OLEAN - Virginia Mae Marie Kelley DeMarte, of Olean, passed away as the sun rose Easter morning Sunday (April 20, 2014). She had resided for the past year at The Pines Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Olean, where she was surrounded by caring staff and residents.
Born on June 23, 1932, in Millport, Pa., Virginia was the eldest of the 14 children of Gladys and Arthur Kelley. Virginia married Perry Bruno DeMarte in 1954 in Olean. They resided for many years on Clinton Street. Perry passed away April 20, 1974, and Virginia moved to an apartment in the 15th Street Olean Housing Project, where she lived for about 40 years. The Housing Authority staff and her neighbors were very kind to her, and the family is grateful to them.
Virginia enjoyed sitting in her yard and watching the children play - they called her "Grandma." She served as the Treasurer of the Tenants' Association for several years.
She could often be seen riding her bicycle around town, as she loved Olean and had a great interest in the history and current events of the community. Virginia took hundreds of pictures each year and especially enjoyed the squirrel sculptures, parades, fireworks and Christmas lights in Lincoln Park.
Virginia was a homemaker for most of her life, but she worked briefly at Kresgee and Kinters. She was active in the School #10 bake sales and was known for her beautiful cakes. She was a Camp Fire leader and brought much creativity to her group of Camp Fire girls. Virginia had a lovely singing voice and a special talent for drawing. She had a passion for American history and read much about the past presidents, the old West and Native American culture. She was particularly proud of her Irish heritage.
She is survived by five daughters, Bambi Hoffman of North Carolina, Elizabeth Fox of Texas, Rosanna "Dee Dee" (Howard) Bartz of Olean, Nicki (Paul) Bacon of North Carolina and Rebecca (Victor) Herbert of Olean; a son, Frank "Tony" DeMarte of Allegany; 10 grandchildren; five great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren. She was especially close to her great-grandchildren, Sydney and Andy Storms, and her grandson, Brandon Michael Herbert, who was the light of her life. She is also survived by seven of her siblings, sisters Gloria Froebel of Coudersport, Susan Button of Olean, Ruby Stidfole of Pennsylvania, Celia Kelley of Eldred and Linda Dempsey of Kentucky and brothers William Kelley and James Kelley of Pennsylvania. She had 38 nieces and nephews, who loved their "Aunt Ginny." She is also survived by sister-in-laws, Elizabeth (Edwin) Snyder of Allegany, Joanne (Frank) Fischer and Fran (Barry) Clawson of Olean; and brother-in-law, Ralph DeMarte of California.
Virginia was predeceased by her parents; two sisters, Margaret Howard and Priscilla Button; four brothers, Robert, Richard, Eugene and Thomas Kelley; sister-in-law, Madeline Mitchell; and a special grandson, Charles Hoffman.
There will be no visitation at this time; a private memorial service will be held at a later date. Arrangements are under the direction of the Letro-McIntosh-Spink Funeral Home Inc., 646 E. State St., Olean, NY 14760.
Online condolences may be made at www.LetroMcIntoshSpinkFuneralHome.com.
In honor of her love for books, memorials may be made in Virginia's name to the Olean Public Library, 134 N. Second St., Olean, NY 14760.