Shandaken Day offered fun & recognition
By Jay Braman Jr.
It was the perfect end to a perfect day.
After hours of fun at the 2010 edition of Shandaken Day, the town’s annual celebration, residents and visitors gathered around the entertainment tent in Glenbrook Park as Supervisor Rob Stanley’s voice boomed through the loudspeakers announcing that it was time to honor some of the people that have done much for the place they call home.
“This year we honor three individuals with the Hamlet Hero Award, for excellence in representing their hamlet homes,” he said. “ Hamlet Heroes this year are Mason Gossoo of Bushnellsville, Jane Todd of Shandaken and Edward Ocker of Allaben.”
“Mason Gossoo was lost to us many years ago, but his memory still lives on,” Stanley said.” Gossoo was the US Postmaster for Shandaken for 26 years. “His demeanor over the years endeared him to the locals, whose mail would be sitting on the counter before most could open their car doors to enter the post office,” Stanley added.
“Jane S. Todd has held a multitude of positions throughout the Town of Shandaken,” the supervisor said. “She was one of the founding members of The SHARP Committee, Inc. She has been treasurer for the Phoenicia Fire District for a number of years and has served on the town planning board and town board as a councilwoman.” Pointing to the grounds surrounding the tent, Stanley said it was Todd’s town board motion a few years ago that helped allocate funding from New York City for park improvements.
According to Stanley, Edward Ocker worked diligently throughout his life as an engineer starting with building Catskill fire towers. He served two terms as the highway superintendent for Shandaken.
“It was his letter writing that endears him most to locals. Ed, always with a flair for the dramatic in his regular “letters to the editor,” was most noted for his famous opening: “What’s shakin’ in Shandaken?” Sometimes Ed’s enlightenments were a bit off the beaten path, but once in a while his letters were foreboding and a bit prophetic,” Stanley said.
Next the supervisor gave out Pride of Shandaken Awards, bestowed upon two citizens from Shandaken who carried their influence throughout the town. This year’s honorees are Henry “Hank” Bernstein and Raymond Dunn.
Bernstein served in the U.S. Army 20th Air Force 444th Bombardment Group and received the Bronze Star for service in the Burmese Theater during WWII. He worked with the NYS Game Protection Unit. He served as a game protector for 40 years until he retired in 1985.
“Many residents from Hardenburgh to Woodstock and Shandaken can attest to Hank’s diligence in his duties and whether you had too many fish in your bucket you knew that Hank would be fair and equitable in his decisions,” Stanley said. “A trait he has passed on to his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, most of whom still reside in the area.”
Stanley said that Raymond Dunn served as a state trooper for more than 35 years. He married Helen Yerry in 1935 and his daughter, Ramona and her husband today reside in what was the first state police office in the town. Dunn served the town as town clerk, historian, councilman and supervisor from the 1960s to his death in 1981. “Ray commonly told the story of his arrival into the Town of Shandaken,” Stanley said. “As he entered the town on horseback, the common mode of transportation for troopers in the day, he was taken by the beauty of the area and commented, “I wish I could spend the rest of my life here.”