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Thomas E. Burger Funeral Home renews membership in tree program for 2010-2011

Thomas E. Burger Funeral Home of Hilton has renewed its affiliation with Lofty Oaks Association, a New Hampshire organization dedicated to reforestation and conservation efforts in New York.

The firm arranges to have a tree planted for each service that they perform to provide a living memorial in honor of the deceased and to renew the forest life of New York. Over 34,675 trees have been planted state wide.

The memorial trees are planted in the spring and fall. This program is part of a large endeavor to restore the landscape and the environment with living trees.

After each service, close family members and friends are informed that the memorial tree has been arranged for by Thomas E. Burger of the Thomas E. Burger Funeral Home. When a certified nurseryman has planted the tree, the designated people will receive a certificate of planting suitable for framing and keeping in the family's history. Click here to read more.

2009 Citizen of the Year Thomas E. Burger

Thomas E BurgerThe Village Board has named Thomas Burger as Hilton’s Citizen of the Year. Tom has been actively involved in serving the Hilton community for many years. Many people know Tom for the very personal and caring service he provides as Owner and President of the Thomas E. Burger Funeral Home, Inc., located in the Village of Hilton. Tom is also known for the many hours he devotes in the Rotary Club, where he recently received the “Paul Harris Fellowship Award”. The award is the highest honor a person can receive in the club, for exemplary “service above self”. Tom’s community involvement doesn’t end there. He is also active with the Masons, is the Chairperson of the Parma Bicentennial Committee and is the Town of Parma Historian. Tom has many ties with the old families of Hilton and Parma through his strong interest in genealogy. Tom’s active involvement in the community and dedication to the service of others makes him worthy of the honor of Citizen of the Year. Congratulations Tom!




Recycling the United States Flag

Photograph by Walter Horylev.

Flag Recycling

Post Adjutant Bill Ornt, American Legion Commander Don Hess of the Ferris Goodridge Post 330 and House Committee Chairman Jim Carey hold several old and damaged American flags turned in at the damaged flag box receptacle recently installed on the southeast corner of the Ferris Goodridge building on trimmer Road Spencerport. The idea of providing this service came from Jim and, with the help of an old relay post box donated by John baker, Spencerport postmaster, it has proved to be a very useful method for collecting old and/or damaged flags. Since being installed in early December, about 50 flags have been deposited in the container. (This particular use for the old mail receptacle was approved by the main post office). The flags deposited here, along with flags for disposal collected from all Legion posts in the country, are burned in a ceremony on Flag Day in June.

2003 Hilton Hall of Fame Inductees

Last month at commencement, thirteen new members of the Hilton High School Alumni of Fame were presented to the audience. Induction was held the night prior. Congratulations to the 2003 Hall of Fame Inductees:

Thomas E. Burger, Class of 1964, is the owner and Manager of the Thomas E. Burger Funeral Home in Hilton. Recognized for his compassionate and innovative work to support grieving families, he was the recipient of the 1993 Pursuit of Excellence Award from the National Funeral Directors Association. He was nominated by Charles Tucker.

Names of Hilton Hall of Fame Inductees for 2003

New bridge spans Parma's Town Park pond

The pond at Parma Town Park is a little more pedestrian friendly thanks to a newly installed 30-foot long, 7-foot wide bridge that crosses the southern banks of this fishing haven. Troop 125 scout, Eric Gooding, took on the responsibility of coordinating the bridge construction as part of his Eagle Scout project after conferring with Eagle Advisor, Rick Alexander, who knew of the town's need to span the pond with a footbridge.

"The town focused on building this bridge to allow our pond to be more user friendly to park patrons, and to make easier the frequent travel from the Burritt pavilion to the more active recreation opportunities at the front of Town Hall Park," Town Supervisor Rick Lemcke said. "This bridge is part of the overall Town Hall Park Expansion Project made possible from a $252,250 EPF funding grant from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation," Lemcke said.

Eric Gooding's responsibilities associated with his Eagle project were that of soliciting the volunteer labor and coordinating the construction process. Gooding said two problems encountered with this project were squaring off the bridge foundation poles installed by a volunteer work crew this past fall and working in windy conditions with the temperatures in the low twenties. A positive aspect of building this bridge in December was the ability to work off the ice-covered pond throughout the construction process.

Gooding coordinated a total of 22 volunteers to assist with building the bridge, and worked closely with the Parma Parks Department in developing a materials list and creating construction dates. Gooding's project now goes before the Board of Review sometime in February.

Parma Park Bridge
Eric Gooding and his father, Mike, work on a side railing of the footbridge for Eric's Eagle Scout project. Mike also attained the rank of Eagle Scout as a member of Troop 125.

Hilton's marathon milkman announces his retirement

Milk has been good for him. Really good. At soon-to-be 63 years old, Doug Hurlbutt has outlasted at least seven trucks and hasn't seen a sick day in over four decades. While his walk is labored and his health isn't as strong as he would like, the well-known milk deliveryman has demonstrated an almost unheard of work ethic.

His streak of 60 hour weeks will be coming to an end soon as Hurlbutt will sell Hilton Dairy and semi-retire. Hurlbutt said he wants to focus some more energy on his family, especially his seven grandchildren with one more on the way.

He plans to celebrate his retirement with his wife, Carolyn, and the families of his three sons, David, Phillip, and Matthew, by visiting Disney World this March. Carolyn, who hasn't experienced too many family vacations because of Doug's work schedule, is looking forward to it, but says once they get back she doesn't expect to see him sitting around the house much.

"It will at least be nice to have him home at a decent hour, but I don't think he'll be around too much," said Carolyn.

The lifelong Hilton resident has always been involved in the community outside of his normal 10-hour workday. He served on the village board in the 1960s and was mayor from 1969-1974. He was a fireman for the village for 15 years and has been active in the school district.

His passion now is volunteering at St. Paul Lutheran Church, where he has attended ever since he was married. He has served on the Board of Elders, as President of the Congregation, on the Board of Education and on its Lay Ministry Team. The church was the first place Hurlbutt went when he started to think about what he would do as a semi-retired man.

His work ethic has not been lost on his family. One of his sons, Phil, currently works for Kludt Brothers Farm in Kendall. Phil said his father's example sent a clear message. "We learned not to quit," said Phil. Sometimes that message came at a cost.

"When we were kids, we never wanted a day off from school, because we knew we'd be peddling milk," he said. "I only remember one real, week-long vacation he took. I filled in for him and it was the most tired I've ever been."

Hurlbutt's introduction to hard work began at the age of six when his grandmother made him a pillow that would allow him to reach the pedals of their farm tractor. Hurlbutt worked his grandfather Lawrence Wright's farm on Dunbar Road. He was a dedicated farm employee until he nearly lost his leg in an accident.

Hurlbutt can remember June 16 just before his 16th birthday clearly. It was his run in with a mechanical lift that kept him in the hospital for his birthday, and it was that incident that motivated him to go to college.

Hurlbutt attended Alfred State College and came back to the area to work for a tractor company in Hamlin and then another one in Hilton. In January 1959 he took a job at Pisher's Dairy in Spencerport and the following year he bought Rood's Dairy in Hilton. Soon he changed the name to Hilton Dairy - the company he has run all this time.

Delivering milk door-to-door in his hometown has given Hurlbutt a pretty clear vantage point from which to observe changes in the community.

Hurlbutt can recall hearing the fire alarm and looking out his window to see the most devastating fire in Hilton history as Main Street burned down. He can rattle off the stores that used to adorn the village's main strip and he is remorseful over the fact that you can no longer buy clothes and many other items in Hilton. Hurlbutt remembers agriculture's stronghold on the community, and when Hilton was truly the Apple Capital.

"If someone had told me back then that there wouldn't be a canning factory in Hilton, I would have said 'You're crazy,' " he said. " Today I can go down Main Street and not see anyone I know, but that is pretty typical throughout small town USA."

Sometimes making one of the deliveries to his nearly 250 customers resulted in memorable events. Hurlbutt recalls wading through snow banks as high as telephone wires. The winter blasts of 1966 and 1977 will forever give him a chill.

Along the way he met many characters and was part of some interesting situations. Hurlbutt recalls hearing a cry for help coming from a house on his delivery route. The cry was from an older woman who had fallen into her bathtub and couldn't get out. To this day, he can still see the look on the mailman's face when Hurlbutt asked him for help to get the woman out of her bathtub.

Hurlbutt said the biggest constant throughout his career has been his pleasure in interacting with his customers. Hurlbutt said he knows he will really miss many of his loyal customers.

"I'm going to miss everyone," said Hurlbutt. "It is time to do something different, but I'm not sure what that is yet."

milk truck
Doug Hurlbutt's milk delivery truck is a common site around Hilton. He's retiring after over 40 years of delivering milk, juice and eggs in a job that requires about 60 hours of effort a week. Doug has between 200-250 home customers a week and will officially retire on February 15. Photograph by Walter Horylev

Thomas E. Burger places annual wreaths at nearby cemetery.

Thomas E Burger While it is customary for the living to honor the deceased by placing a wreath at their graves at the holidays, older cemeteries often go unadorned. But not so in the Parma area where Funeral Director Tom Burger (left) of Burger Funeral Home in Hilton has quietly gone about a special project for the past 10 or so years. He, with the assistance of Richard Wyant, place wreaths at the restored and yet-to-be restored sites - "I do it to remember the pioneer settlers of Parma and to honor their memory," he said last week when this photo was made. Burger has been the inspiration for many Boy Scouts working on their Eagle Scout rank requirements and has worked with other community members to get old cemetery signs replaced or repainted. Ronald & Kathy Carlton have helped with the sign endeavors. Among the restored historical cemeteries are: Wright at Dunbar Rd. and Town Line Rd,; Smith at North Ave. and Dunbar Rd.; Atchinson at Hill Rd; Castle at Peck Road east of Rt. 259; Knapp/Sage at Clarkson Parma Town Line Rd.; Hoosick on Route 104. Yet to be restored cemeteries include Van Wormer at Bennett Road and Moul on Moul Rd.