Sullivan County Democrat
O n l i n e  E d i t i o n National Award-winning, Family-run Newspaper
  OBITUARY ARCHIVES Established 1891 Callicoon, New York  
home  |  archives
August 24, 2007

Jacquelyn Twichel Elfert
Master gardener, 72

Jacquelyn “Lynn” Twichel Elfert of Callicoon, a well-known and much loved member of the Upper Delaware River community, was taken into the arms of the Lord on Wednesday, August 22, 2007, surrounded by relatives and close friends. She was 72.
After being stricken with a sudden asthma attack early Saturday morning, she called the emergency control center for help. She was transported by ambulance to Catskill Regional Medical Center in Harris where she passed away at about 1:55 a.m. without regaining consciousness.
Lynn was born in Paterson, New Jersey on May 4, 1935 and later attended Syracuse University.
Known for her “rogueing” abilities inherited from her father, Elfert’s gardens became showcases in the area, as she inspired many in the closeknit community to create their own works of gardening heaven as sanctuaries for native plants and flowers.
She recently moved from her home of long-standing, a little eccentrically eclectic house up in the hills of Mileses, to a house overlooking the Delaware River where she created a new garden that she was developing at the time of her death.
In her youth, Elfert traveled the world, often as a solo woman sojourner visiting such far-flung places as Timbuktu in Africa, Mali, Bali and Egypt.
Tales of her journeys would fill volumes with colorful stories, including a trip down the Nile River, which at the time was a rare thing for a single woman to undertake.
Elfert is linked to the Twichel family of Barryville, which during the 100 years spanning the latter half of the 19th century to the first half of the 20th century were prominent in local politics and education. She was a passionate supporter of the arts, the peace movement and all things environmental.
Elaine Giguere, founder of the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance (DVAA) in Narrowsburg, said Elfert was a “supporter of all things valley,” including the DVAA, Delaware Valley Opera (DVO), the Valley Chorus, and the Basket Historical Society of Long Eddy.
Elfert attended St. James Episcopal Church of Callicoon.
She is survived by several nephews including Benjamin Rose Baker Jr. of Ellicott City, Md., William Barney Baker of Ashburn, Va., Richard Prentice Baker of Potomac, Md., Daniel Clinton Baker of Exton, Pa., Edwin Presby Baker of Vancover, Wash., and Timothy Andrew Baker of Rockville, Md.; and a stepson, Jason Elfert of Nevada City, Calif. “Poppy,” Elfert’s beloved canine companion, will be looked after by Mary White of Callicoon, a close friend of Elfert’s for about 20 years.
White, a retired school teacher and former proofreader at the Sullivan County Democrat, recalled her friend with whom she shared a love of literature.
“She was very much engaged in life, was right in there and you couldn’t ignore her,” said White.
“Her big passion in life was gardening. When she planted something, it stayed planted. She’d find a plant alongside the road, stop, get a shovel out of the back of her car, dig it up and take it home.”
Elfert marched to a different drummer and danced to her own tune as her adventurous spirit moved her through the ups and downs of life, making no apologies to anyone.
Throughout her journey, Elfert touched many folks with her quirky sense of humor, insight into the human condition and perhaps most of all, an ability to form instant friendships that lasted a lifetime. Once you met Lynn, you never forgot her.
“More than anyone I ever met, she had the gift of friendship,” recalled Mary Curtis of Callicoon, a local historian and longtime friend.
Services are scheduled for 12:00 noon on Saturday, August 25 at St. James Episcopal Church, located on Route 17B in Callicoon, with Mother Joan LaLiberte officiating.
There will be a community open house and pot luck to honor her life following the service.
It will be held at Elfert’s home, located at 2589 River Road (on the Pennsylvania side of the bridge crossing the Delaware River in Callicoon) starting at 2 p.m.
In Elfert’s last will and testament, she asked the community to gather for “a wing-ding” to celebrate her memory.

Gertrude Munday
Ret. from Letchworth, 76

Gertrude E. Munday of West Lawn, Pa. and a longtime Sullivan County resident, entered into rest August 2, 2007 at Reading Hospital, Reading, Pa. after a long illness.
Born on January 30, 1931 in Brooklyn, she was the daughter of the late William J. Munday Sr. and Anna Jane Herkey Munday.
She was a graduate of St. Vincent Ferrer Business School of Manhattan. She was retired from Middletown Psychiatric Center, Letchworth Unit, Middletown.
Survivors include a beloved daughter, Jeanne Marie Lothrop of West Lawn, Pa. and Greg Lothrop; her best friend and former husband of West Lawn, Pa.; two sons, William W. Lothrop and wife Louise of Wurtsboro, and Gary P. Lothrop and wife Mary Jo of Forestburgh; a sister, Dolores M. Hawkins of Otisville; two grandsons, William W. Lothrop Jr. and wife Felicity of Highland Ranch, Colo., and Kevin Lothrop and wife Staci of Southfield; an adopted grandson, Keith Lothrop of Bloomingburg; one great-granddaughter, Danica Lothrop of Highland Ranch, Colo.; and a former daughter-in-law, Linda Lothrop of Wurtsboro; and many nieces, nephews and grand-nieces and nephews.
She was predeceased by her parents and three siblings: a brother, William J. Munday; a sister, Jeannette M. Roller; and a sister, Anna Jane Brown.
Funeral services were private.
Arrangements were under the direction of Bean Funeral Home of Sinking Springs, Pa.

Charles Smejkal
Ret. U.S. Army, 84

Charles R. Smejkal Sr. of Middletown, a longtime area resident, entered into rest on Friday, August 17, 2007 at VA Hudson Valley at Castle Point in Castle Point. He was 84.
The son of the late William and Antonil Makal Smejkal, he was born May 27, 1923 in the Borough of Little Ferry, Bergen County, N.J.
He was the widow of Flora May Hendrix Smejkal, who died December 8, 1991.
He was a U.S. Army veteran who was a prisoner of war, and served his country during WWII. Charles was a member of the American Ex-Prisoners of War, Hudson Valley Chapter of American Ex-Prisoners of War, a member of the 36th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop Association, the American Legion Post 151 in Middletown, and the Town of Wallkill VFW.
Charles’ survivors include four sons, Jeffrey W. Smejkal and his wife, Kathy, of Gainesville, Ga., Charles R. Smejkal Jr. of Middletown, Gary L. Smejkal and his wife, Joyce, of Westbrookville, and USAF Master Sgt. John W. Smejkal and his wife, Rebecca, of Phoenix, Ariz. and currently assigned to service in Great Falls, Mont.; grandchildren, Jody Campbell and her husband, Shawn, of the state of Georgia, Danielle, at home in Westbrookville, and Alexander and Lily-Anne of Phoenix, Ariz.; a great-granddaughter, Paige Ashlyn Campbell in Georgia, and several nieces and nephews.
In addition to his wife, Flora, he was predeceased by a grandson, James King, and a brother, William Smejkal.
Funeral services were held Thursday, August 23 at the Cornelius, Dodd & Connell Funeral Home, Middletown.
Interment was made in the Westbrookville Cemetery.

Mildred Lybolt
Homemaker, 82

Mildred Aldine Lybolt of Otisville died peacefully Sunday, August 19, 2007 while in the company of family members at her residence. She was 82.
The daughter of Ralph and Mary Conklin Horton, she was born April 9, 1925 in Middletown.
She was the widow of Robert Denton Lybolt to whom she was married for 60 years.
She was a member of the New Vernon Church and was a foster mom to more than 90 children.
In a family statement it was said, “Mom was taking care of us, with her love, even through her illness. She was a housewife at her own home.”
She is survived by her four daughters, Bonnie Culhane and her husband Doug of Newburgh, Connie McGuire and her husband Dan of Otisville, Barbara Lybolt of Otisville, and Jane Meckle of Tennessee; three sons, Robert Lybolt and his wife Cindy of Middletown, Ronald Lybolt and his wife Mary of Glen Spey, and Richard Lybolt and his wife Mary of Glen Spey; three sisters, Hazel Barnes of Middletown, Marge Gambino and her husband Charles of Key Largo, Fla., and Betty Hassenmayer and her husband Albert of Middletown; a brother: Alfred “Jimmy” Horton and his wife Barbara of Bloomingburg; her sister-in-law, Alice Horton of Middletown; 26 grandchildren; 29 great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.
She was predeceased by her daughter, Donna Daktar, and a brother, Roy Horton.
Funeral services were held Tuesday, August 21 at the Morse Funeral Home in Middletown, with the Rev. Daniel Hulseapple officiating.
Burial of the cremains will be Saturday, August 25 at 10 a.m. in Wallkill Cemetery, Phillipsburg.
Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Orange and Sullivan County, 800 Stony Brook Road, Newburgh, NY 12550.

Tom Edwards
Ret. from U.S. Air Force, 61

Tom Edwards of Ocean Springs, Miss., died Friday, August 17, 2007, in Ocean Springs, Miss.
Mr. Edwards was a resident of Ocean Springs for 28 years. He was a veteran of the U.S. Air Force with 20 years of service. Tom loved to be with family and friends, who will remember him as a generous, kind, and fun-loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend. He had a passion for golf.
Survivors include his wife, Jane Edwards; two daughters, Melissa (Doug) Rackley of Biloxi, Miss., and Rhonda (Scott) Arneson of Cumming, Ga.; a sister, Patricia (Nile) Inghrim; a brother, Robert Edwards, all of Monticello; four grandchildren: Lauren, Jordan, Kaley, and Brayden; and two nieces, Tammi and Terri.
A memorial service was held Thursday, August 23 at Bradford-O’Keefe Funeral Home in Ocean Springs.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, 417 Security Square, Gulfport, MS 39507.

Margaret LaGattuta
Homemaker, 83

Margaret Mary LaGattuta, a longtime resident of Swan Lake, passed away peacefully Wednesday, August 22, 2007 at the Grand Street Regional Medical Center in Myrtle Beach, S.C. She was 83.
The daughter of Pasquale and Mary Matura, she was born May 17, 1924 in Brooklyn.
“Margie” was active for many years in the Catholic Daughters, the Liberty Volunteer Ambulance Corps, and the Swan Lake Ladies Auxiliary. She loved taking trips with her friends with the Liberty Parks and Recreation group and was fondly referred to as “Trouble.”
A family statement reads, “Godspeed Mommy. We love you and will see you again.”
She leaves behind to remember her lovingly her seven children, Susan Larini and her husband, Victor of Myrtle Beach, S.C., Linda Bottaro, Thomas and Deanna LaGattuta of Swan Lake, John and Mary LaGattuta of St. Petersburg, Fla., Fred LaGattuta and Willow Atkins of Liberty, Mark and Anna LaGattuta of Swan Lake, and Michael and Tammy LaGattuta of White Sulphur Springs. Margie was so proud of her grandchildren, Christopher, James and Victoria Larini, Ryan Kaufman, Anthony and Dominic Bottaro, Nicole and Chelsea LaGattuta, Christa, Michael Jr. and Andralyn LaGattuta, Mark Jr. and Valerie LaGattuta, Keegan, Paeden and Lacoln LaGattuta; and her great-grandchildren, Jordan, Madison, Riley and Alexandria.
Margie will be met by those who left before her: her beloved sister, Anne and her husband, Tony; her brothers, Peter and Charles; her parents, Mary and Pasquale; her nephew, Richard Porta; her husband, Joseph LaGattuta, who passed away in 1971; as well as dear friends.
Visitation will be held from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday, August 26 at Ramsay’s Funeral Home, 275 S. Main St., Liberty.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be on Monday, August 27 at St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church in Liberty at 11:45 a.m. with Monsignor Edward Straub officiating.
Burial will be made in St. Peter’s Cemetery, Liberty.
Funeral arrangements are by Ramsay’s Funeral Homes, Liberty.

Michael McKane
UPS Employee, 25

Michael McKane of Middletown, a lifetime area resident, died unexpectedly Sunday, August 19, 2007 in the Town of Crawford as a result of an automobile accident. He was 25.
The son of Timothy and Josephine Boffa McKane, he was born December 16, 1981 in Middletown.
Michael was a child prodigy gifted in the Martial Arts. He began his training at Hong's Karate School in Middletown at the age of nine and loved to compete. He was a graduate of Pine Bush High School, Class of 2000, and worked for UPS in Maybrook.
He was a member of St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church in Middletown.
Michael will be remembered as the one everyone looked to for guidance. He was a pleasure to be around and was loved by many people for his sense of humor and phenomenal technique. He was an extraordinary person who will be missed by everyone fortunate enough to have known him.
He is survived by his beloved twin daughters, Taylor and Amber McKane and their mother, Cheryl Hannington; his parents, Timothy and Josephine McKane, at home; his maternal grandparents, Mario and Anna Marie Boffa of Middletown; his paternal grandmother, Rosella McKane of Wurtsboro; his brothers, Joseph McKane and his wife Stephanie of Middletown and Anthony McKane of Albany; and several aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins and many friends.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Friday, August 24 at St. Joseph's R.C. Church, 149 Cottage St., Middletown.
Entombment will follow in the Mother, Queen of Peace Mausoleum at St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Middletown.
In lieu of flowers, donations to Michael's daughters, Amber and Taylor McKane, may be made to Josephine McKane, 569 Dosen Road, Middletown, NY 10940.
Arrangements were made under the direction of the Applebee-McPhillips Funeral Home, Inc.;

Rose Sostak
Ret. Bookkeeper, 79

Rose C. Sostak of White Sulphur Springs, a retired bookkeeper for Eggler Automatic and a 40-year area resident, died Monday, August 20, 2007 at home. She was 79.
The daughter of the late Robert and Helen Martin Chrismer, she was born April 22, 1928 in Fountain Hill, Pa.
In a family statement, it was said, “Rose was a hard working, much-loved mom who, being widowed early in life, raised and put four kids through college and encouraged each of them in their personal lives. She loved to cook and anyone who entered ‘Rosie’s Kitchen’ never left hungry. In her favorite role as ‘Grandma Rose’ she adored her eleven grandchildren, and spent this past summer traveling about and enjoying each of them tremendously. She was a dedicated bookkeeper for Eggler Automatic of White Sulphur Springs, and cherished her longtime area friendships. Her memory will be carried on in the hearts of all whose lives she touched.”
Survivors include two daughters, Melissa Eichenhauer and her husband Donald of Rush, and Michelle Lucas and her husband Robert of Rensselaer; two sons, Edward Sostak and his wife Robin of White Sulphur Springs, and Glenn Sostak of Virginia Beach, Va.; one brother-in-law, Leon Sostak of Bethlehem, Pa.; and eleven grandchildren.
Visitation will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, August 24 at the Harris Funeral Home, West St. at Buckley, Liberty.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, August 25 at St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, 264 No. Main Street, Liberty.
Monsignor Edward Straub will officiate.
Burial will be made in Laurel Hill Cemetery, White Sulphur Springs.
Memorial contributions may be made to the White Sulphur Springs Fire Company or the White Sulphur Springs United Methodist Church, White Sulphur Springs, NY 12787.

Henry Elwyn
Ret. U.S. Navy, 82

Henry S. Elwyn Jr. of Harriman passed away on Aug. 20, 2007 at the Albany Medical Center in Albany. He was 82.
He was the son of Henry S. Elwyn Sr. and the former Gladys Babcock.
He was a veteran of the U.S. Navy, serving in WWII in the South Pacific. He was a 13-year resident of Freehold, and a 28-year resident of Harriman. He was the owner and operator of Elwyn Bros. Drywall in the 1960s, employing over 30 people. He was also a contractor, remodeler and homebuilder in the 1950s-1960s. He was a dairy farmer in the 1950s.
An avid old bottle collector and cat lover, he was also a hunter, fisherman, scuba driver, water skier, poet and writer.
Survivors include his wife Elizabeth J. Elwyn at home; two daughters, Kathleen Cook of Yulan and Betty Charleston of Harriman; three sons, Henry Elwyn III of Middletown, Stanley Elwyn of Leeds, and Gary Elwyn of Freehold; a brother, Charles Elwyn of Lake Clear Junction; three sisters, Mildred Wolfe of South Cairo, Betty Thomas of Copperas Cove, Texas, and Doris Bailey of Bainbridge;12 grandchildren; 21 great-grandchildren.
He was predeceased by a brother, Robert Elwyn.
Funeral services were held Thursday at AJ Cunningham Funeral Home Inc. in Greenville.
Interment was made in the Medusa Cemetery, Medusa.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the local animal shelter of one’s choice.

top of page  |  home  |  archives