23 Feb 2018, 9:42am

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The Walworthians: Heald Family Emus


The Walworthians


A collection of telephone interviews published in the Wayne County STAR Newspaper and Wayne County MAIL Newspaper, 1994-209

by Kate Chamberlin


The Heald Family’s Emus

June 04, 1997


Tweetie and Sylvester are two emus in our neighborhood. They live with the Heald family on the Walworth-Marion Road.

Shortly after Kevin and Barb (the former Barbara Denniston) were married on July 20, 1985, they bought the old Bulterman homestead.

“It had been abandoned for many years when we bought it,” Barb said. “We knew we wanted to live in a country environment and, eventually, be like a Dr. Doolittle with lots of kids and animals around.”

Two years ago, they visited friends who raised Emus (say: ee-meuuz) on their large farm on Eddy Ridge Road. They bought Tweetie and Sylvester, who began laying eggs this winter.

“Tweetie’s eggs are really very beautiful,” Barb said.

They are dark emerald green with speckled etches on the outer surface. They are layered with different colors of green.

Each egg is three and a half inches wide and four to five inches long.

One egg feeds a family of four quite nicely,” Barb laughed. “We began to wonder what to do with all the eggs we were getting.” Some of them were eaten and some of them were incubated. Four chicks have joined the flock, but, they have to be kept separate from the adults.

In their natural Australia, the males sit and incubate the eggs, but our winters here are much too cold for them. The healds put a pen up in their living room to protect the chicks.

No, I don’t think Barb meant that Kevin slept with the eggs!

The meat of the emu is considered red meat. It is 97% fat free. Oils from the emu are penetrating oils and used in cosmetics. Their feathers are used in jewelry.

Barb is a pal-mac high school and cobleskil graduate and employed by the Wayne Central School District as a computer technology assistant in the Freewill Elementary building. In 1995, she was hired to work one-on-one with a student who used a computer. Barb had to learn it in order to help the student. It kindled a love of computers she didn’t know she had.

Eventually in every classroom,” Barb said enthusiastically, “there will be four computers for the students to use plus one for the teacher.

“I’ll go into the classrooms to train the students how to use the computers.”

Her husband, Kevin is the owner and operator of Reds Lanscaping. I know Barb’s brother John introduced them and, if I can ever catch Kevin near a phone, I’ll tell you his side of the story.

Her son, Timothy, 11, enjoys chorus, playing his trumpet in the band and all sorts of sports.

Jessica is a Girl Scout and reads: Gertrude Chandler Warner’s The Boxcar children.

“I love living where we live,” Barb said. “It is so park-like. It is a great place to raise kids, emus and in a few weeks, piglets.”

The next time you see Barb, ask her to show you her imitation of an emu’s awkward run (and hope she doesn’t trip herself up!)

Thanks, Barb, you are a Walworthian, with the accent on worth.


2018 Up-Date: The Heald’s now own and operate an RV park in Macedon, NY, along the Erie Canal.


14 Feb 2018, 1:36pm

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The Walworthians: Ed Parkhurst


The Walworthians


A collection of telephone interviews published in the Wayne County STAR Newspaper and Wayne County MAIL Newspaper, 1994-209

by Kate Chamberlin



Ed Parkhurst, Fireman

April 02, 1997


Ed Parkhurst is one of the people in our neighborhood. He has recently been elected the Walworth Fire Department’s Fireman of the Year.

For more than half his life, Ed has been involved with one aspect or another dealing with fighting fires. When he and about 8 of his buddies were 15 years old, they joined the Jr. Firematics in Norwich, Connecticut. They learned how to handle the hoses, operate the breathing apparatus and other intricacies of what firemen do.

There were also several training courses by the State Forestry Department that taught them how to handle brush fires.

Ed joined the East Great Plain Fire Department when he was 16, through the Explorer Scout program. Right after high school, Ed joined the United States Air Force. He became part of the Military Police. He was also a volunteer fireman in the Rome Light Delta Fire Department. He was stationed in Rome for two years and then transferred to Europe for four years.

He attended Alfred College after his stint in the service. He lived in a mobile home and was involved in the Willings Volunteer Fire Department.

He relocated to Williamson and, of course, joined the Fire Department there until moving to Walworth in January, 1986.

He lives with his wife, Linda, and their 17 year old cat Betty Boo.

“Not Betty Boop, but Betty Boo!” Ed corrected me.

A mutual friend introduced Ed to Linda when he was stationed in Rome. They dated and, well, one thing led to another. They were married on November 12, 1977.

Ed is part of the New York State National Guard based in Niagara Falls, as well as an EMT-D, ambulance driver and Treasurer of the Walworth Fire Department.

Ed also has a “day job” as General Manager of the Taylor Rentals where you can rent just about any party item you might need from dance floors, tents and tables to wine glasses, napkins and flatware.    Linda is employed by the U. S. Postal Service in the Ontario Post Office.

“The toughest fire I fought was in Connecticut,” Ed said. “It was arson. The owner of a factory hired people to burn it. They had disabled the main water line, so we had no pressure. It was an old building probably 200 by 90 feet wide and four stories high with oil soaked wooden floors. The factory made plastic coated cables, so, there were toxic fumes to deal with. It was winter, too!”

“We called in suburban departments who had tankers and pumps. We pulled up river water to fight the blaze, he continued. “It took over 13 hours to get it under control.”

(Hm-m-m-m. Do Firemen tell fire tales the way fishermen tell fish tales?

Ed said that while there are no “good” fires, the easiest fires are chimney fires. They are relatively small and easy to put out.

I can personally say, though, that when I was home with my two toddlers in 1978 and had a chimney fire, I was never so happy as to welcome those men I didn’t know into my home.

They responded quickly to the fire call and were efficient and courteous. Someone even came back later when my husband was home, just to be sure everything was Okay.

Ed said he likes the Walworth community because the people are friendly and easy to get to know.

“I really hope the community will support the Volunteer Firemen’s Retirement Plan,” Ed said. “It is a way of rewarding the volunteers who keep up their training and provide a quality service to our community.”

Congratulations to Ed Parkhurst, the Walworth Fireman of the Year. You are a Walworthian with the accent on WORTH.


2018 Up-Date: If you have an up-date on Ed, give me a call. Let’s chat.


1 Feb 2018, 6:24pm

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The Walworthians: The Cross Stitch Corner


The Walworthians


A collection of telephone interviews published in the Wayne County STAR Newspaper and Wayne County MAIL Newspaper, 1994-209

by Kate Chamberlin


The Cross Stitch Corner

January 22, 1997


The Cross Stitch Corner is the newest Walworth-Seely Connection. Pat Salisbury is the proprietress of this new venture. She is locating in the same building as Potpourri of Gifts, 2256 Walworth-Marion Road.

Cross stitching is done with a sharp needle threaded with DMC floss, Whisper thread (angora) or yarn. These come in a wide variety of colors for shading, detailing and textures. The design is worked on 14 or 20 count fabric or Hucks cloth.

“I had the designer Alma Lynn sign a graph of one of her designs for my daughter,” Pat said. “I have several Alma Lynn’s folksy designs in my shop for people to use.”

You’ll be able to choose such projects as Wall hangings, a tea cozy, pillows, banners and whatever your imagination comes up with.

Pat has worked 30 years in retailing and for Sears in their Credit Adjustment Department

“I know the customer comes first,” Pat stated emphatically. I’ll be offering everything a person needs to create, start, implement and finish a project.”

Pat will be offering classes, but said she’d be willing to stitch an item to your specifications if you really can’t do it yourself.

(Keep in mind, Dear Readers, that I am going to do one, so what is YOUR excuse for not trying to do one?)

Pat will be offering flexible class times for adults, so they can come in the evening or during the day, depending on their schedule. Sign-ups and requests may be made at the shop or by phone.

The cost for a three-week adult class is tentatively, $7.50 plus $10 for a kit.

Classes for children 8-years and up will be scheduled for Sunday afternoon, tentatively, from 1 – 2 P.M. The cost of the children’s three week class is, tentatively, $6.00 plus $5 for the kit.

Pat had a co-worker at Sears who said: You have to meet my brother!

Obviously, Bob’s sister was an excellent match-maker!

Pat and Bob were married and have lived in Marion for more than 28 years. As their two daughters, Michelle (Stonehem) and Kimberly were growing up in Marion, Pat was a Girl Scout leader, Band Mom and involved in numerous other community activities.

The Cross Stitch Corner’s grand opening is January 23 – 26, 1997.Thursday and Friday, January 23-24: 11 Am – 8 PM Saturday, January 25: 10 AM – 5 PM; Sunday, January 26: Noon – 4 PM

“During the Cross Stitch Corner grand opening,” Pat said,” I’ll be offering a 10% discount. I hope to sell 5 skeins of floss for $1 all year around.

The Walworth Seely Connections: Potpourri of Gifts and The Cross Stitch Corner are located at 2256 Walworth-Marion Road; just east of Main Street. You can phone Edie Pasquini and Pat Salisbury at (315)986-7999, or, better yet, stop in and say “Good luck, Pat. Welcome to our neighborhood.”


2018 Up-Date: The Walworth-Seely building is now Roxy’s Beauty salon.

21 Jan 2018, 11:40am

Comments Off on An Icy Story

An Icy Story

Did I mention a fear of falling down stairs?  Add falling down icy ramps!


John held the Palmyra Court House door open for Dave, Tulip and me to exit the building yesterday.  We were there to see if the court would change his date, as John needed to attend a School Board meeting in order to graduate. We turned right to go down the ramp. I felt the slant and started to mince with little sliding steps  down the ramp holding  Dave’s hand  and Tulip’s harness. Dave was on my right, near the handrail.


My feet slipped out from under me. Dave jerked my right arm up to help stabilize me, but only managed to come down, too. I heard him say, “You pulled me down!” He’d landed on his back, knocking the wind out of him and somehow bruising his ribs. I landed on my left butt cheek, still holding his hand. I’m not sure why he didn’t grab the handrail on his right. I guess it all happened too quickly.


Someone said, “I’ll get the dog.”, but, although I’d dropped the harness, I’d kept hold of the leash. I suspect she was headed to greet  a young man that was near me!


Two young men were coming up the ramp and scrambled to get out of the way. One of them came to me and asked if I was okay and offered to help me up. I thanked him, but managed to get myself up; albeit a bit awkwardly. He asked again if I was okay, so I laughingly replied, “Yes. I’m well padded.”


I started to slip again, so he said he’d put his foot in front of mine, took my right hand and arm, and guided me down the ramp to where there was traction. Dave made the comment that we were going to sue, but, I shushed him. I suggested somebody should sand the ramp. I thanked him again and Dave grabbed my hand  and we proceeded to the van.


John said he was concerned that I’d hit my head and felt helpless about what to do.  We went to Yellow Mills for a bite to eat before John had to go attend the Pal-Mac School Board meeting for his government class.


This morning, Dave and I soaked in the hot tub, but my whole right side is sore. I’m using up my tube of asper-cream!


Be careful out there. It’s a nightmare.

January 9, 2018

Kate Chamberlin



“Dream it! Write it! Read it!”

11 Jan 2018, 6:35am

Comments Off on The Walworthians: Pembroke, Charles H.

The Walworthians: Pembroke, Charles H.

The Walworthians: Pembroke, Charles H.


A collection of telephone interviews published in the Wayne County STAR Newspaper and Wayne County MAIL Newspaper, 1994-2009

by Kate Chamberlin


Charles H. Pembroke

January 15, 1997


Charles H. Pembroke is one of the people in our neighborhood. He was born in the farm house on the Sherbourne Road farm (which eventually became Charlie Hack’s farm. A portion of this land is being bought by the town as a green space.)

Charlie remembers one snowy winter watching his father walk to the barn. He bobbed IN AND out of sight twice in the snow drifts before young Charlie saw the barn door open. That’s a lot of snow!

Charlie’s Dad used a horse team and cutter to deliver the mail. Young Charlie would often ride with his Dad.

“I remember one time we were out on Plank Road, near Dan Frederick’s place,” Charlie said. “It was really cold, snowy and windy. The cutter hit a drift and turned over. I had to chase after all the letters that were blowing around.”

“That mail route is how come I know so many people in Walworth,” Charlie said. “The only person I wrote about in my book that I didn’t personally know was Mrs. Emily Huntley’s grandfather.”

He has a copy of his book with him in Florida and confirmed dates by looking them up in it. There’s also a copy in the Walworth-Seely Library.

In time, his family moved into town. Charlie attended the Old Academy in the cobblestone building for First and Second Grades. Then, for Third and up he attended the Academy.

He nearly lost his life when he was about 6 years old. He’d gone to the old mill with his Dad. Someone had left the grain bin chute door open. Charlie backed up and fell down with the grain that was about to be ground. Fortunately his absence was noted and he was hauled out just in time.

As a boy, Charlie had some leg problems. He had his father’s old hunting dog, Fritz, trained to pull him to school in a dog cart.

“I even had him trained to pull with a goat,” Charlie chuckled. “I used them as a team until one day the goat geed instead of hawed! There was a terrible fight. That was the end of that.”

He sold the goat, harness and all, to a State Trooper for $15.

He was graduated from high school in 1935 and began working with J. Seely. He learned how to be a mechanic on the job.

In November, 1929, he attended meetings of the Firemen with his Dad. There were about 500 people living in Walworth at that time.  He became a charter member. It was the beginning of what became a life-time of dedication to the citizens in Walworth.

“We were working a barn fire south of Walworth, when the old truck just died,” Charlie remembered. “We had to get a new one really quick. A guy near Buffalo had a home-made one, so, we bought it.”

Milt Bradshaw and Charlie drove the open cock pit truck with two tanks and a pump on the back. It was so cold they nearly froze.

When Charlie was Commissioner of the Fire Department, plans were developed to build a new fire hall. Rosalyn Herriman designed the new fire hall shortly before her death.

What is now The Auction Hall, used to belong to the Firemen. It was used to hold fund raising events.

Many Walworthians remember round and square dances there. Actually, Charlie was playing the accordion for dances in Williamson when he met Bertha vanHouter.

They were married December 24, 1938. In due time they had two sons, Burton and Vaughan.

Charlie told me that in all their married years, he and Bertha have never had a really bad argument. (I’ll get her side of the story next time!)

His son, Vaughan remembers they were a “fire family”.

“In the early days, they didn’t have radios and telephones. The fire calls would come into Youngman’s Store or our home,” he said. We had to trip a siren switch. “I would then run across the street to write the location of the fire on a chalkboard.”

Charlie’s wife, Bertha, and Katie Youngman were organizers of the Ladies’ Auxiliary.

These and many other stories will be shared at the dedication in Charlie’s honor of the newest Walworth Ambulance on Sunday, January 19, 2 P.M. in the Walworth Fire Hall.

Come help us honor Charlie Pembroke, a Walworthian with the accent on WORTH.


2017 Up-Date:  The Walworth Historical Society fund raiser features “Walworth, As I remember It” by Charles Pembroke. Charlie died in 2003



4 Jan 2018, 5:40am

Comments Off on The Walworthians: New Year’s Resolutions

The Walworthians: New Year’s Resolutions

The Walworthians


A collection of telephone interviews published in the Wayne County STAR Newspaper and Wayne County MAIL Newspaper, 1994-209

by Kate Chamberlin


new year’s resolutions, 1995


There has been a cornucopia of area people, businesses, organizations, and events featured in this column during the past year. I contacted some of them to ask their thoughts about the coming year.

Arlene Lihou’s of Women AGLOW, said, “I have a desire for world peace and for people not to be in need of food and shelter; and, to know the love of Jesus Christ.”

Mrs. Jeanne Frey, D. A. R. Registrar, said,

“It has been such a busy year that I am Grateful to have made it through it.  Jean is looking forward to continued good health and lots of activities.

Donna Jeffers with St. Stephen’s Ministries, said,  “Our focus will be on continuing education with other churches in this area that also have St. Stephen’s Ministries.”

Rita Goebert, Reverse Curves Quilt Club, said,  “We are growing with new members.  We’ll be doing  a project for Faith Haven.  They are refurbishing three bedrooms.  We hope to   make a quilt for the home.”

“We’d like to make things to  share with other non profit organizations,” Rita said.  “We’re finding what fun it is to make reversible vests as gifts.”

Jan Mahoney, C. A. Palmer Fife and Drum Corps, said, “In the coming year, we’ll add to our list of songs, work on a set concert performance; and sharpen our marching maneuvers.

“My Dream/wish/hope,” Jan said, “is to get more memory in my computer, so we can computerize our inventory.”

My own wish for you during the coming year is that you feel needed; that you love and be loved; and that you have responsibility for what you know is worthwhile.

Copyright © 1995 by Kate Chamberlin; “Cornucopia”; Wayne County STAR Newspaper.


2018 Up-Date: Sometimes, when I read what I’d written decades ago, I’m surprised.  I don’t normally make New Year’s resolutions or have solutions, but my wish for you during the coming year is, still,  that you feel needed; that you love and be loved; and that you have responsibility for what you know is worthwhile.



29 Dec 2017, 5:43am

Comments Off on The Walworthians: Ormsby, Thomas R.

The Walworthians: Ormsby, Thomas R.

The Walworthians: Ormsby, Thomas R.


A collection of telephone interviews published in the Wayne County STAR Newspaper and Wayne County MAIL Newspaper, 1994-209

by Kate Chamberlin


Thomas R. Ormsby

November 20, 1996


Thomas R. Ormsby is one of the people in our neighborhood.

“Walworth was in shambles when we moved here 23 years ago,” he said. “They’ve done a great job cleaning it up, re-furbishing the houses and commercial buildings.”

Tom and his wife, Patricia, were living in Penfield when they began to look for a home in the country. They wanted it to be a relatively new home set back from the road. They searched for more than a year. On one of their forays into Walworth, they noticed a small sign that said “For Sale with land” on Walworth-Ontario Road.

“It was the kind of casual sign you’d put on a bicycle you wanted to sell,” Tom laughed. “We knew it was the home we wanted”

The Ormsby family moved into their home in October, 1973.

Their children, Steve, then 17 and Nancy, then 15, transferred into the Wayne Central School District.

Tom immediately began clearing trails on their 11-acre homestead.

“It was fun doing,” Tom said. “I could see immediate results!”

One of the results was a severe case of poison ivy that kept him out of work for several weeks!

Tom feels he has truly been a fortunate man, though.

He attended an all boy’s high school in Connecticut. One day when he was 16, he and a friend were driving home, they happened to see a gorgeous girl driving home from the Girl’s School. They took down her license plate number and asked the police for her address and phone number.

The girl was Pat. They dated for a while, but, they went their separate ways after high school. Pat went   to college and Tom joined the Navy. Eventually, they got back together and were married in 1954.

Tom’s job as a Supervisor of Control Design Engineers at Kodak allowed him to be home every night.

During the week, Tom would work on, in and around the house, but on weekends, they went camping. The tent was piled on top of the car and they spent quality time as a family.

“It was a captured audience. There weren’t any alternatives,” Tom said. “We played a lot of Monopoly and did all kinds of family activities. We had a lot of good times.”

Tom’s family values have shown up in our community, too.

He was an active member of the Walworth-Seely Library long before he became the Library Board Chairman.

“While I didn’t have a big hand in it,” he said. “I am very pleased with the new Town Hall and Library complex.”

When you enter the Library’s meeting room, you can see Tom’s handiwork. He made a special coat rack that can stand 6-feet tall for adults coats or lower to accommodate the children’s coats.

Working with wood is one of Tom’s hobbies.

A Pastor from England, Don Robinson, got him interested in carving walking sticks.

Tom carves a decorative, commemorative walking stick out of Basswood, willow or Boxelder.

Our Town Supervisor, Peg Churchill, has one with the Town Hall on it.

The true walking sticks have to be sturdier, so, they are carved from harder woods. He uses a special carving knife that is similar to a paring knife.

Tom made a sturdy walking stick for Ian Komorowski to use on his walking odyssey across America.

I first met Tom many years ago when his wife and I worked at the Teddy Bear Trail Nursery School. Pat had invited the children and teachers to have a picnic at their home.

I remember thinking that it brought Winnie-the-Pooh and the 100 Acre woods to life for all of us. Tom, of course, was our tour guide.

“I suppose it is safe to tell you that I was the Nursery School’s Santa Claus,” he said. “It was the greatest part-time job I ever had!”

Tom likes the charm of Walworth. He would like to see plans made to preserve its character.

I think with intelligent and compassionate people like Tom Ormsby working with us in our community, Walworth can continue to grow and be great.

Thank you, Tom, you are a Walworthian with the accent on WORTH.


21 Dec 2017, 5:09am

Comments Off on A Christmas Memory, 1998

A Christmas Memory, 1998

Christmas Memory, 1998


I was having trouble getting into the Christmas spirit. I wasn’t exactly depressed, just sort of in a Christmas valley. It didn’t seem worth the effort to get the decorations out of the basement. I couldn’t see them. Why bother with the felt, pocket calendar with the little charms to pin on the felt tree I’d made twenty years ago to help our first son count the days until Christmas. There’s no one around to count with me.

My angel collection wouldn’t collect dust if I kept them in the storage box and, as for a Christmas tree?

Well, my husband and I took our four-month old grandson to Keymel’s Christmas tree farm and chose the perfect tree, but it lay on our porch floor still wrapped in twine. Tyler’s too young to know about it and the one photo Dave took, didn’t turn out any way. Perhaps we’ll just chop it up for mulch in the spring.

There wasn’t much snow and it seemed like it was going to be a blue Christmas.

My daughter started the miracle. She made arrangements with my husband to baby-sit Tyler and then, invited me to go shopping with her. Shortly before we left our home to go meet her, our oldest son called from Syracuse and wanted to come for a visit. We suggested he meet us at Marion’s apartment in Clifton Springs. He did and we all went out for lunch.

From the restaurant, Dave and Will brought Tyler home for an afternoon of “male bonding”, while Marion and I headed for the Prime Outlet Mall.

The weather was almost balmy and perfect for walking around the open mall. We had a wonderful time of discussing gifts for family members, getting “charge card burn”, munching chocolate and getting to know each other as adult friends. We didn’t get home until after five o’clock.

The next weekend, Will and his wife came bearing a freshly baked loaf of ginger bread. It smelled so wonderful. We devoured thick slices of it with Brummel and Brown and honey on them.

Will and his wife made several trips into the basement while Dave put up the Christmas tree and lights. As each cherished ornament was brought out, They’d put it into my hands and I’d retell the story of its origin. The oldest ornament of them all was the tiny pink plastic pram that was given to me more than half a century ago in honor of my first Christmas.

It is our tradition that I place the angel on top of the tree as the final touch. Almost 29 years ago, after I’d cut the chiffon and lace for my wedding dress, I’d carefully put the extra fabric away for something special (and because I never throw anything out!).

Our angel is made from that special fabric. Her dress is white chiffon and her wings are lace. Her golden curls are actually a metal Chore Girl scrubber and her head is an old dolls head.

My daughter-in-law washed the angel’s face and handed her to me. Amid a chorus of directions, hoots, and hollers I located the top of the tree and placed our special angel atop the beautifully decorated evergreen tree.

Marion and Tyler arrived and, as I cuddled my grandson, the kids made Christmas cookies called Cherry Winks from a recipe handed down to me from my mother. Our home was bathed in pine fragrance and baking cookies mixed with the friendly banter of happy children working on a special project.

Our big rig/long hauler son, Paul, called during the afternoon to say he’d be coming home the day before Christmas. All our children will be joining us at the midnight church service Christmas eve and I know I’ll cry.

I may not be able to see the pretty lights or see my son’s hair line receding or the gayly wrapped presents or even the large box containing our grandson’s new crib, but I can smell the ginger bread and munch on Cherry Winks as I rock my grandson.

Best of all, I can feel the hugs and love that make this a blessed Christmas.


My wish is that you, too, can find the blessings in your situation during this festive time and throughout the new year.




2017 Up-Date:  This past August, Dave and I celebrated 47 years of marriage. The four-month year old in this memory is now a 19-year old Marine serving over-seas. Our three children and their families are in CA, PA, and NY. Dave and I told them we’d spend Christmas with whoever had the youngest child. Our 9 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren find it very entertaining when their Mimi climbs up the step-stool to put the angel atop the brightly lit Christmas tree each year.


My wish is still that you, too, can find the blessings in your situation during this festive time and throughout the new year.

7 Dec 2017, 2:16pm

Comments Off on The Walworthians: Miller, Ruth L.

The Walworthians: Miller, Ruth L.

The Walworthians: Miller, Ruth L.


A collection of telephone interviews published in the Wayne County STAR Newspaper and Wayne County MAIL Newspaper, 1994-209

by Kate Chamberlin

Ruth L. Miller, Grandma

June 19, 1996


Ruth L. Miller is one of the people in our neighborhood.

She grew up in West Brighton and attended   Monroe High School until her parents moved to a farm in Webster.

Ruth met her husband, Ralph, when he hired on as a tenant who helped with the farm work. It must have been true love, because last March 15th they celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary.

About 40 years ago, they moved to their 21-acre farm on Ontario Center Road. It used to be part of the larger Tabor farm.

It had cherry and pear trees on it, but Ralph wanted to raise pigs, cows and the grain to feed them. The orchard was cut down to make room for his new venture.

Farming didn’t pay all the bills so Ralph delivered feed for Anna B. Youngs’ Feed Mill until he began working at Garlock. His tenure at Garlock lasted over 30 years.

Ruth and Ralph have five children: Joyce Clark, Beverly, Leona Kirby, Jean Gardner and Steve.

“I’ve been real lucky with my kids,” Ruth said proudly. “They never got into any serious trouble while they were growing up in Walworth.”

Each year in the fall, Ruth makes evergreen wreaths to sell at the road side stand next to her driveway. She also puts out pumpkins grown in her back field and sometimes, home-made goodies.

I remember the first time I took my young sons over to let them choose their own pumpkins. We were standing in the yard looking around. We heard a loud putt-putt-chugg before we saw what made the sound.

Ralph was driving an old tractor up the lane from the east field. As he got closer, we noticed something small and white on his lap.

It was Peachy, a little white poodle that went everywhere with him. Ruth said that it was Peachy’s tractor. It didn’t go anywhere without Peachy at the wheel.

Years later, I was standing at the end of Orchard Street listening to the Festival in the Park Parade pass. I heard an old Putt-putt-chug pas and a hearty voice holler, “Hi, Kate. It’s Grandma Miller!”

Peachy had been gone a long time, but his tractor still chugs on. Ruth assured me she’ll be driving it in the parade this year, too.

Thirteen years ago Ruth and I bowled on the same team in the Thursday Morning Women’s League. The enthusiasm she put into bowling is typical of her zest for doing so many things.

She became my Cub Scout Den’s adopted grandmother. We took cookies to her on holidays and sang Christmas carols in her kitchen.

She came to our pack meetings and bid on goodies at the annual Scout Auction.

One year my husband and Grandma Miller vied back and forth on a cake until Dave had to pay almost $20 for it. He surprised her by giving her the cake.

Ruth hasn’t let last year’s mild stroke slow her down. She is warm, friendly and caring with strong feelings and out-spoken thoughts. For example, she feels that the Town Hall has too much unused space in it.

“At first, I thought they were going to put another room or floor in,” she said referring to the large vaulted ceiling of the entrance hall. “And, they said they’d fix up a room for us Senior Citizens to use. That kitchen across the hall from the big room is too dinky for our pot luck suppers!”

I promised Ruth I wouldn’t print the story she told me about a mouse running up her pant leg, so the next time you see her, ask her about it.

Thank you, Ruth Miller. You are a Walworthian with the accent on worth.



1 Dec 2017, 8:23am

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The Walworthians: Leasure, Jack

The Walworthians: Leasure, Jack


A collection of telephone interviews published in the Wayne County STAR Newspaper and Wayne County MAIL Newspaper, 1994-209

by Kate Chamberlin


Jack Leasure

April 03, 1996

Allen (Jack) Leasure is one of the people in our neighborhood. He has been named the 1995 Fireman of the Year.

The award came as no surprise to those of us who know Jack.

He, however, was surprised. He sees what he does as just doing what needs to be done.

Jack and his wife, Elaine, lived in Ontario before moving to Walworth in 1972. They had talked about building a home somewhere between Elaine’s teaching position in the Freewill Elementary School and His teaching position in the Pal-Mac District. A new home on Orchard Street was very close to the home they’d had in mind. They’ve been here ever since.

Their daughter, Sue, was raised here and attended Wayne Central. She is a Math teacher now in a neighboring district and married to Ken Schaumberg, the Freewill Physical Education teacher. Actually, last year when Jack turned the big (smudge, smudge) ,he didn’t even notice it. He was too busy being a proud, new grandpa to Traci.

Jack was active in Tiger Scouts with their son, Tim, the first year it began. This naturally led into Cub Scouts.

When my Cub Scout Den wanted to work on a Science Arrow, Jack invited us to his home. They had all sorts of levers, pulleys, electric circuits and hands-on activities.

Jack makes learning fun. It is what makes him such a terrific teacher at Pal-Mac!

When Tim was killed in a car crash during his Junior year at Wayne Central, there was a tremendous out-pouring of love and support by all Jack’s co-workers, friends and neighbors.

Shortly after moving onto Orchard Street, Jack’s neighbor, Larry Laforce encouraged him to become a Volunteer Fireman. Another neighbor, John Baxter, was also on the force and coaxed him to visit the newly built Fire Station.

After a year of being a fire fighter, Jack began helping out on the ambulance. He found his real nitch as an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician).

Jack has been the Ambulance Chairman, Assistant Secretary, and worked on numerous auctions, Bar-B-ques and many other fund raisers for the department.

His dedication to serving his neighbors is evident in the way he keeps his skills and knowledge current and trains new members.

A year ago, he was coming home when he saw the ambulance come up our street. He was not on duty, but knew a neighbor was in need. He followed the ambulance.

I’m so glad he did. The ambulance came to my home. His quiet reassurance made a scary event less traumatic for my family and me.

Jack said he is pleased with the progress the Department has made during the years he’s been with it. The rescue equipment, advance life support systems and the technicians to provide services are the best.

“I’m happy to see new members coming in,” Jack said. “They learn fast and can take leadership roles on the force.”

Although Jack is qualified to drive the Department’s fire engines, medical rescue truck and the Cadillac Ambulances, he likes to leave the driving to the younger men.

Jack’s wish for Walworth is to have it stay as nice as it is. A community where neighbors help each other.

Thank you, Jack, you are a Walworthian with the accent on worth.