Hilton, NY – Feb. 5, 2023. Following a lifetime dedicated to family, teaching, learning, and service, Patsy died at home after a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer at age 79.
She is survived by her devoted husband of 56 years, Ralph, daughter Christy, of Brooklyn, son Eric and his wife Veronica Llerena, and beloved grandchildren Felix and Coco, of Chicago, IL. She also leaves behind sister Elaine Scarry and partner Philip Fisher of Cambridge, MA and brother Joe Scarry and partner Rachel Bauman of Madison, WI, as well as nieces and nephews Ron and Ana Tydings, Kevin and Cassandra Tydings, Mark and Christine Fisher, J.T. Scarry, Tip Scarry and Lauren Merage Scarry, and Alanna Huck-Scarry.
Patsy was born to Eva and Joseph Scarry, Jr. in New Brunswick, NJ and grew up in the towns of Summit and Chatham as the older sister of Elaine and Joe. She met Ralph in confirmation classes at St. John’s Lutheran Church and they were in the same class beginning in junior high school. Patsy had a lifelong love of singing and was in the all-state choir in high school, when she was also editor of the yearbook.
She earned a full scholarship to Chatham College in Pittsburgh, where she waited on tables at the dining hall, sang in the choir, served as president of the Honor Board and received her degree in Psychology. She taught elementary school in Madison, NJ after college and married Ralph in 1966. She took her first trip on an airplane for their honeymoon in Bermuda.
While Ralph attended graduate school at Cornell, she taught 6th grade in Interlaken, NY. She typed up his PhD dissertation, which he dedicated to her. They moved to Greece after Ralph accepted a position at Kodak Research Labs in Rochester. Patsy gave birth to Eric in 1970, and the family moved to their home on Peck Road in 1971. Christy was born in 1973.
Patsy imbued in the children her love of reading and music, fueled by frequent trips to the libraries in Hilton and downtown Rochester. She cooked wholesome and tasty meals, and the kids continued to request recipes and kitchen tips through adulthood. She filled Eric’s and Christy’s summer vacations with enriching activities and sewed magnificent costumes for them each Halloween, and was always an avid supporter of their academic, athletic and extracurricular pursuits.
In a 2006 blog post she described “the rush of love and happy memories of my own children’s play experiences I get when I watch Felix and Coco reading, interacting and playing.” Their visits to grandma and grandpa included trips to the Strong Museum, Genesee Country Village, Springdale Farm and the beaches of Lake Ontario. Always the teacher, Patsy wove science knowledge into these encounters with nature. As they got older Patsy fostered Coco’s love of baking (and TV cooking shows) and provided a steady stream of surefire book recommendations to feed Felix’s appetite for reading. Throughout the grandkids’ youth theater careers, Ralph and Patsy were superfans, making the trek to Chicago to see their performances, including their last show together in Feb. 2020, a high school production of Into The Woods.
Patsy was a master of gardening and crafts and the home was always set up with beautiful seasonal objects she’d sewn, drawn, constructed, photographed or curated from the natural world. Every Christmas, the family room featured a live tree hung with delicate ornaments and lights that charmed visitors. The singing never stopped, as she sang in Messiah Lutheran Church’s choir for decades and, for a period in the 1980s, the Rochester Oratorio Society, with which she performed in London, Salzburg, and Notre Dame Cathedral. In the late-1970s Patsy led efforts to resettle several refugee families from Vietnam in Rochester, and became a beloved and respected presence in their new homes and community events.
In the early 1980s she earned her Master’s degree in Education from SUNY Brockport. For 20 years, she taught 2nd grade in the Greece Central School District, both at Parkland and as part of the inclusion-championing “Sunshine Family” at West Ridge. Upon retiring from teaching, she joined the district’s Technical Integration Team, where she helped teachers incorporate computers into student learning. Her last job, teaching SAT prep to high school students all over the world, allowed her to travel to Amsterdam, Beijing, Brussels, Geneva, The Hague, Kuala Lumpur and Mexico City.
In retirement, she and Ralph visited many wonders of the world (in places like Egypt, Peru, Turkey, China and the American West), but the place that most captured their hearts and imaginations was the Caribbean island of Bonaire, where they snorkeled the coral reefs on successive trips. When Christy and Eric and his family accompanied them, it became their favorite place on earth, too. Patsy was the designated photographer on every trip; upon returning, she would make prints and fashion them into greeting cards, which she would batch up as gifts and send out to family and friends.
In the summer, the trips needed to be a bit shorter, as Patsy didn’t like to be away from her backyard gardens for long periods of time. The basement had a section filled with shelves and grow-lights, where she grew vegetables and flowers from seed and did all the transplanting. She literally did the heavy lifting each spring, side by side with Ralph. Patsy had a particular fascination with dahlias – she identified the best tubers, preserved them in the basement over winter, cultivated them under the grow-lights, and planted more than 50 varieties each year. Over the years, the flowers became more beautiful and bounteous. She took lots of pictures (and, yes, made them into greeting cards!) but gave the bouquets away. During the height of the pandemic in 2020, with Christy home for an extended visit, the trio launched a “Little Free Florist” (@little_free_florist on Instagram). Patsy cut buckets full of blooms, arranged them, and set them in a cart by the road for passersby to take. Over three growing seasons, she gave away hundreds of bunches of daffodils and more than a thousand bouquets of homegrown flowers. Through notes people left for her, she learned that the Little Free Florist arrangements had ended up with residents of nursing homes, sick or grieving friends, grandparents, teachers, and others. “This small attempt to live generously didn’t cost me anything,” she said in a testimonial she gave for her church. “We all have to work harder to maintain connections these days, and face the reality that any one of us is not going to solve all the big problems. But I’ve come to believe that any small way we can share our joy with each other has to work for good.”
Patsy put her faith in action. She and Ralph went most Thursday mornings to pre-pack bags of food for the Messiah Food Pantry, and delivered food for the Greece Food Shelf and Concord/Messiah Backpack programs. They brought clothing collected at church to House of Mercy and the Open Door Mission. Patsy went to Washington Square Park to hear community leaders speak and to City Hall to rally for Sanctuary City status. She re-learned knitting to make herself a pink hat to wear in the protests for civil rights and gender equality in 2017. On Friday afternoons in 2020 she stood at busy intersections in Greece with signs in support of Black Lives Matter, giving a wave to drivers who honked and a thumbs-up to those who extended their middle fingers. For birthdays and holidays, Patsy asked her grandchildren to select items from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America’s Good Gifts catalog, which funds things like livestock, micro-loans, school supplies, and mosquito nets to people in developing countries, which she then paid for on their behalf.
Through it all, Patsy loved books, her multiple book clubs, and all the friends in them. She loved her church and her church family. She loved her fellow teachers and her “Hilton gang.” She loved using the latest technologies to stay in touch with her children, grandchildren, siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews. She loved her cats over the years: Flipperling, Animation and Pachinko. She loved going with Ralph to the Cinema Theater in Rochester for the double feature, preceded by dinner out, nearly every Friday night for 25 years. She loved seeing plays at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario, Canada every summer for five decades. She loved her daily inspection of the bluebird nests and photographing the progress from egg to fledgling. Most of all, she loved sitting in the screened porch in her tranquil backyard, glancing up from her book or art project or word game whenever the soft buzzing of a hummingbird’s wings signaled that it was at one of the feeders.
Throughout her adulthood, and even in her final days, she expressed deep gratitude and remarked upon how lucky she felt. This short reflection was found scribbled in her notebook.
To have lived in a castle
To have seen the world
To have swum fearlessly in the sea
To have produced beauty out of the dirt
To have loved and been loved without reservations
To have had money for everything
To have made no enemies
Such unearned riches.
* * * *
The Jones family would like to thank Dr. Daniel Mulkerin and his staff at Wilmot Cancer Institute and the team at UR Medicine Hospice for their compassionate care.
A memorial service, to be held at Messiah Lutheran Church in Greece, is planned for when nature awakes.
If you wish to make a donation in Patsy’s memory in lieu of flowers, you may consider some of the organizations she and her family valued:
- Messiah’s Food Pantry, [hyperlink: http://www.messiahlutheranchurch.net/content/food-pantry] or your local food bank
- Reef Renewal Bonaire [hyperlink: https://www.reefrenewalbonaire.org/]
- UR Medicine Wilmot Cancer Institute [hyperlink: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/cancer-institute/giving.aspx]
- UR Medicine Hospice Care [hyperlink: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/home-care/hospice-care/donations.aspx]
We celebrate your wonderful life ,Patsy. Our deepest and loving sympathy to Ralph, Eric and Veronica, Christy, Felix and Coco and the rest of the family on your great loss. She leaves a legacy of love and compassion and kindness. Heaven is rejoicing . Eterna rest grant unto her O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon her .Rest in peace Patsy. You will be missed but we know you are in God’s hands now.❤️
I am so sorry to hear of Patsy’s passing but what a life she lived! God bless her and the Jones family.
I am sending my sincere condolences to Ralph and family for this tragic loss. Patsy was a force of nature and will always be fondly remembered in our household.
A beloved and dynamic friend who will be greatly missed.
Remembering Patsy’s enjoyment and sense of humor, spending time helping at Baptist Respite for memory loss care. She was one of the first volunteers. She always kept things light and fun. We will miss her a lot.
I will be forever grateful having met my cousin Patsy. She will always have a special place in my heart. I recently started teaching again and I know my cousin Patsy in heaven will help guide my journey. When I think of her I think of sunshine, flowers, wisdom and love of family. She is in my thoughts and prayers and so is the Jones Family. This year I am going to make my garden extra special in her honor. I will cherish forever the time we had together, Patsy. It was an honor to have known such a beautiful soul. Until we meet again. Love your cousin Elisa
Donated to Bonaire Reef Renewal on behalf of Patsy. What a beautiful, generous, and talented person she was. She will be deeply missed. May she rest in peace but continue to watch over and guide her loved ones from above.
Patsy, I feel so lucky to have know you, and just wish it was for a longer time. You were one of the reasons I loved doing book club at the library! Your insight and thought were always so appreciated. Reading this summary of your life I also realize how humble you were about your many accomplishments! Dahlias will always remind me of you – you were such a special person. You will be missed! My sincere condolences to your husband and family.
My dear, dear friend. Your brilliance amazed me. Your talents enriched my life. Your caring supported all who were fortunate and blest to have you in our lives. Your patience with the little lives we shared have known true nurturing. Ralph, Eric and Christy, thank you for sharing this beautiful person with my life.
On behalf of the Class of ’65 of Chatham College, I wish to extend prayers and condolences to the Jones family. While it is difficult to stay in touch over the years, we will always remember Patsy with affection – she and I served on the Honor Board together \This was one of yhe most meaningful and uplifting obituaries that I have ever read – a real tribute to Patsy and a life well lived.
I am so sorry to hear Patsy has passed away. My deepest condolences to the Jones family. I enjoyed Patsy’s visits to NYC when Christy and I shared an apartment. Reading about Patsy’s life, I see how she nurtured Christy’s reading, cooking, baking, amazing craft and sewing skills, and love of cats. It was a privilege to know her
I always loved Patsy! I remember being a case study for her once when she was getting her degree in education!She was so great with kids! I loved seeing her at our church (Messiah Lutheran Church). She was always so kind to me! This world was a better place with her in it. While I have no doubt that she is free of pain and walking on those streets of gold, I know that she will be dearly missed by her family and those that loved her! I am so deeply sorry for your loss!
So sorry to hear of Patsy’s passing. I first met her when I taught a Continuing Ed. computer class in Hilton.
Then, years later, we worked together as “Technology Integration Specialists” in the Greece School District. She invited us over to her house for a nice dinner and a tour of her fantastic gardens.
Sincere condolences to her survivors. It was a pleasure knowing her
Wow such an amazing person. Her life is so inspiring. Considering all that she has done and the people she impacted – thru her charitable works, memories she has given, her humble teachings, kindness to strangers, i…think…she…will…live…forever. I truly believe this is a case of God wanting one of his angels back!
Ralph and family,
We are so very sorry to hear of Patsy’s passing. Her obituary is beautiful and a legacy of a wonderful person who lived an amazing life. I had noticed her Little Free Florist in front of the house as I passed by often ( we live very close) and took flowers to bring to my elderly parents. This was such a beautiful jester of generosity and I often returned the vases and added to her vase collection, thank you notes included. Her garden and talent was extraordinary! I many times thought “I need to meet this generous woman”. Wanting many times to go knock on the door!
Well, as coincidence has it my husband Mike had worked with Patsy at Greece Central School District Technology Integration Team. We had been to your home for a lovely dinner and evening with friends. So as I read her obituary and seen the pictures at the bottom of Patsy in front of her home and Little Free Florist, I thought if only I had stopped and personally thanked her as I SO very wanted to do. We certainly would have happily recognized each other.
Our deepest sympathy,
Mike and Patrice LaPlaca
Ah yes, I shall never forget Patsy Jones. She was such an outstanding person in so many notable ways. I met Patsy the day I arrived at Parkland school, as the school principal, newly assigned. She was a teacher leading her second grade team. I have often thought about how incredible it would be to have a teaching staff made-up of such dedicated, resourceful and bright persons of the character and quality of dear Patsy. I remember, when I first met her, how concerned she was about making sure that I understood what would be expected of me and that she would be there to make certain that I would be successful….so long as I followed her advice. She was not quite as bold as this makes her out to be. However, she made it tactfully clear that she knew what deeded to be done, how it was best to be done and certainly of what resources would need to be applied.
Patsy knew well each of her students, and her colleagues, in ways that contributed to how well they met the challenges of classroom and collegial experiences. She was a high level contributor doing exactly what she said she would do when committing to strategies that she implemented leading to her students’ successes. She was equally focused on quality and progress in all efforts of her team of teachers. She was a teacher of students, of course, but also of the adults who would gather on a challenge.
I lost touch with Patsy, after my retirement. Upon reading her more complete obituary, it is clear that she continued to thrive among people and projects and continued to give her best in everything she set out to do. I will remember Patsy as one of the finest teachers and individuals I knew. Her many blessings have already been shared with members of her family and among her dear friends and colleagues….. who’s contacts I know she valued and treasured.
May God Bless her soul….
Bill Clicquennoi, Friend and Colleague
Deepest condolences to Ralph and his family. Pat was a wonderful, vibrant person who obviously led a very full life alongside her soulmate, husband Ralph. It is good to know that Pat (and Ralph) have a legacy of a large family, raised seeing the benefits of community outreach to benefit others. Ideally, they will follow in her footsteps, enjoying life and encouraging others to do likewise through charitable outreach.