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TI Life in September 2011

September signals the end of Summer.  The last time to hit the water-skis before you hit the slopes or the sand…  And we not only see the geese begin their journey south, TI Life begins a new season of articles and photographs.


Kim Lunman presents, Private Islands are Vladi's World; Lynn McElfresh presents Grenell Island Community House; Rex Ennis returns with Baseball’s Boys of Summer at The New Frontenac and Tom King gives us his version of Oh, Those Two Glorious Weeks!

Special tributes are given in Brian Johnson’s Hail to the Chief – Jack Norris of the GBL; Ted Mascott’s Varick Chittenden’s TAUNY; John Peach’s Cranker’s Machine Shop;  Richard Randall’s  Louise Gaylord Cooke “87 years young and going strong” ; and David Whitford’s Tinkering which recognizes the late Riggs Smith, and I introduce Dr. Douglas J. Pippin in The Digger… on Carleton Island and Dr. Pippin introduces Fort Haldimand.

We review the new  Clayton Butler’s Thousand Island Park which is “selling like hot cakes”  and Ross Pollack writes How The Canadian Thousand Islands Are Named and Renamed.

New contributors

Richard Randall -  Louise Gaylord Cooke “87 years young and going strong”

Richard W. Randall credits Louise Cooke for interesting him in the history of Point Vivian and the Thousand Islands.  He was born in Utica, NY and graduated from Syracuse University. He worked for the State of New York for 35 years and also ran a corporation that built computers and specialized in computer training. He and his wife, Bonnie Zilnik, were given the opportunity to purchase their Point Vivian cottage which had been in Bonnie’s Aunt's family since 1929. The Randalls have four adult children and all appreciate the charm of Point Vivian. Richard has been a trustee of the Point Vivian Park Association for seven years and began his term as president four years ago.
Ted Mascott - Varick Chittenden’s TAUNY

Ted Mascott, a retired business executive, formerly was a seasonal island resident and a year-round resident, and most recently is a seasonal resident of Clayton. He continues to be involved in River community activities and is a past President of the Thousand Islands Land Trust and a former Board member of Save The River. Ted holds an MBA from Columbia University and is a Dartmouth College Graduate where he majored in history, with an emphasis on the social history of the United States. Following Dartmouth, he worked in public radio at WGBH, Boston, specializing in environmental, political, and social reporting. He is married to Mary McDonald Mascott, a native of Jefferson County, and one equally involved in community organizations.

Sad River News 

On Monday, September 5th, the River lost one of its most dedicated land stewards.  Michael Mead, 67, died  at North Shore University
Hospital on Long Island of Leukemia.  He and Barbara, his wife of 47 years, came to Grindstone Island 33 years ago. Together they made their home on the east end of the island and they made countless friends throughout the region.

Concern over the threat of rampant development prompted Mike, as he was known, and a few friends from Grindstone Island to establish the Thousand Islands Land Trust (TILT) in 1985. In the ensuing years as a TILT trustee, he served in various volunteer capacities including Vice-President and Executive Committee member.  However his legacy goes beyond assisting TILT’s management as he chaired the Easement and Property Stewardship Committee throughout the organization’s 26 years.  Simply put, Mike helped direct the  initiatives and activities required to monitor TILT’s easements and to maintain owned properties – 8,000 acres in total.  He certainly appreciated working with the TILT Staff and he was extremely proud of so many projects that touch on those places we love – Fort Haldimand on Carleton Island, the Crooked Creek Preserve, more than 100 Rocks and Shoals, the 27-miles Sissy Danforth Rivergate Trail, Zenda Farm and the many Grindstone Island Preserves.  

His ability to lead, over the many years, stemmed from his careers as a teacher and mentor.  He taught in the Long Island, NY Public Schools culminating as Dean of Students at Great Neck South High School.  His love of the area also extended to the restoration of and concern for wooden boats. As a member of the Antique and Classic Boat Society, he was active in the Long Island Chapter where he was vice president and a director. He was also a member of the Thousand Island Chapter of ACBS.


There was also a tragic and shocking accident on The St. Lawrence River that took the life of Peter D. Hendley, 66, on the afternoon of August 30, 2011. Peter, a lifelong resident of Grenell Island, swam from Grenell to Murray Island, and was returning from Murray when he was struck by a motorboat with seven people aboard. Peter swam this route almost daily, towing a small, buoyant flag to avert such an accident. However, there was a steady wind that day, white caps and glare of the sun on the water. The boat was traveling in a westerly direction, and those on board had not seen Peter when the boat hit him.

Family, friends and neighbors were all touched by Peter’s death. The small community of Grenell Island rallied by opening their Chapel for friends to gather during this somber time.

Raymond Pfeiffer, a cousin, provided the following tribute: “Peter was an intelligent, thoughtful, and patient person with a wry sense of humor, who had the affection of all who knew him.” Raymond’s wife, Yelisa, adds “He was a delightful personality who reveled for a full lifetime in the complex beauty that is our River.”

Raymond goes on, “Peter had spent his early childhood in a number of states across the USA with his mother, Francis Smith Hendley, and his father, Charles. He had a passion for learning, and graduated from Swarthmore College with a Bachelor of Science, and then earned a Masters in Education from Claremont College in California. He became a teacher, and later, an investment planner and counselor. Committed to living a life that is well-informed about world events and public affairs, his enthusiasm for learning was inspiring and contagious, and he greatly enjoyed the company of younger generations.”

"When not on Grenell, he and his wife of 27 years, Linda, lived in Hayward, CA. Together with  Linda, also a teacher, he worked on pursuing help for children from troubled homes, on efforts to promote the rights of women, on justice for minority groups, for world peace and against homophobia."

Peter was an active member of the Grenell Island community a member of Save the River and of the Thousand Islands Land Trust.

Accidents are tragic and those occurring in our islands always touch many of us personally.

YouTube “Tops’l Schooner Lynx” and “Ode to the St. Lawrence”

Kathy and Dennis McCarthy take many photographs each summer sharing them with friends and family.  This month they created a YouTube video welcoming back the Tall Ship – LYNX – to the Thousand Islands on her return trip to the ocean.  You will remember the tremendous efforts Michael Folsom gave to making the Sailing Seaway Clayton Festival in June such a success See: The Day Has Finally Come…. He also brought the Lynx back this month which is when Dennis captured these sailing shots.

When Dennis created his video he asked Cape Vincent’s song-writer, composer and performer, Peg Dolan, for permission to use her music “Ode to the St. Lawrence”,  which is  both beautiful and haunting.  

When Peg Dolan’s mother died 13 years ago, Peg came to the River to begin the task of thanking those who had sent remembrances. Peg, an only child, was touched by the  tributes sent honoring her mother.  “I ended up sitting and looking out the kitchen window at the river and just jotting down thoughts about it.  I sometimes say my mother helped me write the song.  She was right there in my heart - with me every step of the way”. Peg's mother first came to the River for vacations at the age of 12. “Our family has a long and loving history with the River."  

TI Life will present a more detailed biography of Peg Dolan in an upcoming issue but we hope you will listen to her music and words on the McCarthy video and if you like it- buy her latest CD:   Now & Then Peg Dolan

We present this for your enjoyment.

Video by Dennis McCarthy ( with music “Ode to the St. Lawrence” written and performed by Peg Dolan (

Other news

We are learning about other new books now on sale in the region. 


Edith Lunt Small's The Book is now available at Captain Spicer’s Gallery and Gifts, Clatyon., NY. It is a 112-page hardcover collection of Edith Lunt Small’s artwork. She is best known for her “witty, colorful depictions of Rochester landmarks and history” as well as her much appreciated “primitive art” representations of the Thousand Islands.

Richard Margolis latest book Spirit of the River and his photographs were exhibited at Greg Lago’s  Winged Bull Studio in Clayton this summer.  Richard is well known for capturing many favorite aspects of the region including postcards and “Boat Houses on the St. Lawrence River”. Richard’s book is available at most books stores in region including Winged Bull Studio, Captain Spicer’s Gallery and Gifts and the Antique Boat Museum. 

Special thanks…

Our thanks to Ian Coristine for his latest photographs now turned into TI Life headers. We have more than 70 Coristine images for your enjoyment.  You will recognize Pirates Weekend in Lake of the Isles as well as the new 1000 Islands & Seaway Cruises  WILDCAT, which introduces High Speed Adventure Cruises  from its home base in Brockville.  We also thank the whole TI Life team:  Mike Cox at Creative Information Systems for hosting our website and editors Jane Taylor and David Ray. 

Check out our Facebook page for announcements throughout the month.

Susan W. Smith, Editor, Thousand Islands Life.


Posted in: From the Editor
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Rita Phillipson
Comment by: Rita Phillipson ( )
Left at: 2:48 PM Thursday, September 22, 2011
Although we live in Alfred, we still consider Watertown and the lake and river as our HOME. Both my husband and I were born in Watertown. We're very lucky to to able to spend our summers on Pillar Point for the past 40 some years since my husband taught college in Alfred and summers at JCC. Our four kids have such fond memories of their growing up years that can never be replaced.
Thank you for keeping us up on what's going on in the "Islands".