For some, Easter eggs are brightly colored hard boiled eggs that are eaten. But for Mary Kuchera, a Ukrainian American woman, they are an art form.
The ninety-three year old Oriskany resident has been decorating Ukrainian Pysanky for fifty years. The daughter of Ukrainian immigrants, Kuchera is keeping Ukrainian culture alive by making traditional Ukrainian pysanky.
Affectionately known as the “Egg Lady,” Mary has close to one thousand intricately decorated pysanky in her home. She loves to demonstrate how to make them and speak of the rich traditions regarding the symbolism of each line and design.
The elaborately designed eggs form a part of the centuries-old celebration of the Christian Easter in Ukraine.
Through the wax and dye process, eggs are transformed from their natural state into decorative works of art. A simple design may take two hours to complete but an intricate design can take several hours. Kuchera works on chicken, duck, goose and even ostrich eggs.
Her exhibit will include several eggs from her collection. She will be available to explain the symbolism of the lines of a design as well as explain other styles such as the pre-Christian era.
Kuchera’s works of art will be on display at the Oriskany Museum (420 Utica St., Oriskany) from March 14 until Easter. An extended exhibit will run on Saturday, March 23 from 1:00-5:00 p.m. with a short lecture at 2 p.m. Regular hours for the Oriskany Museum are 1:00-5:00 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.
The Village of Oriskany will celebrate the retirement of Mayor Donald F. Rothdiener with a banquet at Hart’s Hill Inn in Whitesboro on Saturday, April 6, 2019 at six o’clock in the evening.
Mayor Rothdiener is not seeking reelection after thirty years at his post, prior to which he served as village trustee for ten years, accounting for a total forty years of service to the Village of Oriskany.
Senator Joseph A. Griffo will preside as Master of Ceremonies. Tickets are available for $30 per person. Please contact the Oriskany Village Clerk, Andrea Lawrence, by phone at 315-736-3512 before March 29 to reserve your tickets. Payment may be mailed to PO Box 904, Oriskany, NY 13424 or delivered to the village office at 708 Utica St between the hours of 9:30 am and 2:00 pm on Monday, Wednesday, or Friday.
About Mayor Rothdiener
Donald Francis Rothdiener was raised in Utica and attended Utica Free Academy before enlisting in the U.S. Air Force in June 1949 at the age of seventeen. He went on to serve in both Japan and Korea during the Korean War.
Rothdiener married Melvina Kery in Utica on September 20, 1952. Together they raised
four sons (Donald F. Rothdiener II, Thomas E. Rothdiener, Eric C. Rothdiener, and
Mark J. Rothdiener) while stationed at Air Force bases in Big Spring, TX; Rome, NY;
Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, England; Washington, DC; Honolulu, HI; and Oscoda, MI.
On August 1, 1972, Rothdiener retired at the rank of Senior Master Sergeant and was
presented with the Third Oak Leaf Cluster of the Air Force Commendation Medal. The
family returned to Central New York and purchased a home in Oriskany that same year.
Rothdiener went on to work for Utica Fire Insurance Co. (now Utica First Insurance
Co.), from which he also retired.
In 1978, Rothdiener was elected to serve as a trustee on the Oriskany Village Board.
Ten years and five terms later, he decided to run for mayor. Rothdiener won the
mayoral race and took office on April 3, 1989.
As Rothdiener entered office, the village was in an era of change. The Helen B.
Lawrence Library building was newly constructed. The Oriskany Village Museum was in
the process of expanding into the former library, and thoughts were circling on how to
improve the village’s park, then known as Point Field. Over the next ten years, the
mayor, the village Anchor Committee, and the Battle of Oriskany Historical Society
arranged for the USS Oriskany Anchor Memorial to be constructed around the original
starboard anchor from the namesake aircraft carrier. This was quickly followed by an
A-4 Skyhawk plane, the ship’s bell, a gazebo, and a new museum building, constructed
almost entirely through community outreach and donations. The anchor now serves as
a landmark for residents and passerby alike.
Over the years, Donald Rothdiener also served as President of the Oriskany Little
League and as a coach for Parkhurst Post Baseball at Oriskany American Legion Post
#1448. He enjoys golf and bowling, having passed many hours at the former Riverside
Lanes in Marcy. Donald and his wife Melvina were married for fifty-seven years before
her passing in 2010. Today, the Mayor enjoys spending time with his four sons and
daughters-in-law, fourteen grandchildren, and twelve great-grandchildren.