Sheila Ann TierneySheila Ann O’Neill Tierney, 79, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by her loving children on Saturday, June 10, 2017 after a brief illness.

Sheila was born in Pen Argyl, Pa. on August 18, 1937, to Francis Joseph and Anna Elizabeth (Ford) O’Neill. The oldest of seven children, Sheila grew up in East Orange, New Jersey among a neighborhood full of family and friends, and graduated from East Orange High School in 1955. Always in the midst of children and family, it wasn’t long before she had her own.

Married in 1958, she and her growing family moved multiple times before ultimately settling in Coram, New York in the house of her dreams in 1969. She made the house on Wilmont Turn into a home, and with her legendary cooking, baking and sewing skills, and the warmth that radiated from her heart, it became a meeting place for the neighborhood kids and every weekend was a party at “the Tierney’s.”

Always putting her family first, Sheila waited until the 1980s to begin a career. Starting as a receptionist, her helpful, friendly and warm demeanor endeared her both to the colleagues she worked with and the customers she helped. Sheila held a position at Allstate Insurance in Hauppauge, New York where she earned a service award, and later, when she moved to Ithaca in 1988, worked for 20 years as the switchboard operator at Cornell University’s Statler Hotel. The Statler hosted many celebrities, and over the years she met many, including Hilary Clinton, Whoopie Goldberg, and one of her favorite actors, John Cleese.

Sheila’s happiness multiplied when she began to welcome grandchildren to her already large family. The joy she took in teaching what she knew about life was passed on - and the seeds she sowed in those early years are now bearing fruit in her grandchildren’s lives. Among them an artist, a clothing designer, and a master baker, all of whom can trace their talents to this amazing woman.

We cannot count the many happy memories we all shared around her kitchen table at every holiday, Christmas being her favorite; nor the multitude of blissful vacation hours spent on Seneca Lake docks or the beaches of North Carolina. There is not a memory that our family collectively shares that did not include our beloved Nana.

The broken hearts she leaves behind include children Susan Tierney, Trumansburg; James Tierney, Cary, N.C.; Mary Beth Tierney-Simmons (Michael), Berkshire, N.Y.; Patty DeViva (Frank), Forty Fort, Pa.; and Thomas Tierney (Miriam Kranis), Brooklyn, N.Y.  Grandchildren Kate McNamara Smith (Jared), Trumansburg, N.Y.; Brendan Tierney, Cary, N.C.; Julie Tierney, Princeton, N.J.; Michael Simmons (April), Berkshire, N.Y.; Allison Simmons, Ithaca, N.Y.; Sara DeViva (Michael Koehler), Broomall, Pa.; Lisa DeViva MacKenzie (Mark), St. Charles, Ill.; Frankie DeViva, Forty Fort; Pa.; Farrell Tierney, and Piper Tierney, Brooklyn, N.Y. Great-grandchildren Sloane Smith, Blake Simmons, Aiden Simmons, Lily Koehler, Cora Koehler, Balin MacKenzie, and Dante MacKenzie.

She was predeceased by her parents and her brother Peter O’Neill, and is survived by Peter’s wife Nancy O’Neill, Brooklyn, N.Y.; siblings John O’Neill, Little Falls, N.J.; Thomas O’Neill (Elaine), West Orange, N.J.; Peggy O’Neill Russo (Tom), Wayne, N.J.; Anne O’Neill Natusch (Bill), Little Falls, N.J.; Mary O’Neill McCoy (Joseph), Totowa, N.J.; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

The family would like to thank Amanda, Lisa, Mishey and Tricia of Hospice Care, who gave invaluable help during the few short months Sheila was ill. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests making a donation to Hospicare, 172 East King Road, Ithaca, New York.

The family will be present to receive friends from 5:00 to 8:00pm on Thursday, June 15, 2017 at Ness-Sibley Funeral Home, 23 South Street, Trumansburg. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:00am on Friday, June 16, 2017 at St. James Catholic Church, 17 Whig Street, Trumansburg.