Carolyn Ruth Fenn
1924 - 2016
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Groton - Carolyn Ruth (Dunning) Fenn died Monday, Feb. 8, 2016.

Carolyn, better known as simply Carol, was born on July, 11, 1924, in Rochester, N.Y., the third of six children to Frank B. and Helen (Graham) Dunning.

She is survived by two children, Bonnie (Fenn) Sullivan and Paul Wallace Fenn; a son-in-law, Kevin; a daughter-in-law, Kimberlee; seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

She was predeceased by one daughter, Betsy Ann Fenn, a special-needs child who she raised with a love that was all encompassing.

Carol enjoyed a simple and happy childhood with her loving family. She especially enjoyed putting on shows in the garage with her younger sister, Jean and her lifelong friend, Edith O'Brien. Neither her father nor mother learned to drive, so growing up the family stayed close to home walking, bicycling and riding the street car to get around downtown Rochester.

After high school, Carol worked in the clerical department of the Railroad Signal Company where her father Frank was a supervisor. In 1942, she answered the call of World War ll and joined the Navy Waves (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service). She was stationed at the Brooklyn Naval Yard and served for three years. Her service remained one of her proudest accomplishments throughout her life. Later, she became the first vice president of Connecticut Ripples Unit 40, Waves National, a group formed by Navy women.

After her discharge from the Navy, Carol went to work at the Behr Manning Company. On her first day, a young William Wallace Fenn "Wally" followed her into the lunchroom and asked her out. Later in life she would joke that at first she wasn't that interested in him. This soon changed and they were married in 1947. During their early years together, Carol supported Wally while he earned a degree in electrical engineering at Rensselaer. They were married for 67 years.

1n 1950 they bought a home in Old Greenwich, where they raised their three children, Bonnie, Betsey and Paul. They moved to Noank, in 1970 where they dropped anchor and never left.

Carol enjoyed volunteering her time for worthy causes including the American Red Cross. She and Wally were longstanding and active members of All Soul's Unitarian Universalist Church in New London. The community there helped ease several major transitions in Carol and Wally's lives, and this last transition was no exception.

Throughout her life, Carol was the quintessential optimist. She consistently practiced kindness and respect to others. She loved to smile and laugh (often at herself) and enjoyed deep, rich, longstanding relationships with friends and family. Her family often referred to her as "the great communicator" because she thoroughly enjoyed chatting with her friends, telling stories and staying in touch with those she loved. Hearing from those closest to her was one of her greatest joys.

Carol lived her life according to The Golden Rule and so served as an inspiring example for her children and grandchildren. She will be missed, but never forgotten.

There will be a special memorial service celebrating Carol's life at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 5, 2016, at All Soul's Unitarian Universalist Church in New London. All are invited!

Two organizations that Carol felt strongly about were the American Red Cross and Camp Harkness, one of the few state parks in the country dedicated for exclusive use by citizens with disabilities. Anyone interested in making a donation in Carol's name to one of these two organizations, should contact Paul Fenn by email at

Thomas L. Neilan & Sons Funeral home is in charge of arrangements.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Day on Feb. 12, 2016.
Memorial service
11:00 AM
All Soul's Unitarian Universalist Church
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2 entries
February 19, 2016
My sincere condolences go out to the Fenn family. It was always nice to see Wally and Carol around Noank and more recently my mother Rose Marie shared some nice moments in church with Carol while they were both able to attend. We will miss them all.
David Farrington
February 19, 2016
Bonnie, Paul, and family,

I am so sorry to hear of Carol's passing. I enjoyed spending time with her while working as her caregiver for a short time. She will be missed. Prayers to your families.
Rose Anne Rand
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