Betty O. McCanty

Betty O. McCanty, 95, of Saratoga Springs, NY, died at Wesley Health Center on July 12, 2018. Born in Buffalo, NY, she was the daughter of Joseph and Mary Ellen Sheehan O’Connell. Betty received her BA magna cum laude from the University of Buffalo and a master’s degree in education from SUNY-Albany. She was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She taught in Western New York and retired as reading co-ordinator at Ballston Spa High School in 1988.

Betty was a charter member of the Academy for Lifelong Learning at Empire State College and a member of the Liberal Arts for Mature Learners at Skidmore College since 1988. She served on the executive boards of the Ballston Spa Public Library, the Ballston Spa Retired Teachers’ Association, the Saratoga YMCA, the area Muscular Dystrophy Association, and the Woodlawn Commons Residents’ Association. She was a member of and volunteer for Saratoga Arts.

A professional storyteller, Betty was a student of Jeannine Laverety. She enjoyed entertaining people of all ages, sharing myths, legends, and personal stories. She was a member of the Scotia Story Circle and told at Caffe Lena’s Open Mic and The Glen Sanders.

Betty is survived by her children Mark McCanty, Patricia and Kenneth Davis, Maureen and Dennis Card, Margaret McCanty and Michael Geppner, William and Anne McCanty, Timothy and Linda McCanty, Jacqueline Carlson, Dale Carlson, and Kevin and Tamara McCanty.

She is also survived by grandchildren Michael, William and Erin, Joseph and Emily Davis and Daniel and Lindsay, Patrick and Jennifer, Matthew, Sean and Debattama, Seamus, Jacob and Elizabeth and Aaron McCanty, and step-grandchildren Jennifer and James Laski and Elizabeth Card as well as nine great-grandchildren.

A celebration of Betty’s life will be held in the Saratoga Room of Woodlawn Commons, 156 Lawrence Street, on July 24 at 10:30 am. Friends and family are cordially invited to attend.

Memorial contributions may be made to Academy for Lifelong Learning at Saratoga, 113 West Avenue, Saratoga Springs or Wesley Health Center, 2 Victoria, 131 Lawrence Street, Saratoga Springs, with the sincere appreciation from the family for the loving care provided during her time there.

Guest Book

Stephen Shaw


I have such fond memories of my times at Columbia Ave. Maude was such an icon and really a big part of my teen years. I loved chatting with her and learning from her. I loved my times with the family as I always felt like I was taken in and made one of you. Thank you all for some great memories. Many condolences and prayers.


Ann Parillo

Pat and family: Sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Ann (Parillo)

Jeannine Laverty

Dear Pat and Mark, and Betty's other beloved children that I haven't had the pleasure to meet, Although I probably met some of you at the party at the Methodist church, eh?
Just in June at our last Open Mic at Woodlawn we were remembering and missing Betty, talking about our favorite stories of hers. There are so many: the Dust Bowl one, the Ballston Spa water tower one, walking on frozen Niagara falls, Clancy's Coat, all the Finn McCool stories (I loved seeing her in the photos from the Giant's Causeway in Ireland), the photos left at the downtown SS shop. And the Cambodian and VN children--I think that might be the last one I heard her tell. Such big hearted stories, all of them, and such a fine fit for your mom.
I was just thinking when I was at Sagamore a few weeks ago of the time your mom and I set out to walk around the lake and were quite late for dinner. We got into old logging road swamps and other buggy obstacles. It was great fun. She made my workshops so great, and she was always such a joy. She didn't like hearing feedback about her gestures because then she felt they would no longer be natural. She is always with me when I am at Sagamore.
Betty gave so much to this world and we will always remember her stories, her heart, her wonderful laughter and how her cheeks and eyes looked when she was laughing. Blessings on you all. Jeannine

Kathy Boehmer

Dear Pat and family,

I was so sorry to hear about your mother's death. I remember her well from a time we all met at the Olde Bryan Inn and she told us a story. What a remarkable woman to have achieved so much, particularly at a time when women were not as encouraged to fulfill their educational ambitions. And in addition, she nurtured a large family. So many accomplishments! I didn't know her well, but it's easy to tell she was a great lady.

Pat Hart

Dear Pat,

Words cannot convey my sincere caring at a time like this. It has been a very long and arduous road for you and your family over the last few years. Hold your memories in your heart and be thankful for the many years of happiness that you were able to share with your wonderful Mom.