Cranaleith's "Ski" Ulinski Remembered

A man kneeling down next to a dog.

Zigmont “Ski” Ulinski
1940 – 2022

“I have fought the good fight,
I have finished my course,
I have kept the faith.”

2 Timothy 4:7

Guests who have come to Cranaleith over the past 23 years experienced a man whose presence grew from the heart of Cranaleith’s mission. Ski offered a hospitality that was simple, compassionate, joyous and generous. Accompanied by his golden retrievers who extended the same gifts, we often found him chatting with guests in a way that was utterly other-centered and accepting. Men and women from every walk of life found Cranaleith “common ground” because of Ski. He truly enjoyed our guests, weaving bonds of respect and mutuality among the most diverse communities. A day might find him lifting an elderly guest up the few steps at our entrance, encouraging someone in their recovery, or mentoring young workers to use equipment or care for the grounds. People shared with Ski things they might never share in formal retreats. As the poet Seamus Heaney describes it, his presence was “intimate and helpful, like a cure you didn’t notice happening.

Ski cherished the land here, and nurtured it with diligent attention. He embraced the heritage of the generations who had lived here, especially his father-in-law Frank Trainer. He stewarded the beauty with care, and recognized the sacredness of mutual relationship with earth. Whether tending the fish and bees, the trees and gardens, or the young people he welcomed into his guiding hand, Ski embodied the values of mercy…reverence for the dignity of each person, creating a spirit of hospitality, and pursuing integrity of word and deed in our lives. As we continue to discover his imprint everywhere we look, we seek to preserve the legacy entrusted to us at Cranaleith.

Memories of Ski:

“He was always a good and kind neighbor to us.” Ann Marie and Grady Gervino

“I have wonderful memories of playfully jousting with Ski over politics. In this time of such division, it was wonderful to share a mutual love with someone whose views are different. He would do anything for me when I came to work with the bees. I will miss seeing him hanging out.” Andrea Vettori.

“Ski was like another Dad to me. He taught me so much. He is remembered many times each day.” Fred Stopper

“Our whole family have such great memories of being with Ski at Cranaleith. The care that he provided for Cranaleith helped to make it the beautiful, comfortable, embracing setting that it is.” Tom, Catherine, Anthony, Thomas and Rita DiBello

“Loss of such a good man, loved by so very many.” Marisa Guerin

“Ski was such a special person to anyone who met him, and how lucky we all are for having known him” Meg O’Brien

“He was one of the best friends a guy could have. He was a caring man, and I feel fortunate to have him call me a friend.” Bill Katz, U.S. Marine buddy

“His love and sense of humor welcomed me each time I visited Cranaleith. Whether directing cars for an event or working out of the shed on an ordinary day, our warm-hearted interactions always left me smiling.” Laura Craig

“What a great man he was. It was so evident how much he adored his family. He will be greatly missed.” Anna and Harry Halscheid