Sunday, April 25, 2021

Weekend Special:
Kim Vaillancourt, mother of 6, dies after battle with brain cancer

The Town of Tonawanda mother inspired WNYers 
with her faith, courage and hope throughout 
the more than five years she 
fought glioblastoma.

TOWN OF TONAWANDA, N.Y. — For more than five years, Kim Vaillancourt inspired her family and the Western New York community with her faith and strength as she bravely battled brain cancer. On Saturday night, April 24, 2021, she passed away peacefully. She was 41.

Kim Eisenhauer, a Tonawanda High School graduate, married her love, Phil Vaillancourt, 20 years ago. 

They had two children, Ryan and Hailey, and as Kim Vaillancourt was pregnant with their third child, they fostered and then adopted three little girls from a troubled home. 

The family issued a statement on Sunday:

It is with tremendous heartache and sadness that I share that Kim Vaillancourt passed away peacefully surrounded by her family last night, April 24th at 10:52 p.m. Having known the Eisenhauer family my entire life, my heart is shattered for her husband Phil, her beautiful children, parents, and sisters. 

Kim has been an inspiration to countless people, some she never met. Battling brain cancer (glioblastoma) with such courage and strength, she always had a smile on her face. Her faith was an inspiration to me and so many others. Thank you to all of you who have supported the family through this journey. 

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.”

Just days after the adoption ceremony in December 2015, Kim Vaillancourt was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer, glioblastoma. Kim and Phil Vaillancourt always believed that the baby saved Kim's life, because had she not been pregnant, she never would have sought medical treatment for her persistent headaches, and doctors would've never found the tumors.

She underwent emergency brain surgery, but bravely chose to put off chemo and radiation, to protect the health of her unborn baby. 

"Baby gave me a chance. I've got to give baby a chance," Kim Vaillancourt had said shortly after her diagnosis.

Doctors thought Kim Vaillancourt would live only one year. And she faced that devastating news with faith, grace and strength.

"We're hoping for a miracle, and we believe in that. Kim is tough. She's not going to give in and give up," said Phil Vaillancourt.

To watch original Vaillancourt story from February 2016, click here.

Kim Vaillancourt found her strength from God, and also from her husband. Phil Vaillancourt was her rock. He worked full time for the Town of Tonawanda, while parenting the six children and caring for Kim Vaillancourt.

"He's amazing. He does things most husbands don't do. He doesn't leave me. He's with me all the time," said Kim Vaillancourt.

The Vaillancourts said support from their extended families, including Kim's parents and three sisters, Phil's parents and brothers, as well as the community was overwhelming. 

"It takes my breath away," said Phil Vaillancourt.

Western New York embraced Kim Vaillancourt in countless ways- fundraisers, messages of support, donations- when all the family ever asked for was prayers. 

"Her faith, strength and love has inspired countless people and our community. It's heartwarming," said family friend and spokeswoman Jenna Koch.

Throughout it all, Kim Vaillancourt didn't ask why, and her faith never wavered.

"I'm in one of two places. I either get to stay with Phil and the kids and live a long life, or I get to go home and be home with Jesus. I'm ok," said Kim Vaillancourt in 2016.

Kim Vaillancourt defied the odds. She was given five more years with her family and created precious memories with Ryan, now 17-years-old, 16-year-old Hailey, 15-year-old Kamila, 12-year-old Josie and 11-year-old Chalie. And the baby, Wyatt, who is now 5-years-old, is old enough to remember his mommy. 

In November 2020, the cancer returned and grew rapidly. Kim Vaillancourt chose to end further treatment, and to cherish every remaining moment with her family.

She hoped that as they look back on this journey, they always remember this:

"Just that I love them. That I would do anything for them. Any single one of them."

Kim Vaillancourt passed away on April 24, 2021. She was 41-years-old. 

If you would like to help the Vaillancourt family, please donate to the family's Go Fund Me page, or send meal gift cards and messages of support to family friend Jenna Koch (, 431 Adams Street, Tonawanda, NY 14150.

Here is the Vaillancourt family's full statement posted on the Stay Kim Strong Facebook page.

~ end of series ~

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SILVER LAKE EXPERIENCE (SLE) - Registration now Open for this August 4-6, 2022's SLE. See:


Walter D. “Pete” Mairs, 81, died peacefully on July 23, 2021. Born in Avon, N.Y., on Sept. 3, 1939, Pete was a longtime resident of Geneva, N.Y., and these past many years in Buffalo, N.Y., as well as his beloved Silver Lake. Pete is survived by his wife, Linda Bergstrom Mairs, a loving and true companion; children, Mimi C. Mairs, Jonathan B. Mairs; sisters, June Huff, Helen Dole; brother, Thomas Mairs; stepchildren, Daniel Brinkworth, Jennie Ramsey; sister-in-law, Anne Bergstrom, eight beautiful grandchildren, and nieces and nephews. A service and celebration of life is planned for the fall when all can share the joy of Pete’s life together. Arrangements by Stephenson – Dougherty Funeral Home, Avon, N.Y.

Editor's Note: It was a privilege knowing and working with Pete Mairs during his presidency of the Silver Lake Institute. He was a kind and gentle man, but also firm in his leadership. I served as Treasurer and Chaplain of SLI during those years and I could always depend on Pete's presence in the worship service. He was a man of faith and a gem of a human being. May he rest in God's care.


Gerald C. Sahrle, 80, of Perry, passed away on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021, at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester. He was born on Oct. 10, 1941, in Wayland, N.Y., to the late Charles A. and Helen I. (Blowers) Sahrle. Gerry was a line foreman for 32 1/2 years for NYSE&G, working out of the Perry and Hamburg locations, and was a Town of Perry Councilman. He was a member of the Free and Accepted Masons of the Constellation Lodge -404 in Perry. He was an avid fisherman, hunter and woodworker. He is survived by his wife, Valary A. (Conley) Sahrle; 1 son, Gerald (Pamela) Sahrle II of Silver Springs; 2 sisters, Millie Edmond of Greece, Bonnie Fink of Winston-Salem, N.C., 3 brothers, Ronald (Linda) Sahrle of Dansville, Robert (Susan) Sahrle of Springwater, Kenneth Sahrle of Dansville; 5 grandchildren, Bradley Musscarella, Stone and Winston Sahrle, Conley and Cooper Gayton; along with many nieces, nephews and friends. Along with his parents, he is preceded in death by a brother, Thomas Sahrle, who passed away in 2012. Services will be held at the convenience of the family. Gerry will be laid to rest in West Perry Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the Perry Center Fire Department, P.O. Box 204, Perry, NY 14530. For more information, please call (585) 237-2626 or to leave a message of condolence, visit Arrangements completed by Eaton-Watson Funeral Home, LLC. 98 North Main Street, Perry, NY 14530.

Editor's Note: Gerald and Valarie could always be seen in the family pew with Pamela, Stone and Winston at Perry First United Methodist Church and continue to be loved. Gerry will be sorely missed. Both were supporters of the Arts at the Silver Lake Institute and Valarie was active in painting and participating in the Annual Show in August. Valarie's presence was always valued and appreciated.


"Kathy P." passed November 8, 2021, of Hamburg and Boston, NY. Beloved daughter of Joseph and Barbara Michalak; loving sister of Daniel Michalak; devoted wife of the late Jeffrey Praczkajlo; cherished mother of Jennifer (Shawn) Jump; loving babcia of Lily Jump; also survived by many beloved family members and friends who became her family. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.

Editor's Note: "Kathy P." as she was better known to us at Silver Lake was an annual summer visitor for most of the last number of years at the invitation of Silver Laker Julia Hoffner. She stayed at the Hoffner Cottage, and became known as both the fun visitor with the vivacious smile to the neighbors at the intersection of Haven Ave. and the Ames Walkway. Kathy P. and Julie could be seen walking and talking between the cottage and the Hoffner boathouse where they could be close to the water. She was also occasionally seen at the Saturday morning breakfasts at Stoody Hall. Her stay was anywhere between 4 days and a week where she had the opportunity to develop a love for Silver Lake. She was not yet eligible for retirement when late last week she developed "a cold" and had to remain home from her job. She did not update her condition over the weekend so the local police made a wellness visit and found her deceased on Monday. She was one of those many people who found Silver Lake and friendship for brief respites where she also found new strength and energy to return to work. She is being particularly mourned by those in the Haven/Ames neighborhood. She will be memorialized next summer at the annual Celebration of Life Memorial Service at Epworth Hall.


Brenda Joan Paddock, 82, of Perry, born April 15, 1939, now resides in heaven with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Brenda met Jesus as her Savior in 1965. She met him in person on Nov. 14, 2021. She had a beautiful homecoming with music, singing and praying, leading her into Glory. Her last words were “I am well, I am well.”

Brenda’s greatest loves were her family and friends. Brenda had five children with her husband Roger: Don and Daelene Paddock of Florida, Jody and Tim Von Sanden of Pavilion, Bradley and Jeanie Paddock of Warsaw, Jennifer and Paul Guy of Massachusetts, and Nathan and Jill Paddock of Perry.

Brenda dearly loved her grandchildren: Jessica Morillo, Nikki and Clint O’Brien, Luke Paddock, Paul Paddock, Ian and Brooklyn Paddock, Joe and Louana Paddock, Burke and Megan Paddock, Aaron Paddock, Ellen Paddock, Andrew Paddock, Rachael Paddock, Abigail Paddock, Erik and Cassandra Von Sanden, Jacquelyn and Michael Jones, Tim Von Sanden, Brandon and Brandee Paddock, Jamey and Laura Paddock, Peter and Kara Guy, Candy and Jay Waitkevich, Marlo and Ryan Bolger and Jenna and Rory Peterson.

Brenda was blessed and loved her great grandchildren: Chloe, Olivia and Nicholas Von Sanden, Joshua and Jaxon Morillo, Jameson and Cassandra O’Brien, Atlas Paddock, Noah and Ezra Jones, Colton, Brantley and Charlotte Guy, Cameron Waitkevich, Amelia Bolger and Brennen Leonard.

Brenda is also survived by her brother and sister in laws; Frank and Emma Paddock, Viva and Jim Phillips-Richardson and Kurt and Lynn Paddock.

Brenda first started working as a secretary at Perry Central School. She then assisted her husband building Paddock’s Breeding Service. Roger and Brenda together built and ran the Sandsabarn teenage nightclub. Brenda was owner and operator of Serendipity Travel. Brenda’s pleasures included playing organ and piano. She played at a number of area churches along with performing for her loved ones. UPDATED -- Brenda also played with conviction at both indoor and outdoor services at the Silver Lake Institute where her grandson, Luke, sang at Epworth Hall on several occasions and was appreciated by all who heard his inspiring voice.

Brenda was preceded in death by her parents Noble and Freda Buckland, her husband Roger and son Bradley.

A Committal service at West Perry Cemetery will be held tomorrow, Wednesday, November 17 at 11 a.m., followed by a Celebration of Life at LaGrange Baptist Church at 4 p.m.

Memorial donations may be made in Brenda’s honor to the LaGrange Baptist Church 7092 LaGrange Rd. Perry, NY 14530 or to the First Congregational Church P.O. Box 156 Perry, NY 14530. Arrangements completed by Eaton-Watson Funeral Home, LLC. 98 N. Main St., Perry, N.Y. 14530. For more information or to sign the online guest registry please visit

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