Obituary of Alec J. Pitel
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Alec Joseph Pitel, 70, of Otego, passed away peacefully on September 24, 2022 at Cooperstown Center after a long, courageous battle with Alzheimer's Disease, with his loving wife and son by his side. Alec was born on February 23, 1952 in Binghamton, NY and grew up in the Town of Maine in the house his dad designed and built. He loved sharing memories of playing baseball on the sandlot field that his dad created for him and his brothers, exploring the woods of their property, helping with the family Christmas tree farm, and fishing in Nanticoke Creek. Alec graduated from Maine-Endwell High School in 1970 where he lettered in Varsity Soccer. In 1972, he graduated from Paul Smith's College in the Adirondacks with an Associate's Degree in Forestry. On April 7, 1979 Alec married his wife, Judy (McKown), and they raised one son, Nicholas.
He worked for the City of Oneonta as the City Forester and an Engineering Technician for 25 years, retiring in December of 2010. He was instrumental in making Oneonta a 'Tree City USA' with the Arbor Day Foundation. Alec also worked previously as an Engineer Crew Chief on the construction of Interstate 88 from Afton through East Worcester, for UNALAM in Unadilla, and as a local real estate agent.
An avid outdoorsman since his youth, Al hunted and fished until he was no longer able to do so. He always enjoyed his annual fall trip to Stillwater Reservoir with his hunting buddies and his family and friends have many fond memories being in the woods and on the waters with him. He was a longtime member of the Otego Rod and Gun Club and Otsego County Sportsman's Federation. Always an advocate for safe, responsible, and ethical hunting, he instructed Hunter's Safety and Sportsman Education and supported environmental conservation.
Alec cared deeply for his community and was an engaged citizen. He served on the Village of Otego Planning Board, Unatego School Board, Unatego Spartan Booster Club, and was a member of the Otego United Methodist Church where he was a Trustee. He also helped construct the playground at the former Otego Elementary School and was also very proud of his ability to donate blood to the American Red Cross several times per year.
Alec greatly enjoyed playing, coaching, and watching sports. He coached his son's many youth sports teams, his wife's softball team, and assisted with Unatego Modified Softball. He played in the Men's Over-35 Softball League for many years and also participated in the Wells Bridge Horseshoe/Pitch League. He was a member of the Otego Monday Night Football Club, was a diehard NY Yankees and NY Giants fan, and enjoyed watching Syracuse Football and Basketball. He happily passed on his love of sports and nature to his son.
Alec was always proud of his Slovakian heritage and longtime family traditions that he was able to keep. He enjoyed picking wild mushrooms for homemade soup and making (and eating) kolochki cookies at Christmas, as well as helping to plan the Pitel Family Reunions with his cousin, David Pitel, and cutting a rug to Polka with Judy.
Al enjoyed the simple things – gardening, walking in the woods, listening to the call of loons, playing cards, and having a cold one, especially while listening to records. After retirement, he looked forward to going to coffee every morning with the retired Otego guys or with his retired co-worker friends from the City of Oneonta.
He was a caring and loving son, brother, husband, father, grandpa, and friend. He helped care for his mother when she was dying of cancer, being with her during the day and then going to work as a night custodian between his road construction jobs. He was a loving and adoring Didi to his granddaughters, Alexis and Brooklyn – they were the light of his life. He also had the most wonderful longtime friends and neighbors in Bill and Mary Donnelly.
Alec is survived by his loving wife of 43 years, Judy (McKown) Pitel of Otego, son, Nicholas and daughter-in-law, Angela, and granddaughters, Alexis and Brooklyn, of Lee, MA; his three brothers, Michael (Patricia) of Santa Fe, NM; Tom (Olga) of Wayland, MA; Greg (Monica) of Colorado Springs, CO; his nephews Adam, Josh, Douglas, Christian and niece, Julia. He is also survived by his six brother-in-laws and two sister-in-laws: Ron McKown of Binghamton, Connie (McKown) Barnes of Sidney, Dennis McKown (Treena) of Sidney, Michael McKown (Leisa) of Norwich, Debbie (McKown) Day (Randy) of Bainbridge, Brian McKown (Martha) of Dothan, AL, Jeff McKown (Kim) of Masonville, and Joe McKown (Diane) of Petaluma, CA; nephews and nieces: Aric, Aaron and Gabe McKown, Jesse Barnes, Melissa (McKown) Davis, Isaac, Brandon and Tim McKown, Justin and Marcie Day, Josh and Travis McKown, Andy, Matt and Steven McKown, Lydia McKown, and several great nieces, nephews, and cousins.
He was predeceased by his parents Edward and Julia (Harrison) Pitel, niece, Elyse Pitel, and his pet dogs Lady, Bonnie, Eli, and Missy.
Heartfelt thanks go out to the staff of The Hampshire House in Oneonta and to the nurses and staff in Serenity Place at Cooperstown Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Cooperstown and Helios Care Hospice, for their care of Alec during the past four years. Also, thank you to all the family and friends of Alec, Judy, and Nick for your continued support and prayers during Alec's journey with Alzheimer's.
Calling hours for Alec will be held Thursday, September 29, 2022 from 4:00 – 7:00 PM at C.H. Landers Funeral Home, 21 Main Street, Sidney. Funeral service will be held Friday, September 30, 2022 at the Otego United Methodist Church, Church Street, Otego at 11:00 AM with burial to follow at the East Sidney Union Church Cemetery, Union Church Road, Franklin. In lieu of flowers, if you wish to make a donation in Alec's memory, please consider donating to The Alzheimer's Association, Delaware Valley Humane Society (Sidney, NY), or to the Arbor Day Foundation.
Share condolences and memories online at www.landersfh.com.
All arrangements are made through C.H. Landers Funeral Home in Sidney, NY.
May you sleep well faithful servant for you have earned your wings. Fly high and keep a watchful eye over those you loved and those who love you.