Lyn-Weishan-011By Jann Wiswall

1913 was the year the crossword puzzle was invented. It was the year windshield wipers were required on all motor cars. It was the year Brillo pads and parachutes were patented. And it was the year Lynford “Lyn” C. Weishan was born in Ellicottville, N.Y.

A century later, on Dec. 9, 2013, Weishan turned 100.

This impressive milestone was celebrated on Dec. 8 at the United Church of Ellicottville with a crowd of family and friends who feted him with fabulous foods, an enormous cake and an honor that would make anybody feel pretty darn special — his birthday was officially proclaimed Lynford C. Weishan Day by the Village and Town of Ellicottville.

The party was unique for many obvious reasons, but especially because of the several generations of family members who joined the celebration from near and far. First and second cousins, great nieces and nephews and two great-grand nieces were there from both sides of the family, as were Weishan’s daughter Kathy, son Brian and grandson Derek. (His two other daughters, Bonnie and Joanna, were unable to attend).

All were thrilled to celebrate the event, but none more than Weishan, who was “tickled” to have so many loved ones share his very special day.

A Man of Dedication

If there is one word that describes Weishan, it might be “dedicated.” Whether it involved family or work or volunteering, once Weishan made a commitment, he dedicated himself and never looked back.

He started working at age 8 as a trapper after school and on weekends. He continued this “side job” until 1992 when his buyer retired. He also worked on farms all over the area, helping to support his parents during the Depression.

As an adult, Weishan worked for Ellicottville’s basket factory, Jamestown Lounge Company and the B&O Railroad as a “gandy dancer” — a term used for early railroad workers who laid and maintained tracks. Ask Weishan about how to stop a train — a requirement for all gandy dancers of the day. He’ll explain every second of the process.

In 1988, he started working at HoliMont as a sanitation engineer. He didn’t retire from that job until 2012.  All along, he also ran his own lawn care business. He retired from that this past summer at the age of 99. He is now fully retired, with 91 working years under his belt.

In 1938, Weishan joined the Ellicottville Volunteer Fire Department. He served as assistant chief for 20 years and chief for a decade. By the time he retired in 2008, he had served as an active member of the department for 75 years.

Above all, Weishan was and is most dedicated to his family. His parents, Albert and Grace, raised him, his four sisters and a brother at the family home on Elizabeth Street where Weishan lives today. In October 1936, Weishan married Margaret June Day, from Franklinville, in the manse of the former Presbyterian Church (now the United Church of Ellicottville). They raised their four children in Ellicottville, all of whom went to Ellicottville Central School. Both Margaret and Lyn were very active in the church. Since Margaret’s death in 2008, Lyn and daughter Kathy remain active there to this day.

Ninety-one years of work, 75 years of volunteering, 71 years of marriage, 100 years of making an impact on everyone he touched.

That’s dedication. And that’s why dedicating Lynford C. Weishan Day was no surprise to anyone — except, perhaps, the man who was bestowed the honor.