TICONDEROGA — Sylvia L. "Sally" Downing, 72, of Ticonderoga, passed away Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014, at her residence. Born in Binghamton, New York, Aug. 6, 1941, she was the daughter of the late Eugene and Viola M. (Gower) Nesbitt Sr.
Sally graduated from The New York State School for the Blind in Batavia, N.Y., as Valedictorian of her class. She attended the Jewish Guild for the Blind in New York City for training as a switchboard operator. She also took a number of classes at Fordham University and earned a New York State Emergency Medical Technician Certification.
She was employed as a transcriptionist at Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in Queens, a receptionist at Recording For the Blind in New York City, a medical transcriptionist at St. Agnes Hospital in White Plains, an aide in the CETA Head Start Program in Essex County, was employed as a receptionist at WIPS, and was a certified public safety dispatcher for the Town of Ticonderoga.
Sally also volunteered for the Head Start Program and was a volunteer dispatcher for the Ticonderoga Emergency Squad and Ticonderoga Fire Department prior to the formation of the local 911 dispatch. She was a former member of the Ticonderoga Emergency Squad Women's Auxiliary, and also volunteered for the Walk Against Drugs Program and the Girl Scouts.
In September of 2007, Sally was part of a group of emergency services workers recognized in a proclamation by the Ticonderoga Town Board for her actions during a tragic early morning fire in Ticonderoga. The proclamation reads in part "Ms. Sally Downing, performing her duty as a dispatcher in a very difficult environment, flawlessly coordinated all emergency personnel in an exceptional manner, and Whereas Ms. Sally Downing, by keeping her composure through trying times, and acting in an extremely professional manner was able to balance and prioritize each and every department."
In addition to her parents, Sally was predeceased by one brother, Eugene Nesbitt Jr.; and her brother-in-law, Robert Carlyle.
Survivors include her husband of 47 years, David S. Downing; two daughters, Michelle Naeder of Staten Island and Bethany Signor and her husband Kevin of Ticonderoga; one brother, Gary (Dorothy) Nesbitt of Newfield, five sisters, Nancy (John) Hirst of Port Crane, Barbara Manley of Newfield, Gail (Robert) Turner of Candor, Gloria Carlyle of Spencer, and Cathy Nesbitt (Larry) of Groton; and her brother-in-law, Richard (Sonja) Downing of Painted Post. She is also survived by four grandchildren, Natalie, Heather, Sophia and Melanie Naeder, and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Relatives and friends may call from 11 to 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, at Wilcox & Regan Funeral Home, 11 Algonkin St., Ticonderoga. A funeral service will follow at 2 p.m., Saturday at the Funeral Home. The Rev. Charles Bolstridge, Pastor of the Cornerstone Alliance Church of Ticonderoga, will officiate. Interment will take place in the Spring at the family plot of the Valley View Cemetery of Ticonderoga.
Donations in Sally's memory may be made to High Peaks Hospice, P.O. Box 192, Port Henry, NY 12974 or Ticonderoga Emergency Squad, P.O. Box 265, Ticonderoga, NY 12883.