Sheila C. Reilly
VOORHEESVILLE — Sheila C. Reilly was never one to sit it out when things got tough. She always stayed active despite complications later in life from having polio as a child.
On Tuesday, March 11, 2014, she died at the age of 70.
Mrs. Reilly was born on June 15, 1943 and grew up in Troy. She graduated from high school in 1961.
“I think she was a bit of a smart-aleck in high school,” her son, Richard Reilly said. “She didn’t graduate with honors or anything, but people will remember her.”
Mrs. Reilly began working as a clerk at the New York State Tax and Finance Group in the mid-1960s. She stopped working to be a stay-at-home mother briefly, and then returned to work, retiring in 1990 due to complications from post-polio, a condition some people who suffered from polio as children get as adults.
Not being a sedentary person, she took up volunteer work.
“Just sitting at home would have driven her crazy,” her son said.
Mrs. Reilly started volunteering at Community Caregivers as a service coordinator, helping drive people to appointments. She volunteered with the caregivers for eight years.
She also volunteered at the activities room at Guilderland Center Nursing Home keeping the patients active and engaged.
She was also a 4-H leader, and led a group of about 12 girls over to her house each weekend to do crafts and projects.
“She loved doing crafts herself,” including blankets and afghans, her son said.
“They usually ask for about a month of weekends,” her son said, “but she pretty much did it year-round for 10 years… She just loved to teach and to help people learn.”
As a mother, Mrs. Reilly was kind when her children wouldn’t take her advice.
“She always had the right answer,” her son said. “When you didn’t take her advice something bad always happened, and, instead of saying, ‘I told you so,’ she would say, ‘Did you learn something?’”
She discouraged wallowing on negativity as well, saying you can be sad and sorry about something for a little while, but eventually you have to pick yourself up and move on, her son said.
She often said, “Life’s too short to sit around and mope,” her son reported.
Sheila C. Reilly is survived by her husband, John A. Reilly; her children, Bridget Czaban, and her husband, Chris, Richard, and his wife, Tanya, and Colleen, and her boyfriend, Anthony Ruscitto; and four grandchildren, Troy, Nicole, William, and Jennifer Czaban.
Her parents, George and Agnes (née Dolan) Chartres died before her.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Community Hospice Foundation, 295 Valley View Boulevard, Rensselear, NY 12144. Mass will be held at 10 a.m. at St. Lucys Church at 122 Grand Street in Altamont.
--Lisa Nicole Viers