EAST BERNE — With heart, laughter, and a love for words, Pamela Villeneuve cultivated a rich group of friends and family that could fill a beach house.
She visited New England beaches on vacations, renting houses with as many as 20 friends and co-workers from the day-care center she directed for decades.
Mrs. Villeneuve died Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, at home, surrounded by her loving family. She was 62.
Born on Nov. 28, 1950, in Little Falls, N.Y., Mrs. Villeneuve, the daughter of Joseph and Mary (née Calabrese) Clemente, grew up around a gregarious and large Italian family in Utica. Her mother was a school-crossing guard.
After high school, Mrs. Villeneuve met her husband, Gary Villeneuve, in Utica. They moved to East Greenbush when he left the Air Force and took a job with Amtrack in Rensselaer. They had two children, Jeff and Krista, before their divorce.
Mrs. Villeneuve later taught at the Children’s Place day-care center in Albany, eventually becoming its director after receiving her associate’s degree in early childhood education from Maria College in Albany during the mid 1980s.
“She made the rounds throughout the day-care center,” said her daughter, Krista Novotarski. “She knew everybody.”
In recent years, Mrs. Villeneuve went annually with her son, Jeff, to see her favorite baseball team, the Yankees, play at the Bronx stadium. Mrs. Villeneuve lived with Jeff in Berne for the last 10 years.
“She had to shout at the T.V., ‘Oh come on, it’s a good base hit, home run,’” said Ms. Novotarski.
She was a broad reader, of mystery novels or anything to pique her curiosity.
“She always had a book,” her daughter said.
When she was a young parent, Mrs. Villeneuve wrote two books, one of which relates to her reconnecting with her birth mother when she was around 18.
“I think she found the papers at my grandparents’ house with her name on it, and looked her up,” said Ms. Novotarski.
Her mother’s generosity and conversation, sometimes humorous, she said, formed lasting relationships for years.
“Parents came that we hadn’t seen in years, of the children that she cared for,” her daughter said of the outpouring of support in recent days.
Mrs. Novotarski said shopping, reading, and being with her children were often how her mother enjoyed spending her time. During the summer trips, which rotated among beaches in Rhode Island; New Hampshire; on Cape Cod; at Long Sands, Me.; and in Wildwood, N.J., Mrs Villeneuve was always looking for unquiet ocean waters.
“She had to have big waves,” she said. “She wanted to ride the waves.”
Pam A. Villeneuve is survived by her son, Jeff Villeneuve and his wife, Erin; her daughter, Krista Novotarski and her husband, Greg; her grandchildren, Michelle Villeneuve, Jayson Villeneuve, Rebecca Oravec and her husband, Ted, Victoria Villeneuve, and Ryan Novotarski; her brother, Pat Clemente and his wife, Beverly, and ex-daughter-in-law, Karen Hamilton; and three godchildren, Amy Brodeur, Max Scheibly, and Steve Armer.
Arrangements were made by the Fredendall Funeral Home in Altamont.
Interment will held in the spring at Jonesville Cemetery, Clifton Park NY.
Memorial donations may be made to the Helderberg Ambulance, 321 Street Road, Altamont, NY 12009.
The family would like to extend its thanks and gratitude to all those who cared for her during her illness.
— Marcello Iaia