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Obituary for Nancy O. Rappleyea (Oates)

Nancy Oates Rappleyea, 83, a native of Norwich, NY, passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 6, 2018, at Eddy Village Green at Beverwyck in Slingerlands, NY with her daughters by her side.

Nancy was a bright, giving and loving person, whose simple grace and kindness was offered freely to her family, friends, colleagues and everyone she met along the way. She blessed us with her beautiful smile, playful sense of humor, love of nature, and gentle, understated, sweet disposition. Thoughtful and sensitive, Nancy went out of her way to take care of others. Her warm, easygoing manner and genuine interest in others made them immediately feel comfortable in her presence.

Nancy was born on May 30, 1934, in Norwich, NY. She was salutatorian of the Norwich High School Class of 1952. Following graduation, she attended the University of Rochester and Russell Sage College where she received a Bachelor of Science in Education in 1957. She married the true love of her life, Clarence “Rapp” Rappleyea, Jr., on August 11, 1956. Nancy had a long teaching career in Norwich City Schools and was respected and loved by many of her students and colleagues.

Nancy loved her home town of Norwich and was proud of her family history and deep ties to the community. In 1923, her father established the Chenango Ice Cream Company and also operated the “Oates and Fuller” Store, one of the outlets for the Velvet Ice Cream Brand. In 1957, her father sold the company to Borden. Nancy loved telling stories about her wonderful childhood in Norwich including times at the family cottage at Chenango Lake, her family homes in Norwich, special friendships throughout her school days, and antics involving her older sisters. Nancy took a great interest in the history of Norwich and Chenango County and she enjoyed sharing this with others. Nancy was active in the community throughout her life. She was a member of the Town and Country Garden Club, volunteer for the Chenango Arts Council and a Director of United Way of Norwich for many years. Following her retirement in 1987, Nancy enjoyed working part-time at The First Edition, a local bookstore, and continued to serve her community in various roles including chairperson of the Greater Norwich Bicentennial Committee, member of the Boards of the Chenango Valley Home and The Roger Follett Foundation, and volunteer for Meals on Wheels.

Nancy enjoyed many things in life including nature, gardening, music, cooking for family and friends, caring for pets and supporting Norwich events and organizations. She always took time to notice and appreciate the beauty and simple pleasures around her. Nancy’s family and home gave her the greatest pleasure. She was especially content in the country homes at Lyon Brook and Chenango Lake; these were surrounded with natural beauty and always will be associated with wonderful memories of outdoor activities, lively parties, laughter and fun in the water.

Nancy put her family above all else and contributed greatly to the close, tight-knit family bonds that have lived on through the years. She shared a very special lifelong relationship with her beloved big sister, Dorothy Benenati. She was a deeply devoted wife and she championed “Rapp” throughout his professional education and long career in public service. Nancy found great joy in raising her three daughters. She was a selfless, nurturing mother who quietly advocated for and guided her children along the way. She taught the most important life lessons and values through the exemplary way she conducted herself in roles including wife/mother/family member, friend, neighbor, teacher and community member. After her daughters were grown, Nancy’s family expanded with new grandchildren and great-grandchildren; she treasured each addition and took great joy in nurturing relationships and spending quality time together.

Nancy was predeceased by her husband of 60 years, Clarence “Rapp” Rappleyea, Jr. and her eldest daughter, Pamela Vredenburgh. She is survived by two daughters, Stacy (Rob Towne) Rappleyea of Chapel Hill, NC, and Susan (Paul) Powers, of Schodack Landing, NY and her son-in-law, Donald M. Vredenburgh of Chenango Forks, NY. Also surviving are: seven grandchildren, Jacob (Amanda) Vredenburgh of Troy, NY, Dr. Zachary (Kara) Vredenburgh of Somerset, NJ, Sam Towne of Charlotte, NC, Sarah Towne of Chapel Hill, NC, Katherine (Lucas) Ashby of Castleton-on-Hudson, NY, Mia Powers of Albany, NY, and Matthew Powers of Schodack Landing, NY; and five great-grandchildren, Gracelyn, Charlie and Benedict Ashby, and Molly and Thomas Vredenburgh. Nancy is also survived by sister and brother-in-law, Dorothy and Frank Benenati, and numerous nieces and nephews. Nancy was also predeceased by her parents, Francis J. Oates and Lillian (Carmer) Oates and a sister, Eleanore Oates Perkins.

The family would like to thank the staff at Eddy Village Green at Beverwyck and Community Hospice, for the care they provided for Nancy over the past several months, as well as the many wonderful people who cared for her two years previously at Eddy Alzheimer's Center at Hawthorne Ridge.

A funeral service for Nancy will be held at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 13, 2018, at the Wilson Funeral Home in Norwich. Friends are invited to call at the funeral home on Friday, January 12, from 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. Burial will take place in the spring at Mt. Hope Cemetery in Norwich.

Contributions in Nancy’s memory may be made to the Cure Alzheimer's Fund, 34 Washington Street, Suite 200, Wellesley Hills, MA 02481, or the Greater Norwich Foundation, c/o NBT Financial Group, 52 South Broad Street, PO Box 351 Norwich, NY 13815, or Hospice & Palliative Care of Chenango County, 21 Hayes Street, Norwich, NY.

To send flowers to the family of Nancy O. Rappleyea (Oates), please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.

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