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Sarah "Sally" (Atkinson) Harrelson

July 13, 1949 ~ November 1, 2023 (age 74) 74 Years Old


Sarah “Sally” A. (Atkinson) Harrelson, 74, of Longmeadow, Massachusetts died peacefully in the comfort of her home, surrounded by loved ones, on November 1, 2023. Sally was born in Springfield, Massachusetts on July 13, 1949, the daughter of the late Robert (Boone) and Lucy (Bugbee) Atkinson. Sally was a graduate of Longmeadow High School, Class of 1967, and Russell Sage College in Troy, New York, Class of 1971. She worked as a teacher in the West Springfield and Longmeadow, MA public school systems, retiring in 2020. Sally spent most of her career in teaching working with children with disabilities. She was absolutely devoted to her students. A longtime resident of Longmeadow, Sally was a wildlife enthusiast. She especially enjoyed walking in the Fannie Stebbins Memorial Wildlife Refuge (“The Meadows”), located along the Connecticut River. She also was an avid traveler, having traveled around the world after graduating from college, and a voracious reader, committed to continuous learning. Sally was truly at peace when she was spending time with family in her beloved Vermont. Sally was the definition of a “Mama Bear” – fiercely supportive and loving of her children, family, and friends, including her caring sister, Lucy “Robin” Patterson of Fairfield, CT, her fellow teachers, her walking “buddy”, and the “Old Bags,” of which she and her college roommates affectionately called themselves. Sally will forever be remembered for her indomitable spirit – one that will truly live on and continue to provide strength to many. Sally is survived by her husband, Thomas Harrelson, of Longmeadow, her three devoted children, Whitney Ortiz and her husband, Orlando, of Washington, D.C., John Harrelson and his wife, Jessica, of Simsbury, CT., and Jeffrey Harrelson and his wife, Hillary, of Westwood, MA., and her five cherished grandchildren, Emilia, Rory, Lucy, Wells and Adelaide. She also leaves her niece, Elizabeth (Patterson) Markham, and her husband, Brian, and their family of Fairfield, CT., along with her nephew, Robert Patterson, and his wife, Elizabeth, and their family of Rye, NY. In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by her granddaughter, Eliana Ortiz, and her nephew, David Patterson. The family is forever grateful for the exceptional care and compassion Sally received from Murphy-Avis At Home Care and Baystate Hospice. There will be a private family celebration of her life at a later date. Contributions may be made in Sally’s name to Eliana’s Light, the non-profit created in her granddaughter’s loving memory to support families that include children with complex medical conditions ( Arrangements are by the Byron Keenan Funeral Home & Cremation Tribute Center, 1858 Allen Street, Springfield, MA, 01118.


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Eliana's Light
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