Rolf E. Brynilsen, known as the "Christmas Tree King" of Rome, passed away on January 15, 2018, at his home. He was born on August 10, 1932 in Rome, N.Y. a son of the late Alexander and Gertrude Schantz Brynilsen. On May 21, 1966, he was united in marriage to Janice Beck in a ceremony which took place at the First Presbyterian Church in Lockport, N.Y. With his loving wife at his side, they had tremendous success as a team running several businesses; one still in existence is the Viking Village, a resort on 4th Lake, Old Forge, where they met back in 1964. They entertained families for over 50 years, with 3rd generations coming. There Rolf taught over a 1,000 water skiers in his career and was last skiing slalom at age 75. The Viking Village is an old fashioned family resort, with a 100 year hotel, and 20 cottages, which was a labor of love. Rolf made everyone feel important from an older guest to a young child, teaching them how to fish or bait a hook. He also went the extra mile to make people feel at home, whether it was selling trees, Ashley Wood Stoves (A dealer for over 40 years) or his antique collectables.
A graduate of R.I.T. he also built and maintained several rentals. He became an Army Chaplain's Assistant, stationed in Germany, at the time of the Korean War. Well known for his beautiful baritone voice, Rolf sang solos, every Sunday at St. Olaf Chapel, near Inlet, which he helped build and organize. Each summer, he would welcome everyone back with his warm smile. He was also active in the choir at St. John's Lutheran Church, Rome, Izaak Walton League and metal detecting with the Mohawk Valley Searchers. Rolf loved to feed the birds and critters in the Adirondacks, and was an avid hunter, although he'd rather "Shoot" a deer with his huge vintage camera collection than a gun. He also enjoyed flea markets and fishing in Florida. Rolf and Jan, loved traveling, kayaking, meeting new people and especially eating out.
He is survived by his loving wife Janice, Rome; four nephews, Andrew and Beth Dungey, who now run the Viking Village, Todd and Leslie Dungey, Paradise CA, Kevin and Robbin Dungey, Baltimore , MD, Scott and Kris Gerstung, Sanford, N.Y.; two nieces, Laurel and Hans Gude, Cynthia Dungey, all of Concord, CA; Rolf was predeceased by a sister, Beth Dungey.
Memorial contributions may be made to, St. Olaf Chapel South Shore Road Inlet, N.Y. c/o Clifford Fike 1019 West Dominick Street Rome N.Y. 13440., St. Johns Lutheran Church 502 West Chestnut Street Rome, N.Y. 13440., Salvation Army of Rome 410 West Dominick Street, Rome N.Y. 13440. or the Rome Humane Society 6247 Lamphear Road, Rome N.Y. 13440.
A memorial service will be held this summer at the St. Olaf Chapel in Inlet at a time and date to be announced. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Strong-Burns & Sprock Funeral Home 7751 Merrick Road, Rome.
Rolf's great personality and genuine laugh will be remembered always.