ONEONTA – Virginia A. “Gina” Dwyer, 88, who after raising her nine children began a second career teaching at Unatego Central School, peacefully passed away at home in the early morning hours of May 20, 2019.
Gina was born in Brooklyn, daughter of Ida O’Connor Smith and Norbert Smith, and grew up to be an accomplished young lady. She graduated from St. Francis Xavier Academy and attended Good Council College, then married Thomas F. Dwyer in 1952, and promptly moved to Camp Lejuene where he was stationed in the Marine Corps.
In 1954, they moved back to Brooklyn. In 1959, they settled in Nanuet and raised a family of nine children before embarking on her own path.
Our mom put herself through college and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Thomas Aquinas College, then a master’s degree in teaching from Fordham University.
After her youngest child graduated from high school, Gina started another chapter of her life in Otsego County, where she purchased property, saw the completion of her dream log cabin home and began her teaching career for the Unatego Central School District.
Mom always found the time to be a dedicated volunteer wherever she could, and spent many years working with young adults at the Rockland State Hospital. She was also a 4-H leader in Rockland County. When she made the move upstate, she “signed on” as a volunteer for the Henderson Boy Scout Camp, Maryland, and enjoyed a number of years there, promoting Native American culture.
Outside of her family life, her passions were many and included her beloved corgis, horses, traveling, Irish music and attending live concerts. Her favorite bands were the Avett Brothers, Dire Straits, U2 and ZZ Top. Her favorite crooners were Neil Diamond, Willie Nelson and Andy Williams.
Gina always wanted to fly. In her late 70s and early 80s, she did exactly that and learned to “buzz” around the Catskill Mountain scenery in a Cessna 175 plane.
Mom was also lucky enough to have an amazing group of friends in which to share her many adventures!
Gina is survived by sons, Brian Dwyer of Rockland County, Joseph Dwyer of Scarbro, W.Va., Chris (Claire) Dwyer of Hadley, Mass., Matthew Dwyer of Nanuet, Thomas Dwyer of Maybrook; daughters, Virginia (Philip) Neidermier of Walden, Jeannine Dwyer of Scarbro, W.Va., and Mel Dwyer of Beckley, W.Va.
She was also a loving grandmother of nine grandchildren, Sarah, Colleen, Jason, Justin, Jesse, Ian, Alex, Scott and Ryan; and proud to be a great-grandmother of nine great-grandchildren, Jayden, Aiden, Avery, Emma, Joseph, Kevin, Dylan, Makayla and little Clinton. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews and just as many great-nieces and great-nephews.
She was predeceased by her husband, Thomas Dwyer; sister, Jeanne Marie Fleri; and son, Kevin J. Dwyer.
Our mother was smart, beautiful and brave as she faced debilitating health. A very special thank you goes out to Brittany, Cathy, Terri and Peggy.
Calling hours will be 5-7 p.m., Thursday, May 23, at the Lester R. Grummons Funeral Home, 14 Grand St., Oneonta.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial donation to the Susquehanna SPCA, 4841 NY-28, Cooperstown, NY 13326, or online at www.sqspca.org, or Equine Rescue Inc., 188 Dunthorne Drive, Bloomingburg, NY, 12721.
To light a candle or send an online condolence, visit www.grummonsfuneralhome.com.
Arrangements are by the Lester R. Grummons Funeral Home, Oneonta.