By Matt Youngfrau
MONTICELLO December 25, 2001 "She touched many in a special way," Joyce Salimeno told the well over 200 people gathered to say goodbye to her friend of over 30 years, Selma Field. "She touched a lot of lives. She was a real inspiration. She will live on and be cherished forever."
Those words from Salimeno summed up what many thought at the Joseph Garlick Funeral Home on Friday in Monticello.
Field, the longtime spokesperson for Community General Hospital and a dedicated community activist, died Wednesday night after a lengthy battle with cancer. She was 76.
"I am here to celebrate and honor my friend," Bonnie Littlefield stated. "She blessed me by the way she was. She was enriching and inspiring. She had a great soul. She believed that her life belonged to the community. Her life was no brief candle it was a bright torch. It will continue to shine in our hearts and memories."
While active all over the county, Field was perhaps best known for the work she did for Catskill Regional Medical Center (CRMC), formerly Community General Hospital of Sullivan County. Salimeno described her as the "heart and soul of the hospital" she was associated with for more than 40 years.
"I will always picture my mother in the kitchen on the phone, with a pen in one hand and a spatula in the other," Field's daughter, Jessica Cohen, recalled. "We learned from her examples. She felt that children are our living messages. We will continue to live her message."
Field and her husband, Edwin, were married for 55 years. The two co-owned and operated Field Associates, a Monticello public relations firm. In the 1950s, they served the Liberty and Monticello hospitals, the Monticello Raceway, and the major hotels in the area. Those that know them said they always remembered the two of them together. They even shared a desk in the office.
"They did everything together," Field's daughter Shelly said. "They helped others make the world a better place. All of our lives are richer because of Mom. She will always be with us."
As the service continued, many in the audience began to cry, sharing tears with family members.
"She is so much a part of me," Field's daughter Deborah remarked. "She was an asset to the community. She will be watching us and say that there is more work to be done."
After the service, Field was buried at Workman's Circle Cemetery in Monticello.
She is survived by her husband Edwin and three daughters and a son-in-law: Jessica and Norman Cohen, Shelly Field, and Deborah Field. She is also survived by grandson Geoff Cohen and his wife Susan Timberlake.