Patricia Cooney, ice skater, volunteer, dies at 81

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Longtime Riverdalian Patricia Cooney, who managed Kelton’s skating rink with her husband William Cooney, Sr., in the 1970s, died after a long illness on Sept. 6 surrounded by friends, family and the Sister Servants of Mary. She was 81.

Née Patricia Walsh, she was born on March 5, 1931 in Rockaway, Queens. She attended Ladycliff Academy.

Ms. Cooney and her late husband, William Cooney, were avid and accomplished ice skaters. The couple married in 1954 and moved to Riverdale after the birth of their son, William Cooney, Jr. 

Both her husband, who died in 1984, and her son were award-winning professional speed-skaters. 

Ms. Cooney worked at Manhattan College in the 1960s and then at the Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Company for many years. For the past 20 years, she was a receptionist at St. Patrick’s Home on Van Cortlandt Park South. She performed many acts of kindness to residents and employees at St. Patrick’s, her family and friends said.

“She was one of the best people I’ve ever known,” longtime friend Helen Jansson said. “She was incredibly generous and thoughtful. She was a beautiful woman both on the inside and outside.”

She was an active parishioner at St. Gabriel’s Church in Riverdale. She was an integral part of a spiritual study group for more than 30 years until her death, as well as a regular participant in the church’s meditation group. 

Friends said she was known for her generous volunteer work as a companion in St. Gabriel’s outreach program where she assisted clients with appointments and shopping.

Ms. Cooney is predeceased by her sisters, Marion and Kitty. She is survived by her son, Billy of Austin, Texas; her sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Ethel and Charles Digisi; her sister-in-law Helene Cooney; as well as many nieces and nephews.

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