In And Around Hannibal: July 14, 2012

Rita Hooper

I understand that the commencement speaker at Hannibal this year was retired Air Force Lt. Colonel John E. Norvell.

He was a member of the Hannibal Class of 1962. He graduated from Hobart College 1966 with high honors in American history, earned his M.A. in American history from the Maxwell School of Citizenship at Syracuse University in 1968, and was a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Air War College in 1981.

A decorated veteran, he earned air medals for flying combat missions during the Vietnam War and was an assistant professor of military and American history at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

He and his wife, Bonnie, live in Canandaigua where he has been a freelance writer for the Washington Post, historical journals, newspapers and other media since 1975.

He is a master gardener for Cooperative Extension in Ontario County and wrote the gardening column for the Geneva newspaper for several years.

I guess you can say, Lt. Colonel John Norvell fits into my series of columns on people who have graduated from Hannibal High School and have gone on to make our community proud of their accomplishments.

By the way, the Hannibal Class of 1962, is planning a reunion in August. I’m hoping to hear more about it so I can include the details in this column.

Lt. Colonel Norvell is the son of the late Marjorie and Phil Norvell.

The Norvells lived on upper Oswego Street. I remember Marge fondly as a member of Hannibal Willing Workers Class, this group began as a Sunday School class at the Community Church in the late 1800s early 1900s and lasted well into the late 1980s or 90s.

She was a faithful member of both the church and the class until her death. I believe she worked in the high school attendance office, too.

She falls into the category of one of Hannibal’s characters.  Her life was not an easy one, having taken care of a daughter, Katy, born with cerebral palsy, and later taking care of her husband, who was an invalid the last seven years of his life.

Bonnie Norvell is the daughter of the late Norma and Howard Irwin of Sterling and Hannibal (upper Oswego Street, too!)

The Irwins moved to Hannibal in 1974 after RGE electric company acquired their property on Lake Ontario for an atomic plant that was never built. Today, their old farm is part of the Sterling Nature Center and preserve.

Many of my readers may well remember Norma as the piano teacher for the area. She was also a member of the Willing Workers Class although she was a member of the Sterling Community Church in Sterling Valley.

By the way, Norma Eno Irwin was a member of Hannibal Class of 1926!

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Americorps workers will be holding a Health and Nutritional Program at the Hannibal Town Hall Park and Pavilion from July 9 through Aug. 10 for children in pre-K to the fourth grade.  Parents are welcome.

The Senior Meal Program will be hosting lunch Monday and Friday at noon. Come early for coffee, conversation and games. They meet at the Senior Center (Library Building) on Oswego Street. Monday, they will be serving Italian Stew. Wednesday will be meatball subs and summer squash and Friday, chicken chow mein.

Wednesday, they will also be playing Bingo and Friday, they will be working on beading crafts. Call Rosemary at  564-5471, to make your reservation.

On behalf of the community, I would like to extend our condolences to Rosemary and her family on the death of her dad, Walter Glod of Fulton.

The Jammers will meet at the Legion on Rochester Street for their Monday night from 7 to 10 p.m. jam.

The Summer Reading Program has started at the Hannibal Library, and runs through Aug. 16. The reading program has set a goal of reading 3,000 books.

We were close to that last year and if we make that goal, Jim Morabito & the IGA will bring all of the fixings for a picnic at the end of the summer.

Thursday at 11:30 a.m., the Methodist church will hold a chilli-soup lunch. This is available for free to any and all who would like to come to the church on Church Street, one block west of the Village Square. Take-outs are available. Good food, good fellowship at comfortable temperatures.

I don’t know if dates have changed for the summer so you might want to check the following if it applies to you:

Monday at 6:15 p.m., the Hannibal Library Board of Trustees will meet.

Wednesday, the TOPS chapter 1065 will meet at Our Lady of the Rosary at 5:45 p.m.

Wednesday, the Hannibal Town Board meets at 7 p.m.

The S.O.S. FEST is fast approaching. It will be held July 20-22 at the Hannibal Firemen’s Field, Rochester Street, Hannibal.

The S.O.S. FEST is sponsored by the Cabin 3 Youth group of God’s Vision Church. The S.O.S. FEST is a three-day music festival that will host over a dozen bands play from all over the USA and Canada, including Newworldson, Everyday Sunday, Silversyde, Cry Of the Scapegoat, The Vintage Band, Wes Aarum, Good Fight, The 7 Thunders, The Sent Forth, Infusion Ministry, and Against The Slate.

Tickets are available now at

Would you like to honor or keep the memory alive of someone special to you in Hannibal? Buy a brick for the park with their name on it. Call Peg Shepard at 564-6998.

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