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Obituaries Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, October 30, 2008

Michael J. Scott

KNOX — Michael J. Scott, a family man and state worker, died on Sunday, Oct. 26, 2008 at his home in Knox. He was 59.

“Mike was an avid environmentalist and conservationist,” wrote his family in a tribute. “He loved his land, his community, and especially his children, his family, and his friends.”

Born in Lackawanna, N.Y., he grew up in Ilion, N.Y., the son of the late William and Lavina Scott. He graduated from Ilion High School in 1967 and Albany State University in 1971 with a degree in accounting. He worked for the State of New York for 30 years, retiring in 2004.

His beloved wife, Faye Anne Scott, died in 2000.

Survivors include his children, Emma and Charlie Scott; his sister, Mary Lois Scott Marotta of Tallahassee, Fla.; his nieces, Sarah Marotta of Orlando, Fla., Danielle, Nicole and Michelle Sommers; his nephews, Michael Marotta and his wife, Denisha, of St. Petersburg, Fla. and Jeremiah Sommers; his brother-in-law, Dennis Sommers; and many cousins.

A mass of Christian burial will be celebrated today (Thursday) at 10 a.m. at St. Lucy’s Church, on Grand Street in Altamont. Arrangements are by the Fredendall Funeral Home, in Altamont. Burial will be in Woodlawn Cemetery in Berne.

Memorial contributions may be made to Community Hospice of Albany, 445 New Karner Road, Albany, NY 12205 or to a local animal shelter of choice.

Scott A. Smith

COLONIE — Scott A. Smith died on Friday, Oct. 24, 2008, at Albany Memorial Hospital, where he had been for two months, battling leukemia. He was 53.

“He was a man’s man as well as a family man,” said his family in noting he enjoyed working out at the YMCA. “He always took care of anyone that needed help and came to know Jesus as his personal savior recently and now resides in Heaven,” they wrote. “He was the greatest husband and father that anyone could ever ask for. He kept his word to anyone and everyone, a character trait not seen much today. He went to work even if he was sick and he was a very skilled worker and always did his best, which was phenomenal.”

 He  was born on Feb. 6, 1955 in Ilion, N.Y., the son of the late James and Barbara (Pelrah) Smith.

He has worked as a plastic laminate specialist for Myers Kitchens Specialties in Colonie for the past 28 years. Prior to that, for 10 years he managed several retail drugstores. “When a store was not doing well, they sent him in to make it profitable and then sent him to the next store,” his family said. “He enjoyed life and lived it to the fullest; leaving home after graduation, he went to Florida for a year. He loved to be with his family and friends and to be outdoors with them. He was a Green Bay Packers fan and loved to watch football games in the backyard. He was a pistol instructor and a hunter and he always wanted to fire a machine gun and did so this year in Las Vegas.”

The Smith family thanks the Albany Memorial Hospital staff “for being so hospitable and kind to not only Scott but the family as well, allowing his wife to stay at his side 24/7.” The family also thanks Capital District Physician’s Health Plan, where his wife works, for allowing her to take time to be with him.

He is survived by his loving wife of 16 years, Heather (Breault) Smith; his daughter, Amanda Smith; his brother, Robbin Smith; his nephew, Brandan Smith; his mother-in-law, Daun Breault; his father-in-law, Ernest Breault; his brother-in-law, Ernie Breault; his sister-in-law, Shannan Breault; his dear friends, Missy and Judd Worden; and his special niece, Sarah Worden.

A memorial service was held on Wednesday at the New Comer-Cannon Funeral Home, Colonie.

Memorial contributions may be made to the “Guilderland YMCA Circle of Champs” with Scott Smith in the memo section of the check, 250 Winding Brook Drive, Guilderland, NY 12084.

To leave a message for the family online go to www.NewcomerAlbany.com.

Irene J. Willsey

BERNE — Irene Willsey was a mother, wife, grandmother, and long-time nurse who loved her family and the Adirondacks.

On Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2008, she died at the Community Hospice Inn at St. Peter’s Hospital with her family by her side. She was 77.

She was born in Westerlo to the late Earl and Ella Joslyn. In 1982, she graduated from Maria College in Albany with a nursing degree. She later worked at St. Peter’s Hospital and St. Margaret’s Center for Children.

“She always greeted anyone that she met with a smile,” said her son, Alan Willsey. “She was the mother of six, so family and children were always first with her.” He said that, since she grew up on a farm in Westerlo, she always appreciated the natural beauty of the outdoors.

She never complained, Mr. Willsey said, even in her last few weeks when she had fallen very ill. “She was always concerned about everyone else,” he said.

While her love for her family was great, nursing was her lifelong love, her son said.

“There were other nurses who were students of hers, and continued their careers because of her — because of her professionalism, and the love and care that she showed her patients,” Mr. Willsey said. “If ever there was a friend or family member in need, she was there. She was really gifted.”

Her specialty, her son said, was taking care of babies.

“That takes a special degree of care and love,” he said. “Even in her so-called retirement, she still worked part time. Then, she joined my dad in retirement in Florida, and, instead of settling down, she went to work at a local hospital.”

Magnanimous, he said, is the best word to describe his mother.

“Her mission in life was to extend care and love to others,” he said. “It was, I think, evidenced by everyone who came to her service yesterday in Altamont. We just talked about what a beautiful lady she was. When you talk to people who knew her thirty, forty, fifty years ago, that was her character.”

In addition to her love for her family and caregiving, Mrs. Willsey also had an interest in genealogy, “even when she was ill in the last several weeks of her life,” her son said.

“She put together this whole diagram of photographs and different newspaper articles that referenced her family and my father’s family,” said Mr. Willsey. “Mom always wanted us to know what our history was.”

Antiques were another interest of Mrs. Willsey. That interest, her son said, “was born not only out of growing up in a time when many farms were full of antiques, but her aunt was in the furniture business, and a friend of her aunt’s was an antique collector.”

Through it all, she maintained a close partnership with her husband, Wilford Willsey. Irene and Wilford originally met through Wilford’s brother Clyde — known to the family nowadays as “Uncle Ted” and “Uncle Pete” — who was dating Irene’s friend Dot.

“My Aunt Dot was a friend of my mom, and my uncle Ted introduced my mom and dad, and they started double dating,” Alan said.

“They made quite a pair,” he said. “He was always kind of a character and an entertainer — a practical jokester, but she always knew how to take it. They were always true partners, and they really raised all of us together.”

The two ran a seasonal business together for nearly 15 years. “There was a group of cottages that they rented out, from the springtime through early October, if the weather was nice enough,” her son said.

In later years, he said, they loved to take trips around the country together. “The Adirondacks were a very special place for her,” Mr. Willsey said.

“She was one of the most persistent and persevering people you would ever know,” he said of his mother. “It just amazes me, the strength of her, right up until the final days. I don’t know that I will really see anyone like her again.”


Irene Willsey is survived by her children: Alan Willsey and his wife, Denise; David Willsey and his wife, Diane; Terry Willsey and his wife, Gail; Brian Willsey; Krista Safford and her husband, Morris; and Joanne Gariepy and her husband, Donald.

She is also survived by her brother, Robert Joslyn and his wife, Trisha, as well as 13 grandchildren: Morris III; Brent and his wife, Meredith; Patrick and his wife Michele; Audra; James; Lara; Madison; Devin; Caroline; Samuel; Joshua; Keeley; and Rosemary.

Her husband, Wilford Willsey and her brother, Kenneth Joslyn, died before her.

A funeral service will be held on Sunday at 6 p.m. at the Fredendall Funeral Home in Altamont. Friends may call at the funeral home on Sunday from 3 to 6 p.m. Interment will be private.

Memorial contributions may be made to Community Hospice, 445 New Karner Rd., Albany, NY 12205.

— Zach Simeone

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