Jack Holzwarth, now a resident at the Hawthorne at St. John’s Meadows, has lived a rich and varied life to date.
Jack grew up at 3977 East Avenue, the last house on the street that was part of the Pittsford School District. Starting in 1959, Jack would work for over 35 years in the Pittsford school system. His work experience included not only ten years of teaching high school biology and chemistry, but a stint in school administration as well.
Jack segued into school administration after coming over time to find his teaching activities to be repetitive. In Jack’s words, “you get to a point where you’d like to try something different.” Despite the change, he reflects fondly on the teaching days – “much less conflict resolution” required than in the administrative side of things.
Eventually, Jack had a chance to try something even more different. He was asked by the deputy mayor to participate in a volunteer board, concerning architecture and preservation review in the Village of Pittsford. Jack decided to try his hand at larger-scale administrative matters there and became the interim mayor for the remaining two years of Mayor Frank McConnell’s term when McConnell passed away while in office. Jack went on to serve two more four-year terms, or ten years in total, as Mayor of Pittsford.
“Opportunity is a combination of timing meeting luck,” Jack believes.
Jack’s background in sciences served him extremely well as Mayor, to the point that he earned the nickname of “the Infrastructure Mayor.” His most notable achievement in this respect was facilitating the town’s transition from well water to water provided by the Monroe County Water Authority. Before this transition, the water in the town had some issues – Jack described that men’s shirts used to come grey out of the wash.
To ensure an effective transition, Jack formed a Citizens Advisory Committee, which included medical students, biotechnicians, and biochemists. The team spent ten months studying the differences between the well water system and the proposed Monroe County Water Authority system. With a cost of $650,000 (in those days’ dollars) to spread among not very many village taxpayers, the decision had to be made right.
In his time as Mayor, Jack presided over other infrastructural developments, such as changes to the layout and surfaces of the main roads in town, as well as attempts to claim the site of the vacant town post office.
Jack is full of good humor and stories about the various characters and situations he ran into during his Pittsford years. Now, he enjoys life at St. John’s Meadows where he shares these stories and many others with staff and fellow neighbors. With Jack’s time as a town official and his friendly smile he easily makes new friends wherever he goes.