Sarah H. Ainsley Obituary – Poughkeepsie Journal

Robert Hundley
William G. Miller & Son FH, Inc.

Sarah H. Ainsley

Poughkeepsie – Our dear wife, mother, sister and loyal friend Sarah Howe Ainsley died December 11, 2021 surrounded by her family after a valiant nine-month battle with cancer. Heaven has possibly gained its most beautiful, talented and compassionate soul. Throughout her lifetime, Sarah was devoted to caring for family, both her own and those needing some help. There is a special place in the hearts of everyone fortunate to have known Sarah and experience her grace, dignity and inner beauty, Business Class.

It’s difficult in a few words to summarize the strength, passion and fierce independence that defined Sarah’s character and purpose in life. She was dedicated to her family and wanted her children, Storm and Savanna, to thrive socially and intellectually while having diverse experiences that would prepare them for the future – their many wonderful adventures and early life success is a testament to her wishes fulfilled.

Sarah was a natural caregiver who seemed predestined to step up when a family member needed help. When single and just 28, she moved her grandfather, Bill Howe, into her Florida apartment to care for him, then eventually into a nearby nursing home, where she visited him daily and often took him to the range to hit golf balls. Years later, while living with her family in Poughkeepsie, New York, she made repeated trips back to Florida to help her ailing mom, Jean Howe, settle her affairs before moving into a nursing home – always at her side for support. Just eight years ago, when her younger brother, Reid Howe, tragically came down with early onset Alzheimer’s disease, Sarah lovingly took care of him at home for nearly five years before he died at a North Carolina nursing home specializing in memory care. For Sarah, through it all, family was always first. Nobody did it better, and always with patience and love.

Everywhere at home, she has touched spaces with her flair for interior design – a dazzling canvas to be viewed, enjoyed and with lasting memories that are needed more now than ever before. Sarah died in winter, when her glorious peony, hydrangea and zinnia gardens are dormant – for her family it seems perfect. While we long for her sight and sounds, she will help us remember next spring, and soothe us when her gardens bloom with bountiful new life.

Several of our daughter’s lifelong friends, who are now adults, spoke with Sarah just days before her death. When they both said at different times, “How are you mom,” I had forgotten the impact Sarah had when the girls were young and coming over to the house after school to play, soon realizing there was an adult in the room who they could really talk to, who would listen to them and who they could trust – for many years to come. This hit home, always funny at the time to hear other kids call Sarah “mom,” but now it’s a memory that speaks volumes about her legacy of listening, caring and nurturing so many with love and respect – regardless of age and circumstance.

Daughter of the late Bill and Jean Howe, Sarah was born at Vassar Brothers Hospital in Poughkeepsie, NY on March 13, 1956. She is survived by her husband, Spencer Ainsley, and their children, Storm Ainsley, of Las Vegas, Nevada and Savanna Ainsley, of Poughkeepsie, NY; and siblings Elizabeth Howe, of Mattapoisett, MA, Aaron Howe and his wife Kim of Manhattan Beach, CA and their children Wallis Howe, Michaela Whitlow, Gordon Whitlow and Connor Whitlow; Bill Howe and his wife Elise of Clayton, NC and their children Jamie Wolf and Lauren Shea; Jim Howe and his wife Lori of Sherborn, MA and their children Alex Howe and Christy Dodge; and her stepmother Shirley Howe of Manhattan Beach, CA.

Arrangements are under the direction of the Wm. G. Miller & Son FH, Inc., 371 Hooker Ave Poughkeepsie, NY 12603. If you wish to send an online condolence, please visit our website at

Posted online on December 15, 2021

Published in Poughkeepsie Journal

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