EDMESTON – Jean D. Holbert, 82, a former farmer who worked at Pathfinder Village, died Monday, Dec. 21, 2020 at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital.
She was born on Nov.1, 1938 in Olyphant, Pa., the daughter of Bertha & Frank Ceresko.
On Aug. 17, 1957 she married George E. Holbert in Heart Lake, PA.
Jean worked alongside of George on the family farm for many years until the farm was sold in 1991. She then went to work as a care provider at Pathfinder Village and Homer Folks in Oneonta.
Jean was an avid baker, cook and preserver. She loved cooking all the holiday meals, baking the apple and pumpkin pies and serving her pickles. She had a green thumb when it came to growing a garden. She enjoyed putting puzzles together, reading cook books, watching the Buffalo Bills or just sitting around visiting with a cup of coffee and some baked goods. She was a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church.
She is survived by her 10 children; Edward Holbert, David (Sue) Holbert, Beverly Fagan, George (Deanna) Holbert, Joseph (Beverly) Holbert, Carol (Greg) Thomas, Nancy (Bryan) Johnson, Roger (Kristen) Holbert, Susan (Art) Holbert, Catherine (Wayne) Holbert, Cindy Holbert, 22 grandchildren, 27 great grandchildren, her sister, Ginger and many nieces and nephews.
She was predeceased by her husband George of 60 years, son-in-law Robert Fagan and daughter-in-law, Elsie Holbert, brothers; Lloyd & Andrew, sisters; Fran, Lottie & Eleanor.
Jean was one of the strongest, kindest persons you’d ever want to meet. She will be greatly missed by her family and friends.
Calling hours were held on Monday, December 28, 2020 at the Dakin Funeral Home, LP, New Berlin, NY. Proper social distancing practices were in place.
A private funeral service was held for the family with Father Kris Boretto officiating.
Arrangements are entrusted to the Dakin Funeral Home.
EDMESTON – For Pathfinder Village CEO Paul Landers, the “secret sauce” in Pathfinder Produce boxes isn’t the recipes, or even the fresh produce.
It’s the notes the workers tuck inside.
“Each delivery comes with a ‘feel-good card’ that our individuals make,” said Hannah Baulch, ADS coordinator. “And it makes them feel good to write them.”
“I always get voicemails from people telling us those notes make their day,” said Landers. “It’s a message of hope, of love. With our residents, one of the greatest qualities they have to share is joy.”
Pathfinder Produce and The Mobile Market, a micro-business of Pathfinder Village, Inc., has received the Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Breakthrough Business of the Year from the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce.
“It’s a business with a mission,” said Landers. “Our primary goal is always to find employment opportunity for our folks, but this isn’t just a job. They’re serving their community, and they feel that every time they do this work.”
The produce delivery service started three years ago, when Pathfinder Village realized there was a need in the area – a “food desert” – for fresh produce.
“We hijacked the concept that healthy food delivery services like Blue Apron or Hello Fresh pioneered,” said Landers. “But we brought a feel-good quality to it.”
Every week, five employees – all Pathfinder Village residents – sort and pack 120 bags of produce for one, two or three people in a household – and deliver them, Tuesday through Friday, to low-income families, free of charge.
“We wanted to reach families who just don’t cook, but instead buy frozen food or go through the drive-thru,” said Landers.
Baulch said as many as 300 people a week eat the fresh produce delivered to their door.
“It’s about improving rural health outcomes,” she said. “To have something like this that’s accessible, where we can go out and get people these fruits and vegetables, we can help them improve their health.”
And for the Pathfinder residents packing the food, it helps them too. “They improve
their social skills, fine motor skills, and they learn about their own health,” she said. “They’re impacting people in their community.”
Though much of the produce is ordered from Sodexo, the food-service company, Pathfinder Village does run several greenhouses, growing and harvesting lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and more.
“It takes a lot of time to harvest, and moreso now with COVID,” said Baulch. “But it’s great for the residents.”
Landers knew that food without education would go to waste, and every week “Chef Eric,” as he’s known around the Village, researches and creates new recipes to pack with the produce so that families can try different ways of preparing their food.
“He found a role for himself, a pride and purpose,” said Landers.
Others, like Andrew, make short work of packing bags for deliver. “He’ll pack at least 50 bags,” said Baulch. “He loves going into the cooler, following the list and packing it all carefully so the soft items are on the top.”
“They are always ready to come into work,” said Landers. “You never have to drag them!”
ONEONTA – Frank Emerson Mullet, loving husband and father, and retired 18-year superintendent at Edmeston Central School, passed away peacefully on Sept. 14, 2020, at the age of 99.
Raised in Spencer, Mass., he received a sports scholarship to catch for the Bates College baseball team in Lewiston, Maine, where he majored in physics. During college, Frank traveled to California and worked at Lockheed Aircraft in Burbank.
After World War II began, he enlisted in the Navy, where he served as a signalman on destroyers protecting convoys traveling to and from Europe and North Africa. He received several medals and an honorable discharge in 1945.
SPLASH PATH – Run/Walk through your neighborhood to support Pathfinder Village. Then upload a photos sharing run/walk, personal color bursts with confetti, colored water, colorful running costume, more. Unleash your imagination. Visit raceroster.com/events/2020/31323/virtual-splash-path-2020 for info & registration.
EDMESTON – Like many people, Laurie enjoys going to her favorite coffee shop – the Pathfinder Village Bakery – in the morning.
But with COVID-19 closing down the campus and confining the residents to their homes, the bakery is closed. But her house manager, Jamie Miner, set up a coffee shop on her back porch, complete with a freshly brewed pot and coffee shop cups.
“She pours her own coffee and pays for it, then sits at her dining room table, happy and content,” said CEO Paul Landers. “That’s love in action.”
COOPERSTOWN – The two-car accident that sent six Pathfinder Village residents to Bassett Hospital this afternoon occurred after an SUV ran a stop sign at the intersection of Route 205 and 80 in the Town of Otsego, according to Trooper Aga Dembinska, Troop C public information officer.
COOPERSTOWN – A Pathfinder Village transport van was involved in accident in the Town of Otsego, Lori Grace, director of development at Pathfinder, confirmed a few minutes ago.
According to Rob O’Brien, Otsego County 911 operator, state police and and Cooperstown Fire Department responded to the scene of a two-car accident at the intersection of Route 205 and Route 80 in the Town of Otsego at 2:17 p.m. this afternoon.
OPENING RECEPTION – 5:30 p.m. Celebrate opening of Community Exhibition by Pathfinder Village. Free, open to public. On view through 10/6. Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown. 607-547-1400 or visit www.fenimoreartmuseum.org
COOPERSTOWN – Class of 2019 Hall of Famer Lee Smith has returned this week to the scene of his Induction as celebrity host for the Pathfinder Village-Baseball Hall of Fame Golf Invitational, which begins today at the Leatherstocking Golf Course.
The former Chicago Cub will join 23 amateur foursomes on the 18th to support a golf event that raises scholarship funds for Pathfinder Village, the residential community in Edmeston for people with Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities.
CONCERT – 7 p.m. Cooperstown Lakefront Concert Series presents the Cooperstown Community Band, featuring local musicians performing everything from marches to showtunes, more. Bring chairs, picnic and relax in Lakefront Park, Cooperstown.
BASEBALL AUTHOR – 1 p.m. Reading by Jane Leavy, author “The Big Fella: Babe Ruth and the World He Created.” Discuss baseball history, ask questions, get your copy signed. Included with Museum admission. Grandstand Theater, Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown. 607-547-7200 or visit baseballhall.org/events
SESQUICENTENNIAL – Noon – 9 p.m. Celebrate 150th anniversary of Cooperstown-Charlotte Valley Railway with golden spike, speeches, music, celebratory train ride followed by cannon shoot, ice cream social, historical presentation, fireworks, more. Cost, $30/adult. Depart Milford Depot, 136 E. Main St., Milford. 607-432-2429 or visit www.facebook.com/cacvrr/
RELAY FOR LIFE – 4-10 p.m. Celebrate cancer survivors, remember lives lost & raise money for the American Cancer Society. Survivor Walk, family fun activities, food, live music, raffles & bake sales, w/lighting luminaria & fireworks at end. Wilber Park, 1-9 S Main St State Hwy 28 Milford. Info, www.relayforlife.org/otsegocountyny
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.
THE PLACE + THE PEOPLE = THE PURPOSE!
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.