News of Otsego County

Cooperstown B&B

B&B Owner Drowns As Car Runs Into Lake

B&B Owner Drowns

As Car Runs Into Lake

2 Officers Injured In Rescue Attempt

Police cruisers, fire trucks and an ambulance hurried to Cooperstown’s Fair Street boat ramp Sunday, April 14, after a report a car had ended up in Otsego Lake. Despite rescue effort, the driver drowned. (Jim Kevln/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • The Freeman’s Journal & Hometown Oneonta

COOPERSTOWN – It’s rare, but not unheard of, for a car to end up in a body of water, said Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. after last week’s fatal submersion off the boat ramp into Otsego Lake at the end of Fair Street.

“Before I was sheriff, someone drove into the Susquehanna River,” he said. “They were unfamiliar with the area and drove down what they thought was a road, but was the boat launch.”

Police are still investigating of how John Smirk’s car ended up submerged in Otsego Lake. “For unknown reasons, he drove into the lake,” said Village Patrolman Vincent Cavalieri.

John W. Smirk, Jr., 75; Cooperstown B&B Owner


John W. Smirk, Jr., 75;

Cooperstown B&B Owner

John W. Smirk

COOPERSTOWN – John W. Smirk Jr., 75, a Navy veteran, manager of New York City skyscapers, and proprietor of the Cooperstown B&B with his late wife Linda, died Thursday, April 11, 2019.

Born Jan. 24, 1944, in Long Beach, Calif., John was the son of John W. and Elizabeth (Kirkbride) Smirk.

He grew up in Brooklyn and spent summers in Greenwood Lake, N.J. It was there that John’s love of “life at the lake” began.

In 1965, John enlisted in the Navy and honorably served his country as a seaman during the Vietnam War aboard the USS Coral Sea.

Linda Smirk, 66; Proprietor Of Cooperstown B&B

IN MEMORIAM: Linda Smirk, 66;

Proprietor Of Cooperstown B&B

COOPERSTOWN – Linda Graham Smirk, proprietor, with her husband, John, of the Cooperstown B&B on Chestnut Street for 17 years, passed away on Tuesday, March 22, 2016.  She was 66.

Born in Brooklyn on Sept. 30, 1949, Linda is the daughter of Robert Wesley and Ruth Waide Graham.

After spending her early years in Brooklyn, Linda moved with her family to Cooperstown and graduated from Cooperstown Central School in 1967. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from SUNY Oneonta in elementary and early secondary education/English.

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21 Railroad Ave. Cooperstown, New York 13326 • (607) 547-6103