Beacon Obituaries

Geraldine “Gerry” J. Critelli (1934-2016)

Geraldine “Gerry” J. Critelli, 81, a lifelong resident of Beacon, died on Sept. 25, 2016 at St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital in  Newburgh.

Gerry Critelli

Gerry Critelli

Geraldine was born in Beacon on Dec. 25, 1934, the daughter of Anthony and Carmella (Abbazzia) Seranto. On Sept. 11, 1955, she married Joseph M. Critelli, who survives at home.

Gerry worked at Schoonmaker’s Department Store, Yankee Trader Gift Shop and Lane’s Jewelers. She was a parishioner of St. Joachim – St. John the Evangelist Church. Gerry was a former member of the Red Hat Society and the Daughters of the American Revolution, Melzingah Chapter. She was an avid lover of bingo and enjoyed going to casinos and playing the slots.

In addition to her husband, Gerry is survived by her daughters, Carol Ann Critelli of Wappingers Falls and Cheryl Critelli-Neubauer (Donald) of Beacon; a brother, Joseph Seranto (Rachel) of Beacon; and several nieces and nephews.

A Mass of Christian Burial was held on Sept. 28 at St. John the Evangelist Church, with burial at Cold Spring Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to The ARC of Dutchess.

John J. DeLuca (1927-2016)

John J. DeLuca, 89, a longtime resident of Beacon, died on Oct. 1 at Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie.

John DeLuca

John DeLuca

John was born in Peekskill on Aug. 30, 1927, the son of Joseph and Frances (Soricelli) DeLuca. He served in the U.S. Army in Germany during World War II. On June 24, 1951, at St. John the Evangelist Church in Beacon, he married the former Elizabeth Garnot. She survives at home. John retired from the New York State Department of Transportation as a foreman. After his retirement John enjoyed woodworking projects.

In addition to his wife, John is survived by his children: Joseph DeLuca and Joanne VanTassel (Gary); grandchildren Jennifer Bell (Shane), Amy VanTassel and Gary VanTassel, Jr.; a great-grandson, Riley Bell; his sister, Genevieve Fogg; and several nieces and nephews.

The family will receive friends on Wednesday, Oct. 5, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Halvey Funeral Home, 24 Willow St., in Beacon. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Thursday, Oct. 6 at 10 a.m. at St. John the Evangelist Church, 31 Willow St., with entombment at Fishkill Rural Cemetery.

Memorial donations may be made to either Hudson Valley Hospice Foundation, 374 Violet Ave., Poughkeepsie, New York 12601 ( or to a charity of one’s choice.

James Gordon “Jim” Mead (1927-2016)

James Gordon Mead, 89, died in Mount Dora, Fla., on Sept. 10, 2016. He was born in 1927 in Beacon in the front bedroom of the family home that still stands on North Avenue, the son of James Van Deusen and Florence (Rogers) Mead, both sides of the family having deep roots in the mid-Hudson valley.

Jim graduated from Beacon High School, where he played on the basketball team. He turned 18 in June 1945 and enlisted in the U.S. Navy. Empty chairs were left for him and another young man who missed their high school graduation for basic training. He served on a destroyer during the occupation of Japan immediately following the end of the war.

After his discharge in 1946, like many men of his generation he took advantage of the GI bill to further his education. He attended the New York State Teacher’s College at Oneonta and, after graduation, began working for the Wappingers Central School District in 1951. In 1953 he married Barbara Seidel of Troy. They purchased land on Michael Drive in Wappingers Falls, located on a hill with sweeping views up the Hudson valley. After saving up a down payment to build a house, the bank turned down their loan request because they were both teachers. So they took their money, loaded the car and spent two months driving across the country during the summer of 1955, beginning a lifetime love of travel in the U.S. In 1957, with the help of family, friends, and his pregnant wife, Jim built his own house where they would live until 1985.

Jim started out teaching sixth grade social studies, English and math at Wappingers but taught seventh and eighth grade social studies for most of his career. When he began in 1951, the entire Wappingers K-12 school system was housed in a single building. When he retired in 1984, that same building was one of two schools in the system for grades seven and eight, just one of the many changes that took place during his tenure. For much of his career, he taught at Van Wyck Junior High School.

Jim retired in 1984, and he and Barbara moved to central Florida in 1985. Jim had a life-long passion for golf, which he continued to play well into his 80s. He also continued his woodworking, making many items for their homes and also taking up wood carving. Jim and Barbara continued to travel, including several cruises to Alaska.

Besides his wife of 63 years, he is survived by his son James Steven Mead (Ruth) of Apex, N.C.; his sister, Jane Cooper of Fishkill; his brother Ray Seidel (Dee) of Ballston Spa; and seven nephews and a niece.

Hildora “Dora” Wolfe (1925-2016)

Hildora “Dora” Wolfe, 91, died on Sept. 22, 2016. Also known as Dora, she was born on May 29, 1925, in Summit Hill, Penn., to John and Mary Mahirka. A longtime resident of Beacon, Dora graduated from Beacon High School. She was employed at Sonotone as an assembler. She was a member of St. John’s Church and donated her time at the Salvation Army. She later settled in Wurtsboro, where she was an active member of the Mamakating Seniors Center, donating her time and services as well as developing many close friendships.

Dora Wolfe

Dora Wolfe

Some of her most cherished moments were raising her children, and seeing them go on to have families of their own. “Ma,” as she fondly known to her children’s friends, was always available as loving counsel, rescue from a late night mishap or a friendly cup of coffee. She loved spending time with her grandchildren, camping out and building tents underneath the dining room table, making trips to the Custard stand and teaching her grandchildren to ride their bikes.

She liked the simpler things in life like getting together with her relatives and friends to play pinochle, listening to the birds, tending to her flowers and going out with her family to listen to her son play in his band.

She met and married Chester L. Wolfe and was married for more than 30 years before his death. They set up their home in Wappingers Falls, where they raised their family.

Dora is survived by her son Paul Wolfe (Renate) of Wappingers Falls; her daughter-in-law, Laurie Wolfe, of Wappingers Falls; her daughter Patricia Merando (William) of Godeffroy; her daughter Donna Centano (fiance Danny Beeman) of Matamoras, Penn., four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

A prayer service was held on Sept. 27 at the VanInwegen-Kenny Funeral Home in Wurtsboro.

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