Friends recall 'colorful life' of Sally Zyla Addison

New Hampshire Union Leader
January 09. 2017 8:07PM


MANCHESTER — Sally Zyla Addison, a longtime dance teacher who died Saturday, was remembered for her many charitable contributions that she gave without seeking the limelight.

“She was like God’s angel on earth,” said former Mayor Bob Baines, a longtime friend. “She helped so many organizations in the community.”

Addison, a Manchester resident who served on the Palace Theatre’s community advisory board, was 82.

Her community involvement included giving both her time and finances to the Salvation Army and the Palace Theatre, where she had danced as a child.

“She had a heart of gold,” said Peter Ramsey, the theater’s president and CEO.

Her husband, Thomas, who died in 1994, was a former Amoskeag Bank executive and co-owner of Rockingham Park, the now shuttered horse-racing track in Salem.

The Addison Reading Room in the Dimond Library on the University of New Hampshire campus is named after Mr. Addison as is a room in the downtown Manchester YMCA.

Baines recalled how Mrs. Addison arranged catered lunches at the New Horizons shelter on her husband’s birthday in the years since his passing.

She performed at the World’s Fair in New York and on cruise ships in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean, according to her obituary. She and her husband traveled to more than two dozen countries.

Addison had no immediate surviving family members, according to friends.

Calling hours will be at Lambert Funeral Home in Manchester on Friday, from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m., with a funeral mass at 11 a.m. on Saturday at Grace Episcopal Church on Lowell Street.

Addison taught dance for 57 years at the Sally Zyla Dance Studio in Manchester.

“She was in a traveling group and she danced all over New England as a young girl, 12 or 14 years old,” Ramsey said.

“The spirit of the Palace” would not be what it is today without Addison’s assistance and advice, such as getting children more involved with the theater, he said.

Baines said the Addisons were avid horse-racing fans, controlling a private box at the Kentucky Derby.

When she couldn’t attend the actual race, Mrs. Addison held parties at her home, complete with mint juleps and “friendly bets on horses,” said Baines, a friend for the past 40 years whose two grown daughters attended Addison’s dance classes.

He said she also appeared decades ago on the television game show Concentration, hosted by Hugh Downs.

“She had a very colorful life,” Baines said.


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