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VERONA ISLAND — Paul Carter and his wife, Marilyn, built the gas station and convenience store Fort View Variety up from nothing over the past 30 years. Their roots in the area, however, go back much longer. Marilyn Carter’s great-grandfather, Erastus, was a carpenter who worked in the island’s once-booming shipbuilding industry. Erastus helped build that industry’s most-famous product, the S.S. Roosevelt, which Rear Adm. Robert Peary and his crew sailed in 1905 on their way to becoming the first Americans, and some of the first people, to reach the North Pole.


Marilyn’s grandfather, Ross Marvin Allison, was named after Rear Adm. Robert Peary’s chief scientist, Professor Ross Marvin, who died on Peary’s expedition to the North Pole.
Erastus named his son Ross Marvin Allison, after Professor Ross Marvin of Cornell University, who was the first assistant to Peary and who died during the expedition.

A few generations later, Marilyn’s interest in her family’s history reignited when she heard that fellow Verona Island resident Verna Cox is leading an effort to build a museum on the island dedicated to the S.S. Roosevelt.

When Marilyn passed away this September, her family thought it would be a great idea to ask friends to send not flowers, but checks to the Verona Island Historical Society, which is the group leading the S.S. Roosevelt museum effort. “Flowers fade fast, and museums last a long time,” said Paul Carter, who also happens to be allergic to some flowers. The family raised $1,000, a windfall for the fledgling historical society. “We’ve had yard sales, but they didn’t raise a huge amount,” Cox said, “so this was really exciting.” “I think it’s a good memorial for mom,” added Allyson Sucy, Marilyn’s daughter. “She’d be very happy.

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