Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Welcome to Everything Croton, a collection of all things Croton--our history, our homes, our issues, our businesses, our schools, our houses of worship--in short, EVERYTHING CROTON.


The news that Mary Lambruschi is no longer with us surprised and saddened me. We had spoken only a little more than a week ago. Although she was dispirited by continuing health problems, imminent hospitalization did not seem to be a prospect.

Mary was one of a long line of village historian appointees who have made my work as a popularizer of history easier, and who sadly are no longer with us: Jane Northshield, Joyce Finnerty and Mary Lambruschi were veritable storehouses of local history. To that distinguished list, I should add the name of the late Billie Dymes. All were not only blessed with total recall about Croton’s past, but were refreshingly willing to share that knowledge.

Mary had other talents. She was an excellent copyeditor and proofreader. For many years, she pored over page proofs at The Gazette every Wednesday, always under a tight deadline. As a frequent contributor of articles to that newspaper, I felt comfortable knowing my pieces would be scrupulously screened by Mary’s eagle eye.

In a reminiscent mood several years ago, Mary recalled for me that her maiden name was Konco and that her family had owned the large garage building (and gas station) at the corner of Mt. Airy Road and Grand Street. Period photos show the brand of gasoline sold to have been Richfield, a California company. Adjoining the garage was a family-owned bar with an apartment above. Named Lou’s Tavern, it was later the home of Elmer Suds and now Justin Thyme. Both buildings were built of the same textured-surface cinder blocks characteristic of the 1920s and are still standing.

Mary Lambruschi was predeceased by her husband, Reginald, who died in 1999 at the age of 68, felled by the asbestos he inhaled while serving in the Navy during the Korean War. Affable and known to everyone as “Reggie,” he succeeded George Kingsley as police chief. In the 1970s, I heard about Chief Lambruschi’s collection of police department shoulder badges displayed at police headquarters. The collection was so colorful, I used a montage of the badges on the cover of a book I published, a collection of articles on law enforcement. The frontispiece was a full-page photo of Chief Lambruschi and the collection.

Croton’s police cruisers and shoulder patches featured the profile of an Indian wearing a magnificent feathered war bonnet. Local Indian tribes were comparatively peaceable Delawares; the bonnet was pure bellicose Plains Indian, albeit geographically incorrect. Croton’s village seal and stationery featured an Indian with an anomalous Mohawk haircut. No matter. It was Croton’s romantic view of its history. So attractive was the Croton shoulder patch that police chiefs all over the country sent examples of their shoulder patches to trade for one of Croton’s.

Despite Croton’s Indian past, the Indian visage was summarily removed from the village seal and replaced by a confusing catchall consisting of a bold sans-serif letter “C” encumbered with an unimaginative amalgam of tiny iconic silhouettes of an eagle, sailboat, fish and train in assorted sizes. Score another empty victory for political correctness—an expensive, empty change for change’s sake. Fortunately, no changes were made in the emblems on police cruisers and shoulder patches. Reggie would not have liked that idea. I know Mary didn’t.


  1. Oh yeah how Mary HATED that new Croton symbol mish-mash, lol!

  2. Funny I remember her talking about this not too long ago. She had some of the funniest lines none of which I can remember at the moment but that left me in stitches. She was so sick and there she was, telling jokes with that wry way about her. What a loss.

    Mary D

  3. Mary's proof reading skills were legendary.

  4. Learn, respect, and honor the past. Thank you, Robert, for honoring Mary--and Croton's history. May they never be forgotten.

    Bob Armanini


  6. She also had some very funny stories about how it was during the Croton dump days. I know that sounds impossible but it's true. Of course she used humor to show her disdain towards the county and the past village administrations that took county money to keep it open a few more years.

  7. Thank you Mr. Scott for this memory of Mary and Reggie.

    Lorraine Sherman, Boca Raton

  8. My sister just sent me your very beautiful article on Mary. While we were in Croton just a few years, I have fond memories of it all and of Mary and Reggie.

    Katherine Sherman

  9. What a wonderful tribute to my Friend/Sister-in-Law - We became friends when I was 15yrs old. Mary was married to my brother Reggie - She is missed so much - Renee Canfield

  10. Thank you for always remembering. Old unwoke Croton!