5/14/2021 – Bonnie L. Higgins, Cape Vincent

Mrs. Bonnie L. Higgins, 71, of Route 7, Cape Vincent, died Tuesday, May 11th, at University Hospital SUNY Health Science Center in Syracuse, where she had been a patient for a month, after being involved in a car accident.

The Funeral Mass will be at 11am on Wednesday, May 19th, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Clayton, with Father Arthur LaBaff officiating. A burial will follow in St. Mary’s Cemetery. Calling hours will be from 5-8pm Tuesday, May 18th, at the T.R. Jetty Funeral Home in Clayton. Masks are still required.

Bonnie was born April 19th, 1950, in Watertown, the daughter of Otis and Dorothy MacDonald Reff Sr. She graduated from Thousand Islands High School.

On February 8th, 1975, she married Gerald Higgins in Clayton.

Bonnie worked for a number of years as a Medical Transcriptionist, retiring in 2013. She also helped her husband with the operations of their business, Higgins Mobile Home Park.

Surviving besides her husband Gerald, is her daughter, Jennifer McCleese of Florida and one son, Jeremy of Saranac Lake; two grandchildren; one sister-in-law, JoAnn Reff of Florida; one brother-in-law, Steve Miranda of Rome, NY; nieces, nephews, aunts, and uncles.

Besides her parents, she is predeceased by her brother Otis (Nick) Jr. and one sister Reneé Miranda.

5/8/2021 – Thomas G. Pancoast, Clayton

Thomas G. Pancoast was a man who traveled the world. On April 14th, he embarked on a final journey to join his wife, Genevieve, in Heaven, while a resident at Summit Village in Watertown. Tom was born in 1927, and his existence undoubtedly made this world a better place. He saw a lot, and did a lot. He was placed in an orphanage due to family circumstances during the Great Depression. He lied about his age to join the Navy in WWII at 17, and got away with it. Although he only finished eighth grade, he was blessed with an inexhaustible work ethic and a creative mind that never stopped—his knowledge of everything important far surpassed his level of education. He spent his working life at (Singer) Link Aviation, where he built both commercial and military flight simulators. This career took him all over the world. He spent any time he could spare in the 1000 Islands, where he experienced the St. Lawrence like only a true explorer-at-heart could. If he wasn’t at the cottage, he was either off helping someone or he was building something. A brilliant carpenter, he built everything from wooden toy cars to fully-finished houses. He even, along with a Kirkwood crew, built the Kirkwood Valley Park covered bridge, which is still enjoyed by everyone. As he got older, he started building log cabin bird houses; they were his pride and joy and can be found everywhere. Even at the very end of his life, he always had some project to put together, and there was always an old brush and some Minwax around to stain it with. He taught anyone who wanted to learn, and he was a wonderful teacher.

Thomas married his beloved Genevieve in 1949, and they remained together until she died in their home on April 13th, 2017. He never stopped missing her, and it left a hole in his heart that never healed. Tom is survived by his daughter, Debra Wdowiak of Clayton; his son, Thomas J. (Laurie); his granddaughter, Samantha; & his grandson, Cody of Clayton. Kallie & Hunter Root, though not related, made the last ten years more joyous for him with their constant care, devotion, and love. Tom’s second family was inherited from his brother, John. He loved his niece Donna (Mandy), and nephew Steve (Ana) like his very own. He spent many an early morning tapping his cane while waiting for coffee in Jamie and John’s kitchen—always too early. He found great joy in their children, Olivia, Autumn, & John. He also loved having any excuse to make his way to Butchy’s garage to share a dozen donuts and some coffee.

He has 3 generations of nieces & nephews whom he loved deeply and made many memories with over his long life. He was a man who made a great impression on many, and he will never be forgotten. Tom spent the last four years of his life in his Clayton cottage, enjoying the river view and surrounded by his immediate family. He is pre-deceased by his parents, Eugene & Florence; his brother, John, and sister, Shirley.

Due to COVID 19, the family will be foregoing a service at this time. He has been laid to rest next to Genny at Calvary Cemetery, Johnson City, N.Y. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to any VFW.

5/7/2021 – Sharon E. Connell, Cape Vincent

Mrs. Sharon E. Connell of Cape Vincent, passed away Friday, April 30th, 2021, at her home under the care of her family, friends and Hospice of Jefferson County.

A service at the United Church of Cape Vincent will be held in the near future at a date and time to be announced. Burial will be in the Depauville Cemetery.

Sharon was born, August 30th, 1940, in the front room of her parent’s stone house on Route 180, just outside of LaFargeville, N.Y., the daughter of Stewart and Eva Nichols Van Alstyne.

She graduated from LaFargeville School in 1958 and later from the Watertown School of Commerce. In 1959, Sharon started working at Mercy Hospital as a Telephone Operator, working for Sister Pierre.

On April 7th, 1962, Sharon married Sergeant 1st Class Denis J. Connell of Baltimore, Maryland. The wedding ceremony was at the home of her parents.

After starting a family, Sharon went back to work in 1975 at the Mercy Hospital Extension Clinic. This job was as the Medical Receptionist, which lasted 35 years, retiring in 2011.

Most people remember Mom’s smile and kind words when they came to the clinic.

Sharon was an active member of the United Church of Cape Vincent. She was the c

Choir Director, Lay Leader, Board Chair, to name a few duties. She enjoyed working at the Hotdog Stand with her friends during French Festival. A lot of laughs and fellowship were shared. She also enjoyed singing in the choir and with the singing group, The Hymns and Hers, from Alexandria Bay. Sharon was a former member of the LaFargeville Grange when she was younger.

Sharon enjoyed gardening, horse pulls, draft horse shows, going to lunch with her girlfriends from school, and spending time with her family. At home she enjoyed listening to her country music. George Strait and Randy Travis were a couple of her favorites. She also enjoyed old westerns and anything with John Wayne.

Surviving is her daughter Cathleen (Terry) Snyder of Cape Vincent; her son Joseph Connell, of Cape Vincent; her brother, Eugene VanAlstyne of Depauville; nieces and nephews.

Sharon was predeceased by her husband of 24 years, Denis J. Connell, her son, James S. Connell, her nephews, Melvin Walti and Gary Stewart, and siblings, Walter A. Stewart, Ella May Kendrat, Winifred Ostrander, Doris Matthews, Margaret Daly, Lois Getman, and Pauline Walti.

Donations can be made to the wonderful people of Hospice of Jefferson County, 1398 Gotham Street Road, Watertown, Ny 13601, The Cape Vincent Community Library, or the United Church of Cape Vincent.

5/5/2021 – John P. McKendry, Cape Vincent

John passed away May 3rd, 2021, at Samaritan Keep Home where he resided from March 2020 and was cared for by the dedicated and caring staff of the Keep Home during the Pandemic.  Many of the staff members going beyond their duties to make John feel welcome and comfortable in his new surroundings.

John was born January 23, 1940 to John Patrick McKendry and Margaret E. Whaley in New York City.  John was baptized on February 11, 1940 in the church of St. Angela Merici by Rev. Michael A. Buckley.

Previously John was a resident of Aubrey Court Apartments in Cape Vincent, NY since November 1998.  John made many friends at the housing and in the community of Cape Vincent.  John was a man of simple means, but would help anyone in need before thinking of himself.  Whether it was helping someone pay for propane to keep warm during the winter months, to the offer of a hot cup of coffee and a conversation of days gone by.  John enjoyed attending St. Vincent De Paul Catholic Church in the Cape, working on puzzles and attending the monthly dinners held at Aubrey Court Apartments.

It is our understanding John owned and operated a very successful bus company for many years when living in New York City before moving to Cape Vincent.  He told about being able to keep track of the many schedules without ever writing it down.  He also told about his studies to become a catholic priest, but just coming short of finishing his studies for whatever reason.

John especially missed his dog, Molly, when she passed away.

John will be laid to rest in the St. Vincent De Paul Catholic Cemetery on Route 12E in Cape Vincent on Monday, May 10th at 2:00pm with Father Raymond Diesbourg officiating. All who knew John are welcome to come and say goodbye to a man who lived a life surely to be celebrated.  Rest easy now John you will always be remembered.

Arrangements are with the T.R. Jetty Funeral Home in Clayton.

Condolences can be made at trjetty.com.

4/6/2021 – Mary Helen LaLonde, Clayton

Mrs. Mary Helen LaLonde, 73, died Easter Sunday at the Bishop Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Syracuse, where she resided for almost two years as a result of dementia.

Services will be held later this summer at a time and date to be announced, with burial to follow in Clayton Cemetery.

Mary was born, September 28th, 1947, in Watertown, the daughter of George and Mary Elizabeth Cantwell Bazinet. She graduated from Clayton High School.

On April 20th, 1968, she married William LaLonde with Msgr. Dennis Lynch officiating.

Mary was a housekeeper most of her life, working at Bertrand’s Motel in Clayton. Later on, she worked at Surefine Supermarket as a cashier.

She enjoyed knitting, reading books, and socializing with friends.

Surviving are two sons and their wives, David (Sara) LaLonde of Leesburg, VA, and Bill (Abigail) LaLonde of Troy, NY; two grandsons, Thomas of Troy, and Wade of Leesburg; one brother, Peter, from Gainesville, FL; nieces and nephews.

Her husband Bill died February 24th, 2019, two brothers, Patrick and George, three sisters, Virginia Kay, Joan Misercola, and Mary Laurena, all predeceased her.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Mary Helen’s name may be made to the Hawn Memorial Library, 220 John Street, Clayton, N.Y. 13624, or the Clayton Food Pantry, 521 James Street, Clayton, N.Y. 13624.

Arrangements are with the T.R. Jetty Funeral Home in Clayton.

Condolences can be made at trjetty.com

3/31/2021 – Gerald B. Bristol, LaFargeville

Mr. Gerald B. Bristol, 93, of LaFargeville, died Monday, March 29th, at his residence, where he was under the care of his family and Hospice of Jefferson County.

The funeral service will be Friday, April 2nd, at 3pm, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Clayton with Father Donald Robinson and Father Arthur LaBaff officiating. A burial will follow in Grove Cemetery, LaFargeville. There will be no public calling hours.

Gerald was born June 15th, 1927, in Ogdensburg, the son of Curtis and Florence Keating Bristol. He graduated from Morristown School.

On June 11th, 1949, he married the former Joan Ely at St. Cyril’s Catholic Church in Alexandria Bay.

Gerald worked for Crowley Foods in various capacities, including, machine operator, custodian, and foreman, retiring in 1988 after 39 years.

He was a former member of the Knights of Columbus, and former member of the Brier Hill Fire Department.

Gerald loved all sports, and some of his favorite teams were the New York Yankees, and Notre Dame. But his favorite games where those played by his grandchildren in LaFargeville.

Surviving besides his wife of 72 years are four children, Tom (Valerie) of LaFargeville, Marsha (Lee) Bretsch of LaFargeville, David (Kathryn) of Florida, and Terry Lantier of Clayton; eight grandchildren, Brian and Matthew Lantier, Cassandra Wurst, Kelly Hull, Jeff Bretsch, Erin Mullin, Heather Bristol, and Megan Chirico; Thirteen great grandchildren, Alexis, Laura, Sara, Rebecca, Aidan, Noah, Sam, Leo, Emma, Grant, Lily, Brayden, and Sawyer; one brother, Donald of Georgia; one sister, Shirly McManus of Florida; nieces and nephews.

Donations can be made in his name to Hospice of Jefferson County, 1398 Gotham St. Watertown, NY 13601 or St. John-Evangelist Catholic Church, Main Street, LaFargeville, NY 13656, or St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 521 James St., Clayton, NY 13624.

3/29/21 – Robert J. Michelena, Clayton

After a long struggle with cancer, Robert J Michelena has passed at the age of 64.

Robert J. Michelena was born Sept. 26, 1956 in Havana, Cuba. He and his family were forced out of Cuba under the rule of Fidel Castro’s regime who had seized all of his family’s wealth. He moved to Clayton 8 years ago.

Known to his family as “Rober,” he was a Catholic man, the beloved son of Gloria and Pedro Michelena. Attended Memorial High school with his twin sister Maria, played sports and excelled during his time on the debate team.  He was an avid chess player who studied the game with the utmost enthusiasm and played for the high school team winning more than 30 trophies. And it is apropos that he lived to see 64 years of age, one year for every square on the chessboard.

Rober was a history buff particularly focusing his attention on the World Wars. He was also a hunter and loved the outdoors preferably hiking and spending quality time with his nephews. He enjoyed building models of tanks and planes. Also, he loved to cycle long distances on his Gios.

He was a Lifelong member of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and was awarded a Juris Doctor degree from Pace University in the early to mid 1990’s. 

Rober worked in the New York City area for most of his life at the exclusive Brooks Brothers and Paul Stuart’s clothing store, all the while pursuing his law degree. He loved cooking as well and could not make up his mind as to which professional chef he would want to watch on the television; Emerald Lagasse, Gordon Ramsey, or Bobby Flay.

Rober modeled himself after the best and would even take interest in what others were doing.  He was a very well-rounded individual. He had quite the fruitful life and it doesn’t go without saying that everyone around him was enriched in some way by his presence.  Being of Spanish heritage he would enjoy an occasional siesta in order to be recouped for his next obstacle. He had a curiosity about how the science of fasting worked and loved to fast himself.  He enjoyed having a beer under the tree with his brother-in-law Walter Timmerman.  They would shoot the breeze hours at a time.

As selfless as he was, his last wishes were to donate his body to science.   As with most people, Roberts interests were beyond the scope of what can be fit into writing.

He is survived by his twin sister Maria Timmerman, brother-in-law Walter Timmerman, and three nephews (Robert Kassir, Gabriel Zudeck, and Dan McCord). He passed away March 25th around 7:00 pm, at the Hospice of Jefferson County.

Condolences can be made at trjetty.com

2/24/2021 – Alberta M. Phillips, Dexter

Mrs. Alberta M. Phillips, 94, of Dexter, died February 22nd, at Samaritan Medical Center.

There will be a Spring Graveside Service at Three Mile Bay Cemetery at a time to be announced.

She was born February 21st, 1927, the daughter of Claude and Mabel Shaw Brown.

On June 30th, 1945, she married William J. Phillips, at the Fort Drum Church.

She worked as a chamber lady for the Barracks Club in Cape Vincent. She was a Bulina Clothing Dealer, worked for a time at Northland Motors on Bradley Street in Watertown, and also worked for a time at Faichneye Instruments in Watertown.

Alberta enjoyed volunteering at various food pantries. She was a member of the United Methodist Church in Dexter.

Surviving are four sons, Donald Phillips of Watertown,  Gary (Heather) Phillips of Cape Vincent, Randy (Julie) Phillips of Sodus, and Vernon Phillips of Boonville; two daughters, Dawn Snyder of Evans Mills, and daughter Jacquelyn Weaver of Watertown; 19 grandchildren; 32 great grandchildren; nieces and nephews.

Besides her husband, William, two sons, Charles and Timothy, a sister, June Scarabino, and a grandson Billy Snyder, predeceased her.

2/21/2021 – Sharon L. Wormuth, Clayton

Mrs. Sharon L. Wormuth, 73, of Alexandria Bay, formerly of Clayton, died Thursday, February 18th, at Hospice of Jefferson County.

Calling hours will be Wednesday, February 24th, from 1-3pm, at the T.R. Jetty Funeral Home in Clayton. A prayer service will follow. Spring burial will take place at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Clayton. Proper Covid -19 protocols will be followed.

Sharon was born February 16th, 1948, in Binghamton, the daughter of Gordon and Pauline Richardson Buss. She graduated from Chenango Forks High School in 1966.

On May 21st, 1971, she married Michael Wormuth at the Catholic Church in Chenango Forks. They moved to Clayton in 1986, where they owned and operated Custom Trophies and Awards. She also worked at the Clayton Yacht Club as a waitress for a time.

While in Clayton she was very active on the boards of the T.I. Youth Hockey Club and local beauty pageants and dance.

She enjoyed sewing, knitting, crafting, and being with her family and friends.

Besides her husband Mike, she is survived by two daughters, Kristina (Steve) Dorr of Clayton, and Desirea (Michael) Russell of South Dakota; one son, Scott (Erin) Wormuth of Clayton; nine grandchildren; two sisters, Patricia (Gene) Mesley of North Carolina, and Carol (Robert) Leamon of Binghamton; nieces and nephews.

Her parents, one son Brian in infancy, and one sister, Barbara Duren, all predeceased her.

2/9/2021 – Jozef J. Gorczynski, Clayton

Mr. Jozef J. Gorczynski, 91, died Sunday, February 7th, at Samaritan Medical Center, where he had been a patient for one day.

Jozef was born January 31st, 1930, in Poland, on his mother’s birthday, the son of Jan and Jozefina Kujawa Gorczynski. He had two years of elementary education when German soldiers closed the school. A short time later, he was taken by the Nazi’s to a work camp in Germany called Rodenburg on der Taube, where he became a Holocaust survivor. Lying about his age, when he was 16, he worked for a Polish company protecting a U.S. Airforce Base in France as a Patrol Officer and Gate Keeper.

In 1961, he married the former Gertrude Lutz. She passed away in 1985.

On March 4th, 1998, he married the former Renate Eberle in Germany.

Jozef worked for 49 years on the Ramstein Air Force base in Germany, including 29 years as Manager of the General Canon Hotel, where all the Generals, High Ranking Military Officers, and NATO officers attended meetings.

He was fluent in 4 languages. Jozef and his wife traveled extensively around Europe.

Jozef came to the United States in 2010, where the moved to Clayton.

Surviving besides his wife, Renate, is his children from his first wife, Angelika of Florida, and Monika of Germany; five stepchildren, Margaret Robinson of Georgia, Andreas M. Bartlett of Wallkill, N.Y., Steven R. Bartlett of Dexter, Renee L. Patterson of Georgia, and Ingrid Bartlett of Watertown; seven grandchildren; six great grandchildren; one sister, Wanda Mucha of Poland; nieces and nephews.

One brother, Zygmund, died in 2013 in Poland.

There will be no services at this time, a burial will be held in Clayton Cemetery in the Spring.