A Special Birthday Celebration at Ocean’s Reach for One Special Lady

Friends and family gathered from afar at the Bumgarner’s condo at Ocean’s Reach to usher in a new year for Betty Kinsman, owner and former Ocean’s Reach board president. (Read the brief bio written by husband Bill and see more of why Betty is so special to all of us at Ocean’s Reach.)

While she won’t divulge which year she is celebrating, those of us in the know can tell you that this is one spunky, cute lady who defies her age!

The surprise celebration was planned by husband Bill, who worked quietly behind the scenes with fellow owners to host twenty guests, including long time friends from New York and younger sister, Harriett and husband from Texas. Jacaranda, a favorite Sanibel restaurant, catered the entree of penne pasta with grilled artichokes and grilled salmon. Carol Owens, long time Sanibel winter guest, served a refreshing, sparkling punch that I’m told I must have the recipe for. (I’ll be sure to share the ingredients for this must-have island recipe.) Appetizers and birthday cake were graciously prepared and served by invited Ocean’s Reach owners and guests. Ann Bumgarner says there was lots and lots of delicious food on hand.

“Happy Birthday to You, Betty”. Your friends and family love you and wish you many more wonderful years and all your winters spent overlooking Sanibel’s Gulf of Mexico.

And thank you, Bill, for your imagination and excellent preparation that surprised your always in-the-know wife. A good time was had by all!!

Betty Kinsman- A Brief Biography   February 1, 2009

Betty was born in Fairport, NY, February 7, 1929. A few months later the stock market crashed and we entered the first great depression. Betty’s Dad owned a nursery, and raised ornamental vines, mostly clematis, and, luckily, folks continued to buy his clematis vines right through the depression.

I entered Cornell in 1943; Betty in 1947. Betty and I met at Cornell in the sailing club. Betty bought an ancient wooden Comet sailboat during her senior year, and kept it on Cayuga Lake at Cornell. Unfortunately, the boat tended to take on water, and I helped Betty by bailing her boat almost every morning. One thing led to another. We married in 1952 while in grad school. Betty was working on an MS in Elementary Education, having received a Ford Foundation scholarship. I was studying mechanical engineering. During the summer of ’52 we were counselors at a girls’ camp in Maine. I taught sailing while Betty taught crafts.

In 1953 we moved to New Jersey, where I worked for Bell Labs and Betty waited for Rob to arrive. He arrived on May 16, ’54. About a year later, May 24, 1955, Susy arrived. Then the nurse said, “Dr. Woodman, there’s another one!” Betty moaned, “Oh NO!” Dr. Woodman said, “Be quiet and we’ll keep him alive.” Andy arrived a few minutes later. Note: There was no ultrasound in 1955. Tom was born in 1961 and is a graduate student at Rochester Institute of Technology. He is specializing in photo imaging and human vision. Ted was born in 1964 and teaches physics in Brighton, a Rochester, NY suburb. Ted does all kinds of scientific photography. We have 14 grandchidren, last count, 11 of ours and three more via second marriages.

Due to the limited recreational possibilities in New Jersey, we moved back to the Fairport area. I found a job teaching, so Betty and I could spend summers with our rapidly growing family at Keuka Lake, one of the New York Finger Lakes. Betty was fascinated by the shapes of the shale stones on the lakeshore, and soon discovered how to put them into patterns in concrete; to make stone-in-concrete pictures. Betty ha d a serious problem taking her stone pictures to art shows, because the art show judges never decided whether they were pictures or crafts. That didn’t bother the public, and eventually Betty was able to buy me a neat canoe, and to make down payments on some real estate. She had one requirement: Her real estate had to be on waterfront. That led to Ocean’s Reach, thanks to Rochester friends who were staying at Ocean’s Reach.

Betty has always enjoyed arts and crafts, from sewing to painting to rug hooking to Nantucket baskets to rocks-in-concrete pictures. Other than cats and duck decoys, her first love is probably garage sales. Our girl-of-the-great-depression loves to find bargains. She organized the first Ronald McDonald House garage sale in Rochester many years ago. Their annual sale now earns thousands of dollars, so the Ronald McDonald House has founded Ronald McDonald Charities, and now contributes to other charities.

When Betty bought 4D1 here at Ocean’s Reach in 1985, she learned that newcomers were invited to help out on the board, so she served on our board for eight or ten years. Thank goodness she had picked up a degree in accounting while raising all our kids. After all those kids left home, Betty suffered from empty nest syndrome, and hosted various exchange students, and started a bed-and-breakfast in our empty house. Some of our closest friends are former guests or B&B owners. In fact two of our former guests, now married, stopped here to visit us last week.

Our oldest Son, Rob, works for Occidental Petroleum in Bakersfield, CA. Susan teaches school in Syracuse. Andy retired after 30 years with Kodak, 1977 to 2007. He lives in Victor, near Rochester, and volunteers at the Victor High School to help their robotics team. Tom was born in 1961, and is a graduate student at RIT, where he is studying electronic imaging and vision. Ted was born in 1964, and teaches physics at Brighton High in Rochester. He also does all kinds of scientific photography.

We have now downsized to a townhouse in Fairport on the north side of the Erie Canal. You can step out our south door and walk 80 miles west to Buffalo or 200 miles east to Albany. We spend some of each winter here at Ocean’s Reach, some of spring and fall in Fairport, and most of each summer at Keuka Lake. Betty still loves to find a bargain, and you can find her each morning at Noah’s Ark, right about 9:30 AM.