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Esther M. Phelps

1913 - 2014 Obituary Condolences
Esther M. Phelps Obituary

It is with great sadness that the family of Esther M. (Hansen) Phelps, wife of the late Floyd W. Phelps, announces her passing on May 16, 2014 surrounded by her family's love. She was born in her parent's home in Willington on July 6, 1913 to Hans Hansen Jr. and Eleanor DeWolf Hansen (Bowler). She lived all of her life in Willington. She was predeceased by her sister, Hazel. Esther was a graduate of Hall Memorial School in Willington, Windham High School and Willimantic Normal School, as a teacher. Esther was Teacher/Principal at Vernon County Home in Vernon CT. She taught 5th grade in Sharon, CT and 5th to 8th grade (in one room) at the Ridges School in Mansfield. She also taught at the one room original Center School in Willington. While teaching in Sharon, she was recognized by the state as having a model 5th grade classroom. Esther was very active and involved in her town. In 2007 she received the Willington's Citizen of the Year award, an honor she was very proud of. She was a member of the Republican Town Committee; a ten year member of the Board of Education; Willington's chairman of the Salvation Army and The March of Dimes for many years and Willington's chairman for fundraising when the original Johnson Memorial Hospital was remodeled. Esther was librarian for 10 years and library director for 12 years at Hall Memorial School's library. She was involved with the young People's Society for several years and was instrumental in creating the Willington Woman's Club. She had two Girl Scout troops in Willington; one in 1930 and the other in 1950. She was a faithful volunteer for 13 years at Willington Center School, being very proud that she could manage all the new office machines. Esther was a devoted, life-long member of The Federated Church of Willington. For many years she was a member of the Worship Committee; taught Sunday School and Vacation Bible School, serving for two years as director. For many years she accompanied the pastor every week to Lyon Manor to play the piano for their worship services. She often joked she has held every position in the church except that of pastor. Esther was a member of the Willington Historical Society and the Senior Center. She was honored to be part of the Willington Scholarship Committee. Esther and her husband Floyd owned and operated Hansen's Store which later became Phelps Market, the family business. They were involved in the development of Phelps Plaza. She and Floyd reached out to everyone with their generosity and community spirit. She enjoyed playing the piano, reading and knitting (especially hats for babies in newborn units at hospitals). She and Floyd loved to travel and did so extensively. They also spent many Sunday evenings at the travelogs at the Bushnell. They enjoyed entertaining and lovingly maintained their home. Most of all, they enjoyed attending their grandchildren's band concerts, sporting events and school presentations. Esther loved and was devoted to her family. She is survived by three daughters, Patricia Lee and her husband Daniel Locke of Willington, Nancy Eleanor Johndrow of Ellington, and Janet Margaret Phelps and her friend Bob Damato of East Hartford. She was the proud grandmother of Kimberly Anne Panciera and her husband Jason of Youngsville, NC, David Phelps Johndrow and his wife Sharon of Ellington, Scott William Johndrow of Ellington, Jennifer Joy Jeffreys and her husband Marc of Willington, and Alison Paige Rufrano and her husband Anthony of Ashford. She leaves her beloved great grandchildren Kendall and Garrett Panciera, Macon, Eleanore, Jake and Luke Jeffreys, Katelin and Megan Johndrow, and Ava Rufrano. Esther was predeceased by Floyd Phelps her husband of 65 years, and a dear son-in-law, Kenneth Johndrow. She also leaves several nieces and nephews and many close friends including her neighbors Charlie and Cheryl Woodworth and John and Linda Howe. Esther was very fond of Bobbie Knight and always appreciated his kindness. Esther's family is very grateful for those who helped her remain in her own home as long as possible: Barbara Dion, Arlene Zelonka, Margaret Wierzbicka, Krystyna, and Lynn. They were not only her caregivers but also her friends. Her family wishes to express their sincere thank you to Dr. Carlson and his office staff for the many years of caring and to the staff at Woodlake at Tolland for the respectful and loving care that she received there. Her funeral will be held on Saturday, May 24, 2014, with a procession forming by 9 A.M. at Introvigne Funeral Home, Inc., 51 East Main St., Stafford Springs, CT, followed by a Church Service at 10 A.M. at the Federated Church of Willington at Willington Hill, 236 Tolland Turnpike, Willington, CT. Burial will follow in Willington Hill Cemetery, Willington, CT. Calling hours are on Friday from 5-8 P.M. at the funeral home. Memorial donations may be made to the Federated Church of Willington, 132 River Rd., Willington, CT 06279, or to the Woodlake Activity Fund, 26 Shenipsit Lake Rd., Tolland, CT 06084. For online condolences or directions, please visit: www.introvignefuneralhome.com

Published in The Hartford Courant on May 20, 2014
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