ALBANY -- Alice Cathleen Begley, for many years Guilderland Town Historian and a columnist for the Altamont Enterprise, passed away peacefully at St. Peter’s Hospice Inn on July 29th, shortly after celebrating her 95th birthday at home.
Alice was also the prime mover in saving the historic Schoolcraft House in Guilderland. For 20 years she tirelessly raised funds and oversaw every detail of its renovation. In 2017, she was honored as a “Woman of Distinction” by Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy.
Brilliant, determined, and seemingly ageless, Alice was devoted to telling the stories of our collective past. She did the research, ran the committees, and planned the fundraisers. Yet this was only one dimension in a life rich with love of family and friends. She adored her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren and especially loved times spent with them at Caswell Beach, NorthCarolina.She kept in touch, remembered birthdays, and unfailingly sent thank you notes. She loved to read and travel, making several solo trips to Newcastle in Northern Ireland, the small city where her mother lived as a girl and where Alice made many lasting friendships.
Born on July 2nd, 1925 to Mason and Elizabeth O’Hare Parker, Alice was raised in North Albany and grew up in the Sacred Heart parish, at the center of a vibrant Irish-American community. She attended PS 20 and graduated from Cathedral Academy. In 1943, she married James F. Begley, a newly commissioned Navy lieutenant soon to leave for active duty in World War II. He was the love of her life.
In the early 1950s, Alice and Jim bought a house in Westmere, where they raised their three children. In 1956, she became a founding editor of the Turnpike Record, which she published until 1973. She later worked in the University at Albany’s Student Health Service, retiring in 1981. In 1989, Alice earned a B.A. in Communications from the College of St. Rose, where she also did graduate work.
She was Guilderland Town Historian for many years, retiring at age 90, and also served as Altamont Village Historian. She published books on Guilderland and Altamont history and two collections of her Turnpike Record columns. A person who was always writing (and thought others should be too), she wrote and directed two plays, “Theodosia,” about Aaron Burr’s daughter, and “Civil War Ballads and Letters.” Both were produced locally and in North Carolina.
Alice was the last living founding member of the North Albany American Legion Post 1610 Auxiliary. She was also a former member of the Gansevoort Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Prospect Hill Cemetery board. She was for many years a communicant of the Christ the King Catholic Church.
Alice was predeceased in 1999 by her beloved husband of 56 years and in 2017 by her daughter Alice Louise Rendall. She was also predeceased by her three siblings, Betty Wiest, Richard Parker, and Marjorie VanDeusen, and her dear friend Edward Dillon.
She is survived by sons James A. Begley (Paula Cotazino Begley) of Guilderland and Paul M. Begley (Carol Meier Begley) of Denver, NC;
five grandchildren: Tracey Rendall Taleff (Greg) of Cincinnati, OH, James Joseph Begley (Brooke) of Mechanicsburg, PA, Paul Brian Begley of Jacksonville, FL, Jennifer Rendall Zins of Cincinnati, OH, and John Thomas Begley, of Asheville, NC; 13 great grandchildren, and two great-great grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:00 AM on Monday, August 3 at Christ the King Catholic Church, 20 Sumter Avenue, Albany,
NY 12203. Please note that face masks will be required to enter Church. Interment will follow at Prospect Hill Cemetery in Guilderland. Those wishing to remember Alice may make a contribution in her memory to the Community Hospice Foundation, 301 S. Manning
Blvd, Albany, NY 12208.
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