Janet C.Kirkland IHS 1957

First Female Village Trustee

Janet C. Kirkland

1957 Alumnus

Barringer Road 4th Grade Teacher
By Aileen Carney Sweeney
June 2014



Janet C. Kirkland was born August 9, 1939 in Utica, the daughter of the Robert and Pearl McWilliam Kirkland. Janet was a graduate of Ilion High School in 1957. She had one younger sibling, sister, Roberta Kirkland Danforth IHS '60.


Janet C. Kirkland Ilion Class of 1957

1957 Class Officers
Rod Lennox President, Folsom Selwood Vice-President,
Sally Donahue Treasurer abd Janet Kirkland Secretary.

Janet demonstrated her leadership abilities at a young age. She was Vice-President of her IHS sophomore class and elected Secretary of her senior class. She was a student director of the senior class play "Love is in the Air." She also served as co-chairman of the senior prom in June 1957.

Leadership skills in high school proved to be an excellent predictor of future roles in Ilion village government. Many of Ilion High School's former Class Presidents, Student Council officers and team captains would go on to serve as Mayors and Trustees for the Village of Ilion. James Garnsey and John Gilmartin are two former Mayors who were also IHS senior class presidents.


Janet Kirkland graduated from Utica College in 1961 and received her Master's Degree from Potsdam College.

She worked for the Ilion Central School District, teaching 4th Grade, at the Barringer Road School, until her retirement in 1995.

Barringer Road School

Janet Kirkland - Fourth Grade Teacher
Barringer Road School
1966 - 1995


Janet Kirkland was dedicated to her hometown. Janet was the first female elected to serve on the Village of Ilion Board, as Trustee, in 1975. She served from 1975 to 1983 and from 1987 and 1988. By 1988, she had served nine years and was in the top ten of those Trustees serving the longest time in office.

Her academic career training and professionalism made her an excellent candidate for serving on the Village of Ilion Board. She was among a long list of Ilion School District's academic professionals who were elected to serve, some included: Elwyn Swarthout, Joseph D. Collea, Jr., Steve Canipe, Bernard Murray and Nicholas Pannes.

Three Democrats are running for village offices in the 2014 election. These candidates, two of which are IHS graduates, also have academic professional backgrounds: Fred Hartman - retired teacher, Kal Socolof - HCCC professor and Bridget Trevor McKinley - Adjunct Professor at both Utica College and SUNY IT Utica/Rome.

The complete list of Village of Ilion Presidents/Mayors and Trustees, as of 1988, was compiled by Janet Kirkland. On that list of Ilionites elected to serve on the Village Boards, you will find many names of highly educated individuals from the professional ranks: doctors, lawyers, accountants, engineers, school administrators, teachers, bankers, and business managers.

Janet was a member of the Herkimer County Retired Teachers Association, the NYS Retired Teachers Association, and was appointed to the Ilion High School Marion Brill Scholarship Foundation Review Committee in 2000.


The Honorable James F. Garnsey Booklet

In 1988, Janet researched and created a history of the Village of Ilion elected officials. She dedicated and presented this booklet, which was titled, "The Honorable James F. Garnsey", to former mayor James Garnsey IHS '49.

Former Mayor Garnsey is Ilion's longest serving mayor.


Janet's booklet chronicled the history of Ilion government, up to 1988. She compiled information on every President/Mayor and Trustee as of that date. With the permission of James Garnsey, this wonderful booklet, the history of Village Elected Officials is now available.

The Honorable James F. Garnsey - Term



During her tenure as Village Trustee, Janet served as liaison between the library and recreation commissions. She also served as Deputy Mayor. In the summer of 1975, she supervised summer employees and she painted village fences and fire hydrants. In the summer of 1976, she worked for the Department of Public Works and did not receive any financial compensation for her work. Janet filled in for an employee who was out on sick leave.

Janet held The Ilion Fire Department close to her heart. Every Sunday, she would deliver her homemade pies to the Ilion firemen at the station. She continued this practice long after her tenure on the Village Board ended.


Janet C. Kirkland died, at the age of 64, on Thursday, January 22, 2004, at Faxton Health Care Center in Utica.

Janet was survived by her a sister, Roberta Danforth of Ilion; two nieces and their husbands, Sheila and Daniel Brindisi of Whitesboro, Debra and Francis Knowlton of Ilion; a nephew and his wife, Robert and Doreen Danforth of Albany. She also left a great-niece and nephew, Alec and Kaley Brindisi of Whitesboro; and special friends, Edwina and Bernard Anderson and their son, Lawrence of Mohawk.

Her funeral services were held Sunday, January 25, 2004 from the Whiter-Hendrix Funeral Home, Ilion. The Rev. George B. Greene officiated. Friends were asked to consider memorials to the Janet C. Kirkland Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o Ilion High School.

The Ilion Fire Department honored Janet at her funeral services. They met as a group on January 24, 2004, at the funeral home, to pay their respects. Her interment was in the Armory Hill Cemetery.


References Cited

back page


Created and maintained by Aileen Carney Sweeney - Class of 1974

Digital Image Copyright & Copyright © 1997 - 2022 ilionalumni.com
June 4, 2014
Modified February 6, 2022

Alumni Home | Class News | General News | District History | Search | Traditions

Board of Education | First Principals | Principals | Principals
District Development | Alumni Association History | Old Stone Building
Morgan Street Building | West Hill School | North Street School | East Frankfort School
Old Forge Road School | Annunciation School | Weber Avenue Elementary School
High School - Pre 1963 | High School Fire 1963 | High School - Rebuilding | High School - Post 1963
Diss Memorial Athletic Complex | Barringer Road Elementary School | Remington Elementary School