Cover photo for Marilyn Ruth Grinter Canoll's Obituary
Marilyn Ruth Grinter Canoll Profile Photo
1929 Marilyn 2023

Marilyn Ruth Grinter Canoll

March 2, 1929 — August 9, 2023

Marilyn Ruth Grinter Canoll, loving wife, strong mother of seven, and hardworking, responsible leader of both performing arts and mental health communities, died August 9, 2023, at the age of 94.

Married 63 years to Dr. Charles Cunningham Canoll Jr. - a practicing dentist for 35 years- Marilyn raised 3 daughters and 4 sons (Cindy, Tina, Charles, Merlynn, Timothy, David, Peter) in Niskayuna New York, a suburb of Schenectady New York. Marilyn grew up in Scotia and was a high school and middle school teacher both on Long Island and in Scotia during the early years of motherhood.

Marilyn’s interest in the performing arts began in her high school days when she acted in lead parts and even played “Yum-Yum” in the Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera The Mikado. During her years as a mother, she spear-headed efforts to promote the growth of performing arts in Albany and Schenectady counties. She served as president of both the Schenectady Arts Council and the Albany League of Arts, and was cited in 1987 for her “significant individual contributions to the cultural life of the city and surrounding communities.”

As President of the Schenectady Arts Council, Marilyn was a prime mover in the successful campaign to save and restore Proctor’s Theater, a local landmark that opened in 1926. At a celebration of the restoration effort in 2003, Marilyn was described as a leader of a group who “did it all, from sweeping floors, manning water and sewer outbursts, selling tickets, picking shows and organizing fundraisers.”

When Marilyn and Charlie retired to Lake Hill in the Catskills, she restored two old country homes and hosted family holiday weekends where she prepared 3 meals a day for 25 to 30 people. But she did much more. In her “free time”, Marilyn worked steadily to improve the quality of life for patients diagnosed with mental illness.  In October 1997, from the YWCA of Ulster County Tribute to Women, she received United States Congressional Special Recognition for being a leader in mental health services. Marilyn was recognized after holding a plethora of roles including: Chairperson of U.C. Mental Health Sub-Committee; Secretary and Membership Chair of U.C. Community Service Board; board member of Hudson Valley Regional Planning Committee and of Hudson Valley Systems Agency; and a member of Ulster Dutchess County Alliance for the Mentally III. Her efforts in mental health services continued, and in 2008 she received a Pride of Ulster County Award for her work on behalf of the local and state mental health organizations from 1991-2008.

In her final years at a senior independent living community, Marilyn was active in the center’s chorus and occasionally traveled with her group to perform.

Marilyn’s unyielding moral conviction was a source of strength that sustained her and her family through life's tragedies, including the loss of her son Charles and the long final illness of her husband.  With her strength and love she will be remembered as a sister, wife, mother and grandmother. She stayed abreast of the lives of her 13 grandchildren (James, Grant, Phoebe, Charles, Theodore, Tyler, Meryl, Kai, Belize, Mia, Coltrane, Cayenne and Hela) to the end of her life.

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