Marilyn Osterhout Reynolds

Marilyn Osterhout Reynolds

NEW SCOTLAND — Though she lived most of her life outside this area, her birth-family name and all the local memories attached to it made Marilyn Osterhout Reynolds a person whose local roots ran deep.

Mrs. Reynolds died on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016, at the Virginia Medical Center in Reston, Virginia with her twin daughters and her friend Sherry Jessup at her side. She was 79.

Her father, Wyman Osterhout, and his two brothers founded and operated for many years one of the area’s best known dining and dancing venues, Indian Ladder Lodge on Route 85, above New Salem.

Mrs. Reynolds was born on April 28, 1937 in Albany, the daughter of Wyman and Eunice (née Pollard) Osterhout.

One of her cousins, Willard Osterhout, who shared much of her childhood  remembers how as little children they would lie awake at night listening to the music wafting upward from below, where big bands played for dancers on what is said to have been the area’s largest dance floor.  Mr. Osterhout  remembers lying together on the floor, listening to  the Lone Ranger  show on the family’s  big floor-model Philco radio.

Mr. Osterhout also likes to recall  how he and his “adventurous” cousin would sometimes  strap rollers onto their shoes and glide across an empty dance floor until they were caught and chased off it.

At one time, he says, there must have been 11 family members living up under the roof of “the place to go” for any visitors to Albany. There was an apple orchard to run through, a victory garden during the war, and always the views of the flatlands below.

“We were all extroverts,” he says. “We grew up with the public always there.’

Like her cousin, Mrs. Reynolds attended the two-room school in New Salem, a building that years later was repurposed by the town of New Scotland as the Wyman Osterhout Community Center, named in honor of her father.

After graduation from Voorheesville’s high school in 1954 — where she was captain of the cheerleading squad and “very active in school affairs,” says her cousin —  Mrs. Reynolds attended the University of Vermont where she obtained her bachelor of science  degree in education in 1958.

Her longest stint as a teacher was spent at a United States Army base in Germany where she taught the children of officers stationed there and from where she got to travel throughout Europe and in the Middle East,

Back in this country, Mrs. Reynolds lit out with a college friend  on a cross-country car trip to California — it was 1963.

Not long after that, she married Richard Reynolds. One year later, their twin daughters were born.

A key moment in her life occurred in 1970 when Mrs. Reynold’s sister-in-law, Jean Prior — an established breeder of Labrador retrievers — presented her with a puppy that Mrs. Reynolds  named Chelsea. It was the beginning of  a love for the breed and a dedication to its welfare that lasted the rest of her life. In the spring of this year, unwell and in a wheelchair, she insisted on co-hosting, as she had done for many years,  a Labrador retriever  event that draws participants from across the country and from many other countries, her family says.

Mrs. Reynolds became a breeder herself  of Labrador retrievers once the family moved from Dallas, Texas to Herndon, Virginia in 1975.  A second gift of a Lab from her sister-in-law, this one named Briary Bustle, was the beginning of a line of show-worthy Labs that were given the name Finchingfield Labradors.

The Labrador Retriever Club of the Potomac became for Mrs. Reynolds a second home. She served in “nearly every office and board position,” the club wrote in a tribute to her.  Her family says, “She truly enjoyed….hosting the many wonderful judges” who  traveled to the club’s annual Spring Specialty.

She never had a Labrador retriever as a child —though there were always “mutts” around, says her cousin and childhood friend — but Mrs. Reynolds more than made up for their absence in later years.  One of the world’s most popular breeds of dog had a true friend in  her.

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Marilyn Osterhout Reynolds is survived by her twin daughters, Lisa Reynolds and Laura Reynolds, and by her cousins Willard Osterhout, John Osterhout, Raymond Osterhout, and Sally Kearsing; and by several nieces.

A service will be held at the Mount Pleasant Cemetery in New Salem at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 12, to be followed by a gathering of family and friends at the Wyman Osterhout Community Center in New Salem.

Memorial contributions may be made to Take The Lead, P.O. Box 6353, Watertown, NY 13601, or to Labrador Retriever Club of the Potomac,  Corresponding Secretary, 17647 Wild Cherry Lane, King George, VA 22485, (specify check is  for Lab Rescue).

— Tim Tulloch

 

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