Bette Anne “Punky” Hayes of Angelica, NY died Wednesday, November 23, 2022, following a four month battle with brain cancer.
She was born in the Stone House on Main Street in Angelica, next door to the fire station, on February 3, 1943. She was the daughter of the late Kenneth Wolcott and Mildred Sierk Wolcott who operated the Wolcott Funeral Home from that residence. Bette grew up in the funeral home, sharing responsibly of answering the fire phone located in their residence with her sister Mikie. As young girls they answered the town’s emergency phone number, triggered the fire whistle and directed responders to the fire, or her father’s hearse (the village ambulance) to the scene. She maintained many lifelong friends from her childhood in the village of Angelica.
Bette attended Angelica Central School, graduating in 1960. She married Arthur Francis “Artie” Hayes in July 1964, in Angelica, and moved to Artie’s home town of Brooklyn, NY where they lived for several years before returning to Angelica and making a home on Van Allen Road.
Bette worked briefly as a bookkeeper at Acme Electric in Cuba NY after high school, and later as a kindergarten classroom aide at Angelica Central School, but the majority of her career was in nursing. After completing her LPN training through Allegany County BOCES, she later attended SUNY Alfred State College where she earned her RN certification. She then worked in several area hospitals and nursing homes, and later with Allegany County Department of Health for ten years as a public health nurse, where she conducted vaccination clinics and visited patients in nearly every corner of the county. After she retired from the county, Punky often helped her friend Dottie deliver Angelica Salt Rising Bread to area stores.
Punky enjoyed life in her home town of Angelica and volunteered with the Booster Citizens and the Booster News. Many of her friends will recall her efforts to collect and deliver relief supplies for Hurricane Sandy victims, converting the Hayes garage into a community collection center before delivering them to the impacted area. She was a member of Sacred Heart church in Angelica, and later attended mass in Belfast, Belmont, and Wellsville. Prior to 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.
Bette’s joy later in life came from her grandchildren Shelby, Keeley, Jenna, and Ryann, and her grand nieces Rachel and Sophie Hayes, daughters of her nephew Tim (Cris) Hayes, and from her nephew and nieces and their extended families in Brooklyn and greater NY/New Jersey. She is also missed by her faithful black Aussiedoodle, Metu.
Bette is survived by her husband Arthur F. Hayes, her sister Mikie (Don) Burr of Wellsville, NY, a daughter Karen Hayes of Abingdon MD, and a son Steven (Laura) Hayes of Bemus Point, NY, as well as her four grandchildren.
Her family expresses gratitude for the compassionate care she received during her illness from her medical team at URMC Strong Memorial Hospital, and her support team from Western NY Hospice Care.
Friends are invited to visitation at the Brown and Powers Funeral Home in Angelica, NY from 1:00–3:00 PM on Saturday, December 3, 2022. Burial will be at Until the Day Dawn cemetery in Angelica, NY at the convenience of the family. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be directed to the Angelica Hose Company, Angelica NY, or a charity of one’s choice.