Valley Falls – Marie J. (Blakely) Derby, 82, a longtime resident of Valley Falls, died Thursday, August 17, 2023, surrounded by her loving family at Samaritan Hospital in Troy, following a long illness.
Born September 16, 1940, in Tomhannock, Marie was the daughter of the late William J. and Etta M. (Salisbury) Blakely, II, and for over 64 years, the best friend, constant companion, and beloved wife of Russell F. Derby of Valley Falls, who survives.
Marie was a graduate of Hoosic Valley High School, where she developed a love of reading and writing poetry that she enjoyed throughout her life.
Following her marriage to Russell on May 23, 1959, she became a homemaker and took great pride in raising her children and caring for her husband and home. She always found time in her schedule to assist family and friends as a taxi driver to the grocery store or doctor visits and helped her neighbors with homecare for children and adults as needed. She was an excellent cook and amazing baker, especially of her family favorite, blackberry pies. After being taught to dance by Russell, she was known to dance in the living room with her husband and enjoyed going out dancing with Russell on special date nights. With her family, she enjoyed yearly visits and vacations in the Adirondack Park, including her “happy places"--Lake Placid and Lake George, including all amusement parks in the area (Gaslight Village and Santa’s Workshop were her favorites). Marie enjoyed attending live performances at the former Coliseum (Starlight Theatre) in Latham and the RPI Field House in Troy and could not wait for her annual trips to the Schaghticoke, Washington County, Saratoga County, and Altamont Fairs. She also looked forward to her yearly family visit to the Saratoga night harness track. Marie also enjoyed playing board games and card games with family and friends. She enjoyed the art of handcrafts and was gifted in crocheting and knitting and made many blankets and various items for family and friends. Above all else, her most cherished pastime was spending time with Russell, her children, her grand and great grandchildren, and her extended family.
In addition to her husband Russell, Marie is survived by her three children and their spouses, Russell S. and Marion Derby of Brunswick, Lynn D. and Michael DeFruscio of Valley Falls, and Matthew J. and Marie Derby of Clifton Park, a brother William J. Blakely, III, of Johnsonville, nine grandchildren, several great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews. In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by her sister and brother-in-law, Gale and Bob Rose.
A private funeral service for Marie was held at the Howard B. Tate and Son Funeral Home located in Raymertown and the burial followed at the Millertown Cemetery in Johnsonville. At Marie’s request, there was no public calling.
As a special thank you for their help through the years, contributions in memory of Marie may be made to the Hoosic Valley Rescue Squad, 1448 NY-40, Schaghticoke.