FLY CREEK – Sarah (Sally) Van Horne Rezen, 95, a Marine, farmer with her husband Paul and antiques restorer whose family has lived in the Fly Creek Valley for 200 years, passed away on April 2, 2019, at Walden Place in Cortland.
Sally was born on Dec. 13, 1923, the daughter of Dorr and Emma Van Horne. She was the sixth of seven girls and grew up on the family farm in Fly Creek Valley.
Sally went to a one-room schoolhouse at the Sprague School through 8th grade. She attended Cooperstown High School, graduating in 1941. After graduation, and with WWII underway, Sally worked at several jobs throughout the region, including an airplane parts factory in Sidney.
On Feb. 12, 1944, Sally enlisted in the Marine Corps. She traveled to Camp Lejeune, N.C., for six months of basic training, and then to Norman, Okla., where she continued training as an airplane mechanic. Sally was ordered back to Cherry Point, N.C., where she served as an airplane parts mechanic until she was discharged at the rank of corporal in 1946.
Returning home to Fly Creek after the war, she met and fell in love with fellow Marine, Capt. Paul Rezen. They were married on Sept. 26, 1947. They bought a farm on Snowden Hill in the Town of Otsego.
Both Paul and Sally attended college in Delhi before starting their family in 1953. They had four children: Diane, Randy, John Kimber and Jim. Friends, family and neighbors fondly remember the Rezen home being full of music and laughter with Sally often dancing and singing along to her favorite big band music.
Sally enjoyed farm living and was an avid gardener and animal lover. Paul and Sally milked cows, raised chickens, and bred and sold registered Black Labrador puppies. In the mid 1970s Sally began collecting and restoring antiques which she discovered at auctions throughout the Fly Creek Valley.
In 1975, Sally began working for Otsego County Office for the Aging in Cooperstown. She developed a unique knowledge and love of the area and its people as she took elderly to doctor appointments, shopping for groceries, and helped them with errands and paperwork, sometimes driving hundreds of miles a week. After working for eleven years, Sally retired in 1986 at age 63.
Sally became an active member of the Fly Creek Historical Society, where she was a wonderful resource for artifacts, news clippings, photographs and history. She was always proud to share the fact that her family had lived in Fly Creek Valley for more than 200 years.
Paul and Sally continued living on the farm until his death in 2011. Afterwards, Sally moved to the Finger Lakes to be near her daughter, Diane.
In addition to her husband of 64 years, she was predeceased by her beloved son Randy, who died in 2015. She was the last living member of her entire generation, passing after all six of her sisters and their husbands, as well as all of her sisters- and brothers-in-law.
Sally will be loved and missed by her surviving children: Diane (Thomas) Roach of Venice Center, John (Tracy) Rezen of Pinehurst, N.C., Jim (Ann Marie) Rezen of Hillsdale, N.J., and daughter-in-law Cherie Rezen of Marina Del Ray, Calif.; and her six grandchildren: Lacey (Matt) Hubbard, Kimberly (Matt) Thompkins, Emily (Ryan) Chevalier, Jackson (Stine), Calvin, and Jillian, and five great-grandchildren.
The family will be in attendance from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, April 12, at the Tillapaugh Funeral Home, 28 Pioneer St., Cooperstown. Funeral services will be 1:30 p.m., following the calling hours, also at the funeral home.
Committal and burial services in the Fly Creek Valley Cemetery with full military honors accorded will be later in the spring.