In Memoriam - Audrey H. Bills

Reprinted from the Times Union

Audrey H. Bills, of Menands, died peacefully on January 29, 2003 at St. Peters Hospice. Her loving husband of 26 years, Nelson, and her family were at her side. Mrs. Bills, a native of Troy, N.Y., was the daughter of the late Jean and Henry Hoffman. Audreys 44-year state government career included high level service with a New York governor, state agency commissioners and state senators. After graduating from Albany Business College, she began a nine-year term as an administrative assistant to Deputy Commissioner Al Danzig in the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles. In 1965, her passion for politics led her to join the re-election campaign of Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller. After the Governors successful re-election to a third term, she was tapped to join the Governor Appointments office. Audrey was clearly in her element as she employed a no-nonsense and professional work ethic that earned her the respect and admiration of everyone in the administration. In 1973, Audrey decided to experience state agency life and was appointed to work with State Commerce Commissioner Neal Moylan. In quick order, Audrey fashioned herself into the Commissioners right hand, setting the tone for those who might follow in her footsteps. Four years later, eyeing a challenge to really shine with her organizational skills, Audrey became Commissioner Ogden Brownie Reids right hand at the Department of Environmental Conservation. In her typical style, she quickly instilled a professionalism and camaraderie among the staff while never letting them forget that the Commissioner had the final word. One of Audreys most memorable tours of duty was her service with State Senator William T. Cadillac Smith, which began in 1976 and ended when the Senator retired. Over the years together, they established a close and dedicated working relationship. It was Audrey who showed all what the term protect your principal really meant. Senator Guy Velella hired Audrey as his director of operations in 1986 and she became fondly known as the gatekeeper, or the go to person. Anyone who wanted an appointment with the Senator first had to see Audrey. Needless to say, Audreys knowledge of the system and her many years of personal contacts proved invaluable to the Senator. She was a member of the Republican Women of the Legislature, Town of Colonie Womens Republican Club and the Town of Colonie Republican Committee. She received the 2003 Town of Colonie Outstanding Republican of the year award. Audrey was a member of the University Club of Albany and board member. She was active in the Executive Womens Golf Association (EWGA) and was a founding member of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Rally for the Cure Golf Tournament Committee. And then there was Nelson, the love of her life, who she married in 1976. A late bloomer, by her own admission, she was fond of saying that shed been waiting a long time for Nels, and he finally agreed to marry her. Audreys loyalty and compassion for her friends and her love of life are the things many of us will miss the most. Through the last six years, Audrey fought each day to overcome her illness. Her positive attitude, strength and will to live will always be remembered as her true legacy and shining spirit. In addition to her husband, Nelson, survivors include her sister, Muriel Levine and husband Robert of Ariz.; two nieces, Lisa Levine of Albany and Marci Levine of Va.; sisters-in-law, Mary Pat Bills of Fla. and Joanne Bushnell and husband Thomas of Troy; brothers-in-law, John and Thomas Bills of Troy. Services at the Levine Memorial Chapel, 649 Washington Ave., Albany, N.Y. on Monday, February 3, 2003 at 11 a.m. Interment will follow in Memorys Garden, Watervliet-Shaker Road, Colonie. A service in celebration of the life of Audrey Bills will be held at the State Capitol on a later date. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Audreys memory may be sent to Susan G. Komen Foundation, Albany Affiliate, 13 Forest Avenue, Albany, NY 12208.

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