GNH Lumber February 2024

OBITUARIES: Young, Pretto, Graziano, Scannell, VanAlphen-Pitt


Kenneth N. Young (1953 -2018)

ALBANY—Kenneth Nicholson Young of Hillsdale died April 8 at Albany Medical Center.

He was born April 25, 1953 in Gartocharn by the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, to James Nigel Williams Young, a World War II fighter pilot, and Joyce Aleta Young (née Norton), a Wren at Bletchley. The family, with older brother, Michael, moved south to England when his father went back to flying in civil aviation.

Mr. Young went to many schools as the family traveled, but perhaps his happiest time was when he was in the Middle East in Bahrain with his parents. There, he made friends with local children, became a fine swimmer, and developed his love of donkeys. Later, it was boarding schools, rebellion and long hair, and eventually to Norfolk where he learned the basis of traditional boat building and the use of his hands.

He first came to the U.S. on holiday to visit his father, who had re-married and was living in East Hampton, NY. With little money in his pockets, he moved to NYC and started a design company building interior playgrounds for disabled children and adults.

In 1979, he met and fell in love with Irene Stepash. They were married in 1988 in New York City at The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and in 1991, they moved to Columbia County with their two-year-old son, Luke. Their daughter Esther was born in 1995, followed by their second son, Evan, in 1997.

Once in Columbia County, Mr. Young learned the art of stone wall building, but eventually opened a building design company in Chatham, Kenneth Young Design (later re-named, Nicholson Blunt), in which he designed and constructed high-end new homes and renovated existing homes for clients. He became a fixture in Chatham, where he was known to all shopkeepers and to the community at large.

Mr. Young was a capable man of many interests and talents. In addition to his design work, he wrote poetry, drew, collected art, and loved to listen to Albert King. He recently initiated a well-regarded memoir-writing workshop at the Roe Jan Community Library in Copake, which continues to this day. He most recently enjoyed leather-crafting, and before his death made beautiful leather belts and wrist bands for his family and friends. He was generous with his time, and gave his attention to the people he met. His friendship, sharp wit, humor and singular perspective on life are sorely missed by his community.

His wife, Irene, and he traveled to Panama at the end of February to explore the possibility of retiring there. On the plane’s descent into Panama his ear drum burst, and soon after he developed meningitis. Although he was recovering from the surgery, he fell from his hospital bed in Panama, which caused a hematoma on his brain. He never recovered from his second surgery. Mr. Young was airlifted from Panama to Albany Medical Center, April 1, and he passed one week later in the hospital, where he was surrounded by his family and friends who said prayers, recalled stories, sang and read his poetry.

Mr. Young is survived by: his wife, Irene Young (née Stepas); children, Luke Nicholson, Esther Donna and Evan John; his brother, Michael James Young of London, England; brother, James Nigel Colquhoun Young and wife, Vicky Dulai of Mill Valley, CA; sister-in-law, Mary Stepash and husband, Ray Douglas, of Metuchen, NJ; sister-in-law, Annie Dougherty (née Stepash) and husband, Dennis Dougherty of Fairbanks, AK; nephews, Rory Young of London, John and Daniel Dougherty of Fairbanks, William and Bennett Young of Mill Valley; and, stepsisters, Lisa Dowdney and Debbie Seaman (née Dowdney) of Colorado.

Gilbert Pretto (1934 – 2018)

ALBANY—Brother Gilbert Pretto CSC, a long-time resident of St. Joseph Center in Valatie, passed away at St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany, Friday, May 11.

Born in 1934 in Castelgomberto, Italy, his family immigrated to the United States where he became an American citizen in 1955.

After becoming a brother in the Congregation of Holy Cross, he began working in elementary school settings. Most of his years were spent teaching at Mt. Carmel School in the Arthur Avenue area of the Bronx, and ministering at the parish there, a home parish to many Italian immigrant families. Living in the neighborhood for decades, he became an indispensable part of the parish and school community.

In 2002, he retired to St. Joseph Center and continued his lifelong photography hobby. Diagnosed with lung cancer about a year ago, he did well with treatment, and up until last week was still walking about the property, with his ever-present camera about his neck, taking pictures of nature scenes.

At St. Joseph Center in Valatie, a prayer service will be held at 7:15 p.m. Thursday evening, May 17, and an 11 a.m. funeral mass will be said Friday, May 18, followed by burial in the community cemetery. “May Bro. Gilbert rest in peace.”

Anyone staying for the luncheon Friday, should call Susan Henderson at 518-784-9481.

Mark A. Graziano (1971 – 2018)

HUDSON—Mark A. Graziano, 47, of Hudson died May 9, 2018.

He was born February 28, 1971 to the late Allen Graziano and Nancy (Yates) Graziano and was predeceased by his wife, Deborah (White) Graziano.

Mr. Graziano was a devoted firefighter, diver, EMT and Hazmat volunteer for Columbia and Greene counties.

He is survived by: his children, Alan Graziano and Natalie Graziano (Edwin Miller); his grandchildren, Faith Lentz and Nicholas Miller; his sisters, Jennifer (Seain) Pinkowski and Tammy Graziano; many aunts, uncles, cousins, past and present firefighters.

A funeral service with full firematic honors was held Monday, May 14, 2018 at Hudson Fire Department Central Station, 77 North Seventh Street, Hudson.

Donations in Mr. Graziano’s memory are requested to the Hudson Fire Department, 520 Warren Street, Hudson 12534. The donations will be divided between the Hudson Fire Department Explorer Post 2108 and the Hudson Fire Department Dive Team, as both these areas were Mr. Graziano’s passion in the fire service. Arrangements are with the Bates & Anderson – Redmond & Keeler Funeral Home, 110 Green Street, Hudson. Visit to leave condolences.

Robert J. Scannell (1923 – 2018)

GHENT—Robert Joseph Scannell, born December 6, 1923 in Montclair, NJ, died May 14, 2018 peacefully at his home.

He was predeceased by his loving wife Elizabeth; sister, Margaret McGrath; brothers, Thomas Scannell, John Scannell and James Scannell.

Surviving are: his brother, William (Marcia); daughters, Mary Ann Fricano (Joe), Nancy Winegard, Marjorie Balder (Cliff), Elizabeth Drury (Jay), Barbara Troiani (Bob) and sons, Robert J.R. and Joseph; grandchildren, Joseph and Elizabeth Fricano, Melinda Rowley, Marc Losa, Leah Laviazar (Dan), Andrew Scannell, Nicholas Scannell; great-grandchildren, Sorrel Rowley, Lyssa and Skyler Losa, Danny and Lily Laviazar.

Mr. Scannell was an active member of the St. James Catholic Church serving on many of committees over the years.

He retired from the Universal Match Factory, and bus driving at Chatham Central School. He spent his retirement years maintaining his property, working outdoors and spending time with his loving family.

Mr. Scannell served in the Army during World War II, stationed in England and was a longtime member of the Ghent VFW and Ghent Volunteer Fire Company.

Calling hours are Thursday, May 17, 4 to 7 p.m. at the French, Gifford, Preiter & Blasl Funeral Home, 25 Railroad Avenue, Chatham. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Friday, May 18 at St. James Church, 10 a.m. For directions or to convey a condolence visit

Serena VanAlphen-Pitt

CLAVERACK—Serena VanAlphen-Pitt, 28, of Claverack died May 8, 2018 at her home after a long illness.

A memorial service will be held Wednesday, May 16, 2 p.m. at the Yadack-Fox Funeral Home, 209 Main Street, Germantown.

A reception—food and memory sharing—will be held 3 p.m. Saturday, May 19, 2018 at the Clermont Bible Church, 1530 Blue Hill Road, Livingston.

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