In And Around Hannibal: June 9, 2012

Rita Hooper

This past Monday evening, the Hannibal Historical Society honored Judy and Gordie Prosser with a dinner and the Citizens of the Year Award. The program began with the presentation of the flag by the boys of Scout Troop 780.

Judy, a native of Mooers, and Gordie, a native of New Haven, met while both were students at Clarkson University. Gordie was an engineering student and Judy was in the CPA program. Judy was one of only 20 women at Clarkson – the 70s were an interesting time to be a female!

They were married one week after Judy graduated and will celebrate their 40th anniversary next year.

Shelley Dawson Smith was one of the first speakers and, like Judy, was one of the first women to go to Clarkson. To some of my older readers, you may recognize the name Dawson from baseball in the 40s in Hannibal. Her dad played, I believe, on the Oswego team against such Hannibal greats as the Abbott brothers. Shelley mentioned the whole team as if it were just yesterday that she attended the games.

After graduation, Gordon worked at Black Clawson, at his dad’s machine shop on County Route 1, and started a body shop with Steve Miller near the intersection of 104B and State Route 3. He then went to the Steam Station followed by Nine Mile Nuclear plant. He retired from there in 2005.

Several of the people that Gordie worked with over the years spoke about his work ethic and his abilities.

Judy was a CPA with Ernst and Ernst in Syracuse for five years, controller with Neal and O’Brien in Oswego for 11 years, and for the next 20 years, she was the chief financial officer for the Rescue Mission in Syracuse, retiring in 2009.

One of the gals that worked with Judy from the Mission spoke of her capabilities and her song-writing talents.

While Gordie and Judy worked, they let no grass grow under their feet as they soon became involved in many organizations.

They have both worked on the Democrat committee for many years. Currently, Gordie is chairman of the Town of Hannibal committee and second vice chair of the Oswego County Democrat Committee. Judy serves as treasurer for the town committee.

Also on Labor Day, Judy will be the official delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.

Amy Tressider, Oswego City legislator, spoke briefly about both Judy and Gordie and what they have meant to the county committee and as friends.

Judy served four years as a Democrat councilwoman on the Hannibal Town Board and has also served on the Planning Board.  She has been an election inspector for several years and now has a new job; she is the official voting machine technician and will be traveling all over Oswego County on election days to tend to the new machines.

I wonder how long they will be called the new machines!

Both are members of the Country Cruizers, a local antique auto club. Gordie is currently a board member and Judy is treasurer. President Mike Abare spoke of their willingness to pitch in and how there could always be counted on.

After Judy gets done with her Cruizer parking responsibilities at the Hannibal Fire Company field days and the Money Madness event, she heads to the treasurer’s office until after midnight, to take care of the receipts.

Judy served on the local Winterfest Committee for each of its five years. She is currently treasurer for the Hannibal Free Library and Dollars for Scholars of our school district. President Louis Gilbert spoke on behalf of Dollars for Scholars.

Perhaps they are best known for their work with Scouts. They have a combined total of more than 40 years working with girls and boys through scouting.

Gordie served as Scoutmaster from 1983 through 2010 and is still serving on the committee. He received the District Award of Honor five or six years ago and the Boy Scout highest award of Silver Beaver in 2006.

Judy was Girl Scout leader from 1981 through 2001. She served 19 years on the Central New York Council and co-chaired the merger committee. She currently serves on the board of the new council, which encompasses 26 counties.

Last year on the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts, 100 leaders were recognized and Judy was one of them. Speaking on behalf of the Girl Scouts was Julie Reed Billings, chief advancement officer for Girl Scouts in Syracuse, a Hannibal graduate and one of Judy’s Girl Scouts.

She is also the daughter of George and Carol Reed. George was pastor at the Methodist Church in Hannibal around 1989-92. It was good to see her again.

Speaking for the Boy Scouts was Gary Bogner, district executive for the Ontario District of Longhouse Council. He’s new at the job and spoke of the coaching he had received from Gordie and the contacts that they have had over the years.

Jim Bell, one of the original founders of Troop 780 in Hannibal, was unfortunately out of town but sent some notes on the early days of Troop 780.

The highest level of boy scouting is the rank of Eagle Scout. During Gordon Prosser’s reign as Scoutmaster, there have been 14 scouts who have achieved this rank. Danny Sidman remembered these boys and there may have been more: Matt Halstead, Chuck Kyle, Josh and Matt Hillman, Danny Sidman Jr., John Roll, Dakota Malone, Paul Freeser, Mike Smith, Logan and Reese Bessell, Jerod Downing, and Adrian Annal, Jr.

Present Hannibal Scoutmaster Adrian Annal spoke about Gordie’s leadership – he said he has some very big shoes to fill – I have no doubt that he will!

Grace Tyrell and Mary Prosser, two very proud mothers were there to share in this very special honor.  It’s really nice to see how hard work pays off!

The program ended with the traditional Boy Scout closing and the singing of God Bless America.

Many thanks go to Louise Kellogg for putting this evening together and doing her fine job of emceeing. And to those of the Methodist Church for a wonderful dinner.

On a personal note – Judy and Gordie have been friends of mine for a long time. I have learned much from both of them. Their management skills are beyond belief and their ability to solve problems, get the job done and keep everyone happy most of the time is a true balancing act.

They shun the limelight while working quietly. They seem to be there when needed – whether it be bush-whacking or helping a lady in distress with moving. Their love for each other is to be envied.

They are true models of what good citizens are all about.

*  *  *  *  *

Our Lady of the Rosary Church’s annual Strawberry Festival will be held Sunday, June 10 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the church grounds on Cayuga Street.

Senior Nutrition meets Monday, Wednesday and Friday for lunch at the Senior Center (library) on Oswego Street at noon. Come at 10 a.m. for coffee, conversation and table games. Call Rosemary at 564-5471 to make your reservation.

The Hannibal Village Board will meet Monday evening at 7 p.m. Village election is June 19 from noon to 9 p.m. Duane Shepard and Jason Kingsbury are running for the two trustee seats.

The Jammers will not meet this evening.

The Elderberries will meet this Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. for a covered dish dinner at the Senior Center (Library) on Oswego Street Congratulations to Carl Salvagin and Bob Simmons for being elected president and vice president for the Elderberries and many thanks to Barb Salvagin and George Darling for continuing on as secretary and treasurer.

Some of the Elderberries are planning on going to King’s Brass June 22 at North Syracuse.  Call Judy Tyler if you would like to go. Cookies are also needed for the baccalaureate reception before graduation. Call Phyllis Inch and let her know you will be happy to help with this.

The VFW Auxiliary meeting is Tuesday at 7 p.m.

The Hannibal Board of Education meets this Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at the District Office Building Room in the high school building.

The Thursday soup/chili lunches at the Hannibal United Methodist Church are still being served from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The Hannibal Town Board meets Thursday evening at 7 p.m. at the Municipal Building.

Next Saturday, there will be a chicken dinner at IOOB and Vet Fest at the Legion.

Remember to get the news of your club or group to me by Monday at the latest for the following week.

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