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TI Life Happenings 01/14

Happy New Year – and welcome to a real winter!  Whether in Canada or the United States, the weather has been brutal.

January is a perfect time to read as much as possible about our Thousand Islands, either in front of a warm fire or in the sun on a beach!  For this,  I hope you will enjoy our offerings:

In history:  Rick Tague’s Grindstone, Grenell and Wellesley Historic Churches, Herb Sheridan’s Indian Pictographs and Anthony Mollica’s Poetica, a Fitzgerald & Lee Classic Sedan.

For the Arts: Patricia Mondore introduces Bruce Dana, A River Photographer; and I introduce Will Salisbury Making Waves.  I also  describe our excitement to learn about “To Be or Not to Be”- Yes, Right Here in Prescott and the Rose Bowl Parade and the 1000 Islands.

For the Mariners:  Dennis McCarthy and Khris Hunt capture the grounding of The Orsula on Christmas Day and I have pleasure of telling my own Two Fish – Two Stories.

Top-off articles include:  Kim Lunman’s The River's Keepers, Lynn McElfresh’s An Icy Toast to Summer and Nancy Bond’s Listen to French Creek


New Contributors

Herb Sheridan and Jack Brown - Indian Pictographs

Herb Sheridan is a native of Brockville who summered as a youngster at Lily Bay.  He was an small boat sailor first (sailing Snipes and Wafarers) then, as he says, “found that power boats were better in which to explore the Thousand Islands.”  While at Queen’s University he served in the Naval Reserves. After graduating he carried on the family furniture business.  He credits his family, his wife and children, for encouraging and continuing a love for the River.  Herb has a keen interest in river shipping and social history and we at TI Life look forward to his future contributions.   

Jack Brown, an original Brown's Bay family, is a foremost river and local historian - currently involved with Genealogy.  Several TI Life authors have benefitted from his vast collection of historic material.  Herb Sheridan describes him best as - a local treasure.

Dennis McCarthy and Khris Hunt – The “Orsula” on Christmas Day

Khris Hunt of  Hunt Underwater Specialties local commercial diving company based out of Clayton NY has traveled throughout the eastern seaboard performing commercial diving services for municipalities, hydroelectric, industrial and Government agencies. Most recently involved with the salvage of the MV Orsula.

Dennis McCarthy is a regular contributor to TI Life.

Special Tributes

The Honourable John Ross Matheson of Kingston ON.  1916 – 2013


We note the recent passing of The Honourable John R. Matheson, a distinguished Canadian and long-time resident of the Thousand Islands area.  His obituary was published across Canada and both current and past Canadian leaders paid tribute to this distinguished gentleman.  John Matheson was elected Federal Member of Parliament for Leeds in a 1961 by-election. He was re-elected in 1962, 1963, and 1965 and served as Parliamentary Secretary to Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson. In 1968, he returned to the practice of law and was appointed Judge for the Judicial District of Ottawa-Carleton. In 1979 he moved to the County Court of Lanark, Perth Ontario. In 1985 he was appointed a Judge of the District Court of Ontario and served on the Ontario Court of Justice (General Division) from 1990 to 1992.


During his political career, he was a leading member of the parliamentary committee, which successfully shepherded the adoption of the Canadian (Maple Leaf) flag by parliament in 1965. Years later, his masters thesis was published under the title "Canada's Flag: A Search for a Country". He also provided the concept and the background research that led to the design of the Order of Canada in 1967.


Dr. Chester W. Taylor, DDS

Grindstone Island lost both Dr. Chester Taylor age 96, on Dec 17, 2013 two months after the death of his wife, Margaret (see TI Life, December 2013). Both will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery;  Chester served in the Army Air Corps as a cadet in 1941.   Chester had a distinguished career in the Air Force, becoming the squadron navigator in the 39th Bomb Group flying in B-29’s for the bombing campaign of Japan. He retired from the Air Force reserves in 1977 as a Colonel. After the war, he received his BS from University of Michigan, 1947 and attended dental school at the University of Pennsylvania, 1951. He interned at Episcopal Hospital in Philadelphia and attended Ohio State University for advanced anesthesia training for oral surgery. He lived and practiced in Ridgewood NJ and was Chief of Staff at Valley Hospital for Oral Surgery during the 1960's and 1970's. After he retired, he and his wife traveled extensively including a 3 month humanitarian stint in the Thailand/Laotian border providing medical care during the Killing Fields period. Both Margaret and Chester will be fondly remembered for their many charitable works in the Thousand Islands.

Geraldine C. “Gerri” Armani

Many River friends will be sad to learn that Geraldine, “Gerri” Armani of LaFayette, New York died on January 7, 2014.  Gerri was a well known and respected real estate agent, most recently with Prudential 1000 Realty in Clayton, NY.  She was responsible for helping dozens of families find their special island homes.  A longtime resident of Wellesley Island herself, she was a member of the Thousand Island Club, as an avid golfer.  She also participated in many island activities.  According to her obituary, prior to her career in real estate, she was a successful political fundraiser working with several Congressmen and in Mayor Rudolph Giuliani campaigns.  Our condolences to her family and friends.

Save the River

Save the River sent an alert to its membership announcing that the Army Corps of Engineers’  “Long Awaited Report Released on How to Stop Asian Carphas been published.  It provides options to stop the spread of Carp and other aquatic invasive species between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River waterways.  Be sure to read their report and follow their recommendations

Ice Storm December 2013 and Winter 2014

While not as devastating as the Ice Storm 1998, Ice Storm December 2013, caused massive power outages across the North Country and most of Southern and Eastern Ontario.  Coming on December 22 and 23rd, so close to Christmas,added extra hardship as roads were closed and people were asked to remain in their homes.  In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a winter ice storm emergency which activated the state Emergency Operations Center. Even well into January, Interstate 81 was closed due to Lake effect snow storms, flooding and wind.  In fact, for the first time in several years, travelers were turned back at the Ivy Lea/Alexandria Bay Border Crossing.

Many in the region also experienced a “Frost Quake”, which often happens in the high Arctic when the ice freezes, but not often in the south.  The extremely loud sounds, described like gun shots or explosions, were heard throughout the region. 

For those of us unable to visit our summer cottages and assess the damage, we can only trust that all is well.  This tough winter will make us all appreciate Mother Nature if she brings us early spring.  Our thanks to all those who shared their beautiful winter scenes.


FACEBOOKRemember our facebook page throughout the month, as we post information and photographs  &  follow us on Twittertwitter 2

Do you write about the River - near to it, from above or below?  If so, please consider submitting an article.  Let us know what you like, or dislike, about TI Life so we can share more ideas.  And… most of all please ask questions and leave comments.

Would  you like to help?  If so, let’s talk…  By Susan W. Smith, Editor

Special thanks to our editors David Ray, Jane Taylor, Bill Stallan and Georgia Barker.


  • Bob Gates provided our TI Life in January photograph

    Bob Gates provided our TI Life in January photograph

  • Wolfe Island Ferry had to break through the ice. Photo from Capt Brian Johnson

    Wolfe Island Ferry had to break through the ice. Photo from Capt Brian Johnson

  • The Ferry had to make a new path through the ice.  Photo by B. Johnson

    The Ferry had to make a new path through the ice. Photo by B. Johnson

  • Mark Russell provides a photo from Gananoque

    Mark Russell provides a photo from Gananoque

  • Mark Russell captures the sunset and Joel Stone Park

    Mark Russell captures the sunset and Joel Stone Park

  • Melissa Rosenberger 's bird house!

    Melissa Rosenberger 's bird house!

  • Melissa Rosenberger's lens

    Melissa Rosenberger's lens

  • Tom Roberts captures winter

    Tom Roberts captures winter

  • Janet Sullins captures the beautiful vista of Zenda Farm

    Janet Sullins captures the beautiful vista of Zenda Farm

  • Paul Hartwick shares a photo of the new dock construction at Gananoque

    Paul Hartwick shares a photo of the new dock construction at Gananoque


Posted in: From the Editor
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Louise Hedden
Comment by: Louise Hedden ( )
Left at: 6:49 PM Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Thanks to all for braving the freezing cold Weather to capture all these great 2013 ice storm pictures and sharing with everyone who enjoys TI Life Happenings. Louise Hedden, Wellesley Island