Friday, April 13, 2018

The SLI Long Range Planning Committee
Suzanne Bristow, Walkway Editor

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  Mack and Grace Quakenbush, our grandparents, constructed the “ Q Kot “ at the corner of Wesley and Janes Ave. at the Institute during the "’Depression Years”.  

   Our grandfather was an instructor at Buffalo State Teachers College.  Since finances were tight, Mack hired his students for a dollar a day to  assist him with the construction. He also recycled  materials from various building sites in Buffalo . Tile was used from Buffalo City Hall and the copper hood for the fire place was fabricated from an old septic tank. A small cottage was built on site to house the students and was latter used for storage. It was eventually moved to a new site on Perry Ave. The “Q Cot” is known for its signature wavy bricks. Bob Cook and Garrett constructed a two story tree house with electric lights one summer but it  was eventually taken down by Garrett”s father Clint for “urban renewal “ reasons.

    We spent many summer days with our parents, Clint and Georgianna, at the cottage enjoying many activities at the Lake. Herb was the Snack Shack manager at Camp Asbury one summer. In adulthood with Herb living in Washington DC and later Florida and Garrett in Ohio, the cottage  was seldom used and was eventually sold. Occasional visits are still made to the Lake and the many memories and friends made are still cherished.

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Rodney Jones has been a Silver Laker for almost 30 years. In 1988 he brought his family to Silver Lake as a place for a retreat. Over the years, he found time to work on the family cottage, relax in the lake atmosphere and all that it had to offer, serve on the Board of Trustees and enjoy sitting on the porch swing watching the beautiful Silver Lake sunsets. He also took interest in and dedicated many hours of personal time in researching and recording the history of Silver Lake Institute, in particular the history behind the street names on the Institute. 

Joan Maddison has a long history of service to the Silver Lake Institute from raising money to baking desserts.  She did preliminary research along with others and was a force in the application of the Institute to be placed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. 

In addition, she has been a long standing member of the worship committee. She along with her husband have organized, provided, and served the coffee hour refreshments after every summer Sunday service for over a decade. 

For years Joan has played an integral part in the annual memorial service and continues to personally contact each family who has lost a loved one. Joan is indeed one of those behind the scenes hero who has dedicated a good portion of her life to the Silver Lake Institute.

Julie Hoffner has been a Silver Laker for over 60 years. She is often seen as the accompanist for the majority of the Institute worship services. 

She has served on the SLI Board of Trustees for over 14 years, 12 of those years she has been the program committee chair. In this position, she works through the winter filing grant proposals to the Arts Council to line up musical, cultural, educational, and spiritual activities for our summer enjoyment.  As part of that committee, she is there early to set up and greet the performers and stays late to close up our facilities. 

In addition Julie has been an integral part of the Silver Lake Experience committee.  Julie’s dedication to the Silver Lake Institute is evident in all that she does.

 Pete Mairs was locally born, the oldest in the family. He loved his country life of camping and playing basketball in barns. Everyday was a new adventure. ! Pete came to the lake in 1998 when he married Linda Bergstrom.He refers to his life here as “coming home”

Pete has served as a member of the Board of Trustees for at least 9 years and as past president for 5 years and vice president for 2 years.

When the Institute had to separate from the Upper New York Conference of the Methodist Church, he worked with the support of his fellow trustees and spent countless months in conversation, research, and presentation. His efforts culminated in a legal separation in the Wyoming County Courts and the Silver Lake Institute was established as our own entity. He continued to work tirelessly to secure our 501C3 status with the IRS which was granted in June, 2017.

We owned a cottage on Genesee Street from 1993 till 1998,  We had both been coming to Silver Lake with church groups for many years.  We sold our neat cottage and came back in 2017 looking for a place on the lake.  We bought our now home in 2017 - hence the "We're Back.”  That brick was one of Larry's Christmas gifts two years ago...

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Webber Albert Griffin was a fraternal twin born September 23, 1932 to Frances Alberta and C. LaDue Griffin of Oakfield, N.Y. His Mother's family had a lake place on the south end of the west side of Silver Lake not far from what is now the  Silver Lake Marine.  Webb was given the nickname of "Mack" by his family and his brother Charles Henry Griffin the nickname of "Mick".  “The Twins” enjoyed the lake for many summers.  Webb pursued a large variety of interests.  He swam and loved to read.  Fishing and hunting were of prime interest to him, and he enjoyed not only the history but also the using of his collectibles on the lake or out on the range.  His large collection of guns and various hunting equipment gave him much enjoyment as he refurbished items and in later years sold them. Webb loved to fish and learned to tie his own flies, which were very complex and very beautiful.  When Webb and his wife Joan bought a place on Wesley Avenue on the Institute Grounds their two children Jennifer and Christopher also got to experience the lake.  Webb died May 21, 2016. He is missed by family and many friends.   

In the late 1970’s, there were two board meetings at Hoag in which well over 150 people attended. The topics were to consider the demolition of Hoag Memorial Art Gallery and the main dock. The residents refused to let these two go without a fight. Joann Brocklehurst got a grant to assess the cost of a renovation for Hoag. It came back that it would cost $95,000 to rehabilitate the building. 
The residents went door to door asking for donations and had many fundraisers such as bake sales. They raised close to $12,000 over a 5 year period including contributions from the board. Contractors donated their time and materials and in the 1980’s residents began the hard work of saving Hoag. 

The foundation was in bad shape and the separation between the floor of the building and the foundation was so bad you could see to the outside through the large crack. Bob Murphy and his dad along with other residents such as Jack Fisher began work on the foundation, and the plumbing-laying the new sewer pipes. All equipment was donated by Bob Murphy senior and Norb Sylor and labor and money came from Bob Murphy Junior, Jack Fisher and Paul Penner. The front door was stripped and refinished by Bill Gleason Senior. 

When the main dock was being dismantled, Bob along with residents Dennis Halstead, Don Smith, and others restored the whole dock to be what it is today. 
The upstairs ceiling of wanescoting in Hoag was hanging down and the walls were a mess. Brad Hennig and his father, Richard, went to work restoring the upstairs ceilings, walls and floors of Hoag. They even redid some of the windows and when vandals broke one of the original windows -the one seen when going up the stairs, Brad and his dad restored that as well. They also repainted the outside of Hoag to the original yellow. 

All of this took 4-5 years to complete during the 1980’s and total cost would have been estimated between $40,000-50,000. The actual cost spent out was around $12,000.  The remainders was completed as a result of donated time, money, and materials by both residents and area contractors. 

It is with great honor that I bestow Brad Hennig, former trustee and Bob Murphy, former trustee and superintendent totaling 24 years with the Silent Hero Award for their efforts and representing the efforts of ALL who saved our beloved Hoag memorial Art Gallery and our Blue dock.

Bob Murphy was born in 1949, the 3rd generation of the Murphy family on Walker Rd, Silver Lake. He was a Silver Lake Institute trustee and and Superintendent of Grounds for 12 years. He moved to Thompson Ave on the Institute in 1973.  He and his wife, Sue, have been married for almost 44 years. He has two children, Sara and Jenna and 3 grandchildren. A graduate of RIT, he is known for his photography and love of history. He is also on the Wyoming Historical Pioneer Association Board of Trustees and Historian for the Silver Lake Institute.

Over the past three years Craig Bateman has served as a trustee, chairman of the Grounds committee, and as SLi treasurer. He has worked quietly behind the scenes purchasing and hanging blinds at Epworth Hall, making repairs to all of our buildings, working closely with Dan on the needs of the institute, and working as the liaison for the institute with the contractors for the new gas lines and the road repairs. His time and commitment to the Institute is extraordinary and for this reason he is indeed a Silent Hero.

Years ago Roger Covell recognized that Epworth Hall was deteriorating and needed serious help. He called and sent letters asking for help. With a team of people Roger secured Epworth Hall’s being listed on the National Historic Register and then secured a Sacred Sites grant. 
Fundraising was organized to accomplish the needed renovations. Roger worked tirelessly to have contractors repair or replace many of the windows, and he is also responsible for the idea of a handicap accessible bathroom. As one of our residents recently described him- “Roger is a lifelong institute resident who cares very much about what happens to Epworth and without him, the hall might not be with us anymore. He saved it from the brink of disaster.” For these efforts we award a Silent Hero Award for Roger Covell’s service in preserving Epworth Hall. 

William and Edith Covell along with their daughter Geraldine and Edith’s parents, the Rev. F.J. and Nettie Palmer, vacationed during the early 1930s in rented cottages at the Institute.   They became so fond the of the peace and quiet, spiritual and moral values that were lived here, that in 1935 they purchased their last rental at 18 Genesee Ave to be their summer vacation home. They joked about the fact that the Methodists had let American Baptists into their community. Their permanent residence was in Pittsford, NY and William worked  in Rochester.   Their son, Roger William, was born in 1937.  Nettie died four months later in 1937 and F.J. died in 1938 so they did not have long to enjoy the new vacation spot.  

Shortly after purchase, William began improving the cottage.  The exterior was sided with bare cedar shingles, concrete bock and brick post provided new foundation and a three tier garden was created on the Park side of the lot surrounded on three sides by a white picket fence with gate and overhead arch.  Truly a thing of beauty.  Most cottages had names and this one was called the “OBEZ” (oh be easy)
The second world war came soon and commuting to Rochester for William was limited because of gasoline rationing.  Instead of driving, William would take the Silver Lake train to Rochester from the depot at the foot of Wesley Ave.  As an alternative and quicker way he would drive to Warsaw and board the train there.   Because of the slow pace on the Silver Lake section through Silver Spring, on the return trip he would debark in Warsaw, drive to the cottage and be eating supper by the time the train passed  the foot of Genesee Ave.!  William”s mother Elsie also purchased a small cottage called the “COZY” It was located on the south side of Wesley opposite the parking area by the office  building.  That cottage was sold in 1954; moved across the street; rotated 90 degrees and became the current Post Office.

William was an elected Trustee of the Institute and Board Secretary during the 50s until his death in 1955. Edith continued to come to her beloved cottage for many years until her death in 1980.

Roger too loved the cottage and his many teen friends  who also shared summers here.  When all the teens got together in one place there were about 20, although much of time they  shared in smaller groups  (sometimes of two!).  One of those teens was Carole Leney.  

Roger went to the University of Rochester  and Colgate Rochester Divinity School and was ordained a Baptist Minister.  Carole went to Buffalo State and became a teacher.  They each married, raised families but would see each other occasionally summers at the Lake. After respective separations and divorces they decided to start married life over with another Silver Laker and they were married June 25, 1978 beneath a tree  in Carole’s cottage back yard at 30 Perry Ave.  Carole passed away On January 1, 1987 two days after her 46th birthday.  During their years together they shared their children – Roger’s three and Carole’s one.  Roger continued to come to his cottage with his children and counted in 2017,  three children, six grandchildren and three great grandchildren – who have been at the cottage.  That makes six generations of Covell Silver Lakers – blessed by many life long friends and rich experiences.

Roger was elected a Trustee of the Institute in 1972.  He was on the Board, except for one brief break serving sometimes as an officer until he resigned in 2015.  During his tenure he was instrumental in saving the Big Dock from demolition and installing a new kitchen and appliances in Stoody.  In addition to administrating the many affairs of the Institute while an officer, his major effort was to preserve Epworth Hall.  He negotiated its return to the Institute.  He arranged for its listing on the Historic Register.  For many years  he  raised  funds; oversaw and sometimes worked directly on the many construction projects that saved and rehabilitated Epworth.  Because of his lifetime love and involvement in the affairs of the SLI. Roger oft times was contacted for his historic knowledge and insights.

Pete Mairs served as President of the Board of Trustees during a trying time in the history of the Institute.  Even though Pete has no stories to tell of his youth spent in the lake or on the Institute, when he married Linda Bergstrom in 1998 he became a Silver Laker.  He loves to attend the Thursday Epworth programs, he is often spotted at Dessert on the Dock, and he is a big supporter of Epworth Hall and the Sunday services.  Pete believes that this unique community needs to be honored and preserved.  To that end he spends hours encouraging others to participate and join committees; he often solicits information from all sides of an issue so that he can make an informed decision.  When the time came for the Silver Lake Institute to separate from the Methodist Conference, Pete, with the support of his fellow Trustees, spent countless hours in conversation, research, and presentation to protect and defend this special piece of land. Pete Mairs is part of the long line of Trustees who have lived by the words written in 1903… “It is consecrated by the prayers, toils, and sacrifices of the fathers.  It is their legacy to us.”

Jack and Molly Anthony bought our cottage on Perry Avenue in 2004. We named it "Not Much" for good reason! With the expertise of Brad Hennig, we built our big porch the next spring. Along with our children and grandchildren, we enjoyed our porch, the lake, the sunsets, and the wonderful community at Silver Lake Institute every summer. Jack treasured his summers at Not Much and loved it best when lots of family and friends arrived. He used the phrase "welcome home" at the lake just as he had for more than 40 summers at Cradle Beach Camp where he was the director.  This brick honors Jack's ability to create a sense of home and family wherever he was. He went to his eternal home in 2015 but his loving spirit lives on in the hearts of countless folks who loved him and learned from him.

We bought our cottage in 1992 from Ray and Joan Maddison who then moved on down the lake by Asbury Camp.   We happened upon it for sale one afternoon while out riding with my mother and step father.  One of my work mates said we should call it Serendipity because we just happened upon it.  We had a sign, but when the gray shingle siding was removed, the sign disappeared. Perhaps we will have a new SERENDIPITY next summer. Our family and friends have  enjoyed the cottage (my mother, 101 years at this point, loves the porch) and it has been fun having the grand kids there. We love the location because so many nice people stop by and chat.   Sharon and Craig Pratt    30 Lakeview Ave

Velma's daughter, Sharon Pratt reports that Velma first stayed at the lake as a teenager, then as a chaperone.  She was an excellent boat driver when we water skied and then later enjoyed  a number of years (until she was 102)  enjoying the front porch of her family's cottage  cottage at 30 Lakeview Ave. 

Jim Coles worked as a licensed real estate broker and certified appraiser for 30 years  and retired in 2004. A property owner at Silver Lake since 1977, Jim has worked to preserve this beautiful resource by serving in leadership roles for the Silver Lake Association,  conducting lake-wide Hydrolab testing, and being a friend to all.   

After living in Buffalo, Bob and Wanda moved to Palm Coast, Florida about seven years ago.  They return north in the summer to spend time with Lisa and Ken Schiske and grandchildren.   They enjoy the lake and the cafe breakfasts.  Bob plays in a tennis league at the Perry Park and Wanda loves to sew and feed the birds.  Like all good lakers they appreciate the beautiful sunsets at Silver Lake.

My parents, William and Carol Dabek bought the lakeside summer home in May of 1985.  The home was run down and not taken care of.  My parents along with their three children, Carl (Mariann), Brian and Nicole (Mike Wolf), William’s brother Steve, and his mother Jean and many other family and friends worked hard fixing the cottage and bringing it back to life.

After my mom died in May of 1993, his mother, Jean Dabek (who died in July of 2002) would come to the cottage and stay almost every weekend in the summer with her friend  Adel.  She participated in keeping the cottage neat and clean and filled the air with love and laughter.  I can still hear her stories!  After the work was done, she was always ready with a deck of cards and everyone would get together for family time.

My dad and his children and grandchildren, (Tiffany, Danielle, Cariann, Kyle, Zak and Brad along with his great grandchildren) love spending time boating, relaxing and just having some good old fashioned family time at the lake!

I am so thankful to my parents for purchasing our summer home.  We have made so many memories with family and friends and so many more are to be made.  My dad has made the summer home what it is today.

Rev. O. C. Baker was the founder of the Epworth League, a Christian Methodist youth movement across western New York.  He opened the first institute for the Epworth League on the Assembly grounds and buildings of the Silver Lake Institute in the summer of 1908.  Twenty five hundred youth attended each summer.  Baker was also a Trustee of the Silver Lake Institute for twenty years, also serving ss the Superintendent of Instruction, Superintendent of Hoag Memorial Art Building and Epworth Inn for nearly a quarter of a century.  

Many young people felt his influence and committed their lives for full-time religious service.  Baker also served the following churches: Conesus, Alabama, Fowlerville, Dalton and Grove, Avoca, Bolivar, East Blooomfield, Silver Springs, North Cohocton, Springwater and Canadice.  He and Daisia Durkee were married in 1901,  and they owned the Jell-O house from 1915 to 1968

Orator Woodward developed Jell-0 into becoming a household name and product of American families.  Mr. Woodward and his family built the cottage for their summer use. As a family, they really appreciated the opportunity to be a part of the spiritual programming of the Silver Lake Institute.  Their home was the first two-lot home.  

Rev. Carlyle “Ted” Smith and his loving wife Marjorie served many United Methodist Churches throughout the Western New York Conference.  They owned the Jell-O house and used it as their summer home where it was a special gathering place for their entire family.  They enjoyed many wonderful summers on the Institute.  Rev. Smith loved to have a project to help the home look its best.  He completely re-did the roof when he was over 80 years old.  He loved to fish on the dock of his boathouse.  Marjorie was known for her kind, gracious manner.

Michael J Small; 1974-2014; Our Son. Brother and Our Dad Aubrey & Jordan

The Small family history at the lake began in 1940 when John & Florence Small plus her parents- William and Carrie Shields Day had a cottage built on Janes Avenue, directly above Epworth Hall.  Jack spent his childhood summers there.  He eventually met Muriel who worked at Camp Asbury, and she joined the family.  Their children Jeff & Jennie benefited from getting to know the lake.  The Smalls sold the cottage in 1972.  Michael was born 2 years later, and so did not get to know the lake until much later. 

In 2005, Jack & Muriel bought their cottage on Genesee Ave.  Mike bought a jet ski, and he and Jeff enjoyed it immensely.  Jennie returned to WNY after living in Western Ohio for years. She and her husband also got reacquainted with the lake.  Jeff's family frequented the cottage and enjoyed Jet Ski too.  After Mike married Erin which included Jordan and Aubrey, their children, the Jet Ski was replaced with a party boat to accommodate all. 
In July 2013 Mike was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. At the same time Jack was also battling cancer.  Jack began 9 weeks of daily radiation the same week Mike began 12 weeks of chemo.  They were there to support each other.  Mike was able to spend each weekend that summer at the cottage.  He could go boating and also used the golf cart, especially for his frequent visits to his spiritual mentor-Rev Dr Don Weaver.  They became known as texting buddies.  The weekends away helped Mike to deal with the chemo.  Sadly, while it destroyed the cancer, it also destroyed his lungs, and after a valiant struggle, he passed away 2/21/14.  His memorial service at Kenmore UMC was conducted by Dr Weaver, Rev Dr Peter & Deacon Bonnie LeValley, and included the Catholic Chaplain from Kenmore Mercy, who Mike had become very close to.    It was also fitting that the annual Memorial Service at Epworth was conducted by Dr Weaver. 
An interesting bit of history is that Jack's Grandmother, Carrie Shields Day was also raised at Silver Lake in a cottage overlooking Burt Park (probably now the Gleason home)..  She was the daughter of Mr. Shields who was well known at the time as the "gestapo" groundskeeper who conducted nightly missions of walking the institute grounds looking for evidence of card playing or drinking in the cottages! 

Jennifer, Mike’s older sister wrote the following for Mike’s service at Silver Lake in August 2014, “Mike started life as my little brother. He was a son, a brother and I was his favorite sister.  Mike at times thought he had 4 parents.  Mike became an uncle at the age of 16.  He later added husband to his roles.  But I think his greatest joy was being a father.  His work ethic and determination was his strongest asset.  He needed this determination during his last 8 months of life.  He had many days where if it had not been for family and friends he would have given up, but he decided to fight for all of us, even though he was in constant pain.  Mike was known for his texting abilities.  He always tried to get me to start texting.  Mike's life was short, but what an impact he had on everyone he touched!  I truly have realized what is important in life.”

Jack Small and Jennie Small Gleason  

We met in the summer of 1957 when we both swam on the Silver Lake Swim Team for Ruth Johns.  In June 1964 we were married in Perry and in 2014 celebrated 50 years of marriage.  We are so grateful to our parents for providing such wonderful summers for us here at the lake, for the opportunity to meet and have a wonderful life and family, and for al the memories we have of Silver Lake.

JoAnne’s parents Vidar and Florence Frette, purchased 19 Filmore Avenue in 1950 and Daniel’s parents, Walter and Norma Palmer purchased 69 Lakeview Avenue.

Bill is the third of five generations coming to Silver Lake since the early 1930s.He has been active in the Silver Lake Association as Tract Director, Vice President, President, and lastly as Chairman of the Water Quality Committee.

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           Wonder Woman – that was our mom.  She was the jack of many trades.  In WWI she joined the YMCA to help wounded vets write letters home from Camp Lee, VA.  During WWII she mastered the slide rule to test engines for Bell Aircraft.  She was a great swimming teacher.  She was creative, fun, resourceful, clever, a super seamstress and artistic.  Marion, our very loving mom, was one of a kind. 

            We occupied the Gates cottage, built by Rev. David Gates, her grandfather.

            Silver Lake, a marvelous place to spend summers in the 1930’s and 40’s.  We all made friendships that have endured over the years.
                                                                        Polly Hurd Temple

                                                                                                Rev. Douglas and Shirley Spencer

   In 1918, my grandfather, John M. Heather, a lay preacher in the Methodist Church, brought his family for a vacation to Silver Lake Institute. The photo of them sitting on the Institute dock is a cherished memory. Later, as he was strongly influenced by Rev. Charles Williams, he, his wife, their daughter (Eleanor Heather Brocklehurst) and her husband (Bill Brocklehurst) purchased the cottage adjacent to one Rev. Williams owned. The year was 1938. The family enjoyed that cottage at Hedding and Asbury Streets every summer until 1987, when it was sold to my cousin, Richard Longley.  Meanwhile the E. Claude Penner family also rented a cottage from Rev. Williams, and went on to build their own cottage across from the Silver Lake Post Office.  Paul Penner and I became friends as teenagers here at the Institute and later married.  We built our present home across from the Camp Asbury woods in 1988, and moved in permanently in 2008. Now our daughter Jorien enjoys the lake, too.  Without SLI, four generations of our extended family would have had very dull summers! Thank you, Silver Lake.

                                                                                    Jo Anne Brocklehurst

Several years ago some of us on the SLI thought it would be fun to get together at each other’s cottages and share ideas and patterns for personal quilting. The first gathering was on the porch at 15 Harris Ave. There were 5 women and 1 man working on Christmas items. A few more joined in, and it did not take long to realize, that we first needed a larger space, and second, we wanted to create things that would be a comfort to others. We began to meet at the Hoag Library and started making comfort quilts for those in need.

Pretty soon the idea of Project Linus was introduced to the group and a wonderful service ministry began in 2004. Many folks have been a part of this group over the years. Past and present members include Barb Weaver, Pam Kelly, Terry Niedzialek, Shirley Spencer, Irene Eichinger, June Nonnenberg, Judy Mason, Priscilla Nobbs, Suzanne Bristow, JoAnne Brocklehurst, Terry Poleski, Muriel Small, Sue Meegan, Betty Dusel, Lorraine Kraft, Carol Hopper, Melba Meyer, Sue Boulter, Barbara Aker, Inga Songbird, and Candace Hopkins.

Shirley Spencer, our historian, keeps a beautiful scrapbook for us. Terry Niedzialek made a beautiful quilt for us when we were invited to display our work at the Wyoming County Art Council in 2013. The quilt now hangs in Stoody Hall for everyone to see along with an invitation to join our ministry.

We have received donations from many people around the lake. We gather on Wednesday mornings during the summer to sew and socialize. The quilts are usually displayed at the end of the season at one of the desserts on the dock before we deliver them to the Rochester Chapter of Project Linus.

Pam Kelly 2015

Francis Katherine Cook’s great grandfather, the Rev. EJ Cook was one of the founders of the Silver Lake Assembly.    He built his cottage at the corner of Embury and Park in 1873. Fran and William A. Caldwell first met as members of the Asbury-Delaware Methodist Church in Buffalo, NY; both of their families were active members of the church and also travelled to and participated in activities at the Silver Lake Institute.  Fran and Bill spent time at young adult retreats, and it is possible to find Francis Cook listed as one of the sopranos in the Institute Chorus programs at Silver Lake.  After marrying, Fran and Bill lived in Hamburg. N.Y., Arizona, and finally Winter Park, Florida, but they continued to spend most summer vacations at the Cook cottage with their daughter Carol and son William (Bill).

As a young girl, Carol looked forward to each summer.  The names Carolyn Creveling, Nancy Woodmansie and Nimmie Eiss still live on in her memories of those unbelievably fun times.  There are stories about the summer she spent here with all of her cousins during the polio outbreak, and the time that she climbed down from the sleeping porch at Woodbine to go out with some of her friends. She always dreaded leaving the lake at the end of the summer and spent the winter months longing for her return the next summer. 

After graduating from nursing school at Winter Park Memorial  Hospital in Florida and working there for about six months, Carol accepted a position in Washington, D.C. at the veteran’s hospital.  While in Washington, her aunt, Doris Cook, asked a neighbor’s son who had baby sat the two Cook boys, Bill Cunius, if he would call Carol and show her around Washington (he was now working for the CIA in Washington D.C. and matchmaker Doris thought they would be a good couple).   On the first get together, Carol discovered that Bill had spent time at Camp Asbury his junior and senior years of high school and had accepted the Lord at Epworth Hall during his senior year. Bill also loved Silver Lake because Bill Bergstrom, who had been Bill’s high school football coach and later his boss when he worked as Bergstrom’s assistant coach had a cottage right across the street from Carol’s Aunt Dorothy Caldwell Trich (small world). These early connections sparked a romance that would lead Bill and Carol to marry  only four months later in October 1958. They soon departed for an overseas tour to Frankfurt, Germany, where after eighteen months their daughter, Cynthia Lee Cunius was born.  Four years later, their son, Scott Alexander Cunius was born in Washington, D.C.   

Their children have provided them four beautiful grandchildren: Hannah Cunius, Jon Newberry, Kate Cunius and Will Cunius.   

The Cunius family has spent many summer vacations at the Cook, Caldwell (Aunt Carol) and Woodbine (Aunt Dorothy Caldwell Trich) cottages. 

Finally in 1997 Carol and Bill bought their own cottage at 15 Durbin Ave. Bill became a trustee and eventually president of the Institute.  In 2003 Bill and Carol were invited to become the host/managers of the United Methodist Missionary Home at the Chautauqua Institution, and they served in that position for 8 years.   During their time there, Bill was president of the association of 32 separate denominational houses and religious organizations that included both Hebrew and Muslim congregations.  Because they were away from Silver Lake so much, they decided to sell their cottage in 2004 to the Ron Harmon family.  They now rent or spend time at the Institute with their dear, dear cousin, Suzanne Trich Bristow. Bill and Carol along with their children and grandchildren still consider Silver Lake as their second home. They now reside at Bryce Mt. Four Seasons Resort in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. 

Bill and Carol will have been married 56 years on October 4, 2014. They learned early that it is important to share interest in each other's activities, and to worship together to have a loving marriage.

Narratives needed.

           This first paver is to honor our grandparents.  Our grandfather, the Reverend Almeron Evert Matthews, was minister at the United Methodist Church in Perry, and he occasionally conducted services at Epworth Hall. His excellent financial management helped to turn around many of the churches to which he was assigned. A. Evert and Nora may have been the first full-time residents at the Silver Lake Institute, or certainly some of the first.  At their home on Hamline Drive, they occasionally provided overnight housing for students who arrived early for camp back in the initial days of the Institute.  He baptized all of his grandchildren, the last of which was done in a small Chapel that used to sit across from the post office near the park at Silver Lake.

We remember him as kind and soft-spoken, with a keen wit and wry sense of humor.

           Quoting from his obituary (written by Rev. Willis A. Stackhouse) in the 1962 Genesee Methodist Conference journal:
            In 1915 he was received into full connection in the conference and for the next 30 years served continuously as a pastor of the charges to which he was appointed in the following order: Kendall, Somerset, Dansville, Elkland-Osceola,PA, East Rochester, Savona, Honeoye Falls.  During 1947-49 he served as Registrar of Genesee Junior College and was given retirement in 1950.  IN 1950-53 he supplied Warren’s Corners-North Ridge.  From that time until his death he lived in his home at Silver Lake Institute.
            For many years Mr. Matthews was a trustee of Silver Lake Institute and served for a long time as treasurer, handling its funds with wise care in times when income was limited and expenses were high.  This quiet, but efficient man served the institutions of his conference at Lima and Silver Lake with marked acceptability, giving freely and unselfishly of his time and ability in both.

We remember him as kind and soft-spoken, with a keen wit and wry sense of humor.

His wife, Nora (Perkins) Matthews, had a classical education and read both Greek and Hebrew.  She headed up the Ladies’ Auxiliaries in the churches where he was pastor.  She was active in the Women’s Suffrage movement and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union.  We were told that she knew Carrie Nation, who was one of the best known of that movement. Grandma was, apparently, well known for busting up bars because of “Demon Rum.”  She was a superb cook who never used a measuring cup or spoon, but never had a bad outcome to any meal.  We especially remember her chicken and biscuits on Sundays—YUM!

Bob Matthews was born in Kendall, NY, in 1920.  He had perfect pitch and loved music which lead him to sing solos in church and play the euphonium in high school.  He attended Rochester Institute of Technology as a young man and married Dorothy (Dot) Martin in 1942.  They lived in several locations in mid-New York state, finally settling in Painted Post, NY, in 1949.  Bob worked for Ingersoll-Rand Company until retirement in the 1980’s.  Soon after marrying, he and Dot began a family, which culminated in four sons and a daughter.  While in Painted Post, he spent eight years as a Boy Scout leader, where he taught his sons and many others a host of useful skills.  He was involved in the local Methodist church as choir director, and also sang in and directed the local Barbershop Chorus.   He spent over fifty years teaching Hunter Safety Training to many, many young people and adults.  He joined the Masons after retirement, and became the head of his Masonic Lodge within two years of joining.  He was still singing in church up to his ninetieth birthday.  He passed away about two weeks after his ninetieth birthday, following a severe stroke.

Dot Matthews was a homemaker while the children were growing up.  At that time, she spent her free time learning crafts in the Home Bureau and knitting at home.  She made beautiful sweaters, scarves, and mittens for all the children.  She began to work outside the home after the youngest child began junior high school.  She worked in the Accounts Payable department at Corning Glass, in nearby Corning, NY.  To improve her job skills, she took accounting classes at Corning Community College, where she was an A student. She retired from Corning Glass shortly after Bob retired from Ingersoll-Rand.  After retirement, she took up cross-stitch as a craft.  She left many family heirlooms behind that commemorate weddings, births, and holidays.  Prior to her passing in 2007 at age eighty-six, she organized the family finances on computer so that Bob was able to manage his own financial affairs online until the end of his life.

Bob and Dot often took the family on travel/camping vacations, passing on their love of traveling to their children.  They spent the years following retirement traveling to visit family, who were scattered across the country, and friends in places as far away as The Netherlands. 

They learned new skills their whole lives long.  They were wonderful role models for us all.

Mom and Dad, we love you and miss you!

The third paver is to establish that we, the five children of Dot and Bob Matthews, spent a significant portion of our summers in the 1950's and 60's living at Silver Lake.  Our dad drove the family to the Lake at the beginning of the summer, then spent his weekdays working at home, coming to the Lake on the weekends.  While at the Lake, we spent time with our grandparents, with our aunts ad uncles, Howard and Claudine Matthews, Dave and Eunice Matthews, and Genevieve Matthews McCabe; as well as our cousins, Margaret (now Shepard), Betty (no Mancuso), and Francis Matthews, Christing (now Myers), David and Jimmy Mancuso, and Lenora McCabe.  We also made many friends over the years, the longest lasting of whom are JoAnne Brocklehurst and Paul Penner.  At the Lake we learned to swim, boat, and water ski, and we spent many evenings singing around campfires on the dock.  Our summers at the Lake provided an enduring source of entertainment as we look back upon them!

Robert E. Matthews, Jr. (Rob) (1943-2005) spent his career in the National Guard and the Army.  He retired from service as a Lt. Colonel.  In his spare time, he loved to cook and to carve figurines.  He left many beautiful woodcarvings, which are highly prized by family and friends.  He also played the guitar and banjo and sang.  His widow, Brenda (Biviano) now resides in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas.

Jan D. Matthews (1945-2012) graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and Pensacola Flight School.  After retiring from Naval service, he worked for several different multinational corporations as an electrical engineer.  In his spare time he played guitar, ukulele, Appalachian dulcimer, violin, and sang.  He was the brother that got all of us singing at the Lake.  He and his wife, Mary (Barron), (1944-2010) had four children and seven grandchildren.

Gary B. Matthews (1946-  ) spent his career working for 3M Corporation as a mechanical engineer in research and development.  His free time is spent sailing in one or another of his sailboats.  After his retirement, he and his wife, Sally (Shaddock), moved the fleet to Hot Springs Village, where they have the largest private marina on their lake.   They have two children and three grandchildren.

Stephen D. Matthews (Steve) (1948-  ) after a tour of duty in the Navy as a Russian interpreter, spent his career as a Federal bank examiner.  He and his wife, Sandi (Updike), retired to Hot Springs Village where he learned to play golf.  His free time is spent singing in multiple choirs, playing golf and woodworking. 

Andrea J. Matthews (Andi) (1950-  ) spent her career as an elementary music teacher.  In addition to her teaching responsibilities, she directed two community choruses.  Since her retirement, she spends her time performing in a female a cappella quartet, Singcrony, and occasionally singing with various local choruses, the most recent of which was a Motown Rock Chorus.  She also dances and plays pipe and tabor with the Putney Mountain Morris Women (look it up on YouTube) to celebrate each May Day.  She and her husband, Tom Toleno, live in southeastern Vermont.  She has one child and two grandchildren who live close enough to visit three times a week.  She also has four stepchildren, and three (and a half) step-grandchildren.

Ruby moved to Perry in April 1949 when she married Howard McIntyre and began her life on “Mac's Farm.”  As housewife, farm mistress and soon a mother of two, Ruby’s life was very busy.  Daily she prepared meals for the family and workers, and when she rang the farm bell in the cupola over the back porch, everyone would come a running.  Nobody wanted to miss her meals, especially her famous potato salad.

The Farm was a summer destination for out-of-state nieces and nephews. Ruby made sure they enjoyed their stay while experiencing farm life firsthand.  There are many happy memories of outings at Silver Lake. Swimming, picnics and family reunions were an integral part of summer. 

All the while, Ruby enjoyed gardening, playing bridge and was an active member of the Perry Methodist Church, Eastern Star and Perry Garden Club.

After Howard’s sudden and untimely death in 1973, Ruby moved to Lake Street where she lived and raised one of her teenage granddaughters through high school, college, marriage and the birth of two great grandchildren.

In 2005, Ruby moved to Thompson Avenue where she enjoys the sunsets, feeding the birds and chasing the squirrels. Oh by the way, if you ask real nicely, you might get some of her wonderful potato salad.

Our journey to Silver Lake began in the 1980’s when Billy ran retreats for middle-school students at Sutton Manor, and it continued into the 1990’s when both our daughters went to leadership retreats at the Manor. 

Around that time a life-changing event occurred, Billy was told he probably had had a heart attack and needed stints in the “Widow Maker.” While recovering we decided, “What are we waiting for? Why are we putting all of our savings in a 401 retirement plan when we may not live long enough to see it?”  From the time we were teenagers our goal was to own a cottage on a lake, and we had taken many a drive to Silver Lake “looking” but never taking the risk to buy. In May 2002, months after Billy’s angioplasty, we took the risk!  A little cottage in the Silver Lake Institute became available and we found our perfect get away. 

We love it here; we have great neighbors and great scenery.  It is the perfect place to make lifetime memories.  This is our retirement investment, our little “Closet on the Lake.”

Margaret Newman Williamson along with her sisters (Dorothy, Ernestine, Bettie) came to stay at Silver Lake each summer since 1933 as it was a family tradition. Margaret married Robert Williamson in 1944, and they continued to visit Silver Lake along with their children Jane and Jeffrey. Margaret died in 1957; however, Jane and Jeffrey continue to come to the lake every summer to be with family. Today the tradition still lives on with other generations of the family. 

Jane Williamson Shaw visited the lake every summer since 1945 to share time with her aunts and cousins.  Silver Lake became a great memory for her, and she passed on this tradition to her family. She married Theodore Kumm in 1964 and had four children: Abigail, Theodore, Stuart, and Anna, and the visits to the lake continued. In 1983 she divorced and married John Shaw, however, the children still visited the lake. She moved to Jacksonville, Fl, and visited the lake when she came to visit her children. In 2012 she passed away at the age of 67, after a battle with cancer. She loved to quilt and the quilts have been passed on to her children and grandchildren along with the tradition of the annual Silver Lake visit. 

Abigail, Dennis and Alyson Mitchell
(Family: Piper, Newman, Culley, Williamson)

Abigail has come to Silver Lake every summer, since 1965 to share some time with her aunts, uncles, and cousins as this was a family tradition. She married Dennis in 1990 and he shares the family tradition of visiting the lake in the summer months and having a family get together of aunts, uncles, cousins, and which includes many generations. In 1999 Alyson was born and now she also shares the family tradition of visiting the lake. On February 12, 2012 her mom, Jane Williamson Shaw passed away and the family tradition become more important, so Abigail and Dennis purchased the family cottage from Robert and Connie Woods (Hedding Avenue), to keep it in the family and to keep the stories and memories alive. 

The Rev. EG and Mary Piper acquired the cottage at 54 Lakeview Avenue in 1907.  Their oldest daughter Evelyn and her husband Jonas Patterson became the owners in 1933.  They had one daughter Eleanor.

In Eleanor’s younger years, she spent summers at Silver Lake with her cousins, playing and swimming. She also went canoeing with her Cousin Raye.  When she was older, Eleanor helped Mrs. Nickerson at her hotel on Wesley Avenue, where she helped to cook and wait tables.  After the hotel burned, she waited on tables at Epworth Inn.

In 1961, Eleanor Patterson and her husband Bob Forsythe took ownership of the family cottage.  Bob and Eleanor had two daughters, Marnie and Bettie.  The Forsythes lived in Pavilion and often took the 20 minute drive to spend weekends at the lake.  About once a year, Bob would take the family to the Pavilion Train Station, and they would ride the train to the Silver Lake Station.  The couple had five grandsons and two great grandsons: Robert and Thomas Baker; Joseph, James, and Jason Statler; and Sean and Aaron who all loved the lake. 

Silver Lake was a great place to entertain and hold special events.  Bob and Eleanor celebrated their forty-fifth wedding anniversary at the Methodist Manor.  There was also a surprise Birthday Party (75) held for Eleanor at Stoody Hall. The front porch was a great place to enjoy sailboat races, the July Ring of Fire, and the many amazing sunsets with family and friends.

In 1992 Eleanor’s two daughters and husbands: Marnie and Al Baker, Bettie and Dick Whitenack acquired the cottage. After 95 years of the cottage being in the family, the cottage was sold in 2002.

Grandma and Pa, Ted and Janet Strugala were the caring parents and grandparents to our entire family.  They loved family get-togethers, and enjoyed their visits to the lake.  I still see them dancing to the Polka in our cottage!  Their values continue to keep us motivated in our work and play. Pa was always there to lend a helping hand.  He would give his opinion or advice, which we listen to with respect, even if we didn’t like it; lessons of love were always spoken.  Grandma would cook and bake to always make each of us feel special.  Her kindness was amazing, and she would drop anything to help anytime.

Stan Szewczyk, my dear husband, so loved the peace of Silver Lake.  We always felt a bit of Poland there with welcoming family and friends.  Projects were part of Silver Lake, but not the priority.  Party fun was a priority with boating, pulling skiers and tubers, and teaching others part of the challenge.  The 3rd of July parties were always a hit, but when everyone left, we would always say to each other, “Next Year ALL the guests clean up!”

It was our home away from home.  I loved our morning talks with coffee while looking at the beauty of Silver Lake from our upper porch.  We felt a sense of calmness at Silver Lake, no matter what was going on in our lives.  

We thought our children would carry on the traditions we began, but move towards family values.  It’s still friends now with our adult children, but our grand boys are young.  So I await the choices of our children as I watch here on earth and Stan watches from heaven above.

     Bettie Newman, born in April of 1912, was the third (of 4) daughters born to Alice (Piper) and Cleon Warren Newman of Hornell, N.Y.. She is another decedent from the Foster, Wainman and Piper families of Silver Lake.  One of the stories she liked to recall had been told to her by her family - when she was a baby, she was kissed by President Teddy Roosevelt on his stopover appearance in the area.  She also liked to remember the days of swimming and boating at the lake, as well as fun at the dancehall and skating rink, and the hotels that were on the Walker grounds in the old days.  She and her three sisters (and their several cousins) traveled by train to stay with their grandmother Mary Wainman Piper at her cottage on Lakeview.

             In 1930 Bettie married Thomas Kavanaugh and they had two children, Connie and Larry, whose summers were always fondly spent at their Grandmother  “Mimi”s cottage on Fillmore Ave. Mother Bettie had to work in Buffalo and could only be there on weekends.                                                                                                            
            In 1942 Bettie married Albert Killen and merged his children, Virginia, Carole, Jeanne, and Donald Killen (fine and special young folks), with her own.  In the early 1950’s Bettie bought the Fowler cottage at 38 Hedding Avenue – up the hill and kitty-corner behind the current Post Office.  The ensuing summers were full of family comings and goings. Overflow often rented nearby cottages or brought their campers or tents to park in the yard or in cousin Jim’s lot.   In April 1966 Albert died suddenly while in the cottage yard raking and burning leaves for the spring cleanup chores. Unfortunately, the fire spread out of control!                                           
            Bettie then married Ronald Snider in 1968.  When he joined the family that first summer, he managed to take in stride all the family and friends he had inherited. A new era began at the cottage!  Extended family gatherings, picnics in the yard, partying at other family members’ cottages, and visiting our favorite area restaurants continued as the numbers increased. Ron’s hobby was to buy and repair bargains he found at garage sales. He enjoyed driving a van and instigated a Sat. a.m. “Flea Market Express” for anyone who cared to go to check out the sales listed in the PENNY SAVER weekly. He had an overflow number of watches, TV’s, radios, cameras, etc., etc. to keep to work on and for spare parts.  He even bought a used hardtop furnished trailer to sleep the overflow company that continued to visit.  We all looked forward to events at Grandma Bettie’s cottage (or Aunt Bettie’s or Mom’s).  It was indeed a period of happy summer memories.

            Bettie loved her extended family:  parents, aunts, uncles, cousins by the dozens, children, grandchildren, special Silver Lake friends like Don and Doris Cook, Fran and Esther Leney, and her dear pets-especially CATS and dogs.  Unfortunately aging took its toll, and Bettie died in April 1997 and Ron followed in August of 1998.  They are buried in Glenwood Cemetery in Perry. The cottage was then passed on to her daughter and son-in-law, Connie and Bob Wood, and their three children and seven grandchildren. 

            Connie Kavanaugh Wood, daughter of Bettie (Newman) and Thomas Kavanaugh, is a 5th generation Silver Laker and descendent of the Foster, Wainman, Piper, Newman families.   Connie and her brother Larry spent their entire summers as children at their grandmother “Mimi”s (Alice Piper Newman’s) cottage on Fillmore Ave. while their mother, who worked in Buffalo, joined them for the weekends.  Cousin Jim Morey and his parents Ernestine and Ira were also there often. The young cousins kept busy attempting to sing, dance and entertain the doting relatives with their "talents.”   As years went on the Moreys bought their own cottage on Hedding and Janes Ave., and in the early 1950's Bettie purchased 38 Hedding Ave., just one lot below the Morey cottage.  By then Bettie had married Albert Killen and brought his four children, Virginia, Carole, Jeanne, and Don Killen, into the family. The next decade of grandchildren at Mimi’s cottage were our cousins Nancy and Paul Culley, and Jane and Jeff Williamson.    
          Our teenage summers at the lake were particularly memorable because so many other young people also spent their summers at the lake, and we all formed special friendships with each other. Dick Keating’s mother, Ruth, allowed us to convert the upstairs of her lakefront barn into a clubhouse.  We cleaned and fixed it up for our meeting place, even getting a piano, record player, chairs, and an icebox up the stairs for soda and refreshments.  Several of  “THE GANG” played instruments so jazz sessions were great, as was dancing to the popular records of our day – the 1940’s!     As the 50’s came along we went our separate ways to college and marriage, but we still tried to keep in touch through Christmas cards and occasional summer visits.                                   
            In August of 1953 Connie married Bob Wood following their graduation from Buffalo State Teachers College, and they found jobs in Oneonta, NY.  After a hiatus when Bob was drafted, they returned to Oneonta with son Bobby and daughter Melinda, both born during his army service.  Another son Christopher was born in 1961.   Trips to Silver Lake now involved pulling a camper, and/or bringing a boat, and the family cat and dog and the kids (and sometimes their friends too).  We remember particularly well one July night in 1969 when many relatives and we crowded into the living room of the cottage to watch our small black and white TV to see the astronauts land and then walk on the moon.  An exciting event for us all!                           
             The years kept flying past and our three children grew up, went to college and married. They each also have had two children – who have now grown up and have good jobs and busy lives.  We are also blessed with two great–grandchildren (so far): a girl and a boy.  Sadly, this new generation may not have the fond memories of summers at Silver Lake as the rest of us have had; as aging made traveling back and forth the 200 miles from Oneonta to Silver Lake more of a challenge, we decided to sell the cottage in 2012. 

            We feel extremely fortunate that cousin Janey’s daughter and her husband, Abigail and Dennis Mitchell and their daughter Alyson, are keeping it in the family for us.  We sincerely hope they will have as many happy years and memories with our wonderful extended family at the lake as we have had.

We came to Western NY in 2005 in search of a summer home.  It was purely by accident that we found our little cottage on Silver Lake.  Here we have found a wonderful sense of community, made new friends and found long forgotten family ties to Silver Lake.

Willow, John,  and our grand dogs love being at the lake.

Carrie Mae Stratton (1901- 1978) was the mother of Ward Edward Stratton my father. She was born Carrie Mae Sutton of Akron N.Y. Her uncle E.C. Sutton established a summer home on Silver Lake during the early 20th century, which became known as Sutton Manor. Akron N.Y. was also the home of the Hoag family which owned a building supply company after which the Hoag Art Gallery is named. Later in life the Sutton family donated the manor and land to the Silver Lake Institute and the Methodist Conference to contribute to the creation of Camp Asbury. In 2005 my wife Paula and I purchased a cottage on Lake Ave. to enjoy our summers in the Silver Lake community in the tradition of my ancestors.
                                                                                            Tom Stratton

For the last nine years of his life, our son, Trey, celebrated his birthday here at Silver Lake. His favorite activity was "sitting on the Super Dock with a cup of Joe".  He was a big guy, and it was a bumpy wheelchair ride to get to the "super dock". So it is with a special pleasure to see his brick as part of the paved walk to make it a smooth ride for future folks going to the super dock in a wheelchair.

Trey Hennig was an inspiration to all who knew him. He met the challenges of his life with wit, determination and countless quotable one liners. He lived his life to the fullest, advocating for himself and others. His positive spirit lives on in the hearts of his friends, his loving family, his Cradle Beach family, and perhaps in a glimmer on Silver Lake.
                                                                                      Jack and Molly Anthony

Nels and Avis Stanford along with Richard and Phyllis Rudman purchased their first property on the east side of Silver Lake in 1955 for a grand total of $3,000.  This house was a classic “fixer upper” which took the better part of a decade to complete.  In 1991, the Stanford’s sold their interest in the property to the Rudman’s and purchased another property on the west side of Silver Lake.  They continued to enjoy Silver Lake until their deaths in 2008 and 2011, respectively.  Today, their daughters and families continue spending the majorities of their summers on Silver Lake.  In total, Silver Lake has been enjoyed by five generations of Stanfords.

Norbert (Norb) and Wilma Sylor

Camp Asbury


Norb and Wilma began their service at Camp Asbury in 1970 after living many years and serving God in the communities of Short Tract and Fillmore, New York. Norb had always loved Silver Lake. As a member of the United Methodist Men, he enjoyed planning and attending their annual retreat. It was at one of those retreats he heard the Lord say that he would one day work at the Camp. So when the opportunity to become part of the operations team as Grounds Superintendent at Camp Asbury, there was no hesitation in his acceptance. Wilma and Norb lived on the grounds and enjoyed being at the camp. Wilma became involved more regularly when there was a need to help in the kitchen preparing meals for the summer campers.

It was during the following years that changes began to happen at Camp Asbury. The buildings were winterized, refurbished or demolished. New buildings were constructed for enhanced programs. The pool was built and the lake was used for non-swimming activities such as canoeing and kayaking. Programs were improved and expanded from summer camp to retreats throughout the year.  Naturally the responsibilities also changed. Norb became Camp Administrator and Wilma became Kitchen Manager, in charge of the many meals for the hundreds of people that would become part of the history of Camp Asbury, now Asbury Retreat Center. 

The Silver Lake Institute was a major part of life on Silver Lake. Norb and Wilma enjoyed the Church Services and Concerts every summer. Their participation in the community became a part of their ministry. They are fondly remembered and honored by the many pastors, directors, lifeguards, cooks, cleaners, maintenance workers, nurses, campers and people who participated in the many activities and events over the many years. Everyone has a favorite Norb or Wilma memory, everything from backhoe use to rolls and cookies for dinner.  They are truly part of the legacy of The Asbury Retreat Center.

Claudia Honsberger, daughter of Wilma and Norb Slyer

My parents, Katherine and Don Smith, absolutely loved Silver Lake and gave that love unselfishly to family. Don actively worked and helped to build several Camp Asbury buildings including the Koinonia Inn.  He served as an Institute Trustee for many years; he even rebuilt the big dock and many winters he plowed the Institute roads.

Summers when Dad arrived home from working at Fisher-Price, Mom would have dinner on hold – they would both first go down to the lake. Mom drove the boat and Dad would ski from their dock and after doing the “whip,” Mom brought him by their dock and he would ski in and sit down on the dock, never getting wet. Then and only then was it dinner time.

My parents instilled in our family the spirit of survival and Faith in God as we watched them rebuild their home after a break-in and devastating fire.

They loved being parents, grandparents and Great Grandparents.         Joan Maddison

Joan started coming to Camp Asbury and Silver Lake at age 6.

Like her parents she loved Silver Lake, learning to water ski and sail here. She learned to sail with her dad and got to see the bottom of Silver Lake, which fascinated her.  She became a successful sailor and now shares those water activities with her grandchildren.

Ray and Joan purchased a cottage at Silver Lake.  Their daughter Carolyn had fun and loved living next door to her Grandparents.  Joan and Ray now are fortunate to live at the lake full time, enjoying God’s beauty year around.

Both Ray and Joan have volunteered over the yeas at The Institute and Joan was a camp counselor for many years.  Joan remembers many candlelight services and programs at Epworth Hall from her years at Camp Asbury.

Both of the Maddisons now have fun making memories with their family: Carolyn, Chris, Rachel, and Johnathan.

On Nov. 21, 1940, my parents brought me their 1-month-old daughter, Carol, to our cottage at Silver Lake.  My father, Lewis B. Carpenter, was a Methodist minister and at the time was pastor of a church in LeroyNY.  My mother, Charlotte, was of the dutiful-wife generation and never seemed to enjoy the lake as did the rest of the family.  She always seemed to be working in or around the cottage, cooking 3 meals a day, and reluctantly agreeing to the many alterations to the cottage that my dad envisioned. In 1944, we moved our winter residence to Kansas CityMo., where my dad became the president of a small college. Yes, we drove (3 days then) each summer to SL:  cars had no AC; my sister, Connie, and I always shared the back seat with our collie, Larry, who panted, drooled and shed.  Brother, Ken, and parents occupied the front seat.

I have many memories of my years at the lake: Wednesday “Big White” dock services; water activities including swimming across the lake and back; next door neighbor, Walter Palmer, cleaning fish, (UGH!); spontaneous singing on Palmer’s porch; our play Oklahoma; our quartet special music in church---was it “Beneath the Cross of Jesus”?; my mother, Charlotte Carpenter teaching Sunday School; the monopoly games on Sybil and Vickie’s porch; Nancy Culley’s Latin lessons;  my golfing lessons;  the Smith’s radio increasing volume when a Pat Boone song was playing; the park playground; penny candy in Walker’s store; sleepover at Mona Kraai’s where all girls except me had red dots on faces and arms in morning and no, I was NOT guilty, and last, but not least, Mrs. Heckel’s raspberries and cookies! There are so many other memories and friends from the lake: Priscilla Thorne, Jack Small, David and Calvin Heinrich, Gail and Tom Caldwell, the Matthews girls, 2 of whom I met again about 10 years ago at husband, Tom’s, high school reunion.

Carole Leney Covell, one of my closest friends, provided more memories than a short summary can include.  She always saw that I got a long letter from Silver Lakers, upon my return to Kansas City. One was 26 pages … a letter I still have.  On January 1st 1986, Carole was matron of honor at my wedding to my present husband, Tom Seitzinger. Sadly, very sadly, on our first anniversary Jan. 1st, 1987, Carole lost her long battle with cancer.

I shall always think of Silver Lake as a special place full of friends and memories.

                                                                                         Carol Carpenter Seitzinger

Raye went to Silver Lake every summer with his parents, Frank and Ella Piper Groom, and his sister, Mary Alice. When Raye’s cousin, Eleanor, visited them, Raye and Eleanor were all over the grounds from Walkers to Fairview. They enjoyed swimming and taking the rowboat all over the lake. They never heard of life jackets. When they went grocery shopping in Perry, they traveled by boat down the outlet, left the oars in the brush and walked downtown.

Raye helped run the steamboat, the “Silver Queen”, on the lake.

Raye met Ethel when she came to Silver Lake with her church’s Epworth League.  They were married in 1940, lived in Buffalo and had a cottage on Lake Erie. Their son Larry was born in 1945. The family moved to Florida where Larry and Dee now live. After they retired, Raye and Ethel purchased a cottage at 58 Lakeview where they enjoyed many good summers.

Velma Leonal Birtch Clark was born in Dimock, PA in 1905.

Our Mother lived in numerous places including: Bath, NY (1937-1952) and Silver Lake (1952-1997) where our family purchased a cottage at 25 Genesee Avenue.

Mother was an active member of Bath Centenary Methodist, and the WSCS of both Perry First Methodist and the Silver Springs United Methodist.

Mother eventually renovated our cottage to make it the year round residence that we still live in today. She enjoyed travel, sewing, church and family.

Ruth, Dorothy, Clarence, June, Philip and Phyllis

Brother and sister who were very devoted Silver Lake neighbors and friends.  SLI has certainly been enriched by their dedication and presence on these beautiful grounds.

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Robert and Dolores Rando bought their cottage in 1960 and moved in with their three boys Ted 7,  Jim 5, and Calvin 1. Robert was a truck driver and Dolores worked at Archway.  Over the years they spent time between the cottage and a house on Gardeau Street in Perry until the house was winterized.  The boys loved being at the lake, in the lake and on the lake.

In 1974 Jim and Chris Rando were married.  They moved to the cottage in 1976.  Their daughters Rene, Heather and Beth all came home from the hospital to the cottage and life at Silver Lake.  

Both Chris and Jim are known as hard workers and as the original organizers of the Third of July fireworks and chicken barbecue on Harris Avenue.  Jim can fix anything that needs fixing. He repairs docks and lifts and boats, and boathouses, and roofs, and porches and the list goes on and on.  Jim also does great fireworks and bonfires and in his youth he was known to play softball. Chris is also a wonder at doing a million things.  She’s worked at Champion, Motorola, and Elmore.  She’s a genius in the garden and has been a waitress in numerous restaurants in the area.

Jim and Chris are supposedly retired, but anyone who has come looking for them knows that each one them is busy, busy, busy.  The rest of us are so grateful for all that they do to help all of us enjoy our time at Silver Lake.

Beth Rando came home from the hospital to Silver Lake; she is truly a life-long Silver Laker.  Beth’s childhood was full of swimming, skiing, and playing on the lake.  At one point her dad anchored a wooded raft out off of their dock.  Believe it or not, Beth slept on the raft on more than one occasion.  It can be easily said that Beth was the first person into the lake in the spring and the last one to swim in the lake in the fall. 

Three years ago when she met Derick at a Halloween party, she was lucky enough to find someone who understood and appreciated her love of Silver lake.  It is only fitting that the two began their married life on the Square, as they call it, and toasted their future on the greenway in front of the Rando cottage.  Here’s hoping there will be lots more time at Silver Lake in their future.

Bruce and Loren Penman of Batavia bought 12 Wesley Avenue in 2011 and closed on the property the Friday before Labor Day.  To commemorate the occasion, the Penmans began an annual tradition in 2012 of planning an end-of-season concert over the Labor Day weekend at The Institute with an out-of-town independent musician.  

Our family never thought about heritage, legacy, or leaving our family name stamped on a brick to commemorate a presence. Until we became residents of these beautiful grounds, Silver Lake Institute, where our lives have been certainly brightened and broadened. Thank You, Rev. A.F. Colburn, for putting into words what has always been in our hearts since stepping into this very spiritual place... "On these beautiful grounds, hundred have entered the spiritual life and many have received the enduement of power for service. Friendships rare and lasting have been formed. The best things in religion, music, oratory, entertainment, and instruction have been available to many whose lives have been thereby brightened and broadened. Precious memories cluster about the place. It is consecrated by the prayers, toils, and sacrifices of the fathers. It is their legacy to us."

"Oh God, to us may grace be given
To follow their train."
Rev. Owen C. Baker

The Schiske family has grown to include grandchildren.

My early memories of Silver Lake start with arriving after a four-hour drive from ButlerPA.  I always ran as fast as I could into the wind and down the hill to the lake to see if it was still there!  I loved our green and white rowboat with the squeaking oars.  I loved the freedom to go up to the park and swing or balance on the teeter-totter with Nancy Culley Sellars.

My dad taught me to lift stones and find night crawlers at dusk.  I did not enjoy the long times he spent on the lake, but I loved watching the fish preparation—guts and all.  The fish heads, for those looking for a gory sight, were nailed to the hickory tree in front of my Uncle Water Palmer’s place on Lakeview.

Silver Lake linked us together with relatives and friends.  Kids entertained themselves in a carefree freedom, making memories to pass on to the next generation of Silver Lakers
                                                                        Dianne Palmer Wetjen

My grandparents, Nelson and Gladys Palmer bought their Filmore Avenuecottage on Silver Lake in 1940 when my mom, Doris was about 11 and my Aunt Dianne was a newborn.  They bought it for $400, which was a lot of money on a teacher's salary. When my mom got married to my dad, Clinton Norton and started a family, I started going to Silver Lake as a baby.  There is the cutest picture of me with my parents on my grandparent's dock eating my first ice cream cone.  I have many fond memories of summer visits toSilver Lake over the years.  After my grandmother died and my grandfather's second wife had a stroke, he sold the Palmer cottage. In 2002, my aunt and uncle, Dianne and Alan Wetjen, my mother, my brother, Phillip Norton, my cousin Eric Wetjen, and myself all got together and bought the cottage across the street from our family cottage. Ironically, this cottage used to belong to my cousin once removed Danny Palmer and his family.  And the Silver Lake memories continue on and on through the generations.
                                                                                                Eve Norton Hanna

Narrative needed.

In 1939 after graduating from UB Law school, Dorothy Caldwell purchased Woodbine cottage.  Her father and her brothers thought the $250 dollars she had paid for a cottage with a hole in the kitchen roof was a waste of money.  They repaired the roof and closed the cottage up for the fall.  The story was different the next spring when all of the Caldwells and their families piled into the cottage to enjoy the lake, the religious experience and the time with family.  Over the years people snuggled in every summer, some of the men camped in the winter in order to hunt and children dreamed of returning to the lake.  In 1945 Dorothy married Steve and the summer memories continued with their children and grandchildren. Eventually Silver Lake became the touchstone for 5 generations and over 50 people and still counting.

Suzanne Trich, who spent summers at Silver Lake, married Joe Bristow in 1976.  They had three sons, Chris, Stephen, and Andrew who are all Silver Lakers.  

The boys have wonderful memories of summers at the lake.  They all learned to ride bikes without training wheels.  There were hours on the lake swimming, tubing, skiing, knee boarding, wake boarding, floating, paddling, and drifting. The family has great memories, great stories, and great friends that are all connected to the Silver Lake  Institute.

In 2009 Chris married Erin after making sure that she would also love the lake and they have added a fifth generation laker, Rikku, who adores the lake.

Kathryn Caldwell started coming to the lake with the Epworth League from Asbury Delaware Church in Buffalo.  The Caldwell family used to rent the cottage that is now the Post Office.  Once Kathryn married George Banks, the family continued their connection to the lake.  Sister Dorothy bought Woodbine cottage, and it and the dock at the lake became the center of the family good times. 

Daughter Martha Banks Endress and her children spent time at the lake. Martha tells the story of being the first person to see Woodbine cottage with her Aunt Dorothy.  On the day they walked through the cottage for the first time, there was a picture of a skull and crossbones in one of the bedrooms. Martha moved the picture to the front door to, “scare off anyone else who wanted to look at the cottage before Aunt Dorothy could make an offer.” Martha’s children Bill, Kathy, and Jim spent summers with grandparents Kathryn and George in their home in Castile.  Bill taught cousins Suzanne and Mary Kathryn and friend Anne to triple ski and braid the rope, just like they did at Cypress Gardens near his home in Florida; his dream was to make a 6-person pyramid, but that never worked out.  Bill was also the magician of the group; he made his sister Kathy disappear at one of the end of the season talent shows.  Kathy and the girls spent time sunbathing, skiing, and laughing about boys.  Little Jim was dressed up as Prince Charming for one of the children’s parades in Castile.

Younger son, Jim Banks shared some of his favorite memories of family times at Silver Lake.  There are memories of Uncle Steve driving cousins Jim and Bob from Silver Lake to Buffalo to pick up Aunt Dorothy in the ’42 Mercury convertible – they clocked 100mph. Woodbine’s sleeping porch was also the place of memories – Cousin Carol Lee and her Cook cousin, Caroline, came in at Uncle Bill’s curfew time, and then shinnied down the porch posts and back out again – maybe to go skinny dipping??? There are stories about making witches stew out of seaweed and dead fish and then cooking it on a campfire at the beach.  One of Jim Banks’ favorite memories is of  his  Uncle Jim driving him from Buffalo to the lake; Uncle Jim bought his nephew his first cheeseburger … nothing had ever tasted so delicious. Jim also remembers dance lessons at Woodbine with Carol Caldwell (Aunt Carol) teaching cousins Jim, Bob, Joyce and Nancy to dance.

The stories continued with the next generation.  Jim’s children Linda and Kim loved to spend time on the porch at Woodbine.  Grandfather, George Banks, would play Old Maid with the girls; everyone was happy if the Old Maid was removed from the deck as they played.

And later on....there were three or four summers when Grandma Banks stayed with Jim and wife Betsy at Carol Caldwell’s, cottage for a week. Those days were special highlights for Grandma Banks in her final years, as she got to have many visits with her relatives.  Silver Lake is a special place full of laughter and memories.

The Caldwell Clan started coming to the lake from Asbury Delaware Church.  They rented a small cottage and Grandma Caldwell brought all her children: Kathryn (Banks) William, Art, Mary (Carver), Dorothy (Trich) and Jim.  After Dorothy bought Woodbine cottage the family made the Silver Lake Institute their second home.  By the time that all of the children reached retirement age all of them either owned cottages at the lake (Dorothy, Jim, Al) or lived year long in Castile (Kathryn) and Warsaw (Mary).  That meant that there were lots of family gatherings at Silver Lake.  All of the first cousins came with their children and grandchildren. Al and Ruth Caldwell bought a year round cottage on Perry Ave and became involved in the goings and comings of the Institute.  Al loved to hunt and fish, but his nieces and nephews remember him for teaching them to bid at auctions and then repair and re-finish furniture.  Aunt Ruth was everyone's favorite baker.  Her rolls and pancakes were special and the fact that she could cook pancakes over a fire at Letchworth Park became legendary.  

Mary and Art Carver retired to Warsaw NY, but before that they spent lots of times at Woodbine cottage.  Aunt Mary was a painter and there were hooks on the bathroom door with names that she painted.  There are trays and decorative items that she painted.  She was the artist of the family.  Her flower arrangements were award winning, her braided rugs were works of art and her gardens, both flower and vegetable, were delights.  There are great stories about Mary and Dorothy not liking the pressed back chairs that were in the cottage in 1939.  So they cut the backs off of all of them and painted them to be used in the bedrooms for luggage.  Mary was also the person who rode herd on the cousins when they were sent away from the cities during the polio epidemics.  Her daughter Nancy remembers those summers and tells of making what she called "Witches Stew" down at the lake.  

Nancy's children: Margaret, Martha, Thomas, Dorothy, and Stephen, spent many summers at their grandparents home in Warsaw.  There was gardening work and chores but there were also daily trips to the lake to swim and ski.  Hours of playing cards with cousins, trips to the drive in, and  teaching cousins how to make water lily leis and grass skirts after they returned from living in Hawaii also are part of the Silver Lake experience.  All of these family members have precious memories of Silver Lake.

Naomi Martin was an artist, poet, antique dealer and appraiser, self-taught piano player and a long-time resident of the Silver Lake Institute.  She was a member of the New York State Appraisers Association, the Batavia Society of Artists, the Wyoming County Arts Council and former owner of Olde Homestead Antiques in Castile.  She enjoyed singing in the chorus in the annual Perry Rotary shows.  She especially enjoyed painting water colors of the Silver Lake area.  Because of her love of Silver Lake all four of her children: Kay Harmon, Lynn Bateman, Leigh Hennig and Brad Hennig have lived either seasonally or year round at the lake.  She passed away in 2003.

Recycled lumber and salvaged fixtures—they did what they could afford to do and soon a piece of property became a cottage…then a home. When they sold it, they insisted they sell it to another minister at a price a minister could afford.  Thank you—we love our home.

                                                            The Rev. Douglas and Shirley Spencer

Narrative needed.

Lucy loved to come to Summer Camp at Silver Lake where she could lie in the sun, play with Charlie and enjoy the good life with Pete and Linda before having to return to the apartment in NYC.

Charlie has been a “mascot” of Silver Lake Institute for over 13 years.  Most people know Charlie (and/or Winnie his predecessor) by name, even if they don’t know his owners, Pete and Ruth Lavin, by name.

Gerald and Ann Kelly and their six children spent summers on the lake after purchasing their cottage on Camp Road in 1955.  They lived to see their grandchildren and great grandchildren enjoy the Lake. Their three daughters now own the cottage and their son purchased the cottage next door.

This brick is in honor of our grand children who come to visit every summer and really have become best friends.  We are so happy that they get to see each other every year, if only for a week.  They live in different states: Texas, Michigan and New York.  The 4th of July week is so special.  They have participated in many boat parades and have so much fun when they are here.  Hopefully they will get to see their children and grand children have as much fun on Silver Lake as they have had.
                                                                                              Pam and Jerry Kelly

Thomas C. Wainman (1836-1908) built the first of the several Silver Lake cottages eventually owned by his descendants from lumber floated up the Genesee Canal from his lumber business.  Initially a farmer and then a canal boat owner on the Genesee and Erie Canals, he settled in Eldred, PA about 1865 and pursued the lumber business.  He held many local offices and prominently identified with prohibition causes.

The cottage at 17 Genesee Street was built for his daughters Mary (Piper) and Fannie (Stoody),  both of whom married Methodist ministers who became prominent in Silver Lake Institute affairs.  Thomas and his wife, Cordelia Foster Wainman, a schoolteacher whom he married in 1858, had eight children.  Cordelia was the daughter of Hiram Foster who emigrated to Western New York from Canterbury, NH   After Cordelia’s death in 1884, Thomas moved to Bainbridge GA, where he remarried (1887) and eventually died (1908). 

Rev. Ephriam Godfrey Piper, born in 1855 in WindsorNY, was a Methodist minister who served a succession of 12 churches in Western New York andPennsylvania including Grace ME Church in Buffalo. He was active in the affairs of Silver Lake Assembly, serving on its trustees and twice as superintendent of instruction. He died in 1915.

His wife  (1880) was Mary Wainman, born in Ossian NY in 1860. Along with her sister Fannie Wainman, Mary enjoyed the cottage built by her father Thomas on Genesee, and subsequently she and her husband acquired the cottage at 54 Lakeview, which they filled with their  seven children and eventually many grandchildren. Following the death of Mary Wainman Piper in 1918, her daughters Alice (Newman) and Ella (Groom) sold their shares to Evelyn (Patterson). She and her daughter Eleanor Forsythe retained ownership into the 21st century. Alice meanwhile acquired a cottage on Fillmore Avenue.  Ella and her children often rented cottages for visits; her son Raye later purchased 58 Lakeview.

The four Newman sisters (Dorothy, Ernestine, Bettie & Margaret ) arrived each summer at their Piper grandparents’ cottage on Lakeview by train from Hornell.  Luggage for the season came along in trunks on other trains, not always soon enough for Dorothy who one year fell into the lake twice before her extra clothes had arrived.  The lively girls and their several cousins also staying at the cottage were subject to all the strict Assembly rules (including wearing one’s season admission tickets to insure access through the gates to the Grounds).   No wonder that in later years the girls found the dance bands and entertainment down at Walkers attractive.  Their parents Cleon and Alice purchased their own cottage at 15 Fillmore Avenue in 1933. 

After college and career years at Forbes Magazine in NYC, Dorothy married Paul Culley in Buffalo; enroute to their honeymoon in Quebec, they spent their wedding night at the lake.  While sisters Ernestine and Bettie bought their own cottages on Hedding Avenue as their families expanded, Dorothy and Margaret alternated July and August with their mother until Margaret’s death in 1957.  During WW2, Paul hoarded gas coupons for the family trip, and he traveled on the railroad to/from NYC where he taught at NYU, sometimes walking from the junction at Silver Springs.   The family continued to vacation at the lake with their two children and grandchildren until Dorothy’s death in 1976, when their daughter Nancy took over the family cottage.

Staying with their beloved grandmother “Mimi” in the Newman cottage onFillmore AvenueNancy and her brother Paul Culley spent carefree months each year with their cousins and friends, roaming the grounds to buy ice cream and penny candy at the now-demolished store and at Lounsbery’s in Walkers. The lakeside railroad tracks were a challenge to balance on, flatten pennies upon, and even proudly ride unaccompanied from Silver Springs to Perry. As little children, they played on the swings and teeter-totters in BurtPark, though mindful of the family prohibition against the pestilential sandbox.  Since Nancy and her friend Dianne Palmer both slept out on the upper porches of their cottages, they rigged up a “telegraph” line pinned on with clothespins to send each other nighttime messages across the street.  Some years, the Sunday School Superintendents’ Training Course at CampAsbury used the Institute children to experiment with new curriculum ideas, and the second floor of Stoody Hall was the site of Craft Club activities that some mothers ran to occupy the children with metalworking, painting and glue constructions. The library at Hoag was available to borrow Bobbsey Twins and other, more dated works of fiction under the supervision of Grandma Bergstrom. 

Of course the lake itself was the main focal point, where the necessities of bathing and shampooing took place, as well as the more normal swimming and boating. Nancy progressed through the Red Cross swimming lessons offered at the Assembly and Asbury docks, eventually earning Senior Lifesaving certification. A close-knit group of teenagers, many of whom are cottage owners today, had lots of mostly wholesome activities to keep them occupied during these years in the 1950’s: roller skating at the rink in Walkers: hours of practice for the Institute swim team (which took place even in freezing weather and algae blooms): hanging out on the dock and at the Bergstroms’ Kats Kave; trekking to Sowerby’s Dairy for ice cream;  and sneaking into the drive in.  A landmark event was the 1957 Silver Lake Sea Serpent Anniversary show at Epworth which featured many skits, a spectacular backdrop by Margaret Bush, and an original theme song by Jim Morey.  During the winter months in exile, Nancy was probably not the only one to keep a jar of Silver Lake water (algae and all) in her bookcase at home.

When Nancy brought her fiancé Bob to the lake for the first time in 1964, he was stunned upon alighting from the car to find himself encircled by perhaps 15 or 20 relatives, just a normal weekend gathering of aunts and cousins.  Over the next 49 years, he has managed to adapt, resorting to the local golf courses and flea markets insofar as possible. (Nancy’s parents added a modern bathroom with a genuine shower to the cottage to make conditions more acceptable to him.) The family cottage eventually passed toNancy, and she and Bob are enjoying the extended stays at the lake that retirement has permitted them.  In recent years they have welcomed their grandson’s visits, hoping that he might become a seventh generation Silver Laker.

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Jim and Jeanne Morey

Lake Lovers

So Who Are Jim and Jeanne and What Was the Lure of the Lake?

Quite simply, Jim loved the lake. Silver Lake was where his relatives gathered every summer, spending each summer day as a family reunion.  He loved the freedom of the lake, but even more, he loved the lake because for summers, it was his only permanent childhood home.  Jim’s father, Ira, was a salesman and sales manager for Birdseye Foods and was promoted to a new territory about every two years. From Buffalo to Perry to Pittsburgh to Chicago to Indianapolis to Boston to Detroit, Jim and his mother Ernie Newman Morey, followed Ira from city to city. 

As for Jeanne, she loved the lake after her first introduction to it because it was evident that the lake was a magical place to Jim. And after the first time in Jim’s boat around Silver Lake, listening to the stories of his adventures during summers growing up at the lake, I (for I am Jeanne) grew to see the lake as an idyllic place in which any child could explore, create and flourish.

The Lore of the Lake: Jim’s Summers Growing Up

Jim told tales about his cousins, Connie, Larry, Nancy, Paul, Jane and Jeff: the plays they made up to entertain the adults at the Filmore homestead where grandmother Mimi and grandfather Cleon Newman lived in the summers with their four grown daughters and their husbands and children. He recounted the baths they took in the lake, the challenge swim across the lake when each of them turned 13. And the music and dancing at The Barn, a privately-owned structure on the lake they were given permission to use on Saturday nights for swing nights.

As Jim grew up, he and his cousin Larry took jobs in Perry at the T-shirt factory, where they worked their way up the ladder from flockers to printers. One summer, Jim’s father fronted the cousins $500 to run a small store on Wesley near the post office. This was back when the trains still ran by the lake, and each day, delivered mail to the lakers. And as families gathered at the train stop to collect their mail, they almost always had a hankering for ice cream, which Jim’s and Larry’s store sold. They  “made tons of money”  that summer Jim said, and paid Jim’s dad back in full, with plenty left over for movies with girlfriends, magazines, and records.

The Background Facts

Born in 1933 in Flushing, NY, Jim experienced the end of the Great Depression and the Second World War. He graduated from Ohio University with a bachelor’s degree in English and continued his studies in drama at Columbia University, where he earned his Master of Arts with honors. From there, Jim took a turn into the corporate world, taking his first job in advertising.

Jim had always had a talent for writing. He would proudly tell of a poem of his being printed in the Perry Herald when he was in the fourth grade. He honed his skills during college years writing a musical as well as numerous plays and short stories. He also worked as a journalist and photographer in Mexico for a specialty magazine. His talent served him well throughout his life: in advertising, where he began as a copywriter then excelled his way to creative director, then president, finally closing out his career as CEO and Board President of a major Rochester advertising agency. His sophisticated advertising writing style and his eye for timely relevance earned him regional, national and international awards. 

Jim also spent time after graduating from Columbia teaching writing at Texas Tech in Lubbock and later advanced his studies in Duke University’s dramatic literature doctoral program.  During this time, he married his first wife, Frances Rogers. Jim later married Marsha Rogler. He had five children—Allison, David, Dinah, John and Stephen—who now enjoy summers at the cottage at 3873 Janes Avenue.

They Meet Professionally in1980 and Then…  

Jim first became acquainted with Jeanne Stillman in Rochester at Hutchins/Y & R, the advertising and marketing firm that Jim then headed. Jeanne grew up in Williamsville, NY, and received her undergraduate degree from SUNY Fredonia and much later in life earned an MS in Education from Nazareth College. Like Jim, she had lived in various cities as an adult, including New York, Atlanta and even Brasilia, Brazil. During her working life, she changed careers several times, holding positions in advertising, public relations, corporate marketing, education and finally, community organizing. After the tragic death of his second wife, Marsha, a strange dream led Jim out of curiosity to google Jeanne’s name, and then email her to find out how life was treating her. And from there, a lunch, an engagement and a wedding in 2006.

Jim died of lung cancer in April 2020, spending his final four days at Suzanne’s Comfort Care and is buried in Glenwood Cemetery. He lived, died and rests eternally physically close to and in the mystical spell of Silver Lake. 

Jeanne Elizabeth Stillman Morey

June 18, 2021

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My parents, Robert C. Estes and Alta J. McCrea were both born in 1916, on August 20 and May 3, respectively.  Their United Methodist tradition began in their hometowns of Cuba, NY and Depeauville and later Clayton, NY.  During his young adult years my father was a member of the Epworth League, and visited Silver Lake in the summer.  Bob’s and Alta’s careers brought them to Buffalo where they met in the early 1940’s.  They were married on August 30, 1942, at the Clayton United Methodist Church.   My sister Bonnie and I went to summer camp at Camp Asbury during the late 50’s – early 60’s.  Bonnie renewed her earlier ties to Silver Lake four years ago when she and her husband Frank bought their lake house on Lakeside Ave.   My mother died in 2009, but during the last three years of Dad’s life, he and I were able to enjoy coming back to Silver Lake to fish, ride in the boat, and spend time with family and friends around the campfire. Dad passed away January 6, 2013.  My parents would have loved the Victorian cottage on Harris Ave., with its beautiful view of Silver Lake.  I had the good fortune to purchase it from the Bargers in October 2013.  I hope to spend many summers here at Silver Lake with my sons, Ryan and David, in memory of their grandparents, Bob and Alta Estes.

Silver Lake has a long history in our family from when my Dad (Robert Estes) was a member in the Epworth League in the 1930’s and when I attended camp in the 1970’s. In recent years, my husband (originally from California) fell in love with Silver Lake and Wyoming County and in 2011 we began a new family tradition. 
                                                            Frank and Bonnie Bright

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January 19, 1953 – December 12, 2012

Karen A. (Seege) Fentner was born January 19, 1953 and married Thomas A. Fentner on June 15, 1974. She became a mother to Nicole Marie (Fentner) Glendinning in December 1975 and Thomas Jason Fentner in February 1977. In 1999 she was diagnosed with Breast cancer and in 2004 diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Karen refused to back off in her relentless fight with cancer and simply refused to be taken until she was able to see her children get married. As a result of her courageous battle,  she not only lived to see her children get married – but she went on to meet and actually have a loving relationship with her two beautiful grandchildren – Brian Thomas Fentner born in March 2004 and Kayla Kate Fentner born in October 2006. On December 12, 2012, Karen passed away in Hospice where her attending physician remarked “Cancer did not beat Karen – the odds are incredibly strong that a woman cannot hold off ovarian cancer for very long – but to actually survive an eight year battle is truly remarkable.”

The Fentners bought their lake house in November 2006 and Karen enjoyed spending summers watching the sun reflect off the water – it brought her peace, time for reflection that there is indeed a greater reward once the battle is over. This brick is placed in her honor and will always remind her family how much she enjoyed her time at the lake. As the sun rises and sets each day on beautiful Silver Lake – this brick represents the memory of a woman who was strong for her family and has left a legacy with her children and grandchildren of what unconditional love and caring really mean.

Gram and Pop Bergstrom
Bought in the 1930’s – 14 Wesley
Mom and Dad in 1946 – 9 Harris
Buffalo Schools ended in June;
We were at Silver Lake every summer til Labor Day.
The rest is a history of wonderful memories...

Grandma in her swimming shoes
For her every night dip;
She was the Librarian in Hoag,
Organ player for Wednesday night dock services
(“Sh...hh,” we all had to be quiet),
Baking goodies every day,
We'd sneak in the back door for a cookie or two.

Grandpa was Superintendent.
Tools always handy,
Always ready to help,
Anywhere on the Grounds,
Always ready with a joke.

Mom – Her favorite place in the world.
Cooking, ironing, reading,
Planning baked good sales,
Helping with spaghetti dinners,
A warm towel for us when swimming was through,
(“Don't sit on the furniture in a wet suit!”)

Dad – A trustee.
Puttering in the garage fixing something,
Teaching kids how to swim,
Driving the old skow,
Pulling us behind on his hand-made surfboard,
Taking us to swim meets at Letchworth.

This simpler time was for watching movies at the drive-in, fireworks from our back yard, swimming and skiing all day, learning how to fix a prop and untangle a ski line, cocoa and toast for breakfast, slamming the back screen door, early-morning swimming lessons, bare feet & stubbed toes, picking water lilies, swimming across the lake, sleeping out in an old tent, walking the trail to the little store & penny candy, playing cards, making fudge on cold rainy days, laughing when the honey-dipper came, finding night-crawlers, boathouse parties, Cat's Cave, listening to an old radio that could tune in stations all over the world, watching shimmering poplar leaves in the wind, listening to rain on the cottage roof, performing end-of-the-summer talent shows at Epworth, crafts at Stoody Hall, sneaking into the drive-in, dinners of just corn---butter dripping from our chins and oh, so much more.

All this shared with family and friends who visited
Neighbors who became family
We learned
And above all
We knew we were SAFE and LOVED

This is a lot to get from one place!

Jon Halsey Bergstrom, son of Bill and Marge Bergstrom, grandson of George and Edith Bergstrom was a true Silver Laker. Jon treasured his summers at Silver Lake. He swam, boated, rafted, played ball up in the park, hunted for turtles in the inlet, climbed anything possible and rode a bicycle everywhere, even over to Letchworth State Park: all of this done with his brother Peter.

But more than anything, he loved to fish. Jon spent hours standing on the dock, hardly moving a muscle, finger on the line just waiting for the subtle tug of a Sunny, Perch or a Bass. He would catch buckets full every day...catch and release... He was so good that one day he caught a fish with a small safety pin and a piece of hotdog. He lived a real Huckleberry Finn summer as best he could.

As an adult, Jon would return to Silver Lake with his family to have his sons, Carl and Jonathan experience some of the joys that he held so dear in his heart. In retirement, he was able to return to spending whole summers and even part of the fall at the cottage. He would sit on the deck and often talk about how lucky we were to have Tree Haven. As an artist, he appreciated collecting things he found unique or beautiful, but to him nothing was more wonderful than Silver Lake. His presence is felt every time you walk into Tree Haven.

Peter Sprague Bergstrom, son of Bill and Marge Bergstrom, grandson of George and Edith Bergstrom, was a true Silver Laker. Peter treasured his summers at Silver Lake. He swam, boated, fished, rafted, played ball in the park, hunted for turtles in the inlet, climbed anything possible, and rode his bicycle everywhere, even to Letchworth State Park: all this done with his brother, Jon.

After graduating from Cortland, as did his Mother and Father, Peter’s wanderlust took him to Europe for many of his adult years. Mostly living in Germany and England he traveled as much as he could. He married the love of his life in London and started a family. He and his family made the trip to Silver Lake in the summer. In 1990 he and his wife, Gill, son, Ander and daughter, Abby returned to this area, buying a home in Pittsford, NY, near his beloved Silver Lake. They all enjoyed many summers experiencing the joys of cottage living on a special lake. His presence is felt every time you walk into Tree Haven Cottage.

What's a Lake Girl?

Saying goodbye to school friends for the summer
Learning how to swim at a very early age
Dad was the best swim coach
Out of bed...bathing suit on
A good breakfast in the morning
Sometimes Cocoa and toast
Off on the day's adventures
Swimming, skiing, sandbar, picking water lilies in the inlet
Learning to drive and care for a 12
Teaching others to water ski
Bathing in the lake
Watching 4th of July fireworks from our back door
Fresh-baked cookies from Gram as we ran by her house
Making pot-holders to sell
Painting plaster of Paris molds Dad made
Fudge on a rainy day
Feeding the donkeys up at the Drive-in
Waiting at the top of Harris Rd. for the Louisons to arrive
Card games
Friends in "Cat's Cave"
Candles when the lights went out
Skiing at dusk
Bare feet, stubbed toes
Pennies on the railroad tracks
Fresh berries, sweet corn, peas, beans, tomatoes for dinner
A Lake Girl respects the lake
In return finds happiness, confidence, friends and makes wonderful memories
A Lake Girl
Is happiest near water
And feels like the luckiest girl in the world!

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Narrative needed.

My father Jacob Heinrich was a minister in Buffalo, NY, from approximately 1938 to 1948. His wife Marion was the perfect minister's wife. In 1943 he was looking for a nice area for some of the Western New York members of his denomination (Assembly of God) to hold "Revival Camp Meetings." He and our mother Marion discovered the Silver Lake Institute. In the summer of 1946, members of their denomination found cottages to rent and others stayed at the Epworth Inn. Th meetings were held at this location for approximately three years. Our parents and their three children (Marion, David and Calvin) fell in love with the area as the years passed.

My parents rented space above a garage several streets back from the lake for the first year and then found other cottages in the summer of 1944, 1945. Then in 1946 they bought their first small cottage. That cottage still stands and is at the junction of Lakeview and Lakeside if they connected (but they do not connect); it was kept until 1959 when a lake front cottage was purchased on Lakeside Ave. close to the junction of Chapman and Lakeside. That cottage was sold in 1969 and my parents bought a cottage on the corner of Lakeview and Fillmore as a retirement summer cottage.

My father would occasionally be asked to speak at Sunday services at the Institute through the years. We moved to Wilmington, Delaware in 1948 but our association with Silver Lake continued despite the distance we had to travel....that says something right there alone!

Our entire family has kept an association with "the lake" all these years. Marion has passed on at the time of this writing. David and I (Calvin) now own a lakefront cottage at 2 Fowler, which is a small spur street off Lakeside. We love the fact that the Institute is still going strongly and the whole lake seems to be on such an upswing.

Jacob and Marion truly loved their association with Silver Lake and the Institute through the years, and we have as well! We are so happy the Institute has seen fit to recognize those who have been associated with it through the years. May it go on for centuries to come!       The Heinrich "boys"

Long time Perry resident at 103 Gardeau Road, Jim Blythe was a former trustee of the Silver Lake Institute.  He was a generous benefactor whose donation helped purchase office equipment.  A long time active volunteer at the  Asbury Camp and Retreat Center Jim regularly assisted with the grounds, maintenance and mowing. Jim's contributions and his dedication were very much appreciated.

Picture this: Cleon, dashing 19-year-old budding journalist, marrying Alice, comely 16-year-old belle, in a great big dazzler of a dead-of-winter wedding in Hornell, NY, in 1904. Together, while he works his way up to editor of the Hornell daily paper, they make time to beget daughters Dorothy, Ernie, Bettie, and Marnie. Lured later by the blandishments of the big time, they shuffle off to Buffalo where Cleon becomes night editor of the Buffalo Evening News. Soon, both undergo name changes at the hands of precocious granddaughter Connie Kavanaugh (now Wood). 

Henceforth, they answer to the names Bompa (bombastic papa?) and Mimi (French coquette?). Along the way, Mimi’s Silver Laker parents, Reverend Ephriam and Mary Piper, inspire the Newmans to buy and summer in the 15 Fillmore Avenue Victorian cottage still occupied by granddaughter Nancy Culley Sellar and husband Bob. The Newman family enjoys a Silver Lake lifestyle that includes such secular pursuits as parties, dancing, practical jokes, and bridge games. 

Bompa, who, sadly, leaves the world at the age of 55, is said to have conducted lobster races (pari-mutuel betting permitted), and, just once, sought to sooth Mimi’s morning nausea by presenting her with a bowl of oysters topped with chocolate sauce. Her response is unprintable. 

Mimi remains in memory the quintessential nurturing wife, mother, and grandmother: an ever-affable queen of cuisine, coffee cake baker, tear wiper away-er, and story reader. Yet, when it comes to bridge games, affability flies out the window. She takes no prisoners. Her will to win is as fierce as that of an NFL linebacker. Mimi dies in 1967 at the age of 80. The greatest tribute that can be paid to her is this: each of her four daughters and their families want her to come and stay with them. The competition for her company, though friendly, is fierce. And so, fair-minded and happy to be wanted, she circulates from Niagara Falls to Westbury to Buffalo to Detroit and round again, but always, always in summer, the breezes blow her back to Silver Lake.

After graduating from Kenmore High School Barb Weaver attended Hilbert College, Alfred State University, and University of Buffalo.  Her work since then has focused mainly on Christian Education.  She has been employed with churches throughout the Western New York area and has served as a consultant and workshop leader in the North-eastern United States.

The Rev. Dr. Donald Weaver also graduated from Kenmore High School and continued his education at Buffalo State College, University of Rochester, Colgate Rochester Divinity School, Alfred School of Theology and completed his Doctor of Ministry at Drew University.  Don has served in many pastoral capacities at churches throughout Western New York since 1957.  He retired from full time pastoral ministry from Kenmore United Methodist Church in 1997.

All of the above is true, but none of it tells the whole story.  First, Barb was 17 when she graduated from Kenmore and decided to marry Don who was 20.  Don started out to be an industrial arts teacher and they were asked to lead a Junior High youth group at their church and the rest is history.  At one point Don wanted to make sure that the church who was interviewing him realized that he was a minister who wanted to ride his motorcycle, snow ski and sail.  Luckily that wasn’t a deal breaker and he was hired. And to say that these two ever retired is a complete falsehood.

Don and Barb spent their honeymoon at Silver Lake in 1956, having fallen in love with each other and the lake.  Later they returned to direct and be counselors for youth camps at Camp Asbury for a period of 30 years.  Don spent three years living on the Institute and Camp Grounds when he served as Associate Executive Secretary of the Western New York Conference. Both Don and Barb taught in the same Lab Schools, and they also were presenters for the United Methodist Women’s School of Mission at Camp Asbury.  They have worked together as retreat leaders for Camp Asbury for over 50 years.

Together with Don’s parents, Leslie and Jessie Weaver, they bought their cottage at 6964 (15) Harris Avenue on the Institute Grounds in the1980’s. Since then it has been a place where both family and friends have broken bread around the table, the picnic blanket or on the lake.  They have found it a spot where neighbors truly love and care about each other, a place where stories are shared, a place where they have laughed together and wiped away each other’s tears, and a place where four generations have come together in this special space that is truly holy ground to all.

Don and Barb have been involved in Disaster Response work both nationally and internationally since 1980.  They were originally chosen to be two of twelve volunteer response consultants for the United Methodist Committee on Relief.  From this work, their reach has expanded to include training and responding for Church World Service, the World Council of Churches, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and Children’s Disaster Services.  Since 1989, Don and Barb have served on the Critical Response Team with the American Red Cross operating under Homeland Security.

Together they have responded to numerous catastrophes including the school shooting at Columbine High School, the Oklahoma City bombing, the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and Hurricane Sandy to name a few.  Barb has traveled to Bosnia and Japan to carry out her teaching responders to work with Children who have been affected by disasters.

The couple was invited to Africa to teach an eight week course in Emergency Response in Zimbabwe.  Their work helped found the Institute of Peace and Reconciliation at the Africa University.

Barbara and Don have three children, nine grandchildren and several great grandchildren. They continue to call the Town of Tonawanda their home.

It is easy to see why Barb plans to write a book about her many adventures and experiences – the working title is ‘I’ve Slept Around’.

Cottage Location: 6964 Harris Ave.
Sue A. (Weaver) Loucks

              Spouse: Christopher Loucks
              Children: Jessica and Jeremy; Grandchildren: Makena Itotia

Sue is an LPN and works as a Clinical Instructor at Elderwood Health Care at Oakwood in Amherst N.Y. Sue is a member of Kenmore UMC where she has taught Sunday School. 
She is an Alumni Member of the National Ski Patrol where she served as an Outdoor 
Emergency Care Instructor.

D. Scott Weaver

              Spouse: Edith (Pitorf) Weaver
              Children: Andrew, Ryan and Elizabeth; Grandchildren: Aaliyah, Kyliegh and Cleo

Scott is a Service Account Manager at John W. Danforth Company in Tonawanda. He is a member of Trinity UMC where he serves as president of the Trustees. He has taught at Niagara Community College and has also served on its Board of Directors.

Sheryl L. (Weaver) Walker

              Spouse: Paul Walker
              Children: Patrick, Rachael, Sarah and Matthew

Sheryl is a Teacher Aid in the Ken-Ton School District. She is a member of the Kenmore UMC where she serves on the Youth Ministry Team of the church. She is a member of the National Ski Patrol.

All agree that their time at Silver Lake with family and friends has deeply influenced their lives.

There is now a fifth generation of lakers in the Weaver Family.    

Heritage Walkway Paver Honoring Don Weaver’s Parents

Leslie S. Weaver
Born:  July 2, 1907 in Buffalo, NY
Died:   February, 7, 1983 in Eustis Florida
Children:   Donald and Norman
Cottage Location: Shared ownership with Don and Barb Weaver at 6964 Harris Ave.

Leslie grew up as a member of the Richmond Avenue UMC where he sang in the church choir. Les was a member of the Epworth League spending time in the summer at the Silver Lake Assembly Grounds.  In the mid 1940’s he and his family moved to Kenmore where they became members of Kenmore UMC.  After retirement they moved to Clarence NY and then on to Eustis, Florida.

Jessie W. (Robinson) Weaver
Born:  April 13, 1911 in Pike, N.Y.
Died:  February 28, 1989 in Buffalo, N.Y.

Jessie graduated from Pike Seminary (High School) in 1928 and from Houghton College in 1932.  Shestarted teaching in a one-room school house in Allegany County.  She later taught math at Kensington High School in Buffalo and at St. Mary’s High School in Tonawanda.  She was one of the first Nursery School Teachers at Kenmore UMC.  Jessie and Leslie were married on May 3rd 1934 in the Robinson home in Pike N.Y. in a double wedding with her sister Gertrude. They spent their summers at the Harris Ave. cottage from 1981 until their death.

Inga is fondly remembered for her love of the sugar maple trees.

Narrative needed.

Narrative needed.

James Oliver Caldwell was a smart, witty, funny man who served 30 years in the United States Air Force where he flew B36s, B29s and U2 planes. He served in WWII, where his plane was shot down, and he spent 5 days in a rubber raft before being saved.  He was happily running a jewelry store inBuffalo when he was recalled into the USAF during the Korean War.  He was an avid Lightning sailor who loved and spent a great deal of time atSilver Lake.

Carol Caldwell came to Silver Lake for the first time in 1946.  She had been asked several times to come to the lake for the weekend but was afraid that she would get to some bachelor pad.  She was shocked to arrive for a Sunday afternoon visit to find 23 family members crowded into Woodbine Cottage. She and Jim were married in 1947 and she became part of the Silver Lake family.  She and Jim owned a cottage on Wesley Avenue and then sold that to move to her current cottage on Lakeview.

Since her marriage, Carol has been an integral part of the Institute and its happenings.  She has worked with the young people on the Institute by teaching them crafts and how to dance (something she learned during her tenure with the Radio City Rocketts).  She was one of the mothers who ran the early Rummage Sales, Baked Goods Sale and Spaghetti Dinners to raise money for the swimming instructor and lifeguard at the Institute dock.  One of her favorite memories was helping a group of girls to perform, “I’m going to wash that man right out of my Hair?” at an Epworth Talent Night.

Her nieces and nephews remember her teaching them all to ski behind the old boat with the 25hp motor.  One of the favorite Carol stories is the day that she brought an old outhouse down to her dock.  Several of the Institute mavens were shocked and appalled that an outhouse was going to be visible on the lakefront.  Her father-in-law even had to chase one of them away using angry words.  The outhouse was put in place and then decorated with paint and flowers and became a great storage shed for skis, chairs, and other lake necessities.  It’s still there today.

Carol and Jim were also avid lightning sailors and Carol was always dreaming up new and fun evening race events for the sailors.  In one the first place boat had to pass a marker and then wait for the last place boat and trade a crew member, each successive boat then also had to trade crew member.  In another race, each boat had a balloon tied on to it; the object was to get to the finish with the balloon in tact, but of course, everyone was trying to pop the balloons. Carol also used the boat to advertise for the end of season Spaghetti Dinner at the Institute.  She would use duct tape to spell out Spaghetti Dinner on the sails and then each evening she and her crew would sail around the lake.  Carol was always up for something new and different.

Recently Carol has been known for her prowess on the golf course.  She is an avid golfer and has won the Silver Lake Institute Golf outing and the Silver Lake Country Club Championship numerous times.

Grandson James has fond memories of spending summers at the lake with his grandmother. They would come up for weeks, sometimes a month at a time and stay at the cottage with Carol. As a young kid, she was never short of activities to keep them busy and having fun. James remembers her taking them on bike rides, teaching him to row a boat & swim. She would also plan fun family picnics at Letchworth. Carol had a rope swing attached to the tree over her dock for many years. James remembers spending days at a time with cousins and friends swinging off the end of the dock. She was also the one responsible for teaching him to play golf; an activity they still enjoy together at the lake. Both James & Kathryn moved around growing up but one thing they could always count on was a summer trip to Silver Lake. The time they would spend with Carol in the summer always felt like home. James and his wife, Christina, still visit in the summer and stay with Carol at her cottage. 

Kathryn, Carol’s granddaughter, has many fond memories with her grandmother. The lake was a place to go catch frogs and look for turtles, either at the inlet or the golf course. Carol gave Kathryn a boat, helped her repaint it, named it Gidget, and taught her how to row. Kathryn remembers sitting on the porch having long conversations with her grandmother. She remembers her grandmother teaching her many things like tennis, how to swim, etiquette, and how to entertain.  Kathryn says that she likes to entertain because of the cocktail and dock parties that Carol always had at the lake, Carol is always the light of the party! Carol also taught Kathryn and anyone who would listen how to play bridge. Carol is now enjoying making new memories with Kathryn and husband Kenny’s daughter, Carolyn. 

Kathryn and Kenny hope that Carolyn can make many memories with her Great Grandmother, just as they have. Carol’s passion for life is evident in everything she does.

Carolyn's step sisters, Chelsea, Sarah, Maddison and Chloe also love the lake and have spent lots of fun times here.

Caldwell poodles - loving friends who loved Silver Lake.

For many years, the Nonnebergs made their home along Lakeview Ave where their magnificent view of Silver Lake was unobstructed and Charlie was able to view wakes and waves, seagulls and geese, flares, and fireworks, fish, fishermen, Ice fishermen, boats, skiers, swimmers, a panorama of God’s wonders. 

As a retired Methodist minister, Charlie loved the Silver Lake Institute and its long and faith-filled history.  He served as a Silver Lake Institute Trustee, the registrar, the bookkeeper and handled details much like the SLI Clerk of today. 

Charles Nonnenberg will long be remembered as a man of faith and a man of the Word.  He is missed here on the Institute.

    One day, in spring of 1981, one of the janitors at the Rochester School for the Deaf where Ed Niedzialek worked had somehow learned of a property on the Silver Lake Institute.  Ed mentioned it to his wife Terry and off they went, with their son Scott, in search of this property.  A couple of hours later, in the pouring rain, they found the small Victorian home at 12 Fillmore Avenue.  They were granted permission to view the home after a series of questions intended on screening their “worthiness” and later that week, a decision was made to purchase the home.  After appearing before the Institute Board, approval to purchase the home at 12 Fillmore Avenue was granted.   Hence, in July 1982, the Niedzialek family’s history as members of the Silver Lake Institute began.

    For the first number of years, the adventure at Silver Lake was much like other new homeowners.  The cottage, built almost 100 years prior in 1893, was in need of various repairs. Knob and tube wiring, hot water and sewer lines, the green siding applied to the exterior, foundation repairs and new floors were just a few projects that Ed and Terry tackled on weekend retreats from their Irondequoit home.  The first acquaintance they made was neighbor Nelson Palmer, a wise gentleman who was always willing to share his insight (and sometimes critique) on both cottage repair and how to catch and clean a Northern Pike. 

    Fifteen years of spending weekends at Silver Lake passed and Ed decided to retire from the State of New York educational system in 1998 after more than 35 years of service.  Determined not to see snow again, Ed and Terry moved to Wilmington, NC but that did not deter them from spending the summer months at their Silver Lake getaway.  Time was spent on their pontoon boat, making day trips to area attractions, reading, and woodcarving.  The retreat back to North Carolina was typically towards the end of August or early September, depending on how nice the fall weather was.

    Ed and Terry coordinated the Institute auctions, fundraisers that helped with the restoration of Stoody Hall. Terry was a master quilter.  She was active with the Silver Lake Piecemakers; one of her quilts hangs in Stoody Hall. Ed and Terry renewed their 50-year wedding vows on the porch of Tom and Jackie Kraft with both pastors presiding. The cottage is now enjoyed by son Scott and grandchildren Michael and Elizabeth. 

The  Cook family at Silver Lake 
(recorded 2013)

The Rev. Edward James and Emily (Hill) Cook

2nd  generation—Dr. Bruce Cook and Mrs. Lee Smith

3rd generation—Dr. Edward, Donald, and Francis (Caldwell) Cook

4th generation—Robert, David, Bruce, Lee, and Marsha Cook;  
Carol Lee Cunius (Caldwell) and Rev. William Bruce Caldwell

5th generation—Allyson, Peter, James, Kevin and Melissa Cook

6th generation—Averi, Sydney and Payge Cook

The Rev. Edward James Cook (1842-1917) was a carpenter by trade and built the Cook cottage in 1875 at 18 Embury, on the NE corner of Park and Embury.  He took part in the original  camp meetings held on current Institute grounds and early on rode a 200 mile circuit. He served at several Western NY Methodist churches including Pavilion, Nunda, Eden and Hilton.  Following his career in the ministry he attended Niagara Universityand received an MD degree and practiced medicine in Buffalo.  He was married to Emily Amanda Hill (1846-1912) and they had two children, Lee Glencora (1871-1965) and Dr. Bruce Leon Dewitt Cook (1874-1940). 

Several descendants of the Hill family have owned cottages at the Lakeincluding the Rev. Fred and Mrs. Fran (Hill) House and Blanch Hill.  Rev. House was a long time minister at the Perry United Methodist Church in the 1950s and 60s. Blanch owned a cottage aptly named the “aunt hill”.

Lee Glencora Cook had a great love for the lake. She was an active member of the Women's Christian Temperance Union before her marriage to Grover Dwight Smith (1872-1924) in MontclairNJ.  Grover supplied the bead board which still covers the walls and ceilings in the Cook cottage.  They had three daughters, Virginia Lee (1901-    ), Madelyn Alice (1905-     ) and Gertrude Emily (1908—2007 ).  Aunt Lee was an active member of the Camp Fire Girls and in 1917 started a summer camp named Camp Nyoda atOak RidgeNJ.  The operation was carried on by her daughter Virginia and grand daughter Alice Lee.

Dr. Bruce Cook attended Lima Seminary and Niagara University where he received his medical degree. He practiced medicine in Buffalo until his death in 1940.  He was married to Mary Katherine Craven (1879-1979) on Jan 1, 1900.  They had three children, Francis Katherine (1901-1969), Dr. Edward Dewitt (1905-1972),  and Donald Craven (1907-1983).  Dr. Bruce was known for his sailing abilities while his wife Mary was a prolific painter. Many of her paintings are on display in the cottage as well as in many family households.

Donald was a graduate of Masten Park High School in Buffalo where he was an All High athlete in football and track and attended Cook Academy.  Don was a member of Asbury Delaware United Methodist Church and served as a trustee at the Institute. He married Doris Coon (1916-1996) and they had two children, Robert (8/17/42) and David (4/20/46). Doris was a graduate of Bennet High School and worked for the United Way for many years. Don and Doris were true Silver Lakers and made several important upgrades to the cottage.  A block foundation was added in the 1960s as well as a new modern bathroom. Don and son David added a cinder block alcove with a Franklin stove and made upgrades to the kitchen.  Don and Doris were well known at the Institute and were great friends with Marge and Bill Bergstrom. Don and Doris considered the cottage as home.

Doris and Don's son Bob spent his summers at the Lake was on the staff atCamp Asbury. He attended The State University of NY at Buffalo from 1960 to 1968, where he  received a BA degree in 1964 and a DDS degree in 1968. He practiced dentistry full time from 1969 to 2010 in Hamburg.  He married Karen Ann Kimball (1/31/45) in 1967 and they had two children, Allyson (10/26/71) and Peter (2/8/76). Karen is a graduate of Rosery Hill Collegewhere she received a degree in Englishand completed a masters in education at Canisus College. She taught at Grover Cleveland High School inBuffalo for several years and after the birth of Allyson and Peter served as a substitute in the Hamburg and Frontier Districts.  Bob under took an extensive cottage renovation project starting in 1991.  

The front porch was replaced with the help of son Peter. The cinder block alcove was replaced with a brick fireplace, structural problems were addressed and corrected, windows were replaced, insulation was added, siding was replaced, hardwood floors were installed on the first floor and aesthetic trim was added.  Karen and Bob's daughter Allyson is a UB graduate with a degree in speech and hearing science and has a daughter Averi (11/19/03). Averi attends school in Hamburg and is active in Tae Kwon Do and enjoys skiing in the winter. Son Peter attended SUNY Cortland and received a degree in history in 1998 and a masters in education at Buffalo State College. He teaches history in the Albany area where he resides with his wife Selena and two daughters, Sydney (8/10/03) and Payge (2/1/09). 

Son David graduated from SUNY@Buffalo in 1970 with a BA in Political Science, and continued to completean MBA degree in 1975.  He then accepted a position in the Undergraduate Admissions Dept. in 1977 from which he retired in 2004.  David and Lois Anne Bubar were married in 1971.  Lois graduated from the SUC at Buffalo with a BS in Education in 1971, and completed an MS in 1975.  She taught Home and Career Skills in the Buffalo Public School system until her retirement in 2004.  They both spent many years as volunteers on the National Ski Patrol.  Following their retirement, they relocated to Florida in 2006 to continue to pursue their passion for golf.  David and Lois have three children, James (2/16/79), Kevin (11/2/81), and Melissa (4/14/83).  James has a BS from the OhioState University, and a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from UB.  He met his future wife Kelly Zarachawicz while attending OSU.  They have two sons, Zachary David (8/16/2011), and Andrew James (2/10/2014).  They reside inConcordNorth Carolina.  Kevin graduated from UB in 2003, and received a PhD in Micro Biology from the University of Rochester in 2010.  He is currently doing Post Doctoral research at UNC Chapel Hill.  While at the U of R he met Molly Gill.  They were married in SpokaneWA in 2010 and reside with their daughter Zoe Louise (9/9/2012) in DurhamNC.  Melissa graduated from St Bonaventure University in 2005, and completed a Masters in Education at UNC Charlotte in 2010.  She also completed requirements for National Teacher Certification that year.  She teaches Special Education in North Carolina.  She lives 3 miles from her brother Jim in Concord with her husband Jay Tapp, daughter Emma Anne (1/28/ 2012) and step daughters Lauren and Kailey. 

The cottage was constructed with rough cut wood balloon framing with half inch tongue and groove plank serving as the support structure.  This is typical for the time and area and still remains. The plank was covered with plywood in the 1990s and studs added to interior walls to correct structural failings.  The original entrance was from Park Ave. and divided the main room in half. The stairs were soon after moved to the west wall. Part of the back porch was enclosed to create a small down stairs bedroom. Utilities were added as they became available. Dr. Edward Cook had the original fireplace installed in the 1940s. Although the basic structure remains the same, each generation has left its mark, and all have truly enjoyed their time at theLake.

Dr. Edward Cook and his wife Jerry eventually moved their family to a cottage on Chautauqua.  The cottage there better served the health needs of their son Bruce.

Donald and Melba Meyer have owned property in the Silver Lake Institute since 1986 when they bought a small cottage at 2 Lakeside Ave.  At that time Melba was an ordained minister in the United MethodistChurch and Don was a retired government employee.  Over the years Don and Mel insulated and added a few additions onto their tiny lake cottage and turned it into a year round home which they permanently moved into in 1996 when Melba retired from full time pastoral ministry.  They lived in the Institute community 8 months out of the year and spent the other 4 months in Florida.  While at the Institute Don and Melba have been involved in many activities.  Don served on the Institute board for many years, even serving as president of the board for a few of them.  Melba continued her pastoral care by overseeing the worship services every Sunday at Epworth hall during the summer.  They made many friends over the years on the lake and enjoyed many visits to the Charcoal Corral.  In Spring, Summer and Fall their home on Lakeside Ave. was bustling with family and friends, all enjoying the activities at the lake and the Institute.   Special to them were the Thursday night concerts in Epworth Hall. 

In 2010, it became apparent to Don and Mel that it was time to move closer to their roots and family inRochesterNY, about 45 minutes from Silver Lake.   Understanding the enjoyment and memories SilverLake brought to the Meyer family, they sold the property on Lakeside Ave. to their son, David, and daughter-in-law, Alice.  Signing the cottage over to her children was Melba’s last gift to her family.  She passed away a few weeks later.  David and Alice now continue the tradition of offering the lake house to siblings, children, friends and others to enjoy and make lasting memories on Silver Lake.  Don still has the opportunity to spend time at the lake and enjoy and savor the wonderful memories he made over 3 decades with his wife and family in Silver Lake Institute. 

Maud and Claude Curtis were the Silver Lake postmasters for many years.  They owned a lake-view cottage on Hedding Avenue.  News reports indicate they lived there as early as 1914.  They were respected by all for their honest and sincerity.  Mail from out of town came in by train a couple of times a week.  In the summer kids considered it an honor to be chosen to help them carry the mail sack from the railway up the hill to the post office. They were a devoted couple.  She survived him until the late 1960’s.  When no longer able to live alone because of age, she left the Silver Lake home with the parting words, “I’m going to see Claude.”  They deserve to be remembered as true Silver Lakers.

When Julie was three months old, her grandmother, Ethel Gould, dipped her feet in Silver Lake so she would never want to leave.  She has been here every summer for her whole life!  The summer after graduating from college, she was asked to play the organ for the Sunday morning services at SLI.  Thinking it was for only one summer, she said, “Yes” – 40+ years later she is still playing!  In the summer of 1969 David and Julie were married, and he was bitten by the Silver Lake bug, too!  As teachers, they were able to spend much of every summer at the Lake.  For a few summers David worked for the Institute doing painting, mowing and odd jobs – a great job because they could “live” at the Lake. In 1985 they bought her grandparents’ cottage on Ames Ave.  David became a member of the Board of Trustees and enjoyed having a part in looking after the Institute, serving until he died in 2003.  Julies is now a Trustee and serves as program director for the Institute.

Her Children and grandchildren share her love of the lake. 

Gordon and Ethel first fell in love with Silver Lake when they started coming to Camp Asbury from their church in Buffalo where he was pastor. Gordon, having grown up in Alaska and Ethel, on a farm in Pennsylvania, found the peaceful nature setting of SLI a welcome break from city life and they decided to spend their summer vacations here. Their first few years at SLI they rented a cottage and gave their three sons, Ardell, Edward and Robert, summers they would not forget. In 1942 they purchased for $450 the cottage at 3917 Ames Avenue that became the center of many years of family vacations. Even after moving toPennsylvania, they spent their summers here at the lake where Ethel loved to entertain their many Buffalo friends. Silver Lake was a very important part of Gordon and Ethel’s lives for over 50 years – a place they liked to call home.

As a teenager, Ardell loved spending summers at Silver Lake. So it just made sense to him when he married Roma that they should spend their honeymoon at Silver Lake at the cottage owned by his parents. For many years they enjoyed summer vacations with the family at the Gould Cottage, but in 1958 they decided it was time to get their own place.  They purchased the Tanner Cottage on Genesee Street which just happened to backup to his parents’ property – and great family time continued! Ardell became very active at the Silver Lake Institute, serving many years on the Board of Trustees, several of which he was the President. He also was the Chaplain for 20 years and as a team, Ardell lined up the Sunday morning speakers and Roma took on the job of lining up the special music. Having served as a United Methodist Minister for over 60 years and serving churches inPennsylvania and New York, it was nice to have a HOME at Silver Lake.

Narrative needed.

George and Margaret McLaughlin saw an ad in a Buffalo newspaper that parcels were being sold at Silver Lake in 1924. They purchased land on Lakeshore Drive to camp on and three years later they built their cottage. They and their four daughters (Eileen, Mary, Kathleen, and Rosemary) knew everyone in the area.

Why did they love Silver Lake?

The cool, quiet, dark nights.
Fishing in the misty morning.
The dog who rolled in fish.
Under every rock a wonder.
The hammock.
You knew everyone and everyone knew your family for generations.
The smell of burning leaves.
The ice that went on forever.
The sunset over the calm lake.

“Ta mo chroi anseo.”

“Ta mo chroi anseo” is Irish Gaelic for “my heart is here,” a phrase my grandfather, George McLaughlin, used to say.

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Richard 'Dick' Colburn came to Silver Lake for the first time in 1938 at five months old.  He had so many carefree years: swimming, fishing, playing cowboys and Indians, water skiing, as well as being on the Silver Lake swim team and life guarding.  After marriage, he continued the tradition of summers at the Lake by bringing his children every year.   Silver Lake was and is a magical place, a real happy memory generator.

Harry Colburn, Jr. is the son of Harry and Kathleen Colburn, and the younger brother of Richard “Dick” Colburn. He spent summers at Silver Lake, where he learned to swim, water ski and play golf and tennis. His Irish setter, Amber, enjoyed chasing the train. The blast of its horn made her day. At age 9 he swam with the Silver Lake team in the County meet at the Letchworth pool finishing his races without drowning. At age 11, he told junior life saving and was employed the following year as lifeguard at the Assembly dock for $1 per day. “Who do you think you’re gonna save?” He bought a pair of $40 trick skis in 1960 after being given an offer he couldn’t refuse. “Hey kid, you can have ‘em for $35.” Upon graduation from college in 1965, he commuted by boat to work as summer bartender at the Country Club.

Kathleen and Harry Colburn met at Silver Lake. Harry’s father, Alfred, built a cottage on Hedding Avenue in 1914, for use by Harry’s sister Cora and his grand-mother, Emily.  Kathleeen’s mother, Beatrice Mckenney Keeler, took Kathleen and her brothers on the train to Silver Lake in the summer of 1919 while her father, Patrick J. Keeler, was serving overseas with the U.S. Army field artillery in World War I. Harry spoke with and photographed Franklin D. Roosevelt at the Pioneer Picnic on the Walker Grounds in 1926.  Harry first took notice of Kathleen one day when she was paddling her canoe on the lake.  He later asked her for a dance at the Silver Lake dance hall.  One of their first dates was to a concert by Duke Ellington and his orchestra atAlfredNY. They were married on Thanksgiving Day, 1935 and spent every summer together at the Colburn cottage.

Jonas and Evelyn Piper Patterson – 54 Lakeview Ave.

Evelyn Piper Patterson was the daughter of Rev. Ephram and Mary Wainman Piper. Mary and her sister, Fannie, owned cottages on Lakeview Avenue.

Evelyn saved a ticket that she had used to go through the Gate at the Assembly Grounds.  The Grounds were closed at night. That ticket can be seen at the Hoag Library.

When Evelyn worked on a Bible for the Methodist minister in Geneseo, she met Jonas. He went to Silver Lake with the horse, Charlie, to see Evelyn. They were married in 1913.  Eleanor was born in 1917. The first place Eleanor visited was Silver Lake.

When her parents died, Evelyn, oldest of seven, with her sisters, Ella and Alice, took turns using the cottage.  Eventually, Evelyn bought it, and it then went to Eleanor and finally to her family. Eleanor’s husband, Bob, and their daughters, Marnie and Bettie, and their families also enjoyed silver Lake.

The Wahler Family

Frank Wahler was born October 4, 1918, in BuffaloNY.  He married Elvira (Hon) Bruce on October 2, 1948. They had five children: Connie, Rick, Sue, Mary and Peggy. Frank worked for Pittsburgh Plate Glass in Buffalo. Frank died on July 1, 1998.

Elvira (Hon) Bruce was born on September 13, 1916, in BuffaloNY. Her family’s history at the Silver Lake Institute dates back as far as the mid 1800’s. Elvira died on February 23, 1996.

Mary Lou was born on October 4, 1953 in Buffalo. She passed away on September 18, 1972 after a long battle with melanoma. 

The Baker family rented a home on the Silver Lake Institute from 1968 until 1971. We loved being near the lake. We were a young family then and felt fortunate to be there. In 2003, we were able to purchase a home on Silver Lake by Camp Asbury. The lake is a peaceful place to be. Our family continues to grow with our dear grandchildren, whose names are on the brick. We have created a place of love, friendship and happiness

Greg Franklin has had a long relationship with the Silver Lake Institute. Greg actually visited the SLI grounds as a kid visiting some of the retired pastors living there, but his memories from that time are limited. He does, however, remember visiting the first floor of Epworth Inn, once while it was still in use and had a quick glance in after it had been emptied out.

In the late 60”s, Greg was drafted to serve in the U.S. Army as an E.U.B. (Evangelical United Brethren), and he was discharged from the U.S. Army as a United Methodist because the Methodist Church merged with the E.U.B. Church in 1968 to form the new church known as the United Methodist Church.

Greg’s early camping experience had been at Camp Koinonia (Greek word for Fellowship) in Penn Yann, N.Y., and he was introduced to the Asbury Camp experience by Norb and Wilma Sylor in the 1970's. Norb was the Camp Manager and Wilma was the Kitchen Manager. Jamie Stevens was also there as part of the camp staff. As a pastor, Greg helped raise funds for the Capital Funds Drive that benefited both Pensions and Camping and enabled the building of Koinonia Lodge at Camp Asbury.

The Bishop appointed Greg to serve in the Perry United Methodist Church in 2005 and not long after that, Greg was invited to run for a term on the SLI Board of Trustees where Greg was elected Treasurer and soon after began to serve as the chaplain for summer worship.

Greg’s current claim to fame is the SLI Blogspot, which he created 3 years ago, and where he continues to serve as editor and publisher.  He is extremely proud of the fact that as of the first day of summer 2014, we have had 29,311 page views by people logging into our web site.

We are indeed lucky to have Greg’s talents, devotion, dedication and spiritual leadership here at the Institute.  Here’s hoping we have a long and lively relationship.

Walt and Jeanne Barger owned a cottage on Harris Avenue for more than 40 years, but their association with the Silver Lake Institute is far longer.

In the late 1940's, after Walt graduated from the University of Richmond, the Bargers headed north to start their lives in the ministry. On their initial trip to New York, they stopped at Camp Asbury to receive information about their first church. That trip led to many, many other times at the lake. 

In those days Camp Asbury was full of campers all summer. It was the minister's responsibility to fill the camp with counselors and programs for an assigned week. The connection to Camp Asbury continued when Walt became a Conference Executive in charge of all of Methodist camps in the region. Conference jobs didn't have many perks, but the executive got use of a cottage across the street from the Snack Shack.  Summers at the Gray Cottage really started their love affair with Silver Lake.  Jeanne tells of walking the grounds of the Institute to look at the cottages dreaming about their owning one.

Walt and Jeanne's love of the lake was evident in their dedication to the Institute.  Many will long associate Walt with the Annual Memorial Service at Epworth Hall, which he passionately planned and executed each July.  As the location of concerts, Sunday services and special events, Epworth was a center of their lake experience.

There are stories about Walt picking buckets and buckets of blueberries. Blueberry pancakes were always on the menu when their family visited from Tennessee. Quarts and quarts of blueberries would be carefully frozen and packed for the long drive back to Virginia, along with maple syrup, Cuba cheese, Trappist preserves and other Genesee valley delicacies.

Together, Walt and Jeanne wrote of their love for the lake in the litany that is often used at services on the dock, which ends with these words:

            For the sunsets, so breath-takingly beautiful that they defy description, as we gaze in awe and wonder,
            For Epworth Hall where we gather to worship and remember our heritage,
            For those who had a vision and first came in wagons and tents to gather here for worship and praise and education,
            For Hoag and Stoody Halls, those physical reminders of those who contributed so much to the early years of the Silver Lake Institute,
            WE GIVE THANKS

            For the concerts each Thursday that entertain and enrich our life together,
            For the dock, that special place, to watch the sunset and gather as community each Wednesday to share delicious desserts,
            For the Fourth of July Celebration, the aroma of bar-b-qued chicken—the gathering of families and friends—the ring of fire and the fireworks that light up the evening sky
            For Community, where diversity is valued and we share a common commitment to make this a wonderful place to live, to worship, and to revere,
            WE GIVE THANKS

            For Silver Lake, for the touch of the Creator, so visible here; for the privilege to live here and cherish this scared place so that generations to follow may continue to pass on the heritage,


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In 1955 Richard and Phyllis Rudman began their “life at the lake” with her sister and brother-in-law, Avis and Nelson Stanford,  when they jointly purchased a cottage in need of much love.  The four spent many summers pursuing that labor of love.  They took on the challenge of digging a basement by shoveling and moving numerous wheelbarrows of dirt. Filling in another area on the hill became the parking lot.  Summers were crowded with projects big and small and many family “work weeks.”  Eventually there was even indoor plumbing!

Despite the work, there was always time for fun!  We learned to sail, canoe, and water ski.  There were frequent dips in the lake, boat rides and, of course, singing around the campfire and enjoying marshmallows toasted to perfection.

Silver Lake will always be a special paradise for us!  Thank you for a beautiful family legacy.