MaryEllen-Thibodeau-Obituary

MaryEllen Thibodeau

West Hartford, Connecticut

1950 - 2020

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West Hartford, Connecticut

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MaryEllen (Kane) Thibodeau, born May 27, 1950 in Rockville Centre, NY, died at home in West Hartford on November 25, 2020. MaryEllen is survived by her husband and best friend of forty-nine years, Richard Thibodeau. They are the proud parents of Matthew, his wife Jody Koch and their son Mitchell of Oak Park, IL, and Jessica, her husband David Cho and their daughters Nora and Natalie of Arlington, VA. MaryEllen was the third of five children of Edmund Kane and Marguerite Tully Kane. She grew up on Long Island and earned a B.A. from St. Bonaventure University. When she was seventeen, she met her future husband Rick in New York City during the Saint Patrick's Day parade and the NIT basketball tournament. They lived in Baumholder and Bad Kreuznach, Germany and Columbus, GA during Rick's five years serving in the Army. Rick and MaryEllen moved to West Hartford in 1978 where they have lived ever since. In 1985, MaryEllen earned a J.D. from The University of Connecticut School of Law. She practiced as a corporate lawyer at Day, Berry & Howard (now Day Pitney), Aetna Financial Services, and ING (now Voya) until her retirement in 2008. In 2006, Rick and MaryEllen biked 3,800 miles from Astoria, OR to Watch Hill, RI on a self-supported cross country trip to celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary and MaryEllen's five years of being cancer free. At the time of her death they have biked in 47 states and 11 countries, making numerous close friends along the way. Following her retirement MaryEllen devoted her time and talents to matters of importance to her. She became the first Executive Director of Bike Walk Connecticut, an advocacy organization to make cycling and walking safe in CT. She organized an on-going effort to Make North Main Street Safe in West Hartford. And after the 2016 national election and attendance at the Women's March in Washington, DC she formed a Call to Action group of other concerned citizens to fight for federal, state, and local policies of importance to her. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was MaryEllen's role model. In turn, MaryEllen was a role model and inspiration to her many friends and family. She was an energetic, loving, and devoted grandmother to her three grandchildren. MaryEllen is grateful for her many friends who showered her and Rick with love, affection, and delicious food over the last three difficult years while she courageously battled cancer. She owes her love and deep gratitude to her sisters Eileen Verhaeg and Patricia Eichorn-Kane of Port St. Lucie, FL, Dr. Barbara Campbell and her brother-in-law Dr. Keith Campbell of Lake Oswego, OR, and her brother Edmund Kane Jr. and sister-in-law Susan Kane of Buffalo, NY, as well as her cherished nieces and nephews. Rick and MaryEllen also want to recognize the compassion and superb care offered by the medical staff at the Avon Cancer Center. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Hartford Promise, 750 Main St., Hartford, CT 06103 (www.hartfordpromise.org) or Foodshare, 450 Woodland Ave., Bloomfield, CT 06002 (www.foodshare.org). A Mass of Christian Burial will be held in her honor at St. Patrick-St. Anthony Church in Hartford, CT at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, December 3, 2020. Due to health constraints, attendance at the Mass will be by invitation only. All others may attend virtually by logging on to www.spsact.org and clicking on the "Funeral and Memorial Masses Livestream" link. There will be no calling hours and interment at Fairview Cemetery will be private for members of her family. A future celebration of her life will be held when it is safe to do so. Arrangements are being handled by The Ahern Funeral Homes, Inc., www.ahernfuneralhome.com.

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Sara and I send our sincerest condolences to Rick and the family. We'll remember MaryEllen for her tireless devotion to improving our community. Those of us in the cycling community will remember her great love of cycling and bike touring, and the amazing work she did as an advocate for cyclists and pedestrians. Most importantly, she was a warm and friendly person to all. She will be sorely missed.

During my high school years, I spent countless hours in Mary Ellen and Rick’s home as a close friend of Matthew’s and benefited from Mary Ellen’s kind hospitality, sharp mind and sharper wit. Deepest condolences to Rick, Matt, Jess and the rest of the family. The hearts of the Leonards go out to you all during this most difficult time. May she rest in peace and love.

I was lucky to spend countless hours in Mary Ellen and Rick’s home, as a close friend of Matthew’s during high school, benefiting from her kind hospitality, sharp mind and sharper wit. Deepest condolences to Rick, Matt, Jess and the rest of the family. The hearts of the Leonards go out to you during this most difficult time. May she rest in peace and love.

I was lucky to spend countless hours in Mary Ellen and Rick’s home, as a close friend of Matthew’s during high school, benefiting from her kind hospitality, sharp mind and sharper wit. Deepest condolences to Rick, Matt, Jess and the rest of the family. The hearts of the Leonards go out to you during this most difficult time. May she rest in peace and love.

It was a privilege to work with MaryEllen at ING. She was a fantastic colleague. My deepest sympathies for your loss of such a special person.