Sodus Point/Clifton Springs
Elsie M. Arney Parsons, 94, died March 27, 2017 after a life full of community service and travel adventures, love for family, friends, sports and history.
A founding organizer of the Seven Lakes Girl Scout Council, she became its first president, building camps and serving on national and international committees. Instrumental in the founding and development of the Sodus Bay Junior Sailing Association, she also helped establish the Sodus Bay Historical Society to preserve and maintain the old Sodus Point Lighthouse. She managed its gift shop and lighthouse volunteers. Elsie was a past president of the hospital Twig Association and Sodus Women of Rotary, she was a Paul Harris Fellow.
After she was widowed in 1973, she visited over 100 different countries—even the most remote and hostile--by foot, ferry, freighter, felucca, bicycle, bus, the Orient Express, camel, elephant and automobile. A self-proclaimed ambassador of good will, she encouraged the smile in every child. She shared her travel experiences with groups all over the area.
A 1939 graduate of Sodus Central School and one of the top scorers in the state on the New York State Regents exam, she was a Chemistry major at the University of Rochester before returning to Sodus Point during WWII to help in the family grocery store and serve in the Civil Air Patrol. Descended from multiple generations of Sodus Pointers, she spent her early years in Cape Vincent, N.Y. before the family returned to Sodus Bay. Her father, commercial fisherman George Arney, Sr., founded what would become Arney’s Marina and served as Sodus Point’s first mayor. Her mother, Georgetta Garlock Arney, was the scion of schooner captains whose transport included secret night runs across Lake Ontario as part of the Underground Railroad.
Elsie was a life member of Sodus Bay Heights Golf Club, sailed and raced out of the Sodus Bay Yacht Club with her husband, loved baseball, gardened, belonged to bridge clubs, participated in local politics and planning groups, loved birds, did at least one crossword puzzle a day, read extensively, and was Mrs. Santa at Sodus Central School Christmas parties. Hers was a life of generosity and independence of thought and spirit.
Predeceased by her husband, former Onondaga County Assemblyman and Wayne County Judge George Burton Parsons and her brother, former Sodus Town Supervisor George Arney, Jr., she is survived by her daughter Patricia Amanda Parsons and son-in-law Daniel McIntosh of Los Angeles, CA and Sodus Point, NY; her son George Robert Parsons of Maui, Hawaii; grandsons George Orion (G.O.) Parsons and Douglas Burton McIntosh of Los Angeles and Robert Scott McIntosh of Basalt, Colorado; special niece Jo Ellen Arney of Sodus Point, great niece Jaye Arney of Bend, Oregon; cousin Jody Buzzell Rolston of Sodus Point; nephew US Army General (retired) Chris (Sue) Arney of West Point, N.Y. his children and grandchildren. A memorial gathering/breakfast will be held on Saturday July 1st, 2017 from 10 am until noon at the Sodus Bay Junior Sailing Association (next to the Sodus Bay Yacht Club) in Sodus Point where we will share our happy memories of Elsie.
She asked that any donations in her name be given to the Sodus Bay Junior Sailing Association toward an ongoing scholarship fund, to the Sodus Bay Historical Society, the Sodus Library or your local Girl Scouts.