At Heritage, we are honored to serve extraordinary individuals with amazing life stories to tell! Keep reading to learn more about Betty Louise Sears-Gillooly who lives at Vinecroft, a Heritage community in Clarence Center, NY.
Written by Betty’s daughters, Patricia and Maureen.
Betty was born November 10th, 1919, in Buffalo, NY. Despite her age of 102, she is filled with vitality! Everyone at Vinecroft knows her as the speedy walker and they move aside to let her pass. She walks twice a day, up and down all four hallways, plus an extra 10x up and down her own hall. She is one of the most friendly and active residents and is always encouraging others to join in the games, crafts and activities.
Betty’s life took her to many places. She started out in Buffalo with her father and mother, Carlton and Louise, and a younger brother and sister. She also lived in Batavia, Newfane, Middleport, Dansville, and Amherst, all in New York. For a period she lived in East Lansing, Michigan as well. She attended East High School in Buffalo. Always an outstanding student, she won the Jesse Ketchum Award for Academics and was the Salutatorian of her class. Upon graduation she studied at Bryant and Stratton School of Business. Entering young adulthood during WWII she worked at Doehler Die Company for three years.
In 1945, Betty married Paul Gillooly who had returned from service overseas. They moved to Michigan where Paul attended Michigan State University. There they had two daughters, Patricia and Maureen. Betty dedicated herself to raising her family and supporting Paul’s teaching career and his pursuit of higher education. Paul passed away in 2010. Betty cared for him for five years prior to his passing. Her girls live nearby and enjoy regular visits at Vinecroft!
When her firstborn went off to college, Betty joined the workforce. For 20 years, she was part of the Canisius College family. She was Secretary to the President for most of those years. Betty was praised by Rev. James Demske during an awards ceremony with the following: “I think of my strong and indispensable right arm, my secretary, Betty Gillooly, who has kept me out of trouble for the entire 16.5 years I have been here as President. She has helped me not only by her fantastic efficiency in administrative matters, but also by her wise counsel, unfailing cheerfulness and good humor, and totally reliable good judgement.” On the day she retired she distinctly recalled her boss saying, “Betty, I thought you’d change your mind at the last minute!”
Always a giver, Betty was by no means finished. She went on to volunteer at DeGraff Hospital, Meals on Wheels, and Audubon Public Library. She hosted her grandsons and their friends for a week every summer for Basketball Camp, driving them to and from, feeding, and housing the boys. Together, they created many lasting memories. At age 80, still full of energy she was quite the helper at her great grandson’s elementary school. Throughout her life she loved knitting and sewing for family and friends – the needles are always clicking away! Betty enjoys doing puzzles of all shapes and sizes. You will always find a work in progress on her card table. To this day she is an avid reader and recently completed a book report for the Vinecroft Book Club.
At 99, Betty decided it was time to sell her home on Maynard Drive in Amherst where she had lived for 55 years. A young couple was very interested in buying it and as Betty discussed the home with them, she saw a special love between them. She felt confident that they were the right ones to take over what she and Paul had cared for those many years. A few months later this couple surprised Betty with a visit at Vinecroft and gave her a beautiful handcrafted picture of the house. This reassured her of her move, that the circle was completed – how special that was!
Devotion described every aspect of Betty’s life. She reads her Bibles and prays everyday. Her rich life has produced a beautiful family of two daughters, two son-in-laws, seven grandchildren and twelve great grandchildren who all love, honor and respect her and have many, many fantastic memories! It is always a joy when they gather around her to celebrate her milestone birthdays!
Since coming to Vinecroft, Betty continues inspiring others with energy, kindness, positive thankful attitudes, wisdom and intelligence (she often wins at Trivial Pursuit!). She is always there to help when and if she can. Now three years and counting at Vinecroft, this special lady is and will continue to be a blessing to the Vinecroft Community.