COBLESKILL — George L. Berner, 91, of Cobleskill, died Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, at the St. Johnsville Nursing Home.
Born on Sept. 21, 1921, in Cobleskill, he was the son of Willard J. Berner and Mabel Danforth Berner. During his childhood, he lived on several farms with his family in Cobleskill before moving to Portlandville in 1932. In 1937, he moved to Jefferson.
He played baseball and basketball, performed in plays, was sports editor for the school newspaper and was a class officer at Jefferson Central School, where he graduated as valedictorian in 1940.
After graduation, he worked on the family farm on Enid Road, where they operated a dairy, chicken, and maple syrup business. He also collected milk from a number of farms around Jefferson and delivered it to a creamery in Cobleskill.
He married Joan E. Smith in Clockville on Aug. 17, 1946.
He completed a bachelor’s degree in rural education from Cornell University in 1951. While at Cornell, he was a member of Kappa Phi Kappa Honorary Society. George’s student teaching was done at Truxton Central School. He did graduate work at Albany State College for Teachers and Cornell, where he earned his M.Ed. degree.
George was hired by Worcester Central School as a vocational agriculture teacher during the summer of 1951. He was the adviser to the FFA, a 4-H leader, the chairman of the Otsego County Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association, and adviser for the Otsego County FFA.
In 1956, he was hired by the Cobleskill Institute (now SUNY Cobleskill). There, he taught math, chemistry, physical science and animal husbandry until 1960, and was adviser to the cheerleaders. He became the director of admissions in 1960 and served in this role until his retirement in 1985. At that time, he was the longest serving director of admissions in the SUNY system.
He was the chairperson of Reps. Donald Mitchell and Sherwood Boehlert’s Military Academy Selection Committee, a member of the American Association of University Administrators, New York State Association of College Admissions Counselors, State University of New York College Admissions Professionals, Middle States Association of College Registrars and Officers of Admissions, and SUNYCAP Awards Committee.
George would regularly visit 100 high schools every year. He was named an honorary alumnus by the SUNY Cobleskill Alumni Association in 1985.
After retirement, he and Joan traveled around the country and frequently entertained friends in their carriage house barn. They were active participants in the Coby Walkers group, walking many days on the SUNY track or in the field house. He was also a member of the Monday Night Club and served on the Administrative Board for the United Methodist Church in Cobleskill.
George is survived by his wife, Joan; sons, Keith (Joan) Berner of Hendersonville, N.C., and Kevin (Nancy Niles) of Richmondville; and grandchildren, Sarah Berner McGinnis of Yulee, Fla., and Alex Berner of Richmondville.
He was predeceased by siblings, Georgianna, Gerald and Geraldine.
Calling hours will be from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb.17, 2013, at Mereness-Putnam Funeral Home, 171 Elm St., Cobleskill.
A funeral service will be at the Cobleskill United Methodist Church, 107 Chapel St., Cobleskill, with the Rev. Pam Mikel Hayes officiating at 11 a.m. Monday, Feb. 18, 2013.
Spring interment will be in Cobleskill Rural Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to SUNY Cobleskill, State Route 7, Cobleskill, NY 12043 or the Cobleskill United Methodist Church, 107 Chapel St., Suite 1, Cobleskill, NY 12043.
For provisions for online condolences and further information, please visit the website at www.merenessputnamfuneralhome.com.