Robert Boehmler’s Legacy in Lyons

If you have walked, biked or driven through Lyons on Route 14 you have undoubtedly passed a mural on the back of MVP Auto Parts; it colorfully depicts the Erie Canal as it flowed through the village in the late 1800’s.  Erica Swenson painted it and it was partially funded by a Boehmler grant.  Although the most visible of his legacy, he has impacted Lyons in other ways.  Music students have been able to take lessons at Eastman thanks to funding from the Boehmler Foundation.  Boehmler grants have funded other music and art events throughout the years in Lyons.  But who was Robert Boehmler and what is the purpose of his foundation?

An Ithaca College graduate, Robert Boehmler first taught at Fillmore Central School and in 1942 was drafted into he

Robert Boehmler

Army Air Corp.Selected for the 378th band, he was transferred in 1943 to Atlantic City where he played in a dance band six nights a week for the USO clubs.  Coming back to his hometown of Lyons he began teaching music at Palmyra-Macedon schools where he taught for 30 years.

Mr. Boehmler died in 1998.  However, in 1996 he, Walter Schnabel and David C. Reid started a Community Foundation with emphasis on music and the arts.  The mission of the Robert C. Boehmler Community Foundation is “to benefit the public charities and certain service entities in Wayne and Monroe counties of New York State, particularly the towns of Lyons, Palmyra, Sodus and the city of Rochester.  The focus of the grants is in the area of music and community enrichment.”

A notable example of the foundation’s mission is the annual award of $18,000 a year to  the Eastman School to enable students in Lyons, Sodus and Palmyra schools to attend private music lessons at Eastman.  Approximately 15 pupils a year receive the award, worth $550 a semester. Also, several community services and organizations such as the Lyons Food Pantry, the Museum of Wayne County, the Lyons Heritage Society and the Wayne County Council of the Arts have been awarded grants. Library programs  have also been funded through the Boehmler Foundation grants. Also students at Lyons, Sodus and Pal-Mac schools receive high school graduation scholarships worth $1,000 each from the foundation. Many citizens have attended summer concerts Wednesdays in the park and Saturday Farmer’s Markets also funded through the Boehmler grants.

Because of Mr. Boehmler’s generosity, his live of music and of his hometown, the foundation continues to fulfill its mission of promoting the arts and music in our communities.


To apply for a Boehmler Foundation grant, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization can initiate an application with a letter to :Barbi Rufflell at Charitable Support Services Company L.L.C., P.O. Box 927 Henrietta, New York 14467 or email  Phone 585-703-0938. Deadline to submit applications is April 15, 2018.

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