Jerry Ognibene, ’59: A Life on Display
January 22, 2014 by Lisa McMahon, M.A.'09
Several years ago, when Jerry Ognibene, ’59, retired from his career in higher education, he began building a model train layout with his wife of 52 years, Rosemary (affectionately known as “Bunny”). The couple included replicas of places that were meaningful to them throughout their early lives, including childhood homes, movie theatres, shops, and yes, even Niagara University. Spanning an area representing Bunny’s hometown of Buffalo to Jerry’s of North Collins, the 12 foot by 6 foot layout features country settings, a cityscape, and Niagara’s Clet Hall in the center, above a ravine that resembles the Niagara River Gorge. Although Jerry admits to taking artistic license with many of the replicas, including the addition of a wall around Clet Hall, the layout serves to provide a tangible memory of their lives in Western New York.