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OBITUARIES: Proper, Wenz, McConnell, Masterson


Paul J. Proper, Sr. (1930 – 2018)

COPAKE—Paul J. Proper, Sr., 88, “The People’s Sheriff” of Columbia County passed away at home, Thursday, December 20, 2018.

He was born October 20, 1930 in Egremont, MA, the son of Myron and Olia (Pectal) Proper.

Mr. Proper served as a technical sergeant (TSgt) in the United States Air Force. He was on the B-26 Bomber Squadron receiving the Bronze Star Medal during the Korean War.

He started his career in July 1961 working for the Columbia County Sheriff’s Department as a deputy. He became the first investigator of the department and later became undersheriff in 1972. He was elected sheriff in 1977 and served three terms until 1989. Sheriff Proper retired but briefly returned to the job in 2001 on an appointed, interim basis.

He was president and life-member of the New York State Sheriff’s Association. He was honored as “Man of the Year” at Gallagher’s Restaurant in New York City. He was an integral force in the building of the Columbia County Public Safety Facility in Greenport, which was later named in his honor.

He was a life-member of the Clausson-Raught Community Rescue Squad, life-member of the Copake Fire Company with more than 50 years of service. He held the office of third assistant chief and was a fire commissioner.

Mr. Proper was a member of the Hillsdale Lodge 612 Free and Accepted Masons of New York, member of the Cadby-Shutts VFW Post 7552 in Hillsdale; a member of the Columbia County Korean War Veterans Associations Inc., and member of the West Copake Reformed Church.

The sheriff was a director on the Columbia County Agricultural Society, Inc., Fair Board in Chatham for more than 30 years.

He graduated from Roeliff Jansen Central School in 1949.

On April 13, 1952 at the First United Presbyterian Church in Ancramdale, he married Marjorie E. (Decker) Proper. She survives him at home.

In addition to his loving wife of 66 years, Marge, survivors include: a son, Paul J. Proper, Jr. (Theresa); a daughter, Rosemarie (Jerome) McEnroe; a son, David (Patricia) Proper and Jeffrey (Christa) Proper; eight grandchildren, Justin, Jeremy, Klynt, Nicholas, Dylan, Megan, Bryan and Evan; nine great-grandchildren; Kailey, Aubrey, Tristan, Abby, Keegan, Brady, Noah, Turner and Lydia.

He was predeceased by a sister, Ruth Bailey and a brother, Otis Proper.

Calling hours take place Thursday, January 3, 2019 from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Peck and Peck Funeral Home, 8063 State Route 22, Copake.

A funeral service will be held Friday, January 4, 2019, 11 a.m. on from the West Copake Reformed Church, 2688 County Route 7, Copake.

Interment will follow in the Evergreen Cemetery with military honors.

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions are requested to the West Copake Reformed Church, 2688 County Route 7, Copake 12516.

To sign the online register access

Dorothy H. Wenz (1933 – 2018)

NIVERVILLE—Dorothy “Dottie” Helen Wenz, 85, of Niverville passed away Tuesday, December 18, 2018 with her daughter and grand-dogs by her side.

She was born January 6, 1933 to Frank and Katherine Funke on Long Island. She will be lovingly remembered by her husband of 68 years, Arthur Wenz; their daughter, Kathy (Matt) Kelly and their son, Bob (Jean) Wenz.

She will be fondly remembered by her grandchildren, Nicole Wenz, Kylie Rose, Arthur Wenz, Matthew Kelly, Robert Wenz and Shane Wenz.

She was predeceased by her parents; her beloved son, Artie Wenz and her daughter-in-law, Karen Wenz.

Mr. and Mrs. Wenz moved to Columbia County in 1965. She loved animals, especially bird-watching and all her pets. She enjoyed her flowers, swimming and spending time with her friends and family.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her honor to the Columbia-Greene Humane Society, 111 Humane Society Road, Hudson 12534. Mrs. Wenz’s family invites all to join them for a celebration of her life, on her birthday January 6, 2019 at Ryan’s Bar and Grill from 2 to 6 p.m.

Sarah B. McConnell (1990 – 2018)

SHARON, CT—Sarah B. (Smith) McConnell, 28, of Ballston Spa passed away unexpectedly December 17, 2018.

Sarah was born June 13, 1990 in Sharon, CT, to Gordon Smith and Kelly (Smith) Osborne. She spent her elementary school years between the Webutuck and Taconic Hills school districts before moving to Cornwall Consolidated School in middle school and graduating in 2008 from Housatonic Valley Regional High School.

Ms. McConnell was loved immensely by her family and made friends everywhere she went. Her best friends were always her sister, Amanda (Smith) Conklin, and brother, Treavor Smith. These three, accompanied by her stepsiblings and many cousins, often joined together to create chaos, laughter and memories across two states.

Her final days were spent doing what she loved, nursing, as well as volunteering in the veterans’ community. Her short life was filled with many epic memories and adventures.

Ms. McConnell was predeceased by: her maternal grandparents, Roland and Laverne Osborne; her paternal grandfather, Paul L. Smith; and her loving stepfather, Keith E. Luning.

She is survived by: her father, Gordon Smith and his partner, Ruth Murray of Au Sable Forks; her mother, Kelly Osborne and her partner, Christopher Bryant of Fredericksburg, VA; her grandmothers, Barbara Carnes of Ausable and Ingrid Luning of Sherman, CT; her sister, Amanda Conklin and her husband Daniel of Philmont; her brother, Treavor Smith and his fiancée Rebecca Davis of East Syracuse; her stepsiblings, Nichole Anderson and her partner Chris, Courtney Fox and her husband Jake, and Keith, Linda and Tiffany Luning; and her sister by choice, Kayla Gangloff and her husband Darryl; the lights of her life, her nieces and nephews Kameryn, Evan and Ethan Conklin, Alexander and Camden Cave, Dakota, Roxy and Callen Fox and Darla Gangloff. She also leaves behind many loving aunts, uncles and cousins.

A celebration of life took place Saturday, December 22, 2018, at the American Legion in Millerton. Guests were asked to bring a picture and story to share and wear bright sassy colors to celebrate Ms. McConnell’s vibrant life.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Ms. McConnell’s name may be made to the Guardian House for Veterans, 1214 Saratoga Road, Ballston Spa 12020. Arrangements were with the Peck and Peck Funeral Homes.

Carlos Bee Masterson, Jr. (1934 – 2018)

KINDERHOOK—Carlos Bee Masterson, Jr., better known as Peter Masterson, died Tuesday, December 18 at his home in Kinderhook. He was 84.

He was best known for co-writing and co-directing the smash Broadway musical, “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” for which he was nominated for two Tony Awards (33rd annual Tony Awards), and the critically acclaimed Horton Foote film, “The Trip to Bountiful” which earned Geraldine Paige a Best Actress Oscar. He was a student of Stella Adler and acted on Broadway in “That Championship Season,” “The Poison Tree,” “The Great White Hope” and “The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald.” He starred in the iconic feminist thriller, “The Stepford Wives” and played a supporting role in “The Exorcist.” He was a longtime member and frequent moderator at The Actor’s Studio and acted as a frequent resource advisor at the Sundance Institute’s Filmmaker’s Lab. He was an avid sports fan all his life, and shared season tickets to the Knicks with his best friend William Goldman from 1982 until recently. He was a world-class sailor and raced in regattas around the world.

Born June 1, 1934 at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Houston, Texas, Mr. Masterson was raised in the small town of Angelton, Texas. His father, Carlos Bee Masterson, was district attorney and at one time the mayor of Angelton, Texas. He died when Peter was 19 years old. His mother, Josephine Smith Masterson, from Pasadena, California, died at the age of 94, in her home in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

Mr. Masterson received his BA in history from Rice University.

He moved to New York City in the late 1950s to study acting and remained there until 2007, when he retired, moving to the countryside of Kinderhook to be close to his children and grandchildren.

His wife of 58 years, Carlin Glynn Masterson, was also his longtime collaborator. She won a Tony for her performance in, “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” and earned critical acclaim in “The Trip to Bountiful.” They were both advisors at Sundance Film Institutes Filmmaker’s Lab and moderated at the Actors Studio.

He is survived by: his “darlin” Carlin Glynn Masterson; his children, Alexandra Masterson, Mary Stuart Masterson and Peter Carlos Bee Masterson and his six grandchildren, Miles, Ava Bee, Phineas, Clio, Wilder and Mosley.

A private funeral will be held for him at the Raymond E. Bond Funeral Home, 1015 Kinderhook Street, Valatie, January 6 at 11 a.m. A memorial service is being planned for him in New York City. Donations may be made to The Actor’s Studio in his name.

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