Harry Stoneham, an alumnus of the Swain (NY) Ski Patrol, who served the National Ski Patrol with distinction for 53 years, died on July 24, 2017 at The Baptist Home in Rochester, NY at the age of 88. Harry began his patrol career at Burby Hollow in Bristol, NY in 1952 and when it closed, he moved to Swain where he became a senior patroller, received National Number 2700 in 1961, and continued to patrol until he retired to lifetime alumni status in 2005. His exceptional devotion to duty and extraordinary service to the National Ski Patrol and the skiing public qualified him for the National Ski Patrol Distinguished Service Award in 1992.
Harry’s greatest contribution over the years was in administration. From 1959 to 1961 he served as Secretary of the Swain Ski Patrol and for 8 years from 1961 to 1969 he served as Swain’s longest-running Patrol Director. In later years, he served in a number of capacities, including awards and membership committees, as candidate advisor, and as Genesee Valley Region alumni advisor. Harry organized the first alumni day for the region, inviting all the retired patrollers, including many who had moved far away, and arranging a day of complimentary skiing, a buffet luncheon, and a nostalgic ceremony with an official photographer on hand. Many alumni attended that first event and it has been a continuing success in the Genesee Valley Region ever since, with up to 75 people in attendance in recent years.
Although Harry patrolled for 53 years, longevity never tempted him to relax his contributions to ski patrolling or the skiing public. With his long list of accomplishments, he always set the best example for younger patrollers, contributed way above the required hours per season of direct patrol duty, continued as a leader on many committees, and worked closely with new patrol candidates during the training season. He was always there when the candidates needed an experienced patroller to look up to for guidance and assurance as they faced the important tasks of Outdoor Emergency Care and Ski &Toboggan Transportation training. For years he was a model to all patrol candidates who were privileged to be advised by him. Despite his stature, longevity, and high standards of achievement, Harry was always a patient and graceful gentleman in dealing with new candidates to help them build their confidence In recognition of his contribution to candidate training the Swain Ski Patrol has honored him by naming the “Candidate of the Year Award” after him as the “Harry Stoneham Award.”
In addition to his ski patrol service, Harry also played significant leadership and administrative roles for decades in the sport of downhill ski racing. He served the Eastern Division of the United States Ski Association as a member of the Board of Directors from 1963 to1985, as Director of Alpine Competition from 1976 to 1982, as Treasurer from 1969 to 1971, as Vice President from 1971 to 1973, and as President from 1980 to1982. He also was a trustee of the Eastern Amateur Ski Educational Foundation for over 30 years and served as their Treasurer for over 20 years. In 2006, Harry was honored by the United States Ski and Snowboard Association with the John J. Clair, Jr. Award recognizing his many years of outstanding service to the U.S. Ski Teams. In the recommendation letter, Harry was described as “working tirelessly to make sure those athletes with financial need get the support needed, and for this we are truly grateful. Your efforts are critical to the success of these young lives.”
And that is what we remember most about Harry – he was always contributing to our success by the generous sharing of his time, knowledge, skills, experience, perspective, and, most of all, his friendship. It was Harry’s ever-present, kind personality that best exemplified the family atmosphere that Harry’s dear friends Dave and Bina Robinson created when they founded Swain and that characterized the personal experience that was enjoyed by everyone who skied there. We are all thankful to Harry for the great privilege of having known him and the great joy of having skied with him.
Swain Ski Patrol Alumnus