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Ellen Gates D'Oench

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D'OENCH, Ellen Gates Ellen Gates D'Oench, "Puffin," died at her home on Coleman Road in Middletown on Friday, (May 22, 2009) at age 78. She was Curator Emerita of the Davison Art Center, Adjunct Professor of Art History Emerita, and a former trustee of Wesleyan University. Mrs. D'Oench attended Miss Porter's School in Farmington, and interrupted her education at Vassar College to marry Russell "Derry" D'Oench and to raise their family, Peter, Ellen "Dodie," Russell "Toby" and Jennifer D'Oench. She completed her education at Wesleyan in 1973, graduating magna cum laude in the same class as her son Peter. She received a Ph.D. from Yale University in 1979 with her doctoral dissertation, Arthur Devis: Master of the Georgian Conversation Piece, She organized or co-organized nationally traveling exhibitions, and wrote catalogues on various artists, including Arthur Devis, Jim Dine, and Sylvia Plimack Mangold. Her book, 'Copper into Gold': Prints by John Raphael Smith (1752–1812), was published in 1999 by the Yale University Press. Her courses at Wesleyan focused on topics related to the university's 20,000 works on paper. Aided by gifts and by Friends of the Davison Art Center funds, she added about 5,000 photographs and important prints to the collection. She was a member of the Print Council of America. Mrs. D'Oench was the first woman to be elected to the board of an area bank, City Savings. In the '60s she served as treasurer of Homesteads, Inc., an organization that facilitated mortgages for low-income homeowners in the greater Middletown community. She was a trustee of Miss Porter's School, a board member of the Middlesex NAACP, and of the Greater Middletown Community Corporation, and a corporator of Middlesex Hospital. Many volunteer organizations sought her intellect and vision, and she served as residential chairman of the United Fund; on the Mayor's Committee for the Children's Library Annex of the Russell Library; and on the boards of the Middletown Family Service Community Council of the United Fund, the Junior Matinees in Middletown, and the Independent Day School in Middlefield. Puffin was one of the founders and a co-chairman of the Friends of the Davison Art Center and a devoted supporter for more than 40 years. She is survived by her children, Peter G. D'Oench of Cooper City, FL; Ellen D. Ruimerman of Higganum; and Russell G. D'Oench, III of New York City; as well as daughters-in-law Connie D. D'Oench and Tani H. Takagi; and Paul E. Ruimerman, son-in-law. She was predeceased by her daughter, Jennifer. Mrs. D'Oench is also survived by siblings Peter Gates, Arthur A. Houghton, III, Ada G. Patton, and Jonathan Gates; five grandchildren; a great grandchild; and her devoted dog, Arthur. There will be a Memorial Service at the Chapel, Wesleyan University, High Street, Middletown, on Sunday, May 31 at 1 p.m. Donations in memory of Ellen D'Oench may be made to the Friends of the Davison Art Center, 301 High Street, Middletown, CT 06457; and Middlesex County Community Foundation, Inc., 211 South Main Street, Middletown, CT 06457. Messages of condolence may be sent to the family at: www.doolittlefuneralser vice.com. The Doolittle Funeral Home, 14 Old Church Street, Middletown is handling the arrangements.

Published in The Hartford Courant on May 24, 2009
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