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OBITUARIES: Novak, Smith, Butler, Porpora, Johnson


Eleanor E. Novak (1934 – 2015)

VALATIE—Eleanor “Ellie” E. Novak, 80, of Stuyvesant Falls died Tuesday, October 13, 2015 at Barnwell Health Facilities.

Born October 30, 1934 in New York City, she was the daughter of the late Kurt and Erica Eicholtz.

Mrs. Novak worked for the New York State Department of Transportation in Albany. She was a life member of the Stuyvesant Falls VFW Ladies Auxiliary and enjoyed bird watching, cooking and baking and loved her coffee and chocolate. She was especially proud of her grandson Scott.

She is survived by: her husband, Donald “Duck” A. Novak; her daughter, Carol Vandenburgh (Steve) of Valatie and her grandson, Scott Vandenburgh. She was predeceased by her son, Glenn Novak.

Funeral services will be held Monday, October 19, 11:30 a.m. at the Raymond E. Bond Funeral Home, 1015 Kinderhook Street, Valatie, with the Reverend Dan Quinn officiating. Burial will follow in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Stuyvesant Falls. Calling hours will be Sunday, October 18 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the funeral home.

Frank A. Smith (1964 – 2015)

STUYVESANT—Frank Anthony Smith, 51, a longtime resident of Stuyvesant, died suddenly October 10, 2015. He has joined his parents, Bruce and Jane Smith, along with his brother, Bruce, Jr., in their eternal resting place.

Mr. Smith is survived by: his son, F. Andrew Smith and wife Samantha; sisters, Lynne McKay, Arlene Bynack and Lori Creeron; many nieces and nephews.

A private service has been requested by the family.

In lieu of flowers, send donations to the Columbia-Greene Humane Society/SPCA, 111 Humane Society Road, Hudson 12534 in his name.

Arrangements are with the Raymond E. Bond Funeral Home, 1015 Kinderhook Street, Valatie.

Curtiss Butler (1947 – 2015)

PHILMONT—Curtiss Sprague Butler, age 68, passed away at his home in Philmont, Wednesday, October 14, 2015, after a long battle with heart disease.

Born in Coronado, CA, April 8, 1947, Mr. Butler and his brother, Neil, now deceased, came east as children.

After graduating from Florida State University in 1970, Mr. Butler lived and worked all over the eastern seaboard before settling in Columbia County in 1999. He came to love the rural lifestyle, spending his free time hiking, building stone walls, and chopping wood for the long Upstate winters.

A writer and visionary, Mr. Butler retired last year from a career on the leading edge of digital communications. His passion was writing poetry. He recited his work, led poetry workshops, and was in the process of publishing his second collection at the time of his death.

He enjoyed attending stockcar races with his son, Julian and fencing events with his sons, Sean and Chris. Widely-traveled, he leaves behind a wealth of memories and colorful stories. His warmth, wit and incisive intellect will be missed by many and remembered always.

Mr. Butler is survived by: his step-parents, John and Alda Butler of Melbourne Beach, FL; his wife, Lee Armstrong of Hillsdale; his sons, Sean Sprague Butler of Maitland, FL, and Julian Roland Butler of Hillsdale.

He was predeceased by his son, Christopher McLean Butler.

Mr. Butler is also survived by his only grandchild, Elaine Christina Butler, who resides in Maitland, FL, with her parents, Sean and Amy Butler. Mr. Butler’s first wife, Laura Butler of Melbourne Beach, FL, was a sustaining support to him in his final months.

Funeral services will be held Sunday, October 18 at St. Peter’s Presbyterian Church in Spencertown. A viewing at the church begins at 3 p.m. followed by the service at 3:30 p.m. The family will host a repast at their home in Hillsdale following the church service.

Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the French, Gifford, Preiter & Blasl Funeral Home, 25 Railroad Avenue, Chatham. Condolences may be conveyed at

Christina M. Porpora (1986 – 2015)

PHOENIX, AZ—Christina Marie Porpora entered heavens gates Monday October 12, 2015. She forged a brief but memorable 29 years of generosity, compassion, education and love.

She was born May 2, 1986, the daughter of Carol (Lorenzo) Porpora and Ralph Porpora. She was sister to Michael and Brian, his wife Brianne and their two children, Daniel and Olivia.

Ms. Porpora was born in Great Barrington, MA, and grew up in Copake.

She graduated from Taconic Hills High School and continued on to Western New England College where she earned her BA in psychology. She also attained a master’s degree from Marist College as a school psychologist. This started her adventure to Arizona where she began her career as a school psychologist and her avid love for the outdoors.

She enjoyed hiking in the desert, art, fitness and her dog, Dexter. She touched so many lives along the way—children, family, friends and anyone who crossed her path. “Our beautiful Christina will be remembered and missed forever. Her spirit will live on eternally.”

Calling hours are Sunday, October 18, 2015, 3 to 7 p.m. at Peck and Peck Funeral Home, 8063 Route 22, Copake. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Monday, October 19, 2015, 10 a.m. at Our Lady of Hope Parish, 8074 State Route 22, Copake Falls, with the Reverend George Brennan officiating. Burial will follow in St. Bridget’s Cemetery.

Memorial contributions are requested to Astor Services for Children and Families (

To sign the online register access

Ruth M. Johnson (1931 – 2015)

GERMANTOWN—Ruth Marie Johnson, 84, died at home in Germantown, October 12 of natural causes.

She was born in Thief River Falls, MN, the youngest of four daughters to Armyle and Alice Jacobson.

As a girl, she loved ice-skating on the Thief River, which ran behind the family’s home, and learning to golf with her dad—a dentist and the mayor of Thief River Falls. “Ruthie,” as her sisters called her, attended St. Olaf College where she met her husband, Bill Johnson, before they graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1953. Mr. Johnson’s career as a successful author and prolific journalist for Time Magazine and Sports Illustrated eventually took the couple from their family roots in Minnesota to Baltimore, Boston and, in 1963, Croton-on-Hudson. In addition to being a tireless and devoted mother to her three kids—Tina, Billy and TJ—Mrs. Johnson became the president of both the local League of Women Voters and Great Books Club.

In 1971, the family moved to Germantown, where Mrs. Johnson joined the human resources department at Columbia Greene Memorial Hospital, and later taught English at Columbia-Greene Community College. Her skills and creative talents went well beyond her career—including sewing, quilting, re-finishing and upholstering furniture, playing the oboe and piano, and keeping the family sing-a-longs on key. She enjoyed a good cocktail hour with her family and friends, and, more than anything, loved being a mom and grandmother to her kids and five grandchildren—Christian, Justino, Anabel, Tess and Tommy.

She was deeply loved and will be very much missed by her whole family.

A memorial service is scheduled at the Reformed Church of Germantown, 20 Church Avenue, Germantown, Saturday, October 17 at 1 p.m.

Arrangements are with the Yadack-Fox Funeral Home, 209 Main Street, Germantown.

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