One cannot say enough what Jim Stevenson did for the Marilla Sno-Mob over the decades since the club’s inception. He was not only a pioneer in the startup of the club, he was integral in growing the sport of snowmobiling in NYS as a whole. He was honored as a NYS Snowmobiler of the year in 2001/2002, held every executive position in the Sno-Mob, and was lead instructor for the NYS certified snowmobile safety class. He was also a responsible figure in the mapping and installation of the NYS snowmobile trail system as we know it today.
The total number of hours Jim devoted to snowmobiling is unknown, but we doubt there were many days in his life that didn't include some aspect of improving or enjoying the sport.
For these reasons we have initiated the James Stevenson Memorial Scholarship. Each year the Marilla Sno-Mob Snowmobile Club and the Stevenson family offer (2) $500 dollar scholarship awards to college bound high school students who embody Jim’s values, commitment to community and supporting the sport of snowmobiling in the western NY area.
Thank you Jim!
Eulogy from Jim's granddaughter Jackie Hassenfratz
Hello, for those of you who don’t know who I am, my name is Jackie Hassenfratz. My father is James Stevenson Jr. On behalf of myself and our whole family I want to say thank you for coming today to help us celebrate the life of my grandpa, James Stevenson, Sr.
I have had a week to think of things that I wanted to share with you today. All I can say is WOW. So many things not enough time! First off, a message from him, he does not want us to mourn him but remember the fond memories you made with him and always SMILE when you do. He does not want us to cry for him, because he is in the most beautiful place now living in peace and harmony with God, his son Jesus, my grandma, and all his family who have passed before him. He said he was ready whenever it was his time. He was okay with it, but he was not willing to just give up the fight. He certainly was a fighter. A few weeks ago he was cutting his grass, but he really shouldn’t have, but that’s what he wanted so that’s what he did.
Here’s a quote that touched me from a sympathy card I received: “Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly” Grandpa is truly spreading his wings and flying free. He is a whole healthy being again. He is beautiful.
I tried to think of a way that I could bring together the things I wanted to say. So I started with some descriptive words I think of when I think of my grandpa….
Independent – He was on his own since the age of 10. Imagine that! That would be like my daughter Kara. I could not even fathom that, but times are much different now then they were in 1938. I asked him one time why he moved out at such a young age and he told me that he was just one more mouth to feed, because at that point in time he had 6 younger siblings that his mom had to take care of, and he thought that it was the right thing to do. So he went to work on different farms for his keep. Who wouldn’t be independent and self sufficient having gone through that. He was a the most courageous person I know.
Zealous – He loved to have fun. He and one of his dearest friends Jim Lemke built a cabin on Tug Hill in the Adirondacks so that they had the best place to snowmobile anytime in the winter and 4 wheel in the summer. They named it Camp PolCat. Pol for Polaris and cat for the arctic cat sleds that they owned. And he rode until he was 83 years old. I remember being Kara’s age and going snowmobiling with him and my Aunt Karen. There were other people there but I don’t recall who they were. He loved when people showed an interest in the things he cherished in life. He taught me how to ride and about all the ins and outs of sledding. When I was in my early 20’s he inspired me and my husband to start 4 wheeling too. The mountains was the best place to go. How cool that I got to ride along with my grandpa.
Loving – Everyone has different ways of showing someone that they love them. Whether its saying the words “I Love You”, doing kind things for them, going that extra mile, giving a hug and kiss or just always being there for them no matter what…….He loved his family so much. Kara was fortunate to have known her great grandpa. We are forever grateful for that. It truly was a blessing for both of them. She was with him 3 days a week, sometimes more. She brought sunshine into his day.
Trustworthy – If he gave you his word, he would for sure keep it.
Committed – He was married to my grandmother for 64 years. That says a lot in and of it self in this day and age. He was committed to so many people in his life. He would go to my house every day during the week and take our dog for a walk when she was a puppy. He did that for about 2 years. This was just 4 years ago. He was committed to watching our daughter for 10 years. He was there no matter when we needed him and no matter what for. I can’t think of anything he wouldn’t have done for his family.
He focused all of his energy on the sport of snowmobiling for almost two-thirds of his life. He served on the Board of Directors for the New York Snowmobile Coordinating Group, he was a delegate for the Erie and Wyoming County Snowmobile Federations and was a member of several snowmobile clubs including some in Vermont. He took it upon himself to be a “legislation watchdog” for any snowmobile-related bills and laws. He would attend any and all conferences and meetings he could get to. He kept up to date with grants for several organizations. He published the Snow Mob newsletter. He compiled and coordinated trail maps for several counties. He was the Trail master for 2 counties, working all year grooming and maintaining trails. He worked with land owners getting permission to use private property to establish new trails and maintain old ones. He designed and built one of the first trail groomers. He played a key role in getting several new clubs up and running. He was a New York State Certified Instructor for Junior Operator Safety Courses. He taught safety to countless young riders. He also certified other instructors to teach the courses. He was involved in a variety of snowmobile related fund raising activities and charity benefits. He was a member of the Erie County Emergency Snowmobile response team. This team is used to rescue and assist accident victims who cannot be reached by conventional methods. He received several local awards for his generosity and devotion. He was also garnished with the John Albert/Ed Dutcher Most Valuable Snowmobilier Award for 2001-2002 through the NYSSA. According to his fellow club members he was the kind of person who does something because he sees a need, not to be recognized. That’s devotion. And he loved every minute of it. He was actively going to meetings until about 4 years ago.
Grandpa was a cool guy! And anyone who got a chance to hang out with him got to experience that first hand. He would try anything once. I think it was 2012 that he joined the family and some friends to take a ride on the Jet Boats of Niagara. If you have experienced it you’ll understand how amazing that is. He was 84 years old at the time. Several trips included Hidden Valley Animal Park, Buffalo Zoo, Cleveland Zoo, Maid of the Mist, Rochester Museum of Play, shopping trips. He was truly an amazing grandpa and even more amazing as a great grandpa.
Problem Solver – No matter what challenge or issue he would be presented with, he would find a solution. Going back to his independence. He would figure it out. He was full of wisdom that I could only hope to have a fraction of.
Wisdom - having the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight, especially in a mature or utilitarian manner. That about sums it up for grandpa. And I was going through my bible and I happened upon this scripture that I would like to share with you.
A reading from: Proverbs 4:13-25 Happy the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding! For her profit is better than profit in silver, and better than gold is her revenue; She is more precious than corals, and none of your choice possessions can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left are riches and honor; Her ways are pleasant ways and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who grasp her, and he is happy who holds her fast. The Lord by wisdom founded the earth, established the heavens by understanding, by his knowledge the depths break open and the clouds drop down dew. My son, let not these slip out of your sight; keep advice and counsel in view; So will they be life to your soul and an adornment for your neck. Then you may securely go your way; your foot will never stumble; When you lie down, you need not be afraid. when you rest, your sleep will be sweet. Honor is the possession of wise men, but fools inherit shame.
I will miss him every day for the rest of my life. He was a huge part of our lives and it will be hard to get used to him not being here but I can say that I am at peace with it. He lived 90 years and actually lived it up. Never stop living your life for as long as you can. You will have many happy years and make many memories that your loved ones can hold close in their hearts and feel a warm comforting feeling when they reminisce about those times. God Speed Grandpa. We love you forever and always. Until we meet again………
2019 Scholarship Recipients
One of our inaugural $500 award recipients is Samantha Bizub.
An exceptional student at Alden Central High School. She is involved with club operations and a hard-working trail worker. Samantha will be attending Lincoln University in Virginia, majoring in Elementary Education.
The James Stevenson Sr. Family and the Marilla Sno-Mob would like to congratulate Samantha on her accomplishment.
Way to go Samantha!
Iroquois High School senior student Rachael Weber is our other 2019 $500 award recipient.
Rachael is in the top 10% of her class, highly recommended by teachers and friends and has helped out at the Alden Winterfest for many years giving rides to both adults and children. She has also helped out with club functions and operations.
The James Stevenson Sr. Family and the Marilla Sno-Mob would like to congratulate Rachael on her accomplishment.
Nicely done Rachael!