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Esther Mary Stephania Strenk Wocell

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CAMBRIDGE, N.Y. -- Esther Mary Stephania Strenk Wocell, 98, a resident of 34 Academy Street for 49 years, passed away Nov. 19, 2006, at the Orchard Nursing Center in Granville. She was the widow of Charles B. Wocell.

Esther was born on Oct. 25, 1908, in Poland, a daughter of Alberto and Mary Marchovick Stenk. Together with her sister Eugenia, she immigrated to America in 1922. After living in New York City for two years, she moved to Meriden, Conn., and was employed by Mr. and Mrs. William Johnson, the then president of International Silver Company. Later, Esther moved to Springfield, Mass., to live with her aunt, Helen Bonowitz. While in Springfield, she met her future husband, Charles and they were married on April 4, 1931. While on their honeymoon, traveling through Cambridge, N.Y., they decided to put down roots there because of the beauty of the area and the friendly people they met.

Esther and Charlie opened the Phoenix Restaurant in 1931, located in the Hitchcock Block on East Main Street next to Jimmie LeGrys’ Drug Store. The restaurant operated until 1936. For 33 years, Esther was employed by Robert Reis Mills as a seamstress. She retired at the age of 78 when the mill closed.

While living on Academy Street, growing vegetables, flowers and raspberries was Esther’s greatest joy. She attended Home Bureau where she learned to hook rugs, etch aluminum trays and many other crafts. She spent her retirement at home enjoying frequent visitors, gardening and walking. She lived at the Cambridge Guest House for several years before going to The Orchard.

Along with her husband, Esther is predeceased by her daughter, Carolyn Carr; her granddaughter, Melissa Palmier; her two brothers, John and Benjamin; and her sister, Sister Mary Avia (Eugenia).

Survivors include four children, Constance Wocell of Rochester, Robert Wocell of Queensbury, Neil Wocell and his wife, Rickki, of Murphy, N.C., and Barbara Luke and her husband, Robert, of Cossayuna; 15 grandchildren; a son-in-law, Gordon Carr; and 14 great-grandchildren.

Friends and relatives are invited to call on Friday, Nov. 24, 2006, from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Ackley & Ross Funeral Home, 73 West Main Street, Cambridge.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated by Father Liam Condon at St. Patrick’s Church, 17 South Park Street, Cambridge, on Friday at 12 p.m. Burial will follow at St. Patrick’s Cemetery.

The family requests memorial donations be made to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Lenox Hill Station, P0 Box 599, NYC, NY 10021-0004 or CR Wood Cancer Center, 102 Park Street, Glens Falls, NY 12801.
Published in Bennington Banner on Nov. 21, 2006
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