Clara Dutcher Rochester, age 82 passed away from complications due to the coronavirus on April 2, 2020. She was born November 22, 1937 in Kinderhook, New York to Lester and Catherine Dutcher. She married her loving husband Arthur Rochester, Sr. in 1956 who preceded her in death in 2004.
Clara was the glue that held her large family together. She was well loved by her family and many friends, people and critters alike. Between regular family gatherings and one-on-one visits, she always had someone visiting with her at the table drinking coffee. Clara was a very creative woman. She played guitar, sang and yodeled, she painted and did woodworking. She enjoyed writing poetry and letters to her pen pals and made up stories to entertain and spook the children in her life. She also loved tending to the family garden and was well known for the pies she baked at Thanksgiving. At Pine Haven, where she spent her last few years, she was the social butterfly, visiting other residents and serving at the President of the Resident Council. She was a friend and companion to David Williams, another Pine Haven resident, who passed only two days before her.
Clara’s humor was a sense of encouragement for those who knew her, even in the worst of times. One such time was when she lost her left leg below the knee in 2013. She did not let the loss of her leg discourage her, instead she found humor in the situation by nicknaming the remainder of her leg “Stumpy.” She even gave Stumpy a beaming face by drawing two eyes and a smiling mouth on a sock that she happily wore around. For Clara, laughter was indeed the best medicine.
Clara is survived by her brother and his wife Daniel and Candi Dutcher; her two daughters and their husbands, Julie and Doug Pietrak and Sarah and Chris Noeth; son Lester Rochester (Noni Mohr); son in-law Steven Bersch, daughter in-laws Donna Mayes and Willene Burch; grandchildren, Jeannie LoVullo (Jason), Erin Pietrak, Liza Johnson (Chris), Jessica Martell (Michael), Josh Noeth, Michael Pietrak (Mandy), Jacob Bersch, Emma Clarke (Shayne), Erica Balazs (Zac), Andrew Rochester (Shawnah Mitchison), Maeve and Schuyler Rochester; plus 10 great grandchildren (Cody, Alex, Lucas, Blake, Ryan, Nic, Evan, Wesley, Arabella, and Dominic) and her many nephews and nieces.
She was preceded in death by her husband Arthur (Artie) Rochester, eldest son Arthur (Bug) Rochester, Jr. and eldest daughter Cindy Bersch; brother Royce Dutcher, sisters Helen (Hope) Dutcher and Esther VanAlstyne; and great grandchildren Tyler and Jordan.
The family will be planning a celebration of life this summer. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Little Brooks Farm in Old Chatham (https://www.littlebrookfarmsanctuary.org) or Columbia Memorial Hospital Foundation (https://foundation.columbiamemorialhealth.org).
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Little Brooks Farm
548 Co Rd 13, Old Chatham NY 12136
Columbia Memorial Hospital Foundation