FLY CREEK – In the early morning hours of Sunday, May 17, 2020, Sharon Ann Congelli, a longtime resident of Wayland, passed away at her daughter’s home in Fly Creek, surrounded by family, following a valiant seven-year battle with glioblastoma. She was 74.
Born Nov. 20, 1945, in North Hornell, Sharon was the daughter of Duane E. and Carol J. (Bricks) Knapp of Atlanta, N.Y. After graduating from high school in Wayland she attended the Continental School of Beauty in Rochester.
While she was employed at several places throughout her life, she was best known as the manager of the Home Video store located in the Wayland Food Mart, for over 25 years. Prior to managing the video store, Sharon worked for the Wayland Central School as part of the high school cafeteria staff, a position she enjoyed and from which lifelong friendships were born as evidenced by monthly lunch gatherings with the “cafeteria ladies” held for decades after.
Sharon was a good listener with a gentle nature and a cheerful outlook on life that was comforting to those around her. Her family, especially her ten grandchildren, loved visiting Sharon at her longtime residence on Loon Lake. There she shared with them her well-known love of loons and enjoyed paddleboat rides around the lake. Sharon loved hosting family and friends at the lake, where she always made everyone feel welcome and at home, blessing her children with a lifetime of memories spent on Loon Lake.
Sharon was a spiritual person whose journey of faith began in the Atlanta Presbyterian Church. She had also been a longtime member of St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Wayland, Loon Lake Community Chapel in the summers and, during her four-year residence in Fly Creek, was a much-loved participant of Butternuts Monthly Meeting Quaker worship groups in Cooperstown and Oneonta. Sharon had an expansive and inclusive perspective of spirituality and appreciated elements of many faiths and spiritual practices, gathering in sacred circles of women and joining each of her children and grandchildren in their practices.
Sharon was conscientious about fulfilling her civic duty and for many years assisted her fellow community members in Wayland as an election worker at the polls on election days.
She was an avid reader and enjoyed being a regular patron at the small libraries in the communities she lived and frequented. Sharon enjoyed puzzles, games and any activity that brought family and friends together in shared experience. She derived great joy from attending her grandchildren’s sporting, musical and theatrical events as well as attending concerts, films and professional performances. Sharon was a lifelong learner and enjoyed visiting museums and cultural and historical sites. She was curious with a boundless enthusiasm for exploring new places and activities which she maintained throughout her life, traveling and learning with communities of people. She appreciated the natural world and delighted in walking and observing the changes each season brought.
Sharon was devoted to family and friends, having an unlimited capacity for welcoming people into her life. Her strength and resilience allowed her to meet each challenge in life with grace and a consistent outlook of empathy and joy. Her presence was a gift to all. She was beloved by many and held in peace and love to the very last by her devoted family who cherishes her still.
Sharon is survived by her four children, Jonas (Tammy) Congelli of Tully, Sarah (Mark) Wilcox of Fly Creek, Carol (George) Smith of Forest Grove, Oregon, and Michael (Jennifer) Congelli of Spencerport; 10 grandchildren, Steffaney and Nathaniel Wilcox, Emily, Allison, Matthew and Anna Congelli, and Izzy, Carly, Sammy and Vinny Congelli; and her four siblings, Lee (Megumi) Knapp of Tennessee, Lois(Jim) Mark of Dansville, Winifred (“Winnie”) Feathers of Geneseo, and Joan (Bill) Brewster of Dansville and their families.
Sharon was preceded in death by her father, Duane E. Knapp who died Nov. 14, 2008, and her mother, Carol J. Knapp, who died July 12, 2012.
While there will be no services at this time due to the COVID-19 pandemic and current restrictions on public gatherings, please remember for now the times you spent with Sharon, smile, and know that she is at peace. When it is safe and regulations allow, Sharon’s family will plan on having a public memorial service in Wayland. She will be laid to rest near her parents in St. Joseph’s Old Cemetery in Wayland.
As Sharon’s family is acutely grieving her loss, and as there will be some delay in gathering for a formal memorial service, her children would be very grateful to receive stories and remembrances of her from those she connected with through the course of her life. In celebration of her life, please share your memories of Sharon with messages humorous, poignant, joyous — the full scope of a life well lived. By mail: Family of Sharon Congelli, c/o Sarah Wilcox, PO Box 95, Fly Creek, NY 13337 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Memorial donations in Sharon’s name may be made to: Wayland Free Library, E.J. Cottrell Memorial Library of Atlanta, Village Library of Cooperstown, Loon Lake Community Chapel, Presbyterian Church of Atlanta, Butternuts Monthly Meeting of Cooperstown or Cancer Connects of East Syracuse.
Arrangements are under the care and guidance of the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown.