GUILFORD, Conn. - Simon Francis Etzel, Sr., 96, died Sunday, April 13, 2014, at The Connecticut Hospice, with his loving wife of almost six years, Eileen Hickey Etzel, and his children and grandchildren, by his side.
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He was born May 31, 1917, in New Haven, son of the late Simon Joseph and Johanna Ottlick Etzel. He was predeceased by his younger brother Edward Etzel.
Simon graduated from Wilbur Cross High School and attended Northeastern University until his father drowned in the hurricane of 1938 and he returned home to support his mother.
He served his country in the European Theater during World War II as an artillery expert in the 83rd Infantry Division. Simon was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. He fought in five major battles including the Battle of the Bulge.
The Etzel brothers, Simon and Edward, founded and ran the North Haven Lumber Company where Simon worked for decades. After the company was sold he continued working until he retired at 72. During his retirement, he built doll houses for his granddaughters and a replica of an old mill. He also painted many beautiful watercolors.
He was a Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus and past president of the East Haven Chapter of the Knights of Columbus. Simon and his family spent summers in a wonderful community on the Branford shore, Lanphiers Cove. He was past president of the Lanphiers Cove Association.
Simon was a communicant of St. George Church, Guilford. His Catholic faith was strong and it supported him when he lost his beloved first wife Katherine Rudden Etzel to cancer in 2004. They were married for 62 years. He was living at the Gables in Guilford at the time and a few years later he met and married his wonderful wife Eileen Hickey Etzel in 2008.
He is survived by his children Judith Cordes and husband Richard, Katherine Lipman and husband Mark, Mary Fleischer and husband Tom and Simon Etzel, Jr., and wife Jennifer Farmer-Etzel; three step-children, Elaine Hickey, Karen Hickey Debonis and Ann Hicky Roberts; and 10 grandchildren, Richard and Kathleen Cordes, Kristen Lipman Martel, Megan Lipman Murphy, Erin Lipman Tuttle, Lauren Fleischer Heddy, Keith Fleischer, and Simon, Nathaniel and Shannon Etzel. Simon is also survived by three step-grandchildren, Johanna Fitzgerald, Douglas Farmer and Deborah Farmer Cyr. He is also survived by many great-grandchildren.
Nothing was more important to Simon than his family and his faith. He was smart and creative and had a good sense of humor until the end. He had many friends and was the first one to call if you needed help. Simon lived a long and happy life and he will be missed by many.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Wednesday, April 16, at 10 a.m. in St. George Church, 33 Whitfield St., Guilford. Burial will follow Mass in St. George Cemetery, Guilford.
Friends may call Tuesday, April 15, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Guilford Funeral Home, 115 Church St., Guilford, CT 06437.
Donations in Simon's memory may be made to CT Hospice, 100 Double Beach Road, Branford, CT 06405, or Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, KS 66675.
To share a memory or leave a message of condolence, please visit: www.GuilfordFuneraHome.com.
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Published in Daily Hampshire Gazette on Apr. 15, 2014