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B'ville: Farewell to a BTG legend

Rosemary Sinnett Nesbitt's passion for theater and community gave Baldwinsville one of its oldest traditions.

In 1942, at the tender age of 18 and as a senior in high school, Nesbitt, then known by her maiden name of Sinnett, founded the Baldwinsville Theatre Guild with her high school English teacher. The Guild is now the oldest continually performing community theater group in New York State.

This Baldwinsville native passed away Sunday Aug. 2 with her family by her side in Oswego.

Nesbitt, 84, was born on Oct. 12, 1924, in Baldwinsville, to the late Matthew and Mary Louise Sinnett, she was educated in the Baldwinsville schools as a child, and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Syracuse University with a major in theater in 1947. She was a college professor for more than 40 years, educating students at Wells College, Syracuse University and SUNY Oswego. In 1955, she married George R. Nesbitt Sr. and they moved to Oswego in 1959. There she served as the director of the Oswego children's theater for 20 years, during which time she authored 15 plays for children, in addition to two historical children's novels, The Great Rope and Colonel Meacham's Giant Cheese.

"I always admired [Rosemary]," said Lysander Historian Bonnie Kisselstein, who grew up down the street from the Sinnett family. "I used to read her books to my students when I was teaching school. She was just dynamic. She spoke last year at the [Museum at the Shacksboro Schoolhouse] for the Memories of Baldwinsville series. She was very well thought of."

In addition to her professional activities, she also was very active in civic affairs and volunteerism including work for organizations like the United Way, the H. Lee White Marine Museum, which she founded, and the Port of Oswego Authority. She also helped found Oswegofest in 1987, better known today as Harborfest.

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