Estelle M. Baney, of Niagara Falls, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by her family on Saturday, March 19, 2022. She was born in Niagara Falls, NY, on October 23, 1922, the daughter of the late Michael and Malania (Ditkum) Zajac.
She grew up in Niagara Falls and graduated from Niagara Falls High School in 1941, with honors. After high school, she was employed by Stauffer Chemical as a telephone switchboard operator and a general office worker. there, she met the man she would marry, Howard C. Baney, Sr.
Meanwhile, World War II was going on and Howard was drafted into the Army. before leaving for boot camp, he gave Estelle an engagement ring. On Howard's furlough, they were married at Sacred Heart Catholic Church on February 19, 1944.
While Howard was stationed at Luke Army Airfield in Arizona, Estelle lived in Phoenix for two years. She first worked as a secretary for Utah-Arizona Freight Lines before transitioning to the James Macchiaroli Fruit Co. as an office clerk. She was later promoted to the office manager. Estelle remembered the people in Phoenix and the surrounding area treated Army wives with a lot of kindness and respect, and help, if it was needed. It was a great place and a hard choice to leave and return home to New York.
Upon the Baney's return to Western New York, they settled down in Niagara Falls and started a family. During this time, Estelle started a spree of volunteer services. She served several terms as President of the St. Teresa's Mother's Club, as well as the President of the St. Teresa's Women's Guild. She served as Vice President of St. Teresa's Altar and Rosary Society, chairman of St. Teresa's Parish Council, chairman of the Annual Catholic Charities Drive for St. Teresa's Parish for several terms. She was also the chairman of Testimonials, organizing dinners and socials for the incoming and outgoing clergy at St. Teresa's Parish. Estelle was also very involved with the many fundraising events for the parish and school - rummage sales, bakes sales, spaghetti dinners, dances, etc.
While her son, Howard Jr., was a student at Bishop Duffy High School, she served as chairman of the fund raisers. Two of the big events she was most proud of were the Extravaganza, a card party and fashion show, and the Great Flea Market and Auction.
Estelle was a member of the St. Francis Guild of Mt. St. Mary's Hospital since 1958, going on to become a life member. She served as President of the Guild for several terms, and served six years on the board of directors. While on the board, she served as chairman of major money and fundraisers, and was in charge of events that included the Christmas Bazaar, the Mt. St. Mary's Spring Ball and Social, and the annual Harvest Dance. She also served as the chairman of hospitality and hostesses for a year. She was a charter committee member of the original gift shop of Mt. St. Mary's Hospital who planned, equipped, and stocked the original store front.
Estelle also served as President of the Niagara Catholic Council Federation of Home School Associations of the Diocese of Buffalo. During her reign, the council presented the first ecumenical event in Niagara Falls when it held a fashion show at the Temple Beth Israel for the benefit of Niagara Falls Memorial Hospital.
Estelle was also one of the first female members of the Niagara Club. and in 1969, she won the Woman of the Year award from the Niagara Catholic Council of the Home School Association.
In her retirement, Estelle became very involved in the antique business. her two favorite things were cooking and working in her garden. She put plants everywhere she could in her yard. She especially loved her lavender, Asian lilies, purple cones, irises, Black-eyed Susan's, and her multi-colored tulips. She enjoyed listening to music while she was busy and for relaxation.
She was predeceased by her loving husband of 40 years, Howard C. Baney, Sr., in May 1984; also predeceased by her two brothers, Peter Zajac and Henry Zajac; and her three sisters, Helen Zrebiec, Agnes Skowronek, and Lottie Zajac.
She is survived by her two children, Howard Baney, Jr. and Marie (Philip) Conley; and her granddaughter, Katelynn (Thomas) Hein.
The family would like to thank Dr. Sonjoy Singh and Dr. Alfred Fast for their extreme kindness and excellent care. The family would also like to thank Michael Cushman and his staff at the Rhoney Funeral Home, at 1124 Ontario Ave., Niagara Falls, NY, for their compassion and excellent care.
As per Estelle's wishes, private services were held for the immediate family.
To send flowers to Estelle's family, please visit our floral store.