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to Louise Stillman (1913 - 2000)
a much-honored & respected historian & politician of Schuyler co., NY.
Schuyler woman earns spot in history
by Sara Bonisteel
of the Elmira Star-Gazette (available in an on-line edition)
Copyright 2000 Star Gazette. Used with permission.
MONTOUR FALLS — The buildings at the intersection of Main
and Genesee streets owe much
to Louise Vickio Stillman. In 1978, she helped catalog the homes along the "Glorious T" near Chequagua Falls, and persuaded the National Historic Register to add 13 of the buildings to its books.
Mrs. Stillman, 87, died Monday, Sept. 18, at Schuyler Hospital of natural causes.
"She was a very integral part of this village and the history
of this village," said Montour Falls
Mayor Marjorie Tewksbury. "And we just haven’t really found anyone to replace her and her
knowledge of it."
Helping to preserve the past was Mrs. Stillman’s passion.
She served as both the village and
town historian for Montour, president and trustee of the Schuyler County Historical Society, and
even wrote a book about the county’s history entitled "Schuyler — Around and About."
"Growing up, we never had a history to go back into,"
Mrs. Stillman told the Star-Gazette in
1994 after she published the book. "Students are always looking for history."
Mrs. Stillman lived in Montour Falls for most of her life.
She was born in the village on Aug. 13, 1913, to Joseph and Rachel
Petrone Vickio, and was one of 10 children. She and her twin
brother, Louis Vickio of Watkins Glen, were the only two in the
family to attend
college. "Being twins, you know, we always thought the world of each other," Vickio said. "We looked out for each other."
Mrs. Stillman went on to graduate from Marquette University in
Milwaukee and received a
master’s degree from Geneseo State College.
She served as the Watkins Glen High School librarian for 30 years
starting in 1940, and helped
run Stillman’s Greenhouses and Garden Center and Stillman’s Wholesale Nursery with her
husband, George. Mrs. Stillman was a dedicated librarian, reading every new book before it went on the shelf, Vickio said. "She scanned through them enough to get a knowledge about what they were about," he said. The practice would help her point patrons to the proper book.
It was her husband, a former mayor of Montour Falls and a Schuyler
County legislator, who
paved Mrs. Stillman’s way into politics. After his death in 1982, she took an active role in the Democratic Party. She served on the Montour Village Board of Appeals and as Chairwoman of the Schuyler County Democratic Committee.
Her work earned the respect of then-Gov. Mario Cuomo, who
appointed Mrs. Stillman to the
Finger Lakes State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commission. When Mrs. Stillman retired as county Democratic chairwoman in 1984, Cuomo sent a letter
praising her support. "You have certainly earned the right to step down," he wrote.
Schuyler County honored Mrs. Stillman in 1995 by inducting her
into its Hall of Fame for her
work as a historian.
She suffered a stroke three years ago that slowed her down, but
her work compiling the history of
her hometown and county will help inform the generations to come.
"She was on top in Montour, let’s put it that way," Vickio said.
Mrs. Louise Vickio Stillman
.... Burial will be at St. Mary’s of the Lake Cemetery,
Watkins Glen. Memorial
donations may be sent to the St. Mary’s of the Lake sound system fund, St. Mary’s of the Lake
Church, 905 N. Decatur St., Watkins Glen, NY 14891.
of Montour Falls, NY
Age 87 of Owego St., Montour Falls, NY, died September 18, 2000 at
Montour Falls, NY. Louise was born August 13, 1913 at Montour Falls, NY to Joseph and
Rachel Petrone Vickio. Louise was predeceased by her husband, George Stillman; her father,
Joseph Vickio; and mother, Rachel Vickio; brothers, Guy, Nicholas, Michael and William
Vickio; sisters, Mamie Brush, Minnie Tolli, Marguerite Vickio and Mary Jane Vickio. Louise is
survived by her twin brother, Louis (Mary) Vickio, Watkins Glen, NY; sisters-in-law, Rachel
(Nicholas) Vickio and Bernice (Michael) Vickio. She had several nieces, nephews, great nieces
Louise Stillman was a Montour native and a graduate of Cook
Academy. She graduated from
Marquette University and received a MLS degree from SUNY Geneseo. Louise was also a High
School librarian in the Watkins Glen School District for 30 years. Following her retirement she
became founder and President of the Schuyler County Association of Retired Teachers. She was
a also a past Vice-President of the NYS Retired Teachers Association of the Southern Tier, and
was Vice-President of the Board of Trustees of the Montour Falls Memorial Library.
"Glorious T" at the foot of Chequagah Falls owes its
fame to her efforts in the field of Historic
Preservation. She was called "Mrs. Montour Falls", the honor bestowed on her by the Montour
Falls Business Association. Louise was past President and Trustee of the Schuyler County
Historical Society; past President and Trustee of the Schuyler County Landmark Society; a
Trustee of the Regional Conference of Historical Agencies; a member of both the National Trust
for Historic Preservation, and the Finger Lakes Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation
Commission, to which she was appointed by Governor Cuomo, who was also a good friend. In
addition, she was the historian for both the Village of Montour, and the Town of Montour. In
these capacities she wrote numerous accounts of local historical events, places, persons and is
responsible for the placement of several buildings on the register of historic places. She has
served on the Boards of the Schuyler County Mental Health Society, the Disabilities Admissions
Committee of ARC, the Senior Falls Business Association, and the American Legion Auxiliary
Post 882, of which was was past President. She was also a member of the Schuyler County
Chapter of AARP. She was a 50-year member of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas #628
and a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church and St. Benedicts.
Her political and government activities were serving on the
Montour Village Board of Appeals.
She was the past Chairman of the Schuyler County Democratic Committee, and was a member of
the Democratic National Committee, the NYS Democratic Committee and the Schuyler County
Democratic Women’s Club. She was also a member of the Schuyler County League of Women
Voters. She is a past Board Member of both the Montour Falls Housing Authority, and the
Montour Falls Village Planning Board, as well as past President of the 8&40 Schuyler County
In 1980 she was named to the Honor Roll of Distinguished Members,
by the NYS Retired
Teachers Association. In 1983 she received the Citizen of the Year Award by the Montour Falls
Business Association, and in 1987 was Honoree of the Business and Professional Women of
Schuyler County as their "Citizen of the Year". Louise has written much about the County’s
history and was the Deputy County Historian in addition to her roles as Town of Montour
Historian, and Village of Montour Historian. She was inducted in the Schuyler County Hall of
Fame on October 27, 1995 as Historian. In 1989 she made a donation of $10,000 to Schuyler
Hospital, for the Stillman Room, in memory of her late husband, George Stillman, who was
Mayor of Montour Falls, and a long time member of the Schuyler County Legislature.
Burial will be at St. Mary’s of the Lake Cemetery, Watkins
Glen, NY. Memorial donations may
be sent to St. Mary’s of the Lake sound system fund, St. Mary’s of the Lake Church, Watkins
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