Myron Joel ‘Mike’ Rindsberg

MILLERTON — The world got a little smaller on July 29, 2019, when Myron Joel Rindsberg (known as “Mike” by his many friends and “Mr. Rindsberg” by the countless number of students he mentored) passed away. He’d had a good run, however, as he’d been born in New York City 89 years earlier, on Jan. 8, 1930. 

Mike found himself alone at age 16, but he didn’t let that deter him, rising early every morning to work in the then-potato fields of Bridgehampton, N.Y., before heading to school to work equally hard.  After he was graduated first in his high school class, he was graduated from New York State College for Teachers (now SUNY Albany) in 1951 and then took graduate-level classes at Cornell.

Mike also served as a sergeant in the Army during the Korean War,  stationed in the intelligence division in New Jersey. While he was very proud of his service to his country, he became very much a pacifist later in life. 

He longed for a world in which everyone got along and accepted one another regardless of their differences, part of his legacy that we all would benefit from emulating today.

 Life then took Mike to Ticonderoga, where he taught history and English, before he made his way to his final workplace: the Webutuck School District, where he served for a short time as a guidance counselor and principal before becoming the superintendent of schools, a job he retired from roughly 30 years later. 

As a retired teacher at Webutuck recently noted, Mike “was an outstanding proponent of everyone receiving an education. This man knew what worked in education and spent the majority of his life trying to structure a system to make it happen.”

During his tenure at Webutuck, Mike tirelessly served the many students who were enrolled there over the years. He often remembered their names many years later, but when he couldn’t, he’d laughingly tell them that was a good sign, as he remembered the troublemakers the most. 

Webutuck was small enough that Mike got to know the students so well that he often knew of their personal struggles at home, and he tried to lend a hand, as he was beyond anything else compassionate. In one such case, Mike knew that a promising student had lost his father and was planning to help his mother keep the family business afloat after graduation, meaning he likely wouldn’t go to college. “Mr. Rindsberg,” as he was in that situation, personally drove the student to look at Cornell and helped him get admitted. That student later went on to Harvard Law School and became President Clinton’s National Security Advisor.

During his retirement, Mike volunteered at numerous local organizations. None was as near and dear to him as the NorthEast-Millerton Library, where he served on the board for many years. 

What Mike probably will be remembered for the most, however, is his signature smile and twinkle in his eye. 

They were both very evident when he was skiing or playing tennis in his younger years, when he was watching the Mets (he could still call balls and strikes with great accuracy near the end of his life) or the Duke men’s basketball team, when he was eating a good meal, and when he was surrounded by family and friends. 

Mike was predeceased by his wife, Doris, the love of his life. He is survived first and foremost by the lights of his life, his grandchildren, Doris (and her husband, Andrew) Pierson and Tony Berman. Mike also is survived by his daughters, Sarah Ellen and Jane Emily Rindsberg; his loving son-in-law (and Jane’s husband), Steve McDonald; and his close friend Judy Kulick. They all joined together for a private burial in Albany.

 Mike’s family would like to thank the caregivers who enriched his life until the end, Norma Baker, Chrissy Reid and Tammy Rose. Tammy was with Mike by far the longest, and although she joined him as a caregiver, she left as a dear friend.  

If you would like to do anything in Mike’s memory, please do what he would have done and try to give someone an opportunity that he/she might not have had otherwise. 

One way to do that is to make a donation to the NorthEast-Millerton Library (P.O. Box 786, Millerton, NY 12546, and please note that the donation is in Mike’s memory).