Alice Friel McNally Leland
January 19, 1927 ~ November 16, 2020
She was a second generation Irish lass born in the melting pot industrial town of Holyoke, Massachusetts where both parents were employed in the paper mills. Her youth was joyful, even while spanning the Great Depression. College years at the University of Massachusetts and Chi Omega Sorority were defined by WWII, and her life transformed by a returning veteran and two words. With door held open for her to exit the University library, she turned and said, “Thanks Dave” which led to more than 72 years of love and marriage to Dave Leland, interrupted only by her peaceful passing at age 93 on November 16, 2020 while under the watchful care of staff at Shelburne Bay.
Alice’s father, James William McNally, offered gentleness, security, and warmth, taught her to appreciate music and introduced her to the joys of tennis. Her mother, Alice Loughrey McNally, was a high school Valedictorian who passed along the enrichments of lifelong learning, the basics of homemaking and cleverness with thread and needle. Influenced by her father’s ‘soft shoe’ stage performances and a desire to shed shyness, Alice pursued ballet and years of recitals. All of these interests and activities were threads she pulled through her life.
Twice Alice and Dave moved to Vermont. The first time to an apartment on Maple Street in Burlington and then to a small home on Macintosh Avenue in South Burlington to accommodate their now three young boys, David Jr., Douglas, and James. Following Dave’s almost thirty-five year corporate career, which included moves to Hartford, Pittsburgh, and
Springfield, and upon his retirement as a senior sales executive, they returned to Dave’s Vermont roots, making their home in Shelburne for over thirty years.
During these years Alice applied her creative gifts to painting, needlework, and gardening. Using her education from the New York School of Interior Design, Alice fashioned a home that suited their tastes and became a favorite gathering place for family and friends. Alice volunteered at the Shelburne Museum and enjoyed attending the Lyric Theater where Alice and
Dave once volunteered as stage crew in the 1950’s. She greatly enjoyed her association with P.E.O. and the sense of companionship it offered.
Of all her interests in Shelburne none was stronger than those of ties to her church family at Shelburne United Methodist Church. She participated on committees, volunteered, baked when asked, and supported those in need. No activity, however, equaled her love for singing in the choir and return to music inspired by her father many years before.
Alice, the clever one with needle and thread once said “The laughter and the tears, achievements and disappointments, tender moments and heartbreaking ones, all makeup the fabric of one’s life and create each individual tapestry.” Thank you, Alice, for a tapestry that will touch generations to come.
Alice is survived by her husband, Dave Leland, a resident of Shelburne Bay, as well as three sons and their wives, four grandchildren, and a great grandchild.
Just prior to her marriage in 1948, Alice had a brush with death in a car accident from which time forward she always felt she had a guardian angel. Today that angel holds the door for her as she enters a new life. Before stepping through, and for one last time, Alice turns and says, with a twinkle in her Irish eyes, “Thanks Dave”.
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