Niagara Gazette

Columns

December 24, 2012

HIGGS: Everyone loved 'Aunt Connie'

Niagara Gazette — We have all experienced much sadness lately and while we grieve for the loss of 20 children and their teachers and mentors, it came a lot closer to home for me when I lost my friend, neighbor and block club supporter Connie Rodhy around the same time.

“Aunt” Connie as many called her was a friend to everyone and was a caretaker herself driving anyone to medical tests and visits as the need arose. Although we graduated from high school together, I first met her when she appeared at my door back in 1995 with candidate James Galie who was campaigning for mayor. She lived on 7th Street, around the corner from me and was introducing him to her neighborhood. Our paths crossed again when she came to console me in 1996 following a robbery and assault in my garage as she read about it in the Niagara Gazette. With her help, we started the Blockbusters Block Club and became fast friends. Connie stepped up and became treasurer of the club and hosted meetings in her home when the Methodist Church closed.

Dorothy, Kerry, Elsie. Bernice, Greg, Curt, Dot and Ernie, Larry and Joanne and others would enjoy attending our neighborhood group and Connie made us very welcome.

She and I would often ride around the neighborhood listing probable housing code violations and trash problems. She would drive and I would write and take photos which we presented to our area inspector Dennis Virtuoso at the next meeting. We also held picnics at our block club park on Eighth Street and I could count on her help at Crime Night Out as well.

Connie’s birthday was in May and mine in July so we treated ourselves to dinner every year during June at the Western Door Steak House at the Seneca Niagara Casino. Some years our friends would join in and we had someone to share those large “sides” they serve. We volunteered together at the Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center gift shop on Sunday afternoons a few years ago until we realized there were not enough customers to make it worthwhile as we usually ended up just sitting and knitting and selling an occasional candy bar. She remained loyal and volunteered at the shop on other days and I went on to others things.

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