Estella E. Vangeli, 91, of Little York, NY passed away peacefully December 21, 2016 with family by her side.
Essie was born in Walden, New York, graduated high school and was the first in her family of 12 siblings to go on to college. Essie was a 1947 graduate of SUNY Cortland and taught physical education at Walkill High School for a short time before marrying the love of her life and starting a family.
Essie is survived by her son Arthur (Aleida) Vangeli of Cedar Park, TX; daughters Deborah (Jeff) Whary of Stonewood, WV, Lindy Vangeli of Little York and Kristina (Kevin) Bishop of East Homer. She is also survived by grandchildren: Danielle (Tyler Burhans) and Brent Bishop, Adrianna, Mario and Michael Vangeli .
She was pre-deceased by her husband, B. James Vangeli , son Mario and daughter Kathy.
Essie always put family first but was also involved in many community activities. One of her biggest passions was swimming. She was instrumental in the early years of the YMCA swim team, as well as the learn to swim program at Wickwire Pool in the summers. She also started and coached the girls and boys high school swim teams at Cortland High School. When coaching ended she was a swimming official for high school as well as college teams for many years. She would often bake cookies for both swim teams (SUNY Cortland and the opponent) for after the meets.
She was also a softball coach at Cortland High School and an umpire for high school and summer leagues as well as being involved with Music and Athletic Booster Clubs. She also assisted with the Senior Games at Cortland as well as Senior Citizens , County Board of Elections and Office for the Aging, among others. She was a member of Court #919 Catholic Daughters of America for over 50 years. Essie was the first female recipient of the Annual Cortland County Sports Award in 1975.
Essie was very involved with SUNY Cortland. She was a past President of the Alumni Association as well as a former member of the President’s Council and a Distinguished Alumni award winner and a member of the C-Club Hall of Fame.
Until recently you could see her at Homer High School sporting events cheering on Brent and Danielle. Essie was also a longtime SU Fan, she enjoyed being a former season ticket holder for both basketball and football, even traveling to some bowl games and the Big East tournament in New York.
Essie loved living at the lake, especially boating with Lindy and campfires with Tina’s family as well as the time spent with Debbie and Art and their families as they came back to visit.
Friends are invited to call Thursday, December 29th from 4 to 7 pm at Wright Beard Funeral Home, 9 Lincoln Ave, Cortland, NY. A memorial mass will be held Friday, December 30th at 10:30 am, St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 59 N. Main Street, Cortland, NY.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Essie’s memory may be made to either: The Cortland Foundation (with notation for either Alumni House or Racquette Lake in the memo section) P.O. Box 2000, Cortland, NY ; Hospice Care of Cortland, 11 Kennedy Parkway, Cortland, NY, or a charity of one’s choice.
The family would also like to thank the Nurses and Aides at the Cortland Park Rehab/Nursing Center for the care they gave Mom, especially Taylor and Katie, her physical therapy team.
To offer online condolences, visit wwww.wright-beard.com