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

Comments Off on The Walworthians: Leasure, Jack

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.


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