Jerri Cortese

Obituary of Jerri Cortese

Heaven gained an angel when Jerri Cortese, 64, of Grant Avenue, Amsterdam, NY passed away on March 23, 2023, with her family by her side.  Born in Cortland, NY on June 22, 1958, Jerri was the youngest daughter of the late Gerald and Elizabeth Buckley Clark. 

She graduated from Cortland High School and furthered her education at Boston College where she completed her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Of course, typical of Jerri, she also made lifelong friends from both Cortland and BC.


A beautiful event occurred 34 years  ago, September 30, 1989, when Jerri married the love of her life, Philip V. Cortese.  With so much love to share, they welcomed their beloved daughter, Anna Li, when they brought her home in 1998 and the family flourished. 


Jerri began her professional career as Assistant Dean at Rivier College in Nashua, NH. She then moved on to Union College in Schenectady as the Director of Student Activities. She continued her career with mental health services at St. Mary’s Hospital in Amsterdam, and later worked at Liberty Enterprises as Human Resources Director.  For the last 20 years, Jerri served as the Director of Community and Public Relations at St. Mary’s Healthcare, retiring in 2020.  These were demanding and important roles that Jerri tackled with her trademark energy, attention to detail and unbounded good spirit!


Jerri’s dedication to her community was evidenced in her active involvement in many different organizations including; St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation & Auxiliary, The Montgomery County Office For Aging Foundation, The Amsterdam Rotary Club and Ful-Mont Community Action Agency. She insisted that she wasn’t political, yet she was instrumental in helping Phil win his election to Montgomery County Family Court in 2002, and re-election in 2012.


Her greatest joy was being surrounded by her family, friends, colleagues and pets. Jerri was a dog person and Phil a cat person. Together they loved golden retrievers and many cats. They welcomed friends and family to their home on a seemingly constant basis. Their annual Christmas tree decorating party was legendary – drawing friends and family together to celebrate the holiday season with good food, song and laughter!  She and Phil enjoyed occasional “get-away” trips with her sister, Kathy and “big brother” Mike.


Although there is no place like home, Jerri’s heaven on earth was spending time at the family’s lake house on Owasco Lake where she invited friends to join in boat rides, barbecue dinners, laughter and beautiful lake sunsets. She was an avid water skier and accomplished downhill skier. She and Phil spent many years with their friends from Kathy’s Ski House in Killington, Vermont. 


Jerri’s parents instilled in her a love for travel and photography. She and Phil were delighted to continue the tradition, introducing Anna to the world at large.  


Survivors include her husband, Philip V. Cortese; one daughter, Anna Li Cortese; two sisters, Kathleen Ann Cavanaugh, and her husband Mike, Barbara Sue Clark and her husband, Fred Telling; along with nieces, nephews, cousins and many, many dear friends and loved ones. 


She will be deeply missed by everyone who had the pleasure of enjoying her youthful spirit, infectious laugh and comforting kindness.  Jerri would end every visit or phone call with a cheerful “loveyoubye!”  We love you too. 


A Service of Remembrance will take place on Friday, March 31, 2023, at 11a.m. at the Betz, Rossi & Bellinger Family Funeral Home, 171 Guy Park Avenue, Amsterdam.


Relatives and friends are invited and may call on Thursday, March 30, 2023 from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. at the funeral home. Please visit the online memorial at


In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Montgomery County Office for Aging Foundation, 135 Guy Park Avenue, Amsterdam, NY, the Amsterdam Rotary Club Foundation, PO Box 21, Fort Johnson, NY 12070 or the Montgomery County SPCA, PO Box 484, Amsterdam, NY 12010.  


The family extends their deepest gratitude and thanks to Dr. Cummings and his wonderful staff at Amsterdam Family Practice, the doctors and medical staff at Ellis Medicine Pulmonary Unit and Sunnyview Rehabilitation Hospital for their care, compassion and professionalism. 


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Calling Hours

4:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Thursday, March 30, 2023
Betz, Rossi & Bellinger Family Funeral Home
171 Guy Park Ave
Amsterdam, New York, United States

Service of Remembrance

11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Friday, March 31, 2023
Betz, Rossi & Bellinger Family Funeral Home
171 Guy Park Ave
Amsterdam, New York, United States