Katz also celebrated his wealth by building a home on East
Avenue full of soaring spaces and different, expensive wood.
2 years later, he watched from his front porch as work began
on a home for his newest neighbor, George Eastman. Katz
had done well in the citys clothing and banking industries
and was a leader in the religious community his father had
helped found, Temple Brith Kodesh. When he died at
a relatively early age, Katz was lauded in local newspapers
as a well known financier-philanthropist who
had often and generously entertained friends at his East
Avenue home. That home became apartments after Katzs
wife sold the building in the 1940s. It would be another
50 years before John and Julie Bernunzio threw caution to
the winds and began to remake it into both a home for their
young daughters but as a haven for their growing business.
To visit the Bernunzios, one must only want a ukulele,
banjo, or other vintage stringed instrument. People from
around the world do want such things and so now take what
becomes a very pleasant journey.
Pearl Waite had a great idea. His wife even gave it a name:
Jell-O. What Pearl didnt have was the time and business
sense to properly pedal that idea. He sold it all to Orator
Woodward for $450. When the Woodward family sold the trademarked
name again, it was worth 66 million dollars. Orator Woodward
didnt live to see that windfall. His family, squabbling
and fractious, enjoyed it in many, very different ways.
The youngest son, Donald Woodward used some of it to build
a house for his wife on dozens of acres with a commanding
view east of the town of LeRoy. Divorced soon after, the
Woodwards had little time to appreciate the three-story
mansion with the in-basement pool, enormous central hallway
and richly wooded ballroom. It would become, instead, a
rehabilitation home for children with cerebral palsy and
then a summer rest house for the Sisters of Mercy. In the
last decade, yet another owner lives and works from here:
the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy. Mercedian
Friars date their orders beginning to the year 1218.
The latest generation of Friars calls Mercygrove both home
and US headquarters. On its ample grounds and through its
wide inner spaces, the Mercedians say they have found the
perfect place to find their inner peace and to help others
do the same.heir new home as a home and not a museum.