The Recorder

Franz Walter Brill

September 21, 2017


Coach Franz Walter Brill, of Arkell Center Apartments, Canajoharie, N.Y., passed away on Sept. 21, 2017, at the age of 91.

Born on May 19, 1926, in Stratford, N.Y., he was the son of Bruno Walter Brill and Martha Jane Voorhees Brill. He was a graduate of the Dolgeville Central School Class of 1944.

On June 7, 1944, Franz entered into the US Navy, serving proudly for 27 months during World War II on the USS Cabildo LSD 16.  After the war he obtained his Bachelor of Science Degree at Cortland State Teacher’s College on the GI Bill, with a major in health and physical education.

He began his teaching career at Clarence Central School in 1951, followed by Attica Central School (1954-1955), Canajoharie Central School (1955-1968), West Genesee Central School (1968-1970), where he supervised the Title 3 Handicapped Swimming Program where he taught many children how to swim. In 1970 he began his administrative career in Baldwinsville, where he was the district supervisor for health education. He became the vice principal at Hunter-Tannersville Central Schools (1972-1975). He served as principal for the Richmondville Central School District (1975-1977). Following that, he retired from his career as superintendent from Waterford/Halfmoon Union Free  School (1977-1982). After his “retirement” he was the operation manager for Camp Fowler in Lake Pleasant, N.Y.

Franz loved to coach. He coached football, wrestling, skiing, swimming and baseball. The crowning achievement of Franz’s coaching life was the 1962 undefeated Canajoharie football season. He brought the Canajoharie Redskins through a tough schedule and they are still talking about it today. He dedicated his professional life to building up young people, and challenging them to be their best. He often said he had “so many kids.” Well done, Coach.

He loved his family, and he was devoted to his wife Janet, of 69 years, whom he married on June 25, 1948, at the Universalist Church of Dolgeville’s Parsonage. While Franz taught, coached and later administered in varying school districts throughout New York State, the family had opportunities in 19 different times and towns to meet new people and develop relationships.

He lead his family through camping trips in the Adirondack Mountains, he taught his children, to snow ski and water ski. Franz enjoyed woodworking and cabinet making. He made wooden toys for his grandchildren, many of them which are still in use and loved today. He also loved to travel and visit old friends. He was able to hold friendships and close contacts throughout the decades. One year he and Janet drove 10,000 miles across country visiting friends and family. Recent years have afforded them the opportunity to return to Canajoharie, where they were able to  reconnect to dear friends.

Franz served in many civic organizations. He was a member of the Canajoharie Reformed Church, Unity Lodge No. 79 of Free and Accepted Masons of Canajoharie, formerly known as Hamilton. He was past Master Mason of the Hamilton Lodge for two terms in the late 1960’s, a member of the American Legion Post No. 222 of Canajoharie and he was active in the American Legion Post in Clarence, N.Y., while living there.  He was also a member of the USS Cabildo, LSD16 Association, serving as treasurer, and attending their many reunions throughout the country.

Franz is survived by his wife Janet Brill, of Canajoharie, N.Y.; three children, Wendy Sue Brill Yuknis (Paul) of Green Cove Springs, Fla., Christine A. Brill Zusy of Waterford, N.Y., Douglas J. Brill (Annie) of Voorheesville, N.Y.; his sister Gretchen Young of Dryden N.Y.; his brother Laurence Brill of Aurora, Colo.; eight grandchildren, Heidi, Kirlkland, Kyle, Jordynn, Paige, Quinn, Jacob and Daniel; and two great-grandchildren, Skyler and Callie. He is also survived by many beloved nieces, nephews and cousins.

Franz was predeceased by his brothers Baby Richard, and Douglas Allen Brill; his brother-in-law John Young; as well as his parents in later years.

A funeral service will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017, at noon at The Canajoharie Reformed Church, 15-19 Front St., Canajoharie, N.Y. The family will receive relatives and friends on Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, from 4 to 7 p.m. at The Chapel of Houghtaling & Smith Funeral Home, Inc., 20 Otsego St., Canajoharie, N.Y. Burial will take place in Dolgeville Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers please consider a donation in memory of Mr. Brill to The Canajoharie Fire & Rescue, PO Box 28, Canajoharie, NY 13317 or to the Fort Plain VFW Earl Stock Memorial Post No. 3275, 30 River Street, Fort Plain, NY 13339.

Please sign the online guestbook for Mr. Brill at