Ken Sheffer

April 4, 2024

Hudson, NY


Annie Reynolds

Annie Reynolds
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Ken Sheffer was born in 1958. He grew up in Hudson and now lives between Hong Kong and Livingston, New York. 

Ken begins his interview by speaking about early memories growing up near Paddock Place and Joslen Place in Hudson, including riding bikes in the sunshine. Throughout the interview, Ken speaks at length about teaching and playing tennis. He begins with his high school years, from 1972 to 1976, where he played on the tennis courts at the building now known as Montgomery C. Smith Elementary School, near his childhood home. He names Umberta Perillo as a teacher who had a great influence on him, as well as Frank Sullivan, who made a great impact on Ken as a young gay man. Ken mentions other Hudson community members who influenced him, particularly in his first years playing tennis, including Dr. Carl Gifford Whitbeck. Ken describes the Warren Street home of his maternal Italian grandparents, who lived above a pool hall and ice cream shop where he played billiards with his friends and siblings. 

Ken speaks about a book and research project he has been working on since 2019 about the history of the Montgomery school building. He acknowledges tennis, the Montgomery School, and his husband, Jeff Tsui, as the best parts of his life. Ken concludes his interview by speaking about the sunset and view of the Catskill mountains, which brought him back to Hudson in the 1990s after years spent in Asia. 

This interview may be of interest to those looking to learn more about the tennis community in Hudson, the history of the Montgomery C. Smith Elementary School, building preservation, and growing up in Hudson in the 1960s.

This interview was recorded for the Hudson Area Library's LGBTQ+ Collection in collaboration with Outhudson and with support from The Spark of Hudson.

Interviewer Bio:

Annie Reynolds

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