Esslie-Frenia Law June 2023 Leaderboard

OBITUARIES: Sperry, Putnam, Ouwerkerk, Kline


Harvey L. Sperry (1930 – 2019)

CHATHAM—Harvey Lee Sperry passed away at the age of 89, Thursday, August 1, 2019.

He was the devoted husband of Gabriella, father to Cyndy, Owen, Susanna and Csaba, and the proud grandfather to Molly, Greta, Natalia and Sasha. He is also survived by: his brother, Don Sperry and two sisters, Bonnie and Sandi. Mr. Sperry was a longtime resident of Chatham.

He was born and grew up in Iowa and graduated from the University of Northern Iowa in 1954.

After graduating from Iowa Law School and completing his military service, Mr. Sperry moved to New York and joined the firm of Willkie, Farr & Gallagher LLP in 1957. Over a period of more than 40 years, he had a distinguished legal career as a corporate lawyer whose practice encompassed a broad variety of disciplines in an age of increasing legal specialization. His clients included, among other, many corporations in the textile industry and the container industry, both private and public, on many whose boards he was an active director.

Within the firm of Willkie Farr & Gallagher, he was known as a tough leader who was not shy about expressing his strongly held views. He was also known for his keen attention and fierce devotion to a long list of young lawyers who he mentored over many years during the course of their development as corporate lawyers.

Among his proudest achievements was his work with the employees of Weirton Steel Company in the early 1980s to save both the company and their town of Weirton, West Virginia through an innovative employee stock-ownership plan (ESOP) structure and financing. In 1984, Weirton Steel became one of the largest employee-owned companies in the U.S. and went on in 1989 to complete a public offering of its shares with a listing on the New York Stock Exchange.

Following his retirement from Willkie Farr in 2000, Mr. Sperry focused his energies in the Town of Chatham where he owned a farm on Jefferson Hill Road with his wife, Gabriella. He tended many acres of land to benefit the preservation of pastures by raising livestock and producing a variety of soil amendments. He also engaged in philanthropic pursuits including establishing a scholarship program at the University of Northern Iowa, contributing to the College of St. Rose in Albany, and supporting local Democrats.

Funeral services will be private. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to: The Chatham

Democrats, P.O. Box 138, Chatham 12037 or The University of Northern Iowa UNI Foundation Sperry Scholarship, 204 Commons, Cedar Falls, Iowa 50614-0282. Arrangements are with the Wenk Funeral Home, 21 Payn Avenue, Chatham. Send online condolences at

John F. Putnam, Sr. (1963 – 2019)

ALBANY—John F. Putnam, Sr., 55, of Schodack Landing died Sunday, August 4, 2019 at Albany Medical Center.

Born November 22, 1963 in Clifton Forge, VA, he was the son the late William and Mary (Brady) Putnam.

He grew up in Virginia in a loving home of 11 siblings. He met his wife, Kathleen and started his life here. He worked at Mabey’s Moving and Storage for more than 25 years and also worked for Scheriff Electric for a time and was currently employed by Cedar Flow where he enjoyed and built an everlasting friendship.

He was a hardworking man and a dedicated husband, father and “Grampy.” John would work sunup to sundown and give you the shirt off of his back.

He is survived by his wife of 34 years, Kathleen (Allen) Putnam; one daughter, Rebecca Putnam (Aaron) of Niverville; nine siblings, Golda, Andrew and Donnie of Texas, Joy, Tracy, Lee, Margie, Ethel and Trinette of Virginia; three grandchildren, Kaiden, Aurora and Jackson. He was the son-in-law of Mary Ann Allen and the late Elmer Allen, brother-in-law of Colleen and Patricia (Duke). He is also survived by several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his son, John Putnam, Jr.; a sister, Hazel and brother, Rodney.

Funeral services will be held Friday, August 9, 2019, 7 p.m. at the Raymond E. Bond Funeral Home, 1015 Kinderhook Street, Valatie, with the Reverend Robert DeLeon officiating. Calling hours will be Friday, August 9 from 4 to 7 p.m. prior to the service. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Niverville Fire Department.

Ronald Ouwerkerk (1932 – 2019)

SPENCERTOWN—Ronald “Ski” Ouwerkerk, 87, of Spencertown passed away peacefully at home, August 4, 2019 with his loving family surrounding him.

“Ski” as everyone called him was born May 24, 1932 in Hempstead, LI, to Louise and John C. Ouwerkerk. After graduating high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and served four years from 1950 until 1954. From 1952 to 1953 he served in the Korean War and was the recipient of three Purple Hearts for bravery, valor and heroism. He also was awarded many other service medals. He was proud to be an American, loved his flag, his country and his family.

He married his wife, Elinor in 1953.

He leaves: three daughters, Cindy (Michael) Rainey, Brenda (David) Oakes and Lori (Ron) Diego; eight grandsons, Ron (Amy) Daigle, Greg (Eva) Melanson, Joel (Nicole) Daigle, Matthew (Lisa) Daigle, Josh (Kristina) Daigle, RJ Diego and Will and Michael Rainey, Jr.; 13 great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. He was truly blessed.

Elinor predeceased him in 2015 after 61 years of marriage.

After his military service, Mr. Ouwerkerk started a custom home building business and moved his family to Spencertown

where he built beautiful homes and furniture in Berkshire and Columbia counties.

He also became a licensed real estate broker, held an environmental license in Massachusetts and participated in the VA OJT Program teaching veterans the building trade.

He was very involved in the community, was a member of both the Austerlitz and Spencertown fire companies, chaired the Austerlitz Planning Board for more than 20 years, was the chaplain for VFW Post 5933 in Ghent, a brother Mason and was particularly passionate about supporting the VA.

He loved gardening, nature, watching and feeding the birds, country music and a good game of cards.

Family will receive friends Thursday, August 8 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the French, Gifford, Preiter and Blasl Funeral Home, 25 Railroad Avenue, Chatham. The procession leaves from the funeral home Friday, August 9 at 7:45 a.m. for interment at Saratoga National Cemetery. For directions or to convey a condolence visit

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Fisher House (part of the VA Stratton Medical Center) 79 Holland Avenue, Albany 12208 or the VFW Post #5933 in Ghent 12075.

Sharon R. Kline (1943 – 2019)

LIVINGSTON—Sharon R. Kline, 76, of Livingston died at home August 3, 2019 surrounded by her family.

Born July 15, 1943 in Detroit, MI, she was the wife of the late Donald R. Kline, and the daughter of the late Walter and Mary (Kunkel) Hinkein.

After moving with her family to the Germantown-area from Detroit in the 1950s, she graduated from Germantown Central School. She met Donald and they married in 1962. She spent most of her career as an employee of the Iron Mountain records storage company and then as an employee of the Columbia County Department of Social Services. She also supported her husband in his early career as a farmer and later as a business owner and public servant.

Mrs. Kline enjoyed spending time reading and traveling. Over the last 20 years she visited most of the United States and many foreign countries, traveling with both her family and her close friends. Good times were had by all.

She always enjoyed spending time with her family, which she did often.

Mrs. Kline is survived by: her sons, Donald (Bonnie) of Bolton, MA, and Gregory (Luanne) of Livingston; her grandchildren, Krista and Gregory of Livingston, Kelly, Danny, Christopher and Thomas of Bolton, MA, and Fort Collins, CO; her brother, Ralph Hinkein of Clermont; and many nieces and nephews, including Randy Hinkein, who she joked was like her “third son”, and Karen Hinkein who was especially helpful to her in her final months.

In addition to her parents and husband, she was predeceased by her brothers, Donald, Richard, Paul and David “Jerry” Hinkein.

Funeral services at the Bates & Anderson-Redmond & Keeler Funeral Home, 110 Green Street, Hudson will be Saturday, August 10 at 11 a.m. Interment will follow in Valley View Cemetery. Visitation hours at the funeral home will be Friday August 9 from 4 to 7 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations are requested to the Germantown Library, 31 Palatine Park Road, Germantown 12526.

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