2017-06-29 / Columns

Busy first weekend of summer; community mourns loss of Centner

Plans for 105th birthday
By LESLIE DISCH
Phone/fax 386-5686


ATTENDING THE OMENA Historical Society opening reception were, from left, Bob and Jeanne Grabowski, Kathy Miller and her granddaughters, Amelia and Sarah. 
— Photo by Jim Miller ATTENDING THE OMENA Historical Society opening reception were, from left, Bob and Jeanne Grabowski, Kathy Miller and her granddaughters, Amelia and Sarah. — Photo by Jim Miller The first official weekend of summer was busy, fun, and alternately beautiful and rainy. Fortunately, the sun did shine on the Omena Historical Society museum’s opening reception on Sunday. It was a wonderful unveiling of this year’s new exhibit in the front room about Clara Pierson, a nationally known author of children’s books at the turn of the 20th century. She summered on Omena Point. The museum is open Saturdays and Sundays in July and August.

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The second annual Saving Birds Thru Habitat (SBTH) Birds, Butterflies and Native Plant Workshop last Saturday was a great success. The speakers were wonderful and the field trips around SBTH’s preserve were fascinating. Omena residents Mike Berst and Kathie Albright also opened up their yard as a field trip option to see their native plant landscaping. Mike’s lifelong avocation has been Michigan native plants. He is a wealth of knowledge, and he and Kathie have created a very diverse and rich landscape.


SAVING BIRDS Thru Habitat board member Sheen Watkins, a wildlife photographer, was a presenter at the nonprofit’s seminar. SAVING BIRDS Thru Habitat board member Sheen Watkins, a wildlife photographer, was a presenter at the nonprofit’s seminar. * * *

Next Saturday, July 8, from 10 – 11 a.m., SBTH is having a program about bald eagles. The speaker is wildlife biologist and eagle expert Jerry Weinrich, who is also the offi- cial “eagle counter” for the Lower Peninsula. The cost is $10, and kids get in free.

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Omena is brimming with people who are back in town or here for a visit. Ellie Stephenson is here from New Hampshire. Bill and Kim Strubbe from Cincinnati are in town for the week, renting Cathy Stephenson’s cottage. Kim and Cathy have been friends since they attended Smith College together, where they lived in the same house. They also crossed paths at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business. As a side note, “Smithies” with Omena connections include Cathy’s mother Ellie Stephenson, Jane Saxton, and Mary Ziegeler.

Mary Helen and John Ray are back in Omena after a busy, fun spring. They joined a Northwestern University Alumni tour aboard a ship that traveled to Portugal, Spain, France and across the Channel to dock at Tower Bridge on the Thames in London. The focal attraction of the trip was passengers David and Julie Nixon Eisenhower who shared lectures on the Normandy beaches, Mont St. Michel, France and Bilbao, Spain. The Rays’ daughter Linda and granddaughter Emily McKenzie joined them in London. From there they toured favorite haunts in London, the Cotswolds and the Lake District from when they lived in England 37 years ago on sabbatical. They had the privilege of visiting the Greenwood family in Leamington Spa, and the Brace family in Stratford-upon-Avon. Both families had previously spent time with the Rays in Omena.

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Back in the States, John, Mary Helen and Michael Ray, joined by Linda and Jack McKenzie, helped Kevin and Karis Ray celebrate the high school graduation of their twins Lizze and Hannah Ray in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. Mary Helen and John are happy not to be living out of a suitcase and are ready for some delightful Omena experiences.

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Bobby Armbruster, Kim and Dennis Armbruster’s 13 year old grandson from Lansing, spent a week in New York City with Kim and Dennis recently. They visited the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Central Park, two museums, the Empire State Building and Rockefeller Center, as well as the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. Despite crowded streets and subways, Bobby loved NYC and says he would like to live there someday. Grandma and Grandpa had a wonderful time, but still prefer Omena.

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Jim and Kathy Miller are enjoying a visit from their granddaughters Sarah and Amelia this week. Sarah and Amelia brought their parents, Henry and Heidi, with them, too.

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John Putnam had a great time showing his friends, Carolyn and Steve Black from Colorado Springs, around Omena and northern Leelanau County. The Blacks were on a road trip around Lake Michigan and Omena was their first stop.

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Omena lost a lifelong Leelanau Township summer resident with the death of Jim Centner who died earlier this month in Cincinnati at the age of 95. Jim’s grandfather was Leo G. Cloud, who built the family cottage just south of Omena on property he and his brother Frank purchased from Rinaldo Putnam. Jim and the crowd of teenagers in the 1930s enjoyed the resort heyday of dances and boating at the Omena Inn and Northport Point. Throughout his life he reveled in recounting stories of adventures and characters of the times. He and his wife, Naomi, and their children, Jim Centner Jr, Marsha Buehler, and Amy Behm spent summers in Omena. In later years, he and Naomi summered on Northport Point. Naomi, his wife of 70 years, survives him.

Jim Centner spent 30 years in the Army, retiring as a full colonel; 25 years as adjunct professor of management at his alma mater, Xavier University; and over 50 years in the armored limousine industry. His heart was always in Leelanau County — the “invisible world” that was always with him, even when he could not see it.

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Congratulations to Judy Balas who has been accepted in the 2017 Cherry Festival Arts & Crafts Show on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. She will be showing her unique girls clothing: tee shirts with leggings, capris, and skirts for ages 4-12. Come visit her in her booth, White Dog * Black Tie, near the Visitors Center on Union Street before or after the air show. Judy’s wearable art will also be in the 20th annual Artists’ Market at the Old Art Building on Saturday, July 8 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.

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On Friday from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. will be the opening reception for the Northport Arts Association’s inaugural 2017 Northport Arts History Exhibit, featuring Native American basketry, the folk art of Hans Anderson, and the mid-century modern fine art of Emily Nash Smith. Omena resident John Mitchell is the Exhibit Director. Numerous collections of black ash baskets and quillwork made by Leelanau’s Odawa and other Anishnabek artists will be on display. Hans W. Anderson (1884- 1969) was born in Sweden and settled with his immigrant family in Northport at the age of four. After third grade, he joined his fisherman father on Lake Michigan and also cut lumber and unloaded schooners at the Northport docks. In the 1920s he began to spend the winter making models of sailing ships which he sold to summer visitors. In the late 1940s he began to paint, and the front yard of his home on Waukazoo became a market place for the eclectic work of this prolific folk artist.

Emily Nash Smith was a 20th century Leelanau pioneer, leaving behind the security of her Indiana home as a young newlywed to start a farm in Omena in 1922. The fifty-plus pieces of Smith’s art on display at the Village Art Building are among the best of 110 works of art that for 35 years after her death lay packed away in Emily’s studio on Overlook Farm. Most of these pieces will also be for sale during the show, and the commission the Northport Arts Association will receive from the sales will support their mission of fostering and promoting artistic expression throughout the Northport community.

Tickets for the opening reception are $15 for members and $25 for non-members, and can be purchased at the door. The free exhibit continues through July 8, but is closed on July 4.

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The Omena Historical Society is happy to again bring Gail Koch back to teach “Scenes of Omena II,” painting 3- by 3-foot canvases of Omena. Classes will be held July 5-6 from 9:30 to noon. The cost is $40 for members and $60 for non-members. To register, contact Helen Putnam Bradley online at coldhelenbradley@gmail.com or call 210- 382-7690.

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Edee Joppich will be teaching Watercolor II July 10, 11 12 as part of the Northport Arts Association summer program. You can sign up on their website, www.northportartsforall.com.

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The Omena Presbyterian Church is pleased to announce that Patrick Kuhl is returning as guest minister of music for the month of July. On Sunday he will be featured on the organ with Randall Nicholls as soloist. Pulpit Guest is Rev. Jim Porter of St. Thomas Community Presbyterian. This week will be the OPC’s Patriotic Service, beginning at 10 a.m.

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Mark your calendars to join the community on July 8 from 1 – 3 pm to celebrate Bea Kimmerly’s 105th birthday. Bea has been an Omena resident since 1947. The birthday party will be held at the Omena Community room.

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Happy Birthday to Dana Colling, Annette Husted, Chuck Dickerson, and Hope Kathleen Weist, who is 8. Happy Anniversary to Trish and Rick Bryan.

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