Joan Mitrowitz Tymeson - Class of 1965
Joan Mitrowitz Tymeson moved to the Chenango Valley district when she was in the fourth grade and at that time attended Nimmonsburg school. She graduated from Chenango Valley in 1965. After graduation, she attended the University of Bridgeport in Bridgeport, Connecticut. For over 30 years, Joan taught elementary school grades K -6, mostly in the Whitney Point School District. Joan also did graduate work at SUNY Cortland and Marywood University.
Joan and her husband Mark have lived in the Chenango Valley School District for over 40 years. She feels very proud of the district and all of the programs that it offers students.
Since retiring, Joan has been volunteering for several organizations in the community. She has found this to be very rewarding in many ways.
Joan is a member and volunteer for the Preservation Association of the Southern Tier (PAST). PAST helps to save vital historic landmarks along with informing the community about local history and the importance of maintaining our sense of heritage.
Joan has seen the need to help our senior population by delivering Meals on Wheels (MOW) in Binghamton and Whitney Point through the Broome County Office for Aging for 17 years.
For ten years, Joan was also an Ombudsman for a local nursing home through the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP) at Action for Older Persons. The volunteer activities included advocacy and providing information about resources available to residents and their families.
In addition, Joan volunteers with The Friends of Chenango Valley State Park. This group does so much for the park. It is a small but energetic group that supports the park with recreational pro-grams, such as pond hockey, holiday activities, and nature programs. This is a dynamic assembly of committed people who are enthusiastic about their work that seems more like play!
Rick Gehr - Class of 1968
Rick Gehr grew up on Ritchie Road in Hillcrest, right across the foot bridge from Chenango Valley. His folks and sisters and the Community Baptist Church family were always a great support as he spent wonderful times at Chenango Valley with his friends. There was plenty of time spent in organizations and activities, including Student Council, chorus, drama with Mr. Miller, wrestling, and even the notorious ‘Student Patrol’. The big adventure came when, at 17, he spent 10 months in Costa Rica as a Rotary Exchange Student. Rick became active in local theatre and went on to study Speech and Dramatic Arts and Education at the University of Richmond.
While in college, he spent summers doing Summer Stock Theatre in Southbury, Connecticut. A strange coincidence came when he worked one semester performing as Porky Pig, Road Runner and Elmer Fudd in a Warner Bros. touring show (Warner Bros. would later figure greatly in his career.) After finishing college in 1973, he decided to head west to pursue a career in entertainment.
His first stop was beautiful San Diego, where he met his wife of 43 years, Terry. They actually met in a theater named ‘The Off Broadway Theater’, where he worked as the house manager and in the box office.
The best part of his job was as assistant to the celebrity stars who were doing the show, including Ray Walston, Yvonne DeCarlo and others. That provided many great adventures! From there, he went to Chicago to act as company manager and general manager of a production of “Lenny”. Then came the move to Hollywood, where he did the starving actor gig… eventually doing such jobs as selling pillows and linens to the late Cloris Leachman. He says he had certainly ‘made it’ to the Big Time.
His ‘Big Break’ came when he was hired to work as an assistant editor in a very high-quality animation studio in Hollywood, Kurtz & Friends Animation. That is where he developed his editorial career and love of animation, which lead to years at Filmation Studios, Marvel Studios, and to his current work home of 34 years, Warner Bros. Studios. He was very fortunate to arrive at WB in time to work with the animation greats including Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, Mel Blanc, June Foray, and many other ‘old-timers.’ He has also been able to work with their beloved characters… Bugs Bunny and the gang! His job even took him to the Gershwin Theater in New York City on Broadway as part of the “Bugs Bunny on Broadway” production. He is extremely grateful for the opportunities his animation career has provided. In recent years, his work has extended heavily into archival and preservation projects, even having the opportunity to present a two-night program on Warner Bros. cartoons at the Packard Campus of the Library of Congress in Virginia. Rick is in his current position because he was given a chance and encouraged by so many others all along the way, and loves to share his knowledge, serving as a mentor to anyone wanting to get into the business, including presenting on college career panels.
Rick and Terry live in Westlake Village, California, where they raised their three sons. He is active in the United Methodist Church there, where he worked with youth groups on countless activities, including work trips to assist in building projects in Mexico.
Nancy Paterson – Class of 1971 (in memoriam)
From Chenango Valley to Europe, Nancy Paterson’s passionate pursuit of justice and fairness defined a unique life well-lived.
While growing up with parents Nancy and Don Paterson and older sister Sally, Nancy attended Chenango Valley Schools, beginning at Nimmonsburg Elementary. Stubborn and pioneering from a young age, she earned a place as the first girl on the Nimmonsburg Little League Team. In high school, she was active in student government and served as President of her Junior and Senior Classes. She also excelled academically, as a member of Honor Society and as a Regents Scholarship recipient.
After graduating in 1971, Nancy went on to Miami University in Ohio, where she majored in sociology and played on the women’s basketball team. After college, she moved to Washington, D.C. where she served as program director at a residential treatment facility for female juvenile offenders, an introduction to the way women are often treated in justice systems that would be the foundation for her legal career. After receiving her law degree from Syracuse University in 1983, she joined the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office where she served for 11 years, creating the first bureau to specialize in working with victims of child abuse and sexual assault. While in New York, she volunteered as an umpire for the Harlem Little League and enjoyed weekend trips upstate to visit family and golf with her dad and brother-in-law, Chuck Reutlinger. In 1994, she volunteered to go to Yugoslavia as a member of a United Nations commission investigating widespread sexual violence.
Though many were skeptical their investigations would lead to justice, the work she and a team of more than 50 investigators and attorneys did over the next few years was integral to the founding of the International War Crimes Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague. Colleagues credit her leadership with making it happen. This work also lead to her aiding in the establishment of a War Crimes Tribunal in Rwanda. In 1999, she was the co-author of the indictment of Slobodan Milosevic, the first ever alleging war crimes against a sitting head of state.
In 2002, Nancy returned to Washington, D.C. and worked for the World Bank and later the Federal Reserve, overseeing investigations into significant financial crimes. Though in pursuit of a different kind of justice, her return to the states afforded her much more time with her family, including seeing her nieces, Emily and Martha, graduate from high school and college.
An avid traveler, adventures also took her to South America, Africa, New Zealand, and Norway, and along the way she made many friends and took thousands of photos.
She passed away in the spring of 2010 after a long battle with ovarian cancer. Friends and family remember her enthusiasm, loyalty, generosity, toughness and laughter.
Dr. Megan Conklin Pecha – Class of 1999
Dr. Megan (Conklin) Pecha began her journey to become a physician when she graduated as valedictorian of the Chenango Valley Class of 1999. After this she attended Binghamton University, graduating Summa Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in biology. She then attended medical school in Syracuse at Upstate Medical University, and received her Doctor of Medicine degree in 2007. Following medical school, she remained in Syracuse to complete a three year residency at Golisano Children’s Hospital, ultimately becoming board certified in pediatrics.
Early in her career, Dr. Pecha continued as an attending physician and faculty member in the Department of Pediatrics at Upstate. In this role, she helped train medical students, managed sick patients admitted to the children’s hospital, provided care to neonates in the newborn nursery, and also delivered outpatient office care as a primary care physician.
In 2013, Dr. Pecha was approached by ConnextCare, a Federally Qualified Health Center, with the plea to recruit a pediatrician to the medically underserved area of Northern New York. She accepted the challenge, and since that time has built a successful pediatric practice in Northern Oswego County. She also serves as the supervising physician to multiple school-based health centers, as well as the medical director of several area school districts. She still has ties to Upstate Medical University, helping to train their medical students and residents in both pediatrics and rural medicine. She lives in the community she serves with her husband of 14 years, Kyle Pecha (of rival Chenango Forks), where they are raising their three beautiful boys.
Distinguished Community Members
Robert McDaniel - In memoriam
Robert A. McDaniel started teaching in the Chenango Valley school system during its founding years after graduating from Oswego State University. He taught and coached at Port Dickinson and Chenango Valley High School, spanning four decades until his 1987 retirement.
Bob was an avid sportsman and an accomplished athlete who played in a professional barnstorming basketball league after a highly successful high school basketball career. His love of athletics and competition fueled his passion for coaching. McDaniel led his 1964 Chenango Valley cross-country team to the school's first state championship. The annual fall McDaniel-Baxter XC Invitational honors the coaches’ many and talented Chenango Valley harriers. Mr. Mac’s basketball teams featured a running style of offense and defense designed to create fast breaks. They comprised many levels: from junior varsity and varsity boys at Chenango Valley, to women at SUNY Binghamton, and finally junior high girls at Chenango Valley. McDaniel was inducted into the STAC Hall of Fame with a varsity basketball winning percentage that was the highest among his peers at that time.
Mr. Mac taught shop and driver education. Many students remember the singer link “pilot” driving simulators on which they enjoyed learning to drive. Among his accomplishments, it should be noted that Mr. Mac was a central player in an important time historically for Chenango Valley. Mr. Mac and several others encouraged the school to step up and essentially break the local color barrier by welcoming a family to its community after several city schools chose not to do the same.
Bob and Nancy McDaniel enjoyed a 67 year marriage with a community of teaching families and friends demonstrating an exemplary relationship for their children, grandchildren, and students. Nancy passed away at age 87 on April 5, 2020 and Bob passed away December 1 of that same year at the age of 92 in Bradenton, Florida.