Margaret (Valente) TEDONE
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Margaret (Valente) Tedone of West Hartford, daughter of Nazzareno and Margherita Console Valente passed from this life on January 14, 2021. She was a loving daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and sister to 5 siblings. A proud native of Hartford, her beloved city, she was an enthusiastic and optimistic booster of the City she served, giving it her unqualified support throughout her entire life. Margaret was an exceptional person who, as part of a small group of parents, rose to an unusual challenge, pledging themselves to bring human and civil rights to a disenfranchised population: persons with developmental disabilities. Margaret lived a full and active life with her husband the late Jack Tedone and her four sons, one of whom was developmentally disabled. During World War II she served our country as a civilian employee of the Army Air Corps in New Mexico where Jack was stationed and served as an Air Flight Navigator on B17s and B24s. On returning to Connecticut, fate determined that her life would take an unexpected path that would lead to new and special public service. In l95l, as the parent of a retarded child, she was a pioneer founder of the Greater Hartford Association for Retarded Children, (HARC). At that time, she made the decision to devote her life, time and talents to a fledgling nationwide movement of parents to bring national attention to the potential of persons with developmental disabilities. Margaret became a community activist, advocate on all levels of education, especially for the developmentally disabled. She was a dedicated public servant who served in elected office for fourteen years as well as in appointed city, state and national office for many more. She won national recognition for work with HARC at a time when the general public had little understanding of the problems faced by disabled children and their families, and at that time community programs were non-existent. She lobbied for landmark legislation which, for the first time in history, addressed itself to securing human and civil rights for the handicapped, including education and training. This, and other forthcoming laws, thrust Connecticut to the forefront of the nationwide movement. Laws leading to an inclusive life for all developmentally disabled persons began in the l950s with this nationwide effort by parents in the United States. The late Eunice Shriver, Director of the Special Olympics, paid great tribute to these courageous parents' groups, and said these foundations made it possible for her to establish the Special Olympics. In l976, President Gerald Ford appointed Margaret to the 26 member Presidents Committee on Mental Retardation, (PCMR). Their mission was to develop and design a national policy for the education and treatment of mentally disabled persons, and to make such recommendations to the President of the United States. She became a good friend of Eunice Shriver, with whom she served. Governors Meskill and Grasso appointed her for three consecutive terms to the Connecticut Governor's Council on Mental Retardation. She Served as Vice President of the Connecticut Association for Retarded Citizens, and as a Consultant in Leadership Training for the National Association for Retarded Citizens. Elected to the Hartford Board of Education in l965, she began to sensitize the Board to the needs of children with developmental disabilities. In addition, she became one of the first supporters of new concepts in education. These included Project Concern, the Sand Everywhere School and the University High School. Margaret was then elected to the Hartford City Council where she served for ten years. In addition to her continuing efforts to increase the education budget, she initiated formation of the Hartford Commission on the Handicapped, and also a program for testing Hartford children for lead paint poisoning, known to cause mental disability. Margaret V. Tedone was professionally affiliated for fifteen years with the Connecticut Conference Independent Colleges, (CCIC), as its Director of Public and Legislative Relations, and served as its President and CEO for two years. She was the recipient of many honors and awards, too numerous to mention, and was most proud of her HARC award for a "lifetime of service to the intellectually disabled". She held many other Board and membership positions, most notably as a member of the board of directors of Riverfront Recapture. In her later years she lived at The McAuley in West Hartford and continued to do speaking engagements for HARC, serve as Vice President of Riverfront Recapture, and other volunteer efforts. Continuing a lifetime pattern of service, she was elected to President of the McAuley Residents Association, writer for its publication News & Notes where she wrote short stories of her beloved Animal Farm AKA the Motley Group. She chaired several committees and enjoyed life in an independent senior living facility. While her civic accomplishments were many, she often said that she was most proud of the accomplishments of her sons, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Margaret was pre-deceased by her husband Jack, her sons Thomas and Robert, and four siblings. She leaves two sons, Joseph of Glastonbury and his wife Elaine and Peter of Simsbury and his wife Lydia; a daughter-in-law Mary Tedone Mucci; and one sister, Yolanda V. Desy of Stonington. Her 7 grandchildren, Elizabeth Edwards and her husband Craig, Michael Tedone and his wife Marcie, Rosemary Dean and her husband Jay, Michelle Mudd and her husband Chris, Joseph D. Tedone and his wife Alba, Matthew Tedone and his wife Kaitlin and Nina Tedone; and eleven great-grandchildren, Robert, Kathryn, Christopher, Giacomo, Luca, Jax, Elle Margaret, Ayla, Liam, Isabelle and Sophia. Margaret and her family would like to thank the staff of McAuley for many years of outstanding service and companionship. More recently, the wonderful care from McLean Hospice and New England Nightingales provided great comfort to Margaret and her family. Arrangements will be at the convenience of the family. Memorial donations may be made to the Margherita Valente Fund at St. Joseph University in West Hartford or HARC in Hartford. The D'Esopo Funeral Chapel of Wethersfield has been entrusted with the arrangements. For online expressions of sympathy to the family, please visit www.desopofuneralchapel.com.

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Published in Hartford Courant on Jan. 20, 2021.
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5 entries
February 12, 2021

Aunt Dolly (Margaret) was my role model. I tried all my life to live up to her standards in all things. I will always love her with my whole heart.
Patty
Family
January 24, 2021
Margaret known to me as a Champion for those less fortunate. A smart intelligent woman who helped Hartford in so many ways. My condolences to her children and extended family.
Peter Forgetta (Cromwell)
Peter Forgetta
Acquaintance
January 21, 2021
Tedone Family: My deepest sympathy for the loss of your mother, mother-in-law, grandmother and much loved lady. Both my parents - the late Frank and Gaye Baio - knew her very well. She was an amazing lady & definitely ahead of her time with her help to developmental challenged individuals; providing support to the City of Hartford as well as so many others. What a beautiful legacy that she left you all. Again, I am so very sorry for your loss.
Mary Ann Baio Levesque
Acquaintance
January 19, 2021
When I needed help for my older brother, Margaret Tedone gave me the support and guidence I needed. She became a treasured friend. She had a wonderful sense of humor, interested in every aspect of our lives we shared when we both became residents at The McAuley.
Betty Garber
Betty Garber
Friend
January 20, 2021
Our deepest condolences on your loss. The D’Esopo Family.
D'Esopo Funeral Chapel
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