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By Lacey Gardner

Ly Kesse, 66, Alfred


Ly Kesse died unexpectedly on February 28, 2024, surrounded by family. She is survived her loving husband Walter Mason, her son Rein Mason of Buffalo, NY, her grandson Kasper Mason of Buffalo NY, her sister Ellen Hollenback, nephew Timmy Hollenback and niece Daniel Hollenback, all of Alfred, NY. Before she passed, her last act of giving was donating both of her kidneys and her liver.

Ly was born on February 8, 1958, in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania to Lydia and Ivar Kesse. She graduated from Tom River High School South later received her BA in English from Rutgers University. After graduation she thoroughly enjoyed being a reporter for the Greenhow newspapers, and later for the Hornell Tribune and the Bath Courier Advocate. After the death of local newspapers, she got an MBA in Accounting from University at Buffalo and was an accountant for the Astor Home for Children and for AU. She also taught technical writing at AU for many years, a job she particularly liked.

She was fearless and would stand up for anybody anytime. She loved her horses, maybe too much. She also liked to write and founded Alfred area writers. She co-founded Alfred Community Solar, and was active in Democratic Politics, and Quaker Meeting. She killed more than her share of houseplants and was definitely not a lover of new technology.

Her connection with the country and culture of her parents (Estonia) was an important part of her identity. Although she was a talented wordsmith, many would be surprised that her first language was Estonian. She has travelled to Estonia multiple times and was close to family that still lives there.

She will be deeply mourned and missed by her family. A memorial service for will be held later in the summer.

As the child of refugees that community was important to her, and donations can be made in her name to the

American Friends Service Committee
1501 Cherry Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102

Your gift to AFSC helps people and communities who are working to build a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world.
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