Died suddenly on October 30th 2017 from complications of diabetes . Gwen was born February 22, 1954 in Johnson City, NY. She is predeceased by her parents, Marcia Moss Vanda and Kay Vanda of Endicott, NY. She leaves behind her soulmate, wife and best friend of 26 years, Mary Vanda-McHenry of Troy, cherished step son Michael McHenry, daughter in law Tina Becker McHenry and grandson Sebastian McHenry of Albany and her beloved cats Maisie and Oliver. She is also survived by her sister Victoria (Barry) Bloch, and nephews Joel and Joshua Bloch of North Carolina. Gwen graduated from UE High School in Endicott, Broome Community College, received her BA at Geneseo, and her master's in creative writing at the University of Buffalo. She had a varied career holding teaching position at Schenectady Community College, Old Dominion University and Saint Stanislaus School in Amsterdam. Gwen held human service positions in the Capital District, Ithaca, Buffalo and Virginia. Gwen was a member of the Fort Myers Florida Friends Meeting (Quakers) and an attendee of Perry City, NY Friends Meeting. Gwen moved to Virginia in the 1970's and come to Albany area in 1985. In 1991 she meet Mary and they made their home in Selkirk, NY. From 1997 until 2000 they RVed around the country, settling down in Fort Myers, Fl. in 2001, where Gwen was a volunteer at the Octagon Animal Sanctuary. In 2005 they moved to Ithaca, NY to be close to her aging parents. Gwen worked for McGuire Inc. and the Red Cross. She was a volunteer at Brooktondale Community Center and founded the first 12 step meeting there, which is still active today. In 2012 they moved back to the Capital District to enjoy their son and his wonderful family. Ill health kept Gwen confined to home in the last few years, but she loved being a grandma. An artist and a poet, she was a beautiful sole who loved life and treasured every day. She loved laughing and telling stories about her days of traveling in their Airstream. Her favorite places where the Everglades and the desert. She loved being in nature with God's creatures. Gwen was a friend of Bill's for 35 years, and truly lived her life one day at a time. We would like to thank her aide and now friend, (Antoinette) Mychele Bendetti for all her care and kindness. In lieu of flowers, Gwen wanted donations to be made in her name to any organizations assisting populations being marginalized by the current Administration.
A Celebration of Gwen’s Life and Memorial Gathering will be held at the Riverview Funeral Home 218 2nd Avenue, (corner of 104th St.) on Sunday, November 5th from 2 to 4 PM.