Onolee Stapley Conklin of Ithaca passed away at Cayuga Ridge on October 4, 2020 at the age of 97.
She first saw the light of day at Avon, New York on February 14, 1923. Her parents were the late Clayton and Elsie (Kelly) Stapley, who lived in the Avon area all their lives. Onolee graduated from high school in June of 1941, just before World War II would engulf the United States. From 1944-1946 she served in the WAVES of the United States Navy. After military service, she was employed for five years at Cornell University in Ithaca as a cost accountant.
On August 13, 1949 she received her Mrs. Degree by marrying Gordon Conklin, a graduate student at Cornell. They remained happily in double harness for more than 60 years until Gordon’s death in 2016. Across the years, Onolee served the communities where she lived in many ways—as Executive Secretary of Red Cross at Delhi, secretary to a veterinarian while her husband was in the United States Army, leader of Girl Scouts and 4-H, and many facets of church work.
She enjoyed gardening especially flowers, and was an avid bird watcher for many years. Travel was another joy of this enthusiastic lady—in Europe, Switzerland was her favorite country there, Hawaii, Canada and across the United States. In the latter, her favorite view was the Grand Teton Mountains in Wyoming looking across Jackson Hole. She also found Arizona a grand place to explore on hiking trails and by automobile. But Upstate New York where she resided for nearly all of her life was the location of her loved green, green hills of home. She often said, “I’ve seen some spectacular scenery in various places of the world but the country around the Finger Lakes wears awfully well year in and year out.”
Onolee is remembered by her family and friends as one of the legion of “constructives” who inspire others to be helpful and kind by being that way themselves. She leaves behind a legacy far greater than dollars, measured by who she was and how she lived.
Onolee is survived by children, Maureen Conklin of Interlaken; Lance (Jennifer) Conklin of Pittsburgh, PA; five grandchildren; Patricia Morris; and many nieces and nephews. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Gordon in 2016.
In keeping with Onolee’s wishes, services will be private at the families convenience.
Memorial may be directed in Onolee’s memory to a charity of one’s choice.
For additional information, please contact Ness-Sibley Funeral Home at 607-387-8151, or visit www.ness-sibley.com
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