William D. “Bill” Nugent

The Central New York Region remembers a dedicated ski patroller and physician in William D. “Bill” Nugent, who passed away at the age of 94 on February 24, 2024. For more than two decades, starting in 1968, Bill patrolled at Labrador Mountain, and as a medical doctor, offered many ski patrol training sessions and advice to the patrols in the former Syracuse Section. Bill was known for his wit, his great sense of humor, and ability as a storyteller. He epitomized a generation of patrol leadership in Central New York. Bill was awarded National Appointment 4467 in 1974.

Bill graduated from what is now Upstate Medical Center in 1957 and became a hard-working anesthesiologist at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse until 2005. When he retired at age 76, many people lauded him as a life saver and a hero. He never hesitated to share his expert medical knowledge with the ski patrol or to his neighbors. During his career, he served as president of the Central New York Chapter of the American Heart Association, and president of the New York State Society of Anesthesiologists.

In addition to his love of skiing and the ski patrol, Bill was also a lifetime member of the Grasse River Outdoors Club in northern New York state, where he spent time and made many friendships. He was an avid hunter, lover of water, ducks, and dogs. Bill was also a collector of carved wooden ducks.

Dr. Nugent is survived by his wife Donna; eight children: Kim, William, Kelly, Kristin, Megan, Keri, Ryan, and Patrick; 21 grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.

Catherine “Kay” Seibert

A former patrol leader and section officer in the Central New York Region died at the age of 100 on December 6, 2023. Catherine “Kay” Seibert dedicated two decades of service to the NSP, having served for many years as the former Syracuse Section’s public information advisor and secretary, the last patrol leader of the former Intermont Ski Area in Cortland County (1974), and a Toggenburg patroller from 1974 until the late 1980s. She first joined the National Ski Patrol in 1968 at Intermont.

Kay worked at Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. for 35 years. She served on the board of directors of the Power Federal Credit Union for 21 years and was a past president.

Ski patrol wasn’t Kay’s only passion. She was an avid golfer. Kay also cared deeply for cats and devoted her later years as an active member of the CNY Cat Coalition, where she served as a board member for eight years. She felt her mission was placing healthy abandoned cats in loving homes.

Volker Weiss

Sometimes you never realize just how distinguished a fellow patroller may be as you share life experiences on the slopes, but rarely anywhere else. Volker Weiss was an accomplished patroller whose life story was astounding. He was 93 when he died on November 7, 2023, after fighting cancer for two years.

Volker skied 37 years with the Toggenburg Ski Patrol in the CNY Region (1962-1999), serving as patrol leader in 1971, and was awarded National Appointment 5338 in 1978. He was an avid sportsman, enjoying skiing, sailing, tennis, golf, and hiking. Somehow, Volker also found time to be a talented musician as a guitarist, accordion and recorder performer, and singer. He served a term as board member of the Syracuse Friends of Chamber Music. He was president of the Rotary Club of Syracuse for many years.

Born and raised in Austria, Volker and his family fled their hometown during World War II, and hid from the Nazis for two years in the Austrian Alps. After the war, he completed his undergraduate studies in Vienna, moving to Syracuse, where he completed a master’s and a doctorate at Syracuse University by 1959.

He joined the faculty of SU’s Department of Chemical Engineering and Metallurgy and became a professor. He became chair of his department, was associate dean of the engineering college, and later became director of SU’s Institute of Energy Research. From 1978 to 1986, Volker was vice president for research and graduate affairs. Under his leadership, external funding for SU researchers nearly doubled. Volker reorganized the SU graduate school and founded the journal Syracuse Scholar.

He had authored more than 70 publications on metallurgy, and materials evaluation and fatigue by the time he retired in 1996. In retirement, Volker continued to do research for such clients as the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, the U.S. Department of Transportation, Carrier Corporation, and Ford Motor Company. He was a fellow of the American Society of Metals; and shared the U.S. patent related to self-monitoring metals, alloys, and materials. Volker also earned recognition by NASA, NATO, and the Fulbright Program.

Volker was predeceased by his wife Peg. He is survived by sons Erick (who was a ski patroller for four years) and Christopher; and four grandchildren.

Earl Lewis Evans

Earl Lewis Evans passed away peacefully on August 29, 2023, at the age of 89. He was the son of Earl Anthony and Catherine (Parvis) Evans of Albany, NY. Earl was a graduate of Albany High School and attended Bucknell University. He was a veteran of the Korean War and received an honorable discharge.

Earl spent most of his career as the director of the Regional Emergency Medical Organization (REMO) and was instrumental in standardizing training programs for paramedics. During his 45-plus years as a paramedic, Earl volunteered for the Town of Colonie Emergency Medical Services, as well as managing the Knickerbocker (MVP) Arena EMS program.

Earl enjoyed the outdoors, especially hiking, camping, and skiing. He was a founding member and past president of the Out-of-Control Ski Club and worked as a ski patroller at Royal Mountain. Earl also was an avid N.Y. Giants and Mets fan.

He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Judith Anne Robillard; his children, Christopher (Tricia) Evans of Guilderland, NY; Scott (Angela) Evans of Santa Fe, NM; Timothy (Yokasta) Evans-Lora of Brooklyn, NY; Shawn Evans of Colonie, NY; and Kelly (Lawrence) Evans of Stamford, CT; his grandchildren, Erika, Alexander, Marissa, Kaelynn and Dylan Evans, and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his sister, Barbara (Evans) Currier; and brother-in-law, Gerald Currier.

In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy in Earl’s memory may be made to the Northeastern Association of the Blind at Albany at naba-vision.org or a charity of your choice.

In Memoriam – Harlan “Sonny” Davis

We are heartbroken to announce the death of Harlan “Sonny” Davis, age 71 of Portland, Maine on Thursday, December 7, 2023. Sonny had a 45-year tenure at Pleasant Mountain and served 17 years as Ski Patrol Director. He served with the Navy Seals for six years before moving to Bridgton. After retiring from the mountain, he worked for McIver Electric where they were exceptionally supportive of him.

Sonny is predeceased by his daughter, Lindsay Davis. Sonny is survived by his partner MaryAnn Butts, son Scott and wife Stephanie, son Ryan and Stephanie Ross, as well as his grandchildren Taylor, Paige, Logan, Spencer, and Samantha.

Following is the eulogy Darryl Trafford delivered at Sonny’s service.

My name is Darryl Trafford, I have been a lifelong patroller and friend of Sonny. Our patrol was founded by Jimmy Jones, in Portland, Maine in 1936, as the “Forest City Ski Patrol.” At that time, it was the first ski patrol in Maine. In 1938, the patrol was moved to Pleasant Mountain and renamed the Pleasant Mountain Ski Patrol. Jimmy was confirmed as the patrol leader, a position he held through 1972. In 1972, Jimmy retired and Rolly Seavey was brought in as the new PD. Rolly had previously served as the patrol leader at Burnt Meadow Mountain in Brownfield. Rolly reached out and invited many members of that now-defunct patrol to join him.

In 1973 my mother and my older brother Danny joined the patrol. That same winter, my older sister Donna, and I were recruited for a new Junior Patroller program. Rolly had asked one of his new patrollers to start that program. That new guy was Sonny Davis. Two of his buddies that he had served with in Vietnam had just been discharged through Brunswick Naval Air station and were hired by Rolly. Sonny and I quickly hit it off, and since then, our friendship continued. At one point or another, Sonny had a hand in training or working with eight of us Traffords. If you include my mom, and my sons Jordan and Cam, my family has 128 years of service to the Pleasant Mountain Ski Patrol. That wouldn’t have happened without Sonny. All of us Traffords considered Sonny to be part of our family.

Sonny grew up as a military brat. While his father was stationed in Colorado, Sonny learned to ski at Arapahoe Basin. He talked a lot about skiing the snowfields, dropping off the west side cornice, and taking runs on Pallavicini, which was touted as the longest, steepest, widest, lift-served trail in the country. Many of you will remember seeing the trail map of A Basin hanging on the wall in the outer patrol room.

After we earned our senior rockers together in 1983, I treated myself to a trip to Colorado, to ski Arapahoe Basin, and took a few runs on Pallavicini. Yes, it was as badass as Sonny had claimed. The sign at the top of Pallavicini said “SKI IT IF YOU DARE.”

In the mid-80s, Pleasant Mountain freestyle legend Gregg Stump bought his first movie camera. He stopped in at the patrol shack and asked Sonny and me to take some runs with him on the east headwall. He wanted to practice tracking skiers with that new camera. When he later released his first ski movie, Sonny and I attended the premier at the Brunswick in OOB.

A question for some here. Does Danny or David Gyger, H3, Michael or Tom Bull, or any others that grew up hanging out at the patrol shack, recall getting hung up by your ski pants on the coat hook or having the top lift attendant stop the old blue chair so we could pelt you with snowballs? We worked hard at the mountain, but we always had time for fun.

In 1983, following a winter of training and clinicing, Sonny and I both earned our senior alpine designation from NSP thanks to a lot of nudging and support from Henry Hudson, and Tom and June Gyger.

In 1987, when I got married for the first time, Sonny stood up with me as my best man. He gave me a simple bit of advice ahead of the ceremony. Run! I should have listened to him.

The Pleasant Mountain Ski Patrol has always had a very strong presence on the Maine Region staff. As a result, we have ended up staffing and hosting many region and division events. Those have included Student Patrol clinics, OEC and Ski & Toboggan clinics, and OEC Senior Evaluations to name a few. Sonny was always in the middle of those events helping and cheering on our participating patrollers when he could.

Throughout the 80s and 90s we had an aggressive training program for both adults and students. We trained as many as 40 new patrollers in a year. At one point we counted 24 senior patrollers that were regularly working with candidates. That training incorporated a lot of Sonny’s concepts of keeping it fun and pushing ourselves. Who hasn’t seen us side slipping the crud line along the trail doing one-footed sideslips or even kick turns in the ice balls left by the groomer.

Through all of this, our student program kept going strong. Between 2004 and 2017, three of our students took first place overall at the Eastern Division Student Patrol event: Courtney, Matt, and Jordan. Many more achieved second and third place finishes. Emily and Morgan both won the prestigious Hans Hyson trophy for leadership. Sonny worked and celebrated with all of them. During all this fun, Sonny made time to coach the Lake Region Ski Team to a bunch of individual and team state championships.

In 2016, Sonny and I received our 40-year service awards from NSP together. In 2017, Sonny and I received the Distinguished Service Award from NSP together. In 2026 we would have been up for our 50-year service awards.