Sally Scribner
Sally Scribner

Obituary of Sally Scribner

Our beautiful, feisty mother Sally, was born in Detroit, MI in 1930. The eldest child of Frank and Jane Thistle, Mom often joked about attaining her role in life as “the boss” at a very young age during the Great Depression. She helped raise her three younger siblings while their Dad traveled out of state for work, and as a result of her added responsibilities, Mom became a beautiful seamstress and a wonderfully creative cook. In her free time, Sally loved to ice skate and jump barrels with the neighborhood kids, play basketball, spend the summertime on her grandparents' farm “up north”, and participate in church youth group activities. Mom was even a member of the Cooley High School fencing team!

After graduating from high school, Sally earned her RN degree at the Highland Park School of Nursing in Detroit, where she took classes at Wayne State University and completed rotations at Children’s Hospital and Traverse City Mental Hospital. She loved her work as an OR nurse at Wayne State, where she ultimately met her husband Lew, on a blind date. They married in 1951 and started a family while Lew was still in medical school. During their residency and internship years, Sally, Lew, and their young daughter Debbie, lived in Germany, Wisconsin, and Massachusetts. Mom talked fondly about her time in Germany and Wisconsin, where she developed many new friendships and a deep fascination with creative writing and art history.

Sally and Lew eventually settled outside of Syracuse in Manlius, NY, where daughter, Cathy and son, Paul, were born. It was during this time in her life that Sally became very active with various local arts organizations and became a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Cazenovia, where she served as an Elder and sang in the choir. She was an active PEO member, served two terms on the F-M School Board and was very involved with Arc of Onondaga County. Sally was a fierce advocate for people with developmental disabilities. She and husband Lew fought hard to implement programs that would ensure not only their son, Paul’s success in school and independent living settings, but also the success of other young people with disabilities.

When Sally and Lew purchased “The Moorings” in the late 70’s, an old fixer upper ship captain’s home on Cape Cod, Sally took on a new identity as “Inn Keeper”. She absolutely loved running her own business and earned a reputation as “the fierce boss lady” to the many young people who worked for her. Mom enjoyed the numerous summer guests, who stayed in the house and cottages on her beloved Wellfleet marsh. She made many dear friends on the Cape, where a big part of her heart will always remain.

After Lew died in the early 90’s, Sally returned full-time to the Syracuse area. When she wasn’t off on a traveling adventure, Mom enjoyed swimming at Snooks Pond with her “Snookums” pals, games of tennis, and chasing after her many beloved cats. She particularly enjoyed her travels in France and British Columbia, as well as her “last big travel adventure” in Norway with daughter, Cathy. Sally was able to remain at home for several years with caregivers, until she moved into assisted memory care in the spring of 2016, where Mom loved her new friends and “dorm life”. Our Mom lived her life as a Grand Adventure. We loved her so and will miss her dearly. Bon Voyage, dear Sally!

Sally was predeceased by her husband, Dr. Lewis F. Scribner; her parents, Frank and Jane Thistle; brother, William Thistle; sister, Frances Thistle; and sister-in-law, Judith Thistle. Surviving are brother, Robert Thistle (Julie Linnihan) of Coon Rapids, MN; daughters, Deborah Miller (David) of Davis, WV, and Catherine Scribner (Pat Ortmeyer) of Missoula, MT; son, Paul Scribner of Kirkville, NY; grandsons, Gregory Miller (Brooke) of Mountain View, CA, and Aaron Miller of Seattle, WA; and great grand-daughter, Elise Miller. Also surviving are several nieces, nephews, and grands in both MN and MI.

The Scribner-Miller family would like to thank Mom’s many caregivers through Options, Comfort Keepers, Brookdale-Fayetteville, Crouse Hospital, and the Crossings in Minoa for their wonderful care and humor with Sally. And a special message of love and thanks to the LaRose family of Cazenovia, who watched over Sally/Mom when we couldn’t be here. We are forever indebted.

Relatives and friends are invited to her Memorial Service on Saturday, February 25, at 11 am at the First Presbyterian Church, 27 Albany Street, Cazenovia.

Arrangements are with Fairchild & Meech DeWitt Chapel.

Please make donations in Sally’s memory to the Arc of Onondaga or Humane Society of Cape Cod, MA or Syracuse, NY.