for the day care center.

Until Parkinson’s took control, Mrs. Wirth was always on the go. She enjoyed hiking, downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, canoeing, swimming, body surfing and playing tennis. She was vicious at croquet. When relaxing, she enjoyed reading, knitting, hooking and braiding rugs and following professional sports.

She and her husband, Allan, enjoyed 65 wonderful years together until his passing a year ago. They loved to travel, mountain climb, camp and bird watch, especially with their friends Katy and Stan Bardwell.

She touched and influenced many lives. She was non-judgmental and accepting. In India, her family had the opportunity to meet Mahatma Gandhi, influencing her passion for peace. She was also passionate about protecting the environment.

Mrs. Wirth was preceded in death by: her husband Allan; parents, George and Dorothy; sister, Janet Gunn; brother-in-law, Leigh Gunn and nephew, David Kirk. She leaves behind: her beloved daughters, Dorothy Wirth, Christine (John) Sejan and Betsy Wirth (Renee Stone); grandchildren, Adelaide and Sam Sejan; nieces, Phyllis Gunn and Allison Kirk and nephews, Andy, George, LB and David Gunn.

She was “Mimi” to Joslyn, Emily and Kat. She also leaves behind her beloved cat, Morris. Her family thanks: Jackie, who cared for both Mr. and Mrs. Wirth at home over the past few years; neighbors, Shirley and Elliot for their friendship and assistance; Denise, who also cared for Mrs. Wirth near the end and to hospice for allowing us to fulfill her wish to pass at home. “We cannot thank you enough. She will be sorely missed. Fly high Mimi!”

There are no services or calling hours. Visit to leave condolences.

David Hinkein

David E. Hinkein (1981 – 2021)

SCHENECTADY—David E. Hinkein, 39, of Parkwood Boulevard, Hudson passed away March 10, 2021 in Schenectady.

Born December 23, 1981 in St. Petersburg, FL, he was the son of Donald E. Weed and Vivian (Hinkein) Jackson.

He was a devoted father who loved his children immeasurably. He had a jovial personality, and loved to make people laugh. He was a hard worker, who in his leisure time loved to fish.

In addition to his parents, Mr. Hinkein is survived by: his children, David Jr., Ahnalyhn, Da’Maree and Zayne Hinkein; four sisters, Janelle Fields, Donna Baker and Donielle and Misty Weed; three brothers, Adam Roberts and Jonas and Justin Fields, along with several aunts, uncles and cousins. He was predeceased by his brother, Robert Weed.

Visitation at the Bates & Anderson-Redmond & Keeler Funeral Home will be held Tuesday, March 16 from 5 to 6:45 p.m. with a prayer service at 6:45. Visit to leave condolences.

Armand Basmajian

Dr. Armand Basmajian (1943 – 2021)

AUSTERLITZ—Armand Basmajian of Austerlitz passed away March 12, 2021 in his home.

He was born November 2, 1943 in New York City and raised in Woodside. He was the son of the late Herminé and Zaré Basmajian.

Dr. Basmajian attended Monsignor McClancy Memorial High School in East Elmhurst. He received his bachelor’s degree from Fairfield University in Connecticut and did his master’s studies at Hofstra University. He was a lover of classical music and while at Fairfield, he performed regularly as a concert pianist and accompanist.

Dr. Basmajian received his degree in dentistry from New Jersey College of Medicine and Dentistry. He practiced dentistry in Queens from 1970 until his recent retirement in 2020. Over his many years, he was beloved by his patients, many who traveled long distances to receive his care and fondly called him, “Dr. B.”

He had a unique sense of humor, was a great lover of opera, and enjoyed performing with the Armenian choir. He frequently beat his family in backgammon, regularly watched Indiana Jones movies, and spent much time on his porch taking in the beauty of the mountains and Columbia County.

Dr. Basmajian is survived by: his wife, Christina Basmajian; his two daughters, Diana Basmajian and Dr. Jeanine Bulan; son-in-law, Dr. Erwin Bulan; grandchildren, Faith and Evan Bulan; his brother, André Basmajian and wife Angela; his four nephews and their families. His son, Gregory, passed away in 2012.

A private funeral mass will be held at St. James Church in Chatham. Memorial services to celebrate his life will be at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to: The Community Hospice in Albany ( or WQXR Radio ( Condolences may be conveyed at

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