Patricia Sperry

Patricia Sperry

Patricia Sperry

RENSSELAER — Patricia Sperry was both a warm and loving person who cared about her family and a “spitfire,” fighting until the end. She died surrounded by her family on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. She was 78.

“She was always there for us,” said her sole surviving sister, Kathleen O’Neill-Perry. “She was very caring.”

Mrs. Sperry was born in Albany to the late George and Anna Mae McDonald O’Neill on Sept. 20, 1940. Her mother, a homemaker, was born in Ireland and had come to America through Ellis Island as a baby. Her father worked a variety of jobs.

Mrs. Sperry grew up in Albany and attended the Vincentian Institute there. She was one of five children, but later in life also became connected with her half-brother, Terry O’Neill, said Ms. O’Neill-Perry.

“Pat got to talk to him two years ago, and it was like we always knew each other,” Ms. O’Neill-Perry wrote in a tribute. “Terry was in Vietnam,” she said, having entered the service at an early age. He made a career of it, retiring as a Navy SEAL (a member of the special operations Sea, Air and Land team). He now lives out west.

She married Elbert D. Sperry on Dec. 5, 1958, and they lived in Rensselaer. After he died an early death, she and her daughter, Sally, moved to Clifton Park and Halfmoon before returning to Rensselaer. The Sperrys had five children — a girl and four boys. Mrs. Sperry also had grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.

Mrs. Sperry’s sister moved to Knox, and Mrs. Sperry loved visiting Thacher Park and Thompson’s Lake, where camping trips were had and family reunions were hosted.

“She was very good to my kids,” said Ms. O’Neill-Perry.

Mrs. Sperry worked at St. Peter’s Hospital, Ellis Hospital, and MetPath Lab, where she made many good friends. Her sister said she loved the holidays and decorating her home, and was a giving person who cared deeply about her family.

“She liked to cook,” said her sister. “She made good pies and had a secret recipe for the crusts.” She was also known for her coleslaw, which was more like a cabbage salad, her sister said, and always served in a retro yellow Pyrex bowl.

“She was a fighter,” concluded her sister, describing Mrs. Sperry’s last days in hospice care.  “She was a spitfire.”


Patricia (née O’Neill) Sperry is survived by her daughter, Sally Savage; four sons, Daniel Sperry and his wife, Sandra, Robert Sperry and his wife, Michelle, Bert Sperry and his wife, Cindy, and Kevin Sperry and his wife, Christy; eight grandchildren; her sister, Kathleen O’Neill-Perry; her half-brother, Terry O’Neill; her brother-in-law Joe Altieri; her sister-in-law June Sperry; and many nieces and nephews.

Her parents, George and Anna Mae McDonald O’Neill, died before her, as did her siblings, Ann Altieri, Peggy O’Neill, and Tommy O’Neill; and her brother-in-law Donald Sperry.

Services were held last Sunday, Nov. 11, with a tribute given by Father Kenneth Doyle, her sister said. An interment will be held later on at Immaculate Conception by Saint Agnes.

Memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude’s, 501 St. Jude Place Memphis, TN 38105 /; to the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society, 3 Oakland Ave., Menands, NY 12204; or to a hospice of one’s choice.

— H. Rose Schneider and Melissa Hale-Spencer

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