Gretna Longware, who was beloved and admired throughout the North Country, died on April 22, 2010. She successfully focused efforts to save historic fire towers by leading a campaign to save Hurricane Mountain Fire Tower near Elizabethtown where she lived.
"We won," she said in a message that she left Carol LaGrasse after an APA meeting a few days before her death. "I couldn't make it. We showed them that people still have rights in northern New York."
The fire tower survives her and is still the subject of deliberations by the DEC and APA about preserving it as a historic site.
She was born Gretna May Lewis in Wadhams on June 1, 1932. Her rich life was marked by memorable contributions to the community, including co-authorship of Elizabethtown Bicentennial Book and campaigning to save the historic Baptist church steeple. She was recognized for her many years as a Morse code operator, with her ham radio call number WA2WHE. She is survived by her husband of 60 years, Melvin C. Longware, whose uncle and great uncle served as forest rangers at the tower lookout; four daughters and their families; and one remaining sister.
Photo: Peter J. LaGrasse