Elizabeth McFarland Stratton Dunda, 95, passed away from natural causes on May 14, 2022 at The Eleanor Care Nursing Center in Hyde Park, NY. A Vestal resident from 1965-2013, Liz was born on September 11, 1926 in Newport, Rhode Island, the daughter of Julian A. and Mabel G. (Juliand) Stratton. When she turned 14 her family moved from Newport to South Oxford, NY, where she graduated Salutatorian of her senior class at Oxford Free Academy. She then earned a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from Cornell University, a certificate from Katherine Gibbs Secretarial School in New York City, and later a Masters Degree in Education from SUNY Cortland. Except for two 4-year leaves to deliver and start raising her two children, she worked full time from 1950 to 1998 as a legal secretary and paralegal for two Binghamton law firms, an elementary school teacher, and as Administrative Assistant to the Dean of the Psychology Department at SUNY Binghamton, but she always said her #1 vocation was being a mother. She was deeply devoted to her husband and two children, and she dearly loved her nieces and nephews and their children. In her retirement she was a very active parishioner at St. Andrews Episcopal (later Anglican) Church in Vestal and Endicott, and did volunteer work for Meals on Wheels, the Vestal Senior Citizens Center, and the Endicott Visitors Center. She also temporarily filled a variety of caretaker roles as surrogate mother/grandmother/counselor/home health aide et. al. within her diverse extended families, always deriving joy and purpose from being kind to and serving others. She also loved hiking, traveling, cooking, and the ocean, spending her 85th birthday snorkeling and swimming off the coast of Bermuda with her son.
Unfortunately, her active retirement ended in late 2012 when she was struck in a crosswalk by a truck, necessitating her move to a brain injury rehab center near Kingston, N.Y. However, by mid-2015 she had recovered enough to live semi-independently in a house next door to her son in Kingston until early 2020, when Alzheimers gradually forced her move to Ivy Lodge Assisted Living and later to the aforementioned nursing facility. She was always very touched by an appreciative of the many Get-Well, Christmas, and Mother's Day cards she continued to receive over the last 9 years from her Southern Tier friends and relatives.
Liz was pre-deceased by her first husband of 38 years Stephen Dunda in 1991, her second husband Albert Finch in 2003, and her brother Melville Stratton in 2014. She is survived by her son Stephen C. and daughter-in-law Xuemei Dunda of Kingston, her daughter Betsy Dunda of Troy, NY, three cousins, three nieces and four nephews and their children, and numerous step children and step grandchildren.
Visitation hours will be from 4 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday May 24 at the Coleman & Daniels Funeral Home, 765 Main St, Vestal. A brief non-denominational funeral service will be also be held at Coleman & Daniels on Wednesday May 25 at 11 a.m. (with time available for anyone who might wish to add remarks, reminiscences, etc.) followed immediately by burial at the Holy Spirit Byzantine Catholic Cemetery located on NY State Route 12 in Kattelville.