Naomi Gonyea, longtime McEnearney receptionist, dies at 71

Naomi Gonyea, longtime McEnearney receptionist, dies at 71
Naomi Janice Gonyea. (Courtesy Photo)

By Denise Dunbar |

Naomi Janice Gonyea, 71, died on Aug. 10. A memorial service was held on Sept. 6 at The Church of Saint Clement.

Gonyea, a member of the Turtle Clan of the Seneca Nation of Indians, had worked as the receptionist at the McEnearney Associates Old Town office for more than 20 years.

McEnearney Managing Broker Dave Hawkins remembered Gonyea’s constant presence and her attention to little, but important, details.

“Naomi was simply wonderful. … I don’t know McEnearney without her. She was the face of our office because she was at the front desk. If people knew anyone here, they knew Naomi. She answered the door. She answered the phone,” Hawkins said.

“To say things like she was loyal and dependable was not fair. She was thoughtful and helpful in so many ways. There were so many little things she would do,” he said. “For instance, she always kept M&Ms at the front door – both regular and peanut. It sounds little, but the office probably went through a pound a day.”

“She was loved by so many people here,” Hawkins said.

Longtime McEnearney real estate agent Susan Anthony remembered Gonyea’s contributions in an email to McEnearney employees.

“In her role, she dealt with a multitude of personalities and issues and her job, at times, was not an easy one. She had a firm hand but treated each person she encountered with the respect, kindness and grace that our company feels that each person deserves,” Anthony said. “As such, the member of McEnearney and the visitor were received by a soft-spoken individual with a kind smile.”

“In the hustle and bustle world that we live in, Naomi was always a calming force,” Anthony said.

Naomi Janice Gonyea was born Jan. 27, 1948 in Buffalo, New York. She received an associate degree from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. After a few years of working for Pacific Bell in Los Angeles, California, she and her family moved to Alexandria. She joined the Church of St. Clement and taught the class for 3-year-olds in the church’s school before going to work for McEnearney.

Gonyea enjoyed birdwatching, walking, corresponding with friends and taking road trips to visit her mother in Irving, New York.

Gonyea is survived by her husband of 50 years, Stephen; her daughter, Katherine; her mother, June Conklin of Irving, New York and her sister Louise (Don) Putzback of Forrestville, New York. She is predeceased by her father, Chester Conklin.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Wildlife Center of Virginia, P.O. Box 1557, Waynesboro, Virginia, 22980.