The Crooked Lake Review

Spring 2001

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Richard Gerard Sherer

1930 - 2001


Bill Treichler

The death of Richard G. Sherer, age 71 years, occurred on March 15, 2001, in Sarasota, Florida, after an extended illness. He was born in Bath on March 3, 1930, the son of Richard George and Clara Wynn Sherer. Dick attended Haverling Central School through sixth grade when his family moved to the Buffalo area. He was graduated from Kenmore High School and Erie County Technical Institute. He served in the United States Air Force during the Korean War.

In 1951, he married Alice Ober of Kenmore who predeceased him on June 30, 1994. They are survived by two daughters, Alicia (Jay) Miller of Bath and Mary (Bruce) White of Hammondsport, and three grandchildren, Danielle Miller, Charles Miller and Steven White. Also surviving is his fiancée Barbara Bock of Palmetto, Florida, and Lake Keuka.

Dick was actively engaged in the construction of custom homes in Tonawanda until 1956, when he joined his father as a partner in R. G. Sherer & Son, an oil distributorship in Bath. In 1961, when the business was sold, Dick purchased the fine old stone Vinehurst house and farm on Fish Hatchery Road and became a vineyardist in Pleasant Valley. In 1962, he designed and built the Vinehurst Motel, also in Pleasant Valley, which he operated until 1983. For many years, Dick was an active Rotarian, secretary to the Hammondsport Rotary. The Paul Harris Fellowship Award was presented to him. He was an avid collector of books, antiques and furnishings, and a woodworking enthusiast, milling much of his own lumber.

Richard Sherer was a preserver of the past, saving discarded records and early newspapers. He read through every issue of the Hammondsport Herald. His active participation in the Steuben County Historical Society spanned nearly four decades and included several terms on its Board of Directors. In the 1970s and 80s he was historian for the Village of Hammondsport as well as the Town of Urbana. In 1987, he was appointed Steuben County Historian and served until the present time. Every year he organized a display place for the county historical societies at the Bath Fair, and before the opening of the Bath Fair, Dick and Alice used to clean and arrange the relics in the Memorial Pioneer Log Cabin and the exhibits in the Pioneer Museum. Dick was for some years treasurer of the County Historian's Association of New York State. He began the The Steuben County Historian's Newsletter in 1988 and he continued staging the Steuben County Hall of Fame until 1997. Dick designed and arranged the exhibits, and managed the Cohocton Valley Museum that opened in 1993. He organized oral history meetings, recognized the importance of Robert Beck's manuscript, and prompted the publication of Robert Beck's Story.

Dick Sherer was a major force in the ark project in 1996 that built and rafted an ark replica, The Steuben, all the way to Havre de Grace, Maryland. He edited several books, Steuben County- The First Two Hundred Years, and The Jim Drake Book, published as a part of the Steuben County Bicentennial Celebration. In 1998, he wrote and published Crooked Lake and the Grape and was writing, at the time of his death, Genesee Country Through Others' Eyes, a book on famous visitors to this region, including La Rochefoucoauld-Liancourt and Charles Lyell.

Dick had a marvelous memory for stories and over the years he gave many talks and slide shows promoting local history. He was one of the original supporters of The Crooked Lake Review and contributed many articles for publication. "Whatever Became of Carter Kingsley's Safe" appeared in #5; "Finger Lakes Grape Pioneers," #10; "Ruby Cottage" and "Stocum House," #15; "Memorial Pioneer Log Cabin and Pioneer Museum," in #17; "Early Schools in Pleasant Valley and Hammondsport," #30; "Photographers of Hammondsport, New York," #72; "An Excursion on board the Keuka Maid" that includes a steamboat history of Keuka Lake, #89; "Mallory's Mill," #95; copies of surveyor's property descriptions for land transactions along Cold Brook from his collection, #109; and Henry Kleckler, Remembered, in #114, Winter, 2000. For more of the life of this remarkable man,

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