News of Otsego County

Red Door Church

In Memoriam Dorothy Anne Ray, 86 Nov. 10, 1935 – Dec. 20, 2021

In Memoriam

Dorothy Anne Ray, 86

Nov. 10, 1935 – Dec. 20, 2021

Dorothy Anne Ray

ONEONTA – Dorothy Anne Ray, 86, of Rochester passed away on Monday, December 20, 2021 at Crest Manor in Fairport, New York.

She was born on November 10, 1935 in Washington, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Rev. Mark Scott McGee Ray and Anna Elizabeth (Morgan) Ray.

Dorothy Anne’s father, Mark S. M. Ray, was a minister at the United Presbyterian Church (now called the Red Door Church) in Oneonta, New York, and the family lived in the parsonage next to the church. The Ray family, including Dorothy Anne’s brother Mark and her sister Ruth, all played music; Dorothy Anne played flute.

The family spent summer vacations in Ocean Grove, New Jersey, and at their cottage in Northfield, Massachusetts, where their father had a summer faculty position at the Northfield School for Girls.

A 1952 graduate of Oneonta High School, Dorothy Anne received her bachelor’s degree from Muskingum College in Ohio in 1957, and her Master of Arts from Rochester University, Rochester, New York in 1968. She spent her career as an elementary teacher for the Penfield Central Schools, retiring in 1991.

At Warming Station, Needy Are Sheltered

At Warming Station,
Needy Are Sheltered

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Cindy King hangs an “OPEN” sign in the window of the Community Warming Station, 189 Chestnut St., Oneonta, Monday, March 8. (Ian Austin/

‘Happy are they … who give justice to those who are oppressed, food to those who are hungry, and shelter to those in need,” said Rev. Cynthia Walton Leavitt, pastor of the United Presbyterian “Red Door” Church.

The pastor was speaking Monday, March 8, as a member of the Caring for the Homeless Population Collaboration, founded in 2018 under the auspices of Fox Hospital, on the initiative of Dr. Reg Knight, who chaired Fox’s Ethics Committee.

Pastor Leavitt was leading the Blessing Service where Knight’s goal was reached: Oneonta’s one-of-a-kind Community Warming Station opened at 5 p.m. at 189 Chestnut St.

The first client showed up at 9:15 p.m.

Beginning Monday, and continuing through Sunday, April 11, the Warming Station will be open seven days a week. The first occupant showed up at 9:15 Monday evening, when temperatures would drop overnight to 21 degrees. (The night before the station opened, it dropped to 1.)

“We’re so blessed to have this open,” the pastor said.

Walton Leavitt has been involved since the beginning (and is also involved in the Hunger Coalition of Otsego County), driven by what she sees as a continuing need, evident in “an occasional knock on (her) door.”

Usually, it happens after Catholic Charities or other human service agencies are closed for the day or weekend, she said.

Church-N-The Hood  Hosted At Red Door Church

Church-N-The Hood

Hosted At Red Door Church

With her voice booming out over the loudspeakers, Rev. LaDana Clark, aka LADYJAM, returned with her Church -N-The Hood this afternoon on the lawn of the Red Door Church bringing her own flavor of faith to the crowd gathered on the lawn of The Red Door Church in Oneonta this afternoon. Motorists  waved and shouted “We love you!” from their widows as they passed in their vehicles, with the Reverend waving and praising them in return. Parishioners came from as far as Binghamton and Norwich, as the service was live streamed. Church-N-The Hood will be holding services throughout the county on a monthly basis, returning to Oneonta on the first Sunday of every month. Next service will be held at the First Presbyterian Church in Cooperstown on August 16th. (Ian Austin/
Doris L. Spearbeck, 89; RN At SUNY Oneonta Clinic For 30 Years

IN MEMORIAM: Doris L. Spearbeck, 89;

RN At SUNY Oneonta Clinic For 30 Years

Doris Spearbeck

ONEONTA – Doris L. Spearbeck, 89,  a nurse at SUNY Oneonta’s clinic for 30 years, passed away in Syracuse on Feb. 17, 2020, surrounded by family, following a brief illness.

She was born on March 20, 1930, and raised on the Loudon Farm in Walton. As a child she enjoyed skating and tending to the baby piglets. She graduated from Walton High School and Wilson School of Nursing in Johnson City, where her roommate introduced her to the love of her life.

She worked as a registered nurse at SUNY Oneonta Health & Wellness Center from 1968 to 1998. She started part-time and through her dedication and true concern of the students put into her care, she rose to supervisor of the department. She made lifetime friends along the way.

Awanda B. Olmstead, 89; Six-Decade Member of ‘Red Door’ Church

IN MEMORIAM: Awanda B. Olmstead, 89;

Six-Decade Member of ‘Red Door’ Church

Awanda B. Olmstead

ONEONTA – Awanda B. Olmstead, 89, who was active in the First United Presbyterian “Red Door” Church for almost six decades, passed into the Lord’s care on Nov. 4, 2019.

She was at Robinson Terrace Nursing Home in Stamford, under the compassionate care of nursing staff, Hospice professionals, volunteers and church family members.

Awanda Belle Aldrich was born on Jan. 12, 1930, East Masonville, daughter of Cecil B. and Anna B. (Gifford) Aldrich.

She graduated from Sidney Central High School in 1949 and New York State Ag & Tech (now SUNY Delhi) in 1950.


Maestro Schneider’s

Final Performance


FAREWELL CONCERT – 7:30 p.m. The Catskill Symphony Orchestra performs works by Beethoven, Rutter, followed by Maestro Charles Schneider’s farewell performance of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th movements of Symphony No. 5 by Dimitri Shostakovich followed by a reception. Tickets, $30. Hunt Union Ballroom, SUNY Oneonta. Call 607-436-2670 or visit

BABY SHOWER – 9 a.m. – Noon. Annual community baby shower featuring information & mini-classes from providers on pregnancy, breastfeeding, fatherhood, babies, birth, breastfeeding, and beyond. Door prizes & games galore. FoxCare Center, Oneonta. Call 607-433-8000 or visit

Churches Come Together For Ash Wednesday

Oneonta Churches Mark

Ash Wednesday Together

Rev. Mark Montfort, pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Oneonta, performs the imposition of ashes on the forehead of Rev. Cynthia Walton-Leavitt of the city’s United Presbyterian “Red Door” Church at the conclusion of their joint Ash Wednesday service held at the Red Door Church this evening. Participants could traverse several labyrinths and use the time for prayer, meditation and reflection. (Ian Austin/

Museum Reopens, Features

Fun Activities For All Ages


MUSEUM REOPENING – 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The A.J. Read Science Discovery Center reopens to the public featuring new exhibits and activities for all ages. SUNY Oneonta. Info, or email

GUITAR BASICS – 5-7 p.m. Free workshop with instructor John Arlet to learn to play guitar. Bring your own instrument. Space is limited. Registration required. The Library Room at The Turning Point, 22 Elm St., Oneonta. Info,

SUNY THEATER – 8 p.m. Theater department production of “Colony Collapse.” Hamblin Theater, Fine Arts Building, 108 Ravine Pkwy., Oneonta. Info,


Try Grilled Cheese For Good Cause


GRILLED CHEESE DINNER – 5-8 p.m. Enjoy an evening of comfort food utilizing local cheeses prepared by local chefs. Also with 4 seasonal soups, beer, wine, cider, dessert, and live music. Benefits Cooperstown Farmers Market. Tickets adult $25, Child $15. under 6 free.Cooperstown Farmers market, 101 Main St. in Pioneer Alley, Cooperstown. Info,

RECEPTION – 1-3 p.m. Celebrating the Oneonta Trolley Line exhibit. Free and open to the public. Greater Oneonta Historical Society, 183 Main St., Oneonta. Info,

WINTER CONCERT – 3-5 p.m. The Little Delaware Youth Ensemble perform under the direction of Uli Speth. Anderson Theater, Hartwick College, Oneonta. Info,

‘I Have A Dream’ Rendering Highpoint Of MLK Gathering

‘I Have A Dream’ Rendering

Highpoint Of MLK Gathering

At right, Reginald Brunson, Hobart, delivers an impassioned rendering of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech at this afternoon’s MLK Day commemoration organized by the NAACP, Oneonta Chapter, at the First Presbyterian “Red Door” Church at Main Street and Walling Avenue.  Above, D.J. Wood sings Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together,” accompanied by Gennero Falco on piano and Sadiq Abdushahid on drums.  (Ian Austin/

Winter Lunch Party Gives Free Lunches For Kids On Break

Winter Lunch Party Gives Free

Lunches For Kids On School Break

Got hungry kids? Send them down to the First United Presbyterian church across from Friendly's for a free lunch at the Winter Lunch Party! Here, Oneonta siblings Chris, Abigal and Ben Johnston saddle up to the table of the Winter Lunch Party for a free lunch of ham and cheese sandwich, cucumbers, bananas, milk and a cookie, served by Rebecca LaBarr and Nadine Stenson. The program offers free lunches and crafts to children up to 19 and runs Monday through Friday, 11:30-12:30pm through winter break. (Ian Austin/
Cabin fever? Send the kids down to the First United Presbyterian Church for the Winter Lunch Party! Here, Oneonta siblings Chris, Abigal and Ben Johnston saddle up to the table for ham and cheese sandwich, cucumbers, bananas, milk and a cookie, served by Rebecca LaBarr and Nadine Stenson. The program offers free lunches and crafts to children up to 19 and runs Monday through Friday, 11:30-12:30pm through winter break. (Ian Austin/
This Summer, 75 Sandwiches Made Daily For Hungry Kids

This Summer, 75 Sandwiches Made Daily For Hungry Kids


It doesn’t matter if you’re from Oneonta or elsewhere, if your family is rich or poor, if you’re seven or 17 – if a kid is hungry, Catholic Charities and the First United Presbyterian Church will have lunch ready.

“We realized there was no summer feeding program in Oneonta,” said Nadine Stenson, one of the program’s coordinators at the “Red Door” church. “There’s been a huge need for food for kids.”

It’s a program that Catholic Charities has been trying to get in place for several years, said Christy Houck, program director. “Child hunger goes up in the summer – the schools provide one, sometimes two meals and a snack during the school year, but in the summer, that’s more food the families have to buy. And unfortunately, some kids just go without.”

The Summer Food Service Program is sponsored through a USDA grant and administered by the state Education Department, reimbursing sponsors for meals served. Catholic Charities had the grant application but no way to cost-effectively staff the program; the church had volunteers in search of new community missions, but no plans in place.

“Everyone wants to feed kids,” said Houck.

The two collaborated, and from now through the end of August, Monday through Friday, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., kids up to age 18 can go to the large pavilion in Neahwa park and get a sandwich on whole wheat bread, a piece of fruit, a vegetable and milk.

In the Riverside School district, where the program is located, 50 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. “If we can help these families by eliminating the need to buy one meal a day, it can help them stretch their budgets a little further,” said Houck.

The city gave them free use of the pavilion, and they coordinated times with the YMCA’s park program, which ends at noon, so that children could come down and eat after spending the morning playing in the park. Flyers announcing were distributed at the schools, the YMCA and the Boys & Girls Club.

“We don’t take names,” said Stenson. “You can come from any county, any state. Any child can just come by.”

On the program’s first day, Monday, July 7, Red Door Church volunteers made 75 chicken salad sandwiches, with baby carrots and an apple. And despite the rain, 24 kids, including several teens on break from summer jobs, stopped by the pavilion for lunch. “We’re hoping for more,” said Houck. “We know the need is out there.”

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