Irma Violet Smalley-Herzog

Irma Violet Smalley-Herzog - Greece, NY - Rochester Cremation

Irma Violet Smalley-Herzog, 91, died peacefully, with her children by her side, after a brief illness on Monday, October 5, 2020 at Unity hospital in Greece New York.

Born on Easter Sunday, March 31, 1929, Irma has been a resident of Rochester for more than 40 years. Irma devoted her life to the service and education of blind people, (beginning in the mid 1960’s when still a resident of Buffalo, the city of her birth).

As a graduating senior from The New York State School for the Blind in 1948, Irma was asked to explain and predict, the management skills she planned to use, were she ever to marry. She replied:

“Years ago, women used to darn their husbands’ socks, now they sock their darn husbands.”

Throughout her life Irma accepted the responsibility of leadership roles including serving four terms as president of the Buffalo Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind and also four terms as president of the Alumni Association of the New York State School for the Blind, Inc.

In 1979 Irma moved to Rochester and accepted a position as a rehabilitation teacher, teaching “daily living skills” (cooking, cleaning and grooming, as well as braille), to students at what was then The Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, now ABVI/Goodwill of the Finger Lakes.

After her retirement, Irma worked as a consultant with the Regional Transit Service for several years, training new drivers, of both the buses and the RTS Access vehicles, in the proper techniques in offering assistance to those needing additional support to use public transportation.

Irma was a talented violinist and possessed a beautiful alto voice which she put to excellent use in many church choirs throughout her long life. She was an active member of The American Council of the Blind for several years and was involved in Arthritis Foundation Aquatic classes at the Jewish Community Center, well into her 70’s. She loved to keep busy.

Up until the time that her illness and subsequent hospitalization made it impossible, Irma arose well before dawn to distribute, via email, what she called her: “Morning Prayer and more.” Every Day, virtually without fail, which reached more than 200 readers, nation-wide.

Irma was predeceased by Harold M. Smalley her first husband of 34 years and William E. Herzog, her husband of 23 years, her sister Norma Pettibone and Her sister Elsie Telford. She is survived by her sister Sharon Wise of Buffalo, NY, her son Chester (Linda) Smalley of Erie, PA, her daughter Sheila (Leonard) McGuire of Rochester; three grandchildren: Kristin Jarvis of Rochester, Sterling (Emma) Smalley of Elma New York and Maura (Andrew) Kutnyak of Buffalo.. Irma was also the proud and doting great grandmother of six great grandchildren: Ravi, Sonya and Sebastian Kutnyak of Buffalo; Quinn Smalley of Buffalo; and Tabitha Jane, and Ramona Irma Smalley, of Elma.

At this time, due to the current health emergency, there will be no service. Irma’s family will notify friends and family of any future plans to commemorate and celebrate Irma’s life.

In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to:

The Seeing Eye

PO Box 375

Morristown, NJ 07963-0375

For more information visit:

2 Condolences

  1. Marianne Herzog on October 8, 2020 at 2:00 pm

    Deepest Sympathy
    Wonderful photos from myself and Sheila on

  2. Robert Wood on December 24, 2020 at 5:15 pm

    Irma was a wonderful person and good friend for many years. I saw her just before the pandemic hit and am grateful that I stopped by to see her. I will look forward to attending her memorial service when that is scheduled. Robert Wood

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