Katharine's Story

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“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth”
Psalm CXXI:1-2
COOPERSTOWN _ Katharine (Kate) Byrnes Hanor passed away on Friday evening, June 3, 2011, at Otsego Manor. She was 99.
Kate was born Feb. 5, 1912, in Cooperstown, the youngest daughter of the late Charles Joseph Byrnes Sr. and Helen Drake Byrnes. When she was about 2 years old, due to an injury to her hand and the serious illness of her mother, she went to live with her grandparents, Francis and Martha Drake, at Fairview Farm in Pierstown. It became her permanent home.
At the age of 10, she was invited by Mary Michaels (Vandenburg) to attend Sunday School at the Cooperstown Methodist Episcopal Church. She joined two youth groups, the Epworth League and the Queen Esthers, and she and Mary became lifelong friends.
For 60 years or more, she was a member of the Criterion Club, Pierstown Grange, the Cooperstown United Methodist Church and the United Methodist Women. She held various offices in all of them at one time and was on the Board of Trustees of the Cooperstown United  Methodist Church for severalyears.
She attended Brookwood School District No. 6 and graduated from Cooperstown High School with the Class of 1929. For many years she served on its Alumni Committee and was President of the committee in 1956. In 1931, she graduated from the Knox School Junior College Course, having majored in Secretarial Science.
Kate worked for Dr. John Schmidthenner, Head Master of Hartwick Academy. One of her duties was to transcribe the letters and documents of John Christopher Hartwick from old style English to modern day English.
That summer, all the scholastic material of Hartwick Academy in Hartwick Seminary was taken to Oneonta and turned over to Hartwick College.
In February 1935, she went to work for Stalker Supply Company, which was located on the third floor of what is now Key Bank, and was employed there for the next 18 years.
In October of 1952, she entered the Bookkeeping Department of the Second National Bank (now Key Bank). In 1958, she was promoted to Supervisor of Bookkeeping, Liability and General Ledger Department. In 1965, she was promoted to Discount Teller, and retired in March of 1975, after 23 years of service.
In 1959, when the New York Bankers Association voted to add a Women’s Committee to the organization, Katharine was appointed to organize such a committee in Otsego County, which was to promote Public Relations.
She served four years as a County Chairman and later served for two years as Chairman of Group V, consisting of 18 counties.
She was also a member of the Pierstown, Pomona and State Granges, a charter member of the Native Daughters of Cooperstown, a member of the Key Bank Quarter Century Club and belonged to both the New York State Historical Association and the Fly Creek Area Historical Association.
She joined the Otsego (now Otsego-Hartwick- Arbutus) Chapter No. 201, Order of the Eastern Star in 1948. Kate served in several offices, the last as treasurer, a position she had to give up to take care of her elderly aunt.
After her retirement and the death of her aunt, she did volunteer work for the American Red Cross.
At the time they served refreshments at the annual Labor Day weekend Craft Show when they were held on Main Street in Cooperstown.
She also helped with refreshments served at the Opera, when they were held at the Cooperstown Central School.
Some of her greatest enjoyments were gardening, skiing and walking in the hills with her dogs. Throughout her life, Katharine enjoyed writing.
So after her retirement she wrote and published three booklets, “Growing Up At Fairview Farm,” “The In-Between Years,” and “My Swan Song.” They are about her life with her family and were published only for her family and a few close friends. A fourth booklet called “The Hills of Home” was written by Katharine and compiled by Molly Williams Becker, for Kate’s 90th birthday in February 2002. All four booklets are in the Research Library of both the New York State HistoricalAssociation and the Fly Creek Area Historical Association.
While at Woodside Hall, Katherine wrote another small booklet titled “The Man in the White Chef Hat” which is also in the Research Library of the New York State Historical Association.
Katharine was predeceased by three sisters, Margaret Reilly, Marie Richardson and Louise Curtiss; one brother, Charles J. Byrnes Jr.; three nephews, Stephen Reilly, Thomas Edward Reilly and James Byrnes; and two nieces, Evelyn and Edith Byrnes.
She is survived by her nieces and nephews, Margaret and Joseph Antalec, and Mary Helen Cooke, all of Port Chester, Patricia McDermott of Longwood, Fla., Richard and Diane Richardson of Winter Park, Fla., Katharine and Harold Besley of Summerfield, Fla., and Constance and William Ward of Titusville, Fla.; as well as several cousins, great-nieces and greatnephews.
A funeral service will be offered at 11 a.m. Tuesday, June 14, 2011, at the Cooperstown United Methodist Church, 66 Chestnut St., Cooperstown, with the Rev. Sundar R. Samuel, pastor, officiating. Immediately following the service a luncheon will be served in the Fellowship Hall, sponsored by the United Methodist Women.
Following the luncheon, the burial service will be conducted in Fly Creek Valley Cemetery. Friends may call at the church on Tuesday morning from 10 a.m. until service time.
In lieu of flowers, if one so desires, expressions of sympathy in Kate’s memory may be made to the Memorial Fund at the Cooperstown United Methodist Church, 66 Chestnut St., Cooperstown,  NY 13326, CatskillArea Hospice & Palliative Care, 1 Birchwood Drive, Oneonta, NY 13820 or the Cooperstown Emergency Squad, P.O. Box 322, Cooperstown, NY 13326.
Arrangements are under the guidance of the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown.
Published on  June 9, 2011
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