Teresa Van Seters, 96, of Frederick, PA and formerly of Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY passed away on January 7, 2021 from Covid-19. She was the wife of the late Henry Van Seters who passed away in 2005. Born in Garfield, NJ, she was a daughter of the late Frank and Maria (Chmielowich) Dec.
As a child of Polish immigrants, she became English speaking after entering public kindergarten. Her parents kept her heritage alive by sending her to Polish school which she attended after public school thereby learning to read, write, and speak Polish fluently and sang in the school choir. She was proud of her heritage and maintained a lifelong interest in learning about other nationalities and languages.
When she was 17, Teresa answered a local newspaper ad for a physician’s office position. The physician, Dr. Dean A. Wry of Clifton, NJ subsequently knocked on the door of her home as she was mopping the floor, interviewed, and hired her on the spot. She worked tirelessly in his office and became a skilled assistant over the next 10 years as well as a Licensed Practical Nurse.
Unbeknownst to her at the time, she gave overseas inoculations to a handsome WWII soldier serving in the Coast Guard, named Henry. Two years later he would come back and ask her out, they’d fall in love and marry.
In 1954 Teresa and Henry settled in Cornwall-on-Hudson to raise their 2 children. Henry was now employed at the USMA at West Point and Teresa was home full-time with the children.
She became a Registered Medical Assistant and Registered Medical Technician and worked part time at the Cornwall Hospital. Later she worked full time for Dr. George W. Benninger in his New Windsor NY office, retiring in 1986.
Teresa was an active member of the Cornwall-on-Hudson Presbyterian Church. She recognized leadership qualities in a young Sunday school student named David, long before he became four-star General Petraeus. For years she invited the congregation to hold him in their prayers each week.
She served as a deacon, sang in the choir and was a frequent soloist. She studied voice and was a member of the Classic Choral Society. She loved choral and pipe organ music and supported her husband’s pipe organ building & servicing business alongside his USMA Pipe Organ curator position. She sang in the Cadet Chapel performance of Handel’s Messiah for over 3 decades. She supported and encouraged professional and young musicians in their pursuit of music careers and attended countless performances in the Hudson Valley.
Skilled at handcrafts such as embroidery, sewing, tatting, knitting & crocheting she created many items still in use today. Her afghans and baby blankets are an expression of her warm hearted, generous nature and were gifted to many.
Teresa is survived by a daughter, Karen, wife of Richard Fain of East Greenville, PA; grandchildren: Karlee Fain of PA, Kaylyn (Arlando Hamilton) Fain of PA, Kelsey (Matthew Giordano) Fain of NYC; 2 great grandsons, Elijah & Julian Hamilton; several nieces, nephews. She is survived by chosen son A. Robert Chapman of Martinsville, VA with whom she and Henry shared a long, loving mentorship. Along with her parents, husband and 2 older brothers, Emil (Violet) Dec, Matthew (Helen) Dec, Teresa was predeceased by a son, Dean Van Seters, who died Oct. 24, 2020.
All are invited to a graveside service at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 16th at George Washington Memorial Park Cemetery, 234 Paramus Rd., Paramus, NJ where she will be laid to rest alongside her husband.
Additionally, a service will be held over the next few weeks via Zoom. Please contact falkfuneralhomes.com if you would like to be notified when the day and time are finalized.
The family wishes to thank the many loyal friends who have maintained contact with Teresa over the past 7 years in PA as well as the staff and residents of Frederick Living for their exceptional care and concern.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in her memory to Cornwall-on-Hudson Presbyterian Church Pipe Organ Fund or Hudson Valley Food Bank. Visit her “Book of Memories” at falkfuneralhomes.com.