In memory of

Sylvia J. Delaney, age 91, of Helena

November 2, 1927 – May 1, 2019

Sylvia Janet Davis Delaney

November 2, 1927 – May 1, 2019


With the passing of Sylvia Delaney (nee Davis), the world has lost another shining source of joy, kindness, and spirited fun.

Coming form a humble, loving, and close family, Sylvia relished her Welsh and Austrian ancestry, but is most remembered for her staunch pride of Montana heritage.

With a lilt in her step and an easy smile, Sylvia was the mother everyone would be lucky to have. Kind, reasoned, patient, and adventurous, she took everything in stride; challenging life to prove her wrong. Hiking, day trips to mining ghost towns, or snowshoeing the east ridge, were her favorite alternatives to nap time. Instilling a sense if pride in family, friends, and heritage was a lesson. If you were hot, “go outside” was an answer; if bored, “read a book” was a cure. Not having much, we were rich. Taking care of the family, making sure everyone was happy first, creating warmth and ease was her vocation.

Winter born with brilliant blue eyes and the wanderlust of an Alpen adventurer, the snow was never too deep, January was never too cold, the forests never too vast, the mountains never too remote. Knowing Sylvia was knowing yourself and all your possibilities.

Being born, and growing up, in Butte was her cherished triumph. The third daughter of a Welsh miner and an Austrian homemaker, she was blessed with the warm embrace of a loving and caring family. Her two sisters, Rosemary and Joan, were Sylvia’s role models, compatriots, confidants, and best friends. Sylvia’s many nieces and nephews were like her own children. They are her family, and together with her own three children, sister, parents, and husband, embody everything she ever wanted.

Sylvia’s home was always the center of activity, the place where family gathered at holidays, where friends always felt welcome, and even in later years, where people would just stop in, sometimes without even knocking, to feel the loving embrace and joy of just being around her.

Ahead of her time, Sylvia was champion of the environment, teaching a care of the natural world that is somehow forgotten in recent times. Nature, the outdoors, living animals of every kind (but especially dogs) were her spirit. She was one with the natural world and would have spent all her days on a mountain top if she could.

Sylvia married John (Sie) Delaney soon after the War, and quickly assumed the role of loving wife and homemaker. Being married to a Jack-of-all-Trades and master of all, we are sure was not easy, but Sylvia relished in the sense of having and building a new family, the life that Sie enabled and created with the love of his life. A daughter and son in law, were welcomed and embraced. Grandchildren (and oh my gosh, a great grandson) were doted upon and bragged about. Family, ever important and blessed. The past was cherished and remembered, the present never wasted, and future always bright.

The indignities of old age would not define her. Not even blindness could break her spirit; it ‘could be worse’ was her refrain.

Those of us who remember Sylvia do so with the awe of wondering how a woman of such humble means could create such a gravity of being. Kindness, love, and most of all, spirit is how we answer.


We will miss you Sunshine.

A celebration of her life will be held in the summer and will be announced closer to the date.  Please visit below to offer a condolence or share a memory of Sylvia.


Read the thoughts and memories, then feel free to add your own.

  1. Linda Guay Rooney says

    I remember Sylvia as a strong, loving woman and one of the best! I thought the world of her and it saddens me to hear that she has passed, but I know she will be welcomed by all the Delaney’s in heaven. Loved you Sylvia <3

  2. Kori Dee says

    I did not know Sylvia but after reading this beautiful tribute, I sure wish I had known her. I am inspired to be better because of reading about this wonderfully loving and active woman. Rest In Peace Sylvia. To all her family and friends…you are blessed to have had her in your lives.

  3. Always a kind, inclusive, adventurous, spunky and thoughtful lady. RIP Sylvia.

  4. Becky Donaldson says

    I have never met Sylvia but can feel her presence now and the wonderful, loving legacy she leaves here on earth among us, even among those of us who never knew her. Reading this makes me aspire to read, learn, love, do more. Surely her abundance in spirit left the world a kinder, gentler place. Peace to all who grieve her loss.

  5. Jeff Chaffee says

    Sylvia was such a good friend to my mother at EPV. She was a joy to be around. Rest In Peace.

  6. Lola C Ramey says

    What a treasure Sylvia was and I was lucky enough to get some of those hugs and up beat conversations! I cannot tell you how much she blessed my Mom, Carol Chaffee, these past years, sharing a deep friendship. And there were no better Zags, Mariners, and Grizzlies fans. Now they can celebrate nothing but victory in Heaven! Condolences for all of her family as she will certainly leave a void .

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