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In Memoriam

Barbara Ann Michaels

Barbara Ann Michaels

GLOVERSVILLE—Barbara Ann Michaels, beloved founder of the Fly Creek Cider Mill & Orchard, died Sunday, September 3 at the Nancy Dowd Hospice Home in Gloversville, New York. 

Born June 14, 1938 in Newark, New Jersey, Barbara grew up in Flushing, New York.  She attended PS 32, graduated from Bayside High School, and earned a BFA in Art Education from the University of Buffalo and was a proud member of the Sigma Kappa Sorority.  

After graduation, she taught at Hartwick Grade Center and Cooperstown Central School, where she developed great friendships with fellow teachers and encouraged many students to develop their artistic skills. Throughout life, former students often approached her with fond memories of her instruction and love of art. 

During her first winter in Cooperstown, Barb learned to ski at Mt. Otsego, where she met Charlie Michaels whom she married in 1962, settling down in the hamlet of Fly Creek.  

It was in Fly Creek where Barb and Charlie resurrected the Fly Creek Cider Mill, growing it into an iconic Otsego County family destination. She established the Old Mill Studio Shop on the second level, greeting thousands of visitors and tempting them with warm doughnuts heated in a wood-burning stove. Her specialty was dried floral arrangements harvested fresh from her secret farms and fields, earning her the nickname the “weed lady,” who often left a bottle of hard cider behind as a thank you.   

In the winter, Barb and Charlie continued their love of skiing in Park City, Utah, sharing the slopes with many new friends and visiting family.  Later winters were enjoyed in Arizona and Barb applied her artistic talents to ceramics.

After retirement, she continued to help at the mill on busy fall weekends and developed a wide social media and YouTube following as “Grandma Barb.”

Summers were spent at her beloved family camp, Red Roost, on Canada Lake. She bicycled with her biker-babes, kayaked and swam daily. Barbara shared her love for the Southern Adirondacks through participating in the Annual Caroga Lake Historical Museum Craft fair, where she displayed her lake photographs and Swedish weaving. Her happy place was enjoying a glass of wine on a porch rocker overlooking the lake after a long day of fun while commenting on all the “boat traffic.”

Barbara is survived by daughter Francine (Warren) Hoffman and son H. William Michaels; four beloved grandchildren, Jane and Arthur Hoffman and Sadie and H. Henry Michaels; great-granddaughter Serenity Hoffman; brother Dan (Joan) Yuenger and his children, Kristin and Luke; and many loving cousins. She is predeceased by her husband of 61 years, H. Charles Michaels, parents Dorothy and Arthur Yuenger, and brother Arthur Yuenger. 

Barbara will be laid to rest at Lakewood Cemetery and Canada Lake. She leaves behind her artwork and photography, many happy memories, a strong social media presence and love of calm water.

In honor of Barbara’s wishes, a private family service will be held followed by a celebration of life gathering. In lieu of flowers, Barbara asks that you consider a donation to Mountain Valley Hospice, 108 Steele Avenue, Gloversville, NY 12078 and a donation of blood to the American Red Cross.


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