Ines Dougherty, who threw passion at any task, whether social work or parties at her Freeport home, accompanied by string quartets or an opera singer, died Thursday.
She was 82 and died of complications from a fall in May.
Dougherty was a social worker for 23 years with the Roosevelt school district.
"She was a generous person that was not just willing but eager to sacrifice for people," said her son, Gerry Dougherty, 45, of Freeport.
Ines Dougherty's brother, José Guevara, 90, of Lindenhurst, said his sister worked as a social worker in Manhattan in the late 1960s.
Helping people was her passion, he said. "She had this inside her, like an instinct she had," Guevara said. "And she was happy doing this."
At the Roosevelt school district, she ran the substance abuse prevention program and amassed a collection of proclamations and citations for her work, Gerry Dougherty said.
She wanted her students to know that they were important and brought in politicians and other speakers, he said.
She also organized parties for friends and family. She'd always want entertainment, like an opera singer at a Christmas party one year, and croquet or badminton game in the summer. Gerry Dougherty was surprised with steaks and a pianist for his dorm floor the year he graduated from Fordham University.
"She enjoyed entertaining her family and friends -- she'd invite more people than the house could probably hold," he said. The family always found an excuse for a party, but the biggest gatherings were around Christmas and Thanksgiving, he said.
Dougherty, with her husband, Gerard, loved to travel, including back to Colombia, where she was born.
She was raised in Bogota, along with three brothers and three sisters. Before she was a teenager, both her parents had died and her older siblings helped raise her, Gerry Dougherty said.
Catholic Charities invited her to come to New York City.
She was going to Columbia University to get her master's degree in social work when she met Gerard Dougherty. They married and had their son before moving to Wisconsin. They moved to Freeport in 1976.
Her husband preceded her in death. In addition to her son and brother, she is survived by two sisters, Luisa Guevara and Sister Manuela of Little Sisters of the Poor, both of Colombia.
A wake will be held Monday at Macken Funeral Home in Rockville Centre, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. A funeral Mass will be celebrated Tuesday at 10 a.m. at St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre.