January 14 – Amsterdam Birthday Bits

slezak2There were 350,000 brave and patriotic women in the United States who volunteered for military service during World War II and Amsterdam native Virginia Slezak was one of them. She was born in Hagaman on this date in 1924. Her mom was a Popiel and her Dad a Bilinski. She graduated from Wilbur Lynch High School in ’42, worked at GE for a spell and then joined the US Navy WAVES. When she returned from service after the war she got married, raised two children and put in 20 years of service with the New York State Department of Taxation & Finance. She passed away in September of 2008.

Any one who remembers doing business at Amsterdam’s Kelly Lumber Company when it operated on Edwards Street remembers Louis Kern. While it was the Kelly family that ran the business end of the company it was Louis Kern who supervised Kelly’s well stocked and supremely managed yard. He worked there for 37 years. He was born in Amsterdam in 1926. His mom was a Bundy. He was a WWII Veteran, serving in a tank battalion that helped invade Germany toward the close of the war. He married his wife Lucia in 1948 and they raised two children. As you might expect based upon his years working with lumber, Kern was also a skilled carpenter himself. He died in August of 2011.

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