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Middleburgh - Araxi Hubbard Dutton Palmer, 100, of Middleburgh, died peacefully on Sunday, May 27th, in Punxsutawney, PA, at the home of her daughter, surrounded by her family. She was born on the deportation in Sivas, Turkey, 1918, and was a World War I survivor of the first genocide of the 20th century.
Araxi graduated from the White Plains High School in White Plains, New York and Cortland State Teachers College. She received graduate credits from Albany State Teachers College and Hofstra University. For thirty-five years she taught third and sixth grade students at the Middleburgh Central School District, retiring in 1976. She also substituted for many years after retirement, well into her nineties.
During World War II she worked weekends at the switchboard for E. Scott Rose, owner of the Middleburgh Telephone Company. Throughout her lifetime Araxi was very civic minded and active in many community organizations both in Middleburgh and Arizona. Araxi was a charter member of the Middleburgh Business and Professional Woman’s Club, the Ladies Auxiliary of the Middleburgh Fire Department, the Community Hospital Auxiliary of Cobleskill Hospital, and a past president of the Middleburgh Cooperative Club. She was a member of the Middleburgh Reformed Church for over seventy years and a Sunday School teacher during the 1940’s. During the 1950’s Araxi was a Girl Scout leader, a member of the Bicentennial Committee for Middleburgh, a fifty year member of the Onistagrawa Chapter 538 Order of the Eastern Star, a lifetime member of the Hemlock Society of the United States of America, the Vroman’s Nose Preservation Corporation of Schoharie County, a member of the American Association for the Retired Persons, the Middleburgh and Gilboa Historical Societies, the Middleburgh Rotary Club, served as a judge for the Middleburgh Fall Festivals and served as a member of the Middleburgh School Board of Education and was a member of both the New York State Teachers Retirement System and the Schoharie County retired Teachers Association. Araxi also played the bass drum for over forty years in the Middleburgh summer band.
Because of her continued interest in education, Araxi generously supported the Little Red School House for many years both financially and publicly. Mrs. Dutton Palmer was a generous provider for needy students and several consider her their second mother to this day. She was published in “Yankee Magazine,” wrote several articles for local newspapers and was the author of a family biography book, Triumph from Tragedy. She truly believed this personal memoir will help to keep history alive, so that future generations will not forget the tragedy that wars can cause.
Becoming an American citizen in 1941 at Ellis Island, New York has always been the most treasured gift Araxi ever received and has had a lasting influence on her life and her teaching career. Her hobbies and interests included traveling, especially cruising, sewing, knitting, crocheting, framing children’s storybook pictures, going out to lunch with former pupils and keeping a positive mental attitude and a good sense of humor.
Araxi’s family includes her daughter: Joyce Araxi Dutton Cooper and husband, William of Punxsutawney, PA; three grandchildren: John Thomas (JT) Cooper and wife, Michele Goodbread Cooper of Meadowview VA, William M. Cooper, III and wife Elizabeth Batson Cooper of Wexford, PA, and Emilie Cooper Rzotkiewicz and husband Matthew of Allison Park, PA; six great-grandchildren: Liam, Neil and Molly Cooper, Cedar and Scarlet Rzotkiewicz and Elijah Goodbread.
She is also survived by her niece: Barbara Dutton Haverly and husband Mitchell of Berne; two grandnephews: Andrew John Haverly and fiancé Elizabeth of Indian Trail, NC and David Lewis Haverly of Schenectady; two step-children and a son-in-law: Jane Palmer McPhee and husband Skip of Sun City, CA, John Palmer and wife Anne of FL. and Jerry Polak of Middleburgh; three step-grandchildren: Stanley McLean and wife Amy of Manchester, NH, Melanie Laraway and husband William of Middleburgh, William McLean of Middleburgh and two step-grandsons: William and Carson Laraway of Middleburgh. Her immediate and extended families were her greatest source of love and enjoyment and she is also survived by thousands of past students and dear friends around the world.
Araxi Hubbard Dutton Palmer was predeceased by her son: John Charles Dutton in 1968 at the age of fifteen, her husband of 42 years: H. Charles Dutton in 1986, her second husband: John E. Palmer in 1997, her step-daughter: Christine Polak in 2015 and her companion: Robert Parsons in 2009.
A service in celebration of Araxi’s life will be held at 2PM on Sunday, June 3, 2018 at the Middleburgh Reformed Church, 178 River Street, Middleburgh, NY. Family and friends are invited to visit in the church hall afterward. Private interment will be in the Old Stone Fort Cemetery, Schoharie.
In Lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to Middleburgh Emergency Volunteer Ambulance Corps, PO Box 817 Middleburgh, NY 12122, the Middleburgh Volunteer Fire Dept, PO Box 778, Middleburgh, NY 12122, Camp Friendship (a summer camp through the ARC of Jefferson and Clearfield Counties in PA) c/o Marie Elkin, Treasurer, P O Box 232, DeLancey, PA 15733 or the Crosstown Food Bank, 201 Woodland Ave, Punxsutawney, PA 15767. To quote Araxi, “I have had more than my share of beautiful flowers during my lifetime. Please send none now, give to the living.”
Coltrain Funeral Home, LLC of Middleburgh is honored to be caring for Araxi and her family. Please visit www.coltrainfuneralhome.com to share online condolences with her family.