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Owasco neighbors remember CT shooting victim

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Owasco neighbors remember CT shooting victim
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The pain of Friday's devastating shooting in Connecticut has reached a small lakeshore community in Cayuga County. YNN's Bill Carey has the story of a family's deep ties to a lake and the sorrow of neighbors now that a member of that family is among the dead in Newtown.

OWASCO, N.Y. -- It was just the place for a hard working IBM engineer to find an escape in the summer. So almost 50 years ago, Jack Greene bought a camp along the shore of Owasco Lake. A place that he, his wife and their five children could spend the summer. This was the place Jack Greene wanted to be.

“He just loved the lake. He liked sail boating. He was out on the lake by himself, a lot. Enjoying himself,” neighbor Bud Smith said.

Smith and his wife, Shirley, had children as well, including two twin daughters, about the same age as Jack's daughter, Mary.

Neighbor Shirley Smith said, “A kid that was always around. Always good and kind. She loved the lake. They'd sit for hours and paint their rocks out in front. Then, as they grew up, they went on dates and had their bonfires and their boyfriends out front. It was just every summer, Mary was here.”

With age and illness, Jack's visits to the camp became fewer and fewer. But Mary shared his love of this place. This was the place she, too, wanted to be.

Mary Greene would eventually meet the love of her life, Bill Sherlach. They would marry and spend many summers here. Eventually they decided this would be the place they would call home.

Just one hurdle to clear. After years on the job, Mary Sherlach was preparing to retire. She just had to get through the final year of work as psychologist at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

In the opening moments of a nightmare, Mary and the school's principal, did what true heroes do. Unarmed, they confronted a gunman and gave their lives protecting the small children in their care.

For neighbors who shared summers, the grief is profound. One of Bud Smith's daughters, too distraught to talk on camera, came to place a wreath outside the Sherlach camp, in the spot where Mary would sit in the sunshine and read and relax.

Bud Smith said, “Shock to my daughters because she was like a sister to them.”

A tearful President has spoken of a deep pain felt by a nation. There is pain here on the shores of Owasco Lake, as well. But here, it is very, very personal.

“It's a shame. It's a shame. What a waste,” Shirley Smith said.

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