Elizabeth Chura

Elizabeth Jane "Betty Jane" Chura (DePalma)

Friday, September 20th, 1946 - Sunday, December 13th, 2020
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COLONIE Elizabeth Jane Chura, (Betty Jane), 74, passed away on December 13th at Eddy Village Green in Cohoes from COVID-19 after a 5+ year-long battle with frontotemporal dementia. Born in St. Mary’s Hospital, Troy, NY, on September 20, 1946, she was the daughter of Armando (Dip) DePalma and Jane (Murphy) DePalma. Betty Jane, along with her beloved sister, Maria DePalma, grew up in Waterford, NY surrounded by aunts, uncles, and cousins.

She was the adored wife of Walt Chura for 54 years. They lived in Chicago and Washington D.C. and eventually returned to the Albany area and raised their three children, Kimberly Finn, Jeremy, and David. A woman of unending empathy, she and Walt chose to start their family in 1973 by adopting Kimmy, who was born with Down Syndrome. That selfless act of pure love epitomized Betty Jane's values and was the foundation for the family she and Walt built together.

Betty Jane was a life-long student. She held a B.A. from SUNY, Albany in English, an M.S. in Special Education from the College of St. Rose, an RN from Maria College, and a teaching Certification from the Montessori Institute in Washington, D.C.

Her very quiet, private and humble nature was balanced with a fierce advocacy for society’s most vulnerable. Betty Jane served as a Special Education teacher and the principal of a Montessori School. Her greatest impact came as Director of the Quality Assurance and Investigations Bureau of the NYS Commission on Quality of Care for the Mentally Disabled and as a member of the team working with the Special Advisor to the Governor for Vulnerable Persons. Her work, in partnership with cherished colleagues and friends, led to new legislation that protects people with developmental disabilities and prosecutes those who exploit them.
Her influence went beyond New York as a member of many consulting teams across several states to improve conditions for individuals with disabilities. She was a nationally recognized expert witness, trainer, consultant, and court monitor.

Betty Jane served on the Board of Albany Catholic Charities Housing Office and on the Board of the National Association for the Dually Diagnosed. She volunteered at a Head Start program, as a faith counselor at a local jail, and on a local AIDS Care Team.

As busy as she was, Betty Jane loved being at home with a never ending cup of tea and a book, or pouring her love into meals for her family. She brought an eye for detail and understated elegance that perfectly complimented her favorite Italian comfort foods.

Betty Jane was predeceased by her parents and her daughter, Kimmy.

She is survived by her husband, Walt Chura (Niskayuna, NY); her sister, Maria DePalma (Waterford, NY); her two sons, Jeremy (Reena) (Pasadena, CA), and David (Kristy) (Monrovia, CA); and several nieces and nephews.

Private service. In lieu of flowers, please consider a modest donation in Betty Jane’s name to the Center for Disability Services at Her name can be added in the comment box.
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Service Details

  • Interment

    Saint Mary's Cemetery
    Middletown Road
    WATERFORD, NY 12188
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
Services Will Be Private


  • Crucifix
  • Roman Catholic Church


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Lina W. Baker

Posted at 03:41pm
My sincere condolences to Walt and his family. I met Betty Jane a few times at family weddings and gatherings and was impressed by her kind soul and her life reflected her compassion both in her work and family life. Linda Warrenchak Baker

Larry Powers

Posted at 05:15pm
The DePalma Family were a lovely family! I knew Dip DePalma almost more than Betty Jane, as every year when Cuomo's Shoe Store got busy with Easter and Back to School, or snow shoes after a big snowfall, Dip would come in and help Scott, me, and my Uncle Louis Cuomo take care of the customers. He was a true gentleman. Rest In peace, Betty Jane. Sincere condolences to all De Palma family members. Larry and Maureen Powers, Once Waterford, now Sydney, Australia

Denise Hackert-Stoner

Posted at 07:46am
Dear Walt, you and your family are in my prayers, especially during this sad time of loss. I pray that with time the happy memories of Betty Jane that you all share will help make the pain of losing her more bearable.
Healing blessings,
Denise Hackert-Stoner

Lynn French

Posted at 07:38pm
Betty Jane was one of my most special childhood friends. My parents, Dante and Mary Jane Paterniani, were very best friends with her parents and I can remember many wonderful family get-togethers with them at the holidays, birthday parties and picnics in the summer. I became close friends with Betty Jane as we lived close by and went to school together. She was a wonderful friend that I will remember always. I am so sorry for your loss. Lynn Paterniani French

Helen Farrell

Posted at 06:05pm
I met “BJ” while working at CQC in 1985 and was taken in by her kind, quiet, supportive spirit and passionate advocacy for persons . She was an inspiration and made the world a kinder place for countless people. I lost touch through the years and am sad about that but happy she is now home with God. She was a blessing in my life and so many others.

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