GARRATTSVILLE — Viola Madeline Harrington, 92, passed away on Feb. 21, 2004, at the Chase Memorial Nursing Home in New Berlin.
She was formerly of 175 Harrington Road, New Berlin, which is near Garrattsville. Viola was a lifelong resident of Otsego County, having lived on Harrington Road in the town of New Lisbon since 1930, when she moved as a new wife. She married Kenneth Harrington on Sept. 20, 1930, and began raising her family of eight children, many foster children and many more grandchildren. Mr. Harrington died on July 18, 1967.
She was born to Frank and Minnie (House) Richards on Aug. 20, 1911. She attended school in several one-room school houses in the Hartwick and Burlington Flats area and at a young age became a maid and nanny to families in the area. She often said that she was good at what she knew, "Dishes, diapers and dust."
Mrs. Harrington made children her main vocation; in 1970, she became a caretaker for adults with disabilities and continued to do that until 1986, retiring at 75.
While her children were growing up, she was active in the United Methodist Church in Garrattsville. She also enjoyed being a member of the New Lisbon Seniors Group. Many area children, friends or her children spent summers and weekends "on the farm" doing chores and playing. She was happiest when she knew the "little folks" were busy and happy. She baby sat in her later years, even into her 80s.
Her ability to prepare family meals was famous and she often cooked for farm hands or her children's friends would spend days and would be there for meals. In later years she was famous for her cinnamon buns and homemade toast for groups of hunters. Listening to and sharing stories was always a common theme in her kitchen and around the dining room table.
Mrs. Harrington is survived by her children, Madeline and Larry Daniels of New Berlin, George and Charlotte Harrington of Morris, Eva and Jerry Joy of New Lisbon, Helen Harrington of Wanakena, Hilda and Wesley Bowen of Burlington Flats, Gary and Debbie Harrington of Edmeston, Donna and Dennis Mumbulo of Edmeston, and Ray and Penny Harrington of New Berlin. She is also survived by two sisters, Minnie and Elsor Pope of South New Berlin, and Dora Osborne of Gilbertsville; a brother, Herb Richards of Oxford; and a sister-in-law, Juna Richards of Oneonta.
She was predeceased by a son, Roy Harrington; her sisters, Augusta O'Connor, Eliza Baker, Isabelle Daniels and Dorothy Richards; brothers, Milton, Ralph, William, Jesse, Eugene and George Richards; and sisters-in-law, Dorothy Chase and Wanda Harrington.
Grandchildren were very special to Mrs. Harrington. She has 38 grandchildren including spouses; 28 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-granddaughter. She is also survived by several nieces and nephews.
She was predeceased by a granddaughter, Jennifer Harrington.
For the past year Mrs. Harrington has resided at the Chase Memorial Nursing Home. Her family wishes to thank the staff of the second floor for all they did to make her days pleasant. Mrs. Harrington was always complimentary about her care-givers and the family appreciated their many kind words and efforts to make her stay there enjoyable.
Calling hours will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2004, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Johnston Funeral Home in Morris. The funeral service will be held at the Columbus Community Church in Columbus, on Thursday, Feb. 26, 2004, at 1 p.m. with the Rev. Stephen Reese officiating.
Burial will be in Edmeston Union Cemetery in the spring.
In lieu of flowers, friends are asked to make donations to the Garrattsville Fire Department or the Garrattsville United Methodist Church in her memory.
Funeral arrangements are by the Johnston Funeral Home of Morris.
Published in The Daily Star on Feb. 23, 2004.