Local Matters

Recent comments

Community Sponsors


wilkins_walter_-_photo4.jpgWalter Wilkins, of Akron, NY. Born to Joseph Henry Wilkins and Margaret Butterbaugh Wilkins on June 10, 1935, in Pittsburgh, PA. Died March 11, 2022.

Walt re-located to Akron, NY in 1953 searching for employment. It has been said that Akron has never been the same since he arrived.

He found work in the gypsum mines of Western New York. In the mines while working for Georgia Pacific he set off dynamite, hauled gypsum and worked “on top” manufacturing wall board.

Walt also found employment at several of Akron’s taverns, working part time as a bartender and manager. After the gypsum plant closed and several of the taverns went out of business, he drove truck, did lawn care and spent fifteen years as a school bus driver for the Akron School District from where he retired.

His passion was singing, he knew and sang the words to countless country music and other genres of music.

Affectionately known as “The Birdman” he was a fun-loving carefree man. He was quick with a joke and a smile. A master euchre player. He served his community as a volunteer fireman. During his time as an Akron fireman, he fought some of Akron’s most historical fires. He was also the captain of their bowling team and a star softball pitcher, playing the game for well over fifty years. He was the lead bugler for the Akron Fire Company marching band. He also sky dived and rode a classic full-dress Indian motorcycle.   

As a youth he lived in both the city Pittsburgh in southside flats and the little town of Bellwood, PA on a dirt road named Kerbaugh. He attended Bellwood-Antis School District where he said he would go to school to eat his lunch. His school memories included playing football for the school’s team, traveling central PA to play ball. His love for the game continued all his life as a Buffalo Bills fan who would organize bus excursions to the Bills games for the fire company and friends.

He was an avid reader. His favorite book being the Bible that he read cover to cover nineteen times. Bible verses that he frequented were John 8:7 and Matthew 7:1.

He leaves behind a sister, Virginia Wilkins Pfahler of Pinecroft, PA. Sister in law Rose Zamaris Wilkins of Fallentimber, PA. Children, Walter “Craig” Wilkins (Sandra), Chris Wilkins (Suzanne), Terry Wilkins (Robyn), Christan Heidi Anderson, Fallon Wilkins Kumro (Darren), Joseph Wilkins. Nineteen grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.

Predeceased are siblings, Joseph Wilkins, Paul Wilkins, Benjamin Franklin Wilkins, Rosella Margaret Wilkins Moceika, Fred Wilkins, Raymond D Wilkins. And a great grandchild Angelina Peluso.

Walter Wilkins will return to his boyhood home of Bellwood PA and be buried near his mother in Logan Valley Cemetery, a football field is distance away from, and within sight of his alma mater.

Family and friends are cordially invited to share thoughts, condolences and memories on Friday (March 18th) from 11am-2pm and 5-8pm at the J. LEONARD McANDREW FUNERAL HOME, LLC, 32 John St., Akron, NY. A memorial service will be held Saturday, 11am at High Point Church, 1163 Main Rd., Corfu, NY, followed by a luncheon at the church. Main meal will be provided and bringing a side dish or dessert is encouraged.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Akron Fire Company, 1 Main St, Akron, NY 14001. Expressions of sympathy may be shared with the family at: www.mcandrewfuneralhomes.net.




annette.jpg  Annette A. Forsyth, 96, passed away on March 11, 2022.  She was a lifelong resident of Batavia, NY. Annette is predeceased by her husband; Dr. Rodney A. Forsyth and daughter Eileen (Forsyth) Wolski.

She is survived by her sons; Mark Forsyth of Winter Park, FL., and Timothy Forsyth of Surprise, AZ.; along with grandchildren Erica Forsyth, David Forsyth, Paul Wolski and Nathan Wolski; along with a niece Ann M. Falco.

Friends and family are invited to call on Wednesday March 16, 2022 from 4:00-7:00PM at Gilmartin Funeral Home & Cremation Company, Inc. 329-333 West Main Street Batavia, New York 14020.  A 9:30AM Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Thursday March 17th at Resurrection Parish 303 East Main St. in Batavia. Annette will be laid to rest in Grandview Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Annette’s memory to Resurrection Parish 303 East Main St. Batavia, NY 14020. To leave a message of condolence please visit www.gilmartinfuneralhome.com. Arrangements completed by Gilmartin Funeral Home & Cremation Company, Inc., 329-333 West Main Street, Batavia, New York 14020.

Batavia – Mrs. Helen Thornell Partridge, age 95, of Batavia passed away on Thursday, March 10, 2021 at the LeRoy Village Green Nursing Home surrounded by her loving family.

She was born in Batavia on May 25, 1926 a daughter of the late Charles W. Thornell and Florence Leanen Thornell.

A 1943 graduate of South Byron High School, she graduated from the Buffalo State Teacher’s College in 1947 and taught home economics in the Oakfield-Alabama School District. A member of the Morganville United Church of Christ since 1952, she taught Sunday school for several years at the church. Helen served for two terms on the 4-H Home Economics Board, the Farm Bureau Women’s Board and served as clerk and secretary for the Morganville Tandem Class. A member of the “Daffy Damsels”, a group through the Farm Bureau, she served as treasurer of the Red Hats Society, was a member and secretary for the Stafford Historical Society and served on the planning committee for the first 4-H walk-a-thon.

She married Lewis Partridge, Jr. on August 20, 1948 and celebrated 68 years of marriage until his passing on December 14, 2016.

She is survived by her three children, Donald (Patricia) Partridge, Kevin Partridge and Kathy (Jeff) Thompson; seven grandchildren; thirteen great-grandchildren; her sister, Marian T. Partridge; her sister-in-law, Joyce (Richard) Glazier and numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great nephews.

Friends may call on Saturday, March 19, 2022 from 10 am to 11 am at the Morganville United Church of Christ, 8466 Morganville Road, Stafford. Funeral services will immediately follow visitation at 11 am at the church. She will be laid to rest in Grand View Cemetery, Batavia. In lieu of flowers, please consider memorials in Helen’s name to the Morganville United Church of Christ, 8466 Morganville Road, Stafford, New York 14143. To leave a condolence, share a story or light a candle in Helen’s memory, please visit www.bataviafuneralhomes.com.

Arrangements have been entrusted to the H.E. Turner & Co. Funeral Home, 403 East Main Street, Batavia.

gear_ruth_-_photo.jpegRuth Frances (Scheider) Gear died in her sleep, in hospital, at 9:11 PM March 10, 2022. She was born to Teresa (Mullady) Scheider and David Joseph Scheider in Brooklyn, New York, July 28, 1922. Her father transferred to Batavia, New York, in 1926, to manage the Doehler Jarvis factory, where Ruth grew up and made her home.

She married Bill Gear, who played semi pro football for the Essos, in 1943. A Marine, he served in the Pacific theater and earned two purple hearts and several medals, returning home in 1946. They raised seven children. Preceding her in death were sons David and Joseph. She is survived by Therese, Bill, Maria, John, and Kevin. Dozens of cousins, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren join with her many friends in celebrating her life.

Ruth’s strong Catholic faith was central to her life, and she treasured her membership at Holy Name of Mary in East Pembroke, NY, where her brother Father David Scheider served as pastor for many years. Ruth also was an important part of Notre Dame High School. She loved and was loved by the Notre Dame students and community. She taught many people in Batavia how to type and was selected to participate in developing curricula with the State of New York Board of Regents. She was a founding parent of Genesee ARC, now Genesee-Orleans ARC.

Ruth loved God and family. She was never happier than when she had 30 or more family members in her home to celebrate. She was an avid gardener. Sometimes, even in her late nineties, as she embraced the earth, tending her front yard, people would stop and offer to help her - Until they saw the delighted expression on her face and understood that this lady was immersed in what she loved. She was an avid reader. 

She has joined her husband Bill, brother David, sisters Teresa (Scheider) Lenihan, Loretta (Scheider) Judd, and Joan (Scheider) Mooney, along with sons David and Joseph in heaven.

Her surviving family ask her friends to join in celebrating her life at Mass at St. Maximilian Kolbe Church in East Pembroke, Friday, March 18, at 11 am.

Memorials will be gratefully accepted at two institutions dear to her, Notre Dame High School and Genesee Orleans ARC. As Ruth often said, “Everything is a gift.” Expressions of sympathy may be shared with her family at: www.mcandrewfuneralhomes.net.




Bergen - David Wise, 64 of Bergen passed away on Tuesday, (February 1, 2022) at Rochester General Hospital in Rochester.

Mr. Wise was born February 22, 1957.

There will be no visitation or services. He will be laid to rest in privately in St. Joseph's Cemetery in Batavia. Arrangements were entrusted to the H.E. Turner & Co. Funeral Home in Batavia. Please leave a condolence, share a story, or light a candle at www.bataviafuneralhomes.com.

laskey_virginia-photo1.jpgVirginia E. (Black) Laskey, 80, born November 15, 1941 in Clyde, PA and who lived in Elba, NY since 1967, died peacefully on Wednesday, March 9, 2022 at her residence.

She was the daughter of the late Leonard E. Black and Florence E. Crawford Black of Indian Falls, NY, formerly of New Florence and Blairsville, PA.

She was known as “Ginger” to family and many of her friends and acquaintances and was a singer around the area for many years in the late 1960’s thru the 1990’s in local Bluegrass and Old Time Country Music. She sang at the monthly jam sessions at Bennington Lanes and at the Brockport monthly get-togethers. She also made one appearance at a jamboree at North Fork Park in Warsaw. She was also known around areas of Southern PA at Bluegrass Jam Sessions and local jamborees.

When she started working at Honeywell Braukmann, her boss started calling her “Ginny” and the name stuck through her years at Honeywell (where she became Assembly Dept. Supervisor), Kistner Concrete in E. Pembroke and the V.A. Medical Center in Batavia. In addition to her singing, Mrs. Laskey loved deer hunting and fishing. She also loved “creating” greeting cards for her family and friends on her computer after she retired from the V.A. in 2005.

She is survived by her stepson, Jesse Laskey of San Diego, CA and her “adopted” daughter, Marcy Prentice (Bruce). “Adopted” Grandsons, Bruce III, Jordan (Ratana and daughter Lily) and many nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her husband of nearly 60 years, James Laskey Jr and was a sister of the late Raymond Black of Indian Falls, Betty Redilla of Blairsville, PA, Jean Henderson of New Florence, PA and Lenora Durham of Oakfield and Batavia.

Family and friends are invited to share thoughts, condolences and fond memories on Sunday (March 13th) from 1-4pm at the J. LEONARD McANDREW FUNERAL HOME, LLC, 2 Bogue Ave., Batavia, NY, where a funeral service will commence at the conclusion of visitation at 4pm.

Burial will be in Indian Falls Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or Shriner’s Hospitals for Children. Expressions of sympathy may be shared with the family at www.mcandrewfuneralhomes.net.




bartz.jpg  Mr. Harvey Sidney Bartz, Sr., 90 of Batavia, passed away peacefully on Saturday, March 5, 2022 at United Memorial Medical Center. He was born September 16, 1931; son of the late John and Flossie (Harvey) Bartz. He was the husband of the late Mildred (Alwardt) Bartz. Harvey is preceded in death by brothers, William, Albert, John, Robert, Francis, Henry Bartz, and half brother James Heale; sisters, Viola Hale, Mable Bartz, Bertha Gage, Julia Wallace, a daughter-in-law, Donna Bartz and brother-in-law Brett McGraw.

Harvey worked at E.N. Rowell Company as a Printing Press Operator for thirty nine years, also worked at Oatka Milk for 15 years before retiring in 1994 and was a part-time Custodian at Alexander United Methodist Church, being a member of this church for many years. He was also President of Alexander Happy Agers. Harvey and wife Lauren were directors of Vacation Bible Adventure for nine years.

He was noted for his work ethic, taking wonderful care of his wife, loved taking care of the Lord’s House at Alexander Methodist Church and enjoyed working in the flower beds and riding his John Deere “convertible” tractor while keeping the yard looking beautiful. He loved his family and will certainly be missed by them.

Surviving is his wife, Lauren (McGraw) Bartz of Batavia; children, Constance Spring of WI, Thomas (Betty) Bartz of Alexander, Harvey “Skip” (Nancy) Bartz Jr. of Alexander, Catherine (Richard) Maniace of FL, Deborah (Ronald) Spink of Batavia, Arnold (Brenda) Bartz of Batavia, Rev. John Bartz of FL, step-daughter, Amy (David) Wagner of TX, along with several grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren; sister Elizabeth Heale, four sisters-in-law, Ruth McVay, Linda McGraw, Alice Bartz and Virginia Gayton, along with many nieces and nephews. 

There will be no prior calling hours or Services. He will be laid to rest in Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, Alexander.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Alexander United Methodist Church, 10540 Main St., Alexander, NY 14005. For more information please call (585) 591-1212 or to leave a message of condolence visit www.marleyfuneralhome.com. Arrangements completed by Marley Funeral Home, LLC, 135 Main Street, Attica, NY 14011

Rita Marie O’Connor passed away on March 9, 2022 at her home in LeRoy, NY in the presence of her loving family.

  rita_oconnor_0.jpg   Rita was born on September 29, 1934 in LeRoy, the youngest of nine children of the late Louis and Josephine Palumbo Butera.

     Rita is survived by her daughter, Beth (Mike) Coleman and grandson, Michael of Yulee, FL and her son, Timothy (Lee Ann) O’Connor and grandsons, Thomas, John and Mark, of Boca Raton, FL and numerous nieces and nephews.

     She was predeceased by her husband and one true love, Thomas J. O’Connor and siblings, Peter, Catal, Ignatius and Frank Butera, all of Pittston, PA, Mary (Louis) Frank, Leona (John) Mancuso, and Theresa Butera, all of LeRoy, NY and Charles (Meta) Butera of Livonia, NY.

    After completing training at Bryant and Stratton College, Rita worked at the Edith Hartwell Clinic and then as a bookkeeper for the Rochester Telephone Company for 17 years and then as an interpreter for the Genesee Country Village & Museum for 26 years, a role which brought her great enjoyment.

     Rita was a generous woman with a beautiful soul, who devoted her life to the care of her family.  Her grandsons became her reason for living and they adored her in return.

     Her final years were made so much more meaningful by the incredible care and love she received from her aides – Molly, Martha, Danielle, Michelle, Olivia, Cheryl and Sharon, who became a second family to her and filled her days with untold kindness.

     She will be remembered as a woman with an unlimited capacity to love her family and friends and for her ability to add joy to those whose lives she touched.  For this, and so much more, she will be dearly missed.

     Rita was a devout Catholic and a woman who possessed throughout her life, an enduring faith in God.

     Family and friends may call on Friday, March 25 from 4 ~ 8 PM at the Falcone Family Funeral & Cremation Service Inc., 8700 Lake St. Rd. (Rt. 19), LeRoy.  Her Rite of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday, March 26 at 11:00 AM at Our Lady of Mercy Parish, St. Peter's Church, 44 Lake St., LeRoy.  A reception will follow Rita's mass and burial.

     In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the Genesee Country Village & Museum, 1410 Flint Hill Road, Mumford, NY 14511 (585) 294-8253.  http://www.gcv.org/give-join/give-now/

     Your memories and condolences may be shared with Rita's family at www.falconefuneralhome.com.

Gerald A. Shea, 79, of Batavia, passed away on March 4, 2022 at Premier Genesee Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation.

Gerald was born August 30, 1942 in Batavia, a son of the late Howard and Elizabeth (Bloor) Shea.

Surviving are his brothers William (late Marie) Shea of Bethany, Robert (Mary) Shea of Victor, Francis (Linda) Shea of Mt. Morris, John (Linda) Shea of Arvada, CO, Patrick (Vickie) Shea of Surprise, AZ; a sister, Ruth (David) Hodgins of Alexander and several nieces and nephews

Preceded in death by his sister, Margaret Cudney.   

Services will be held at a later date.  Gerald will be laid to rest in St. Joseph's Cemetery in Batavia.  

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to American Cancer Society,www.cancer.org.  

Please leave a condolence, share a story, or light a candle at www.bataviafuneralhomes.com.

Arrangements for Gerald were entrusted to the H.E. Turner & Co. Funeral Home, Batavia, (585) 343-8868.


Today we express our sincerest condolences to the family, friends and students of John E. Novak, age 85, of Mansfield, who passed away peacefully on Thursday, March 3, 2022, at home with family by his side. Jack was a one-of-a-kind educator and mentor, who saw the potential in all of his students and strived to make school fun for his "kids." Full obituary and service details below:

John E. Novak, age 85, of Mansfield, passed away peacefully on Thursday, March 3, 2022, at home with family by his side. He married Jane (Glor) Novak on August 31, 1957, sharing nearly 65 years of marriage together. Born September 7, 1936, in Dannemora, NY, he was the son of the late Joseph and Dorothy (Evertts) Novak.
Enhancing the minds and spirits of every student he had was Jack’s greatest passion throughout his entire life and career in education. He took great pride in every teaching position he held, beginning his career in Attica and Alexander, NY, then retiring as Principal from Warren L. Miller Elementary, after 27 years (1966-1993), and lastly, supervised student teachers for 10 years at Elmira College. Jack had a special heart and caring spirit, always helping others in need through actions such as continuously promoting and implementing advantages for students with disabilities before it was required. His Warren L. Miller “kids” were like his own, no matter how much time passed, he knew them all by name when seen in public and made them feel special. Jack’s goal was to make school fun for his “kids” by supporting football Fridays, arts week, poster contests, plays, music events and assemblies. 

Jack obtained his education from the Attica High School, class of 1954, Brockport State College, where he earned his Bachelor’s in Elementary Education, and Buffalo State, where he received his master's degree. He was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Mansfield, Attica Masonic Lodge #462-F&A.M., Mansfield Rotary and Mansfield Men’s Chorus. He also served on the Board of Directors for North Penn Comprehensive Health Services, First Citizens National Bank, Guthrie Healthcare, and the Green Home. A few other notable examples of Jack’s incredible list of community service and involvement would include serving on the Girl Scouts Council, as member of both the Helen Lutes Foundation and Marsha K. Mase Foundation and co-directing the Mansfield University gifted camp for several years, alongside Dr. John Heaps. Jack was also recognized as the 1995 Mansfield Citizen of the Year and inducted into the Attica Central School Hall of Fame in 2012.
Above all, Jack’s loving wife, Jane, and entire family were most important to him, whether he was fossil hunting with his kids, trout fishing in Asaph, spending time at Waneta Lake or hosting an outing at Buckhorn Camp in the Adirondacks. Additionally, he had a hobby of writing books about his family and friends, and the expeditions they took together. In recent years, he has been interested in his family’s genealogy and has done a respectable job in that research, with assistance from his family. Jack’s one-of-a-kind spirit, based in education and generosity, will be dearly missed by all who knew him.

Left to cherish his memory are his wife, Jane G. Novak; daughters, Jill Wood (John Jasensky), Jody (Doug) Thomas, Jenny (Lynn) Kilmer; grandchildren, Heather (Dan) Ream, Chris (Amy) Wood, Tyler Wood (Hazel Cummings), Laura (Luke) Straniere, Erin (Andy) Trant, Kreslynn Kilmer, and Kaelynn Kilmer; great grandchildren, Emma, Aidan, Colton, Levi, Cole, Barrett, Cory, Avery, Allie, Wyatt and Jack; sister, JoAnn (Roger) Triftshauser; several nieces & nephews; and many dear friends.

In addition to his parents, Jack was preceded in death by his brother and sister-in-law, Howard and Deborah Novak; in-laws, Ellie & Elaine Glor, Catherine & Thomas Hare, Lester Glor, and Brenda Gassman; father-in-law and mother-in-law, Maynard & Marjorie Glor.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks you to consider supporting Jack’s love of community service by donating to the John E. Novak Scholarship Fund at First Citizens Community Bank, 15 S. Main St., Mansfield, PA 16933.

Family and friend are invited to pay their respects on Thursday, March 10, 2022, from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m., at Wilston Funeral Home, 130 S. Main St., Mansfield, PA 16933. Jack’s memorial service will be held privately at the convenience of his family, and a celebration of his life may be held and announced at a later date, www.wilstonfh.com.


Copyright © 2008-2022 The Batavian. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service

blue button

News Break