Death Notices for the week of
January 24, 2010
Bernard (“Bernie,” “Murph”) Voorheis, 87,
loving influence, steadfast friend to many
Bernard (Bernie) Voorheis was born and raised on a farm on Hubbell Road in Ogden and after his marriage to Martha (Morgan) built his own family home there where they raised three children. He and Martha later moved to Prospect Street in Spencerport village. Martha died in 1996; they were married 49 years.
Mr. Voorheis, who died January 14 at the age of 87, was a former Rochester Royals basketball player known for his fiery competition with lots of basketball savvy during his team years in the 1930s and 1940s. Voorheis was playing for Doc Herring’s Rochester Atlas team and caught the eye of the late Les Harrison of the Rochester Royals NBA championship club and signed to play with them in 1946, according to a Westside News article (2001). Harrison liked Voorheis with his lightning speed and the way he handled the ball.
Bernie, who was known to many as “Murph,” started playing basketball in the large barn his father built in Ogden when he was nine years old. He graduated from Churchville-Chili High School where his skills in the game were still remembered years later. He was a graduate of Cornell University where he earned a degree in General Farming in 1942.
In 2001, the Oldtimer’s Sports Association honored Mr. Voorheis for his sportsmanship and basketball achievements. He is credited with starting a Biddy Basketball program in Spencerport.
Long-time friend MaryLou (Dorgan) Rockow remembers Bernie’s ability to encourage others. As a young child, he asked her what she wanted to become when she grew up and she answered, “I’d like to become a singer,” and he grabbed a nearby broom and handed it to her to use as a microphone, and as she sang he danced and applauded then told her she could be anything she wanted to be as long as she set her mind to it. He nicknamed her ‘Goobug’, a name which continues as a friendly endearment decades later.
Son Brian eulogized his father for his caring nature and genuine expressions of love and interest. Small things were important to him. He had a signature goodbye gesture of clicking his heels together as relatives drove out of the driveway after a visit, Brian said, and he frequently dropped notes to grandchildren away at college, often including some ‘pizza’ cash.
Deciding to accept a job at Eastman Kodak Company rather than pursue a sports career, Bernie was very involved in the recreation opportunities offered by the company at Kodak Park. He retired from Eastman Kodak as the Director of Employee Recreational Activities.
In his later years, Bernie frequently attended the meal program at the Ogden Senior Center. “He was one of the regulars in the Monday-Wednesday-Friday group,” said Senior Center Director Marilyn Burley. “He was a true gentleman -- loved to talk about sports and had a good sense of humor. He enjoyed having a hot meal here; we loved him and enjoyed him being here.”
“Murph’s life focus was people. He loved them abundantly, he delighted in them, and he beautifully colored the world around him with his delight. As his across-the-street neighbor, I will always remember Murph standing out front watering his flourishing flower baskets. I know he received his degree from Cornell University in General Agriculture and Farming but his real cultivating gift was in watering, growing and nurturing hearts and souls of people,” said Kym (Caton) Woodard of Prospect Street.
“A typical summer afternoon would have his house full of people, cars with friends and family coming and going, his pool full of splashing, joyful kids, his phone always ringing with people he loved checking in, and all the while he would be outside waving and chatting with people walking by. He truly understood the meaning of “love thy neighbor as thyself” and lived it. Every person he connected with family, friend, acquaintance or stranger whether they lived near him or not, was his neighbor,” Woodard said.
The “Firsts” with Murph
by Scott Caton
Our family has always known Bernie Voorheis as “Murph,” or “Mr. Murph.” I don’t know how that came about; my father always called him that maybe that was it. (Murph always called my father “Boss.”) Murph’s friendly good humor, which is what characterized him for everyone, was always present to us. But this good humor was not just a veneer. It was the overflow of something deeper inside; his true, loving and caring spirit. He always took a kindly interest in what each of us was doing, and in our interests or accomplishments.
When I think of Murph, I think of various “firsts” for my children which Murph helped provide. Year after year, my father always carefully tended to Murph’s beautiful in-ground pool. It was very labor-intensive, its drains and filters were quirky, and Murph for years certainly couldn’t have kept it up himself at all. My dad opened it up, kept it immaculately clean through the summer, and closed it up around Labor Day. But in return, our family got the use of Murph’s pool, for years and years. It was a staple thing we did on pretty much every warm (and even not-so-warm) summer day. And that’s where the “firsts” begin to come in. I think every one of my six children first learned how to swim in that pool, with Murph always looking on, sitting in one of his folding chairs at the poolside, chuckling and making comments on the progress of the little ones. He always kept track of how many times we came to the pool through the summer. In the summer of 2007, he noted that we did NOT come swimming for only four days through the whole summer, not counting when we were away on vacation. He got a charge out of keeping records like that.
Murph was also the first widower my children knew well. Murph’s cherishing the memory of his dear wife Martha was in the foreground sometimes, and this made a very important and positive impression on my children. When I think of it, Murph was probably the first elderly non-relative that my children were very close to. And what a wonderful neighbor for my children to learn about and to be close to! He would always ask each child about what was going on in school, or, in the summer (when we saw him most), what sports they were playing or when they would be going to the Adirondacks, or how their music lessons were going, or what birthday parties they had attended lately. Kids know when an adult is truly interested in them, and my children appreciated Murph’s sincere interest in them, and how he would recall things they had told him about themselves some time ago. He would “follow up” with them.
He was quick to recall kindnesses, too. Only my oldest daughter, Emily, was old enough to remember Murph’s wife Martha. About a week after Martha died, Emily went over to Murph’s house, just to sit and talk with him and listen to him talk about Martha. Emily also shared with Murph her own fond memories of Martha. Murph never forgot that. Just as recently as this past summer, he reminded me of that visit that Emily had made so many years ago, and he told me with great emotion how much that meant to him, and how rare it was, he said, for a girl not yet a teenager to come over on her own to sit with him that afternoon. “Now how many kids would just do that on their own?” he would ask me. That was just like him: always giving other people credit, pointing out their strengths and goodness not calling attention to his own.
Murph was also one of the “first” neighbors that my children always wanted to see at Halloween. He was great about dishing out candy (always a plus), but he sometimes got dressed up himself and waited expectantly to greet the kids of the neighborhood. I think one of his standard ‘disguises’ was the Groucho Marx glasses-nose-mustache bit. He delighted the kids. He was, too, definitely the first “Santa” (and I think the only Santa) actually to visit our house at least during the day! One afternoon around Christmas time (I’m not sure if it was Christmas Eve day or not), we heard a knock at the door, and in walked “Santa.” You should have seen the wide eyes of the children! In particular, a couple of my daughters were getting to the age where they were just beginning to doubt Santa’s existence, and this definitely cured them of that doubt, at least for a few more years. Of course, because it was Murph, he knew everything about the kids, which really shocked them, because they literally had no earthly idea who in the world it was behind the fake beard. (They didn’t think it was a fake beard; all the children thought it was the real thing and the real Santa.) He stayed about five or ten minutes, and left just as mysteriously as he had arrived (the kids were pretty much struck dumb), and no adult ever revealed the secret until just now in this newspaper!
Murph, finally, as a neighbor, was “first” in our hearts and minds. Whenever the children wanted to share good news, after their own family, Murph was one of the first ones they’d go to. That’s because, for all his laughs and good humor, Bernie Voorheis took being a neighbor seriously. Because he loved others, he made it easy for me, in his case, to “love my neighbor as myself.” He was the kind of neighbor who makes the Village of Spencerport a great place to call a “neighborhood.” I am happy to say we have a lot of those kinds of neighbors around here but probably few quite so neighborly, to us, as “Murph.”
•Franck, Dennis L., Dunedin, Florida, age 55, died January 5, 2010. He is survived by his wife of 24 years, Linda; daughter, Mandy; son, Eddie; sister, Deborah (John) Lewis of Hilton; nephews, Daniel (Amy) Kadrie, Matthew Kadrie; brother, Douglas (Joy) Franck of Holley; nephew, Timothy; niece, Kelly; several aunts, uncles and cousins. Predeceased by his parents, David and Anne Outhouse Franck of Spencerport.
A Memorial Service was held January 23 at Grace Alliance Church, 1289 Michigan Boulevard, Dunedin, Florida 34698.
•Bishop, D. Elaine, On January 15, 2010 surrounded by her family. Predeceased by the love of her life, beloved husband Clifford F. “Bud” Bishop and parents Mary and Milton Tooley. She is survived by her daughters Maureen (Jon) O’Connor, Holly (Val) Ziegler; four grandchildren Kevilyn and Michael O’Connor, Jamie and Jeremy Ziegler. She will also be missed by numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, sisters-in-law and brother-in-law. She was a secretary for many years at SUNY Brockport.
A Memorial Service will be held January 24 at 12 noon at the First Baptist Church, 124 Main Street, Brockport. Springtime interment, Lake View Cemetery. Contributions can be made to the American Cancer Society or to Lifetime Care, 3111 Winton Road South, Rochester 14623 in her memory.
•Hinkley, Roland P., On January 13, 2010. He is survived by his wife Ann; his son Jason (Joanne); his daughter Jessica Johnson; four grandchildren Alexander, Zachary, Nicholas and Nathaniel; five brothers, Rodney, Roger (Inge), Randy, Chester and Donald; two sisters Sandra Lendhart and Melinda Scott; and several nieces and nephews. Roland was a member of the American Legion Post 330 of Spencerport.
A Funeral Service was held January 18 at The Church of the Nativity BVM, Brockport. Spring interment, Mt. Olivet Cemetery. Contributions can be made to the Leukemia Society in his memory.
•Noble, Steven P., Suddenly on January 12, 2010 at age 37. Predeceased by his maternal grandfather Gene Stirk and paternal grandparents Bob and Julie Noble. He is survived by his son Connor Noble; parents Jean and Mike Noble; sister Michelle Christ; maternal grandmother Elfriede Stirk Adam; nephews Jacob Christ and Scott Memmo; special friends Jennifer Bozzette and Becky Papazian; many aunts, uncles, and cousins as well as his family and friends at Java Junction.
A Funeral Mass was said January 16 at the Church of the Nativity BVM, Brockport. Springtime interment, Mt. Olivet Cemetery. Donations can be made to a trust fund for Connor’s Education in his memory.
•O’Keefe, Andrew B., On January 17, 2010, at the age of 67. He is survived by his brothers Richard and Donald (Marta) O’Keefe; four nephews Michael, Timothy, Patrick and Kevin; one niece Heidi Drake; his aunt June Stock; and several great-nieces, nephews and cousins.
A Funeral Mass was said January 20 at the Church of the Nativity BVM, Brockport. Spring interment, Mt. Olivet Cemetery. Contributions can be made to the Attica Arcade Railroad, 278 Main Street, Arcade, NY 14009 in his memory.
•Polle, John W., On January 13, 2010 at the age of 84. Predeceased by three brothers Harold, Hermon and Edward, special brother-in-law John Malette and three other brothers-in-law. He is survived by his loving wife of 63 years Theresa; son Robert (Hedy Ryan) Polle; two grandsons Brian and Bradley (Kari) Polle; brother Donald (Joyce) Polle; his sister Mary Jane Archer; several nieces, nephews and many friends.
A Funeral Service was held January 18 at St. Brigids Church, Bergen. Interment at the convenience of the family.
•Dagan, Marshall B., January 15, 2010, age 87. He graduated from the University of Maine, class of ‘44, as a mechanical engineer. He went to work for Sperry Gyroscope Co. servicing gyroscopes for troops ships during WWII. He joined General Electric, and worked at the Knolls Atomic Power Lab in Schenectady, designing propulsion systems for nuclear submarines and ships. He had responsibility for design and development of mechanical systems on the U.S.S. SeaWolf, the second nuclear submarine deployed, and was on her maiden voyage sea trial. Marshal also had charge of the power plant mechanical systems for the nuclear destroyer, U.S.S. Bainbridge, and attended commissioning ceremonies and launch at the Quincy, MA Shipyard. Marsh became manager for Modifications and Additions to (nuclear) Reactor Facilities. In later years he transferred to the G.E. Gas Turbine Division, where he traveled internationally for installations. He is predeceased by his son, Robert, and is survived by his wife Mary, his children Lawrence (Anne) and Sandra, and grandchildren, Brian, Paul and Kelly.
Services will be held in York, Maine. Memorials can be directed to the American Red Cross or to the Association for Protection of the Adirondacks at www.protectadks.org in his memory.
•Gallup, Robert N. Sr., December 25, 2009. After a long courageous battle with MSA at the age of 60. Predeceased by parents Norman and Doris Gallup and father-in-law Marvin Allen. Survived by loving wife of 25 years Jacqueline (Allen) Gallup; children Jamie (Chris Lander), Nicole, Marjorie, Robert Jr. (Jennifer) Gallup, Tricia (Richard) Ramell and Michelle (Bryan) Whipple; grandchildren Allison Ramell, Camden and Sawyer Gallup and Alexandra Reynolds; mother-in-law Dorothy Allen; sister-in-law Sheryl (Rob) Kruse; brothers-in-law Burton and Barry Ross; nieces, nephews and two great-nieces. Bob was a long time member of International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI) and Monroe County Builders Association.
Funeral Services were held January 22 at Union Congregational Church, Churchville. Burial Creekside Cemetery. Contributions can be directed to Palliative Care Program, URMC, 601 Elmwood Avenue, Box 687, Rochester, NY 14642 in his memory.
•Cavanaugh, Kathleen M. (nee Ward), January 15, 2010. Beloved wife of Michael J. Cavanaugh; dear mother of Michael J. Cavanaugh III (Tanya Bazlamit) and Sheila A. (Brian) Connors; cherished grammy of Riley, Nora and Patrick Connors; dear sister of Paul (Lucille) Ward, Elaine (late Benedict) Palermo and the late James (Mary June) Ward, Timothy (Sharon) Ward and Fr. Kenneth Ward O.F.M. Conv; also survived by many nieces and nephews.
A Mass of Christian Burial was said January 18 at Our Mother of Good Council Church. Entombment, Holy Cross Cemetery. Conbributions can be made to the Franciscan Center of Buffalo in her memory.
•Bilinski, Mary Ann, January 13, 2010, age 81. Survived by her husband, Raymond F. Bilinski; her children, Karen (John) Neville, Jan Wynn and Raymond A. Bilinski; nine grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; several nieces and nephews. She was former Treasurer of the Hamlin VFW Auxiliary.
A Memorial Service was held January 16 at the Hamlin United Methodist Church, Hamlin. Contributions can be made to the Church Memorial Fund in her memory.
•Voorheis, Bernard “Bernie,” January 14, 2010, at the age of 87. He was predeceased by his wife Martha. He is survived by his sons, Michael, Brian (Debbie) and Tim (Molly) Voorheis; grandchildren, Sarah (John), Jessica (Mario), Amanda (Derek), Matthew, Jeffrey, Tim Riley, Katie, Mattie, Tim, Ellen and Patrick; great-grandchildren, Charlie, Mary Jane, Morgan and Andrew; his brother, Ralph Donald Voorheis; many cousins, nieces and nephews. Bernie was a proud member of the 1945-1946 Rochester Royals Championship Basketball Team. He retired from Eastman Kodak as the Director of Employee Recreational Activities.
A Funeral Mass was celebrated January 18 at St. John the Evangelist Church, Spencerport. Interment, Maple Grove Cemetery. Donations can be made to the Ogden Senior Center, 200 Union Street, Spencerport 14559 in his memory.
© January 24, 2009 - Westside News Inc.