News of Otsego County

Les Grummons

SLIDE SHOW from last night’s Otsego Chambers Gala Honoring Les Grummons, Pathfinder Village


2 Cheers! One Each

For Les Grummons,

Pathfinder’s Landers

Les Grummons’ trademark smile was much in evidence last evening at the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce annual Gala & Celebration of Business, where the Oneonta funeral director and Pathfinder Village’s Paul Landers received standing ovations Thursday evening from 200 attendees in the annual celebration, held again this year in Foothills’ Atrium.   (Ian Austin/
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/
New In Town, Grummons Got To Know Everyone


New In Town, Grummons

Got To Know Everyone

Funeral Director To Be Honored

At Annual Chamber Gala May 2

In his upstairs office at 14 Grand St., Les Grummons is surrounded by plaques and mementos from his civic and social activities over a half-century. (Jim Kevlin/

By JIM KEVLIN • Hometown Oneonta & The Freeman’s Journal

ONEONTA – Everybody knows Les Grummons.

“I always liked to be involved,” said the Oneonta funeral director who is the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce’s Eugene A. Bettiol Jr. Distinguished Citizen of the Year.  “I was always that way.”

He will be honored Thursday, May 2, at the chamber’s annual Gala & Celebration of Business in Foothills Atrium.

Interviewed the other day at the Lester R. Grummons Funeral Home, 14 Grand Ave., he had just arrived back from the weekly Rotary Club meeting at the Elks Club.

Chamber 2019 Honorees Highlighted This Week

Chamber 2019 Honorees

Highlighted This Week

The two Otsego County Chamber of Commerce’s honorees who will be recognized at the annual Gala & Celebration of Business May 2 at Foothills are highlighted in this week’s Hometown Oneonta & Freeman’s Journal. Learn why Pathfinder Village is the NBT Bank Distinguished Business, and Oneonta funeral director Les Grummons, the Eugene A. Bettiol Jr. Distinguished Citizen.  Each has quite a story to tell. Get the details and much more in this week’s editions, now on newsstands around the county.
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.

Chamber To Honor Pathfinder Village, Lester Grummons


Chamber To Honor

Pathfinder Village,

Lester Grummons

Pathfinder Village, Edmeston, founded four decades ago to care for children with Down syndrome, employs 200 people.
Les Grummons

ONEONTA – The Otsego County Chamber of Commerce will honor Pathfinder Village and funeral director and community leader Les Grummons at its annual gala at 5:45 p.m. Thursday, May 2, at Foothill Performing Arts Center.

Pathfinder will be named as Distinguished Business and Grummons as Citizen of the Year.

Pathfinder Village, based in Edmeston, has a four decades’ long commitment to providing community-based and individualized service to residents with Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities.  It employs more than 200 people.

Hospice Cuts Ribbon On New Office

Hospice Cuts Ribbon

On New Office

With Otsego Chamber of Commerce President Barbara Ann Heegan to his right, and Catskill Area Hospice President Dan Ayres and Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig to his left, Hospice board member Les Grummons cuts the ceremonial ribbon on Hospice’s new office located on River Street in Oneonta. Catskill Area Hospice consolidated it’s six local offices into one centralized office building to help improve the efficiency of the at-home healthcare provider’s operations. (Parker Fish/AllOTSEGO)


To Sounds of Christmas Music, Village Memory Tree Decorated

To Sounds of Christmas Music,

Village Memory Tree Decorated

Teri Henderson of Burlington Flats, top photo, directs the Edmeston-Burlington Area Church Choir this afternoon after the decorating of a Catskill Area Hospice Memory Tree on the front lawn of Cooperstown Village Hall, 22 Main.  At left, Lisa Berryment of Edmeston, Karen Fish of Burlington Flats and Becky Bennett of Edmeston and the rest of the choir sing a selection of seasonal favorites.  (Mrs. Fish said “Heaven’s Child” is her favorite.)  Attendees today included Les Grummons of Oneonta, who chairs the Hospice board, Dan Ayres, the new CEO, and Mary Margaret Sohns, who brought the event to Cooperstown a few years ago, and her family.  The Edmeston-Burlington church choir is also planning a 35-minute Christmas Cantata at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. next Sunday, Dec. 17, at the Burlington Flats Baptist Church.  (Jim Kevlin/

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