2018 Richard W. Couper Living Legends Inductees

Joseph P. Bottini (Sauquoit)

Oneida County Historian Joe Bottini is a retired schoolteacher with 35 years of professional service at local schools including Kemble School in Utica and Perry Junior High in New Hartford.  A native of Rome, NY, Joe is a graduate of Rome Free Academy and Utica College, and completed graduated studies at SUNY Polytechnic Institute. Joe is an accomplished writer and has co-authored multiple books including Utica: Then & Now, Legendary Locals, and Oneida County: An Illustrated History.  He also served as a researcher and writer for the Bagg's Square Mural Project, which culminated in the installation of a history timeline along Utica’s Bagg's Square Corridor in 2016.  He writes local history articles for the Greater Utica Magazine and guest editorials for the Utica Observer Dispatch. His passion for local history extends beyond writing; he shares his enthusiasm through lectures and tours at local venues including ‘Walk & Talks’ for the Landmarks Society of Greater Utica.  Joe is a proud veteran of the United States Army and a committed Child of God in Christ who plays flute at his local church.

Edward Jackson (Utica)

Ed Jackson, a United States Navy veteran with twenty years of service, is a leading advocate for progress and change in the greater Utica community.  He moved to Utica in 1984 and has been involved with a wide range of organizations.  Ed started to work with scouting in 1970 and is a recipient of the Silver Beaver Award and the Whitney M. Young Jr. Service Award, the organization’s highest honors.  He was a founding member of the Cornhill Community for Change and has served on numerous boards and advisory committees including the Utica Youth Bureau and the Utica Citizens in Action steering committee. Ed is well-known for his presentations on behalf of the NAACP in area schools and community centers and is a frequent contributor to public discourse via letters to the editor in the Utica Observer-Dispatch.  He is a proud member of the American Legion and served three terms as the Harold Provost Post Commander.  No better example of a community enthusiast, servant, and supporter exists.

Rev. Joseph A. Salerno (Utica)

Utica native Rev. Joseph Salerno has served the community as a Catholic priest for 32 years. He is presently the pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Utica and Our Lady of the Rosary in New Hartford.  He also serves as chaplain to both the Utica Police Department and the Utica Fire Department.  As a youth, he was educated locally and claims Mt. Carmel/Blessed Sacrament Parish as the Catholic parish of his beginnings.  Fr. Joe earned his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Maryknoll College and a Master of Divinity from St. Michael’s College in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.   He served on numerous boards throughout his career including Hope House and St. Joseph’s Nursing Home. Outside of Oneida County, Rev. Salerno has worked on various assignments in the Diocese of Syracuse.  His commitment to community and his faith is outstanding.

Anita Vitullo (Clinton)

Clinton resident Anita Vitullo is the founder and president of Staffworks and is the first living individual to donate $1 million to The Community Foundation of Oneida and Herkimer Counties. Stafforworks’ goal is to create success stories by connecting the right people with businesses, but the company goes beyond employment solutions and is dedicated to making our communities stronger.  Both Anita and Staffworks are strong advocates for animal rights. Personally, Anita has donated time, money and other resources to shelters, adoptive agencies, and humane societies throughout the region. Sponsoring the Humane Society of Rome’s annual “Save a Life” campaign is one of her many contributions. She also implemented the Staffworks Charitable Fund in 2006, which is a donor-advised fund of The Community Foundation that supports programs and services related to domestic animal welfare and owner responsibility.  The fund has awarded almost $1.4 million in grants to community organizations since 2009.  The fund exceeded the $10 million mark in June 2018, and is the first Community Foundation $10 million fund with a living fund holder.  Anita’s generosity is exemplar and unrivaled in Utica the greater Mohawk Valley.

Major, Gold, & Silver Sponsors

hall of fame & living legends class of 2018

The Oneida County History Center raised over $24,000 during our 13th annual telethon held on Tuesday, April 3, 2018 from 6:30-8:00 pm. The telethon was broadcast live on WUTR-TV from the history center’s main gallery and encouraged community members and organizations to call in and pledge; $24,495.00 in new memberships, membership renewals, and donations were received.  Thank you to the many individuals and organizations who showed their support. 
 
This special event is one of the history center’s largest annual fundraisers and is used to support our ongoing efforts to promote and preserve the history of the greater Mohawk Valley. The investment made by the community is vital to the history center and will serve to support educational opportunities for students of all ages, free public programs, exhibits, collections maintenance, and much more. 
 
Several special prize drawings were held following the broadcast. Viewers who joined or renewed their memberships during the telethon, and non-members who pledged a donation were eligible to win prizes from the local business community. Congratulations to our winners: Elizabeth McKeon of NY Mills (32” LED flat screen television), Howard Bushinger of Deerfield (Oneida County Tourism Saranac Gift Basket), and Ernest Galle, North Syracuse (Oneida County History Center gift package).
 
Several organizations, businesses, and individuals were recognized during the broadcast as part of the ‘Historical Star’ board and special check presentations. The history center staff, volunteers, and board of trustees would like extend a special thanks our Naming, Major, Gold, and Silver Star sponsors  

NEWS

​Oneida County History Center

2018 Telethon Raises $24,495!

The Oneida County Historical Hall of Fame, begun in 1946, has named five individuals to its 2018 Historical Hall of Fame inductee class: Rear Admiral Samuel Livingston Breese, Utica Public Library Director Alice Cynthia Dodge, educator Anthony Schepsis, Clinton Hockey trailblazer Edward Stanley, and Utica sports editor and enthusiast Len Wilbur.  The Hall of Famers will be inducted alongside the 2018 Richard W. Couper ‘Living Legends’ class: Oneida County Historian Joseph P. Bottini, US Navy veteran and community advocate Edward Jackson, Reverend Joseph A. Salerno, and animal rights activist Anita Vitullo.  Biographies for each inductee are below.

 This year’s inductees are being recognized for their service as community leaders and advocates, and for their efforts in furthering the region's industries, culture, and educational opportunities.  All inductees will be honored at the History Center's annual Historical Hall of Fame/Living Legends Awards Banquet, which will be held at the Hart's Hill Inn on Wednesday, October 3, starting at 5:00 PM.  Tickets should be purchased in advance by calling the History Center at 315-735-3642.  Prices are $50 for current OCHC members, $60 for the general public, and $440 for tables of eight. All proceeds benefit the Oneida County History Center.
2018 Dr. David and Carolyn Ellis Historical Hall of Fame Inductees


Adm. Samuel Livingston Breese (1794-1870)

Utica, NY native Samuel Livingston Breese was a rear admiral in the United States Navy and a member of the first group of 17 naval officers to be promoted to rear admiral under the reorganization of the US Navy on July 16, 1862.  He entered the navy in 1810 and was active for 60 years.  He served in multiple major conflicts including the War of 1812 and the Mexican-American War.  He also served at the Norfolk and Brooklyn navy yards, and as commander of the European Squadron.  Samuel retired in 1870 and passed away on December 17, 1870.
 
Alice Cynthia Dodge (1902-1984)

Alice Cynthia Doge was an innovative leader and served the Utica Public Library for over forty-two years. She was appointed acting director in 1944 and director in 1945. Under Alice’s direction the Utica Public Library became a designated location for international documents and pamphlets published by the State Department of the United States, and a repository for microfilms of Utica newspapers and other regional historic materials. She served as president of the New Century Club from 1935-1944 and superintended of the Plymouth Bethesda United Church Sunday School.  She was elected the first woman president of the Oneida Historical Society, was a member of the American Association of University Women for 50 years, and was active in Zonta, Mount Holyoke Club, Delta Kappa Gamma, the YWCA, New England Women, and the DAR.

Anthony Schepsis (1918-1987)

Utica Native Anthony Schepsis was committed to local education and spent over 30 years as a teacher and administrator. A graduate of Hamilton College, Anthony served in World War II and was chief of counter-intelligence in Berlin after the war.  He began his teaching career in Utica in 1948, teaching French and German. He later became the principal of Kernan School, then Utica Free Academy, where he worked until his death in 1987. He served as president of Utica Teachers Association and the Kiwanis Club of Utica, Vice President of the Family Service and Traveler’s Aid Association and Phi Beta Kappa Association of Central New York, and was a member of the Utica Symphony Orchestra, St. John’s Church choir, and Literacy Volunteers of America. He was also active in Boy Scouts and devoted much of his time to raising money for Utica YMCA.

Edward Stanley (1906-1991)

Edward W. Stanley is responsible for the development of ice hockey as a major spectator sport in the Greater Utica area.  He started the Clinton Hockey Club in 1928, serving as manager and coach until 1947, and as president and business manager into the 1960s. He was the main moving force behind the construction of the Clinton Hockey Arena in the late 1940s and its reconstruction in 1953, after the facility was destroyed by fire. Ed held many leadership positions in the hockey community including director, committee chairman, and N.Y. District registrar of the AHAUS, vice president and director of the Eastern Hockey League, manager of the Clinton Arena and the Comets Hockey Club, and chairman of the U.S. Olympic Ice Hockey Committee in 1948.  Ed was active in his community beyond hockey; he was the founder and first president of the Clinton Historical Society, and compiled and edited A Half Century in the Life of Clinton, New York, 1915-1965.

Len Wilbur (1905-1965)

Len Wilbur was a longtime Sports Editor for the Utica newspapers and a tireless advocate for sports activities and athletes in the Utica area from 1928 until his death in 1965.  He organized the first annual UFA track meet and the first sectional bowling tournament for high school teams while still a high school student himself.  Later, as president of the UFA Alumni Association, he organized a campaign to build a gymnasium that was completed in 1945 and named in his honor in 1969. Len was very active in the community; he served on the YMCA Board for many years and was a mainstay of the Utica Kiwanis Club, serving as President, youth sports director, and Lieutenant Governor of the Central Division of Kiwanis. The Utica Kiwanis Club began sponsoring an annual Len Wilbur Day in 1960 and every February since 1965, has presented a Len Wilbur Memorial Award for community service.