Past Presidents
The North Side Improvement League


Robert Emmett Cahill (1911-1920)

Robert Emmett Cahill was the leader of the group of Jackson Street bridge boosters who founded the North Side Improvement League on the night of May 22, 1911. He was not only its first president, but was re-elected for ten consecutive terms. He became Watertown's first mayor under commission-manager government. He was a member of a North Side family which provided two brothers who became mayors of Watertown. His brother, Daniel W. Cahill, began his term as mayor on January 1, 1906, during the old aldermanic form of government. President Cahill was a leading Democrat in Watertown.

He was born on November 21, 1866 on West Lynde Street. He resided with his sister, Miss Marie E. Cahill, who was for many years a Watertown grammar school principal. He never married. His public service included, besides that of being mayor, membership on the City Board of Education, to which he was appointed on December 18, 1911, by the late Mayor Francis M. Hugo. He served on that board, he served until December 16, 1919, including a term as Board President.

Mr. Cahill was educated in Watertown public schools and then entered the employ of the old Davis Sewing Machine Company for a short time, leaving it to go with the Harmon Machine Company. In 1882, he apprenticed himself to the Watertown Steam Engine Company to learn the machinist trade and rose to superintendent of the shop. He was an expert machinist. After the closing of the Steam Engine Company Plant in 1916, President Cahill founded and was major stockholder and operator of the Watertown Engine and Machinery Company until shortly before his death on January 16, 1932.

Jesse D Lee (1921)

Jesse D Lee, a native North Sider was born August 28, 1877. He was educated in the local schools and the Northern Business College. He was married to Miss Emma A. Baker in 1900, and following her death in 1944, he married Miss Gertrude I. Taylor on October 11, 1947. Jesse was an accountant associated with various local business firms. He was with the R. Gibson Co., Inc. when he retired. During 1916-1919- the last two years of the City's aldermanic form of government, Jesse was the 10th Ward's representative on the Common Council. He believed that the League President should be a North Side resident and so resigned as President before the end of his term due to his moving to the South Side. Jesse was a charter member of the League and was a member of our Board of Directors and a Trustee. Mr. Lee died in 1962.

Ross A. Wetterhahn (1922-1923)

Ross A. Wetterhahn was born on May 20, 1887, and was educated in the local schools. For 15 years, he was a New York State highway department construction foreman. Ross served with the U.S. Army during World War I. He married Mrs. Matie E. Bellinger Evans on September 17, 1924.

Ross joined the Jefferson County National Bank in 1922 as assistant manager of the North Side branch and became manager in 1925. He continued as manager after the consolidation with the Watertown National Bank and retired from this position in 1952.

For several years, he was chairman of the Republican City Committee. Ross served as Supervisor of the 10th Ward for eleven years until his resignation in 1922 to accept the appointment as City Councilman. He remained a Councilman through ensuing elections until 1930. He has served as President of the Lincoln League and as Commander of American Legion Post No. 61. Ross was one of the leaders in the organization of the North Side League. He died on 24 January, 1970 and is buried in Depauville Cemetery.

Herman M. Darby (1924-1925)

Herman M. Darby was born in Alburg, Vermont on March 14, 1868. He came to Watertown in 1889 and entered the employ of the Bagley & Sewell Co. He became a machinist and remained with the Bagley firm until poor health forced his retirement in 1937. Herman was married to Bertha L. Loomis on June 28, 1893. For many years, he was a volunteer fireman and was president of the Watertown Volunteer Exempt Firemen's organization from 1924-1929. His civic interest continued after leaving the League and he was elected a City Councilman and served from 1930 through 1933. He was a life member of our League and served on our Board of Directors and as a Trustee.. Herman died on May 8, 1940.

Frank J. Martin (1926-1927)

Frank J. Martin was born on August 16, 1881. He married Mary Gossman on October 11, 1905. He was employed by the Bagley & Sewell Co. for many years except during World War I when he was with the New York Air Brake Co. Frank served as Supervisor of the 11th Ward from 1919-1935 and for several years was chairman of the City Democratic Committee. He was named a member of the Thousand Island Bridge Authority in 1933 and participated in the bridge dedication on August 18, 1938. Having served as vice chairman of this Authority for several years, Frank was elected chairman in 1941. From 1933 to 1941, he served in various departments of the State, County, and City. Frank rejoined the New York Air Brake in 1941. He was a member of our Board of Directors and a Trustee. Frank was the first President to have a son follow in his footsteps and assume leadership of the League. This came about in 1955 when J. Fred Martin was elected as our twentieth President. Frank Martin died on May 16, 1947.

Harry F. Landon (1928-1929)

Harry F. Landon was born on December 20, 1891. He was graduated from St. Lawrence University in 1913. Harry was married to Leota A. Williams in 1919 and following her death in 1935, he married Mrs. Ada Cope McMaster on October 29, 1937. In 1913-1914 he was principal of the Turin High School. During World War I, he served with the U.S. Army. He was confidential secretary to Congressman Luther Mott of Oswego, and while in Washington, was graduated from George Washington University in 1922 with an LL.B. degree. He joined the Watertown Daily Times in 1923 and in 1932 was named Managing Editor, the position he held until his death. He was president of the Jefferson County Historical Society, City Historian, member of the Board of Education, and author of historical works, including the "History of the North Country." He was a member of our Board of Directors and a Trustee. Prior to his death on November 6, 1954, he had the opportunity to see his brother, Clifton serve as tenth President of the League.

Bernard G. Butler (1930-1931)

Bernard G. Butler was born at Brasher Falls on June 17, 1887. He was educated in the schools of that village and St Joseph's Academy. In 1906, he came to Watertown and began the study of law in the office of Judge John Conboy. In 1910, he was admitted to the practice of law and shortly thereafter established his office in Watertown. Bernard was married to Ethel A. Sharlow on June 28, 1912. He was for many years abstracter in the office of County Clerk Fred H. Moore. In 1935, he was elected to the Board of the Savings and Loan Association and was that institution's attorney until his death. From 1927 to 1929, he was a member of the Board of Education. It was during his presidency that the first issue of the League Bulletin was published, and the celebrated Mock Trial troupe was organized. Bernard was a member of our Board of Directors, and a Trustee. He died on December 16, 1942

Clarence F. Giles, Sr. (1932-1933)

A native North Sider, Clarence F. Giles was born April 2, 1897. He attended local schools as well as the High School in Massillon, Ohio. He graduated from the Albany Law School. On May 5, 1926, he was married to Miss Florence L. Walti. Early in his career, he was president of the Blackstone Society. With Attorney Roy A. Fuller, he formed the law firm of Giles and Fuller in 1930. From 1933-1937 he served as acting City Judge.

In 1937, Clarence was appointed Special County Judge with assignment also as County Juvenile Court Judge. He was a member of the State Association of Judges of Childrens' Courts and served as president of that organization. From 1930 to 1940, Clarence was chairman of the Republican City Committee. He died on October 29, 1989 at the age of 92.

Herbert J. O'Reilly (1934-1935)

President O'Reilly was born in Kingston, Ontario on September 8, 1878 and moved to Watertown shortly thereafter. He married Miss Abi C. Haley on April 18, 1900. He was associated with the J.R. Miller Company for many years, retiring in 1958 as Treasurer of that firm. From 1920 to 1930 he represented the Ninth Ward on the County Board of Supervisors. He served as chairman of the City Planning Commission. During his term as League president, he saw the widening of Mill Street which was celebrated with a spectacular parade headed by League officers and members, Watertown Civic Band, floats, merchants and bugle corps. Herb died on April 20, 1966.

Clifton H. Landon (1936-1937)

Born in Watertown on November 6, 1896, Clifton Landon received his education in local schools and was graduated from Albany Law school. He entered the U.S. Army in 1918 and served through World War I. He established his own law office in 1925 and in 1927 became associated with the National Abstract Corporation. In 1930, he became manager of its Watertown branch office and later became Vice President of the Corporation. During 1933 and 1934, he served as Assistant City Corporation Counsel. The League's Silver Anniversary was celebrated during his presidency. He died August 18, 1961.

Clinton W. Marsh (1938-1939)

President Marsh was born on September 6, 1904 in Watertown, son of John W. and Hannah Elizabeth Chalk Marsh. A 1927 graduate of Watertown High School, he played football on the high school team, and after graduation, the Watertown Red and Black. First employed by the New York Air Brake Company in 1921, Mr. Marsh remained with that company for 42 years and retired as Manager of Manufacturing in 1963. Mr. Marsh married Norine E. Clark on August 20, 1927. He served as 10th Ward Supervisor from 1934 to 1948, serving as Chairman of the Board of Supervisors in 1941 and 1942. He was elected as City Chairman of the Republican party from 1942-1963, and County Republican Chairman from 1963-1973. He died in February, 1994.

W. Bernard Lawrence (1940-1941)

W. Bernard Lawrence was born at Benson Mines, NY on 17 February, 1894. His family moved to Watertown in 1907. He served with the Naval Militia during World War I. He married Grace M Cannon on November 28, 1930. From 1921-1956, he was employed at the Naval Militia Armory on Mullin Street. In 1958, he was appointed Superintendent of the National Guard Armory on Arsenal Street.

William J. Flynn (1942-1943)

William J Flynn was a native of the North Side., born on July 14, 1895. He received his education in local schools and in the Northern Business College. Bill married Mary E. Barnes on November 29, 1916. For more than thirty years, he owned the Frontenac Crystal Spring Water Company, distributors of drinking water in the city and county. Bill devoted many hears to civic affairs, including service on the Watertown City Council. In 1946, he became a member of the Watertown Airport Commission, and during his term the present administration building was constructed at the airport. Bill served on the Board of the Watertown Community Chest, American Cancer Society local chapter, and other charitable organizations. Bill Flynn died on January 10, 1964 and is buried in Glenwood Cemetery.

John A. Krupcale (1943-1944)

John A Krupcale was a native of Austria, born there on March 8, 1878. He came to the United States in 1907 and married Karoline S Karol, also a native of Austria on May 21, 1907. After a residence of eight years, during which time John became a United States citizen, the Krupcales moved to Watertown. John was employed as an engineer by the Northern Brewing Company, and later by the George Hyde Company, before going into business for himself as a refrigeration engineer. He died on October 1, 1944, near the end of his second term as League president.

Vernon Lee Monroe (1945-1946)

Born in Harrisville, NY on February 18, 1905, Vernon Monroe was the fifteenth president of the North Side League. He married Elizabeth M Lawrence on September 5, 1927 and resided at 434 Lincoln Street in Watertown. He was employed by the New York State Department of Public Works beginning in 1924, serving as an engineering aide to the Assistant Engineer, in charge of highway planning. Besides his service to the North Side League, Vernon was also active in Watertown Elks Lodge #496. where he served a term as Exalted Ruler in 1961. He died in 1985.

LaRue A. Crabb (1947-1948-1949)

LaRue A. "Bill" Crabb was born in Watertown on April 17, 1910, attended Watertown schools and St. Lawrence University. He married Elizabeth B. Johnson on September 2, 1937. Following several years as a machinist for the New York Air Brake Company, Bill was appointed Sealer of Weights and Measures of Jefferson County in August, 1945. In 1949, he was appointed State Inspector of Weights and Measures and in the same year was made a member of the legislative committee of the State Association of Sealers of Weights and Measures. He returned to the post of County Sealer in April 1953. He retired from that position in January, 1976. Bill Crabb was the only League president besides Robert Cahill to serve more than two terms of office. He died on July 31, 2001. Mrs. Crabb died on February 23, 1985. 17.

Wilburt C. Elliott (1950-1951)

Wilburt Elliott was born in Chalk River, Maitland, Ontario and attended schools in Prescott, Ontario and the business college in Ogdensburg, NY. He came to Watertown in 1923 and entered the employ of the J.B. Wise Company serving as shipping and receiving foreman. He married Sadie O'Brien at Ogdensburg on November 24, 1926. With the closing of the J.B. Wise plant, Wilburt joined the W.W. Conde Hardware company, retiring as assistant supervisor in 1966. After the death of Sadie on October 11, 1957, Wilburt married Madge Monaco on June 3, 1961 in Buffalo. Following his retirement, he and his wife moved to Lakeland, Florida where Mrs. Elliott died on June 17, 1981. Mr. Elliott returned to Watertown where he died on September 23, 1993. He was a past president of the Watertown City School District Board of Education.

Rodolphe N. Derouin (1952)

Rodolphe Derouin was born at Hull, Quebec on September 15, 1898. He was graduated from Sacred Heart College in Montreal in 1919. He came to Watertown the following year and married Antoinette R. Derouin on July 28, 1919. He was employed for forty years by the George Hyde Company as a sheet metal worker and was considered and expert in his trade. He was an ardent sportsman and spent much of his leisure time hunting and fishing. He was president of the St. Vincent de Paul Society of the Sacred Heart Church at the time of his death on January 1, 1961.

Harry S. Dawson (1953-1954)

Harry Dawson was born in Watertown on November 4, 1895. He served with the U.S. Army during World War I. He married Alta Williams on April 26, 1920. Harry was employed by the New York Central Railroad for more than 40 years. He served as the League's Financial Secretary for many years. He died March 25, 1973.

J Frederick Martin (1955-1956)

Fred Martin was a native North Sider, born 30 July, 1919. His election to the Presidency of the League made his family the second to furnish two presidents to the league, and the first father and son combination, his father Frank having served as President in 1926-1927. Fred entered military service in February, 1942 and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army in July, 1943. He married Miss Viola Brown at Fort McPherson, Georgia on September 30, 1944. He served in the Pacific Theater of Operations during World War II. He was recalled to duty in October, 1950 during the Korean Conflict. Fred was employed by, and retired from the New York Air Brake Company. Mr. and Mrs. Martin retired to Florida.

Fred W Bence (1957-1958)

Fred W. Bence was born February 19, 1914. He received his education in the local public school system. He married Blanche V. Jones on August 5, 1939 in Bethany Methodist Church. He joined the Watertown Post Office in April, 1941 as a clerk and worked at the Pine Camp Post Office during World War II. He retired as Watertown Postmaster in 1983 after 35 years in the Postal Service. Mrs. Bence passed away on July 15, 1983. Fred Bence died on November 15, 2003 at the age of 89.

John N. Cole (1959-1960)

John Cole was born March 17, 1906, in the town of Pamelia, a son of Brainard and Grace Pierce Cole. He attended the local rural schools. He married Gladys A. Lyon, daughter of the late Frank and Florence Lyon, on Nov. 12, 1927 in Watertown. Gladys died on July 2, 2014 at the age of 111.

In his early years Mr. Cole was an amateur boxer at the Starbuck Arena, Watertown. He was also employed at the Elkhorn Bakery on Franklin Street before going to work as a machinist at the New York Air Brake Co. He retired from the Air Brake after 45 years of service. Mr. Cole was also involved with Boy Scouts of America. He was scout master of Troop 15 of the North Side Improvement League and also coached grasshopper baseball teams sponsored by the league. He died on November 22, 1990.

W. Douglas Howland (1961-1962)

Born June 9, 1924 in Watertown, Doug was a 1942 graduate of Watertown High School. He served in the U.S. Navy from February, 1942 until December, 1945 as a radioman. He married Eleanor Wager who died 14 September, 1988. Represented the Ninth Ward on the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors for 26 years, and as Board Chairman for two years. He retired from Niagara Mohawk as an Electric Planner. In 1992, Doug married the former Rosemary DeWitt. She died on May 3, 2013.

Lyle G. Percy (1963-1964)

Lyle H. "Bug" Percy was born on June 22, 1910, in Watertown, son of J. Ward and Elizabeth Tooley Percy. He was a graduate of Watertown High School and attended Clarkson College of Technology, Potsdam. He was a former member of the Red and Black football team. Mr. Percy was a postal service clerk at the Watertown Post Office from 1941 until his retirement in 1971. He married Genevieve Taitt on June 18, 1936, in Watertown. He served on the Watertown City School District Board of Education for seven years and was board president for a year Active in local athletics, he was a referee and umpire for many local athletic events. Past President Percy died May 23, 1997 and Genevieve Percy on April 6, 2009.

Robert H. Austin (1965)

Robert H. Austin was born March 2, 1925, the son of Harry H. and Edyth Hennessy Austin and was a 1943 graduate of Watertown High School. Following his education, he served in the US Army Air Corps with the 323rd Fighter Squadron from 1943-1946, later serving with the US Air Force reserves from 1948-1952. After his honorable discharge from the military, he went to work for the St. Regis Paper Company, working from 1946 until retiring as materials manager in 1986.

He married E. Joyce Blackman of Stockport, England on June 6, 1947. She died on June 2, 1973. He married Dorothy J. Porter on Feb. 12, 1983. Dorothy died Nov. 6, 2012. Mr. Austin was 10th Ward Supervisor from 1960 to 1981. He served as board chairman in the legislature from 1978-1979. He served as Pamelia Town Justice from 1989 until 2011. He died March 21, 2013.

Charles J. Walsworth (1966-1967)

President Charles J. Walsworth was born on May 11, 1916 in Cortland, NY, the son of Charles and Hazel (Camp) Walsworth. At the age of 6 years he came to Watertown to live with George and Gertrude Carpenter, who raised him. A resident of the Tenth Ward for 64 years, he attended Cooper School, North Junior High School, and was graduated from Watertown High School in 1936. He worked at Bagley & Sewell, New York Air Brake, and the New York Central Railroad, after which he was employed by the New York State Department of Transportation for 38 years, retiring on May 11, 1978. He married Kathleen J. Reid on August 9, 1940 in Chaumont, N.Y. Charles died on June 29, 1987, and Kathleen in January, 1993.

Gerald A. Eamer (1968)

Twenty-seventh President Gerald A. Eamer was born on September 10, 1914 and was educated in the local schools. He was married to Miss Gertrude LaLonde on January 29, 1934. He served with the 116th Infantry Division in Europe during World War II. Jerry was employed by the New York Air Brake Co. as well as Watertown Electronics Co. He was a member of the League's Board of Directors for many years and was active on many of our committees Gerald Eamer died on January 12, 1974. His wife died on January 8, 2001.

Arnold E. Knight (1969-1970)

President Arnold E. Knight was born February 2, 1918 in Rodman, N.Y. and passed away March 3, 1985. He was graduated from Watertown High School in 1934. In October, 1940, Arnold married Marion Sterling. In March, 1944, Arnold entered the Army, serving in the European Theater, receiving a Purple Heart and Cluster. He was a printer, having worked 17 years for St Regis' Printing Department and for Hungerford-Holbrook Co. He retired in January, 1982. Arnold served as League President during the planning and construction of the new building on Mill Street.

After his terms as President, Arnold served as Financial Secretary from 1972 until his death, when he was succeeded by son Richard. Arnold also served as Bar Committee chairman from 1969-1985 and served on the City Civil Service Commission. He was manager of NSIL midget baseball No. 1 Team for 11 years. In the early years of Watertown Youth Hockey, Arnold was President of the Youth Hockey Association. He was a director of the March of Dimes, J.C.C. Scholarship Foundation and a member of the Watertown Centennial Commission. He was a Mason and a member of the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, and Elks. His greatest pride was the growth of the North Side Improvement League and being President at the opening of the Mill Street League Building.

Charles K. Scott (1971-1972)

Scotty was born in Watertown on October 19th, 1924, a son of Charles and Jemima G. Atchie Scott. He was educated locally, and left high school in 1944 to serve in the United States Navy. He served on the U.S.S. Olmstead during World War II. He was honorably discharged in 1946.

Following his service, Scotty returned home and married Ruth E. Hodge on May 10th, 1947. Mrs. Scott passed away March 27th, 1995 Scotty owned and operated the Barsco Company, Watertown for more than 50 years. He was the executive secretary of Watertown Civil Service for 22 years. He was also a former starter of Evans Mills Speedway and the Watertown Speedway. He died May 25, 2014.

Clarence Cooley (1973)

Past President Cooley would like to be remembered for his support of the youth activities programs of the League. He coached the League youth baseball teams for many years. He married Julia E LaClair on December 4, 1934 in Antwerp. He died September 13, 1979. Julia Cooley died in January, 2002.

Ernest G. Jeican (1974)

Born April 24, 1930, in Watertown, son of Constantine P. and Helen Szabo Jeican, he graduated from Watertown High School in 1947 and enlisted in the Army Air Forces, where he served for three years. He married Charmaine J. Files on Dec. 1, 1947 in Watertown. She died June 7, 1999. Mr. Jeican was a member and past president of both the Jefferson County Radio Amateur Club and the North Side Improvement League. He also was a communicant of Sacred Heart Church. Mr. Jeican was an engineer for 25 years with the state Department of Transportation.

Robert H. Sinclair (1975-1976)

President Sinclair was born June 15, 1916, in Woodbury, N.J., son of George and Nellie Long Sinclair. He attended schools in New Jersey. He joined the Civilian Conservation Corps and served at Pine Camp. He joined the Army on Sept. 14, 1942, and was a cook with 3986th Quartermaster Truck Co. in Ardennes, Central Europe, Northern France and Rhineland. He was discharged Oct. 20, 1945, and received a European-African-Middle Eastern Service Medal. He married Florence M. Thomas on March 20, 1942 in Watertown. She died Sept. 19, 1993. Mr. Sinclair worked at G.W. White & Sons Lumber Co. for 38 years, retiring in 1982 as yard manager. Mr. Sinclair was past president of the North Side Improvement League. He moved to Rochester after his wife's death to live with his daughter. He had been in failing health since 1994. A son, Robert H. Jr., died in Vietnam on Dec. 31, 1968. President Sinclair died May 19, 2000.

Donald Ball (1977-1978)

Born April 17, 1925, in Dexter, son of Arthur and Hazel Bauter Ball, he served in the Army during World War II from July 10, 1944, to March 21, 1946. He served in central Europe and received a Purple Heart after being wounded in February 1945. He married Mabel Bestor on Oct. 23, 1943 in Watertown. Mr. Ball was a maintenance supervisor with the city of Watertown Water Department. He retired in April 1980. The couple moved to Florida following his retirement, where they lived for 15 years until returning to Dexter in 1997. Past President Ball died July 11, 2008.

Claude Weinhold (1979-1980)

Claude R. Weinhold was born Nov. 22, 1915, in Philadelphia, N.Y., a son of Charles A. and Carrie B. Parker Weinhold. He attended Philadelphia schools and graduated from Diebert's Private School, Philadelphia, on Dec. 15, 1933. He married Olive I. Clement on July 4, 1938, in Russell. Mr. Weinhold was a self-employed carpenter and contractor for 26 years, retiring in 1978. He was previously employed for 14 years at Knowlton Brothers and worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps from 1934 to 1936. During World War II, he was a civil defense fireman in Watertown. He was survived by his wife, Olive, (who died in 2009. ) He died January 8, 1995.

Harlow R. Hunt (1981-1982)

President Harlow R. Hunt was born in Watertown, Jan. 22, 1923, a son of Fred M. and Charlene Lamphear Hunt, he attended Watertown schools before joining the Civilian Conservation Corps. He enlisted in the Army Dec. 8, 1941. He was a member of the Sixth Armored Division attached to General Patton's Third Army, and he participated in the Battle of the Bulge. He was awarded the Silver Star with Oak Leaf Clusters in 1945 for saving the life of a wounded comrade. He married June K. Johnson on July 20, 1946 in Watertown. She died in March, 2008. Mr. Hunt retired in 1984 from Niagara Mohawk. Mr. Hunt died November 17, 1992.

William A. Koelmel (1983-1984)

Born Oct. 3, 1919, Medina, Ohio, son of Nelson E. and Charlotte Shook Koelmel, President Koelmel served in the Army from 1940 until retiring in 1960 at the rank of major. In 1946, he came to Pine Camp where he served as provost marshal. He married Thelma Scarpell on June 29, 1946, in Sacred Heart Church. For 10 years, Mr. Koelmel was an administration and budget property evaluator. He then was employed in administration and public relations at the Watertown Housing Authority for 10 years. For five years, he owned and operated Cozzi Monument Co. In addition, he was assistant director of the Neighborhood Youth Corps or five years and assistant property manager and relocation supervisor of the city Urban Renewal Department for five years. A brother, Richard, died before him. Mr. Koelmel died April 29, 1998 in Watertown.

Clyde B. Comins (1985-1986)

Watertown Daily Times, Watertown, NY, Monday, Dec. 28, 1987

Clyde B. Comins Dies at Age 70

Clyde B. Comins, 70, of 135 E. Hoard St., retired Sears, Roebuck & Co. employe, past president of the North Side Improvement League and husband of Mary T. Comins, died Saturday morning at home after a long illness. Mr. Comins was named "Member of the Year" in 1987 by the North Side Improvement League. He served as president of the organization during 1985 and 1986 and was recording secretary, vice president and chairman of the board of directors. A prayer service will be at 9:30 a.m. Monday in the D. L. Calarrco Funeral Home, followed by a Mass of Christian burial at 10 a.m. in Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church, with the Rev. Stephen Boland officiating. Burial will be in Glenwood Cemetery. Calling hours will be from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. today at the funeral home.

Members of the North Side Improvement League will meet at the club rooms at 6:45 tonight to proceed to the funeral home to pay respects to Mr. Comins. Members of the Barben-Jones Post 1400, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and its Women`s Auxiliary will conduct a service at 7 this evening at the funeral home. Contributions may be made to the Hospice of Jefferson County.

Surviving besides his wife are a son, Gary, Watertown; a daughters, Mrs. Robert (Diane) Rokitowski, Newark; two grandchildren; a brother, Chester, Sedona, Ariz.; a sister, Mrs. Joseph (Helen) Messina, Ogdensburg, and nieces and nephews. Born Oct. 11, 1918, in LaFargeville, a son of Raymond and Muriel Bamford Comins, he attended local schools and was graduated from high school in Clayton.

He served in the Army for 37 months during World War II, from February 1941 to September 1945. He was a technician fifth grade in the European theater. He participated in the invasions of North Africa, Sicily, Italy and Southern France, and entered Germany several weeks before VEE day. He was first assigned to the coast artillery and later served as member of the ground crew of the Ninth Air Force. He was for several months in Sicily and was stationed at Toulon and Marseilles, France. After the war, he moved to Watertown and worked for Eltharp`s Shoe Store as a clerk.

Mr. Comins married Mary T. Marra on Nov. 25, 1949, at St. Anthony`s Church, with the Rev. Albert A. Plante officiating. In 1984, he retired as a display manager from Sears after 35 years of service. Mr. Comins served on the board of directors of the Greater Watertown Chamber of Commerce and was (a) member of VFW Post 1400, American Legion Post 61 and the Eagles Club. He was active in Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

His wife;

Mary T. Marra Comins, Friday, February 25, 2011

WATERTOWN, N.Y. — Mary T. Marra Comins, 85, of 135 E. Hoard St., passed away Friday, Feb. 25, at her home while under the care of her family and Hospice of Jefferson County. Born June 26, 1925, in Watertown, a daughter of Phillip and Elizabeth Messina, she attended Watertown schools. She married Clyde Comins in November 1949. Mr. Comins died Feb. 25, 1989. Mrs. Comins was employed at New York Air Brake Co. during World War II, as a clerk at the P&C deli and a cashier for the cafeteria for the Watertown School District. She retired in 1995. She was a communicant of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church and a member of the North Side Improvement League.

Surviving are a son Gary, Watertown; a daughter and her husband, Diane and Robert Rokitowski, Newark; two brothers and their wives, Anthony J. “Freckles” and Phyllis Marra, Watertown, and Peter J. and Barbara Marra, Yonkers; four sisters, Laura LaCava, Antionette Stowell, Sabatina “Dolly’ Smith and Frances Green, all of Watertown; four grandchildren, Ryan M. Comins, Ann Arbor, Mich., Kara E. Comins, Watertown, Jared D. Rokitowski, Binghamton, and Janel A. Rokitowski, Charlotte, N.C.; several nieces and nephews. A sister, Vera Demarest, died before her.

A private funeral service will be at the convenience of the family. Burial will be in the spring in Glenwood Cemetery. Contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, Northern Regional Offices, 120 Washington Street, Watertown or to Hospice of Jefferson County, 425 Washington Street, Watertown, NY 13601. Condolences may be made to

Grant E. VanAlstyne (1987-1988)

Grant E. VanAlstyne was born in Sterling, N.Y. on Sept. 30, 1914, son of Maurice and Ella Wright VanAlstyne. He was graduated from Watertown High School, and received college credits from Jefferson Community College later in his life. Two brothers, Donald Sr. and Chester W., and two sisters, Mildred Dana and Anita Croft, died before him. Mr. VanAlstyne was employed by the Penn Central Railroad for 44 years, retiring in 1974 as leading signal maintainer. He also served as president of the New York Central Recreation Association. He married Mary M. Weston on June 25, 1938, in Watertown. Mary died on September 18, 2010.

William A. Murray (1989-1990)

William A. Murray was born March 15, 1943, in Watertown, son of William H. and Gladys Hodge Murray. He attended Watertown High School and served in the Army Reserves and National Guard. Mr. Murray owned and operated Dante's Restaurant briefly. He had worked at the City Department of Public Works since 1969 and had been the supervisor of Refuse and Recycling from 1985 until his death. President Murray died suddenly after suffering a heart attack at his home. on Dec 28, 1997. Mr. Murray was a member of Hope Presbyterian Church, American Legion Post 61 and the Watertown Elks Lodge.

Copyright 2016 Jefferson County NYGenWeb — a member of the NYGenWeb Project

If you have any questions or comments about this page, please contact,
County Co-Coordinator Nancy Dixon or
Co-Coordinator Bruce Coyne.

Return to Jefferson County Genweb Page