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Middleburgh – Howard Roger Bartholomew, 74, of River Street, died on Tuesday evening at Albany Medical Center from complications of declining health.
Born on September 1, 1943, in Cobleskill, Howard grew up in Howes Cave, Schoharie, and Middleburgh, graduating from Middleburgh Central School in 1961. He was a tour guide at Secret Caverns in Howes Cave for 7 years during high school and after attending Union College, graduated with a degree in European History in 1965. Howard attended the State University College at Oneonta, earning his MAT degree in teaching and taking a position at Schoharie Central School starting in 1967, teaching U.S. History. That same year he married the love of his life, Sherrie (Nesbitt) Bartholomew.
From the mid 1960s to the late 1970s, Howard also ran The Rod and Gun Shop above his parents’ law office on Railroad Avenue in Middleburgh, selling outdoor sporting equipment, hand-crafted flies and bamboo fly rods. After 20 years of teaching, Howard ‘retired’ in 1987 and switched roles to become a self-employed cabinet maker based out of North Blenheim, focusing on making reproduction 18th century furniture, custom cabinetry, and stair cases. Most recently, Howard created several large cedar-strip canoes from which he enjoyed fishing.
Howard’s love and appreciation of the outdoors and the natural environment and history of the Schoharie Valley shone through every aspect of his life. To describe Howard as an avid fisherman is an understatement. Beginning in 1967 on their honeymoon, Howard and Sherrie visited Doaktown, New Brunswick, Canada, nearly every summer for over 30 years for their annual salmon fishing trip. In later years they spent a month each summer in Kennebago, ME, fishing for trout out of the boats and using rods and flies Howard had constructed himself. Howard shared his love of fishing and the outdoors with his son Alex from an early age, taking him fishing and fossil hunting all over the Catskills. Howard’s dedication to conservation and recreation efforts along the Schoharie Creek are numerous, beginning with his work as director of the Valley Environmental Conservation Association in the 1970s, opposing the construction of a power supply dam in the lower Schoharie Valley. During the 1980s and early 1990s Howard ran the Middleburgh Canoe Races and Triathlon organized by the Middleburgh Rotary Club of which he was a longtime member. In the early 2000s, Howard and Sherrie were the driving force behind the formation of Dam Concerned Citizens, a citizen action group dedicated to obtaining a fair and equitable outcome to the long term rehabilitation of the Gilboa Dam for the people of the Schoharie Valley. Becoming a local expert on the dams and flooding along the Schoharie Creek, Howard worked tirelessly during the last few years with other members of DCC and the county government to oversee the relicensing of the Blenheim-Gilboa NYPA Pumped Storage Project. In all cases, Howard aimed for fairness and respect in all of his work with the various organizations represented ‘on the other side of the table’.
Howard’s love of education did not end with his teaching days as more recently has co-hosted a radio program on WIOX in Roxbury with his son and written a series of articles for the Mountain Eagle newspaper entitled ‘Know Your Watershed’. Howard also served as director of the Schoharie County Historical Society in the late 1990s and was a member of Colonial Heritage in Schoharie before that. A devout Christian, Howard was a member of the Howes Cave and Middleburgh Reformed Churches, having served as a Deacon and Elder on the consistory of both churches and later acting as lay preacher and bible study leader in Howes Cave.
Howard was predeceased by his loving and devoted wife Sherrie of 45 years in 2012, his father Raymond Bartholomew of Cobleskill, and his mother and step-father Edythe and John Bingham of Middleburgh.
Howard is survived by his son and daughter-in-law: Dr. Alex and Dr. Amy Bartholomew of New Paltz; his granddaughter: Annabeth, the light of his life for the last three years and his sister-in-law: Dr. Nancy Nesbitt Vacc of Gainesville, FL; and many cousins and friends.
A funeral service will be held at 10AM on Monday, April 23, 2018 at the Second Reformed Church, Lester Lane, Howes Cave. Burial will be in the Cobleskill Rural Cemetery.
All are invited to a visitation with Howard’s family from 4-6PM on Sunday, April 22, 2018 at Coltrain Funeral Home, LLC, 134 River Street, Middleburgh.
Donations in Howard’s memory can be made to Dam Concerned Citizens, Inc, PO Box 310 Middleburgh, NY 12122 or the Second Reformed Church, 128 Lester Lane, Howes Cave, NY 12092.