Niagara Gazette

Columns

December 23, 2013

HIGGS: Open the doors and see all the people

Niagara Gazette — Local people are a good part of my weekly visits with you and this time we will meet a couple of members at First Presbyterian Church.

Carl and Elisabeth Slenk have been members since 1988 after they returned to this area from their sojourn in Europe. Their early years were quite nomadic as Carl grew up in the Midwest, went to school in Boston, worked for two years at Linde Air and while living in Tonawanda he met Elisabeth who was a student at Buffalo State studying for a teaching degree. They married and moved to Boston where Carl returned to school. He found future employment at Carborundum Company so back to Western New York they came.

Somewhere along the way three children were added to the family. Later, Carl was transferred to Europe, and they lived in Dusseldorf, Germany, and Manchester, England. They returned in 1987 and after 27 years at Carborundum, he took an early retirement and they opened the Manchester House B & B on Main Street which they named after one of the early Niagara villages. Carl told me the Village of Manchester was so named as it was the beginning of industrialization in the area and was similar to its English namesake. Carl worked at Canisius High in finance, riding the Buffalo bus to and from and finally retired permanently about five years ago.

When they settled in they visited several churches for a year and joined the First Presbyterian. Elisabeth is chairperson of the Board of Deacons and a choir member. Carl maintains the church website at www.niagarachurch.org. He also coordinates the church’s support of Habitat for Humanity and chairs the investment committee.

Elisabeth is also on the Board of the Friends of Niagara University Theatre, a singing member of the Lewiston Choraleers, and a charter member of a knitting circle in Lewiston. She currently keeps the tree in their front yard warm with different colored “sleeves” which seems to be catching on throughout the community. They are both members and supporters of the Niagara Beautification Commissions. Carl and Lis were regular volunteers when the Whirlpool Street guard rail was being painted under the watchful eyes of the Habitat for Humanity and the Commission, the project organizers. Carl says Lis spilled less paint than him and was far more dedicated to the painting job. Actually I do recall Carl’s speckled pants and shoes.

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