Shirley Katherine McCarty Briggs - October 18, 2018

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 COEYMANS-----Shirley Katherine McCarty Briggs passed away in Millsboro, Delaware on Thursday October 18, 2018 in the loving care of her family. She was 97.

Born in Albany, NY on July 12, 1921 to Grace Warner McCarty and Frederick R. McCarty, she was a lifelong resident of Coeymans, NY.  She graduated from Coeymans High School at the age of 16 in 1938 and received her Bachelor’s Degree in Music from Potsdam State University in 1942. She later earned a Master’s in Education at SUNY in Albany. She began her music teaching career in Oakfield, NY in 1942.

She married Robert H. Briggs in Coeymans in April, 1946 after his return from service in Europe during WWII. They raised two children in Coeymans.

Music was a very large part of her life. She taught elementary music in the RCS school system for 28 years starting in some of the remaining one room schools in the late ‘50s. She retired from teaching in 1986. She also taught piano to a host of local children for many years and was the organist and choir director at the Coeymans Reformed Church for nearly 50 years, playing the organ well into her 80’s. She produced many school and community operettas and musicals during her career and was a driving force in the RCS Cultural Council bringing many professional musicians to perform for local audiences in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s.

During her busy retirement she was a board member of Hillside House , a very involved CASA volunteer and was an adjudicator/coach for NYS School Music Association competitions. She served on the Board of Elections, as President of Grove Cemetery Association and was a lifelong involved member of the RCS Women’s Club. She was a founding member of the Ravena  Coeymans Historical Society. She served as both Deacon and Elder at her church and was a member of the American Guild of Organists. Her knowledge of the history of Coeymans and the Hudson was constantly sought by younger residents and she took great pleasure in sharing the former Baerena Park at her “Island” on the river for picnics with historical and church groups and her many friends.

She was predeceased by her parents, her brother, Arthur McCarty (Jean), her sisters, Laura Sinsabaugh (Ralph)and Esther Ostrander (Vernon) , and her beloved husband, Robbie. She is survived by her children, Paul  Briggs and his wife, Sally of Millsboro, Delaware, and Holly Briggs of Mason City, Iowa. She loved being  Grama to Ashley Briggs, Rehoboth, DE, Larke Breckenridge and her husband Thomas, Des Moines, IA, Nick Briggs-Leaman, San Francisco, CA, Rebecca Hutchinson and her husband Matthew, Williamsport, PA and Jennifer Mills and her husband Eric, Los Angeles, CA.  She adored and was wonderfully entertained by her great - grandchildren, David, Maggie and Charlie Hutchinson. She is also survived by many nieces, nephews and former students.

In recent years she has been tenderly cared for in her son’s home by her family and many devoted and loving care-givers who have treated her like family and have earned her family’s sincere gratitude and affection.

Funeral services will be held at the Congregational Christian Church, 175 Main St., Ravena, NY on Saturday October 27, 2018 at 2PM. There will be a visitation prior to the service starting at 1PM. Interment will follow at Grove Cemetery, Coeymans.

In lieu of flowers, the please consider a donation in Shirley’s memory to the Ravena-Coeymans Historical Society, P.O. Box 324, Ravena, NY 12143.