MILFORD – Margery Norris Armstrong, R.N., who served for many years as head nurse of Bassett Hospital’s ICU, passed away peacefully Monday morning, Aug. 12, 2019, at her beloved home on Arnold Lake. She was 85.
Margery was born on November 25, 1933, in Carbondale, Pa., to William Melville Norris and Amy née Quinlan Norris of Wales, U.K., but spent most of her youth growing up in Oneonta.
Marge and her siblings were an adventurous group, easily recognized around town by their fiery red hair. She displayed an interest in science and math at an early age and was the first girl in her high school to take chemistry and physics. She began volunteering at Fox Hospital at age 14 and started working as an intern at Bassett Hospital in 1952 while a nursing student at Hartwick College.
After receiving her bachelor’s degree, Marge joined the Bassett staff full time in 1955 and became head nurse of Center Two working with the medical team that pioneered the use of bone marrow transplants to treat leukemia.
Marge left Bassett in 1963 to work nights at the Thanksgiving Nursing Home so that she could be home during the day to take care of her newborn twins. She returned to Bassett in 1968 and became head nurse of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) shortly after it opened in the new hospital building. Marge later transferred to the ASU and officially retired in 1994 but continued to work almost full time at the hospital on a per diem basis until 2001.
While at Bassett, Marge was known for being a fierce advocate for her patients and for the nurses who worked in her unit. She was a valuable resource even long after she had retired because of her amazingly detailed memory of her patients and the care they had received. When not at the hospital, Marge could frequently be found visiting others, whether it was to help them manage difficult health problems, encouraging them when they were recovering, or simply to stop by to see how they were doing. She had a remarkable ability to connect with people and to make everyone she met know that they were valued.
Marge married Robert K. Armstrong on Dec. 8, 1962, in Oneonta. After living in Cooperstown for two years, the family became the first to stay year-’round at Arnold Lake, where they have lived ever since. She truly loved their home, and her fervent wish to live there until she died was fully realized.
Marge will be greatly missed and will be remembered for being a very generous person, who much enjoyed the company of her many friends and neighbors. She is survived by her twin children, Norris A. Armstrong and wife Shu-Mei Chang, and Kathleen A. Armstrong; two grandchildren, Cassie F.L. Armstrong and Alex Y.C. Armstrong; a sister, Kathleen Knafelz; a brother, David Norris and wife, Carol; a sister-in-law, Jana Norris; and several nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Robert K. Armstrong, on April 22, 1987, and a brother, Edward A. “Ted” Norris, who died July 13, 2014.
With respect for Marge’s wishes, there will be no formal visitation or services at this time. There will be a celebration of her life in the summer of 2020 at Arnold Lake. For now, please remember the times you spent with her, smile, and know that she is at peace. For those who have stories of the many adventures Marge had in her life or how her life touched others, the family would love for you to share them. This may be done by mailing written stories to Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home, 82 Chestnut Street, Cooperstown, NY 13326, or by emailing them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To memorialize her life, Marge’s family respectfully requests that any donations be made to the Cooperstown Food Pantry, 25 Church St., Cooperstown, NY 13326, or the Hartwick Food Pantry, 3080 County Highway 11, Hartwick, NY 13348, or the Hartwick Emergency Squad, PO Box 208, Hartwick, NY 13348, or the Milford Emergency Squad, PO Box 359, Milford, NY 13807.
The Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown is serving the Armstrong Family.