I never knew my mother's father. He passed away when she was a teenager. I knew my father's father very well. Harold T. Wiley was a robust, vigorous, smart man. Grandpa loved the outdoors. He was superintendent of schools in Watertown, NY for many years. Harold T. was very involved with his community, vigorously supporting the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4-H, YMCA, YWCA, among other organizations. He was awarded the Shapiro award for Watertown's citizen of the year in 1969. He & Bertha Wiley had 16 grandchildren, and he loved playing the patriarch. They used to pair up cousins for summer adventures. When I was 15, he & Grandma took my my cousin, Jamie Ormiston & me on a trip to Montreal, camping in Vermont, and a church camp meeting near the Quebec border. That was the first time I traveled outside the US.

Harold R. Wiley, like his father, had a lasting impact on his community. He was a career educator, serving as a teacher, coach, and principal. The two Harolds had different middle names, so Dad wasn't technically a "Junior." Everybody called him that, anyway. Both of them were left - handed, as am I. My middle name is Harold. I had a difficult time learning to tie my shoes, until Dad showed me. His favorite place to be was a secluded spot in the Adirondack mountains called Brantigham. Dad served as president of the Brantingham Lake Association for a time. He and three of his friends formed a partnership called "Adirondack Acres." They purchased a  750 acre tract and flooded part of it to make a man made lake. I'm proud to say I had a small hand in that, helping clear the lake bed. My friend, Ed Darling and I spent several days, rowing around picking up floating debris after it was filled. My brothers and I planted about 40,000 trees on the Adirondack Acres property. The memory of these men makes me very proud of my family heritage.

More From 99.9 KTDY