Memorial bench dedicated on Erie Canal Trailway

Photo by Caitlyn Donnelly

The Place's children, Ryan, Jake, Abby and Lauren, wife, Jaqueline, and parents, Gary and Regina, unveil the memorial plaque at the rest area along the Erie Canal Trailway in Memphis.

The family of Bryan McNeill Place dedicated a memorial park along the Erie Canal Trailway in his honor on July 31. The park sits just up the towpath east of Memphis in the town of Van Buren.

Bryan was a well-known financial advisor and owner of Place Financial Advisors in Manlius. He passed away on January 3 2010 from a ruptured aortic aneurysm at the age of 39. He is survived by his wife, Jacqueline, of Manlius, and children, Ryan, 18, Jake, 16, Abby, 8, and Lauren, 4.

Bryan appeared on local and national television programs as a financial expert, and wrote columns in publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, US World and News Reports, and the Post Standard. He also appeared on "Financial 411" at WSTM and was a panel member and guest host of Financial Fitness on Channel 12.

The idea for the rest area was formulated when Bryan's aunts, Ellen McNeill and Mary McNeill Mannion, and his mother, Regina McNeill Place, of Elbridge, saw a need for a place to sit as they walked the trail almost daily from Memphis towards Warners. Together, they came up with the idea to put a park bench along the trail in Bryan's memory.

The family obtained permission from the town of Van Buren, and Ron Dudzinski, Van Buren councilman and chairman of the town's Erie Canal Committee, helped with the project. Although the town of Van Buren and the Canal Authority approved it, all monies and labor for the park were donated by the McNeill's and the Place's.

Through the efforts of Bryan's father, Gary Place, and his uncle, Mike Place, owner of Syracuse Signal Systems, the concept of a rest area grew to include a 18,000 lb. stone wall and two four-foot benches. Mike used his own heavy equipment and workers to bring in fill and set the wall in place.

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