Constance Clare Taft, 82, passed peacefully on March 29, 2021, at Crouse Hospital in Syracuse, NY. Her
children were by her side at the end of a long and valiant struggle with deteriorating health.
Connie, as she was known to family and friends, was born Nov. 5, 1938 in Watertown, NY, to W. Naomi
Clare and George Clare. She graduated from Watertown High School and went on to earn a bachelor’s
degree in English, graduating from Syracuse University in 1960.
She and her family moved to Baldwinsville in 1968 and Connie soon became a devoted member of her
She started her working life as a teacher at the Presbyterian Nursery School in Baldwinsville. Many of her
students, now in their 50s, still remember her as a wonderful teacher.
Over the next 50 years, Connie was deeply involved in the life of her community with nonprofit
organizations, schools and village government. She made a lasting impression on so many and continued
her charitable work until shortly before her death.
Connie was a tireless volunteer, serving Vera House, McHarrie’s Legacy, Syracuse Home Association,
Baldwinsville Christmas Bureau, Baldwinsville Theatre Guild, Baldwinsville Oktoberfest Committee,
Shacksboro Schoolhouse Museum and Female Charitable Society, among others. She was a member of
Grace Episcopal Church and served on its Vestry for many years. She also sang in the church choir and
joined in the Hallelujah Chorus presentation at SU’s Hendrix Chapel for several years. She was also a
Baldwinsville village trustee and spent 17 years on the village’s Zoning Board of Appeals and
Architectural Review Board.
In 2013, she was named “Woman of the Year” by the Baldwinsville Volunteer Center, one of the greatest
honors of her life.
Professionally, Connie was a typesetter for the Brown Newspapers (including the Baldwinsville
Messenger) for 30 years, retiring in 2001. There, she forged friendships that continued through the end of
Connie’s children and grandchildren were among her greatest joys, and she cherished the time spent every
summer of her life at the family’s cottage on Brantingham Lake in the Adirondacks. She was a voracious
reader, often reading one book a day while on vacation, and she enjoyed singing along with every old
musical ever produced. She sometimes forgot the words but never, ever the tune. In later years, going to
live theater performances and lunching with her closest friends was a favorite pastime filled with love and
her wonderfully raucous laughter. She kept in touch with other friends by phone and letters and often sent
beautiful pictures she had colored.
Survivors include her sister, Jayne (Dick) Carson of Oswego; daughters, Polly Taft Peterson of Endicott
and Cynthia (Rob) Graves of Lowville; son, Rob (Lorri) Taft of Skaneateles; grandchildren, Anna Taft
Phillips, Drew Taft, Laura Steria, Jacob Graves, Lucas Graves; and
several nieces and nephews.
There will be a calling hour at noon on April 17 at Grace Episcopal Church, 110 Oswego St.,
Baldwinsville. A memorial service follows at 1 p.m. at the church. Donations in Connie’s memory may
be made to the Baldwinsville Center for the Arts, P.O. Box 174, Baldwinsville NY 13027.
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