121 Pies in a Day

Lisa Kisselstein, Baldwinsville Native

Albert Palmer was born in Oswego, NY and learned to cook from his mother, Neva. Widowed by the 1918 flu epidemic, Neva moved the family to Plainville, where she took in washing to make a living. Despite the hardships, Al and his three siblings had a jubilant childhood in the Baldwinsville area. Al met his future wife, Aileen, at a village street dance, and soon her yearbook page noted, “Destined to be Mrs. Al Palmer.” After they married, Al and Neva traveled around New England, as Al worked on behalf of the American Can Company.

In 1947, Al took over his brothers’ business—a diner called “The Hut” because it was housed in a World War II Quonset hut reclaimed from the local Ordinance Works. For thirty-one years, Palmer’s Diner fed the Baldwinsville community, and fundraised for the Baldwinsville Public Library. A donation of five dollars to the library’s operating budget would get you a cup of coffee and a piece of pie. Ten dollars would get you a whole pie. All monies went to the library.

Al’s motto was, “Help someone today, sleep better tonight- Volunteer.” He was the trustee in charge of fundraising for the library when funding came from public donations alone. He also served as Baldwinsville mayor and trustee of the village, and was Baldwinsville’s first (Volunteer) Man of the Year in 1961. Al “retired” in 1978, but he continued to bake pies on behalf of any organization seeking to raise funds. Family and friends estimate that he baked over 300,000 pies for local fundraisers over the course of his lifetime.

Residents of the Village have always dedicated themselves to civic endeavors and assisting neighbors in need. More often than not, B’Villians are active members of multiple charitable and civic organizations at once. From the Female Charitable Society, established in 1817 and still going strong, to the wide-ranging programs and services provided through the Volunteer Center, Baldwinsville is fortunate to be equally rich in volunteer programs and community spirit.

Lisa Kisselstein, Baldwinsville Native and Musician

Born into a family of thespians, musicians and volunteers, Lisa has always tried to combine her love of music with her gift for pastoral care. As a child in Baldwinsville, Lisa was engaged in many of the Methodist Church’s activities: youth group, bell choir and junior choir – the latter two groups she also led as an adult. She was also active in Triangles, sang in the Baker High School chorus, and played flute in the school’s orchestra. After studying flute at SUNY Fredonia and receiving a Masters of Vocal Performance from Ithaca, Lisa taught at Syracuse schools and SUNY Oswego, and traveled the country performing in musical theater productions.

A lay pastor to her core, Lisa is currently enrolled at the Methodist Theological School of Ohio in Delaware, OH, where she is completing her Master of Divinity degree. When she graduates, Lisa plans to become a parish minister, and to administer pastoral care through music.