2016

Distinguished Family Award

Fleming Family

There are many Hamburg families from the baby boom era that would be worthy of recognition and appreciation. Some, like the Collins and Russert families, had more kids starring in Bulldog sports, and families like the Brunners have continued to give so much to the Hamburg community. It is with recognition of the contributions and accomplishments of these and so many other worthy families that the Flemings humbly accepted and shared this tremendous recognition from the Hamburg Alumni Foundation and its Wall of Fame Committee. 

Bob Fleming, Sr. graduated from HHS in ’39, while Jeanne (Cullen) Fleming did so in ’41. They were not high school sweethearts. They got together after World War II and after Bob’s service as a Flight Engineer on a B-29 in the South Pacific. We were led by two members of the Greatest Generation. Bob Sr. was an outstanding student and a decent athlete. Jeanne skied, golfed and played tennis, but her passion was art and art instruction. Both obtained college degrees and worked elsewhere before returning to Hamburg in 1956. With their six kids, there was never pressure to play sports; there was only an expectation that we would be physically active and be “good at something.” Bob, Jr. (’68), Mick (’69), Molly (’71) and Kate and Andy (both ’75) all succeeded at HHS. [Jane attended high school in White Plains after Bob & Jeanne moved there in 1976.] For most of us, athletics, art and/or student government was where we met our folks’ expectations — but grades always came first at their insistence. We were expected to work hard, succeed and have fun doing it. We were taught through the years that it is just as important to do good as to do well. The sportsmanship and teamwork reinforced through decades of athletic and school activity endeavors in Hamburg helped to hone that commitment. With our parents, there was always a focus on integrity, generosity, fairness and kindness — we were taught to pull for the underdog, be it the disadvantaged, the poor or the outclassed. 

Bob, Jr. went on to Cornell where he played varsity football and did well in class. He then attended UB Law School and has been a partner at the Hodgson Russ law firm in Buffalo for 35 years. He and his wife Ruth have three children and two grand-children. Mick also went on to Cornell where he too played varsity football. Mick has held a number of executive positions and now serves as the Executive Director of the American Association of Chamber Executives in Washington, D.C. Mick was selected for the Foundation’s Sports Wall of Fame in 2012. He and wife Barbi (HHS ’70) have two children and a delightful grand-daughter. Molly in Binghamton, Ashland Oregon and China before entering the health care world. She has been a Naturopathic Doctor and Acupuncturist in Burlington, VT for the past 20 years where she and her daughter Zoe reside. Andy went to Pace University where he played varsity football. Upon graduation he served as an active duty Marine Infantry Officer for three years before going to UB for law school. He and his wife live on Central Avenue in the Village where they raised their three children. He and Dan Chiacchia have their law practice in Hamburg and Andy is the Village Judge, as well. Katy went on to Pace with Andy. (Bob, Sr. was the Dean of the Law School there and a full tuition waiver for his children was part of his compensation package.) Katy obtained a B.A. but then went on for a B.S. in Nursing, as well. She has been a Nurse Practitioner in Philadelphia for the past 25+ years. She is married and they raised their three children in Lower Merlon, PA. Jane left Hamburg after the 8th grade, but went on to excel at White Plains High School before going on to Pace where she was a two sport varsity athlete. Jane lives in Northern Virginia where she has headed up a very successful Calico Corners store for more than 15 years. On behalf of the grandparents, parents, teachers, coaches, teammates and community that gave us so much to work with and work for, we thank the Foundation for this honor.