Sharon W. Lawyer, a longtime resident of Rye, passed away on January 18, 2017. She was 73. Her passion, determination, and caring were evident in her work, her family, and her desire to help others.


Born on April 18, 1943, in York, Pennsylvania, she received a B.A. from Wilson College. From 1965 to 1967, she was a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines, along with her husband, Bill. They moved to Rye in 1969, over Woodstock Weekend.


Mrs. Lawyer worked at a variety of jobs, including a wholesale jewelry business, St. Vincent’s Hospital, and the Rye Free Reading Room, but she was most proud of raising her children.


In addition to her husband Bill, she is survived by her daughter, Katie Sperling and her husband Matt, and son Liam Lawyer and his wife Kerrie and her grandchildren, Benjamin and Julia Sperling and Isabelle and Jake Lawyer, who were the lights of her life. She is also survived by her sister, Shelby Ness and her husband Ron; her brother-in-law, Marty Lawyer; and her sister-in-law, Becky Carr and her husband Ron.


A celebration of her life was held at Rye Presbyterian Church on January 28. 


Donations in Sharon Lawyer’s memory may be made to The Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance (, or to Wilson College, (“in memory of Sharon Lawyer Class of ’65,” Office of Institutional Advancement,


1015 Philadelphia Avenue, Chambersburg, PA 17201.


Marion (“Crystal”) Wallach of Southbury, Conn., passed away on June 14, 2016, after a courageous battle with cancer. A loving wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, she brought a sparkle to everything.


Born in Scranton, Pa., she was the daughter of Catherine and Rudolph Koelsch. Upon graduating from high school, she moved to Manhattan to pursue her dream of becoming a model. She was soon swept off her feet by Edward Wallach. They were happily married for 60 years. From 1960 to 1978 they lived in Rye, where they raised their family.


Gary Denton Fender, 74, died July 10, 2016, at his home in Duncanville, Texas.

Born June 30, 1942 in Austin, he was the son of James and Dorothy Fender. His father’s work with Mobil Oil took the family to Venezuela and then to New York. Mr. Fender spent his high school years in Rye, where he was a star player on the Garnets Football team. After graduating from Rye High School in 1960, he returned to Texas on a football scholarship to Southern Methodist University. A football injury during his sophomore year led to a part-time position with First Southwest Investment Bankers and the discovery of his life’s work.

Helen Ward Burke, a longtime Rye resident, died peacefully in her home on December 19, 2016. She was 100.

A consummate and charming homemaker, she had the gift of engaging family and friends in the arts, politics, Airedales, and sports, notably, her adored Yankees. She also mastered the art of French cooking. “Les canards gave her kitchen wide birth, lest they end up suitably sauced,” noted her family.

She was born February 5, 1916, in Chicago, to Burt and Elizabeth (Birks) Ward of Madison, Wisconsin.

A Larchmont resident during her formative years, she became a champion swimmer and diver for Orienta Beach Club, setting records that were not bested for 30 years, and only then by her daughter Barbie.

Bernard Tofany, a family dentist in upstate New York for more than half a century, died August 11, 2016, at the age of 93, at The Osborn in Rye, where he had lived in recent years.

During World War II he served aboard a U.S. Navy landing ship in the South Pacific. He was a graduate of Aquinas Institute, St. Bonaventure University, and University of Buffalo Dental School.

Dr. Tofany not only enjoyed being a family dentist but held many positions in his field. He was Assistant Clinical Professor of Dentistry at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, an Adjunct Clinical Professor of Dental Hygiene at Monroe Community College, and a Consultant at the V.A. hospitals in Canandaigua and Bath. He served as President of the Monroe County and Seventh District Dental Societies, as well as on the New York State Board for Dentistry, N.E. Regional Board of Dental Examiners, and the American Association of Dental Examiners, and was a Fellow in the American and International Colleges of Dentists. Dr. Tofany received the Award of Merit from the Rochester Academy of Medicine and the Dr. George D. Greenwood Award from the Seventh District Dental Society.

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