November 25, 2021
BATH – Two women continuing to leave an indelible mark on the lives of Steuben County residents were
honored by New York State recently during a virtual ceremony celebrating Older New Yorkers Day.
Linda Tetor, of Bath, and Joan Watkins, of Woodhull, were recognized Nov. 5 for their decades-long
commitment to the welfare of older – and younger – people in Steuben.
The virtual ceremony took place in Albany and recognized seniors from across the state.
“I am especially grateful that this year’s theme is focused on celebrating the volunteerism of older New
Yorkers – a spirit that shines vividly in many selfless actions and contributions,” said state Office For the
Aging Acting Director Greg Olsen. “It is important that we highlight not only these individual acts of
volunteerism but also their sheer collective magnitude to help others on a broad scale. Throughout New
York State, over 935,000 individuals aged 55 or older contribute 495 million hours of service to their
communities annually. While this is an impressive contribution of time, its impact can also be measured
in other important ways. We estimate that the volunteerism of older New Yorkers translates into an
annual economic output of $13.8 billion – an irreplaceable force of human capital that greatly enhances
the reach of our institutional social safety-net to serve the public good.”
Linda Tetor —
A Bath native, and graduate of Kent State University, Tetor was appointed the county RSVP coordinator
before becoming the founding director of the county Office For the Aging (OFA) in 1984.
During her 38 years in the OFA, Tetor built a solid core of services for older seniors and their families
before retiring in 2010. She then developed independent, nonprofit Steuben Senior Services Fund to
augment existing services for older residents, building that agency into a reliable source of support and
independence, notably as a pilot and highly successful program for the nationally recognized Full Circle
Her 50 years of active service to the community also includes volunteering in many other religious and
civic groups, including the First Presbyterian Church of Bath; Girl Scouts of America, Village of Bath,
Steuben Church People Against Poverty, Self-help housing project, Kinship, United Way, Bath Baptist
Church, Angel Food Ministries, Operation Christmas Child and ProAction of Steuben and Yates.
Tetor’s experience as the caregiver for her parents at home, the mother of two and grandmother of one,
she is dedicated to the importance of family relationships and respect for older citizens.
“Linda is a visionary who looks at every situation and asks, ‘How can we make it better?’” said Steuben
OFA Director Patty Baroody. “She offers people a new perspective and a path forward. She is a friend to
many and a helper to countless others she may never have met personally. It is no exaggeration to say that
her community is better, thanks to Linda’s contributions, large and small. She believes she has been
blessed in life and freely shares all she has.”
— A graduate of Arnot Ogden School of Nursing graduate, Joan Watkins served the community for more
than 40 years as a medical/surgical and intensive care nurse, working at Arnot Ogden Medical Center, St
Joseph’s Hospital in Elmira, New York, and Corning Hospital in Corning, New York.
Watkins served as the lead nurse for some 10 years at the Health Ministry of the Southern Tier branch in
the Steuben. A long-time resident of Woodhull, she became a nurse practitioner at the MacDonald Health
Clinic in that town.
The mother of two, a lifelong Sunday School teacher and member of the Community Church of Woodhull
Watkins is an active volunteer, as well.
Her volunteer efforts include the Woodhull Community Food Pantry as well as the Parent Resource
Center and its Baby Bottle Drive. She travels to various locations throughout the county, on behalf of
Operation Christmas Child for children in other countries at Christmastime.
For the past four years, Watkins has served many older residents and their loved ones as a Wellness
Ambassador with Steuben Senior Services Fund under the Full Circle America Program.
“My best advice to everyone is to get a hold of the Office for the Aging in your community and find what
volunteer project interests you, because there are many!” she said. “God affords us great opportunities to
bless others by using our varied skills.”
For more information, call the Steuben County Office For the Aging at (607) 664-2298