FLY CREEK – Yvonne Megan Chandler-Colby, 54, of Fly Creek, died Sept. 25, 2020, at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, Mass., after an extended struggle against cancer and heart failure, while being transported via ambulance to Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Born Yvonne Megan Chandler on Feb. 2, 1966, at Bassett Hospital, she was a daughter of George Henry and Nancy (Hunt) Chandler and was baptized Episcopal at Christ Church in Cooperstown. Raised in Fly Creek, she graduated from Cooperstown Central School, Class of 1984. She married Dean Robert Colby August 31, 1991, in Fly Creek.
Yvonne studied psychology and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from SUNY Oneonta, Class of 1989. After graduation, she moved to Queens with her husband, where she continued to study Criminal Psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice while simultaneously serving as a probation officer for four years at Queens County Courts.
Months after the birth of her first child, Richard Aaron Colby, in 1994, she and her husband moved to Fly Creek. Yvonne took on the responsibility of educating both her children, Richard and Julianne Elizabeth Colby (1996), teaching them both for the entirety of their first through 12th-grade educations. The profound education she provided for her children is evidenced by them both graduating summa cum laude from Hartwick College, 2014 and 2016 respectively.
Yvonne volunteered her time for the community simultaneously serving as a Class A firefighter, Emergency Medical Technician, treasurer, and secretary of the Fly Creek Fire Department/District from 1994 to 2005. Additionally, Yvonne could boast of skills in many passions including, writing long works of fiction; researching and recording family genealogy extending back farther than the landing of the Mayflower and the colonization of America; and handcrafting fine craft works of crochet, knitting, and needle point, of these she was charitable with and gifted often.
Yvonne possessed a gentle and caring spirit and hated thoughts of any living creature suffering. She championed this cause in many personal ways, including, eating only humanely raised meat; refusing to kill “pests” such as rodents and bugs, always taking the extra effort to relocate them safely; and keeping a large, and growing, collection of replanted succulents, because as each piece broke off, in her own words, “I just feel bad letting them die.”
She accomplished all of this despite battles, which she won, against Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, 1984, and metastatic breast cancer, 2007. She further showed great endurance living with chronic heart failure, undergoing open heart surgery twice, 2014 and 2020, and living with a host of other complications from her cancer treatments.
Yvonne is survived by her husband of 29 years, Dean Colby, and their children, Richard Colby and Julianne Colby, all of Fly Creek; her parents, George and Nancy Chandler of Fly Creek; a brother, Christopher Chandler and fiancé, Connie of West Edmeston; a sister, Melissa Gwilt and husband, Paul of Oneida and their children, Katlynn, Kristen, Sean, and Matthew.
She was preceded in death by her sister, Carrie Anne Chandler, who died Sept. 30, 1993.
Calling hours will be offered noon-1:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 1, at the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home, 82 Chestnut St., Cooperstown. It is respectfully requested that all attending please wear a face covering, observe proper social distancing, and be prepared to wait to enter the funeral home.
A private graveside service will follow at the Chandler Family Plot in the Fly Creek Valley Cemetery with the Rev. Dane E. Boston, Christ Church rector, officiating.
In lieu of flowers, Yvonne’s family asks that you consider a donation to defray the cost of funeral expenses at GoFundMe.com, “In Loving Memory of Yvonne Chandler-Colby” (https://gf.me/u/y2rnt2).
Arrangements are under the care and guidance of the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home.