History & Staff

We have years of experience caring for families, from all walks of life. Each family comes to us because they know we are leaders in our profession, dedicated to excellence in service, and have the highest integrity.

Our History

Our History

The History of Mereness-Putnam Funeral Home

A native of the Cobleskill area, Mr. Fenton Mereness was a graduate from the former Barnes School of Anatomy, Sanitary Science and Emblaming in Dallas, TX.  Mr. Mereness enlisted in the United States Army to serve two years in World War I.  During his tour of duty, he had the opportunity to tender to the fallen heroes of that time, which in turn sparked his interest to a potential career on his home front.  After a honorable discharged from the Army, he returned to the United States, attended Embalming School at Barnes in Dallas, and graduated.  He would obtain a position with the Berger Funeral Home in Richmondville, NY and remained with the establishment during its relocation to Union Street in Cobleskill, NY.  In 1933, he began construction of his own establishment at the current Elm Street site of the soon-to-be Mereness Funeral Home.  Its doors officially opened to the public in 1934.  Mr. Mereness would go on to serve families in the Cobleskill and surrounding areas in their time of need for another 36 years until his son, Mr. Oliver Mereness, succeeded him as owner.

Oliver Mereness received his degree in Embalming and Undertaking from Simmons Institute of Funeral Services in Syracuse, NY.  Mirroring his father, the younger Mereness also enlisted in the United States Army to serve his country in World War II.  After being honorably discharged, he returned to his hometown of Cobleskill to assist his father in the day to day operation of running Mereness Funeral Home.  This partnership continued for many years until the elder Mereness retired to let the younger Mereness become sole owner in 1970.  Oliver Mereness would oversee all aspects of the operations until his retirement in 1990, upon which he sold the business to Mrs. Janet Putnam of Middleburgh, NY and changed the name to Mereness-Putnam Funeral Home.

Mrs. Putnam is formerly of Olean, NY and Wellsboro, PA.  She is a 1982 graduate of Mansfield State University in Mansfield, PA and was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in Family and Community Services.  She moved to the Middleburgh, NY area to shadow her father, the late Joseph C. Spink, at Palmer & Shaylor, Inc. Funeral Home in mid 1982.  She entered the Mortuary Science program at Hudson Valley Community College at Troy, NY in 1984, graduated in 1985 and returned to Palmer & Shaylor to begin her career in Funeral Service.  Pursuing her dream of purchasing her own establishment, Mrs. Putnam purchased Mereness Funeral Home in 1990 and relocated her young family to Cobleskill, NY.  She and her father maintained a close working relationship in the operation of both establishments until his death in 2007.  Her husband, Richard of Scotia, NY, joined the firm in 1996, entered the Mortuary Science program at Hudson Valley Community College, in 1998 and graduated in 2000. 

Our Valued Staff

  • Janet Spink Putnam

    Janet Spink Putnam Licensed Funeral Director

    Janet is a third generation Funeral Director. She was born in Allegheny, NY and grew up in Wellsboro, PA. She is the daughter of the late Joseph C. Spink and the late Noreen Donnellan Spink. She has four siblings, Linda West of Wellsboro, Pennsylvania, Kevin Spink of Eagle River, Alaska, Dr. Damon Spink of Silverton, Oregon, and Karen Donnelly of Roseboom, New York. Janet first received her Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Services from the former Mansfield State College in 1982. She then went on to receive her Associates degree in Mortuary Science from Hudson Valley Community College, Troy NY in 1985. Wife of Richard and mother of Austin (Laura Fitzpatrick) and Cassie (Brendan Killian) and Gigi to Odin Richard Fitzpatrick Putnam, Soren Carter Fitzpatrick Putnam and Fallon Ki Killian. They have resided in Cobleskill, NY since purchasing Mereness Funeral Home from previous owner, Mr. Oliver Mereness in 1990.

  • Richard Putnam

    Richard Putnam Licensed Funeral Director

    Richard is a first generation Funeral Director. He was born in Scotia, New York and is the son of the late Lewis Putnam, most recently of Palm Bay, Florida and the late Sheila (Menhinick) Putnam, most recently of Scotia, New York. He has six siblings, Leslie (Ronald) Wood of Rotterdam, NY, Michael (Sherry) Putnam of Greensboro, NC, Lee Wade of Rotterdam, NY, Lori (Gregory) Steese of Middleburg, FL and Tracey Smith of Glenville, NY, and a brother, Timothy, who died in April of 2017. He became a licensed Funeral Director in 2000 after graduating from the Mortuary Science Program at Hudson Valley Community College located in Troy, NY. He is the husband of Janet Spink Putnam, and father of Austin (Laura Fitzpatrick) Putnam and Cassandra (Brendan Killian). He is also Papa to Odin Richard Fitzpatrick Putnam, Soren Carter Fitzpatrick Putnam and Fallon Ki Killian.

  • Nicole Barber

    Nicole Barber Licensed Funeral Director

    Nicole is a second generation Funeral Director, proudly following in her maternal grandfather's footsteps. She was born in Herkimer and grew up in Fort Plain, NY. Nicole is the daughter of Ron and Eileen (Hayes) Kretser. She has 2 sisters; Sheena Kretser of Fort Plain and Savannah (Dan) Johnson of Cobleskill. Though Nicole always felt her true calling was within the funeral service industry, she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Social Philosophy from SUNY Cortland in 2005. Ultimately, and with the encouragement and support of her loving family, Nicole pursued a degree in Mortuary Sciences from Hudson Valley Community College and obtained her Associate in Applied Sciences in 2016. Nicole resides with her husband, Charles Barber; daughter, Ziva; and son, Asher.Though Nicole is a new face to the community in Cobleskill, she brings several years of experience from her previous employment at another local funeral home in the Upstate New York area. She is delighted to have found her place at Mereness-Putnam Funeral Home as a licensed Funeral Director alongside Janet and Richard, and is dedicated to ensuring their rich history of 'serving every family as our own' continues on.