October 20, 2011
Maurice William “Rease” Roche, 71, passed away Saturday, October 15, 2011 after a two-year battle with cancer. He was 71.
He graduated from St Bonaventure University in 1961.
Co-owner of Roche’s Garage in Callicoon for 50 years, his work ethic could not be beat, and his reputation as an honest businessman earned him loyal customers. Roche’s Garage won many awards from General Motors for sales, service and dedication.
Rease also was a volunteer firefighter and later a commissioner of the Callicoon Fire District; a trustee at Sullivan County Community College; a member of the board of the Sawyer, Kautz and Thorwell Foundations; a member of the Kiwanis Club and the Knights of Columbus and a parishioner of Holy Cross Church.
Rease loved hunting and being in the woods. He was a Golden Eagle member of the NRA. Roche’s garage was a strong supporter of local sporting events and teams. The Roche’s softball team won many championships, including a national championship. Rease was elected to the Softball Hall of Fame.
Rease was the proud father of Tom, Joe, Karen and Tricia; father-in-law of Bari, Patti, Tim and Vern; and grandfather of David, Megan, Max, Courtney, Luke, Quinn and Cassie. He was also was a loving brother to his long-time business partner Mickey Roche, to Col. Terrence Roche and to Maureen Knipp; a loving husband to his wife Marion.
A mass of remembrance will be held Friday, October 21 at 11 a.m. at Holy Cross Church in Callicoon with a reception to follow at the Villa Roma in Callicoon.
Donations may be sent to Holy Cross Church, PO Box 246, Callicoon, NY 12723; or to Interfaith Outreach United, PO Box 479, Callicoon, NY 12723.
October 20, 2011
Charles Reiser passed away on Sunday, October 9, 2011 at Twin Cedars Senior Living in Shohola, PA. He was 86.
Born in Paterson, NJ to Matthew and Susan Wegele Reiser, he had resided in Hawthorne, NJ before moving to Sussex County, NJ 20 years ago. Mr. Reiser had served in the Army during World War II. He had been in the construction field and was a member of the International Painters and Allied Trades.
He is survived by his daughter, Bonnie Donnelly and husband Donald of Sussex; son Charles W. Reiser and wife Carolyn of West Milford, NJ; brother Albert Reiser of New Mexico; grandchildren Sharon Donnelly, Nicole Janus, Charles Reiser, Corrine Houser and Charlene Reiser; and five great-grandchildren.
He is predeceased by his wife Mildred on April 29, 2011.
Funeral services were held on Friday, October 14 at the Pinkel Funeral Home, Sussex, with the Rev. William Collins officiating. Private cremation services will be held at the convenience of the family.
Donations may be made to Twin Cedars Senior Living, 364 Little Walker Road, Shohola, PA 18458.
October 20, 2011
Lillian McMahon, nee Lauer, of Jeffersonville, NY, a longtime resident of the area, passed away on Friday, October 7, 2011 at Virginia Beach, VA. She was 83.
The daughter of the late Rose Boyle, she was born February 11, 1928 in Callicoon, NY.
She was married to the late George McMahon.
She is survived by children Terry McMahon and wife Maryellen of Virginia Beach, Linda Piermarini and husband Ernest of Cold Spring, NY, Joyce Rosman and husband Jeffrey of Succasunna, NJ and Sheri Rutledge and husband Robert of Tyler Hill, PA; eight grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at the Abrahamsville United Methodist Church, 623 Callicoon Road, Damascus, PA on Saturday, November 5, 2011 at 2 p.m.
October 20, 2011
Frances “Hop” Loughrey of Jeffersonville, NY died Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at home. She was 91.
The daughter of Oscar and Myrtie Corby Eggler, she was born November 24, 1919 in Jeffersonville. She was the widow of Edward Loughrey.
Mrs. Loughrey was a homemaker, mother and grandmother, and a lifelong resident of the area.
She is survived by her children, Kay Danchak and husband Jack of Lakewood, PA, Linda Loughrey and partner Jim Curran of Jeffersonville, Edward Loughrey and wife Debbie of Cochecton, NY, Nora Hannon and husband Don of South Carolina and Sharon Carroll and husband Jim of Honesdale, PA; daughter-in-law Rhea Loughrey, of White Sulphur Springs, NY; son-in-law George Just, of Cochecton; 19 grandchildren; 31 great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren.
She is predeceased by her husband, Edward Loughrey; son Donald Loughrey; daughter Irene Just; sister Norma Butler; and brother Nial Eggler.
Services will be private and at the convenience of the family.
Contributions may be made to the Jeffersonville Presbyterian Church, the Jeffersonville Fire Dept. or the charity of one’s choice.
October 20, 2011
Timothy J. Edwards of Jessup, PA, fought a courageous battle against cancer, passing Friday, October 14, 2011 at home. He was 54.
He was born December 17, 1956 in Callicoon, NY, the son of the late Edward and Marie E. Green Edwards.
Timothy was a sawyer in the saw mill industry. A family statement reads, in part: “Tim was a talented woodsman and a hard worker. In the early years he liked to hunt and later he became a fisherman. He loved his animals, a chocolate lab and two cats. He was a special person who will greatly be missed.”
Survivors include his fiancée Susan Housel; daughter Margaret Edwards; brothers Bruce Edwards and wife Jean and Denton Edwards and wife Cindy; sister Patricia Olver and husband Jeffrey; good friend Christine Kobrick; three grandchildren; and many nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews.
Graveside services were held Monday, October 17 at the Hillcrest Cemetery, Damascus, PA.
October 20, 2011
Sheri Abramson passed away peacefully at Achieve Nursing Home in Liberty, NY on October 15, 2011. She was 50.
Sheri was born in Brooklyn, NY on April 8, 1961 to the late Irving and Dorothy Abramson.
Sheri was a graduate of Monticello High School. She was an active volunteer in the The Sullivan County Dramatic Workshop for many years. She also volunteered as a patient advocate at the Achieve Nursing Home while a resident there.
Our heartfelt appreciation goes to the dedicated staff at Achieve who cared for her.
She is survived by her sister and brother-in-law, Jeryl and Roy Howard; nephew Zack Howard; and dear friends Lori Schneider and Gayle Price.
A graveside service was held on October 18, 2011 at the Glen Wild cemetery.
Donations may be made to The Sullivan County Dramatic Workshop.
October 13, 2011
Katharina Schilling of Honesdale, PA, formerly of Kenoza Lake, NY and Beach Lake, PA., a retired chef and lifelong area resident, died Sunday, October 9, 2011 at Wayne Woodland Manor, Waymart, PA.
The daughter of the late Johann and Magdelena Martin Gunther, she was born in Germany. She was married for 52 years to Harry Schilling.
She was a member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Narrowsburg, NY, a member of Tusten Seniors, Beach Lake Ladies Auxiliary, Welcome Lake Ladies Auxiliary and the Damascus United Methodist Women Group. A family statement reads, in part: “Katharina was a loving mother, grandmother and great grandmother. She loved to cook. She loved flowers and gardening. She was our sunshine and will be greatly missed.”
Survivors include her daughter Linda Canfield of Hortonville, NY; granddaughters Anne-Marie Weise and husband Rick of Stroudsburg, PA, Jennifer Schilling and fiance Victor of Lehighton, PA and Jeanine Schilling of Lehighton; one great granddaughter; and several nieces, nephews and relatives in Europe.
She is predeceased by her husband; son Harry J. Schilling Jr.; and her six siblings.
Friends are invited to call on Friday, October 14 from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. and Sunday, October 16, 2011 from 12 noon to 1 p.m. at the Rasmussen Funeral Home, 90 Main St., Narrowsburg, NY. Funeral services will follow at 1 p.m. with Rev. Phyllis Haynes officiating.
Cremation will follow at Maple Hill Crematory, Archbald, PA.
Donations can be made to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 31 Erie St., Narrowsburg, NY 12764.
October 13, 2011
Elsa Gertrude Olver of Beach Lake, PA died on October 4, 2011.
Born on October 3, 1928 in Honesdale, PA, she was the daughter of the late T. Horace Olver and Helen Fulleborn Olver.
She was raised on Lakeside Farm and Boarding House in Beach Lake. She graduated from Honesdale High School in 1946.
In 1948 Elsa married Andrew John Olver. They were married for 50 years. Elsa was a private person and very strong in her beliefs, and an avid defender of the right to keep and bear arms. She was secretary and treasurer of The Berlin Valley Cemetery Association and a board member of the Berlin Township Community Center. She loved crocheting, tending her garden and spending time with her dog, Soko.
The ultimate joy in her life was spending time with her children and grandchildren. She will be greatly missed.
Elsa is survived by brothers Thomas H. Olver of Beach Lake and Congressman John W. Olver and wife Rose of Amherst, MA; sons Andrew J. Olver II and wife Stephanie of Troy PA and Randy Olver and wife Desiree of Beach Lake; daughters; Elaine Schweinsburg and husband Richard of South Cannan, PA, Eliece Rybak of Tyler Hill, PA, Trudy Derrick and husband Robert Jr. of Beach Lake and Julie Stanton and husband Frederick of Honesdale; daughter-in-law Kim Olver of Chicago; 20 grandchildren; 23 great grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.
She is preceded in death by her husband Andrew John Olver in 1998 and their son Dave Thomas Olver in 1999; and son in law Cecil Ryback.
Funeral services were held at the Tabernacle Bible Church, Honesdale, on October 7. Interment was in the Berlin Valley Cemetery.
Donations may be made to the Dave Olver Wrestling Memorial Scholarship, c/o Fred Stanton 628 Grove Street, Honesdale; or to the Damascus Christian Academy, P.O. Box 81, Damascus PA 18415.
October 13, 2011
Richard J. “O’B” O’Brien of Cochecton, NY, a longtime resident of the area passed away on Wednesday, October 5, 2011 at Wayne Memorial Hospital, Honesdale, PA. He was 61.
He was married to Randi Keesler O’Brien for 35 years.
The son of the late James and Marie Walsh O’Brien, he was born February 10, 1950 in Manhattan, NY.
Richard was a retired foreman for ConRail.
He attended St. Francis Xavier R.C. Church, Narrowsburg, NY. He was a member of Red Fox Hunting Club and the Bee Keepers Association. He was an avid hunter and fisherman, and his love and passion was gardening. A family statement reads: “O.B. was a loving and devoted husband, father and grandfather. He worked hard to provide for his family and always put his family first. He will be greatly missed.
He is survived by his wife; children: Daniel O’Brien of Cochecton, Colleen O’Brien Williams and husband TC of Killeen, TX, Jessica Ann O’Brien of Lawton, OK and Shawna Smith and husband V. Smith of Hinesville, GA; grandchildren Lorenzo, Aliza and Gabriella O’Brien; brother James O’Brien and wife Isabella of Enfield, CT; sister Joanne Coe and husband Thomas of New Fairfield, CT; and several nieces, nephews and cousins.
Friends are invited to call on Saturday October 15 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Rasmussen Funeral Home, 90 Main St., Narrowsburg. A memorial service will begin at 1 p.m. at the funeral home.
Christian burial will follow at Tyler Town Cemetery, Tyler Town, (Cochecton Center), NY.
Donations may be made to the donor’s choice.
October 13, 2011
Ingeburg Kruder of White Lake, NY, a retired secretary, and longtime resident of the area, died Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at Bethany Village, Bethany, PA. She was 81.
The daughter of the late Walter and Anna Dumke Brunlieb , she was born February 3, 1930 in Pommerania, Germany.
Ingeburg graduated from high school in Germany and graduated from art college in Derby, England. In 1960 she became a U.S. citizen. She worked for Mutual Life Insurance Co., NY, Life Extension Examiners, NY, Simpson Logging Co., and Rayonier Inc., NY. A family statement reads: “She traveled the world and loved the Northeast. She will greatly be missed.”
She is survived by relatives and friends in Europe and in the United States.
A graveside service was held at Evergreen Cemetery, Bethel, NY.
October 13, 2011
Friedrich “Fritz” Kaumann of Cochecton, NY, a longtime resident of the area, died peacefully at Ellen Memorial Health Care Center, Honesdale, PA on Tuesday, October 4, 2011. He was 88.
The son of the late Wilhelm and Margarethe (Ringk) Kaumann, he was born October 22, 1922, in Berlin, Germany.
Fritz was a retired camera technician. He was a member of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Honesdale, PA. He was a member of the German American Club and the Cochecton Volunteer Ambulance Corp. A family statements reads: Fritz was a loving and caring husband, father and grandfather. He was a big part of our family and will greatly be missed.”
Survivors include his wife of 37 years, Frieda Kaumann; sons Rolf Kaumann and wife Barbara of Colts Neck, NJ and Peter Breitsch and wife Jerlyn of Williamsville, NY; grandchildren Rolf Kaumann of Warminster, PA, Magdalena McIntire of Wheeling, IL, Jakob Breitsch of Ontario, NY, Hannah Breitsch and Jedediah Breitsch, both of Williamsville, NY.
Fritz is predeceased by his brother Norman Kaumann; and grandson William Kaumann.
Memorial services were held on Friday, October 7 at the Rasmussen Funeral Home, Narrowsburg, NY, with Rev. Kenneth L. Buckwalter officating.
Donations may be made to the Cochecton Volunteer Ambulance Corp. PO Box 4, Lake Huntington, NY 12752; or Hospice of Orange and Sullivan Co. 800 Stony Brook Ct., Newburgh, NY 12550.
October 13, 2011
Edith Ella Gammell Reed Hartman of Broomfield, CO, formerly of Bethany, PA, died on October 2.
Her mother was Edna Ella Blake of the Blake Farm. Her father was Russell Wayne Gammell, whose family owned the “Gammell House” across from Bethany Park.
Edith graduated in 1936 from Honesdale High School and attended Wayne Commercial School. She was a secretary in Philadelphia and married John Duane Reed (deceased) of Dyberry, PA. She came back to Bethany in the early 1950s and lived with her three daughters on the Gammell Farm. Later she bought her own home. In 1986 she married Frederick “Bus” Hartman and the couple shared a home in Bethany and Hope Sound, FL. He died in 2002.
A family statement reads: “Edith will be remembered for her stylish ways, great golfing, proud nature and her Blake/Gammell lineage. She was one classy lady and will be missed.”
She is also predeceased by her sister, Lois Gammell Gibbons Hubbard; and son-in-law Ray Bates.
She is survived by daughters Joan Reed Tucker Palasia and husband Pat of Beach Lake, PA, Sandra J. Reed Swendsen Bates and Karen Reed and husband of Bloomfield, CO; and sister Joyce Gammell Willoughby of Buffalo, NY; eight grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren; and three great-great grandchildren.
Edith was cremated and will be returned to her beloved Bethany.
A memorial celebration will be held in the spring.
Contributions may be made to Bethany Historical Society, c/o Ferne Keesler, 35 Olds Drive, Honesdale, PA 18431; Dessin Animal Shelter, Miller Road, Bethany, PA 18431; or HospiceCare, 2594 Trailridge Drive East, Lafayette, CO 80026.
October 13, 2011
James Whitney Greene of Camden, ME, formerly of Denver, CO, passed away at Penobscot Bay Medical Center in Rockport, ME on October 2, 2011. He was 66.
He was born on June 14, 1945 in Pasadena, CA to James Robert Greene and Mary Elizabeth Whitney Greene. He lived with his family in Mexico City where his father was employed by the Foreign Service before moving to Fair Haven, NJ in 1955.
He attended Rumson Fair Haven Regional High School in Rumson, NJ and Amherst College in Amherst, MA.
Jim received his J.D. degree from the University of Denver College of Law in December 1975. He served as general counsel and secretary for the Gary-Williams Energy Corporation in Denver until 1999. Jim was an active member of the Denver Democratic Party. He was also a volunteer tutor at the Greenlee Elementary School and a member of the Inverness Golf Club.
In 2004, he moved to Camden.
A family statement reads: “Jim was a good traveler. He was deeply curious about different regions, cultures and ideas, and particularly enjoyed traveling in the Southwestern U.S., visiting its pueblos and cities and collecting artwork of the region. He was loved and will be missed.”
Jim is survived by his father in Fair Haven; his ex-wife and friend Leslie Speed in Baltimore, MD; his sisters Jennifer Caroline Greene in Urbana, IL, Margaret Hamill and husband Ted Keller in Taos, NM and Mary Greene in Narrowsburg, NY; five nieces and nephews; four great nieces and nephews; aunts and numerous cousins; and several close friends.
He is predeceased by his mother.
Cremation took place at Pine Grove Crematorium, Bangor, ME. Services will be private at the convenience of the family.
Contributions may be made to the charity of one’s choice.
October 6, 2011
Karen Ann Spencer of Wayne County, PA died Wednesday, September 28, 2011 in the Wayne Memorial Hospital, Honesdale, PA. She was 64.
She was married to Gerald Lee Spencer.
Born in Little Rock, MI in 1947, she was the daughter of the late Raymond and Betty McKenna Prang. Karen was of the Catholic faith. She was a loving wife and mother. Karen was a lover of beautiful things and enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren.
She is survived by two sons, Bernard Lee Spencer of Pennsylvania and Brian Spencer and wife Erin of Beach Lake, PA; brothers Raymond Prang of Angel’s Camp, CA and Matthew Prang of San Andreas, CA; and two grandchildren, Kira and Tyler Spencer, both of Beach Lake.
A Christian prayer service was held on Monday, October 3, 2011 at 8 p.m. in the Arthur A. Bryant Funeral Home, Honesdale. Visit www.bryantfuneralhome.com.
October 6, 2011
Beulah “Pat” Ryan of Kauneonga Lake, NY passed away on Monday, September 26, 2011 at the Sullivan County Adult Care Center in Liberty, NY. She was 85.
Pat was born on September 16, 1926 in Cochecton, NY, to the late Irving and Pearl Keesler Dexter.
She was a member of the Community United Methodist Church of Kauneonga Lake.
She is survived by two sons, Edward Rhyne of Painted Post, NY and Craig Rhyne and his wife Melinda of Telford, TN; brother Everett Dexter and his wife Virginia of Kauneonga Lake; six grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.
She is predeceased by her husband Robert T. Ryan; and three brothers and three sisters.
Visitation was held at Ramsay’s Funeral Home in Kauneonga Lake on September 27. Burial took place Saturday, October 1, 2011 at Grace Memorial Gardens in Hudson, FL.
October 6, 2011
Gertrude Katzoff, a homemaker and long time resident of the area, died on Monday, October 3, 2011 at her home in Lake Huntington, NY. She was 87.
The daughter of the late Jacob Berger and Ida Kestenbaum Berger, Gertrude was born on July 29, 1924 in Peekskill, NY.
She is survived by her children Jan Katzoff and wife Lynn, of Whitefish, MT and Sharon Katzoff of New York City; brother-in-law Herb Katzoff and wife Doris of Syracuse, NY; and cousins Elaine Katzoff of Lake Huntington, Rhonda Mason of East Meredith, NY and Susan Sherwood of Syracuse.
In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by her beloved husband, Solomon Katzoff.
The family would like to thank Juliete Lord for her untiring care of Gertrude and Solly over the past six years.
Her funeral was held Wednesday, October 5 at the Joseph N. Garlick Funeral Home, Monticello, NY. Burial followed in the Jeffersonville Hebrew Cemetery, Youngsville, NY.
Contributions may be made to the Cochecton Volunteer Ambulance Corps, PO Box 4, Lake Huntington, NY 12752 or to Hospice of Orange & Sullivan Counties, 800 Stony Brook Court, Newburgh, NY 12550.
October 6, 2011
Lisa Garn DeMaria, formerly of Monticello, NY, died Sunday, September 25, 2011 at Lennox Hill Hospital in New York City of complications from colon cancer.
Born September 24, 1954 in Manchester, CT, Lisa was educated at Colby Junior College (now Colby Sawyer) in New Hampshire.
Lisa enlivened us all as the champion and center of her family, a gifted hostess, an accomplished businesswoman, a good friend and true lover of life. We will miss the spirit, joy and love she brought to everything and everyone she touched. She was especially devoted to her four boys.
She leaves behind her husband Stephen; sons Luke, Matthew, Christopher and Andrew; stepson Stephen and wife Nicole; brother K.C. Garn and wife Gloria, close friends Josephine and Phil Catapano; and several nieces and nephews.
She is predeceased by her parents, Ken and Marianne Garn.
A memorial service was held at the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City on September 28.
Donations may be made to the American Cancer Society in the name of Lisa Garn DeMaria, 219 East 31st Street, NY, 10016, 800/227-2345, or www.cancer.org/involved/donate/donateonlinenow.
October 6, 2011
Rose Marie Chapman died on September 15, 2011 at her Hemlock Farms, PA home. She was 76.
Rose-Marie was born in Fulda, Germany on April 17, 1935. After World War II, she and her mother and sister escaped the Russian-occupied area and fled to West Germany to unite with her father.
She worked at one of Germany’s largest bookstores, and was transferred to Wittenborn Art Books in New York City, where she served as executive vice-president. Her customers included all of the major museums and libraries of the world, and famous individuals like Jacqueline Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Miro and current leading architects. She married John Chapman in New York City on August 10, 1961 and the couple celebrated their 50th anniversary at the Hotel Fauchere in Milford, PA this past August.
In the early 1970s, Rose-Marie and her husband week-ended at Hemlock Farms. After retirement, they moved there full time. She loved the USA and became a naturalized citizen. She was elected numerous times to be a committeeperson of the Pike County Democratic Party. She was a founding member of the auxiliary of the Hemlock Farms Volunteer Fire & Ambulance Company and was an avid participant in the “Neighbor 2 Neighbor Club.” While bed-ridden with spinal stenosis and its complications, she became an advocate for the welfare of animals.
Rose-Marie is survived by her husband; a sister Jutta Rutter of Munich, Germany; and her cat Meha.
Services were held on Sunday, October 2 at the Church of Hemlock Farms.
Donations may be made to the ASPCA or the Hemlock Farms Volunteer Fire & Ambulance Company.
September 29, 2011
Robert Lloyd of Palm City, FL passed away September 21,2011 at his residence. He was 48.
Bob was formerly from Honesdale, PA and spent years as a service advisor in the automobile industry.
Survivors include his wife of 22 years, Lee Ann Lloyd of Palm City; son Robert John Lloyd Jr. of Palm City; mother Helen Lloyd of Bethany, PA; sisters Virginia Kluger and husband Jeffrey of West Hartford CT and Connie Lloyd of Beach Lake, PA; and nephews Scott and Alex Kluger of West Hartford.
Private services will be held at a later date.
September 29, 2011
By ELINOR J. BRECHER
Beth Lang knew the misery of addiction because she lived it.
She entered recovery through 12-step programs, and for more than two decades as executive director of Better Way of Miami, guided others on similar journeys.
“She was pretty much obsessive and compulsive about helping people,’’ said her husband, Jimmy Klinakis, a former Better Way client, now its operations director. “That was her mission. On her death bed, I had tried to console her: ‘Me and you have helped thousands get their lives together, get educated, assistance in housing.’ She opened her eyes, grabbed my hand, and said, ‘It wasn’t me; it was God.’’’
Lang, born Oct. 29, 1938, in Red Bank, NJ, died of smoking-related lung cancer Monday at her home in Miami Shores. She was 72, clean and sober for 35 years.
Lang came to South Florida in the late 1980s from the upstate New York town of Narrowsburg, where she’d begun her recovery from alcohol and prescription-drug addiction. A registered nurse, she ran a Sullivan County, NY substance-abuse treatment program before becoming Better Way’s volunteer executive director in 1990.
A non-profit started by recovering substance abusers in 1983, Better Way was as down-and-out as its sick, homeless clients when Lang took over. It was broke, operating out of a derelict crack house, and “had a bad reputation,’’ according to Klinakis.
Under her leadership, partnering with social-service providers, religious leaders, politicians, even trade unions, it grew into a respected program that treats clients’ mental, physical, spiritual, medical and logistical issues holistically. Last year, it won accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities.
In honoring Lang with its Lifetime Achievement Award last year, Better Way called her “a true visionary,’’ and noted that she made it possible for thousands to kick their habits, then find safe haven in Better Way transitional housing.
“There are miracles that do come true,” Lang told The Miami Herald in 1995, at the ribbon cutting of a 56-unit, subsidized apartment complex at 675 NW 17th St., west of Overtown, once a notorious drug den.
Among the program’s success stories: Juan Mathis, 43, who did time in prison and spent 15 years on the street. He met Lang in 1998, when she counseled him in recovery. Now he’s Better Way’s assistant operations director.
“She taught me how not to be co-dependent and work for what I wanted and not steal,’’ said Mathis. “She was a role model.’’
Lang’s daughter, Betsy Lynch, said that her mother grew up in Holmdel, NJ, and completed a three-year nursing program after high school. She married and moved to a Pennsylvania dairy and sheep farm, had three children and adopted a fourth from an orphanage when he was 12.
“They were the most hardworking people you’d ever meet,’’ she said.
But by the time the family moved to rural Sullivan County in the early 1970s, Beth was drinking heavily. Still, she was able to work as a nursing supervisor and instructor, her daughter said. “It got progressively worse, but at the time it was not treated as a disease. There was no forward thinking going on out in the country... She was in and out of rehab,’’ and finally went into 12-step recovery through “a lot of family intervention.’’
Lang earned a master’s degree in social work, divorced, and by 1987 relocated to Miami.
In addition to taking on Better Way, Lang threw herself into Miami’s struggle to get a large homeless population off the streets. Ron Book, chairman of The Homeless Trust, said Lang helped raise “community consciousness,’’ which in turn made it possible to shrink a population of 8,000 homeless people to 800.
“Beth was beyond a pioneer,’’ said Book. “She was a true humanitarian and a leader. She helped us all understand things that none of us understood early on,’’ involving the interrelationship of mental illness, addiction, social instability, unemployment and homelessness. “She helped us ‘get it.’’’
Lang could never turn her back on a needy animal, Klinakis said, and accumulated a collection of rescue dogs.
Knowing that many clients would relapse, Lang embraced the Buddhist maxim: “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear,’’ her husband said. And if that teacher was someone or something other than Better Way, “she never took it personally. She taught me that you need to learn to love someone for where they are, not for where you want them to be.’’
In addition to her husband and daughter Betsy, Beth Lang is survived by sons Jerry Schalk, John Lang and Ned Lang; and stepson Paul Klinakis and stepdaughter Andrea Klinakis.
A viewing was held on Wednesday, September 21 at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, Miami Shores. A funeral Mass at the church was held on Thursday, September 22, with burial at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Cemetery, 1500 S. State Rd. 7, North Lauderdale.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations are welcome to Better Way of Miami, Inc., 800 NW 28th St., Miami, FL 33127.