The Clayton Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce Daniel and Linda Schleher are Clayton’s 2023 Citizens of the Year. (Read Full Press Release Below).
The Clayton Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce Daniel and Linda Schleher are Clayton’s 2023 Citizens of the Year.
Dan was born to George and Roxie Schleher at their Union Street home in Clayton and had an older brother, Gary, a younger sister, Linda, along with his youngest brother, John who still resides in Clayton.
Linda Louise (Wagner) Schleher is the daughter of Robert and Bernice Wagner of Theresa Street, Clayton. Linda had one older sister, Sharon. Dan and Linda are lifelong residents of Clayton “living another day in paradise” for the 55th year together.
Dan and Linda both graduated from Clayton Central School in 1966. In school, Dan played football, basketball, baseball, and choir along with playing trumpet in the marching band. Dan answered Uncle Sam’s call and joined the United States Army for two years and received an honorable discharge in 1969 as Sargent. Stationed at Ft. Dix, New Jersey, for basic training led him to Ft. Gordon, Georgia, for radio teletype school finally being stationed in Germany.
High school brought many challenges for Linda holding positions over the years as class treasurer, yearbook committee, Council Representative, choir, and Lions Club Scholar. Linda furthered her career at Grace Downs Air and Business School on Long Island, receiving her certificate in business. In 1968, the girl from Frenchtown married the boy from Goose Bay at St. Mary’s Church, Clayton. The couple then spent the next year living in Kitzingen, Bavaria, Germany.
Upon returning home, Dan worked for Ericson Marine building French Bay Marina. That year Dan along with Denny Scott started the Clayton Minor Hockey program which is Thousand Islands Youth Hockey today.
Dan was then employed by the New York State Department of Transportation as a snowplow driver in the winter plowing on Rt 81 out of Collins Landing and Tree Crew Supervisor in the summer for 32 years, retiring in 2002 for Region 7. Felling trees and chipping brush became a secondary job.
Dan coached youth hockey for 20 years at all levels, becoming a member of Clayton’s Hockey Hall of Fame. During this time, Dan not only coached but continued to play men’s hockey. Working shiftwork in the winter as a snowplow driver, Dan was afforded the luxury of being able to coach hockey after school hours.
As a member of the Town of Clayton Fire Department for 52 years protecting the community, Dan still helps with traffic control and fundraisers. Firematics racing in the summer was a large part of family fun for 14 years. He also worked every fundraiser for both organizations to purchase fire apparatus and help build Gordon Cerow Recreation Park Arena.
Dan and Linda also volunteered to help build the Village Square wooden park and Dan continues to paint fire hydrants.
Dan has been a member of American Legion Post 821 for 54 years serving as Sargent-At-Arms for more than forty. As a thank you from the Post, he was given a lifetime membership for all his patriotic efforts. Leading every parade, attending every dedication, honoring fallen veterans every Memorial Day and those who served on Veterans’ Day were just part of his many duties all those years. Most important to him, and the Color Guard, was honoring deceased veterans at military funerals over many years. Giving the last salute to a fellow veteran is always considered the highest honor. Dan is also a member of the Watertown Elks #496.
Through a lot of Dan’s work, sports and fundraisers, Linda was a stay-at-home mom raising their family of three children, Laurie, Dan II (Dude) and Parker for many years. Having two boys in hockey and a daughter in dance and band led to numerous volunteering efforts.
Linda held positions of team director, fundraising chairman, concession manager, treasurer, and historian for hockey. The Clayton Hockey Association asked her to organize hundreds of newspaper clippings Suki Turcotte had collected for more than ten years to establish a Hockey Hall of Fame. The challenge from that point never ended.
In 1992, Linda accepted a part-time job at the Clayton Chamber and in 1994 a full-time position at the Thousand Islands Museum for 15 years. As part of her job, Linda established a membership drive, gift shop and History at Noon summer program to meet the requests of the public along with running the museum and Decoy Show. After renovations at the new location, 312 James Street, Janet Collins, Norm Wagner and Linda started the Hashing Over History Program for a winter activity in the new research library for local residents. After many inquiries about the St. Lawrence River, Rex Ennis, Norm Wagner and Linda started the first history boat tours to Calumet, Grindstone and Round Island. Volunteering for other non-profits became a natural part of helping Clayton progress.
Due to a change in job titles at the museum in 2009, Linda looked for a volunteer project she thought would help the local community. Computerizing Clayton’s cemetery records seemed like a necessity for the future and has become a 13-year project that has helped just about every organization including the American Legion for a veterans’ list. Dan and Linda also remove flags at the end of the season and donate them to schools and veterans’ honor flights.
A few years ago, Dan and Linda helped the American Legion by cleaning out the second and third floors of the Legion building which hadn’t been done since the first hockey banquet was held on the third-floor hall in 1973. Working together, with a lot of help from the community, the Legion was afforded the possibility of an elevator for use of the upper two floors. Linda is also a member of the American Legion Auxiliary.
In 2022 when Mayor, Norma Zimmer asked Linda to participate on a history committee for the Village of Clayton’s 150th Celebration, Linda had one goal of sharing Clayton’s history in a chronological format. With the help of the Town/Village Historian, Tom LaClair, and cousin, Patti Lashomb a booklet was produced for future history buffs.
Last April, Linda received the President’s Award from the Clayton Fire Department recognizing the countless hours for the preservation of the history of the Department. Linda is continuing to organize a records room and gather historical information for the Town of Clayton Fire Department.
Volunteering came naturally to Dan and Linda since their parents were also active in the Clayton community. “You don’t have to be interested in just one thing to help your hometown. You don’t have to join an organization or be part of a group. Discover what you like to do and offer your service. It will be very much appreciated, and the satisfaction is very gratifying!” stated the Schleher’s.
A banquet dinner in Dan and Linda’s honor, “Clayton Celebrates”, will be held on Thursday, November 9th at the 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel located at 200 Riverside Drive, Clayton NY. The banquet will also include an awards presentation for “Best of the Best”, recognition of Jim Flanders as “Volunteer of the Year” and Village of Clayton Mayor, Norma Zimmer for her 16 years of service. Reservations can be made online at
www.1000islands-clayton.com/citizen or by calling or emailing the Clayton Chamber of Commerce at 315.686.3771 or firstname.lastname@example.org.