ST. JOHNSVILLE – J. Sally Steuding Thomson was born on a snowy Saturday, October 28, 1933, in Little Falls, New York. She was the daughter of Richard Ames Snell and his wife, Dorothy O’Brien Snell. On Saturday morning, November 12, 2022, at the age of 89, she died, in St. Johnsville, NY.
Sally was raised, along with her two sisters, Sue, and Cathy, on the family dairy farm on Mill Road, in St. Johnsville, NY. Summers were spent at the family camp “Suits Us”, on Canada Lake, in the southern Adirondacks. Sally first attended the one-room school next to the farm and graduated from St. Johnsville High School, in 1951. She then attended Utica Tech where she obtained a business administration degree and met her college sweetheart, Bill Steuding. They graduated together and were married, on August 27, 1955, in St. Johnsville. Bill and Sally made their first home in Kingston, New York, where their daughters Ellen and Martha were born. In 1960, they moved to Woodstock, New York. Their home reflected Sally’s creativity with decorating, full of antiques, colorful art and artifacts and always at least one cat. She was a talented seamstress and needleworker and that evidence showed in all of her homes. Sally created beautiful garden beds and always enjoyed sitting amongst the colorful blooms in her yard. She served as a member of the West Hurley Library Board of Directors and was active during the move to its new location. In 1982, she was widowed, when Bill died of cancer.
On November 8, 1987, Sally married Roy Thomson, at the West Point Officers’ Club. They relocated to Kinderhook, New York and resided there, for 15 years. Again, their home reflected her many talents and her gardens did as well. Sally devoted time to the Kinderhook Garden Club and the Columbia County Historical Society, making new friends in their new community. Upon Roy’s retirement, they moved to St. Johnsville, where Sally once again lived on Mill Road until her death. They purchased and renovated a beautiful home and enjoyed many happy years there together. She was active in the St. Johnsville Library Book Club and always attended the annual family reunions at Snell’s Bush Church, Manheim, New York. Sally was proud of her Mohawk Valley roots, being an 8th-generation direct descendant of the Palatine German Settlers, who arrived there in the early 1700s. While dementia robbed her of her memories, her family and friends have many. Sally will be remembered for her strong convictions, love of books, loath for cooking, joyous pride in her children’s accomplishments, beautiful needlework, colorful gardens and sparkly green eyes. She was a life-long learner who read the New York Times daily and obtained a bachelor’s degree from Empire State College in her 60s. Sally never turned down the chance to visit a museum, gallery, concert, play, lecture, or yoga practice, as long as it included a lunch out. Until the final months of her life, the world stopped daily at 5 in the afternoon for cocktails, tasty nibbles and hearty conversation.
She is survived by her beloved husband, Roy; and two daughters, Ellen Neilley and husband, Greg, of Francestown, NH and Martha Bilsback and husband, Woody, of Sabael, NY. Survivors also include her sister, Cathy Miles and husband, Ron, of St. Johnsville, NY; and her brother-in-law, Roger Williams, of Kennebunk, Maine. Several nieces, nephews and their families also survive. Three stepchildren and their families survive as well.
Sally will be greatly missed by her cherished friends Cathy Steffans, of Attalla, Alabama, Kathleen Doherty, of Edgewater, Florida and Kate Mack, of Woodstock, NY. Her family thanks all of those who have loved and supported Sally on her end-of-life journey. Your kindness and caring have meant so much to all of us.
Should you wish to, memorial donations may be sent to the Margaret Reaney Memorial Library, 19 Kingsbury Avenue, St. Johnsville, NY 13452 or Snell’s Bush Church, c/o SZT Reunion, Inc., P.O. Box 623, Little Falls, NY 13365.
To honor Sally’s beautiful life lived, we invite friends and family to join us for calling hours in her memory, on Saturday, December 10, 2022, from 11:00 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., at the Enea Family Funeral Home, 9 Center Street, in St. Johnsville, New York. At 12:30 p.m., at the funeral home, a Service of Remembrance will be held, led by longtime family friend, Dawn Lamphere. At the conclusion of the funeral home services, we will gather for a refreshing lunch at Beardslee Castle, from 2p.m. until 4p.m. A private family graveside service will take place at the Snell family plot, in West St. Johnsville Cemetery, later on, in the month of June 2023.
Sally’s obituary will appear in the following publications: the Kingston Daily Freeman, the Times Telegram, the Amsterdam Recorder, and My Little Falls, professionally coordinated by Enea, Ciaccia, and Applegate Funeral Directors (518) 568-2300.
An online tribute has been created at www.eneafamily.com on the Internet.