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Shirley’s birthday wish: Keep the cabin

October 5, 2011
By MIKE LYNCH, News Outdoors Writer
Sitting at the old rangers cabin on Mount Morris, Shirley Hosler didn’t have any birthday candles to blow out, but she definitely made a wish.

The Saranac Lake woman who turned 75 on Monday, hopes that if the Big Tupper Ski Area is developed that they spare the cabin once used by her late father Adelard Fromaget.

“I’m glad he’s developing the ski area for people to use,” Hosler said about developer Tom Lawson. “(But) keep the cabin there. We don’t want the cabin to go away.”

Shirley’s father worked in the cabin as a fire observer from 1944 to 1947. On June 20, 1944, Shirley’s 6-year-old brother Joseph visited Mount Morris with his father. During the visit, Joseph wandered off on his own from the cabin, got lost and died of exposure. He was found about a mile and a half from the cabin nearly two weeks after he initially went lost.

Several years later, a distraught Fromaget took his wife Betty’s life and then his own.

Although Shirley lost her parents early, she has gone on to spend her life helping others. This was illustrated by an Enterprise story in 2004 by reporter Andy Bates, who went up Mount Morris with Shirley on the 60th anniversary of her brother’s death.

“In his final written words,” Bates wrote about Shirley’s father, “Fromaget asked that his sister instill in Hosler (Fromaget’s daughter Shirley) and her four siblings the values of being a good neighbor and helping others, values that she tries to exemplify through her work at St. Bernard’s Thrift Shop on Bloomingdale Avenue in Saranac Lake and various places in the Tri-Lakes community and beyond.”

Shirley no longer runs the thrift shop in Saranac Lake, but she has continued to be enthusiastic in her good Samaritan ways. She goes on food runs for the Saranac Lake Adult Center every Monday, collects gifts and writes letters that go to active soldiers, helps homeless people or anyone in need and and even brings donuts to the state police in Ray Brook on Saturdays.

“They call me the outlaw,” Shirley joked about the state police.

Since 2004, Shirley has been going up the rangers cabin to connect with her family. Each year, she is joined by different people. This year, Tupper Lake native Jim Frenette joined her on the trip.

“She has that connection that literally no one has with this area,” Frenette said.

Frenette has done this trip with Shirley numerous times and had a plaque made for the cabin that memorializes Shirley’s brother, father and all the observers who worked at the cabin. Last year, a group including Cliff Levers joined Shirley in a plaque ceremony.

“This plaque was inspired by Shirley Fromaget Hosler who has never forgotten her father or her brother, Joseph,” the plaque reads. “Her life has been one of service to those in need and a reflection in her deep faith.”

Shirley would like to one day see the cabin fixed up so that it is used in the future by skiers or anyone else who uses the mountain. One idea is that it could become a warming hut, where hot chocolate and snacks are served to downhill skiers in the winter.

“I think this is a beautiful place,” she said “It’s like heaven up here.”

Article Photos

Mike Lynch/Lake Placid News
Shirley Hosler is joined by Jim Frenette, left, and Big Tupper manager Bill Mozdzier Monday, Oct. 3 on Mount Morris.



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