John Richard “Dick” Eisenhart of Penn Yan, died peacefully on January 25, 2018 at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hospital.
Calling hours will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 30 at Townsend-Wood Funeral Chapel in Penn Yan. A funeral service will be performed at Penn Yan United Methodist Church at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 31. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Humane Society of Yates County, PO Box 12, Penn Yan, N.Y. 14527 or the Soldiers & Sailors Hospital Foundation, 418 N. Main St., Penn Yan, N.Y. 14527.
He was born on March 13, 1925 in Horseheads, the son of the late J. Richard and Florence (Weed) Eisenhart. He grew up in Watkins Glen with his mom and his older sister, Justine, after losing his father in a house fire as a youngster.
Dick graduated from Watkins Glen High School and then became part of “The Greatest Generation” as a serviceman in the U.S. Army in the Philippines and Japan during World War II. He went on to testify as the lead government witness at the famed “Tokyo Rose” treason trial in San Francisco, Calif., having been her prison guard at end of the war.
Dick graduated from the Rochester Business Institute where he met his beloved wife, Sylvia, of 65 years, with whom he raised a cherished daughter, Susan, and two sons, Steve and Donald, in Penn Yan.
Dick followed his childhood dream and became a news reporter for the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle and other regional Gannett newspapers. He diligently documented community and school events through both word and photograph for over 33 years. In fact, the phrase “Hey, Mr. Eisenhart, take my picture!” became popular among local residents at the time. His career was also highlighted by exclusive interviews with Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert “Bobby” Kennedy as well as yearly coverage of the United States Grand Prix auto races in Watkins Glen.
Following retirement Dick co-founded Newsart Promotions, a marketing firm that supported many local businesses and agencies including The Windmill Farm and Craft Market, The Keuka Maid, and The Arc of Yates. He realized his goal of helping to preserve the history of Penn Yan by organizing and donating numerous archives to The Oliver House Museum. He also continued to enjoy traveling both in the United States and abroad, often in the company of his close family. It was, no doubt, with his family throughout his life that Dick most expressed his love of humor, sports, music, pets, and conversation.
Dick was a proud life member of the Johnson-Costello Post of the American Legion. He was a past president of the Penn Yan Kiwanis Club and member of Penn Yan United Methodist Church. Dick is survived by his wife Sylvia (Conley) Eisenhart, daughter Susan, and son Donald of Penn Yan, and son Steve and daughter-in- law Pam of Colorado Springs, Colo. as well as several nieces, nephews and cousins.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Justine Griffith.
Memories of Dick may be shared with his family and friends at www.townsendwoodfuneralchapel.com