When I embarked upon this walk in Croton Gorge I didn’t have high expectations. I’d been there many times and thought that I must already have come across everything of interest. However, one of the great things about photography is that no matter how many times you’ve visited a place there’s always something new. It might be detail you’ve missed, or a different viewpoint on something you’ve already seen, maybe different light makes something familiar feel new. Or it might just be something that was there in plain sight and you just missed it.
This post provides an example of the final point above. Anyone who reads this blog (if indeed anyone does) will know that I’m fascinated by cemeteries. I’d been along this trail many times and had never noticed this solitary grave stone by the side of the house. I didn’t see any other markers, and I’m not sure if anyone is actually buried here, or whether it’s a cenotaph (i.e. a memorial for people who are actually buried elsewhere). I suspect that missed this in the past because it was in shade and less noticeable. This time the sun was reflecting of the polished surface of the gravestone. You could hardly miss it.
I searched the internet to try to find additional information about the family and came across an obituary in the New York Times for Egon H. Ottinger dated October 1992. It reads:
Egon H. Ottinger; Insurer, 93
Egon H. Ottinger, a former chairman of Frank B. Hall & Company, a leading marine insurance company, died on Monday at Phelps Memorial Hospital in North Tarrytown, N.Y. He was 93 years old and lived in Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y.
Mr. Ottinger died of complications from a recent fall, said Carolyn B. Handler, a family spokeswoman.
A native of Newport, R.I., Mr. Ottinger devoted his career to the marine insurance industry. He began at 16 as a clerk and by 1919 was writing marine cargo contracts for the Hall concern, which is now a division of the Aon Corporation.
He became a vice president there in 1935, a director in 1940 and president in 1961. He was the company’s chairman from 1964 to his retirement in 1969.
His wife, the former Lilyan Leaders, died in 1983. There are no immediate survivors.
As noted in the obituary Frank B. Hall company is now a division of Aon Corporation. In the 1980s the Hall company seems to have gone through troubled times as noted in a piece in the New York Times (See: Frank B. Hall) dated May 28 1986. This same article mentions that the company was based in Briarcliff Manor, NY co-incidentally somewhere we have lived for the past almost 20 years.