Rest in Peace Irv Halvorsen


By Joyce Halvorsen Fiedler with Carl, Roy and Jim Halvorsen

To say that Irving Halvorsen (Poppy) loved Schroon Lake would be an understatement.  Irv and his bride Grace honeymooned at Burzees in Schroon Lake Village.  Their connection to the area was through Grace whose uncle, Magnus Andersen, was part owner of the Frontier Town.  Her Aunt Agnus also owned the Silver Spruce Hotel where Grace would waitress on busy days.  In the early years of their marriage and as four children completed the family, they would make the five hour trip up Route 9 from Staten Island once a summer and stay for a week at one of the rental cabins on the north shore of the lake.   It was glorious and yet, they dreamed of having a place of their own.
In 1973, they bought a piece of property on the east shore in the newly developed Blue Sky Estates.  Working with builder Cliff Tomlinson (who would become a treasured friend), they built their dream home.  It was a modestly sized, simple cabin with knotty pine paneling and a beautiful deck overlooking the lake.  During his working years at Con Edison, he would take the bulk of his vacation time during the summer to enjoy every possible moment at the lake house.
Irv retired in 1986.  They sold their Staten Island home and 23 Lakeview Drive became their main residence.  No more driving bleary eyed after a long week at work.  No more tearing himself away from Blue Sky late Sunday evening to face the slogging drive to Staten Island.  Irv immersed himself in cabin life.  He moved more Adirondack rocks than you would think humanly possible.  He maintained a manicured lawn and gallantly fought back the woods that dare encroach on his space.  He was a fixture on his deck with coffee in the morning and wine in the evening waving at everyone who passed.  Neighbors had an open invitation to stop by his well-stocked garage if they needed a particular screw, saw, light or doohicky.   He was a jokester and storyteller who reveled in cruising the neighborhood in his “gator.”  People who moved away from Blue Sky would show up periodically to rekindle friendships and remark on how Pop was a mainstay in that community.  He served on the Blue Sky Estates governing association and donated his time and energy to all the events and functions of that group.   
Grace died in 2008 and those years from his retirement to her passing were the happiest of his life. 
Poppy passed away on November 14, 2017.  In a voicemail to the family, his doctor noted that it was a privilege to care for him and that it was rare to have a patient live independently well into his 87th year.  It was only the previous month that we had begun discussing with Pop the possibility that maybe it was becoming too cumbersome for him to live alone at Schroon Lake.  In the end, his kidneys and heart just stopped functioning.  It’s not far-fetched to believe that with Grace gone and the prospect of not living at the lake likely, he chose a graceful exit.
Irv was an ardent supporter of ESSLA and all of their conservation efforts.  He recognized that subsequent generations would only enjoy the lake if current residents worked to ensure its livelihood.   He requested that any donations after his passing go to ESSLA.
By Joyce Halvorsen Fiedler with Carl, Roy and Jim Halvorsen

Meet Laura Donaldson

When we first met Laura Donaldson a few years back, we quickly discovered a woman with multiple talents and passions who wears many hats. And she always does it with a smile. This innkeeper, seamstress and fountain of local knowledge is featured as this week’s Profile.


Name:  Laura Donaldson

Where do you live?

Between Schroon Lake & Olmstedville! 

Full time? Part time? Seasonal? 

Full Time

When did you move here or discover this part of paradise?   

Born and raised on Trout Brook Road, moved away for 15 years and had the opportunity to move back to my family property in 1990

Where did you grow up?

In Schroon Lake and graduated in 1976.

How do you -- or did you -- make a living?  

I run two businesses: I'm a seamstress/tailor and also run the Rocky Acres Bed & Breakfast, I have catered with Gourmet Gals six years, worked as an election board officer 25 years, worked at a school cafeteria, bus monitor and cleaner for many years, Schroon Lake Chamber of Commerce summer worker 13 years, At the Strand Theater I helped at the andy or ticket counter as needed.

I also clean and care-take for a few homes. The last two years I have opted out of many jobs - just keeping my businesses and the care taking and cleaning. 

How do you spend your free time?

Volleyball, kayaking, but mostly redoing my yard and improving my home

Coffee, Tea, or…? 

Water, Diet Dew, a Whiskey Sour or Margarita :)

What’s your idea of a perfect Saturday? 

Getting things accomplished!

What’s your favorite local restaurant? 

Pitkin’s for burgers, Flanagan’s for veal parm, Sticks 'n Stones for fungi pizza and Witherbee's for prime rib. I've earned these hips- love food:)

Favorite season(s) and why?

Fall. For the colors, less bugs, it's cooler, I can hike, bike and kayak

What’s on your nightstand?

Phone, little Christmas tree to remind me of my hubby and parents favorite time of year. A clock.

What are you listening to? 

A Movie

What are your current addictions?

Fit Bit and Diet Mountain Dew, éclairs

Who/what makes you laugh?

Just about everything. My girlfriend Nancy. I have a warped sense of humor. 

Talent you would most like to have?

More knowledge to do all the projects that I would like to have completed

What’s the best kept secret about Schroon Lake and or surrounding areas?

What great, caring and creative people we have in our midst

What do you hope they say about you at your funeral? 

That I was creative, happy, self sufficient, strong, determined, friendly, motivated, faithful: that she made the most of her life, the old fart

The Story Behind The Happy Face of the ADK General Store’s Oliver Diaz

 Photo Courtesy SUNY Lamron

Photo Courtesy SUNY Lamron

We first encountered the smiling face of Oliver Diaz a couple of years back, behind the counter of the Adirondack General Store.

His parents Maureen and Robert had just become the proud, new owners of this ADK icon, and the whole family was busy pitching in.

 Robert, Maureen and Oliver at their store in the summer of 2014. Schroon Laker Collection. All Rights Reverved

Robert, Maureen and Oliver at their store in the summer of 2014. Schroon Laker Collection. All Rights Reverved

Unbeknownst to us at the time, Oliver was a budding comedian, with a serious passion for making people laugh. Just how serious? Well this Junior English and French double major is now a member of SUNY Genesco’s improvisation troupe No Laugh Track. You can read more about how comedy changed Oliver’s life and if he’ll make a profession out of it, in this feature published in the school’s Lamron Newspaper, which you can read right here.