Croton’s own Australian, Lyn Roessler (Google search), died suddenly and peacefully at her new home in Easthampton, MA on Friday, March 24, 2006. Known throughout the Hudson Valley for her knowledge and appreciation of local history, she recently organized the re-enactment of firing on the sloop Repulse and the ship’s hasty flight downriver to near Ossining to escape the cannonading.
The Repulse was the ship that had brought Andrée up the Hudson and was intended to bring him back. The ship’s retreat forced Andrée to miss his connection with it and so he crossed the Hudson at King’s Ferry to Montrose and to make his way through Westchester in an attempt to reach the British lines.
Lyn kept her personal information out of most conversations, preferring to discuss local politics or history of any kind. Her passing provides the opportunity to share a little bit of Lyn’s history with the community she cherished and served.
Lynette Christine Murray was born May 11, 1941 in Bordertown, South Australia. Her father Stan, introduced electricity to the town, owned an electric appliance store, and was the town’s first movie projectionist. Her mother, Carol, founded the town’s Nursery School. Her first years of school were in a one-room school house but as a teen, much to her delight, she was sent off to boarding school in Adelaide, about 2 hours from home.
Lyn won trophies on the tennis team (a sport that remained a life-long interest), but her real love was for theater, Shakespeare and the use of the English language.
She went to Sydney to study at university but was more interested in theatre and writing. She started writing for the entertainment sections of the up-and-coming Sydney papers. Following an editor she wanted to work for to Melbourne, she met and married David Anthony Roessler, an architect, in 1965 and went on an extended honeymoon.
They went first to Japan and stayed in the now demolished Imperial Hotel, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, another life-long interest of hers. They then crossed the Pacific on a freighter carrying tangerines to Vancouver, took a train across Canada into the old Penn Station, and found an apartment in New York City (after their first few nights in the Chelsea Hotel).
In the year that they lived there, they made friends with another architect, Ric Scofidio and his wife, Jeanne, who invited them to their house in Croton-on-Hudson, New York.
In September 1966 Lyn and David traveled to London, and in May, 1967 their son, Mark Murray Roessler, was born. Later that year they packed up a blue Volkswagon Bus with all their belongings and headed for Europe. For the next eighteen months, they traveled throughout Europe, visiting France, Switzerland, Germany, Poland, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and The Netherlands, before heading back to England. Deciding it was time to figure out where to raise their family, Lyn prevailed in returning to Croton-on-Hudson.
In 1970, a second son, Jo Ruskin Roessler, was born.
Lyn loved the sense of close-knit community that Croton had, and dedicated the rest of her life to participating in and enhancing it.
She was active in the Croton Community Nursery School and helped to found the Croton chapter of AFS. She worked with Bernice Pickett and Beth Waterfall on their Mother’s Manual magazine for several years, particularly enjoying her job covering the annual Toy Fair and Candy Expo in NYC. After several years at Perry Real Estate (later Perry-Kennedy) during which time she was able to see many of the great homes in Croton, she started writing for the Croton Gazette and ultimately joined in its ownership for a period of time.
In 1996 she created the Half Moon Press – a widely read free paper mixing Hudson Valley history with current events. The paper was part of her larger effort to build the economic vitality of the Hudson River Towns by capitalizing on one of its greatest assets for building tourism – its history. Lyn produced every aspect of the Half Moon Press; finding the historic bits, writing the stories, keeping the calendar and typesetting and laying out each edition on her dining room table.
Being in business for herself gave Lyn the opportunity to be active in the local Chamber of Commerce and the newspaper provided a vehicle to network with others throughout the area who shared her interests. Lyn not only covered the activities of numerous organizations throughout the State but she came to participate in them as a publicist and promoter.
In 2001, Lyn briefly suspended production of the Half Moon Press to become editor of the Women’s News, lifting this obscure paper up to a level of professional recognition for its coverage of women’s lives. The paper did not survive the economic challenges of such an enterprise and Lyn, who didn’t drive, gave up her daily commute cross-county on the Bee-Line Bus system. She returned to the publishing of Half Moon Press.
Lyn was also active in the local Democratic party, participated in every anti war march and women’s rights march of the last decade. She was a passionate environmentalist and community-builder. She is survived by her sons, Mark and Jo, their wives, Hayley and Nora and grandchildren Otis, Grey and Gerrit, and a brother, Christopher (Kip) Murray of Australia. A memorial in her honor was held Saturday, April 8, at 2pm at the Kitchawanc Lodge on Croton Point.
Photo: Lyn Roessler—the woman in white at the center of the picture who is looking at the camera—among a crowd of peaceful demonstrators at a candlelight vigil in opposition of the Iraq War in front of the Ossining High School in September 2005.