Terri Ann Biel
VOORHEESVILLE — The decorations adorning Terri Ann Biel’s home showed the energy and care she had throughout her life.
Every holiday had a designated set of decorations and recipes for baked treats eaten by the Biel family. In the meantime, the homes of Ms. Biel and her two daughters had the perfume of fresh flowers from her garden in the summer while she arranged dried flowers and lit candles in other seasons.
Terri Ann Biel died on Thursday, June 5, 2014 at Evergreen Commons nursing home in East Greenbush following a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. She was 58.
“Most of all, she loved spending time with her family,” her family wrote in a tribute. “Terri had a warm, loving smile and was a caring, generous person. She will be sadly missed.” They wrote their thanks to relatives and friends, “for their love and support through this difficult time.”
She especially loved her grandchildren — who have green thumbs like their grandmother — and her daughters were her best friends.
“When I was sick, my mother would still come up and take care of me and help take care of my kids,” said her daughter, Angel Rodrigue. “And she would come up on vacations and spend days, because I live up in the country.”
Ms. Biel was born on March 5, 1956, in Albany to John Hamilton and Joan Gosse, but spent most of her childhood with her grandparents, Helen and Frank Gosse, on a horse farm in rural Albany County. Ms. Biel learned much about homemaking from her maternal grandmother.
“From Christmas to St. Patrick’s Day, every holiday she went the full nines,” her daughter said. “It was wonderful.”
For Easter, Ms. Biel made egg-shaped cookies with colorful jellies on top. Her “holiday bars” were a mix of cherries, whipped cream, and nuts. She made an Easter tree, colored white with spray paint, and hung with painted eggs.
“It took her hours and I still hang them up now,” said Ms. Rodrigue.
Ms. Biel tried to do something original for every holiday, once taking a bar of soap, wrapping it with a garland using pushpins, and making four legs with needles and beads to create a Christmas bathroom ornament.
Ms. Biel worked in various places, including as a nurse’s aid at Teresian House Nursing Home in Albany, her daughter said. She sometimes helped her husband, Michael Biel, with construction and carpentry jobs.
“She would get right down and she’d be hammering the nails just like any other person,” her daughter said.
She enjoyed the outdoors, cooking, taking trips with her husband on their Harley Davidson motorcycle, and visiting Cape Cod in Massachusetts. She liked walking along the beach and the smell of the ocean.
“They met in high school,” Angel Rodrigue said of her parents. “The first time my father saw my mother, she was 13. And they saw each other again at the Altamont Fair. And then they saw each other in school again, and they’ve been together since they were 14 and 16 years old.”
Their 41st wedding anniversary would have been on June 20, 2014. Ms. Rodrigue said they renewed their vows for their 25th anniversary.
“My father beat cancer twice and he always said, ‘I survived cancer to take care of Terri,’ and to be here with us,” their daughter said. Ms. Biel’s last words were telling her husband that she loved him, calling him ‘Honey,’ her daughter said.
Terri Ann Biel is survived by her husband, Michael Biel; two daughters, Angel Rodrigue and her husband, Claude, and Rachel Root and her husband, Dale; her grandchildren, Collin and Vanessa Rodrigue, and Christian and Sebastian. She is also survived by her parents, John Hamilton and Joan Gosse; her siblings, Christopher, Mark, Robin, Bob, Jen, and Jill; and by several nieces and nephews.
The calling hours and funeral were held on June 9, with arrangements by New Comer Cannon Funeral Home in Colonie. Mourners may go online to NewcomerAlbany.com.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, Post Office Box 96011 Washington, DC 20090-6011, or at alz.org/join_the_cause_donate.asp.
— Marcello Iaia