Picture by Lisa Petraglia
'Breathing new life into
'Sometimes when everything gets cracked
it let's the light shine in
and leads you out of the darkness'
In- Memorium: Gary Phelps
The Phelps family of Granby MA lost its patriarch, father, grandfather, brother, uncle . . . almost two weeks ago. Granby lost a long-time resident, retired member of the volunteer fire department, former tree warden, and a pillar of the community. Granby Preservation Society (GPS) lost the strongest advocate for restoring and preserving Kellogg Hall for future generations, an irreplaceable asset and devoted member. For many others, we lost a friend. For Gary, he has gone home to be with Cynthia his wife, whom he has greatly missed for almost a year since her passing on June 6, 2022.
Gary Phelps passed away on Sunday May 21st, 2023. He and his wife had been members since the inception of GPS in January of 2014. For members that did not know Gary, he was one of the founding members and one of three that gave the dollar at the selectboard meeting to seal the purchase of the building back in August of 2014. He could be seen at businesses around town, charter day, the all-town tag sale, and at all GPS events selling tickets to raise the funds needed to accomplish the mission, a mission he took seriously, personally, and passionately.
Gary had been either vice-president or president for the prior nine years (2014-2022). He just turned 80 in April, had just been elected to his fourth three-year term on the Board of Directors for GPS as vice-president, had just developed “his” annual fund-raising event, this year’s money month calendar, and was planning a goal to sell over 703 to break his 2019 accomplishment. This year he visited or called many of the former and new contributors in February and March to fill the squares on the 2023 version. He collected the highest payout since he started this event in 2015. Little did we know Gary was doing so while ill, devoted to the cause at the expense of his own health, and selling tickets to hospice attendants during his final hours.
He was tenacious, determined, involved and generous with his time, efforts, and funding for every aspect of GPS support. He was instrumental in the completion of the painting of the building by being present every day the painters came to paint. He made sure the front of the building was painted for the 250th celebration in 2018 and depicted Chester Kellogg in the parade on the GPS float. He checked the building and boiler daily, regulated the radiators to heat the rooms within the building. He received the calls for fire alerts then checked the building to find out that spider motion set off the alarm. He filled the holes in the parking lot, helped to paint the auditorium, and planned the restoration project schedule. He went to every fund-raising event and sold event raffle tickets, even in the damp cold October wind of the Haunted House and drive-thru events.
Finally, Gary was not only a friend to GPS and its members, but he was also a great friend to many people from all walks of life. He sincerely loved the community in which he lived, and his generosity extended far beyond Kellogg Hall and the Granby Preservation Society. While he advocated for various causes in town, he always did so with utmost respect and kindness, regardless of political affiliation or opposing viewpoint. His approach to life was infectious. We frequently had the opportunity to talk with Gary at many different events where he explained the history of Kellogg Hall and Cynthia’s familial connection to the building. Gary gave so much of himself behind the scenes. He wanted to ensure Kellogg Hall's story be told and the building’s features be shown to all generations that entered. “Gary, we have a heavy load to shoulder to bring your vision to fruition.” Many of us had a similar experience of fielding a phone call or engaging in a conversation with Gary that quickly gravitated to an hour or more discussion about the rich history of Granby and the people who sacrificially made it great. Without any reservation, we honorably add Gary to that list. He will be sorely missed.
We extend our deepest sympathies to Jay and George (Gary and Cynthia’s sons), and the extended family. We will miss his stories, and his knowledge. And vow to l ‘keep going’ by making progress, implementing the projects, restoring the building, and preserving Kellogg Hall. For anyone that knew him, ‘the point is’ the mission will be followed, and we intend to stay on course.
Gary, we all continue to hear your encouragement and will forever hear your footsteps on the stairs and your voice throughout Kellogg Hall. Let it be known you have made a huge contribution toward the success of GPS to restore and preserve the building. Rest well friend, you’ve done your family and yourself proud.
In- Memorium: Art Lemire
The ‘family’ of members and volunteers at Granby Preservation Society would like to pay tribute to one of our most staunch supporters of the mission to restore and preserve Kellogg Hall. When a friend and member depart, we circle round his loved ones.
Arthur (‘Art’) Lemire, passed on Saturday May 13th, 2023. He and his wife have been members since 2015. For members that did not know Art, he was a resident of Belchertown with a passion for cars and attended all our car shows held from 2015 – 2019. You may remember him for his avid support of our shows where he and wife Diane (Gaj, of Granby), displayed their metallic blue hard top convertible limited edition 2006 Chevy SSR and a copper & maroon 1978 Chevy El Camino (depicted in the pictures below). He loved his cars and the camaraderie of all fellow car owners that displayed and shared the same passion for their vehicles at the shows.
Art was energetic, knowledgeable, and generous with his time, business acumen and donations for all our fund-raising activities. Their generosity could be seen on the money month calendars, on the tables and rooms within the Festival of Tree & Basket events that provided entertainment to the local community during the holidays, and many other events. We are so grateful for Art and Diane’s involvement, support, contributions, and presence. Even when in Florida, they continued to reach out and ask how they could help, ‘what do you need?’. Big hearts with big smiles with so much concern for what was happening back home.
We extend our deepest sympathies to Diane, and the extended family. We will miss his smile, and never forget his help, enthusiasm, and generosity.
Art, we are circling Diane as we know she will miss you dearly, as one half is not whole, without the other.
Board of Directors Meeting
The next regularly scheduled BOD Meeting is the second Wednesday of July. The meeting for 7/12/2023 @ 6:00pm. Please take the necessary Covid precautions if you attend the meeting
Granby BOH guidelines apply
The Meeting Agenda has been posted for the 4/19/2023
The Fundraising committee for 2023 @ Kellogg Hall.
Anyone interested in volunteering for our fundraisers, you are welcome to the meetings. Please contact email@example.com