In 1998, residents of Philmont were saddened to see that the massive maple trees that had long been the namesake of Maple Avenue were beginning to age. Some trees had been removed and others would soon follow.
Dot Bowes offered to head the Memorial Tree Project. She sought out individuals and families who wished to honor a deceased family member with a permanent memorial. With three trees and markers purchased by the families, the Village DPW and Chuck Bradway planted trees along the “Avenue.” Individual ceremonies were held by the families of Preston Stern, Judith Andrews and the Yericks.
In the years to follow, the number of dedicated trees increased to nine. In 2006, a couple of the original maple trees were found to be diseased and were replaced. Recently, additional older maples had to be removed.
If anyone is interested in having a maple tree planted in honor of a special person, they should contact Mark Decker at (518) 672-5224.
JACKIE ANDREWS, (Jan 20, 1956 – Jan 11, 1993)
Jackie was born in Norfolk, VA, the daughter of career Navy man and his wife. She received her secondary education at Columbia University, after which she obtained a position in the Import, Export Business. Jackie was “Everyone’s Friend”. She was talented, an aspiring literariness and a credited numismatic. She had a tremendous love for the Berkshires, which became her final resting-place.
REV. PERCY and MARIANA FERRIS
Rev. and Mrs. Ferris moved to Philmont in the early 1900’s from Amenia, N.Y. He was pastor at the Mt. Pleasant Reformed Church in Greenport for many years and later at the church in New Concord. He also filled the pulpits in the area as an interim or visiting pastor and conducted an evening outdoor service on the hill across from the Stark homestead in Ghent for several years. Rev. and Mrs. Ferris lived at the top of Main St. hill. They are well remembered by the seniors in the area for their raspberry farm, where the young people worked to earn money. The berries were sold from a table for 10 cents a quart. Rev. Ferris also sold life insurance for the Hartford Insurance Co. and developed a business, making and selling shuffleboard cues and disks to resorts in the Catskills.They had two sons, Samuel and Eugene.
Samuel Ferris was an outstanding baseball player, playing first at Philmont High School, then at William’s College, then on the famous Oden’s team, followed for many years playing on Philmont teams in county leagues. He then coached teams in the teenage baseball leagues. Sam was a practicing attorney until he died in 1985, serving many years as Philmont’s village attorney. In 1937 he married Helen Weaver, a teacher from Hudson. They resided in Philmont from 1938 until their deaths. After their three children were in school, Helen resumed her teaching career. Helen served several years on the Philmont Public Library Board and also served on the school board during the time that the decision was made to build Ockawamick Central School as a replacement for the condemned Philmont High School.
Sam and Helen had three children, two girls and one boy.
RUSSELL OLES, (Dec 22, 1900 – Mar 17, 1977) / Gladys Oles, (Feb 21, 1909 – Feb 12, 1999)
Russell and Gladys Oles moved to Philmont in 1938 and resided on Eagle Street with their five boys Russ, Phil, Ralph, Jerry and Art. In 1940, while living on Eagle Street their daughter Betty was born at their home. She was taken to Columbia Memorial Hospital and was the first incubator baby there.
In 1941, the family moved to Highland Avenue (Sauerkraut Hill) and in 1942 they moved to Mellenville where they stayed until 1944. On July 21, 1944 they bought the Dr. Vedder home on Main Street in Philmont.
Russ served in the Navy from 1919 to 1923. He worked for the Harlem Railroad as a crossing watchman in Bedford Hills, NY retiring in 1940. Russ later worked as a fireman and engineer at Columbia Boxboard, which was located on lower Main Street.
While living on Main Street, along with caring for her family, Gladys took courses in nursing. She opened the Oles Convalescent Home in 1945 and operated it continually until the mid-1980’s. She cared for as many as ten patients at a time.
Gladys was very active in the Royal Neighbors of America, a fraternal organization that provided life insurance policies. Gladys held many offices within the organization and became district deputy. She was responsible for writing many life insurance policies for family members, friends and numerous residents of Philmont, as well as other areas of Columbia County.
Russ had an antique shop for many years in the small building in the back of the Main Street property.
Russ and Gladys had a good life in Philmont, with many fond memories.
FRANK V. PALMER, 1888-1953 / BEULAH (POLLY) HOWARD, 1893-1952
Frank was a veteran of World War 1, a charter member and past commander of Minkler – Seery American Legion Post 252, a member of the Agawamick Mason Lodge and a member of the Philmont Reformed Church. Frank served as Postmaster in Philmont for 16 years. He was also Town Clerk for the town of Claverack for 16 years until his death. He served as mayor of Philmont in 1951. He married Polly.
Polly was a member of the Dutch Reformed Church, a charter member of the Minkler-Seery Post American Legion Auxiliary, and a charter member of the Ames Chapter, Order of Eastern Star. She was Deputy Town Clerk for the Town of Claverack at the time of her death. Frank and Polly had one son and one daughter.
FRANK D. PALMER
Frankie was the Son of Frank and Polly. He graduated from Philmont High School and then entered the navy during World War 11. He married Delores Robele and lived most of his adult life in South Glens Falls, where he was employed by Telescope Folding Furniture Company of Granville, NY until he was forced to take a medical retirement. Frankie was a member of the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd. He loved his family, horses, and golf. He had one son and one daughter. Frank died at the age of 52.
HELEN PALMER KERINS
Born 10/22/1929 in Philmont, NY to Frank and Polly Palmer. Helen graduated from Philmont High School and the Union University School of Nursing. David A. Kerins and Helen were married on Saturday, June 6, 1953. They have 5 children: Maureen, David, Margaret, Regina, and Shaun and eleven grandchildren.
Helen worked all her life as a registered nurse and David was an educator. After retirement, they moved to Hilton Head and then to Bluffton, SC.
Helen died on February 16, 2010 and this tree was planted in her memory with the love of her family and friends.
EVELYN L. (JOHNSON) RINGER, (June 22, 1909 – Jan 22, 1972)
Evelyn Johnson was one of eight children born to George and Idell Johnson of Valatie, NY.
She married Carl Ringer and moved to Philmont, NY where she worked as a housekeeper in the Philmont Hotel and as a care giver in Mrs. Oles’ Convalescent home. She was active in the Royal Neighbors, American Legion Auxiliary, Dutch Reformed Church and the voting polls.
She had seven children, raising them alone since 1946. Her children are Carl (Navy – retired) father of three sons, Carleen Webster (deceased) mother of four sons, Lauren (Butts) (Air Force – retired) father of one son and two daughters, Maynard (Army – retired) father of two sons and one daughter, Idella Picarillo mother of three sons and one daughter, George (Coast Guard – 6 years) father of two daughters and three step-sons, and Jovanina (Nina) Poucher mother of two sons and one daughter.
Evelyn worked very hard in raising her family and for her community. She was admired and respected by those who knew her. She is loved and missed by all of her children.HOWARD and ELLEN RHODESHOWARD (June 12, 1920 – Jan 2, 2009) served his country during WWII. During his years at the Ockawamick School and later the Taconic hills Central school, he was a teacher, guidance counselor, coach, and high school principal. His varied interests included the Philmont Rotary, swimming basketball, his beloved dogs, and gardening. Howard was also a passionate golfer.
ELLEN (January 18, 1920 – August 8, 2009) is remembered by hundreds of children as their sweet and nurturing kindergarten teacher at the Ockawamick Central School. She was a longtime supporter of the Philmont Library and served for years on the Board of Trustees. Ellen was also an ardent member of the Community Chorus and a member of the Dutch Reformed Church.
Howard and Ellen were married in 1947 and settled in Philmont where they raised their three daughters, Susan, Nancy (Nicki), and Pamela. They will always be remembered with love and respect by the Philmont Community and the lives they touched.
The Rhodes’ tree was donated by a group of friends in their honor.
NORWOOD RINGER, born August 13, 1909 / IDA CANETTO, born April 7, 1909
Norm was born in Allentown, PA, one of eight children. He grew up, went to school until he was 16 when he quit school to go to work in the cement plant. The family moved to Philmont just before the depression where he again gained employment in a cement plant, Atlas Cement in Hudson. Norm was a very outgoing and happy person who loved to use his musical talents by playing the accordion at community affairs. For many years he played with the Charlie Radewitz band for round and square dances at local organizations. He served as a village trustee in the village of Philmont from the late 1960’s to the early 1970’s. He met and married Ida Canetto and they went on to have one son and one daughter.
Ida was born in Italy and came to America with her parents in 1910. She grew up in Philmont, where her education was ended at the age of 16 to work in the mill. After her marriage she worked as a seamstress in the local mill. She was active in the United Methodist Church, the American Legion Auxiliary, The Order of the Eastern Star, the Rebecca Lodge, and the Mellenville Grange. Ida was the first to make teddy bears for the county rescue squads to give to children when they had to go in the ambulance. She was a “Beautiful Lady.”
KEITH SCHLUETER, 1973-1991
This tree was planted in memory of Keith, beloved son of Jane and Joe Raco, who presently live in the house adjacent to the tree. Keith was a senior at Taconic Hills High School at the time of his death. He was a National Honor Society inductee, and a four-year veteran of the high school football team. Although he only lived seventeen and a half years, he touched the lives of many. He will always be remembered for his dry wit, beautiful blue eyes and his easy smile.
PRESTON STERN, July 4, 1947-October 27, 1995
Preston Stern was a visionary man of courage and principle, who was deeply loved and respected. He was married and had 4 children. He grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. Although Preston was against the war he entered the military during the Vietnam War “to be a witness to what was happening there”. His wife states, “He courageously lay down his weapon, as a result of what he witnessed and was in the stockade for several months because he honored his beliefs about war.” Preston initiated the first food co-op in Cleveland in the 1970’s and also organized the Farmers Homesteading Conference in West Virginia. From the 1980’s until his death he worked as a computer consultant and continued to integrate his work into his love of community. He hosted several early web chat rooms on the Well, (an outgrowth of the Whole Earth Catalog) including one on parenting, baseball, and veterans healing issues. Another project at the Philmont Library was Kid-link, an early computer chatroom, which connected children all over the world and still exists today. Preston sang his heart, played a mean guitar, told wonderful stories, was a gifted writer, loved children, community, baseball and the Cleveland Indians. He was writing a novel about his Vietnam Experience. Preston lived his life fully, though too briefly for all those who loved him.
FRANK WEISNER, born August 6, 1900 / RUTH OVERBAUGH, born September 26, 1905
Frank was born in Allentown, PA the oldest of eight children. He worked as a painter for Lionel Northrup and then at the N.Y.S. Training School For Girls in Hudson, N.Y. He was very active in the Philmont Volunteer Fire Co., serving as a fire policeman. He served as a committeeman for the Columbia County Democratic Committee. He was a member of the Philmont Rod and Gun Club as he was an avid sportsman, enjoying both hunting and fishing. He served as co-chairman of their fishing derby. He also enjoyed barbershop singing and helped form the local chorus in Hudson, where he was a member of a quartet. In 1925 he married Ruth.
Ruth was born in Haverstraw and a few years later the family moved to Philmont. She worked as a collar setter in the local mills. She was very active in the Philmont Reformed Church, the Hospital Auxiliary, The Order of the Eastern Star, The Philmont Volunteer Fire Co. Auxiliary, and The American Legion Auxiliary. She was A family oriented person whose children and grand- children were most important. She and Frank had two children, a daughter, who died and a son who continues to live in Philmont.
DAVID JAMES WILDERMUTH, 1934-2000
David lived in Philmont all his life, the son of Lester and Edna Wildermuth. He was the youngest of three boys. Dave served his country with the U.S. Army. Doing duty in Thailand. In civilian life he worked most of his life serving the public in sales.
He married the former Betty Ballweg. They had two children, a boy and a girl. Dave was loved by many, because he so loved life and people.
JOHN FRANCIS YERICK and MARY CATHERINE COLWELL
John and Mary were married and lived in Philmont where they had six boys and one girl. Two boys died in infancy and the remaining children grew up and attended Philmont High School. All their children are buried in the Sacred Heart Cemetery located on Martindale Rd. John owned and operated Yerick’s Mercantile, a grocery store on Main Street where he kept a vat of oysters in the basement. When a customer wanted to buy oysters, John would go down to get them, but in the process he would always sample them. This was the death of him, as the story goes, because he contracted typhoid fever and died. John Francis’ and Mary Katherine’s grandchildren were all girls except two boys, who in turn had only one male issue to carry on the Yerick name. He in turn died at a young age without a male offspring. Therefore the Yerick name is near extinct in this area, but there are numerous descendants still here. With the early death of John, Mary Katherine worked in the mill to support her large family.
BARBARA A. DECKER, 1937 – 2009
Born February 10, 1937 in Philmont, NY to Albert and Dorothy Dallas. Barbara was one of five children, and resided in Philmont all of her life. She married James Decker on June 12, 1960 and raised two children, Mark and Marcy.
Barbara (Nan) saw the birth of her two grandchildren, Nicholas and Riley Decker. She worked for Questar III in Hudson, NY for more than thirty years. She loved her job and the students she taught. Barbara passed on December 29, 2009. She loved maple trees, and in her name and memory, this crimson king is planted with the fondest memories.
HELEN MARIE SWEET, 1937 – 2010
Helen Marie Sweet was born Helen Marie Cucher in Philmont NY, January 24, 1937, to Margaret and George Cucher. Where she grew up on Prospect Street and graduated Ockawamick High School in 1954.Helen married Philmont resident Robert Sweet, son of Lucy (nee Card) and Leonard Sweet, on November 24, 1955. Their eldest son, Ken, was born in 1958 in Kingston NY, Daughter Kathy briefly joined the family in July of 1960, but was lost in November of the same year, Bob’s career with lBM took them to San Jose, California in May of 1961 where they had 2 more sons, Mike in 1961 and Rick in 1964.
Most of her life, Helen was a stay at home mom, who excelled at entertaining guests in her home, and as a loving homemaker, wife, and mother. She was mom not only to her boys, but many of the neighborhood children and others she watched before and after school who came to think of her as their second mom. Her home was a nurturing and safe hub of the comings and goings of a stream of lucky children. Helen kept a gentle yet firm order and paid them all loving attention. She especially enjoyed combing or braiding little girl’s hair which they would line up for. She made the occasional booboo go away by painting it over with a smiley face or sail boat in bright red Mercurochrome. As her own and honorary children grew and her nest began to empty, she parleyed here organizational skills and fondness for list making into work she enjoyed in county clerical positions i.e. Registrar of Voters and the Probation Department.
As a girl and throughout her life, Helen had always dreamed that one day she might live with the ocean at her feet and the mountains at her back, though she never imagined it could happen. In 1987, Helen and Bob retired to Manzanita, Oregon – a beautiful coastal town that fulfilled her long held fantasy. In 2002 they moved to Astoria Oregon for the single floor home with easier accesses. There she lived out the rest of her life on three beautiful wooded acres. Helen loved puzzles, beaches, many a good book with which she felt she had traveled the world without leaving home, a friendly game of cards, the comfort of an affectionate cat, putting on a spread for holidays, gatherings, and guests, sending friends and family goodies dubbed sweet’s from the Sweet, and for a time, owls – until she received dozens of owl things in every form for a particular birthday -after which she declared, “l like diamonds now!”.