Kristen Jones celebrates all of life’s journeys at Lakeside

Staff Blogger: Allison Moon, Advancement Events Intern


Joel and Kristen (Jones) Schmittgen  Lakeside wedding 2009Kristen Jones has vivid memories of being pushed in a stroller through Lake­side’s downtown business district in the 1960s.

Her first trip to Lakeside was in 1965 at 5 months old.

“I remember always wanting to be in the center of the action downtown,” said Jones.

Jones’ parents, David and Joan, both came to Lakeside as children.

Her grandfather was a United Meth­odist minister and began coming to Lakeside 100 years ago. He then brought her father as a young child.

Her mother first came in the 1930s for church camp.

In 1977, Jones’ parents purchased a cottage on Plum Avenue, which still serves as the family cottage today.

“I always think of Lakeside as my hometown,” she said. “It was the one place my older sisters and I grew up together. We lived and worked here all summer.”

During the summer when she was the manager of Orchestra Hall, the film, “Back to the Future,” was a big hit.

Jones claims the movie still holds the record for attracting the largest crowd to the historic movie theater.

“There was a line around the block,” she said.

Apart from holding several summer jobs at Lakeside, Jones thinks of Lake­side as the place where all of her life ex­periences occurred.

She cites her parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, her father’s last birthday party and her wedding as a few exam­ples.

“Lakeside has been the center of my family’s existence for four generations,” said Jones. “All the occasions of our lives are somehow wrapped up in Lakeside. It long ago stopped being just a place or a destination. It’s really a way of living.”

Like many other Lakesiders, Jones brought her husband of five years, Joel Schmittgen, to Lakeside prior to their marriage.

“When we were dating, ‘have to love Lakeside’ was on the checklist,” said Jones. “It goes beyond a community that you like or don’t like because it becomes ingrained in who you are. Lakeside is truly a part of your soul.”

In fact, Jones marks the cycle of her life by Lake­side summers.

“In the different eras of your life, the good and the bad, you picture yourself here,” she said. “Lakeside is the constant through it all. It’s what you can al­ways depend on. Every­thing lifts off when you get to Lakeside.”

Jones also recognizes the responsibility every Lakesider has to protect the longevity of Lakeside by offering time, talent or treasure to the community.

“We’re here because other people had a vision and a commitment,” said Jones. “We have to give of ourselves to protect the legacy that past generations made possible for our generation.”

In May, Jones became a member of the Lakeside Board of Directors.

“I feel a huge amount of responsi­bility to be a steward,” she said. “I’m already impressed with the deep com­mitment to striking the fine balance of Lakeside, honoring the heritage that has sustained us, but also being open to explore what will sustain us for another 141 years.”

Lakeside Chautauqua invites all to consider supporting Lakeside and ex­plore the various ways to give, including The Endowment for Life Initiative and the Lakeside Fund.

For more information, visit www. or call the Lakeside Chautauqua Foundation at (419) 798-5396.

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