To see that everyone who died in Newcomb is not forgotten
Marvin Bissell (middle row, far right) with his high school basketball team at Newcomb Central School.
Marvin Bissell loved his community.
Bissell, the longtime owner and operator of Bissell’s Store in Newcomb, passed away in November 2013. Before his death, he established the Bissell Fund for Grave Markers at Adirondack Foundation, which will provide support for cemeteries and historic preservation in the central Adirondack town of Newcomb. The bequest includes $1 million and six parcels of land. The land, which the Foundation gifted directly to the town, totaled about 160 acres. One parcel will be used for a connection to horse trails on the Essex Chain; the town plans to sell the rest and use proceeds to establish a welcome center and history museum.
"We’re so grateful for this gift from Marvin. He was the millionaire next door who left it all for the place he held dear," said Newcomb Supervisor George Canon. "You’d never in your wildest dreams imagine he’d be wealthy, or that he would quietly leave such a lasting legacy for Newcomb.”
In 2015, the fund awarded its first grant of $25,000 to the Newcomb Historical Society. They will use it for a special cemetery project and other technological capacity needs, as well as sta training and storage.
Bissell graduated from Newcomb Central School in 1952 and served in the military before taking over ownership of Bissell’s Store from his father in 1962. The store was located on Bissell Loop near state Route 28N from 1918 until 2014. The store’s shelves were stocked with a little bit of everything, from cat food and hardware to knives and camera parts. Newcomb’s deputy supervisor, Wes Miga, recalled that Bissell would order anything a customer wanted.
“His store was always cluttered,” Miga said. “He never over-charged, but he was a stickler when it came to his prices. That’s part of the reason he was able to leave this amazing gift to the community: he worked hard and saved, and lived by the motto, ‘It’s not what you make; it’s what you spend.’”
Bissell’s family goes back generations. The minutes from Newcomb’s first town council meeting in 1828 make reference to the Bissell family. That connection to the community was reflected in Bissell’s passion for local history, and his interest in cemeteries and grave markers.
Planned giving with Adirondack Foundation has made a big impact on a number of communities across the Adirondack region. The Damoth Fund, established in 2012 with a bequest from Robert Damoth, has awarded $225,000 in grants to community organizations and projects since 2013. Two funds established in 1999 with a bequest from Alberta P. Moody have combined to award over $465,000 in grants to the library and scholarships to students in Tupper Lake.