Sylvia R. Alley passed away on Wednesday, August 17, 2016, following a long illness. She was born Sylvia Rose Hall in London England on February 7, 1937.
Sylvia's early years were shaped by war. From the age of two, she and her mother had to leave their home for long periods while her father served in the British Royal Navy. It was an unsettled life, and although Sylvia may never have heard the phrase "Keep calm and carry on" as a child, it summarizes the ethos of World War II England which she internalized early and embodied throughout her life.
Sylvia was eight years old when the war ended. She spent the remainder of her childhood and adolescence in London with her mother Rose, father George, and baby sister Lesley. After finishing school at 15, she went to work in the city. One of her early jobs was in a florist shop where she worked on bouquets for the Queen's coronation in 1953. Sylvia always remembered riding a bus through London, gazing out at the iconic buildings all around her, and thinking how lucky she was to live in such a beautiful city.
Then, at the age of 17, her life changed forever when she met an American Air Force mechanic named Leeman Alley. They were married in a year. Leeman did two tours in England, but they moved to Jonesport to stay at the end of 1959. Suddenly, this city girl found herself in a small fishing town on the coast of Maine. Sylvia once said she had fulfilled her destiny by bringing her family to these shores.
Life was not always easy in her new home, but early lessons came to bear, and Sylvia not only carried on, but she cherished and enhanced the beauty of her tiny patch of splendor on Moosabec Reach. Her gardens were widely admired and even featured in "Country Gardens" magazine in 2011. She was a faithful member of Sawyer Memorial Congregational Church, providing and arranging flowers for the altar and singing in the choir for many years. She tended with love her family, her garden, her church, and generations of Jonesport children by serving them nourishing school lunches for more than 20 years. They especially loved her fresh baked bread.
She loved gardening and painting, the ballet and great music. She thrived on beauty in any form. Sylvia's motto was "Bloom where you're planted." With grace and humility, she did.
Sylvia was predeceased by her husband, Leeman Alley Jr. She was our matriarch. She was our rock and our glue. She will be missed by her children, Richard, Lynn, and Karen and their spouses, Eve, Michael and Larry. She will be missed by her grandchildren, Corey, Nicholas, Joshua, Cassie and Shareen and their partners, Jessie, Ann Marie, Josh and Chris. She will be missed by her great-granddaughter, Brystal. She will be missed by her sister, Lesley and her husband, Linwood, and their family. She will be missed by her brother-in-law, Victor and his wife, Sharon, and their family. She will be missed by many.
Funeral service will be held at Sawyer Memorial Congregational Church in Jonesport on August 26, 2016, from 2-3 p.m. After the service there will be a committal at Greenwood Cemetery followed by a gathering in Sylvia's garden on Sadler's Point for all who wish to attend, weather permitting. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to: SMCC Steeple Fund, Sharon Hext Treasurer, SMCC PO Box 249, Jonesport, ME 04649.