Lyons Manor throws retirement party for beloved employee

Henry Frazer holds up his cake at his retirement party. Henry's first day with National Church Residences was Sept. 24, 1990. He retired on Oct. 21.

Henry Frazer holds up his cake at his retirement party. Henry’s first day with National Church Residences was Sept. 24, 1990. He retired on Oct. 21.

By LANCE CRANMER                                 

LYONS, NY – Every building needs a Henry Frazer.

“Henry was always there,” said Allyson Adam, the Property Manager at Lyons Manor, a 39-unit National Church Residences facility in upstate New York. “We could always call on him on the weekends. In the winter he’d be there before sunrise shoveling the walks. You don’t find too many people who would do that. He went above and beyond the call of duty.”

Henry arrived as the new Maintenance Technician at Lyons Manor on September 24, 1990. Twenty-five years – plus nearly one month – later, Henry celebrated his retirement on October 21.

To honor their longtime friend and co-worker, the staff and residents at Lyons Manor threw Henry a surprise party.

Sort of.

“I knew about the party ahead of time, so it wasn’t a surprise,” Henry said. “But some of the things they did during the party were a surprise.”

“It was a lot of fun,” added Allyson. “We had a catered dinner and a cake and everybody put together money on a money tree. We had a band. One of the ladies here plays the organ and she brought the rest of her band with her. It was lots of fun.”

As a going away present, Henry was presented with a new 32-inch TV and a digital camera.

“We had a really good time,” said Henry. “It was a really enjoyable party.”

In the few weeks since his retirement, Henry said his biggest challenge so far has been trying to sleep in.

“It’s hard to not get up in the morning,” he said with a laugh. “I miss the people. I enjoyed working with the elderly.”

Reflecting on his time with National Church Residences, Henry said there were little changes over the years with the building and the way he had to do his job on a daily basis.

“There are certain things you have to figure out how to do,” he said. “There are things you know how to do.”

While some things changed, however, some things managed to stay the same.

“I still don’t use a computer,” Henry said. “And I’ve got a phone that I can take voice messages on. No text messages. I just use the cell phone for making calls and receiving calls. I am not one of these high-tech persons.”

Whatever Henry may lack in tech-savvy, though, he makes up for with hands-on experience – 25 years worth.

“I stop in (at Lyons Manor) once in a while,” he said. “I’m still helping the new maintenance guy get settled in.”

“The new maintenance guy has been great, but there are always lots of little things to figure out,” said Allyson. “We can always count on Henry to help us out with stuff. He’s worked hard to make the transition seamless.”

Though Henry is officially retired, he said he is still keeping busy.

“I get some odd jobs here and there,” he said. “Some friends of mine need some work done, so I’m still puttering around doing something.”

The fact that Henry is still helping others in any way he can is no surprise to Allyson.

“Henry is certainly a selfless man,” she said. “He was always thinking about the residents. He was always thinking about ways to make everybody happy. He’s definitely missed.”

The "money tree" that was a retirement present.

The “money tree” that was a retirement present.

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