Oriskany Celebrates Mayor of Thirty Years
One of the USS Oriskany anchor dedication logos. Drawn by former Oriskany Museum curator Karen Jacobson.
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 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.