HARTFORD - A loving and joy-filled life closed peacefully Monday night, January 28, 2013. Helena Jenks Rafferty, a woman of faith, joy and gratitude, was reunited with her dear husband, Allen Henry Rafferty. Born in Newington on February 23, 1916, to Frederick Root Jenks and Elena Wetmore Jenks, Lee lived her childhood and early adult life in Hartford. She graduated from Bulkeley High in 1935 and Connecticut College for Women in 1939, where she majored in zoology. She took voice lessons in college and sang all her life, performing solos and singing in community choruses and church choirs well into her eighties. Singing was a legacy Lee would pass on to her four children.
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Lee and Al were married in 1940 and moved to Meriden, where they raised their family. During that time, Lee worked in the Meriden school system. She first served in an administrative capacity in school offices. It was then that her love of children and dedication to their education became so evident. In 1970 Lee received her master's degree in teaching from Central Connecticut State College. She taught second and third grade for 18 years at Nathan Hale School. Toward the end of her career, five graduating high school students honored her by naming Mrs. Rafferty as the teacher who had most impacted their lives.
Lee was an active member in all the churches she attended, serving as deaconess, music committee member, choir, chair of Merry Mates couples' group, Christian Service member, and others. She was also an avid sports fan, following the Red Sox all her life and attending UConn women's basketball games. Lee was once Hartford City Tennis Champion.
Lee's life was an example of love, generosity, hospitality and laughter. Her favorite word was JOY and she lived it throughout her life. Her greatest love was her family, the one into which she was born, the one into which she married, and the one she bore. Lee will be remembered with love and thanksgiving by her children; Peggy Reduker of South Glastonbury, Susan Williams and her husband, Eliot, of Windsor, Stephen Rafferty and his wife Colleen of Campbell, Calif., and Martha Page and her husband Evan of West Boylston, Mass.; her grandchildren Kirsten and Eric Flanagan, Brooksley Williams and Ezra Parzybok, Tyson and Kelly Rafferty, Tiffany Rodriquez, Katherine Page, and Jon Page; her ten great grandchildren and all her beloved extended family. Besides her husband, Lee was predeceased by her five siblings and her dear son-in-law, Alexander Reduker.
The family is grateful for the love and care shown to Lee during her years at Avery Heights, and to the nurses and aides on station 2, especially Anna, Justyna and Lorna. A celebration of Lee's life will be held on Saturday, March 16, 2013 at 2 p.m. at the Broadview Community Church, 45 Oliver St., Hartford. Fellowship and a reception will follow at the church. In keeping with Lee's devotion to young people, education and music, those who wish may send memorial donations to the Rafferty Music Scholarship Fund, Northfield Mount Hermon School, 1 Lamplighter Way, Gill, MA 01354.
Rose Hill Funeral Homes Inc.
580 Elm Street Rocky Hill, CT 06067
Published in The Record-Journal on Feb. 3, 2013