Mar 09, 2011 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
You’d never know it to see her, but Mary Horton’s long life was framed by the horrors of war.
The longtime cashier at Nichols Supermarket died Feb. 19, at Van Duyn Home & Hospital. She was 90 years old.
Mary, who was born in Leicestershire, England, had served with the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force during World War II. As a one of the “WAAFs,” Mary worked with ground crews during the harrowing air attacks by the Nazi Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain in 1940.
Not only did Mary survive that bloodiest of wars, she began to build a whole new life after she met Norman Horton, an American serviceman from Liverpool, N.Y. The couple decided to live in Liverpool and raise a family. Their first son, John, was born in June 1946. Another son named James and a daughter named Jane followed. The family often spent summers at their camp on Lake Ontario’s Chaumont Bay.
Mary had worked at Nichols for 30 years until illness and age convinced her to abandon her cash register a couple decades ago.
“She was a good egg,” recalled Nichols’ owner, Mike Hennigan. Everybody at the store loved her, he said, colleagues and customers alike. She made quite an impression on people with her bubbly personality and her lilting British accent.
“She always had a smile on her face,” Mike remembered.
But while her friendly grin was certainly sincere, it belied a personal tragedy as bitter as they come.
On March 26, 1968, Mary’s son John was killed in action in South Vietnam.
A private first class in the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division’s 502nd “First Strike” Infantry, John Richard Horton was 21 years old. He died after suffering multiple fragmentation wounds during the final days of phase one of the Viet Cong’s infamous Tet Offensive of 1968. He had arrived in Vietnam just 29 days before his death.
Joanie Mahoney enjoyed a rare “I told you so” moment last month. On Feb. 10, the county executive announced that Onondaga County’s credit rating has been upgraded to AAA. She pointed to the county’s decision to withhold sales tax revenues from towns and villages as the reason for the upgrade.
“The new sales tax sharing formula has resulted in more financial stability for the county,” Mahoney said. “That will give us a better bond rating and lower finance costs, which is great news for taxpayers.”
Since the county’s sales tax sleight-of-hand resulted in soaring property taxes in towns like Salina, homeowners there could sure use some good news, but we haven’t heard anyone celebrating yet.
Ostuni out, Farrell in
After serving for 18 years as chairman of the village of Liverpool’s Republican Party chairman, Joe Ostuni Jr. is no longer in charge of the village GOP. Former mayor and county legislator Jim Farrell has taken over the Republican reins here.
Town of Salina GOP Chairman Bill Tassone said Ostuni had failed to submit signed petitions to retain the chairmanship.
Under Ostuni’s leadership, his party has virtually dominated village government, electing five Republican mayors (Al Sahm, Fred Bobenhausen, Jim Farrell, Marlene Ward and Gary White), a judge (the Honorable Herman Harding) and a half-dozen trustees.
While Ostuni declined to discuss the reason for the change at the top, he pointed to his long record of winning elections. “I love Liverpool,” he told me, “and I will definitely remain an activist for the village.”
Ostuni’s activism includes his ongoing chairmanship of the village planning board as well as his continuing membership in the village GOP. The party’s annual caucus will convene sometime between April 26 and May 3, with Jim Farrell wielding the gavel. All registered Republican residents of the village may attend.