News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.


Edmeston news

Patricia A. Tasior, 71; Marine Served As Pittsfield Town Clerk

IN MEMORIAM: Patricia A. Tasior, 71;

Marine Served As Pittsfield Town Clerk

NEW BERLIN – Patricia A. Tasior, 71, of New Berlin, who served in the Marines and Air National Guard and, later, as Pittsfield town clerk, passed away peacefully on Friday, Jan. 17, 2020, at her home.

Pat was born on on Aug. 24, 1948 in Utica, the daughter of the late Joseph and Phyllis Kostyczak Tasior.  Pat grew up in Edmeston, where her family lived on the second floor of the Edmeston Hotel, which her father sold in 1987.  The site is now occupied by NBT Bank and the post office.

Edward Town Taws III; Known As Mayor Of Pathfinder Village

IN MEMORIAM: Edward Town Taws III;

Known As Mayor Of Pathfinder Village

Edward Taws III

EDMESTON – Edward Town Taws III, 56, known as the mayor of Pathfinder Village, passed away Saturday Aug. 31, 2019,  at Pathfinder.

Ted was born on Nov. 24, 1962, in Southern Pines, N.C., to Edward Town and Ann (Poindexter) Taws Jr.

Ted’s outsized presence left an impression on all whom were fortunate to know him. He was gifted with an extraordinary personality whose passion for living far exceeded the handicap with which he lived.

Darryl L. Dye, 80; Top Schwan’s Salesman In Nation

IN MEMORIAM:  Darryl L. Dye, 80;

Schwan’s Top Salesman In The Nation

Darryl Dye

EDMESTON – Darryl L. Dye, 80, who was top salesman in the nation a number of times during his 27 years with Schwan’s Home Delivery, passed away Thursday, Aug. 22.

Hel was born on June 26, 1939, in Edmeston, son of the late Roger L. and Mable V. Rose Dye. A lifetime resident of the area, Darryl graduated from Edmeston Central School.

In addition to Schwan’s, where he worked from 19879 to 2014, he was a dairy farmer in the Edmeston area from 1965 to 1988.  He also worked with Milt Davis, performing artificial insemination; Kraft Foods, and was a self-employed house painter.

Frances J. Marriott, 96, Raised Along With 6 Brothers, 6 Sisters

IN MEMORIAM: Frances J. Marriott, 96,

Raised Along With 6 Brothers, 6 Sisters

Frances Marriott

RICHFIELD SPRINGS – Frances J. Marriott, 96, one of 13 brothers and sisters from Edmeston, passed away peacefully on Thursday morning May 16, 2019 in Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center, Utica.  She had the support and comfort of her loving family at her side.  

She was born on March 3, 1923, in Edmeston, daughter of the late Charles and Nora Caulder Marriott.  A lifelong area resident, she was educated in West Burlington and West Winfield public schools.  In 1940 she moved from West Burlington to Richfield Springs.  

For many years she worked for General Electric in Utica, retiring in 1977.  

LANDERS: Pathfinder Success Due To Place, People, Purpose


Pathfinder Success Due

To Place, People, Purpose

CEO Paul Landers called up, from left, Sally Trosset, executive assistant & development associate; CFO Caprice Eckert; Kelly Meyers, senior director of admissions, and Dan Osborn, senior director, quality assurance & ancillary services. (He also called up Development Director Lori Grace, but she was taking this photo.) At right are Landers and state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, who was presenting a state Senator resolution honoring Pathfinder.

Editor’s Note:  Here are remarks President/CEO Paul Landers delivered at the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce annual Gala & Celebration of Business Thursday, May 2, in Foothills’ Atrium.  Pathfinder was named the chamber’s NBT Bank Distinguished Business of 2019.

By PAUL LANDERS, Pathfinder Village President/CEO

About 43 years ago, 30 families were told they needed to find a new school for their children because the State of New York was going to shut their doors – this school was the Otsego School, a family-owned boarding school for children with Down syndrome in operation since 1922 in Edmeston.

Thankfully, a group of families, community members and a wise nurse named Marian Mullet did the unimaginable! They built, what is today, a world-renown planned community for children and adults with Down syndrome and developmental disabilities.

It began in a 23-acre cornfield, with a revolutionary mandate – that each life may find meaning.

Thirty countries, 26 U.S. states – they have come searching for this place – to learn, to be inspired, to work and to live. National and international educators, physicians, therapists and developmental disability experts have traveled to Pathfinder to share their knowledge and experiences with New Yorkers all because of the Kennedy Willis Center, our research, education and outreach arm of Pathfinder.

In 1980, we were a school house and seven homes on 23 acres. Today, we have grown to a 300-acre campus with 14 residential homes, a farm and farmhouse, state-of-the-art community health center, youth soccer fields and community hiking trails, chapel, cafe, village inn, research/education center, produce market and agriculture center, an adult day-treatment program operated by Otsego ARC, two off-site residences and two off-site day programs.

Dr. Streck, board chair, says Pathfinder Village now needs its own zip code!

Today, we are also more than Pathfinder Village. We are Otsego Academy, a two-year post-secondary education program; Camp Pathfinder, a young adult summer camp; Chenango House, an Alzheimer’s Care Home; Pathfinder Produce, a vocational training and community business.

In March, our founding CEO Marian Mullet passed away after 91 remarkable years. She was the revolutionary leader who left a remarkable legacy – a legacy that has touched so many, far more than she would have imagined. Today, those of us left to carry out this legacy are merely stewards of her vision and design.

Marian gave us this remarkable place! BUT, more remarkable than this beautiful place, are the PEOPLE and the PURPOSE of Pathfinder…

Here’s a little history about Pathfinder Village that many people don’t know.

The original plan was for the village to be built in Syracuse. But, after much deliberation and, I’m certain, influence from Marian, the board decided to build in Edmeston and remain in this county.

Why? Because they had tremendous confidence and faith in its people! People like: Senator Jim Seward, founding board member (39 years), Dr. Bill Streck, Bassett president, 32 years of service as our board chair, and the men and women of NBT Bank and NYCM, loyal business partners since our beginning.

People like Dan Osborn, 36-year employee who started out as a cook and is now the senior director of quality assurance and ancillary services; Caprice Eckert, 25-year employee who started out as a finance clerk and in my mind is the best CFO in the county today; Lori Grace, 22-year employee, started out as a marketing writer and now is the director of development, and Paula Schaefer, 21-year employee and music director.  She and the talented bell choir remind all of us the power and beauty of humanity.


Marian created a space to perfection and we have been blessed with the right people who have guided the village as society evolves. How remarkable is it that after 40 years, our planned community model remains relevant? This is why …

  • It’s Saturday morning in the bakery, people from all walks of life gather to enjoy fine food and fellowship. Nowhere else will you find such a diverse group gathered, everyone is equal.
  • It’s Michael and Holly walking hand in hand late one weekday evening; they have been boyfriend and girlfriend for more than 20 years.
  • It’s a business woman from NYCM attending an off-site leadership workshop at the Village. Taking a break outside, she says to her coworker, “This place is so beautiful; we are so fortunate to have this in our community.”
  • It’s Jared, giving a workshop on diversity at Bassett Healthcare to new hires.
  • It’s dancing under the stars on a warm summer night.
  • It’s friends gathered in the all faiths chapel to celebrate a life lived well and to say goodbye to a good friend
  • It’s a parent who decides to make the trip after years of research and soul searching, hoping that this is the right place for their child. As they head west on Route 80, coming over the bluff, they see Pathfinder and the feeling is almost immediate: This is the place. And later that day, when it is time to leave and their child wants to stay … now they know, this is the place!

This place, its people and its purpose.  This is Pathfinder.  I encourage each and every one of you to come to our café, take a walk on out nature trails, shop at our market, or get your flu shot at the health center.  I promise you, it will be the highlight of your week.


Grummons, Pathfinder Village Honored At Chamber Awards

200 Pack Atrium,

Praising Pathfinder

Village, Grummons

Funeral Director Les Grummons, left, and Pathfinder Village, represented by its president, Paul Landers, right, last evening were honored by 200 well-wishers who filled Foothills’ Atrium at the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce’s annual Gala & Celebration of Business.  Grummons, of Lester R. Grummons Funeral Home, was Eugene A. Bettiol Jr. Distinguished Citizen of 2019; Pathfinder Village, the NBT Distinguished Business.   Behind them, from left, are state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, NBT Regional Executive Jamie Reynolds, and Otsego Chamber President Barbara Ann Heegan.  (Ian Austin/
Businesses Sold On Pathfinder Village


Businesses Sold On

Pathfinder Village

Residential Community Training,

Placing Residents In Local Jobs

Paul Landers stops in to see Grant Stubbs, center, who has an apartment where other residents enjoy hanging out, like Andrew Hyman, left. (Ian Austin/

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

Though with with a song on her lips, Joanna Draper, recovering from a brain tumor, is reclaiming her vocation as a singer. (Ian Austin/

EDMESTON – When she was 16, Joanna Draper had a brain tumor removed and was in a coma for a month. Though she recovered, her short-term memory was all but gone, dashing her hopes of continuing to perform in musical theater.

But now, you can find her serenading customers at the Pathfinder Village bakery and café, where she has worked for two years. “I’m doing so well that they let me work here,” she said. “I sing to the customers. I give them a hug if they’re having a bad day. It’s about treating people how I want to be treated, with kindness and a smile.”

“Her parents recognized that she would fit in here as a hire, not as a service recipient,” said CEO Paul Landers. “And since she started working here, her neurologist has seen her memory improving.”

With Brainy, Creative Executives, Otsego County’s Future Secure


With Brainy, Creative Execs, 

Otsego County’s Future Secure

A couple of months ago, Gerry Benjamin, director of SUNY New Paltz’s Benjamin Center and an expert on Upstate New York, saw the region’s economic future in nurturing and growing what we have.

Craft brewing and yogurt production, in particular, are developing nicely, he said, although neither is generating sufficient jobs at sufficient salaries to begin replacing the manufacturing behemoth that was the Mohawk Valley.

The advantage to incremental growth, of course, is that it can be absorbed organically, with job along I-88 incrementally reviving the declining community centers to the north.

Springbrook, of course, is the poster child, growing to over 1,200 jobs on a simple concept:  Better care for handicapped children can be provided more humanely and at lower cost in proximity to their New York State families.  Win, win.

Paul Landers, Pathfinder Village president/CEO

Two more examples of growing in place – growing and excelling is more like it – may be found in the two organizations that will be honored at the Otsego County Chamber’s annual Gala & Celebration of Business Thursday, May 2, at Foothills.  (Reservations, call 432-4500, ext. 2.)

One, venerable Pathfinder Village, is vigorously placing its Down syndrome and otherwise handicapped residents in real jobs, filling real employer needs.  For instance, with Astrocom in Colliersville unable to find workers, Pathfinder is deployer a half-dozen trainees and two supervisor daily to that aircraft parts fabricator.

Former Pathfinder residents are also working at Golden Artists Colors, Price Chopper, Silver Dollar Optical, NYCM and NBT Bank.

Two, Les Grummons arrived in Oneonta in 1970, having acquired the Rotherby-Murphy Funeral  home, and knowing virtually nobody.

He quickly developed a strategy:  Get on friendly terms with as many people as possible.  He joined the Rotary, the Elks, Moose and Eagles.  He pursued his interest in the Sons of the Legion, rising to state commander.  He served on the board of Catholic Charities, St. Mary’s and Hospice.  He rose to the state Funeral Directors Association presidency, cementing his reputation in the industry.  He was elected to Common Council.

Les Grummons, 49-year proprietor of the Lester R. Grummons Funeral Home

In the process, he solidified the Lester R. Grummons Funeral Home among the front ranks of such local institutions, a solid business that has provided service and employment to many over almost a half century.

As detailed on Page B1 of this edition, Pathfinder will be honored at NBT Distinguished Business; Grummons, as Eugene A. Bettiol Jr. Distinguished Citizen.

Successful businesses create successful communities.

The state Comptroller Office a few years ago reported that only 29 jobs had been created in Otsego County in 2016 but, one, state data lags and, two, it doesn’t reflect the groundwork that was being done to make way for growth we’re starting to see now.

For instance, Custom Electronics is creating 50 jobs for to make high-storage batteries, building blocks of a renewable future.  A grant has ensured Corning’s 175 Oneonta jobs for 15 years.  Cooperstown Distillery and Andela Products, Town of Richfield, are anticipating  expansions and 10 new jobs each.  Some 50 jobs are unfilled at Amphenol in Sidney.  A little bit of natural gas would allow a distribution center to bring 300 jobs to Schenevus in short order.

Plus, the colleges, schools and hospitals provide a stable base.

And with Paul Landerses and Les Grummonses among us, the current downward trend, we can confidently hope, is temporary.

Shot In Foot, Subject Transported To Bassett

Shot In Foot, Subject

Transported To Bassett

COOPERSTOWN – Around 20 after 4 p.m., Otsego County 911 received a report from Edmeston of an accidental gunshot wound to the foot.

The injured party was transported by private vehicle to the New Berlin Fire Department, and was then transported by CMT and the New Berlin Emergency Squad to Bassett Hospital, where a considerable police presence was in evidence in the Emergency Room at late afternoon.

Police are required to investigate all gun-shot cases.

Douglas O. Swindell, 54; Followed His Future Wife Here From Idaho

IN MEMORIAM: Douglas O. Swindell, 54;

Followed His Future Wife Here From Idaho

Doug Swindell

EDMESTON – Douglas Owen Swindell, born July 31, 1964 passed away March 17, 2019. Doug, 54, passed away unexpectedly at home in South Edmeston, NY, with his wife by his side.

Doug was born in Boise, Idaho, where he grew up and lived until 2015. In 2015, he move to New York to be with the love of his life and now wife, Connie. He had a very happy life with Connie, accepting her daughters as his own and being a fun and loving grandpa to Connie’s grandchildren.

Marian G. Mullet, 91; Pathfinder Village’s Visionary Founder


Marian G. Mullet, 91;

Pathfinder Village’s

Visionary Founder

Marian G. Mullet, seen here with a Pathfinder Village resident, died March 17.

EDMESTON – Marian G. Mullet, 91, Pathfinder Village’s founding president & CEO, who worked tirelessly since the early 1960s on behalf of people with Down syndrome, died Sunday, March 17, 2019.  She would have turned 92 later this week.

Marian G. Mullet, 1927-2019

A registered nurse by training, a fund-raiser and builder by happenstance, Mrs. Mullet is recognized as the driving force behind the early growth of Pathfinder Village, Edmeston, an internationally renowned residential campus and services provider for people with developmental disabilities.

Mrs. Mullet and the Board of Directors in the late 1970s envisioned a community that would not only provide services and supports for people with Down syndrome, but also would create opportunities for personal growth, skills development, personal relationships and community inclusion.  Today, Pathfinder Village is considered a global leader in human services and supports over 200 individuals through person-centered community-based programs; it has a staff of over 200, and an annual budget of $11 million.

“When I first met Marian in 1982, I was unaware, though she may well have already decided, that I would be working on behalf of her beloved Pathfinder Village to this current day,” said William F. Streck of Cooperstown, president of the Pathfinder Village board and Bassett Hospital.

Kenneth L. Eastman, 74; 82nd Airborne Veteran,  Retired From P&G

IN MEMORIAM: Kenneth L. Eastman, 74;

82nd Airborne Veteran,  Retired From P&G

Kenneth L. Eastman

EDMESTON – Kenneth L. Eastman, 74, of Edmeston, passed away unexpectedly at his home on Monday Dec. 31, 2018.

Ken was born in San Bernardino, Calif., on July 14, 1944, the son of the late Harrison and Gladys Avery Eastman.

Ken was an Army veteran, serving from 1963 to 1966 in the 82nd Airborne. While stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., he met the love of his life, Hilda. They later married at the First Baptist Church on Feb. 18, 1967, in Morris. Ken and Hilda were blessed with over 51 years of marriage.

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