Historical marker goes up for Fancher WWII war memorial

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 May 2023 at 9:32 am

Provided photos

FANCHER – Matt Passarell, left, of the VFW and American Legion in Albion holds a historical marker with Murray Town Supervisor Joe Sidonio. The new marker was unveiled on Wednesday in a ceremony attended by veterans, historians and local residents.

The Pomeroy Foundation paid for the cost of the new marker which is at the Fancher Curve on Route 31 and highlights the World War II memorial.

The monument is made of Medina Sandstone with a green mortar and four clock faces. It was originally dedicated on Aug. 14, 1949 as a monument to 10 young men from the Fancher community who were killed in World War II. Those soldiers include John Christopher, Joseph Christopher, Cosmo Coccitti, Floyd Valentine, John Kettle Jr., Leonard Licursi, Martin Licursi, Camille Nenni, Richard Merritt and Richard Vendetta. They left the hamlets of Fancher, Brockville and Hulberton and went off to war and didn’t return.

“This was an underappreciated piece of property,” Sidonio said on Wednesday. “Now there is increased general awareness about what it is. This is a visual reminder that this is an important triangle. People should know it’s not just a municipal clock. It is a World War II monument.”

From left include Dan Mawn, president of the Murray-Holley Historical Society; Ron Ayrault, an American Legion member who attended the memorial’s dedication ceremony as a kid on Aug. 14, 1949; and Town Supervisor Joe Sidonio.

Mawn also did the electrical upgrades to get the clock working again inside the memorial.

Veterans who attended the ceremony on Wednesday included Scott Galliford, the American Legion post commander in Holley; Jeff Brien, VFW Post commander in Holley; Mike Donahue, VFW Post commander in Albion; Ron Ayrault, Dave Cole, James Coates, Joe Sidonio, Kevin Foley, Chuck Eberhardt, Joe Gehl, Matt Passarell, Gary Dingle and Rex Hultz.

Joe Sidonio and Ron Ayrault spoke during the historical marker unveiling. Sodonio said the marker culminates two years of effort to restore the memorial and increase public awareness about the site’s purpose, that it isn’t just a municipal clock.

About two years ago the effort was jump-started by a phone call from Dr. Fred Fiorito, a Fancher native. He offered to help pay for restoring the memorial.

Sidonio also thanked Erin Anheier of Clarendon who wrote the application to get the site listed on the National Register of Historic Places last year.