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Homage to Bette McNear Campbell, former Cazenovia community leader

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

To the editor:

My mom, Bette McNear Campbell, a former Cazenovia community leader, died at the age of 89 last month in Delaware. We spent many years in Cazenovia while growing up in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Mom and dad, Jim McNear, started the Hi Neighbor paper from our kitchen, before moving it to an office behind the Chocolate Shop.

Mom was a Girl Scout leader in Cazenovia, the president of the Alter and Rosary Society at St. James Church, chair of the Strawberry Festival and a hard-working member of the Sesquicentennial Committee. She was also the best ice skater on the Burton Lake rink where people would clear the ice to watch her spin. Her oil painting of the Brae Loch Inn still hangs there over a downstairs fireplace.

I just spent a beautiful weekend in Cazenovia, reminiscing, and want to thank you all for keeping the village just the same as it was so long ago when I loved living there. It is still as charming as ever. I was happy to swim in the cold lake again where I learned from Red Cross instructors at the pier. We had a nice talk with Frank, downstairs at the Lincklaen House, where he had fond memories of my parents.

On Saturday, I met Amanda Bury, who shared with me an advertisement for antiques her mother designed and placed in my mother’s Hi Neighbor in 1957 — both of our moms’ great lettering on the same page. That was pretty special!

Thank you to the people at the Brewster Inn for taking good care of us in your gorgeous setting, and to the people at Lorenzo where we had a wonderful tour. Emma’s on Albany Street makes the best oatmeal ever. Thanks also to the current resident of our old home for being so gracious to spend time showing us around. Everyone we came in contact with during our stay was welcoming.

Mom went on to become the women’s editor of the News Journal in Delaware for many years before becoming their travel editor, where she was happy to travel around the world many times. She retired to St. Croix in the Virgin Islands for several years before coming back to Delaware in the late 1980s to marry her long-time friend, Dr. Wells Campbell.

My sister Wendy and my brother Mac and I were very lucky to spend years growing up in Cazenovia. I don’t think there’s any place as nice or more beautiful on earth.

MARY MCNEAR MCDONOUGH

SMYRNA, DEL.

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