Shirley B. Kahabka
July 3, 1925 –
May 18, 2022
CHERRY VALLEY — Shirley Anita Kahabka, who cared for her family, home, farm and community as a young woman with a strength rooted in a foundation of unusual achievement, died on May 18, 2022 of natural causes in her House, where she was, has been lovingly cared for by her daughter Sue for several years. She was 96.
Shirley was born on July 3, 1925 in Plattsburgh to Frank and Etta Mae (Clukey) Beauvais.
In 1946, at the age of 21, Shirley became the first female pilot in Plattsburgh, having earned her pilot’s license before learning to drive. She flew as a volunteer for the Civil Air Patrol, a non-profit organization that serves as a civilian support worker for the United States Air Force. She took off and landed on the waves of northern Lake Champlain.
Shirley’s early career took her to Washington, DC, where she worked for the FBI for a time.
She was married to Walter Kahabka on February 12, 1955. They shared their love and life for 57 years until his death in 2012. She spent most of her life as a housewife, taking care of her home and family, and involved in a variety of volunteer service activities with her church, PTA and the club of the 20th century.
She and Walter lived in Sharon Springs for more than 30 years, 15 of those years on the family farm, the site of many fondly remembered family reunions and celebrations. She became a talented practitioner of domestic crafts, knitting and crocheting beautiful afghans, sweaters and baby blankets for many family and friends. She also volunteered at Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown and as an election observer for local elections.
She was predeceased by her husband Walter; son Mark Kahabka; brothers, Maynard and Jack Beauvais; sister, Helen Beauvais (Gregory); and grandson Sean Kahabka.
She is survived by her daughter, Susan Gallt (Wayne); son, Jeffrey Kahabka (Mary Beth); grandchildren, Justin Kahabka and Toby Gallt (Meghan); granddaughter, Alexis Kahabka; and many nieces, nephews and great-grandchildren.
A memorial service is scheduled for Saturday, May 28 at 11:00 am at St. Thomas Catholic Church in Cherry Valley. After the service, refreshments will be served to family and friends in Kateri Hall. All are welcome.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to Mountain Valley Hospice in Gloversville.
The family would like to say a special thank you to Robin, Meghan and Sara of Mountain Valley Hospice for all their care and compassion and to Carol Blood for her tremendous help in caring for their mother in her final years.
To offer condolences online, please visit www.ottmanfuneralhome.com.
Published on May 23, 2022