DEWITT — Margaret Elizabeth (Betty Eck) Galletta, 83, of DeWitt, New York, peacefully passed away, surrounded by her family on Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019.
Betty was born in Utica on Aug. 5, 1936 to Anthony Eck and Helen Scanlon Eck, and joined two sisters: Mary Catherine and Helen Therese. She was educated at Our Lady of Lourdes Grammar School, Utica Catholic Academy High School, Le Moyne College (class of 1958) and Syracuse University (MA in Education, 1964).
In 1961 she was hired to teach seventh- and ninth-grade English at Chestnut Hill Middle School, in Liverpool, New York. There she met, and on Aug. 18, 1962, married John Galletta, the love of her life.
Betty’s life revolved around her faith, her family, and her many friends. During her “15-year maternity leave” from the Liverpool schools, she was active at Holy Cross Church in DeWitt, teaching religious education (all levels) and being a founding member of a popular Holy Cross Folk Mass group in the late 1960’s. Moreover, she and her good friend Mary Lee Muench established one of the first Catholic Preschool Sunday Church School programs at Saint Daniel’s in Lyncourt in the mid-1960’s. From the 1960’s-1970’s, Sister John Olivia, from the Roman Catholic Diocesan Office, hired Betty to give parish workshops on Christian doctrine creative teaching methods. As well, Wesley Brush, editor-in-chief of the Catholic Sun newspaper in the 1970s, hired her to write a monthly preschool column titled “Knee Level Notes.” It ran for three years. In later and recent years, Betty was a Holy Cross lector and a Holy Cross eucharistic minister.
After her “15-year maternity leave,” Betty returned to teaching in 1978. She was a permanent substitute at Liverpool A.V. Zogg Middle School and Liverpool Middle School. Finally, she earned a permanent position as a grade 8 English teacher at Soule Road Middle School, from which she retired in June 1999. Betty’s big “claim to fame” was her eighth-grade Halloween extravaganza. Each October her eighth-grade students flashbacked to third grade and learned grammar, writing techniques, and literature with a fun Halloween flavor that climaxed in a Haunted House Writing Workshop. Her room that day was filled with the sights, sounds, and smells of Halloween. Pupils dressed the part and worked very hard writing stories.
Her love of Halloween was reflected in the DeWittshire community where she lived since August 1970. Her home was nicknamed the “Halloween House” due to the fact that she had an open house each year for more than 100 kids of all ages. Moreover, she hosted the DeWittshire community pumpkin party yearly and welcomed kids and adults alike into her decorated garage and yard for fun, food and games.
Survivors include her devoted husband, John Galletta; her children, Maria Galletta (Manhattan, New York City), Dr. Elizabeth Galletta (Dr. Charles Scioscia, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY), and John A. Galletta (Mary Jo Galletta, Fayetteville, NY); six grandchildren: Francesco Scioscia, Anthony Scioscia, Sebastien Scioscia, Luisa Scioscia, Emma Galletta, and Julian Galletta; Joseph and Charlene Galletta (brother- and sister-in-law, Oswego, NY) and nieces and nephew: JoAnn Galletta (Oswego, NY), Paul (Joyce) Galletta (Oswego, NY), and Jeannine Galletta (Nick Lukatchik, Oswego, NY). She loved her family dearly and they loved her. She was their “rock” in life and in death.
Calling hours will be 4-7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8, at Holy Cross Church, 4112 E. Genesee St., DeWitt, NY.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at Holy Cross Church at 10 a.m. Saturday and burial will follow in St. Mary’s Cemetery, DeWitt.