By Cal Heminway
“Ron Begansky was a friend of mine” is a predictable response one gets when remembering him with neighbors. Ron was one of those people we come into contact with all too seldom in our lives. A singular individual, he was a friend to all!
His knowledge of accounting and skill as a CPA is known throughout the region. A steady stream, of friends and neighbors, especially at tax time, visited Ron in his office and elsewhere for his valued counsel and a friendly word.
However, Ron was not known only to his clients.
Ron came on the radar of this writer soon after he and Wendy moved to North Granby in the early 1980s. The Church had a new bass in the Choir and shortly thereafter a participating member of the Board of Finance. Ron was more than willing to share his time and expertise with the Town. This included giving the operating boards advice that they likely did not appreciate but readily accepted! Later he served on the board of the fledgling Granby Education Foundation for a while and performed, pro bono, annual audits of the Foundation’s books.
Ron could often be found at the Lite-N-Up Eatery. He would join the AM coffee time together, with others eager for coffee, to charge himself for the day. At noon, the “Bishops” met for lunch to discuss the issues of the day and then offer solutions which no one ever seemed to take seriously! His Bishop colleagues honored preferred seating for Ron. He would sit facing out next to the place where food is delivered thus giving him the best chance to identify and then meet and greet his many friends!
Mention can be made of his long-time membership in the National Guard, leadership at Northwest Bank and its holding company, his self-effacing manner, wry wit, and his love of a good story. However, perhaps our most appropriate memory of the man is of Ron on the Bushnell stage, standing at the back of the bass section of the Hartford Chorale performing Handel’s Messiah; singing his heart out and enjoying every minute of it!
Ron was the salt of the earth. Ron Begansky was a friend of mine.
Fond Memories of Bike Barnes
By Put Brown
Byron C. “Bike” Barnes, one of Granby’s most colorful men, died peacefully in his sleep on April 12, 2015. Bike, also know as “Biker,” was born almost 93 years ago in his family’s center-chimney house overlooking the West Branch of the Salmon Brook. He was a sure shot, a keen tracker and an experienced woodsman. He took delight in the natural wonders he found all around him, trapping and fishing on Tudor and Laura Holcomb’s Broad Hill Farm, and climbing to the top of the old Simplex factory before it was washed away in the 1955 flood. He got his name because he went everywhere on his bicycle, sometimes hitching a chain to the back of a truck to make the trip up the hill to West Granby or somewhere else easier, albeit more dangerous.
“Go over to the stream and bring me three trout for dinner,” his mother urged him from time to time, sure that he could do it. Cabbage was the usual side dish. His parents planted 400 head of them and bushels of turnips, which Bike ate like apples, to make it through the year.
One of his favorite activities was searching out wild honey. He had a little wooden trap that he baited with a bit of sugar water or honey. When he had caught a few bees, he released them one or two at a time and took careful notice of exactly where they were going. He knew that they would fly straight to the hive. After another 50 or 100 yards, he released another one and so it went until he could see the hive. Getting the honey might involve donning protective gear and climbing the tree or cutting it down if the hive was too high or if the tree was too rotten to take his weight.
Early in World War II, he joined the Navy and served on Liberty Ships in the Far East. “I went far away,” he said, “because I did not want to work in tobacco tents all my life.” In due course, he became a ship’s carpenter and, when the fighting ended, made that his life’s profession. He was on one ship for a while, came home when its voyage ended, lived in West Granby for a few months, went back to the union hall in New York City to find another berth, and shipped out again, usually with a crew that was entirely new to him. Thus it went for many years, back and forth, until he retired to his little cabin in the early 1970s. To him, the sea had become a desert, an endless expanse of uninhabitable territory, so it seemed only right that he call his landlocked retreat “Oasis.” There, he dammed a portion of the brook and built a seating area where he would watch trout tuck themselves under ledges in the running water.
Like so many veterans of his age, he did not talk much about his time in the Far East, but he did come back with a handful of medals, including one awarded for heroism under fire. He earned it for rescuing sailors from the independence-class aircraft carrier Princeton, which sank near his own ship in Leyte Gulf on October 24, 1944. A massive explosion ripped through the great warship, sending her to the bottom in a haze of smoke and oily water. Bike and some fellow sailors launched small boats and brought the lucky few they could find back to their own ship. John Fitzgerald Kennedy won the same medal for rescuing members of the crew of PT 109. For a while, the Navy thought that Bike, too, might have perished. The War Office telegraphed his parents with the dreaded news that he was “missing in action or dead.” A month or so later, he came into their kitchen, unannounced, and asked what was for dinner. He had not known of the telegram and assumed that they would expect him home in due course once his leave came through. It must have been a tearful reunion.
Bike thought of himself as a pioneer and a clever practitioner of traditional ways of doing things. When he worked on a barn, he used levers and heavy rocks, sometimes in confusing arrangements, one supporting another, while the “lazy” craftsmen he loved to ridicule might use hydraulic jacks. His projects were something to watch, but the inefficient way he preceded did not support a comfortable hourly rate. That suited him just fine and it mattered not that the place he so loved was, to almost everyone else who saw it, an uninhabitable shack. Things others would throw away, he repaired or coped with and, if something might later be repaired or used, he kept it.
It was a hermit’s existence until, by some magic, he and his childhood friend, Carol Guy, found one another and married. He came quickly under her spell, and she under his, to the surprise of those who knew them. They were thrilled with one another, just as they were, and walked everywhere hand-in-hand, until tragically, she died.
In time, roughing it at Oasis without Carol to help with the chores and to coax out a laugh when Bike preferred to growl, became too much for him and he moved to Stony Hill Village. He could still drive, so he brought a jumble of his treasures to his soon overcrowded two-room apartment. Getting to the chair in which he spent much of the day when he wasn’t sleeping required weaving through piles of things that he loved. He cooked for himself and bragged that he put everything into one pot. “One Pot Cooking,” he said, was the only way to do it.
When he could no longer drive, he rode a large tricycle fitted with a red flag atop a pole that waved back and forth as he pedaled. He went to the library, to the town hall, to Geisslers market and to McDonalds almost every day. Occasionally someone would drive him back to Oasis or to a Masons meeting in Simsbury. He was proud of his long, and apparently quite distinguished, history with that organization. Its core values, he believed, were the traditional ones he had grown up with.
He grew suspicious of those he did not know or of people he thought might be taking advantage of him, but was fiercely loyal to those he considered to be his friends. As keeper of traditional ways of doing things, he delighted in sharing his stories and opinions with others. He also “taught history” as he saw it to groups of senior citizens and serenaded them with the accordion that he learned to play while he was in the Merchant Marines.
Occasionally, he assembled odds and ends from his collection of artifacts, especially ones whose use was not obvious at first glance, such as his bee trap, and displayed them at the library. He donated some of the things he thought most interesting to the Salmon Brook Historical Society.
His views of how things were once done may not always square with what the history books say, but his stories always fascinated those who heard them. He had little patience with people he disagreed with and, in his final years, was too quick to suspect others of sinister motives, but—to use a too-trite term—he was the “genuine article.” When he saw someone he considered to be a friend, his eyes shone with obvious delight as he began a story he may already have told. It may have sounded like a whopper, but he never knowingly told a lie. Always, there was truth in his tales and charm in the teller.
Virginia S. Wells, 93, passed away on March 27, at Seabury Retirement Community in Bloomfield. Before moving to Seabury in 2004 she had lived in Granby, CT, for 53 years. She was wife of the late Edward L. Wells who predeceased her in 2007. She graduated from Vassar College. During World War II she served in the WAVES. She was elected to the Granby Board of Education and served 10 years. She was elected to the Connecticut State Legislature in a special election, but, as the legislature didn't meet in special session, she never got to serve. She worked for the American Red Cross, then Campfire Girls and lastly for Capital Region Education Council, retiring in 1987. She was a long time volunteer on the Granby Drummer. She was active in the Granby Civic Club and a member of the South Congregational Church.
In Memory Of …
Anderson, Carolyn (Dewey), 89, December 11
Smith, Ruth (Roche), 88, March 6
Robinson, Evelyn (Wallach), 97, wife of the late Dale Robinson and Sidney Sprague, March 12
Silkey, Ernest Richard, 68, March 20
Lee, Ronald Massey, husband of Alta (Anthony) Lee, March 26
Havens, Catherine Marie, 67, wife of Charles McColgan, March 27
Campbell, Dennis W., companion of Melanie Stewart, March 28
Raggio, Edwin C., 65, husband of Maryellen (Quinn) Raggio, March 28
Lapent, Franklyn “Scott”, 75, husband of Diane (Merrell) Lapent, April 3
Kleis, Emil D., 85, husband of the late Sylvia (Chapin) Kleis, April 5
Burke, Kenneth E., 92, husband of the late Elizabeth (Traver) Burke, April 6
Kalva, Richard A., 61, husband of Maureen (Johnson) Kalva, April 6
Knowles, Kevin Wayne, 53, husband of Dawn Knowles, April 10
Algren, Barbara (Westlake), 85, wife of the late Donald R. Algren, April 10
Lyman, Ethel M., 90, wife of the late John R. Lyman, April 11
Julia Benson, a French major, and Benjamin Fetzner, a neuroscience major, were named to the fall 2014 dean’s list at Colgate University.
William Lawson was named to the fall semester dean's list at Rochester Institute of Technology. He graduated in December with a BFA in Medical Illustration.
Charles Pfeifer, a junior majoring in neuroscience and applied music at the University of Rochester, has been named to the fall 2014 dean’s list. A GMHS graduate, Pfeifer is the son of Richard Pfeifer and Lisa Corbett.
Hanna Lindeyer was named to the fall 2014 president’s list at Pratt Institute.
Isabel Hall was named to the fall 2014 dean’s list at Pratt Institute.
Trevor Corallo was named to the fall 2014 dean's list at Westfield State University.
Alexander Ward Rainville, a junior majoring in optical engineering at the University of Rochester, was named to the fall 2014 dean’s list for academic achievement.
A group of Eastern Connecticut State University history students recently attended and presented research at the Making History: A CSU Conference, which was held at Southern Connecticut State University. Ryan Blejewski, '15 was one of the students that presented their research. Blejewski's research project was A Massacre in Jedwabne: A Psycho-Historical Analysis of the Events of July 10, 1941.
Brendan Leonardi, a junior at Plymouth State University majoring in Environmental Biology was named to the deans honor list and was awarded the Geneva Smith Memorial Environmental Biology Scholarship for his senior year.
Carlin Champion, a sophomore accounting major in the School of Business at Ithaca College and member of the men's basketball team, is learning valuable leadership skills in Ithaca College's Leadership Academy, the nation's premier Division III sports leadership development program. Champion will receive special recognition upon completion of the program, and undergo personal development applicable after graduation from Ithaca College.
The following students were named to the honor roll for the fall semester at Suffield Academy. Earning high honors were: Christopher Ennis ’17, Brendan Forbes ’15 and Zachary Kidd ’18; earning honors were: Casey Lampert ’15 and Maxwell Toczydlowski ’17.
Alexa Cipkas was named to the fall 2014 dean’s list at Salve Regina University.
Sarah Lee has received her Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Western Governors University.
Laura Hart, a senior majoring in chemical engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, recently completed an intense, hands-on project in France. The project was titled Inhibitory Effects of Antibiotics on Anaerobic Digestion.
Devin Williams, daughter of Mark and Pam DaFonseca of West Granby, was named to the winter quarter dean’s list at Drexel University in Philadelphia, where she is studying Design and Merchandising and is in the Pennoni Honors College.
Brigitte Elise Rathey, a freshman in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, was honored as a high scholar.
Kyle Keir made honors at Westminster School for the winter term. Kyle is a senior/6th form.
The following local residents made the fall 2014 dean's list at Rochester Institute of Technology: Karl Gottschalk, a fifth-year student in the chemical engineering program; Andrew Heuser, is a fifth-year student in the civil engineering technology program; William Lawson, a fourth-year student in the medical illustration program, and Alice Fischer, a second-year student in the engineering exploration program.
Matthew Ungerleider has been named to the fall 2014 dean's list at Lafayette College for outstanding academic achievement.
Thomas Gollenberg, a senior, has been named to the fall 2014 dean's list at Loyola University Maryland.
Goodwin College has named Jainaba Kebbeh, Morgan Keenan and Michael Cegelka to the fall 2014 dean’s list. Cegelka was also named to the president’s list.
Colleen P. Leonardi, a junior majoring in health sciences, was named to the dean's honors list at Franklin Pierce University.
Joshua Pollock, GMHS '11, was name to the fall dean’s list at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute School of Engineering. A senior at RPI, Josh will be commissioned as an officer in the Army and attend medical school this fall.
Six Granby students earned a spot on the first semester honor roll at Northwest Catholic High School. Receiving first honors are: Aaron Belletsky, grade 9; Brianna Dorbuck, Grade 10; Kirsten Greene, grade 11; Shannon Greene, grade 12; Samuel Spak, grade 11, and Rachel Sullivan, grade 11.
Erin Walsh was named to the Emmanuel College dean's list for the fall 2014 semester.
Aaron D. Johnson was named to first honors on the Clark University dean’s list.
Alyssa Dilisio, a mathematics major, was named to the dean’s list for the fall 2014 semester at Simmons College.
Salve Regina University named Alexa Cipkas Freshman of the Year on the varsity cross-country team. She is studying biology for pre-med.
Russell Bentley was named to the Deans’ List for both the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the College of Engineering for the fall semester at the University of Connecticut. This was the third straight semester that he has achieved this honor.
Andrew Jennings, a 2014 graduate of GMHS, was named to the fall 2014 dean’s list at Suffolk University’s Sawyer School of Business. Jennings is majoring in business.
Palmer, Gerry, December 24
Peterson, David Irving, 74, husband of Marilyn Way, January 11
Stone, Kevin J., 58, January 25
Bordanaro, Donald Corrado, 74, husband of Roberta (Dunne) Bordanaro, January 31
Galinski, Maggie Louise ‘Bopchi’ (Cornell), 92, wife of the late Joseph W. Galinski,
February 1, 2015
Fox Risedorf, Bette P., 81, February 3
Kirschbaum, Robert S., 97, husband of the late Terry (Strukell) Kirschbaum, February 10
Geyer, Lorraine K., 86, wife of the late John K. Geyer, February 11
Maulucci, Elvira (Iapichino), 57, wife of Gary Maulucci, February 11
Haslun, Elizabeth Jane (Everett), 86, wife William A. Haslun, February 17
Bill Knight of North Granby has been appointed to the Connecticut Forum Board of Directors. Knight is the principal and chief marketing officer of Adams and Knight, the award-winning marketing agency located in Avon.
Nicholas Moon received a bachelor of arts in political science from Roger Williams University.
Nicolette Tigno, a psychology major in the school of humanities and sciences at Ithaca College, was named to dean's list for the fall 2014 semester.
The following local residents were named to the Worcester Polytechnic Institute fall 2014 dean's list: Tyler Beaupre, a first year student majoring in computer science; Laura Hart, a senior majoring in chemical engineering; and Kevin Hancock, a senior majoring in aerospace engineering.
Emily Kuczma and Jenna Snyder were named to the fall 2014 dean’s list at Assumption College.
Catherine Sullivan has been named to the Siena College president's list for the fall 2014 semester. Sullivan is a mathematics major.
Mary Thompson, a psychology major, was named to the dean’s list at Siena College.
Amanda Jacobs, a freshman biochemistry major, and Emma Percival, a freshman early and primary teacher education major, were named to the fall 2014 dean’s list at the University of Scranton.
Josh Torkelson was named to fall 2014 dean's list at Becker College.
James Fitzgerald and Catherine Yanchak were named to the fall 2014 dean’s list at Hofstra University.
Springfield College has named the following students to the dean's list for the fall 2014 semester: Andrea Riley, communication sciences and disorders major; and Lauren Grashaw, who is studying health science/pre-physician assistant.
The following students have been named to the fall 2014 dean's list at the University of New Hampshire: David Gottschalk and Keith Salcines with highest honors and Nicolas DiPierro with high honors.
Jennifer Nuhfer, class of 2016, was named to the fall 2014 dean’s list at Seton Hall University. Nuhfer is an accounting major.
The following students were named to the fall 2014 dean’s list at Roger Williams University: Renee Bilodeau, majoring in architecture; Gina DiCiancia, majoring in global communication; Brittany Hayes, majoring in marketing; and Mary Kidd, majoring in psychology.
Hannah O'Brien was named to the Elms College fall 2014 dean’s list.
Danielle C. Barrow and Shannon C. O’Connor were named to the fall 2014 dean’s list at Wagner College.
Ana Gron and Janna Kinsky were named to the fall 2014 dean’s list at Tunxis Community College.
Emma Zimmerman has been named to the fall 2014 dean’s list at Grinnell College.
The following area students were named to the fall 2014 dean’s list at Quinnipiac University: Eileen M. Dempsey, Rachel L. Moon, Meredith A. Vanags, Jason M. Lenihan and Debora E. Timms.
Casey Buchholz was named to the dean's list at Wheaton College for the fall 2014 semester. The 2013 GMHS graduate is double majoring in international relations and economics.
Kristen Forgue was named to the fall 2014 dean’s list at Marist College. A member of the class of 2016, Forgue is a business administration major.
Alexis Roy has been named to Emerson College’s fall 2014 dean’s list. Roy is majoring in writing for film and TV.
Alicia George made the fall 2014 dean's list at Virginia Wesleyan. She is a sophomore majoring in psychology and art.
Cody Barba, a junior at the University of New England in the RN program, was named to the fall 2014 dean’s list.
The University of Rhode Island has named the following students to the Fall 2014 dean’s list: Mackenzie Hallenbeck, Sarah Lefebvre, Tess O. Bussman, Colleen Reynolds, Alison Elizabeth Lovkay, Katherine Lambert, Kaitlyn R. Moskey and Melissa Rose Allen
George E. Tuffin 1917 – 2014
By Carol Laun
George Tuffin was the quintessential volunteer. He was involved in many aspects of town government, from constable to First Selectman. He served on town boards and on building committees for the Town Hall and Town Garage. He was a member of the Library Board. He was instrumental in organizing the Senior Men’s Breakfast and also drove the Senior Van. He was active in the First Congregational Church. He was a member of St. Mark’s Lodge #91, and of the Grange, and of the Friends of New-Gate.
But his favorite place to volunteer was the Salmon Brook Historical Society. George was an active member for more than 50 years, a past president and permanent member of the Board of Directors. He led a group of volunteers for years, the Thursday workers. They cleaned, raked, repaired, scraped, sanded and had a lot of fun along the way. When something needed to be done, the answer was “let George do it.”
For many years, George was also involved in the Flea Markets held at the Historical Society. He helped in organizing, setting up the grounds and also sold some of his treasures.
George made all the arrangements for moving the Cooley School from East Street to the society property. He also led the volunteers who created the Colton-Hayes Barn Museum in the old Colton tobacco barn. The plaque honoring all the barn workers includes the name of his much-loved dog, Jasmine.
George Tuffin loved Granby and he loved history, especially the history that could be found in old farm equipment. He was always on the lookout for items to add to the Barn Museum. He probably knew the contents of every old barn in Granby – and tried to acquire it.
The Town of Granby and the Salmon Brook Historical Society is enriched for having known George Tuffin.