Norma Gay Walley

Norma Gay Walley

Norma Gay Walley

LATHAM — Norma Gay (née Vadney) Walley, formerly the Matriarch of Feura Bush, died of natural causes on Sunday, July 26, 2020 with her children at her side.

The oldest of four siblings, she was born on a cold winter’s day in early December of 1923 at the family homestead in Feura Bush to Mildred and Dewey Vadney.

“Norma enjoyed her childhood and, while in her teens, she was offered an opportunity to attend nursing training in Albany,” her family wrote in a tribute. “This being her passion, she attended the Lark Street School of Nursing and upon graduation she started her career with the Reformed Church Ministries in Berea, Kentucky for a couple of years.

“She eventually made her way back to the Albany area and met the ‘Love of her Life,’ Steve Walley. They married right after the war and subsequently had six children. In the ’60s Norma decided to return to the workforce, putting in stints at the VA Hospital in Albany and home care throughout the area. After retiring, Norma would care for anyone that needed it.

“Another passion of hers was BERRIES. You name it, Mom would pick it and try to sell it. From strawberries, to raspberries, to blueberries, Norma would pick them all and sell them from a stand in front of their Indian Fields Road home.

“Her favorite picking spot was Winney’s Blueberry Farm in Bacon Hill, New York. A favorite story was the day she said J.R. stopped by for some berries. When pressed who J.R .was, she said, ‘You know, that guy on TV from Dallas.’

“She was referring of course to Larry Hagman, the actor. Apparently, Larry would stop by on his way to visit an old Air Force buddy who lived in the area and stopped for berries. She remembered he always tipped well.

“Norma was instrumental in organizing and leading several volunteer organizations including, but not limited to, the New Scotland Historical Association, New Scotland Seniors, and the Onesquethaw Volunteer Fire Company Ladies’ Auxiliary.

“Norma was the recipient of the 2008 Albany County Executive Volunteer Award for her volunteering efforts. Norma was instrumental in starting a Brownie troop as well as the Girl Scouts in Feura Bush.

“She was a faithful congregant of the Onesquethaw Reformed Church and leaves behind many dear friends, but rest assured she will be in heaven preparing a hot stove for the next fund-raising dinner.”

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Norma Gay Walley is survived by her sister, Shirley Mattice, who still resides on the family farm. She is also survived by her children, Louise Walley-Akbar and her husband, Yahya, Laura Smith and her husband, Jim, Larry Walley and his wife, Cheryl, Lucy Ryan and her husband, Frank, Lynn Brandow and her husband, Donald, and Lance Walley and his wife Paulette.

She was proud of her 12 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, and most recently her great-great-grandchild.

Her parents died before her, as did her husband, Stephen Walley; and her siblings, Bud, Bill, and Margaret.

Burial took place on July 29 at the Bethlehem Cemetery, where her husband is buried.

A celebration of her life will be held at the Charles Houghtaling Memorial Park in Feura Bush on Sept. 12 at noon.

“Norma’s children wish to express their sincere gratitude to the Community Hospice of Albany as well as Home Instead Nursing Care of Schenectady and especially to nurse’s aides Maureen and Elizabeth,” her family wrote.

Memorial contributions may be made to Onesquethaw Reformed Church, 11 Groesbeck Rd, Feura Bush, NY 12067 or to The Community Hospice, 445 New Karner Rd, Albany, NY 12205.

 

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