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Henderson tree lighting ceremony today will honor long time town residents

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HENDERSON — A town-wide tree lighting ceremony will be held for the first time today and will be dedicated to longtime residents Dick and Gladys Ross and their family.

The ceremony, sponsored by the Henderson Harbor Performing Arts Association, was planned by former Supervisor Frank W. Ross, who had served on the association’s board since it began in 1996. Mr. Ross died in June at the age of 72.

“Frank touched an awful lot of people in his lifetime, and the Ross family has lived here forever,” said Eunice J. Wescott, the association’s director.

Mr. Ross, a member of the Henderson Volunteer Fire Department for 55 years, last year planted the tree that will be used for the ceremony. Mrs. Wescott noted that she and Mr. Ross were the last remaining original members of the association.

“This was something he had talked about doing for years, and never got around to,” Mrs. Wescott said. “We’re going to do it and follow through for him.”

Mr. Ross held several positions in town government dating back to 1972. He was supervisor from 1996 to 2007, and was deputy supervisor at the time of his death. He also served with the Henderson Historical Society and the Henderson Fish and Game Club.

Since being planted last year, the tree has grown to about six feet tall, meaning the tree can be covered with only a few lines of lights.

“I’m sure we’re going to need more as it gets bigger,” Mrs. Wescott said. A plaque will be hung from the tree, inscribed with “In memory of the Dick and Gladys Ross family.”

A dedication speech at the ceremony is scheduled to be given by Jefferson County Legislator Barry M. Ormsby, while Mr. Ross’s sister Ora Ditch will light the tree. Organizers are preparing to have about 100 in attendance.

After today, the tree lighting ceremony will become an annual event.

The ceremony will take place at 5 p.m. on the grounds of the Henderson Harbor Performing Arts Association, 12469 Harbor Road. A reception will follow immediately at the Henderson Community Building, 8939 Route 178.

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