Beth Ann “Punky” Hayes, of Angelica, New York, died Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022, after a four-month battle with brain cancer.
She was born in the Stone House on Main Street in Angelica, adjacent to the fire station, on February 3, 1943. She was the daughter of the late Kenneth Wolcott and Mildred Sirk Wolcott, who operated the Wolcott Funeral Home from that residence.
Beth grew up in the funeral home, dutifully sharing the answer to the fire phone located at their residence with her sister, Mickey. As young girls, they would answer the city’s emergency phone number, sound the fire whistle, and direct fire responders or her father’s hearse (rural ambulance) to the scene. She maintained many lifelong friends from her childhood in the village of Angelica. Beth attended Angelica Central School graduating in 1960. She married Arthur Francis Artie Hayes in July 1964 in Angelica and moved to Artie’s hometown of Brooklyn, New York, where they lived for several years before returning to Angelica and making their home on Van Allen Road. Beth worked briefly as a bookkeeper at Acme Electric in Cuba, New York after high school and later as a kindergarten aide at Angelica Central School, but most of her career was in nursing. After completing her LPN training through Allegany County BOCES, she later attended SUNY Alfred State College where she received her RN certification. She then worked at several area hospitals and nursing homes, and later at the Allegany County Department of Health for 10 years as a public health nurse, where she conducted vaccination clinics and visited patients in nearly every corner of the county. After retiring from the county, Punky often helped her friend Dottie deliver Angelica Salt Rising Bread to local stores. Punky enjoyed life in her hometown of Angelica and volunteered with Booster Citizens and Booster News. Many of her friends will remember her efforts to collect and deliver relief supplies to victims of Hurricane Sandy, turning Hayes’ garage into a community collection center before delivering them to the affected area. She was a member of Sacred Heart Church in Angelica and later attended Mass in Belfast, Belmont and Wellsville. Before the sudden onset of her illness, she enjoyed regular swimming and water exercise at the Olean YMCA with a group of friends known as the Mermaids.
Beth’s joy later in life came from her grandchildren: Shelby, Keely, Jenna and Ryan; and her granddaughters: Rachel and Sophie Hayes, daughters of her nephew, Tim (Chris) Hayes, and by her nephew and nieces and their extended families in Brooklyn and greater New York/NJ. Her faithful black Aussiedoodle, Metu, is also missing. Beth is survived by her husband, Arthur F. Hayes; her sister, Mickey (Don) Burr of Wellsville, NY; a daughter, Karen Hayes of Abingdon Maryland; and a son, Steven (Laura) Hayes of Bemus Point, NY; as well as her four grandchildren.
Her family is grateful for the compassionate care she received during her illness from her medical team at URMC Strong Memorial Hospital and her support team at Western NY Hospice Care.
Friends are invited to visitation at Brown & Powers Funeral Home in Angelica, NY from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM on Saturday, December 3, 2022. Burial will be in Until the Day Dawn Cemetery in Angelica, NY. when convenient for a family,
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be directed to Angelica Hose Company, Angelica NY, or a charity of choice.
To send a memorial, please visit www.brownand powersfuneralhomes.com or on Facebook @brown-powersfh, the family is assisted by Director Chester A. Gosper IV.