Myra Gail Halby-Smith lost her 10 month battle with Uterine Leiomyosarcoma on July 18th of 2006. Born in Brooklyn, NY in 1949 she was truly 56 years young at her passing. Myra most recently worked as an Executive Assistant at the New York Foundling Hospital, and had worked with the Life Insurance Council of New York for 11 years prior to that, managing its functions and representing them to the insurance industry, state and local political luminaries. Being the motivated and independent woman she was, Myra received her Bachelors degree in special education from Queens College and completed her Masters Degree at night while working as a special education teacher in Queens.
Myra’s insightfulness, intelligence, determination, beautiful smile and unwavering sense of humor only scratch the surface of the many traits that endeared her to one and all. Ever the gourmet, she was an exceptional chef and took joy in all things culinary, was a rabid collector of cookbooks, and her favorite endeavor was eating dinner. Always a fashion aficionado, it is impossible to describe or measure the level of elegance and class that she exuded when she walked into a room, and she was constantly redefining the meaning of words like verve and panache.
Vivacious, brave bordering on brazen, and always up to a challenge, she continued to succeed at new endeavors, and it was with this determination that she approached her treatment blending doctors visits, tests, scans, her daily work schedule and chemotherapy appointments into a frenetic blur of activity driven by the will not to give up.
After 2 major surgeries and spending almost a month in the hospital, Myra chose to come home and to spend her final days in familiar surroundings with the things that she loved most, her apartment, cats, clothes, cook books, wonderful memories of people and places, dreams of a new life that was not to be, and the love of her life, the one that she fondly referred to as her mountain man.
It was Myra’s last hope that no one else should be given this death sentence or to have to suffer as she had, and that some day there might be some ray of hope, if not a cure, for a disease that few people have ever heard of. This is because there is no advertising and very little funding for a designer disease that strikes only 4 in a million cancer victims, it will never make television or even the front page of your local paper. This is why we have chosen this way to remember her, and to try to help other victims of this terrible disease. A donation to this cause whose goal is to direct funding towards research, as opposed to advertising and the monthly mailings that we all toss, would be a fitting tribute and a way to remember one so full of life and short changed by it.
Myra is survived by her parents Daniel and Lillian Handelman of Bellrose NY, her sister Rita Closky of Plainview NY, her husband Randy Smith of New Rochelle, NY, her daughter Alexis N Halby and Alexis’ father Ronald M Halby both of Moultrie, GA.
If you would like to make a donation in honor of Myra, please click here.
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