The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

July 2, 2013

Sybil J. Kannry, 81, Lewisburg


The Daily Item

— LEWISBURG — Sybil Joyce (Zeligson) Kannry, 81, of Lewisburg, passed away on Tuesday, July 2, 2013, at home surrounded by her loving family, listening to Schubert piano sonatas.

Sybil was born on Oct. 1, 1931, and raised in Tulsa, Okla., the daughter of Celia and Julius Zeligson.

She received a BA from the University of Oklahoma, and after marrying William H. Shames, Sybil worked tirelessly to found the La Leche League in Tulsa to promote breastfeeding. Sybil also worked to educate physicians and mothers about the benefits of natural childbirth and to make natural childbirth more of a mainstay in Tulsa area hospitals.

Sybil began her career as a piano teacher in Tulsa and continued teaching in Westport, Conn.

For many summers, Sybil and her family hosted inner-city youth through the Fresh Air Fund.

After also living in Wilton, Conn., and divorcing from William Shames in 1973, Sybil moved with her three children to Manhattan to earn an MSW from New York University. In 1977, she married Daniel Kannry, from whom she was divorced in 1991.

She worked for the Rockland Psychiatric Center and held many positions there, culminating in center director. In 1984, she founded the Center for Corporate and Community Counseling in South Nyack, N.Y. The company was a forerunner in the counseling field, providing employee assistance programs to businesses in the Rockland County area. Sybil also worked in private practice as a clinical social worker, specializing in hypnotherapy to treat conditions ranging from smoking cessation to obesity.

In 1994, Sybil retired and moved to Winston-Salem, N.C., with the love of her life, Robert Drexler. There she continued to pursue her passion for the arts, gardening, culture and gourmet cooking.

Sybil volunteered for the Reynolda Library Bookstore and River Run Film Festival, was a master gardener volunteer, on the board of Sister Cities and on the municipal committee for the city of Winston-Salem.

Sybil was an avid traveler. She enjoyed visiting and immersing herself in various cultures, and her travels took her to Greece, Italy, the former Yugoslavia, Israel, Turkey, Thailand, China, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, France, the Caribbean and throughout the United States.

Sybil was a master gardener and enjoyed spending time in her rose and vegetable gardens. She always was ahead of her time, making yogurt before it was popular and exploring Transcendental Meditation, EST and yoga in their infancy; she brought her curiosity and intelligence to new subjects and pursuits daily. Most importantly, she was a fighter, surviving two bouts of breast cancer, and generous of spirit; she always could be counted upon to support and cheerlead friends and family.

In 2011, Sybil moved to Lewisburg to live with her daughter, Erica Shames, and son-in-law, Tony Massoud, and three of her grandchildren, Justin, Benjamin and Jordan. An avid learner, Sybil enjoyed taking classes at the Bucknell Institute for Lifelong Learning. She was a voracious reader, enjoyed attending movies at the Campus Theatre and was a member of Congregation Beth El in Sunbury.

Sybil was gregarious and enjoyed meeting new people, playing bridge, doing New York Times crossword puzzles, spending time with her family, entertaining and playing classical piano. She was a Master Piano Student of Walter Hautzig and enjoyed playing piano for her friends and family.

In addition to her daughter, Erica, son-in-law, Tony, and grandchildren, Justin, Benjamin and Jordan, of Lewisburg, Sybil is survived by her sons, Jeff Shames (Elisa DeCarlo), of New York, N.Y., and Jonathan A. (Cheri) Shames, of Memphis, Tenn.; grandchildren, Erin, Benjamin, Megan, Lauren and Alison; nephews, Daniel (Debbie) Zeligson and Joel (Betsy) Zeligson, of Tulsa; nieces, Claudia (Owen) Butler, of Grove, Okla., and Karen Zeligson, of Dallas, Texas; sister-in-law. Phyllis Zeligson, of Tulsa; and numerous loving cousins and friends.

She was predeceased by two brothers.

The family is planning a memorial service to celebrate Sybil’s life at noon Friday in Congregation Beth El, 249 Arch St., Sunbury, with Rabbi Nina Mandel officiating. A reception will follow from 12:30 to 3 p.m.

Contributions in Sybil’s memory may be made to either Congregation Beth El, 249 Arch St., Sunbury, PA 17801, or Evangelical Community Hospital Hospice, 1 Hospital Drive, Lewisburg, PA 17837.

Arrangements are being handled by the Cronrath-Grenoble Funeral Home, South Second and St. Louis streets, Lewisburg.

Expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.cronrathgrenoblefuneralhome.com.

Photo credit of Gordon Wenzel.