BY INDIANA NASH
NISKAYUNA- Long-time Niskayuna resident Don Cazer recently volunteered to become the town historian after hearing about an article in the Gazette, which discussed the absence of municipal historians in New York State.
“I called Joe Landry up and asked,” Cazer said.
Landry, the Niskayuna town supervisor, liked the idea and got to work talking to the Town Board about the position.
For Cazer, the position allows him the chance to help expose the history of the town to newer residents.
A Brooklyn native, Cazer moved to the area when he accepted a job at General Electric in Schenectady in 1959.
Many Niskayuna residents move to the Niskayuna for the same reason, as GE is one of the largest employers in the Capital Region.
Cazer worked at GE until he retired in 1995.
After leaving the company, he stayed in Niskayuna with his family: Corinne Hudock and their four children.
He did some consulting work, early website design and wrote freelance for the former Spotlight Newspaper.
But he has always been interested in history.
“While I was at GE, I was the head of the Elfun society and we put everything together for the GE Hall of History,” Cazer said.
Although he isn’t sure if the exhibit remains there today, Cazer said that he loved collecting and researching history and presenting it in an interesting way.
In the town historian position, Cazer has a few ideas for various projects that will help the town keep track of important pieces of its history. However, he’s waiting to see what documents the town hall has kept over the years before he gets too far into the planning process.
Ed Reilly, the Schenectady county historian, was the Niskayuna town supervisor in the 70s and 80s. He’s lived in Niskayuna since 1962 and has collected much of the town’s history over the years.
Cazer plans to work with Reilly to ask for guidance, advice and sources should the need arise.
He was officially appointed to the position on Aug. 23 at a Town Board meeting.
Town Supervisor Joe Landry thanked Cazer for coming into the position and assured him that the town had already set out many boxes of documents that Cazer could begin to sift through whenever he’d like.
Landry plans to meet with Cazer in the next month to discuss possible project ideas centered around the town’s history.
“You truly love this town, we talk about it all the time. You know its history and I think you will be able to help us promote its history in a way that we really haven’t been able to in the past,” Councilwoman Denise Murphy-McGraw commented upon Cazer’s appointment.