Iola Cassavaugh Thew Collinson, 99, passed away Wednesday May 2, 2018, peacefully with her loved ones by her side at Maplewood Rehabilitation and Nursing Home in Canton. She was born on February 19, 1919, the daughter of John and Elnora MacDougall Cassavaugh of Lewis. She grew up in the area with three brothers and two sisters and graduated from Elizabethtown School. She met and married Spencer (Spen) Thew of Lake Placid while working at the North Country School in Cascade. They lived in Schenectady during the War, then moved back home to Lewis where they had two sons, Spencer (Jim) and Jeffrey. In 1954, they moved to Peru. Iola was co-owner of the Dutch Kitchen in Peru. Following the restaurant business, Iola was Food Service Manager at two SUNY Plattsburgh dining halls. In 1968, they moved back to Iola’s childhood home in Stowersviille, near Lewis to operate the Spruce Mill Brook Campsites and the Christmas Tree Farm that they built together. Spencer passed away in 1972 and Iola later remarried retired Col. John Collinson. They spent time together before his death in 1976. In subsequent years she enjoyed the companionship of her dear friend Al Valenze until he passed in 1996.
Iola was a member of the Garden Club, Senior Circle and Eastern Star. Iola enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, feeding the birds and ducks on her pond, and enjoying her numerous flower gardens. Iola is predeceased by her son, Jeffrey, her great grandson, Sean Samolis and her niece, Cassie Sweeney, her siblings and other nieces and nephews. Iola is survived by her son, Spencer Thew and daughter-in-law, Carolyn, South Colton, NY, daughter-in-law Maureen Thew, Lewis, NY, and stepson Tom Collinson, Plano, Texas. Also, Iola’s trusted friend and employee, Arthur (Junior) Lesperance (Iola’s third son) has provided loving care and property maintenance for more than 50 years and continues caring for the property and gardens to this day. She is also survived by her Grandchildren – Heather Thew and spouse Nathan, Virginia, Scott Thew and spouse Shana, Ohio, Michele and spouse Lance Ketchum, Cazenovia, NY, Nicole and spouse Kevin Samolis, Syracuse, NY, James Thew and spouse, Karen, Waddington, NY and Rebecca and spouse Tom Cronin, Greenfield Center, NY., 10 Great-Grandchildren as well as several nieces and nephews.
Iola was loved and adored by all who knew her. She was a very giving person. The family members all knew her as Mother, Gramma, Aunt Shy and GG. The family would like to extend our sincere appreciation to the staff at Maplewood in Canton, NY for the excellent attention and care Iola received while residing at their facility and also the Canton-Potsdam Hospital. Our sincere appreciation to Hospice of Northern NY for their care and Natalie van der Merwe as a loving friend and one of her care givers.
Calling hours will be from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM Saturday May 5, 2018 at Lewis Congregational Church. A funeral service follow at 11:00 AM. Burial will be in the Lewis Cemetery. Arrangements have been entrusted to Heald Funeral Home, 7521 Court Street, Elizabethtown.
In lieu of flowers donation in Iola’s memory may be made to the Elizabethtown-Lewis Ambulance Squad.
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