Obituary of Laura Ann Fitts
Laura Ann ‘Lolly’ (Ferres) Fitts, 90, peacefully passed away March 29, 2018 at Freighter View Assisted Living Community, Sault Ste. Marie, MI in the presence of her family’s love. Born May 23, 1927 in Ridgewood, New Jersey, daughter of W. Dean and Maurine (Beals) Ferres, Jr.
Lolly was a woman of stunning talent. Her crafts were widely varied. Her flower arrangements won tri-color awards at local shows. Her knitting, from baby blankets to Irish knit sweaters, was distinctive. And the detail of her lovingly created miniature Christmas trees, each displayed under a glass dome, was amazingly intricate.
Her legacy, though, will be her exquisitely decorated dollhouse. Lolly spared no detail in the seven room, two story house. From afghans, knitted on the tiniest of needles, placed at the foot of each neatly made bed, to the miniature newspapers casually tossed on the living room couch, to the roasted turkey awaiting carving on the dining room table set for a holiday meal, to the presents with minute size bows on the foyer floor, to the toys spread carelessly on the kitchen rug, to the infinitely small jar of Noxzema on the bathroom shelf, to the puppy lazing at the top of the stairs, she created a home, in miniature, that mirrored everyday life.
The dollhouse was a many years labor of love shared by her husband of 66 years, John ‘Jack’ Fitts, who predeceased Lolly in 2015.
Lolly, a 1949 graduate of Cornell University, was a Delta Gamma through and through, celebrating her Golden Anniversary in 1996 and mentoring Union College co-eds as they established their own Delta Gamma chapter.
Discovering a passion for children’s literature (and stuffed animals), Lolly returned to school earning her Masters in Library Science from SUNY-Albany in 1970 becoming an Elementary School Library Media Specialist with the Schenectady Public Schools, retiring 1987.
Lolly, and Jack were long-time residents of Niskayuna, NY where they raised three daughters and were actively involved in the community and their church, Union Presbyterian. Lolly especially enjoyed helping organize her church’s rummage sales and welcomed opportunities for learning new things to share and present to groups. She was a long-time member of Panhellenic and the Philanthropic Educational Organization (P.E.O.), and never turned down an invitation to play Bridge with one of her many Bridge Clubs. She loved swimming in the cool waters of Northern Lake George as a favorite pastime on a hot summer day, or engaging in piecing together one of the hundreds of jigsaw puzzles she collected over the years.
Lolly’s smile and sense of humor warmed the hearts of many. She will be dearly missed by her family.
In addition to her parents and husband, Lolly was preceded in death by her daughter Joanne in 2016 and her nephew, Steven Ferres, in 2018. Lolly is survived by her brother Dean Ferres and his wife Susan Bowar-Ferres of New Rochelle, NY; her daughters Ellen (Timothy) Byrne of Portland, ME and Cynthia (Dennis) Merkel of Sault Ste. Marie, MI; five grandchildren John (Sarah) Byrne, Bangor ME, Christopher (Noreen) Byrne, Portland, ME, Katherine Byrne, Portland, ME, Woodrow (Lori) Merkel, Denver, CO and Crispin (Xin) Merkel, Chicago, IL; and great-granddaughter and namesake, Laura Byrne, Bangor, ME. She is also survived by her nephew Scott (Mary Moore) Ferres, Cornwall, NY and niece, Katy (Tack) Ferres Hossli, Glenwood Springs, CO.
A Celebration of Lolly’s life will take place Saturday, May, 5, 2018, 2pm at First Reformed Church, 8 North Church St., Schenectady, NY, 12305 with visitation beginning at 1pm. Lolly has made an anatomical gift to Michigan State University’s Medical School. Donations in her memory may be made to The Community Hospice 295 Valley View Blvd., Rensselaer, NY 12144 (www.communityhospice.org), First Reformed Church of Schenectady, NY or a charity of your choice that mirrors her passion for crafts and new knowledge.
Lolly’s family would like to express their deepest gratitude for the caring and compassionate staff at Freighter View Assisted Living Community, Home Instead Senior Care - Schenectady and Community Hospice, and for the gentle kindness of the staff and residents at Kingsway Village. It made all the difference.