The 15th Annual Middlesex Citizen Appreciation Day will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 5 at the Middlesex FireHall, 5537 Water St. The program is sponsored jointly by the Town of Middlesex, the Middlesex Heritage Group and the Middlesex Fire Department.
This year’s honorees include Wilfred “Wil” Kennedy, Anne Button Arnold, George E. King, and Ronald G. Spike.
Kennedy was born in 1916, the only son of John and Florence Kennedy. He was the Valedictorian of his class of Middlesex High School. He then graduated from RIT with an Electrical Engineering degree in 1941. Wil owned a successful grape farm in Middlesex. He purchased Kennedy Chevrolet in 1947 and owned the dealership until 1962. Wil was an outstanding conservationist from 1973 through 1978. He was State Chairman of the Fish and Wildlife Management Board and in 1982, was recognized as “New York State Conservationist of the Year.” For 63 years he was the devoted husband of Harriett (Dunton) and the father of John and Kathleen Kennedy Manning. He was also a member of the Marcus Whitman School Board and a member of the Middlesex Methodist Church.
Arnold is the daughter of Leon and Mabel Button and a graduate of Middlesex Valley Central School and Geneva School of Nursing. Anne married Frank A. Arnold in 1951, and is the mother of Judith Ann (deceased), Lynn Arton of Penn Yan, and Suzie Reifsteck of Canandaigua. She is the grandmother of six and great-grandmother of seven. In addition to spending time with her family and living on a farm, she volunteered with many local organizations, including the Middlesex Ambulance, Sirenettes, Friendship House, Vine Valley Community House, Vine Valley UME Church and the Overacker Cemetery Association.Anne was employed for many years as a nurse working at F.F. Thompson Hospital, Ontario County Nursing Home and Elm Manor Nursing Home. She also served as a reading aide at Marcus Whitman Central School.
George E. King was the son of Alexander and Mary Weaver King. He was ordained as a minister in the Baptist Church in 1935, and served as the beloved Pastor of the Middlesex Baptist Church. The Rev. King married Thelma Oakley, and they became the parents of Paul and Timothy. He owned and operated a 500-acre farm between Naples and Middlesex. He organized the Middlesex Flying Club, and instructed many young men in this area. He served with the Middlesex Hose and and the Civil Air Patrol.
Ronald G. Spike was born in 1949, the son of George and Agnes Spike. He was raised in Middlesex and attended the Valley Elementary School. In 1958, when his dad became the Yates County Sheriff, the family moved to Penn Yan. Ron graduated from the Penn Yan Academy and later Monroe Community College and several law enforcement schools. Ron married Sue Waters in 1971, and they have three children, Corrie Sue Carter, Peter, and Jay Spike, and eight grandchildren. Ron joined the Yates County Sheriff’s office in 1970 as a part-time deputy, and has been dedicated to law enforcement ever since. He was elected Sheriff of Yates County in 1991, and has been continuously re-elected every four years. He is currently serving his seventh term. Ron has received numerous awards throughout his career, highlighted by being a New York State Deputy of the Year. He has also been a member of several volunteer organizations, including the Shriners and the Penn Yan Lions Club where he served as President.
The Middlesex Citizen Appreciation Day was first initiated in 1973. In 2004, a group of citizens including town board members, businessmen, and firemen established the program as an Annual Appreciation Day. To date, a total of 45 citizens have been honored.
The Middlesex Heritage Museum is located in the Town Hall at 1216 Route 245 in the Town of Middlesex, and specializes in local history. It is open Wednesday mornings from 9 a.m. to noon.