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A remarkable lifetime educator and volunteer community leader died peacefully in his home
surrounded by his loving family on Sunday, December 3, 2023. Chester L. “Roy” Dexheimer Jr., 89, was
born on January 18, 1934, the son of Chester L. and Dorothy (Cornell) Dexheimer.
Roy is survived by his beloved wife, Frances of Ithaca, his three children: Eric (Robin) of Austin,Tx; Karen
Smith (Dan) of Poughkeepsie, NY; Paul (Jill) of Medina, OH; their mother, Betsy of Medina, OH and seven
entertaining grandchildren. He also loved Fran’s seven children, Rick Mooney (Eilleen); Chris Mooney
(Kim); Steve Mooney; Juliet Kubiniec (Tom); Katy Mooney Lui; Emily Shipe (Ron) and Ted Mooney
(Catrina) and their eight delightful children.
After graduating from Hobart and William Smith Colleges, the U.S. Army, and Columbia University, Roy
taught high school English classes in Rochester’s elite West Irondequoit High School. He was then
selected for a unique university doctoral program in school administration based at the University of
Rochester, sponsored (and paid for) by the Ford Foundation.
At the age of 28, Roy became the youngest school district administrator in the State of New York when
he was appointed as Supervising Principal (superintendent) for the rural schools of South Kortright in the
beautiful Catskill mountains. In 1969, he completed his doctorate and was chosen as Superintendent
for the Batavia City School District where he achieved regional notoriety for refusing to call snow days
except during actual life-threatening, white-out blizzards – and even then reluctantly. After 13 years in
Batavia, he was appointed as District Superintendent in Ithaca for the Tompkins-Seneca-Tioga
Supervisory District, including its BOCES. In 1999, Roy retired after 18 years and was selected as Vice
President for Development at Hobart and William Smith Colleges where he served for two years. He
concluded his career as an educator with a full year as the interim Superintendent for the South Seneca
Central School District, and then an additional year as the interim Superintendent for the Groton Central
At the conclusion of his lengthy career in education, Roy was recognized by receiving an honorary
degree from Hobart and William Smith Colleges, an Outstanding Educator award from the Michigan
State University School of Education, and the Distinguished Service Award from the New York State
Council of School Superintendents (NYSCOSS). He was further honored by having the TST BOCES
Administrative Services building in Ithaca named for him.
Roy also strongly believed he owed volunteering in the communities where he was employed. These
included serving on the Hobart & William Smith Board of Trustees for 30 years, leading the Western
New York Rotary program for Exchange Students, Chairing the Genesee County United Way campaign;
and in Ithaca, the Library and Hospital Foundations. Roy served on the Ithaca City School Board of
Education (both as a member and as president), and his favorite, the Hangar Theatre Board.
Roy loved tennis. He was introduced to the game during his time at Hobart College and continued
playing well past the age of 70. Win or lose, he played with great finesse and had a talent for
intimidating his opponents verbally to increase his advantage.
Roy found a second profession in lawncare and was known in his neighborhood for the meticulous care
of his own lawn as well as many neighboring lawns. His expertise extended to the Hangar Theatre,
where he gifted a John Deere tractor and spent many years mowing on very very hot days.
Roy enjoyed “snowbirding” in Fort Myers with Fran for many years as well as summer visits to his Aunt’s
home on Cape Cod.
Roy was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Phyllis Lennon.
Roy felt he had a fulfilling life, both personally and professionally, and he was grateful for the intimate
friends and related family who crafted those two privileges.
Visitation 3-6 pm on Friday, December 15, 2023 and 12 -2 pm on Saturday, December 16, 2023 at Perkins Funeral Home, 55 W. Main St., Dryden, NY.
A Prayer Service will be held privately for the family.
Any donations to honor Roy’s life and friendship should go to the Hangar Theatre in Ithaca (P.O. Box 205, Ithaca, NY 14851).
A Celebration of Roy's Life will take place at Hobart & William Smith Colleges at a later date to be announced.