Published Obituaries

Published Obituaries

Mina G Case

Louis LaBerge

Millicent Gladys (Rea) La Berge

Bernie Mitchell-Luker

Charles A Symer

Charles W Tillett

Mina G Case

Mina G. Case, almost 90 years old of Mattydale, fell asleep in death Monday, February 6 at VanDuyn nursing home.

She is survived by her son Jeffrey and his wife Donna, favorite nieces Suzanne Iauco and her husband Sandy, Laura Rea & Lorita Grover and their families. Nieces include Sandra Montaro, Millicent, Melissa and Kelsey Rea. Nephews include Charles and Raymond Symer, Henry, Marc, Lyman and William Rea. Predeceased by her son Mark.

Mina was a member of the North Syracuse Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses. She loved animals of all kinds and leaves behind her cats Sammy, Mikey and Sasha, lovingly cared for by Matt & Diedre Tollefson. Mina helped her father on his Netherland Dairy milk route when she was a youngster. Over the years she worked at General Electric in Liverpool, Friendly Ice Cream and the Wonder Bread Store in Mattydale. She worked at Tri State Auto Auction in Cicero well past retirement age. She really enjoyed working with the young sisters of her congregation in the preaching work. Her family would especialy like to thank her many friends who came to visit her at VanDuyn over the past three years.

There will be no calling hours, and burial will be private.

Syracuse Post Standard, 10-12 February 2017

Louis LaBerge

Louis LaBerge, 79, of 319 Ridgefield Boulevard, Mattydale, died yesterday in St. Joseph's Hospital after a short illness.

A native of Quebec, Can., Mr. LaBerge had lived in Mattydale for 50 years. He was employed by the New York Central Railroad for 20 years before his retirement 10 years ago.

Mr. LaBerge is survived by three daughters, Mrs Charles Symer of Cicero, Mrs Millicent Rea of Virginia and Mrs Robert Case, of Mattydale; two sisters, Mrs Bernadette Racicot of Cambridge, Mass., and Mrs Julie Tremblay of Quebec; 17 grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. Services will be 11 a.m. Tuesday in the Kreuger Funeral Home, Mattydale. Burial will be in White Chapel Memory Gardens, DeWitt. Calling hours are 7 to 9 p.m. tomorrow.

Syracuse Herald-American, 25 May 1975

Millicent Gladys (Rea) La Berge

Former Pleasanton resident Millicent Gladys (Rea) La Berge, 91, died Friday, Sept. 16, 2016, at the home of her daughter, Laura Rea, in Highlands Ranch, Colo., with Laura, daughter Lorita Groover and her grandson, Spencer Wilson, by her side.

She was born Dec. 30, 1924, in Mattydale, N.Y., in the home of her parents Louis J. La Berge and Gladys S. Skipper. Her mother was a native of Castle Acre, England, and her father was a Frenchman from Quebec, Canada. Millicent was proud of her immigrant parents and their accomplishments.

She was a United States Marine, a mother of 11 children, including Millicent Lindauer, Henry Rea, Jonathan Rea, Melissa Rea, Marc Rea, Lyman Rea, William Rea, Kelcey (Rea) Kenney, Lorita (Rea) Groover (Dewey Groover), Laura Rea (Robert Wilson) and Nathaniel Rea. She had three sets of twins: Henry and Jonathan, Melissa and Marc, and Kelcey and William. As a mother, she had six children under the age of 5 years.

She was married for 22 years to Reo V. Rea who often times worked in the eastern United States pursuing a career in the Department of Defense. She raised her children in the Pleasanton area singlehandedly during these times and later after their divorce in 1975. In 2004 she moved to Nemo, Mo.

As a toddler, she showed compassion to neglected animals, and this continued her entire life. She rescued and also fed abandoned animals. She generously gave of herself and shared her personal resources with those in need.

Millicent lived a courageous life of independence. After graduating from Central High School, Mattydale, she worked for General Electric Co., Syracuse, N.Y., and saved money to attend Crouse Irving Hospital School of Nursing, Syracuse.

After her nursing education, Millicent was moved by patriotism and her friends dying in World War II and enlisted in the United States Marines, doing basic training at Camp Lejeune, N.C. After the war, she received training as an airline reservationist in California.

In order to spend the most time with her family, Millicent often worked the night shift. She worked as a nurse in hospitals, nursing homes and in the home health care settings. Her cherished patients called her “Sunshine.”

As a devoted mother, Millicent also worked in other fields such as the Motorola Co.; as a blue printer for the U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.; in childcare; and in the retail and restaurant industry. She also was caregiver for her mother during her lengthy illness.

She was an inspiration to her children and several have chosen careers in public service.

While pursuing a bachelor's degree in her late fifties and early sixties, she and several of her children were studying at Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kan., at the same time. In 1985 she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Administration of Criminal Justice from Wichita State University.

Upon graduation, she experienced age discrimination as she pursued work in the Kansas State Criminal Justice System.

Though she scored high on the entrance exams, she was denied interviews and was never hired, which was in violation of Kansas state law. This was deeply disappointing to her as she was interested in rehabilitation of prisoners.

Even in the later years of her life, Millicent was a humanitarian. In 1994, at the age of 71, she traveled to the country of India as a volunteer worker with Habitat for Humanity. She mixed by hand the mortar for the bricks used in the construction of homes.

Millicent never got over the loss of her children, Kelcey, Nathaniel and Jonathan. Her daughter, Kelcey (Rea) Kenney, was hit and killed, along with her grandson, Justin Kenney, by a drunk driver in El Paso, Texas, in June of 1987.

Her son, Nathaniel Rea, was killed in a blizzard near Eureka, Kan., in January of 1997. He had been visiting his mother for Christmas and was returning home.

Jonathan died of lung cancer in January of 2006 in Palisade, Colo.

Her eight surviving children, numerous grand and great-grandchildren live across the United States. Her only surviving sibling, sister Mina Case, lives in Mattydale.

She was preceded in death by her parents and three sisters, Suzanne Symer, Regina La Berge and Marie La Berge.

As a champion for animal rights, Millicent chose to encourage contributions to organizations promoting their welfare.

Graveside services will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23, in the Pleasanton Cemetery, Pleasanton. Military honors will be provided. Services are under the direction of the Cheney Witt Chapel, Fort Scott, Kan. Words of remembrance may be submitted to the online guestbook at

Linn County Mews, 18 September 2018

Bernie Mitchell Luker

Bernard Mitchell-Luker began life in Chigwell, Essex, towards the end of the Second World War. He was the oldest son of Robert and Eileen Luker and big brother to Sandra and Patrick.

Bernie attended the local village primary school before starting at the legendary Grange Hill secondary in the mid-1950s. It may come as a surprise to many but Bernie hated formal education and would spend as little time as possible at school. His hobbies at this time predictably involved buses, and Sandra remembers regular visits from the truant officer when Bernie had again bunked off for the day and blagged his way on to a bus going in any direction. Bernie had memorised most of the local bus timetables by the time he turned 10. On arriving at his destination, he would simply walk into the nearest police station and be escorted home, even when he managed to get as far as Yorkshire.

Because of this, he was strongly encouraged to join the Royal Navy as a boy sailor aged 14, on the training ship HMS Arethusa. Bernie far preferred this to school and was particularly proud of how he looked in his uniform. On completion of his navy training, he joined London Transport, initially working as a ticket inspector but soon advancing to chief inspector.

In 1966, he met Ann and the pair married a couple of years later. Three children followed soon after, Vicci in 1969, Gavin in 1970 and finally Bruce in 1972.

Bernie had by this time had enough of the south of England and decided that the family would be better suited to a more gentle country life further north, first settling in Cumbria then moving to Bernie's beloved Arran in 1974. The family's Arran journey began in Catacol, followed by a couple of years in Pirnmill before being offered new house in Lamlash, where they settled.

Along with a new home, came a change in career for Bernie as he started work with the Northern Lighthouse Board and spent time in both the Pladda and Holy Isle lighthouses.

During his time on duty, Bernie became famous for being “fully dressed” in lighthouse uniform, complete with collar and tie, which, given the remote locations he worked at, was highly unusual and often led to visitor to assume he was the boss – known at the principal keeper.

Bernie made good use of his time away from the distractions of a young family. During his stints in the lighthouse, he discovered a passion for writing. Bernie had never given up his childhood interest in buses and combined this with his love of Arran to create the number one New York Times bestseller, The Arran Bus Book. The book took a number of years to perfect and another three years to publish. However, in 1983, 1,500 copies of the book made their way to Brodick main street priced at £3.50, and is still available today on eBay and Amazon. Bernie's enthusiasm for educating the public on all things travel was by now truly unleashed and he followed up the publication of his book with the launch of the Arran Transport Museum, located in Claddach boathouse. The museum was even featured on STV's Scotland Today programme.

Many Arran residents will remember Bernie's Albion Victor, which was parked up in the Anchor car park for several years but will probably be unaware that he drove this up to Arran from Nottingham in the middle of winter. At one point it was so cold the dieIn froze. We located the calor gas heater which they used to keep themselves warm stored in Bernie's attic a few days ago.

But Bernie's first claim to fame, before even the Albion Victor, was to arrive at Brodick Pier with a very large low-bed trailer carrying a complete railway carriage, which was parked prominently in the forecourt of the Piggery at Corriegills as the basis of his unique museum.

Gavin remembers his dad's unusual culinary tastes, which included Weetabix spread with Bovril and topped with cheese, and his love of Fray Bentos suet puddings.

the early 1990s, Bernie tragically lost his youngest son Bruce while he was serving with the British Army in Belize. This was a particularly difficult time in his life.

Bernie met his next partner, Margaret, when she was on a coach tour to Arran with her son, David. The passengers were told by the coach driver that for the weekend they would be having the services of a local courier who had “more fingers in pies in Arran than steak pies”.

Bernie was very involved in the tourist trade bringing coach tours to Arran and organising day trips from Arran to Kintyre. He also often joined Arran Coaches tours on trips farther afield and, among his many photographs, there were several of the coach passing over the Thames on the then new Dartford Bridge on its way to pick up children from Dover going for a week's outdoor training at Lochranza.

Indeed, Bernie's encyclopedic knowledge of buses throughout the UK helped greatly in bringing coach tours to Arran from all the big bus companies such as Greenslades from Devon, Midland Red from Birmingham and Western National from Wales. In his retirement years, he worked for some time as night watchman on both the Caledonian Isles and the Isle of Arran, a job that he absolutely loved but, unfortunately, was forced very reluctantly to give up because of ill health. It was by sheer chance that he was asked if he would step in at short notice to cover an absence. He thought at first that he was simply doing the company a favour and was genuinely surprised when he found out that he was actually being paid for doing it. He very happily continued with the job for several years and became a popular and valued member of the ferry crews, which made him very proud.

Over the past 29 years, Bernie and Margaret have enjoyed many holidays to favourite places, including Devon, Whitby, the Lake District and East Neuk.

On arriving at their destination, Bernie's first interest was not to admire the spectacular view or even to inspect the accommodation, but to find the nearest bus stop so that he could familiarise himself with the times of the buses for that particular area. Then, over the next few days, he would make a point of informing any unsuspecting would-be traveller that the next bus would be along in so many minutes.

Antiques shops were a magnet to Bernie, and Margaret would try her best to steer him clear of them, but to no avail. She knew that inevitably he would see something that he “just had to have” to add to one of his many collections or, even worse, something that would be the start of yet another.

He was passionate about his hobbies and his interests which were many.

He had a ready wit and always enjoyed a bit of banter with his fellow human beings. His encyclopedic knowledge of many subjects was well known.

Many a time, having asked him something about transport or military history, two of his favourites, the questioner would be subjected to a long and detailed explanation that would leave him or her thinking: “Gosh, I wish I'd never asked!”

Bernie was also a very proud grandfather to Eleanor, Sophie, Jack, Eilidh and Roddy, taking his role as a grandad very seriously. He was diligent about ensuring his knowledge was passed on to Jack and Eilidh, which resulted in necessary field trips with himself and Margaret to Bowness and Leadhills railways. In recent months, Bernie even took time to teach Roddy how to drive his mobility scooter, and the pair enjoyed an afternoon screaming up and down Brodick's pavements, narrowly missing visiting tourists.

Bernie loved his home in Arran, named Fare Stage. Visitors were welcomed to view but not touch his many collectables. A recent inventory of these included 20 policemen's helmets – used, 24 ticket machines – 12 broken, 350 rolls of tickets – brand new, eight VCR machines, 10 typewriters, model buses – count ongoing, large station clock – all offers considered.

He was a one-off, a larger than life character who certainly made an impact on those whom he met. The happy memories of him will live on and will never fail to raise a smile.

The Arran Banner, 10 March 2018

Charles A Symer

Charles A. Symer, 78, of 8305 Sandra Ave., Cicero, died Sunday at St. Joseph's Hospital after a brief illness.

Mr. Symer was a life resident of the Syracuse area. He retired as owner after more than 30 years of Symers Rotary Service Station in North Syracuse.

Mr. Symer was a member of the Liverpool Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses. He was an Army veteran of World War II.

Surviving are his wife, the former Suzanne La Berge; two sons, Charles W. of Cicero and Raymond of Manlius; two daughters, Suzanne Iauco of Florida and Sandra Montaro of Rochester; seven grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

Memorial services will be at 1 p.m. Wednesday in Liverpool Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses. Burial will be private.

There will be no calling hours.

Syracuse Post-Standard, 2 January 1996

Charles W. Tillett III M.D.

Charles Walter Tillett, age 91, passed away peacefully at Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte on Wednesday, October 19, 2011.

Dr. Charles was born August 14, 1920 in Charlotte to Attorney Charles W. Tillett, Jr. and Gladys Avery, a leader in the women's suffrage movement and the Democratic Party. He attended Charlotte public schools and Woodberry Forest School in Orange, VA. He graduated from the University of North Carolina, where he was a member of the wrestling team, editor of the university's yearbook ("Yackety Yack"), a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and an inductee into the Order of the Golden Fleece – UNC's highest honorary society. He received his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and performed his ophthalmology residency at the Wilmer Eye Institute. While at Wilmer, he met his beloved wife, Grace Marian Montana, a fellow resident, and they married in Baltimore.

After returning to Charlotte in 1954, Dr. Charles and Dr. Grace went into private practice and opened the Tillett Eye Clinic on 7th Street, where they worked side-by-side until retiring in 1987.

In 2008, “Charles Tillett and The Lost Operation” was published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology. This piece discussed DSEK, a revolutionary and cutting-edge corneal transplant procedure that had been developed and perfected over the prior decade. It went on to detail how Dr. Charles had actually been the first person to perform and document this procedure in 1956, more than 40 years prior to its “invention”. Dr. Charles gave a talk about his procedure in 2009 at the Wilmer Eye Institute's inaugural Fuchs Corneal Dystrophy Symposium, which helps ophthalmologists keep abreast of the latest DSEK developments and advances. His legacy will live on through the Charles Tillett Lecture given annually by the symposium's keynote speaker.

He was an avid golfer and came close to breaking his age when he shot a 79 at Revolution Park Golf Course at the age of 78. Committed to staying in shape, he could be seen working out on the weight equipment at the Harris Y several times a week, as recently as last month.

He was a passionate follower of local events and a frequent contributor to the Charlotte Observer's letters-to-the-editor section. A lifelong Democrat, he was proud to have never missed an election and thrilled when he had the opportunity to vote for President Obama in 2008.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Grace Montana Tillett and a sister, Gladys Tillett Coddington. Surviving are his sister, Sara Tillett Thomas of Pittsburgh, PA and three children: Charles Tillett IV (Maureen) of Wayland, MA, Avery Tillett Ke (Yan) of Southern Pines, NC, and James Tillett of Charlotte. Also surviving are five grandchildren: Elizabeth Matthews, Hannah Matthews, Lucia Ke, Charles Tillett V, and Everett Tillett.

The family will receive friends on Thursday, October 27th from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Harry & Bryant Company, 500 Providence Road, Charlotte. A memorial service will be held on Friday, October 28th at 2:00 p.m. at Myers Park Presbyterian Church, 2501 Oxford Place, Charlotte.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Victory Vision Care – a provider of charitable eye care services in Ghana – at 7415 Coffey Creek Dr., Charlotte, NC 28273.

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