Harvey Semilof Obituary

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Dear Paul & Staff - Thank you for your compassion, kindness and professionalism during our time of loss and sorrow. We appreciate everything you did for our family.
Troy & Scott Ashdown and family

Paul and Staff - Your compassion helped us deal with our loss, and your professionalism was unsurpassed in helping us plan his wake and service. It truly was a celebration of David's life.
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Dear Paul and Staff - When you took our choices and put them into action (I am an OCD perfectionist) I could not have orchestrated the whole process better if I had directed it myself. You went above and beyond. It was phenomenal. I mean phenomenal!!!

"Personally, I think you have really answered your true calling in life, to help us deal with the death of a loved one."
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Dear Paul & Staff - We cannot begin to express our gratitude to you for all you did to make the passing of Mom easier for us to get through. Every aspect was perfect, from making the arrangements, to making mom beautiful, to decorating with mom's things, the funeral and graveside. We will never forget your kindness and compassion during a very difficult time in our lives.
Cindy and John Belsito

Paul and Staff - Thank you for all you did to make sure Harold was laid to rest with lots of love and dignity. I appreciate your kind, courteous and professional service.
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Dear Paul and Staff - Thank you!! Thank you!! For the manner in which you handled Tony's funeral. We were very pleased. God bless you!!
Anne Greco & son Tony

Dear Paul & Staff - I wanted to thank you for all your help with my father, Howard Fox's funeral. We were so pleased with how everything was handled by you and your staff. Paul, I know that my niece really appreciated your guidance when she did the readings in church.
Evelyn Hopp

Dear Paul and Staff - I just would like to thank you for your kindness that you gave to my husband John, during these sad times of losing both of his parents. The professionalism that you showed was outstanding but most of all your compassion and caring meant so much to us all.
Blessings & Prayers, Nancy & John Napoleon

Dear Paul and Staff - There are not enough words to thank you all. You are very special to me and I will never forget and will always be grateful to all of you.
Very Truly Yours
Kathy Napierkowski

Dear Paul and Staff - Jeff's passing was as much a shock for you, as for our family. Your kind, caring ways; your gentle guidance through those first few days after his death and ultimately through the calling hours and funeral - you never failed to be there when we needed you and continue to do so now. Our community is extremely fortunate to have you here to respond and assist families at such difficult times.
Joanne Fredenberg and Family

Dear Paul,
Words cannot express how grateful my sister and I are for all you did for our father, Thomas Turck's, funeral. You and your staff were always professional, courteous and attentive to all of our requests. From the time that Joanne and I sat with you to discuss and finalize the details for the funeral, through the burial, you could not have made it easier for us, and your attention to detail was excellent. Our father would have appreciated all the military detail, including the Army insignia on the hearse and the presenting of the three flags at the cemetery.
Joanne and I both thank you!

Harvey D. Semilof
Harvey D. Semilof

April 8, 2017
Resided in Kingston, NY


Harvey D. Semilof, 85, a sweet and gentle soul, of Kingston, NY and Stuart, FL, son of Alex and Sadie B. Semilof, joined beloved friends and family, former football team mates and Lehigh University alums, fellow horsemen, all with front row seats at a Benny Goodman concert, smiling, singing and laughing. They are the lucky, who will now forever enjoy his unmatched wit and humor.

Born in Brooklyn, NY, the family moved to Kingston, NY in 1948 where they grew a family business, the Federal Venetian Blind Corp. "The Factory", on O'Neil St. He graduated from Kingston High School, class of 1950, and Lehigh University, class of 1954, of which he was forever proud. "Old 68" or "Dirty Harve" was a standout offensive lineman for the Lehigh football team and remembered the words to every one of the old Lehigh fight songs.

He married Rhona Friedland in 1955, after having met in Buffalo while he briefly attended the University of Buffalo, School of Law, quitting after his first year because he thought it was boring. He joined the army, and the two began a yearlong adventure living on Clark Air Force in the Philippines, while he worked in army intelligence. When his father became ill they returned to Kingston where he remained, where he raised three daughters, Leigh, Margie and Suzanne.

For many years he bred, owned and raced Standardbred harness horses, mostly at Saratoga and Monticello. For years you could find him nearly every morning, even on the bitterest, coldest days, with Charlie and Frankie Tiano, and the gang, at Fortune Valley, where they fed and jogged the horses. We are sure he's sharing coffee and a Danish with these guys at a celestial version of the Park Diner. When he retired in the 1990s, he took up golf and eventually became a part-time resident of Stuart, FL., where he collected even more wonderful friends. He was a game Bridge player, a so-so golfer and a terrible bowler. For one hilarious season, he deviously used his historically large handicap to win the only bowling tournament he was ever entered in, over at the old Midtown lanes.

Harvey had encyclopedic knowledge of so many things – classic movies, big bands, the Brooklyn Dodgers, to name just a few. He was the beating heart of so many gatherings. Through the years he was also active in civic organizations. For example, he served on the town planning board in Lake Katrine, and he was president of the Exchange Club where he started a Junior Football League. But more important, he attended an uncountable number of his daughter's band concerts, dance recitals, graduations, always ready, always there – and usually an hour early. He only wanted to know how you were doing, and was always happy if you were happy.

He is survived by his beloved wife of 61 years, Rhona, who is the best caregiver in the world. His daughters, Dr. Leigh Semilof, DVM, Margie and her husband Charles Collinson, Suzanne and her husband, John Souza, and their daughters, Karen and Christine, his brother, Duke Semilof of Sarasota, Florida. A sister, Arlene Neporent, died in February. He also leaves many nieces and nephews, cousins, and a cast of thousands - friends who are like family. Among them – Frank and Kathy Tiano and family, Chris and Brandi Poenicke and family, RJ and Natalie Kelder and family.

A Funeral Service will be held on Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at 1:00 PM at the Simpson-Gaus Funeral Home, 411 Albany Ave at 1:00 PM, with Rev. Charles Stickley, officiating.

Interment will follow in Montrepose Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the charity of your choice.

As Irving Berlin once said, a song has ended, but a beautiful melody lingers on.




Simpson-Gaus Funeral Home
411 Albany Ave.
Kingston, NY US 12401
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
1:00 PM
Montrepose Cemetery
Montrepose Avenue
Kingston, NY US 12401
Wednesday, April 12, 2017




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