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PRSRT STD ECRWSS U.S. POSTAGE PAID UTICA, NY PERMIT NO. 32
March 2017 Vol. III Issue 4
Colored by Dominick Velardi Courtesy of the Oneida County History Center
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It’s hard for most Greater Uticans to imagine, but there was once a historic brick building that lied on the northeast corner of John and Broad Streets in Utica. Before the construction of the North Genesee Street bridge, that particular block and those adjacent to it, were bustling with people. There were consumers, postal workers, railroad workers, policemen, firemen, doctors, lawyers and judges just to name a few. It was a hub of specialty businesses and manufacturers that worked in just about every industry imaginable. But whether you were the kind of man that made a living by getting his hands dirty, or if you spent your days pushing papers, there was one place you were sure to go. On that corner building at John and Broad, there was no sign to tell you what was behind the first-floor door. There were no neon lights in the windows or chalkboard easels on the sidewalk, but everyone knew what was inside. The business on the first story of the structure lasted for almost eighty years, but if you showed its very first customer what it looked like on its final functioning day, he would not be able to find one difference in its appearance. It was a home away from home for a lot of individuals from 1895 to 1970. It was Donalty & Callahan’s, but is most often referred to as simply, Donalty’s. To this day, those who remember Donalty’s reminisce fondly about the food, beer and atmosphere. No matter who you speak to about it, they all agree that it was a unique place, the likes of which we will never see again. It withstood the test of time, and with a few adaptations to modern day society, Donalty’s would likely still be in business today. Unfortunately, the aforementioned North Genesee
Street bridge forced its doors to be closed permanently. While the existence of this bar/restaurant itself is precious enough in the hearts of many locals, the building it was in, carries a rich history of its own. The structure was built in 1822 and was originally three stories high before the top floor was removed. For many years before Donalty’s officially opened for business, it was used for a number of different purposes, but none more famous than Washington Hall. The nationally-renown dance hall was a famous venue that accommodated several hundred people. At various times throughout its history, the Washington Hall building held the offices of many prominent individuals. Names that may be familiar include: James Watson Williams (insurance agent), Ward Hunt (Supreme Court Justice), Abraham Varick (attorney at law) and Horatio Seymour (former Governor of New York and Democratic presidential candidate in the Election of 1868). On the first floor, there were two family-owned places of business that were well known and frequented in the City of Utica. There was the McQuade Brothers Liquor Store, which was ran by the owners of the building, “Big Mack” and John McQuade. The McQuade Brothers created quite a lucrative establishment in which they blended and sold whiskey along with a selection of malt beverages. Their sister, Agnes McQuade, was a key component to their success as her homemade candy was highly sought after by the local citizens. According to a file at the Oneida County History Center, the McQuade Brothers liquor store was in business for one-hundred-andtwo years from 1848 to 1950. David Owens & Son, Wholesale & Retail Bakers was the business conducted in the room next to the liquor store. This Welsh bakery prepared and froze homemade ice cream in the basement
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of the building. In that same cellar lied large ovens that were used to bake Boston Crackers, which were a Utica favorite and sold in grocery stores all over the city. Those ovens also baked fresh loaves of bread and perhaps the most popular product sold by David Owens & Son; molasses cookies. The goods would be brought up to the bakery salesroom and sold to the public. Cleverly displayed in the window facing Broad Street, were Owens’ cakes and candies for all who passed by to admire. Eventually, David Owens & Son seized business on the first floor of Washington Hall, likely leaving
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a void in the hearts of Greater Uticans. What they did not know, was that a young man of Irish decent would create something quite special in that very room for thousands of local people to enjoy. He was a hometown kid by the name of William Richard “Dick” Donalty. In 1895, Donalty took over the former bakery, which had been converted into a tavern, marking the beginning of the Donalty’s legacy. From day one, Donalty built the business by sticking to a theme that epitomized the bar until it closed decades later: simplicity and affordability. What else would you expect? He came from a blue-collar background himself, spending eight years as a young man working in a trunk factory. When one visited Donalty’s, there were a couple of things they needed to understand. If they were looking to “sit” at the bar with a glass of whiskey while talking to a nice young lady; they were in the wrong place. There were no stools at the twenty-foot mahogany bar, only beer was served and there were no women allowed. In the early years, Donalty served a free lunch on the first and second floor of the building to the many working men who stepped through his door. It started off with a simple menu of soup and crackers, but the menu progressed over the years, serving cold cut sandwiches, limburger cheese and their famous baked beans. In later years, Donalty’s brother-in-law, John F. Callahan became a business partner and the bar became Donalty & Callahan’s. The accessibility of this “watering hole” was quite dependable; it even remained open during Prohibition, when “near beer” was sold to the customers. Although Donalty & Callahan’s eventually charged for the items on their lunch menu, they vowed to keep their pricing fair. A menu from 1932 offered the following sandwiches, each costing ten cents: Ham, Bologna, Salami, Liverwurst, Limburger, American cheese and Swiss cheese. Baked beans were also ten cents and a schooner of beer was five cents. The menu from Donalty & Callahan’s last day in business in 1970 (pictured on page 4) certainly shows an increase in prices over a period of forty-eight years, but they are still very affordable for the time. When Dick Donalty and John F. Callahan passed away, the business remained under family ownership with their sons, Frank Donalty and John W. “Jack” Callahan. Frank, like his father became a politician, assuming a position as County Comptroller (Dick Donalty represented the 13th Ward in the Board of Supervisors from 1914 to 1920). He passed away just before the closing of Donalty’s and Jack Callahan played the role of full-time owner/manager of the restaurant after that. Thankfully, these men decided to carry on the family legacy as only they would truly understand and preserve the things that made the place great. While the prices and faces of those in attendance may have changed slightly over time, practically nothing else in Donalty & Cal-
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Behind the bar - Jack Hogan, Wysocki, Jack Callahan - In the frontCy Hobbes, Tony Crieco, John Reilly, Charlie Cole, “Doc” LeGault, Duffy Bellinger, Bill Hogan, Clayton Davis- Picture taken in 1964
lahan’s did. Women were still not allowed inside, but they were some of the restaurant’s most loyal customers. Anyone who traveled Bagg’s Square during that time will remember seeing cars parked along each side of Broad Street near Donalty’s. This area earned the nickname, “Donalty’s Backroom” as men would buy food and beer from the restaurant and enjoy it out in the car with their wives or girlfriends. The steel trays that held the food and beverages had to be ordered regularly as many people would forget to return them. Dan Callahan, son of Jack, said the bar would go through hundreds of them in a year. Today, they are used by many people as a memento that represents some of their fondest memories. Men, women and children of that era will tell you that Donalty’s may have served the “greatest cold cut sandwich you have ever eaten”. Many will recall their famous ham sandwich with hot mustard. The “men-only” aspect of Donalty’s is quite fascinating. The reason being, at least in most instances, is that it was a rule that did not bother local women. Whenever we post photos of Donalty’s on the Greater Utica Magazine Facebook page, the positive comments come pouring in and many of them are made by women. Two things
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are made abundantly clear to me when I read these messages: one, the community embraced Donalty’s for its historic and unique qualities; and two, the beer and sandwiches must have been damn good to have people waiting outside for them. Which raises another great point in reference to the beer at Donalty’s; it was the freshest glass of brew served in the area. According to Barry Donalty, son of Frank, Donalty’s sold more Utica Club than any other bar in all of Oneida County, by far. In fact, there was one July during Jack Callahan’s era where the regulars put away one-hundredand-two barrels of UC in a month! The coolers down in the cellar could accommodate full kegs of beer, which was not very common back in the day. They used a tap system that connected to two different kegs at the same time and the lines were cleaned very regularly. That is precisely why the beer at Donalty’s was the freshest and most delicious. For kids and those who did not indulge in alcohol, they also served great, cold glasses of Coke or milk. It is true that all the things mentioned here are characteristics of Donalty’s that added to its popularity. The fact is, what made it truly special was not just the sandwiches or the beer in the cellar icebox. It wasn’t just the low-priced menu or the fact that it never changed interiorly or exteriorly. What the old customers miss the most, was the comradery shared between the men who sat, or stood, together at Donalty’s. It was a place where it did not matter what you did for a living or how much cash you carried in your pocket. When you walked through the door, you were a part of the family. When entering Donalty’s, you would see a lot of familiar faces “solving the world’s problems” over a draft beer at the bar or sitting at one of the four tables. There was a good chance you would see Jack Hogan, Tony Sansone or even Jack Callahan tending bar. There was no music or widescreen television needed to keep this club
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happy, just some good conversation. At Donalty’s, there was no place for confrontation of any kind. To put it in the words of Barry Donalty, “Not a harsh word was spoken.” On most days, the place was packed with a great group of guys who wanted nothing but a beer, a sandwich and a few laughs. When the construction of the cloverleaf interchange at North Genesee Street was proposed, it called for the demolition of several buildings along Broad Street, including Donalty’s. There were many people living in the area that spoke out in frustration over the decision but in the end, there was nothing they could do. Needless to say, the interchange was built and Donalty’s did its last day of business on September 20th, 1970. Jack Callahan allowed his customers to take a glass or tray with them as a token of remembrance. Jack was not the type of guy to carry on about his sorrows but surely, the closing of Donalty’s was a sad day for him. Aside from his service in World War II, it was the only job he ever had in his life. Jack was hired by his dad in the late 1930s and spent almost every day there. He and the Donalty family had considered the possibility of moving it to another location, but there was no way of duplicating the restaurant’s distinctiveness. Jack went on to manage and eventually own the Uptown Grill on Auburn Avenue in South Utica before that too closed its doors. He passed away in 2007 and will be greatly missed by his former customers. The building may be gone, but the memories of Donalty’s carry on with those who live to speak about it. As a proud Utican and fan of local history, I am disappointed that I was never able to experience its incredible atmosphere. With that being said, the next time I have a draft beer in front of me, I am going to raise my glass and toast to Dick, John, Frank, Jack and the rest of the fellas at Donalty’s.
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With Jerry Kraus Hello from The Stanley Theater in Utica! Look for us in the Greater Utica magazine for monthly updates of our upcoming shows. We invite you to enjoy a very special night on Friday night, March 31st with the return of Irish Night featuring three fantastic bands! Headlining will be The Elders, from Kansas City. They won’t be at this summer’s IrishFest in Herkimer, so make sure you Save The Date to see them at The Stanley. Along with the Elders, we’ll also have Barley Juice and local favorites The Blarney Rebel Band on stage starting at 7:30pm. The bands will even have back up provided by two local Irish Step dancing companies, The Johnston School of Irish Dance and The Butler-Sheehan Academy of Traditional Irish Dance! Tickets range from $18 - $48 and are ON SALE NOW. The Stanley Box Office is open Monday through Friday from 10a-4p or buy your tickets by calling (315) 724-4000. Please be sure to ALWAYS purchase tickets either directly from our box office or through our website, beware of third party sellers! A portion of the proceeds made will benefit The Stanley Theatre. Also in the Irish spirit, you can catch 3 big shows of Riverdance on March 7th, 8th and 9th at The Stanley. If you’re going to the Utica St. Patrick’s parade on Saturday morning, March 11th, make sure you visit our Stanley Theater snack bar set up inside our entry doors. Our Stanley Volunteers will be selling hot coffee, donuts and some snacks! Jerry Kraus Executive Director
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Some of the largest companies in the world (many on the Fortune 500 list) are banks and other financial institutions. For that reason, the word “local” is not often synonymous with these types of businesses. We have all been in circumstances where we have an issue with our bank account, having to jump through hoops and speak to countless operators at a corporate office located hundreds of miles away. Fortunately for people in the Greater Utica area, in our hometown, the words “local” and “bank”, are not foreign to one another. Adirondack Bank, for example, has called Utica the home of its corporate headquarters since 1990, but the company was founded almost one-hundred years prior. On October 31st, 1898, the bank was founded in Northern New York State under the name of Saranac Lake Co-Operative Savings and Loan Association, (renamed Saranac Lake Federal Savings and Loan Association in 1936). In 1990, the association was purchased by Harold (Tom) Clark, Jr. and recapitalized as a stock corporation. In 1995, it was converted to a savings bank and the Adirondack Bank name was created. Presently, the bank offers eighteen branch locations all over the state including six in the Greater Utica area alone. Adirondack Bank may not be on the Fortune 500 list, but they have remained competitive with the big nationwide conglomerates. One of the ways they have been able to do that is, by staying up to date with changes in the industry. Their electronic banking service for example, allows their customers to access their account over the internet; giving them the opportunity to check their balances, make transfers and much more. Just a short time ago, Adirondack Bank developed a mobile application that offers the same service for customer use on all of their mobile devices. Being a local business has not been a disadvantage at all for Adirondack Bank, in fact, it has been beneficial in many ways. With their corporate headquarters located in Downtown Utica, the turnaround with customer service issues is typically faster than that of a national bank. Their owner and employees have direct ties with the community as they all live within the area they serve. If a customer ever has a question or inquiry, the person they need to speak with is always in the building. Adirondack says they also pride themselves in providing competitive lender services for people and businesses in the Greater Utica area. Another responsibility the bank has taken on is their involvement with several community organizations. A few non-profits the bank has sponsored include: American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, Stevens-Swan Humane Society, Salvation Army, Upstate Cerebral Palsy, the Kelberman Center and the Root Farm. The bank has also be been honored with several awards over the past decade. For eight consecutive years, Adirondack Bank has received the Small Business Lender of the Year award for banks their size in Central New York by the Syracuse District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration. For thirty-nine consecutive quarters, they have received a “Four-Star Excellent” rating from Bauer Financial, Inc., placing Adirondack Bank on their “Recommended Bank List”. When asked what message the bank would like to relay to the readers of Greater Utica Magazine, Robert B. Clark (Executive Vice President) stated: “We truly value the relationships that we have with our customers. We know that the products and services that we offer are far more than just checking and savings accounts or personal and business loans. We see them as the tools that they can use to achieve their financial goals and we are happy to assist them. We appreciate our customer’s confidence in allowing us the privilege to provide these services and for choosing to Bank Local.” For any information regarding the services provided by Adirondack Bank, log on to AdirondackBank.com, call 315-798-4039 or visit the main office at 185 Genesee Street in Downtown Utica.
GREATER UTICA 11
The Cedric Oliver Story “An Athlete and a Student” by Brad Velardi
The term “student/athlete” is used very loosely in today’s culture. When looking at the term itself, one would conclude that the individual being described would give equal attention to academics and the sport they play. In a perfect world, that would be the case, but unfortunately, that is not the world in which we live. The fact is, there are a lot of distractions that come with being a student/athlete, especially in today’s society. Now, more than ever, one’s athletic talent can put them in positions and spotlights that a person had only dreamed of prior to their success. One of the big distractions that come with athletic achievement is fame. Whether the scale of one’s fame is on the local or national level, it is quite easy to allow it to cloud your perspective. With so many people telling you how great you are, it can be difficult to ignore the hype. As much as any amateur
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well. Without question, the one factor that can distract a student/athlete more than anything, are the financial benefits of turning pro. A great deal of kids that are enrolled in college institutions on athletic scholarships come from low-income backgrounds. The enticement of a contract from a professional team is strong, as large sums of money are practically being dangled in front of them. For many, the word “student” suddenly disappears from their title of student/athlete, as academics take a backseat to their sporting opportunities. It takes a young person with a special level of maturity and focus to realize the significance of their education, while being tempted with “million dollar dreams”. For Proctor High School and Hamilton College graduate,
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Cedric Oliver, there was never a question as to whether he cherished both titles as student and athlete. Although he was not the most heavily recruited basketball player in the country, or the city for that matter, Cedric made a name for himself in local basketball history. He chose to attend Hamilton after a great high school career, even though it is an institution celebrated more for its greatness in academics. It was his dream since childhood to play in the NBA, but Cedric knew there was more to life than basketball. Still though, that did not stop him from working to become easily one of the best players the Greater Utica area has ever seen. On December 24th, 1957, Cedric Oliver was born in Manhattan and lived with his mother, Dolores, in the South Bronx section of “the basketball Mecca”; New York City. Cedric’s grandmother, Mamie Dennis, was living in Utica at the time and spoke highly of life in Upstate New York. Whenever Cedric visited the area, he absolutely loved it and when he turned thirteen years-old, Dolores felt as though Utica presented a better living option for him. He was introduced to the game of basketball at a young age, playing with the kids from his neighborhood. It was the glory days of the New York Knicks, who were led by eccentric point guard, Walt “Clyde” Frazier, who Cedric idolized. When visiting his mother in the Bronx during each summer, Cedric spent his days at the local parks playing ball with the older guys from nine in the morning ‘til six at night. The competition was intense and the talent level was high, causing Cedric’s game to improve every day. During the school year, Cedric would move back in with his grandmother, who lived on Mary Street in East Utica. It was a neighborhood that Cedric describes as a “real community” that welcomed him with open arms. It was quite normal for he and his friends to eat breakfast, lunch or dinner at each other’s homes, as families always looked out for one another. Cedric and his friends would walk to school together, see movies at the Stanley Theater and of course, play basketball. When it came time for high school, Cedric attended Proctor, where he played for Panthers head coach, Ralph Leo. Those summer days in the Bronx served Cedric well, as Coach Leo recognized what a special player he was capable of being. But instead of showing favoritism toward Cedric, his coach was just as hard on him as he was the rest of the players on the roster. Even though his skill level was clearly higher than the average player, Cedric never had time to view himself in that capacity as he was always looking to improve. His humble and gracious personality won over everyone in the school, but his leadership and basketball IQ prompted his teammates to follow his lead. As a Panther, Cedric earned All-Central Oneida League
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and All-Central New York honors, but twice each season, he met his match with one player specifically. The Notre Dame Jugglers, a basketball powerhouse at the time, were led by Dale Shackelford; a 6’6 forward with outstanding athletic ability. In all of Cedric’s career at Proctor, the Panthers were only able to defeat the Jugglers once, and that was during his senior year; a season in which he averaged 20 points and 17 rebounds per game. At the conclusion of the 1974-75 regular season, the two teams were tied, forcing a one-game playoff between Proctor and Notre Dame at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. It was Wednesday, February 26th, 1975. The two teams were on opposite ends of the spectrum; the Jugglers were looking to win their tenth Central Oneida League title in fifteen seasons and the Panthers were playing to clinch their first title in thirty-two years. This game was also going to count as the City Championship. There were 4,726 people in attendance at the Utica Aud that night, and they certainly got their money’s worth. Proctor had made it this far by winning two close games against RFA and New Hartford, both on the heels of Cedric’s late game heroics. But in the championship game, they had no such luck as Notre Dame defeated Proctor by just two-points. Yet and still, Cedric considers this his favorite memory of his high school career. With the frame and athletic ability of a Division I player, Dale Shackelford went on to be a four-year starter at Syracuse University. As for Cedric, he was either “too small” to be a forward or “too slow” to be a guard in the eyes of coaches such as Roy Danforth (Syracuse coach at the time). He was not exactly sure of where he wanted to go, but the words of Ralph Leo helped guide Cedric on the right path. Coach explained to him that if he were to attend a college like Hamilton, Cedric could “write his own ticket”, meaning he could control his future outside of basketball. After one visit to the campus in Clinton, the decision was made; Cedric was going to play for head coach Tom Murphy and the Continentals. As a freshman, Cedric was a star player instantly. In the previous year, Hamilton’s record consisted of twelve wins and ten losses. In his first season, Cedric lead the Continentals to their greatest record in school history; twenty-two wins and four losses. For the majority of the season, he was only seventeen years old, but that didn’t stop Cedric from averaging 18.8 points per game. He also set single season records for the school by shooting 63.8% from the field, converting 203 field goals and grabbing 329 rebounds. His rebounding ability may have been his most impressive quality as a player since he was typically one of the shortest guys standing under the basket.
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Also in his first year, Cedric continued to build his reputation as a clutch player in the ECAC Upstate Small College Tournament. With eight seconds left in a first round battle against Utica College, he tied the game on a three-point play. After getting fouled Continue on page 19 again with two seconds left, the freshman sunk two ice-cold free throws to tie it up again and Hamilton eventually won the game. On the following night, Hamilton defeated Gannon for the championship and Cedric won MVP of the tournament. The academic
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transition proved to be difficult at first, but Cedric adjusted by keeping his nose in the books for several hours every day. In his sophomore season, Cedric broke the school’s single season points record by scoring a total of 574. In just his second year at Hamilton, he was named a Division III All-American, but that was only the beginning for Cedric. In his junior year, he was chosen as a Division III All-American for the second straight season and was named ECAC Division III Player of the Year. Once again, Cedric was rewriting the single-season record books at Hamilton by setting school marks in field goals made (227), field goal percentage (65.2%), free throws made (155), free throws attempted (205) and total points scored (609). He averaged 23.4 points and 12.7 rebounds per game and Hamilton was the #2 Division III team in the entire nation. The Continentals broke the school’s single season wins record once again by finishing with twenty-three wins and three losses. In his senior year, Cedric went out with a bang. Three of Hamilton’s best players, including fellow All-American, John Klauberg, had graduated. When one of the better players left on the roster went down with an injury, there was a lot of weight on Cedric’s shoulders. He responded by averaging a career best 26.3 points per game and 11.1 rebounds to go along with it. In a contest against Cortland State that year, Cedric scored a school record of 52 points by making twenty-three shots on twenty-eight attempts. He was an All-American for the third straight season and won his second consecutive Player of the Year award. Hamilton matched their win-loss record from the previous season but it was bittersweet as they would be saying goodbye to its finest
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player ever. Over the length of Cedric’s career at Hamilton, the Continentals won eighty-five games and lost just fifteen with two ECAC titles. When he graduated, they had an active home winning streak of forty-seven games. Due to the rules of the conference, ECAC teams are not allowed to compete in the NCAA tournament as they feel that the added games will negatively affect their players’ academics. This means that Hamilton never had the privilege of competing for a national title, which they very likely could have won multiple times. Over those four years, Cedric averaged 22.7 points and 12.7 rebounds per game. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Government and Sociology, but he had not given up on his basketball dream. In the 1979 NBA Draft, the Atlanta Hawks chose Cedric with their 9th round pick. When it came to his dream of becoming a pro, Tom Murphy always told him, “It doesn’t matter where you go to school. If you’re good enough, they’ll find you.” And that is exactly what happened. Cedric returned to New York City after the draft and worked harder on his game than he ever had in his life. Hours upon hours of practice, day after day leading up to the team tryout. Unfortunately, things did not work out as Cedric had hoped and he did not make the team. He was known as an intelligent player with a quick first-step (similar to his idol Walt Frazier), but the athleticism at the NBA level was out of his reach. Still, what an unfathomable accomplishment to be drafted into the NBA as a Division III athlete. The odds of someone making that leap are slim-tonone. This was not the end of Cedric’s success because, as Coach Leo once said, Hamilton allowed him to “write his own ticket”. Cedric was not going to let basketball define him and he made
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the transition from sports to the corporate world seamlessly. Early on in his career, Cedric was able to travel the world for thirteen years as an independent contractor for American Management Association. He also spent time in the human resources department for the Miami Heat of the NBA. In recent years, Cedric’s career path has led him to the banking industry; spending five years with Citi Bank and for the last eight years, he has been a Senior Vice President/Consumer Banking Manager for Regions Bank in south Florida. It has been many years since Cedric Oliver lived in Utica, but he still has a great affection for this area and misses the people the most. I had the opportunity to speak with him on the phone about his life and although I could not see his face, when the topic of Utica came up, I could hear in his voice that he was smiling. Cedric has been married to his wife, Lisa for fifteen years and refers to her as his “best friend”. His son, Chris, followed in Cedric’s footsteps and has been playing professional basketball in Europe for close to ten years now. In 1992, Cedric was inducted into the Greater Utica Sports Hall of Fame. Today, Cedric remains a humble man despite his successes on and off the court. Whenever I asked him about any of his individual accomplishments, Cedric was always quick to credit his teammates and those who guided him as a young man. He points to Ralph Leo, Tom Murphy and of course, Dolores Oliver and Mamie Dennis for instilling in him three principles of life: maintaining a strong work ethic, taking accountability and having respect for others.
Cedric Oliver: the epitome of a student/athlete.
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When one takes it upon themselves to start a business, they are presented with a great opportunity. At the same time, they are gambling, as an entrepreneur is a “risk-taker” by definition. In most cases, business is a not a sprint, but rather, a marathon; and the one who is able to sustain, succeeds. Throughout his business’ fifteen-year history, Dave Marasco of M&M Auto Sales in Utica, has survived some hard times. After putting together a dependable and professional staff, he has finally been able to see his hard work pay off over the last few years. But it all started by taking a risk. For his entire life, Dave had a love for automobiles. He had always hoped to make his living in the field somehow, and in 2001, it led him into auto sales. After working at a local dealership for just four months, Dave became one of the top sales representatives in the store and felt as though he could do it independently by starting M&M with a partner and close friend. Dave came to find out that it would be “easier said than done” to put it in his own words. Within six months, his partner left and Dave was running the business by himself. With less than a year of experience in his field, Dave had to accumulate all the necessary knowledge the hard way. In order to make the dealership successful, Dave had to learn a little bit about every aspect of the business. He had to have a basic understanding of mechanics especially, so he could purchase dependable vehicles at auctions. The knowledge he gained helped him put together a staff that offers sales, financing, service, body work and vehicle reconditioning. It took years of struggling and hard work but Dave says his staff and of course, his customers have been the key to M&M’s steady growth over the past three to four years. In fact, when the store opened in 2002, there were just ten cars in the entire inventory; but presently, M&M boasts a selection of roughly one-hundred-and-fifty vehicles. In November of 2016, they expanded the business by opening a second location on Oriskany Blvd. While Dave is the man behind the scenes, his salesperson/sales manager/ service manager, Anthony, has been on the frontline since 2014. Yes, Anthony wears a number of hats at the dealership but he says there are two things in particular he prides himself on that make him good at all of his jobs: honesty and attentive customer service. Before joining the M&M team three years ago, Anthony was a real estate agent and learned the only way to be successful in sales over the long-term, is to understand that one is only as good as his word. Anthony was originally hired to replace M&M’s former manager, Bobby Lorento, who passed away in 2014. Bobby helped the store develop its financing department by building a strong relationship with several banks that M&M does business with to this day. For many people, the most difficult part of making a vehicle purchase is dealing with credit issues. M&M hangs their hat on the fact that they work with all customers, no matter what their credit score may be. Dave says that M&M does more than just sell customers a car, they give them a chance to improve what may be a low rating, allowing them to eventually get the car they always desired. Another service offered by M&M that customers have found useful, is their selling of new and preowned tires. It can be so expensive to purchase from a chain service department, but M&M tries to ease the financial burden by offering a variety of affordable tires. After fifteen years of business, M&M Auto Sales is doing as well as ever and appears to be around for the long haul. To see the inventory at M&M Auto Sales, you can log on to their web site at MandMAutoCredit.com, or visit one of their two Utica locations at 601 Rutger St. and 2150 Oriskany Blvd. To call and speak with Dave or Anthony, dial 315-7976868.
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Día de San Giuseppe or St. Joseph’s Day, is a special day of celebration in Italian culture that comes once a year. It is a holiday that is not limited to Italians as people from all backgrounds come together, thanks are given and of course, food is eaten. The Greater Utica area has a rich history of Italian influence that began over two-hundred years ago, when its first Italian settler, John Marchisi arrived in 1815. There is no stronger evidence of their influence than looking at the selection of incredible Italian cuisine that has become a staple of our area for many years. With that said, it is only right that we celebrate Día de San Giuseppe at one of Greater Utica’s finest Italian restaurants, Café CaNole. The official date of St. Joseph’s Day in 2017 is Sunday, March 19th, but Saturday, March 18th marks the day of Café CaNole’s annual celebration of the holiday. Owners and brothers, Dean and Jason Nole roll out their special one-dayonly menu that includes entrées coinciding with the holiday’s tradition along with some of the restaurant’ signature dishes. In the spirit of St. Joseph’s Day, everything from the restaurant decorations to the clothes of the wait staff and customers, is the color red. On top of a great meal, visitors get to enjoy one of the St. Joseph’s Day pastries; sfingi or zeppola and there will be a performance by local musician, Frank Cannistra. Pictured to above are some specialty dishes and pastries for you to “feast” your eyes on. Each of them will be served at this year’s event. The 2017 celebration marks the twenty-first consecutive year that the Nole brothers have held their St. Joseph’s Day feast at Café CaNole. Between the music, the food and the spirit of those in attendance, the atmosphere is fun and no matter what culture you come from, all are welcome to celebrate. For details on the March 18th St. Joseph’s Day celebration at Café CaNole or to book a reservation (which is encouraged as table fill up fast), call 315-7336592.
Fred Marron What he had to do we are able to look at by Brad Velardi lifeWhenobjectively, it becomes
apparent that there are positives and negatives to every generation in America’s history. There have been such monumental changes in all facets of society, whether it be: sociology, politics, the economy, technology, you name it. As these dimensions of everyday day life evolve, so to do the people within the culture it affects. The beauty of it all, is that folks from all different generations are forced to comingle with each other on this earth. The new learns from the old, the old learns from the new. Unfortunately, as time passes on, we lose more and more people from the previous era(s), taking their stories with them. And let’s face it; without history, we will never truly appreciate the privileges we have now or what those people sacrificed for us to enjoy them. There is one particular generation of living men who are hard to come by these days; and it may be the most impressive one America has ever seen. They are the men of the World War II era. Most were born into blue collar families, survived the Depression, then found themselves overseas fighting “the war of all wars”. It was
An event at the Utica Auditorium for St Jude’s Hospital Left to right Fred Marron, Danny Thomas & Donald Palmer Picture Courtesy of Philip Marron a scary time for those that lived through it; there was so much unrest and uncertainty about the future of the world, not just the country. It was a time of great patriotism and selflessness, but the men who served did not complain or make excuses. I spoke with one local veteran who captured the attitudes of these men is seven simple words: “You did what you had to do.” That quote belongs to a man by the name of Fred Marron from Utica, NY. As just a twenty-year-old young man, Fred was summonsed to join the United States Army and shipped off to Europe during World War II. But there is far much more to his story than just his service in the military. When Fred came home, he began a career with the Utica Police Department that spanned over twenty-two years. His job allowed him to meet all kinds of famous and respected individuals, but it also gave Fred a chance to make a special connection with the people in his community. Whether he was a paratrooper, police officer, father or son: he did what he had to do. On the 600 block of Elizabeth Street in East Utica, the Marron family lived in a modest home. Fred was born in 1923 to parents who were both immigrants from Lebanon. His mother had only been in America for thirteen years, but his father was well-established as a businessman in the neighborhood as part owner of Marron Brothers Garage and Reservoir Ice Company. When Fred was young, his family
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Fred Marron in Joigny, France 1945 - During WWII Picture Courtesy of Philip Marron bought farmland on River Road in Marcy, where he spent the summer days of his youth. It was the Roaring 20s and there were great opportunities to be seized, even by those who came from foreign lands. While he made some great memories as a kid in the neighborhood and at Brandegee School, Fred’s childhood was far from easy. He was in poor health for a lengthy portion, suffering from double pneumonia and bronchitis. It was not long before the Crash of 1929, followed by the Great Depression. Although the Marron family businesses survived the economic collapse, Fred lost his father when he was just eight-years-old. The date was February 18th, 1932, a day that Fred says he will never forget. His dad was just forty-two and had been such an inspiration to the family and was loved by the community. Throughout their youth, Fred and his older brother, Edward, had no choice but to find their way in the world without their dad. They both attended Proctor High School and worked at the garage until they graduated and took ownership with their uncle. In his late teens, Fred was forced to take on a larger role after his brother was drafted into the Army during the war. There was a certain level of panic in American neighborhoods during that time; people we rationing goods such as food and gasoline. It was a struggle for many families, especially ones like the Marrons, who were missing a parent. In 1943, the inevitable summons from Uncle Sam came and Fred was
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a draftee at age twenty. With Fred leaving home, his mother had to face the possibility of losing both of her sons in battle, but even as a new member of this country, she understood it’s what they had to do. Luckily, Fred had a younger sister, Lorraine, who was able to help their mother with the adjustment. Together, Fred, his mother and his uncle made their way to Union Station on the day of his departure. The station was filled with young men and their families that day, not knowing whether they would ever see each other again. Some never did. Tearful “goodbyes” were given and although it was a sad occurrence in many ways, Fred took comfort in the fact he was not alone. Beside him on that train were several familiar faces from the neighborhood, and they to, were ready for what Fred describes as “the adventure”. Off they went to Camp Dix in New Jersey where Fred hoped to join the Marine Corps., only to find out the Army was his sole option. As a private, he would earn $21 a month, which seemed fine to Fred until his attention was grabbed by a sign that read, “Earn Extra Money – Join the Airborne!” After discovering he would receive a $50 per month raise as a pilot, Fred could not sign up fast enough. He knew that at $71 per month in those days, he could help take care of his mother and have some money to come home to for himself. Fred’s next destination was Georgia, where he went to Camp Wheeler for basic training then off to Camp Edwards. After completing his training, Fred and his mates spent eleven days at sea before arriving in Le Havre, France. The entire area was destroyed, and the young men realized just how big of a challenge they were facing. With no time to soak in the visual, they quickly took a train to southern France and wound up on the front line of battle. On their way uphill into the battlefield, they passed a group of British soldiers who had just come down. They were parked on the side of the road drinking tea when Fred asked, “What’s goin’ on up there?” to which one Brit replied, “Tickety-boom!” The immeasurable bravery of the young men led them up that hill and they eventually worked their way into Central Europe. As Fred and the others traveled across the continent, they saw firsthand what war brings to so many people: death, destruction and despair. But it was not in vein as these men were fighting in a war that was as purposeful as any in the history of the United States. It was not clear when exactly it would all be over, but on September 2nd, 1945, the Allies officially defeated the Axis powers. Fred and his unit made their way back to the states and as they reached the Atlantic coast, they could see the Statue of Liberty with a banner hanging from it that read, “Job Well Done – Welcome Home!” When the war was over, Fred declined a promotion and was honorably discharged on Christmas Eve. Roughly two years from the scene of his departure, Fred found himself arriving at Union Station
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on December 24th, 1945. The difference this time, was that no one he knew was there to greet him except the cold winter air, as he had not informed anyone in his family that he was going to be home for the holidays. On the walk home, he soaked in some of the familiar sights of the city as he went up First Street to Bleecker, from Bleecker to Third, and from Third to Elizabeth. The first family member to know Fred had returned was his beloved dog whom he could hear barking from a few hundred yards away. He could not imagine a better welcoming. When he reached his house, Fred’s family embraced him and so began the next chapter in his life. Throughout the entirety of Fred’s tour, he sent $20 per month back home to his mother, which the military matched with another $20. Once he was back home to stay, he discovered that his mother had not spent a dime of the money over the two full years. She gave him back the money and he used it to purchase a brand-new Oldsmobile for $1,830. After Fred ordered the vehicle, it took a year and a half to actually get the car as automobile production had slowed down
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drastically since the start of the war. During that stretch, Fred decided that life in the garage was not for him and he worked a few different jobs including one at a local mill. None of them gave him the fulfillment he was looking for from a career, but in 1951, he finally found his calling. Fred decided to take the civil service exam and try to become an officer for the Utica Police Department. With his military background, a career in law enforcement seemed to be a logical choice for him. After all he had been through as a paratrooper, there were very few things, if any, that struck fear in Fred’s heart. Upon completion of the agility test, Fred was hired. After spending a year as a patrolman, he decided to take advantage of an opening in the traffic department. The position was very intriguing for Fred because when his transfer was accepted, he became the first officer to be issued a police motorcycle in the history of the department After a short time on the job, Fred earned a reputation for being a professional and dependable cop, which is why he was promoted quickly in the traffic department. His uniform and motorcycle were always pristine, he remained in peak physical condition and almost never had a complaint made against him. He did the job the way it was intended to be done. Fred’s responsibilities included monitoring the school crossing guards and directing traffic but there were two things he specialized in that made him great; education and public relations. One of the most imperative duties of all law enforcement officials, in Fred’s mind, was to teach the law. For many young people in the community, that is exactly what Fred did. He would go to the playgrounds across the city and give children lessons in traffic and bicycle safety. As an officer, Fred personally went into the city schools and instituted safety programs for the students. Over time, Fred became the face of the Utica Police Department, and for good reason. He was charismatic and likeable to the people of the community and he loved “mixing it up with them”, as he calls it. On days where he worked with the school crossing guards, Fred would ask kids for their report cards, and if they got good grades, he would reward them with pens. Every now and then, he would stop a child who was walking with their parents downtown and let them sit on the motorcycle. It was little things like that which helped build a positive relationship between the police and the people of the city. As a spokesperson of sorts for the UPD, one of the great perks of the job was that Fred was often chosen to escort various celebrities that visited Utica. One of the men he was assigned to pulled up in a car decorated with four stars and it was Omar Bradley, a fourstar general from World War II. On a couple occasions, Fred accompanied headline entertainer and prominent Hollywood producer, Danny Thomas. When Fred got off work one night, he and Danny
Thomas shared a couple cigars and some glasses of Jack Daniels. He took such a liking to Fred, that he invited him back to California to try out for a role in the Andy Griffith Show (a program produced by Thomas at the time). There was a long list of other famous figures that Fred was assigned to over the years including: Bobby Darin, Bobby Rydell, Nelson Rockefeller (Governor of New York at the time), Robert Kennedy, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan (pictured on cover). In 1973, Fred retired from the department after twenty-two years of service and is still remembered fondly by many folks who came across him. He was so well-respected that he was asked to campaign as the Democratic candidate for Oneida County Sheriff in 1974. As a Democrat in a predominately Republican county, he fought hard but lost by just two-thousand votes. To this day, Fred lives in the Greater Utica area and will be ninety-four years old this year, but he
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Pictures Courtesy of Philip Marron
is truly an anomaly. His memory is as good as any person’s I have ever spoken to and he has enough stories about his life to fill one-hundred of our magazines. When conversing with Fred, the minutes flew by. I was curious what he felt were the makings of a great cop, considering he was one him-
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Many examples of our professional work at www.PremierSignsNY.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/premiersignsgraphics self. When I asked him, he said the following: “You got to treat people the way you want to be treated. You got to be professional and take into consideration that they’re human beings and they got problems; and the only reason you’re coming in contact with them is because it’s your job to help them solve their problem the best way you can.” By all accounts, that is exactly what Fred Marron did as a member of the Utica Police Department. He was also a dedicated husband for forty years until the passing of his wife in 1989, and he continues to be a great father today. Overall, Fred is simply a great man who served his family, country and community. But as most men from his generation would tell you, he just “did what he had to do.”
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