Scottsville-Himrod, New York Mildred (Millie) Irene Melfi- born September 25, 1918, in York, NY, passed away among family members on Friday, March 23, 2018. Millie was the daughter of Thomas Gates and Verna Coolidge-Gates and sibling to seven brothers and sisters (Ernie, Margaret, Louise, Dorothy, Gertie, Mert and Jeanne).
Millie lived a long, happy life and saw many changes throughout her lifetime. For example, she remembered life before indoor plumbing, was one of the first families in her area to own an automobile, and have a home powered by electricity. Known by most of her family as “Houseplant” or “Geranium” she preferred to spend her time indoors reading, baking or anything but helping-out on the family farm!
She attended SUNY Geneseo and graduated with a degree in education. She taught one year only to find that teaching was not for her. She subsequently returned to work as a waitress, as she had done during college and remained so until she retired from the Oatka in Scottsville, NY.
Millie met her first husband, George Tenney, at Texaco Town while working there and they were married in April of 1942. Shortly after their marriage, George was drafted into the US Army and stationed in the states for nearly two years before being shipped abroad. Their daughter, Suellyn, was born in April 1944 and was just 8 months old when he was killed in action during WWII.
It took Millie nearly 15 years later to finally meet a man who shared many of the same interests and whom she would love the rest of her life- Mr. Vincent Melfi. Vince was also previously widowed and had a six-year-old son Mike. Millie and Vince went on their first date in 1957 and were married by May 1958. They bought a home in Scottsville, NY- a place Vince mentioned he would never leave again if he managed to find his way back there after finishing a five year term as a paratrooper during WWII.
Millie and Vince did everything together including bowling, playing cards, dancing, attending local sporting events and traveling extensively during their retirement years. Vince passed away in June 2007 after the two spent 49 wonderful years together.
After Vince’s death, Millie sold their home in Scottsville to live with her daughter Suellyn and son-in-law Joe and be near grandchildren in Penn Yan, NY. Millie enjoyed participating in her daughters extra-curricular activities and meeting new friends in the area until her daughters passing in August 2010. Shortly thereafter, Millie relocated across the road to her granddaughter’s home (Marjorie and Jeff Hathway) where she was able to spend her remaining days.
Millie was very independent and had her own living quarters. She needed little assistance, but had family support everyday with meals and such. With grandchildren and great-grandchildren close by, Millie had visitors every day, several times a day, which she truly enjoyed. Most evenings were spent with her grand-daughter Meredith (Muffy) with a glass of wine, often sharing stories of her past.
Millie enjoyed crossword puzzles, reading biographies/memoirs, her morning grapefruit, and riding her exercise bike (which she did daily up until she passed).
Millie is survived by many loving family members including: her step-son Mike (Irene) Melfi and their daughter Becky; son-in-law Joe Nelson; grandchildren: Joe (Angela) Nelson and their children Maggie, Anthony, Dominic, and Rosie; Marjorie (Jeff) Hathway and their children Brenna and Greyson; and Meredith (Marc) Race. She is also survived by several nieces and nephews; including Don Oltmann and Bonnie Myers whom kept in contact with Millie weekly. Millie also had several friends, in both Scottsville and Penn Yan that she corresponded with often. She had a close friend, Marlene McMahon, whom she enjoyed receiving weekly letters from and who always informed her of what was going on in her “old stomping grounds”.
The family would like to thank the first responders from the Himrod Fire Department and the staff at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hospital in Penn Yan for their care with Millie in her final days.
Family and Friends are invited to attend her Memorial Service 11 A.M. Saturday March 31, 2018 at the Milo Center Methodist Church 1421 Milo Center Rd. Penn Yan NY 14527.
Donations can be made to the American Legion Smith-Warren Post #367 61 Main St. Scottsville, NY 14546, where both Millie and Vince were actively involved.