Saturday, October 30, 2021

Weekend Special By Matt Surtel of DN:
A Halloween house: Castile couple goes all-out for the spooky season
CASTILE — A telephone rings with a ghostly message. Witches and skulls take their place beside bowls of candy, while push-buttons activate a small army of zany and spooky devices. Jan Wiseley’s house has been transformed into a Halloween extravaganza called Ravenwood Manor. And we do mean transformed.

It started as an activity for Jan’s daughter Heidi and friends. And though it’s generally not open to the public, it’s absolutely immersive for those who experience it.

“I just love it,” Wisely said Thursday. “I love Halloween and all the colors, and the people coming and the kids coming. They have so much fun.”

Wiseley and her husband Jay Cavins started their haunted house about 35 years ago, when Heidi was young. Family and friends were invited for the experience, which at the time was more similar to a Halloween themed scavenger hunt.

It has expanded, becoming more and more elaborate every year since, with skeletons and witches taking up residence throughout. Press a button and a ghoul might ask your fortune. Phantom eyes pop open unexpectedly in everyday objects, while spooky music plays and ghostly faces appear.

Besides the decorations and devices — and there are hundreds — young participants are invited to participate in an “I spy” activity. Each display leads to another and another. They’re grouped around themes such as eyes, clocks, witches and werewolves.

The emphasis is on whimsical and spooky, not scary. Wiseley said she doesn’t like scary things or gore, and Cavins said they essentially designed it for young children and their parents.

“We started in this room, and this room alone, with a witch and several other things,” Wisely said in the couple’s living room. “And then we expanded into other rooms, because I love it. People bring me stuff all the time, and I collect it throughout the year. If I see something, it will go into the room.”

And the collection is vast. The oldest, a witch named Zelda, dates back to 65 years ago. It was bought by Wiseley’s mother when their family was stationed with the Air Force in Weisbaden, Germany.

Many, many others were given as gifts. Wiseley said some of the best came from stores like the now-defunct Big M supermarket in Warsaw.

Others were purchased as far away as Massachusetts and Oklahoma, such as an etching of a Salem tombstone and a Vaudeville-style advertisement of a psychic medium known as “Alexander the Crystal Seer.”

The collection now takes up 75 plastic totes and the couple needs to relocate some of their furniture out of the house when it’s time for the displays. Bowls of candy, fortune cookies and other treats are disbursed throughout.

“I don’t like the scary and the gory,” Wiseley said. “But there’s so many cute things you can do. So many kids like all this stiff, like the wizards. There’s nothing really scary or gory I’ll ever do ... I don’t want them to be scared. I want them to come and not be scared.”

“This is Halloween for small children and adults,” Cavins added. “It’s a little bit of an undertaking to take the house you live in, and take the stuff out, and transform it into this for the month of October. And then after October we put this all back up (into storage) and go back to our regular house.”

How does such a mammoth undertaking come to life? Organization is one of the keys. Storage and planning are meticulous, and Cavins uses his extensive experience as a construction manager in the process.

A wide group of friends is another huge factor. Wiseley and Cavins thanked their friends Jane Eliasz, John Peterson, and Linda Bush. The friends actively help set up the displays, and Heidi, now grown, helps too.

Why isn’t it generally open to the public?

There are practical aspects — to host large numbers of strangers with the candy and treats involved would be enormously expensive, and it is, after all, Wiseley and Cavins’ home where they live. Halloween night is itself already very busy for them.

They invite friends and family throughout the month, and host their routine trick-or-treaters on Halloween night. Then comes the task of converting their house back to its normal — if a bit more plain — appearance.

Wiseley and Cavins are getting a bit older, and Wiseley wants to see the haunted house continue if they can’t do it anymore in a few years. Those seriously interested in taking it on are encouraged to reach out to her.

Heidi and her friends are now grown, and Wiseley and Cavins are now hosting Heidi and friends’ children.

“I think this stuff is just so cute at Halloween time,” Wiseley said. (

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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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