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1952 Portrait Anita Marie Gelston Ballek FLIP.jpg

Anita Marie Gelston Ballek (1930-2023) deeply loved her hometown and the farm she grew up on, land that has been in her family since 1662.

 

After earning a UConn degree in Dairy Husbandry with a minor in Chemistry and Genetics in 1951, she planned to build the "best Holstein herd on the planet" on her ancestral farmland. When economic and lifestyle changes devastated family dairy farms, she adeptly pivoted, selling her herd and starting Ballek’s Garden Center in 1969, eventually involving seven of her children and grandchildren as partners.

 

Anita was a passionate advocate for "clean soil, fresh air and pure water," sharing her expertise and perspectives through countless presentations for the land trust, the historical society, and area schools, among others. She practiced what she preached, using sustainable agriculture and protecting her beloved land in perpetuity through CT Farmland Trust.

Comer File_000(1).jpg

George Comer was born in Quebec in 1858.  His father was lost at sea and his mother couldn’t support the children, so George was adopted by an East Haddam family as a young boy. He lived in town for the rest of his life.

When he was 17, Comer walked from East Haddam to New London and joined a whaling expedition. That was the beginning of a 44-year span during which he spent time at sea.

Comer specialized in Arctic whaling and sailed as captain or master of a ship for the first time in 1895. Over his many trips to the Arctic, he became friends with the Inuit and an authority on their culture and environment.

He researched and collected for leading natural history museums and was the last of the many whaling captains who sailed out of New London. After retirement, Comer was elected to the Connecticut Legislature. 

Three Honors for Longtime Town Historian

Dr. Karl Stofko is recognized for his years of service to the town

The December 7, 2022, museum event, "Mysteries of East Haddam," by Town Historian Karl Stofko was the 30th year that Dr. Stofko presented intriguing stories of the town's colorful past based on stories he had uncovered, researched, and wrote for each year's event.

After the 2022 presentation, Dr. Stofko received three well-deserved honors: a town proclamation, a state citation, and the dedication of a new research room at the museum in his name.

Selectwomen Theresa Govert and Irene Haines presented two of the three honors given to local historian Karl Stofko.

Photo of Gillette Castle by Carl Buschmann

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