Dianne Kathryn Bass Klinger, nee Schmuckmier, passed away on November 27. She was 85. Born in central New York, Dianne grew up on a dairy farm and graduated from high school at age 16. She received her BA from SUNY Buffalo in home economics in 1954. After marrying John Rodney Bass in 1957, she was an active Air Force spouse, living around the world and supporting the 13th Bomb Squadron. In 1964, newly widowed, she returned to her home town of Marcellus, NY, with her two young daughters and newborn son.
In 1965 she was recruited, endorsed by both parties, and elected the Town of Marcellus tax collector. Dianne’s service in that elected office launched a lifetime passion for politics and commitment to the Democratic Party. She served as poll watcher, managed voter registration drives, recruited volunteers, served on various committees, and organized campaign volunteer efforts around her kitchen table – including for Hillary Clinton’s successful Senate campaign in 2000. Dianne moved to Chatham in 1972 after marrying Daniel Klinger, a local architect and Air Force reservist, and renovating a house, called Rose Hill, on the edge of the village. She substitute taught for two years until she joined the NYS Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, where she was a case manager and advocate for more than 22 years. She was again widowed in 1984. After she retired, she ran the Rose Hill Bed and Breakfast when it suited her.
She volunteered for the Cooperative Extension, supported Borden’s Pond and the Columbia County Land Conservancy, and was a great supporter of local arts. Most importantly, Dianne knew everyone in the community, and her door was always open. One could usually find her sitting at her kitchen table chatting with friends and family. Dianne embraced life and adventure, always engaging new friends, new experiences and new cultures. She is survived by two daughters, Kim Bass and Kristin Bass, a son, John Bass, daughter-in-law Holly Holzer, a brother, Darryl Meiers, sister-in-law Agnes Meiers, sister-in-law Eileen Kennedy, beloved nieces and nephews, and countless self-adopted children and grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday, December 6 at St. Peter’s church in Spencertown (located at 5219 County Route 7). Donations in lieu of flowers should be directed to the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation Fund for Columbia County (https://www.berkshiretaconic.org/bGivebCurrentFutureDonors/DonatetoaFund/AreaFunds/FundforColumbiaCounty.aspx). For those who may not be able to make the service, the family welcomes visitors on Friday after the service until 4:30 in the St. Peter’s fellowship hall.