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Lewis W. Hallenbeck

December 7, 2012

 

Lewis W. Hallenbeck

1919-2012

 

Lewis W. Hallenbeck was born on Nov. 25, 1919 in Albany, N.Y. but spent much of his childhood in a farmhouse on the banks of the Mohawk River at Hoffman’s Ferry with his parents, Margaret (Lewis) and Johnson Potter Hallenbeck, and brother, Robert, and sister, Mary.

As a child he developed a strong interest in baseball, playing in the local church leagues (Emmanuel Presbyterians) while in high school (Amsterdam High) and college, and pitching for Headquarters against the Cooks and Bakers while stationed on South Pacific Islands during World War II. He was an ardent Yankees fan his whole life. 

Lewis graduated from Union College with a BSCE in 1940 and then went on to work with the Army Corps of Engineers, assisting in the design of fortifications to protect New York harbor and Long Island while earning his Masters in Civil Engineering, studying at night at New York University. As World War II escalated, he joined the United States Navy in 1942 and served in the South Pacific with the storied Naval Construction Battalion (Sea Bees), the 18th Special, until after the end of the war. Upon being discharged as a Lieutenant Commander he returned to civilian life, working again with the Army Corps of Engineers on large flood control projects in Pennsylvania and New York.

Lewis married his wife of 65 years, Coreen Pryor, on July 4, 1947 in Hornell, N.Y. and began a long and significant career (32-and-a-half years) with the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) where he was instrumental in the development of the Interstate highway system in western New York as director of Region 6. Promoted to Chief Engineer in 1977, Mr. Hallenbeck oversaw the growth of the NYSDOT into a multimodal transportation provider, integrating waterways, railroads and transit systems into the department’s mission. He also led the Department of Transportation’s transition into the modern technological era with the incorporation of computers and new innovative communication devices into the workplace. He retired in December 1981 and he and Coreen began their second careers as genealogists.

Lew Hallenbeck was always a force in any community in which he lived, participating in the American Legion (a 63-year member of Post 440), Moose Lodge, Elks Lodge, Little League Baseball, Boys Scouts of America, member of the Hornell Planning Commission, St. James Mercy Hospital Board, the Southern Tier Library Board, Hornell Public Library Board, etc. He was a life member of the National Society of Professional Engineers. 

In retirement he continued to contribute to his community by his participation in the Albany Institute, University Club and Dutch Settlers Association. He and his wife Coreen raised a family of six children, and he had a lifetime of close involvement with his children and grandchildren, ever the devoted and loving father. He passed away Dec. 4, 2012.

Lewis W. Hallenbeck is survived by his wife, Coreen; six children, Julie (Mohammed) of Skillman N.J., Patrick (Carole) of Montreal, Quebec, Margaret of Philadelphia, Pa., John (Mary Ann) of Rocherster N.Y., Brenda (Gerard) of Framingham, Mass. and Tom (Kellie) of Bishop; his sister, Mary; 11 grandchildren, Rebecca, Charles, Jennifer, Jessica, Gregory, Gaelen, Timothy, Christopher, Allison, Andrew and Jacob; and six great-grandchildren. 

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Hallenbeck Family Endowed Scholarship Fund at Union College, or the Hornell Public Library.

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