Donald Everett Schryver was born on 13 February
He was the second child and second son of John Clinton Schryver and
Elizabeth Mary Knutty Schryver.
Donald lived in Watertown (Jefferson County, NY) his
entire life, except for his college years. He graduated from the
Watertown High School in 1930. He took several classes offered in
Watertown by Syracuse University and then enrolled at the Tri-State
College in Angola IN. He received his BA in Electrical Engineering
The picture at the right is not labeled, but we are
fairly certain that it is Donald in what appears to be a baptismal
gown. The photo below shows Donald, seated, with his older
brother, John Howard. Based on their apparent ages, this photo was
taken in 1914.
Shortly after his college graduation, he became the
chief engineer at radio station WATN in Watertown. He served in
that capacity until he retired in 1978. In 1959, the radio station
owner was notified that they would have to relocate because they were
tearing the building down to replace it with a new structure. At
that time, the radio station was on the top floor of the Northern New
York Trust Company building and the tower was on top of the
building. Donald virtually single-handedly disconnected and
removed all of the radio station equipment and put it in storage until
the new building was ready for occupancy in 1962. He then moved
the equipment into the new building and put the station back on the air.
The Northern New York Trust Company building was located at the corner
of Washington Street and Stone Street in Watertown, just off Public
Square. It is now the location of the HSBC Bank building.
In 1959, when the station was off the air, he went
searching for a new job and was hired as a plant operator at the
Watertown Municipal Electric Plant. He was approached by the
city's Utility Supervisor in the early 1960's and agreed to be
retrained. He subsequently became the Watertown City Chemist and
simultaneously worked in the job until he retired from it in 1975.
During most of his adult years, Donald operated his
own business in addition to the above mentioned jobs. He did service
work in radio and television and for many years, maintained the
communications equipment for several municipal and emergency
services. He owned and
operated the Wired Programming Service during the 40's and 50's.
This business supplied background music to businesses in the Jefferson
County area. He also owned an apartment building for a period of
time in Watertown that had over 30 apartments. He also ran a
snack food delivery business for several years. They supplied
snacks to many bars and stores in the area and distributed the Wickham
Potato Chip brand.
Communications were always a big part of Donald's
life. He was also an amateur (ham) radio operator. He was
first licensed in 1931 as W8ECF. After World War II, the northern
part of New York was reassigned as the second district and he obtained
the call W2ECF, which he held until his death. In those years, a
separate license was needed if you operated out of your home area.
He also held a second license in Indiana when he was in college.
Over the years, ham radio has had various levels of operating
licenses. Donald held one of the mid-level licenses most of his
life and it wasn't until around 1985 (age 73) that he upgraded to
Amateur Extra. By that time, his son, David had become a
ham. Donald decided that he couldn't let his son beat him to the
top rung of the licensing ladder! He upgraded to Amateur Extra
that year, David in April of the next year.
Donald spent the last five or so years of his life
with coronary problems and congestive heart failure. He died of coronary failure on November 23, 1997
at the age of 85-9-10 and is buried in the
Brookside Cemetery in Watertown.
Emily Lavinia Kelley was born on December 28, 1908 in England, at the Military Families Hospital in
Portsea. According to her
birth certificate, she was born in the Registration District of
Portsmouth, in the sub-district of Portsea and Landport, in the County
of Portsmouth C.B. The family apparently lived in Poole, County
Dorset at that time, but later moved to Bournemouth.
She came to America in 1927 at the age of 18.
According to her son Richard, she had a boyfriend in England that her parents
didn't think much of. They shipped her to Montreal PQ where she
was united with her brother Martin and she was trained to be a lady's
maid. Although she was sent to North America by her parents, she
always insisted that she paid for her trip.
While in Montreal, she met Leo Laurin. He was
from Watertown NY but was in Montreal for some reason, possibly visiting
family. They were married on July 11, 1929. She had a son,
Eric William Laurin, on September 25, 1930. He died on December 28
of that same year at the age of 0-3-3. We do not know the exact
cause of death but it is interesting to note that Eric's birth date
eventually became the date of Richard's wedding anniversary and he died
on Emily's twenty-second birthday. A second son, Richard Leo Laurin
was born on July 25, 1935. By that point, they were living in
In the summer of 1937, she and Richard went back to
England. Although several stories surround this circumstance, we
now realize it was to escape a failing marriage. They were on a six-month visa. The war
broke out, they were in the south of England and she was not able to get
back to America until 1946. She and Richard departed by ship from
South Hampton, England on July 4, 1946. By the time they arrived
back in Watertown, Emily found that her husband had remarried,
even though they had not yet divorced. Their divorce was final in
She then took jobs cleaning homes and
businesses to support herself and her young son. It was while
cleaning at radio station WATN that she met Donald
E. Schryver, the chief engineer at the station. They were
married on July 22, 1950. A son, David
J. Schryver was born on August 29, 1951. Emily spent the rest of her
life as a wife, mother and homemaker.
The photo at the left shows Emily and Donald with a
cake. The picture was definitely taken at the family cottage on
Pillar Point. It is not labeled but our best guess is that this
was taken in the summer of 1950. Both of their birthdays were
during winter months so it was not a birthday cake. David's
birthday is in the summer but since he is not pictured, it probably was
taken after their wedding.
Emily suffered a stroke in
July 1999 and was
moved the next month to Richard's home in Star Lake, St. Lawrence County, about an
hour's drive away. Richard was retired at the time and David lived
only about 20 miles away so it was easier to care for her there than in
her home in Watertown. She suffered a series of strokes in April
2000 and passed away on April 22, 2000 at age 91-3-25.
Her funeral was held on Tuesday, April 25 at the Reed
& Benoit Funeral Home in Watertown. The Reverend Mr. Peter
Lawless, deacon of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Edwards,
officiated. She is buried at the Brookside Cemetery in Watertown.
Donald and Emily's gravestone at the Brookside Cemetery