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Deleane Raley

Tribute by Susan O'Connor

collage of dee

My Great Aunt Dee Raley was quick to smile, quick to laugh and never shied from a good time. She was just a baby during the Great Depression and Prohibition, but she carried two life lessons into adulthood: never waste food and always drink every last drop of your alcoholic beverage.

 She led her life with an artist’s eye. Always looking for the bright and colorful spots and eager to share with others. She painted china, tile, canvas. She painted flowers, landscapes and furry little creatures.

 Whether it was something she said, something she shared or simply her irresistible nature and love for life, no one forgets my Aunt Dee. Friends are still talking about the infamous party of 2011.


The day before Thanksgiving, she was admitted into the hospital and we learned she was in the very last stages of ovarian cancer that had spread to her stomach. Aunt Dee passed on December 11, 2021. She was 95 years old and spent the last nine months of her life without seeing her family because of a pandemic.

Unlike so many families, we were very fortunate to be allowed to visit her during her last days. We heard her laugh, had the chance to tell her how much we loved her, how much she meant to us, and spent as much time as we could simply holding her hand.

I may have called her Aunt Dee, but in my heart, I called her grandmother and will always remember her with love, a smile and a paintbrush.

Her favorite hobby:

She loved to paint and put jigsaw puzzles together.

My favorite thing to do with her:

Talking with her and listening to her stories.