Nellie Ruth (Rumsey) McEver passed away on June 7, 2022, two days after her 97th birthday. She passed in Orange, California after a brief illness and the long-term effects of Alzheimer’s disease. She lived a long fruitful life and was always smiling, laughing and had a sparkle in her hazel eyes.
She grew up on the Rumsey Family farm in Enfield, New York during the Great Depression. From an early age she learned about hard work and the joys of coming from a large family. At the age of seventeen, she left the family farm to join the war effort. She joined the National Youth Administration and was shipped to Rome Air Service Command in Rome, New York. She was trained to do the electrical work on airplane engines. She enjoyed the work and the dorm life with other women helping to build airplanes. She did such good work, that the War Department’s Army Air Force wanted to transfer her to Hawaii to continue working on airplanes. She decided to go back to the Rumsey Family farm to help out.
After her service time she worked on the family farm, cleaned houses and was a waitress at the Woodside Inn Restaurant. In the 1950’s she went to work at Cornell University. At first, she worked in the laundry and then transferred to Sage Hall to work in the cafeteria. Nellie became a pastry chef, enjoyed the cooking and waiting on the students. She has several pictures of her with some of Cornell’s best football players. She also worked at several of the premier events at The Statler Hotel, the iconic hotel on the Cornell Campus. One of her fond memories was getting dessert cooking lessons from Chef Wolfgang Puck. She retired from Cornell after twenty nine years of service.
During her working years she raised her three children on her own. There was always a big vegetable garden, she would freeze or can fresh vegetables and had vegetables throughout the year. She also would can or freeze fruit that her children picked from the orchards. The most beautiful garden was her flower garden. It was always the talk of the neighborhood. She always gave Iris flower clippings to friends and family to start their own flower garden. Nellie also enjoyed doing many different crafts. Among them are Needlepoint Christmas ornaments, ceramic items, and quilt making. She shared many of her crafts with family and friends. One quilt she made was auctioned off at a local charity for $5,000.
Nellie came from a large family and loved every one of her seven siblings. She had a special relationship with her sister Edith. Edith was five years older, took care of her when she was young and they had many adventures together throughout their long lives (including riding river rapids and balloon rides). When she married Luke McEver, her mother sold the new family an acre lot to build a house on. To build the house, she had help from all of her brothers. Deforest and Ralph cut down logs from the three Rumsey Farms, Walter ran a saw mill and cut the lumber, Jared was a mason and laid cinder block and poured concrete, Dana was a carpenter who could build anything, and Orville was the electrician. You can see how her house got built. The Rumsey family worked hard, but they also had a lot of fun at the family reunions or picnics at the local State parks.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Luke Edward McEver, all of her siblings and her son-in-law Kenneth J. Stoughton. She is survived by her daughters Peggy (Kevin) McCauley, Nancy Stoughton, and her son Larry McEver, three grandchildren four great grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.
The McEver Family would like to thank Nellie’s neighbor in Enfield, NY - Martha Sitzman. Martha kept a close eye on her as her Alzheimer’s got worse. She would oversee her prescription drug regimen, take her to doctors’ appointments, take her grocery shopping and to the gas station to buy gas for the lawn mower. At 87, she was still mowing her one acre lawn with a riding lawn mower.
At Nellie's request there are no calling hours or funeral services planned. In lieu of flowers please consider donations in Nellie’s memory to either the Alzheimer’s Association or Alzheimer's Disease Research Fund of Clarksburg, MD (who is doing research on the causes of Alzheimer’s). Nellie was only in the hospital three days and was fighting until the end. In the last two years, she would spell out words but we could never recognize the word. On Monday afternoon standing next to her bed, she yells out e-c-t-r-i, in front of the nurse, Larry told the nurse that she spells out words we do not recognize. A few minutes later, she says electricity. So, she was fighting the Alzheimer's disease until the end.
Rest in Peace Mom.
Love Peggy, Nancy, and Larry