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Jeanne G. Healy, 86, rose from part-time secretary to Daemen director of alumni affairs

Jeanne G. Healy, 86, rose from part-time secretary to Daemen director of alumni affairs

Nov. 28, 1932 — April 23, 2019

When Jeanne Gueth Healy and her husband, Thomas, were raising their three sons and daughter on Berryman Drive in Snyder, they had more than an open-door policy.

They literally had an open door.

"We had to have keys made to sell the house" when the couple moved to Tonawanda in 1996, said their daughter, Sheila Coyle. "The door was always open, and our friends came in all the time."

That warm welcome meant a lot to some youngsters, said Sheila Coyle.

"We are getting messages from people we haven't heard from for years, saying that she was such an amazing influence on them because she was always encouraging all of us to keep learning," she said.

Jeanne G. Healy, 86, of Tonawanda, a longtime employee of Daemen College, died April 23, 2019, in Kenmore Mercy Hospital. She left each of her children a letter that began, "When you read this, I will have embarked on my next adventure."

Upon hearing of her death, a middle school friend of her daughter sent an email saying, "I admired how she kept a happy home, full of kids and life."

Another long-time friend said Mrs. Healy "had an unstoppable, kind, fun-loving spirit that was so rare."

Even though the final months of her life were challenging, Mrs. Healy never lost her upbeat spirit, her family said. "She was so glass-half-full, always," said her daughter, greeting aides with cheerful compliments and questions about their families.

Born Jeanne Gueth on Nov. 28, 1932, in Buffalo, she was the daughter of Edward and Mae Reardon Gueth and the sister of Edward.

After graduating from St. Mary's Seminary in Buffalo in 1950, she then cared for her mother, who was ill for several years before dying when her daughter was in her early 20s.

Mrs. Healy met her husband-to-be, Thomas J. Healy, at a beach outing with a group of friends.

Their children recalled that after the couple had known each other for a while, their mother told their father that she thought they would make a nice couple. Surprised, her beau replied, "I thought we were a couple!"

They married on Sept. 8, 1962, in Blessed Sacrament Church in Buffalo.

After raising her children, she began working at Daemen College in Snyder in 1978 as an administrative assistant in the Counseling and Career Development department. One of the perks of the job was being able to attend classes, which she did.

Her children recalled her doing her homework on the dining room table next to them, taking breaks to work with them on memorization or quiz them, her daughter said. She graduated in 1986 with a bachelor's degree in humanities. That year, she was named director of Career Development, the department where she worked.

Mrs. Healy continued her education, graduating from the University at Buffalo in 1989 with a master's degree in Student Personnel from the Department of Counseling, Education and Psychology.

In 1990, Daemen College named her director of Alumni Affairs; from early 1998 to the summer of 1999, she was also events coordinator.

"She went from a part-time secretary in the alumni office to director of career development, then director of alumni affairs, then director of alumni affairs and special projects," said her oldest son, Daniel. "It's an amazing story."

In 2003, she received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Daemen for dedication to the college. She was cited for her "positive, uplifting energy and commitment to Daemen College."

Her husband, Thomas J. Healy, who was controller at National Grinding Wheel, died on Dec. 18, 1999.

In retirement, Mrs. Healy turned her attention to social, educational and cultural organizations. She was a longtime member of the Culture Club of Kenmore. She was an usher at the Kavinoky Theatre and a longtime supporter of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Irish Classical Theatre.

Mrs. Healy was a longtime parishioner of St. Joseph University Church.

Besides her daughter and son Daniel, Mrs. Healy is survived by two other sons, Peter and James Healy; nine grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 30, in St. Joseph University Church, 3269 Main St., where memorial contributions may be made.

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