Margaret ‘Peg’ Reilly Tyndell
ROTTERDAM — Peg Tyndell had a thirst for knowledge and a zest for life. She connected with people.
She loved being home, raising her two children, and, when they got older, she went back to school with equal passion, pursuing a degree in communication.
“She approached life with joy and positivity,” said her daughter, Meg Wyanski. “She embraced learning opportunities. And she embraced meeting and knowing people and experiencing life. How joyful she was.”
Mrs. Tyndell died of cancer in her Rotterdam home, on Wednesday, June 26, 2013, surrounded by her loving family. She was 72. She had moved to Rotterdam from Knox a while after her husband died.
Born in Albany on Oct. 9, 1940 to the late John A. Reilly and Grace Powers Reilly, Mrs. Tyndell was one of seven children — six girls and one boy. Her father was the warden of Albany’s jail and Mrs. Tyndell lived both a city life, graduating from Vincentian Institute in 1958, and a country life on the Reilly family farm on Central Avenue where Colonie Center stands today.
She fell in love with the man who would become her husband, Gary M. Tyndell, when she was 15. Their marriage lasted 44 years, ending only with his death in 2006.
“They had groups of kids in those days,” said Mrs. Wyanski. “My dad was friends with one of her older sisters. They liked each other for a while, and my mom invited him to a Halloween dance. She was 15 and he was a senior in high school. That was it; they were inseparable from then on.”
The Tyndells raised their children, a daughter and a son, in a house on Parkwood Drive in Colonie.
“We never questioned my mom would be there every day when we got home from school,” said Mrs. Wyanski. “And every night, we had a home-cooked meal…There was love in everything she did,” Mrs. Wyanski said of her mother.
One day, after their children had grown, the couple was out driving in the Helderberg Hilltowns. “My dad said, ‘There’s our house.’ My mom trusted him. They lived there for 25 years,” said Mrs. Wyanski.
The spacious, modern home stood in the midst of sweeping lawns with open views in Knox. “We used to go out there and mow for days,” quipped Mrs. Wyanski. Mrs. Tyndell was active, riding a tractor to mow the lawns in the summer and using a blower to clear the driveway of snow in the winter.
“They loved it…the peace and quiet and the way you could see the stars at night,” said Mrs. Wyanski.
“She loved nature in all its glory, and adopted all four legged friends who walked her way,” Mrs. Wyanski wrote in a tribute to her mother. Mrs. Wyanski had grown up with a dog named Tiger. “Basically, he was my older brother,” she said, describing the dog as “the test child” for her parents, acquired before she was born.
Once the Tyndells moved to Knox, they turned to caring for cats. They started with two of their own but then took in strays — “cats dumped out of cars,” said their daughter. “Mom and Dad probably had 15 cats over the years,” she said, describing their philosophy this way: “You don’t turn away a traveler.”
Mrs. Tyndell relished working outside her home once her kids were older. She went back to school, graduating from Sage Junior College of Albany in 1986 and from The College of Saint Rose in 1989.
“She had always been someone who wanted to know about everything,” said her daughter. “She was a product of the times when women were told they could either become a secretary or get married and have children. She was a secretary until she was pregnant with me,” said Mrs. Wyanski. “She was happy as a homemaker, always busy.”
She was busy as a worker, too, employed at various times for The Sage Colleges, WGY, the Albany College of Pharmacy, and The Altamont Enterprise.
She did broadcasting for WGY, interspersing the music with news stories and color commentary, her daughter said.
When she worked for The Enterprise, leaving in 1991, she covered the town of Berne, avidly listening to a police scanner in order to be first on the scene for breaking news. She was persistent in getting stories, spending most of one Saturday, for example, in a chilly drizzle, waiting to photograph a truck being raised from Warners Lake.
Mrs. Tyndell was recognized with a statewide award for health coverage from the New York Press Association for a series on mammography. (See related commentary.)
A “Landmark” education devotee, Mrs. Tyndell never tired of learning. Her daughter explained that the Landmark program involves courses “where you examine your interactions with others to see patterns….making sure you’re coming from integrity and that you treat others the way you want to be treated.”
Mrs. Wyanski described, for example, how her mother wrote letters to a man who was deployed with the military in the Middle East. “She didn’t know him, but her letters impacted him,” she said.
Mrs. Tyndell was a deeply religious woman and served as a Eucharist minister at Our Lady of Mercy. When she moved to the Hilltowns, she attended St. Bernadette’s Church in Berne until it closed and then went to St. Lucy/St. Bernadette’s Church in Altamont, where she sang in the choir.
One of her favorite songs was “Blue Skies.” “Whenever she was down, she’d sing that, even in the hospital,” said her daughter, noting, through tears, that “Blue Skies” was the last song sung at her mother’s funeral.
“Blue skies,” she wrote, “are finally shining upon her.”
Margaret Reilly Tyndell is survived by her children, Meg and her husband, Chris Wyanski, of Rotterdam, and Marty and his wife, Evelyn Tyndell, of Latham; and her grandchildren Matt and Grace Wyanski, and Greg, Harry and Alicia Tyndell.
Her husband of 44 years, Gary M. Tyndell, died in 2006.
She is survived by her siblings, Regina Reilly of California, Rosemary and her husband, Peter Myers, of Selkirk, Carol VanderLaan and her partner, Bruce Baright, of Florida, John and his wife, Sheila Reilly, of Altamont, Mary and her husband, Al DeMarco, of Colonie, and Katie and her husband, Fred Thomsen, of Syracuse.
In addition to her godchildren, Brendan Welch, Erin DeMarco, and Patrick Thomsen, she is survived by many nieces and nephews whom she loved dearly, and by her life-long friend and Jeopardy buddy, Barbara Kuban. She is also survived by her step-grandchildren, Jennifer, Emily, and Mitchell Chaney, and his wife, Angie.
The family would like to thank Dr. Snezana Mijovic Das for her companionate care and understanding, and Dr. Pamela Pettigrew-Duffield for asking “Why?” and prescribing chocolate ice cream.
Arrangements were by the DeMarco-Stone Funeral Home in Guilderland and funeral services were held on Tuesday, July 2, with a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Lucy/St. Bernadette’s Church in Altamont. Burial followed at the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in East Greenbush. Online condolences may be left at www.demarcostonefuneralhome.com.
Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society or to a charity of choice.
— Melissa Hale-Spencer