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Preston Hollow – Cynthia A. Bellew, 80, of Preston Hollow, passed away peacefully on Monday, April 30, 2018, surrounded by her loving family, after a valiant battle with cancer. Cynthia was the daughter of Elizabeth (duToit) and Ernest J. Sanders of Johannesburg, South Africa, where she was raised and graduated from Forest High School in Johannesburg.
After graduation, Cynthia entered the workforce as a secretary for Standard Bank in Johannesburg. Always a person of strong faith, Cynthia embarked on a journey of discernment to find her life’s vocation. She explored the possibility of life as a Carmelite Sister in Johannesburg, first as a postulant and then by entering the novitiate, but felt herself being called to a different life. She returned to the workforce as a secretary at Chase Manhattan Bank in Johannesburg, where she met her husband, John. After marrying, Cynthia and John settled first in Johannesburg, but then enjoyed the adventure of several relocations for John’s career.
A year after marrying, they moved to Chappaqua, NY with their infant son John and welcomed their daughter Catherine a few years later. As a family, they embarked on additional relocations to Hong Kong, back to Chappaqua, then to Ireland, then northern Westchester County, settling near Teatown Lake, where they lived for 10 years. In addition to living on 4 different continents, Cynthia and her family enjoyed vacationing to exotic locations, such as the island of Bali in Indonesia and the Canary Islands. Cynthia enjoyed learning all about the different cultures of the places she lived and traveled to and continued to seek ways to more fully live her faith.
Always a lover of nature, Cynthia and John decided to move to a more bucolic setting upon John’s retirement and fell in love with the beauty and tranquility of the Catskill Mountains. First moving to Roxbury, NY for 12 years then finally settling in Preston Hollow, 18 years ago.
Cynthia was a loving wife to John for over 52 years, devoted mother of John (Kathryn Downey) of Mt. Kisco, NY and Catherine (Ralph) Morano of Hyde Park, NY. She was also the proud grandmother of John Ralph Morano.
Cynthia was a wonderful woman who devoted her time to her faith and family. Her quest to find a faith community where she felt truly at home was realized when she joined the Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation in Ossining, NY in the early 1970’s. She was most recently an active member of the Greenville, NY congregation. Cynthia continued to teach others about the Bible until very shortly before her death.
Cynthia loved visiting with and hosting gatherings of family and friends. She collected cookbooks of cuisines from around the world and was a wonderful cook. She was very talented with knitting and crochet needles and her handmade yarn creations were a delight to anyone who received them. She also enjoyed gardening and until her recent illness was an avid outdoor sports enthusiast. Cynthia loved to swim, hike and walk with her beloved Pomeranian, Pumpkin. She will be greatly missed by all who knew her.
In keeping with Cynthia’s wishes, a private memorial service will be held at a later date. Cynthia wanted her family and friends to celebrate her life by remembering the happy times spent together.
Memorial contributions in Cynthia’s honor are asked to be sent to the Greenville Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, 5679 State Rte. 81, Greenville, NY 12083 or to the Schoharie Valley Animal Shelter, PO Box 40, Howes Cave, NY 12092.
Greenville Congregation Jehovah's Witnesses
5679 State Route 81, Greenville NY 12083
Schoharie Valley Animal Shelter
PO Box 40, Howes Cave NY 12092