Carolyn E. Marcy

EAST BERNE — Starting as an operator for the New York Telephone Company, Carolyn Marcy rose through the ranks of an industry for three decades as it underwent major technological changes.

“She broke some ground in that regard as a woman in the ’50s and ’60s on the management side,” said her grandson, Edward Marcy.

Carolyn Elizabeth (née Young) Marcy died, after a brief illness, on Friday, July 12, 2013. She was 95.

Mr. Marcy remembered his grandmother as an animal lover, having grown up in a rural area near Catskill, N.Y.

Born in Albany on Nov. 4, 1917, Mrs. Marcy was the daughter of the late Frederick L. and Carolyn E. Haver Young.

Her husband, William A. Marcy, grew up in Albany. They kept many domestic and wild animals, each with a name.

“I think they had 17 cats and three dogs,” Mr. Marcy said. “Largely, they were all adopted strays. She couldn’t not take care of an animal when it showed up,” he said, adding that his grandfather, who died of lung cancer in the 1980s, was known to pick up cats he found on the street and bring them home.

Mrs. Marcy had served in the Women’s Army Corps during World War II.

She was reticent during veterans’ services, he noted, but the Honor Flight Network organized a trip a few years ago that honored Mrs. Marcy and her good friend, Harold Heikkila, along with other World War II veterans. They were taken to visit the war’s memorial in Washington, D.C.

During the war, as a WAC volunteer, she worked in South Carolina where paratroopers trained, Mr. Marcy said.

“One of the jobs she talked about was to go out and take care of the ones whose ‘chutes didn’t open,” said Mr. Marcy, adding that he believed she had a driving responsibility, as her formal title in the Corps was “chauffeur.”

Of how his grandparents met, Mr. Marcy wasn’t sure, but said they ran in the same circles: “She was married to John Signer, who was the son of Pop Signer, who was a good friend of my great-grandmother, the mother of my grandfather, and they were all politically connected Democrats in the city of Albany, when that mattered.”

She and her husband lived in East Berne for more than 30 years. They built a home on Warners Lake.

Mr. Marcy said his grandparents went to the Albany dump to find lumber and parts for their home left over from the construction of the South Mall, or the Empire State Plaza in Albany. He described Mrs. Marcy, “Walking around the dump in her high heels, carrying a two-by-four, fighting with people who were doing the same thing.”

As a general manager for the telephone company, Mrs. Marcy oversaw the implementation of computers in the company’s upstate phone networks, decades after she started manually switching wires at a large board in the 1940s.

“The phones at one time had more mechanical switches, so every little town had its own little exchange,” said Mr. Marcy. The hardware and software used to route phone calls came later, with the advent of computers.

Mrs. Marcy was a proud member of the Telephone Pioneers of America after she retired in 1982. The Marcys would take all of their animals along in a Winnebago on trips to Florida.

She lived at The Villages in Florida for the past several years.

“She did love the Helderberg area,” Mr. Marcy said of his grandmother. “She was up there for 30-some years. They went to all the local turkey dinners and spaghetti dinners.”

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Carolyn Elizabeth Marcy is survived by her sister, Mary L. (née Young) Garrett of The Villages, Florida; her son, Joseph A. Marcy of Castleton, N.Y.; and her grandchildren, Jacob and Jed Signer of Colorado, Edward A. and Patrick J. Marcy, and Katherine E. (née Marcy) Seymour. She is survived, too, by many great-grandchildren, cousins, nieces, and nephews.

Her husband, William A. Marcy, died before her, as did her son, John A. Signer II of Colorado, her brothers, Frederick L. Young, Jr. and Alfred R. Young, her grandson, Joseph A. Marcy, Jr., her granddaughter, Mary Frances Marcy, and several cousins, nieces, and nephews. Harold Heikkila, her good friend over the last 20 years, died before her, as did her parents, Frederick L. and Carolyn E. Haver Young.

A memorial service will be held on Monday, Aug. 12, at 10 a.m. at Our Lady Help of Christians Cemetery in Glenmont. Relatives and friends are invited and may call at Dreis Funeral Home, 208 North Allen Street, Albany, from 4 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 11.

As Carolyn was a lifelong animal lover and activist, contributions may be made to Whiskers, PO Box 11190, Albany, NY 12211, or the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society, 3 Oakland Ave, Menands, NY 12204, or another animal rescue organization.

 — Marcello Iaia

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