Groton - Judith "Jude" Donohue Ebbinghaus, 69, of Groton passed away Monday, Feb. 15, 2021, due to complications of COVID-19. She was born April 16, 1951, in Fulton, N.Y., the daughter of Francis Donohue and Alice (Frawley) Donohue.
She is survived by her husband of nearly 43 years, Charlie Ebbinghaus; her daughter Alycia Ebbinghaus-Owens, son-in-law Will Owens, and grandson Ronan Owens; sisters, Kathy Chicos (Bill) and Claire LaBelle (Skip); brother Frank Donohue; sister-in-law Barbara Yering (Larry); stepbrother Glenn Reading (Janet); as well as numerous nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her parents; stepmother June Reading Donohue; stepbrother Scott Reading; and daughter Cheryl Ebbinghaus.
Jude was a graduate of Minnechaug Regional High School in Wilbraham, Mass. She studied education at Nazareth College in Rochester, N.Y., and later completed a master's in education at Eastern Connecticut State University. She began her teaching career in Wyoming, N.Y. and later moved to Connecticut and taught in Groton Public Schools, including Sacred Heart, Colonel Ledyard, Eastern Point and Catherine Kolnaski schools for 38 years. She held many roles as an educator, including second grade classroom teacher, reading specialist and literacy coach, among others. She ran the GPS Summer Reading Program for many years, and launched parent literacy courses to guide her students' families in supporting their educational potential. She believed in and saw the best in her students, and she connected their other interests to books to cultivate the love of reading and learning she shared with them. In recognition of her service, she was selected to the Groton Educators Hall of Fame.
Volunteering was a lifetime value for Jude, and her communities benefited from her enthusiasm, force-of-nature energy and the life experiences she shared through the Girl Scouts, Parent Teacher Associations and her daughters' schools and sports teams, R.E. Fitch Marching Band, Connecticut Children's Medical Center, the New London County Ostomy Association, which she served as president, Youth Rally as a counselor for youth facing chronic illness, and United Ostomy Associations of America, for which she received the ConvaTec Great Comebacks Award.
In her retirement, she was a kindergarten classroom volunteer at Catherine Kolnaski School, a therapy dog handler for Fairview Retirement Home with her husband Charlie and an avid quilter contributing to community projects to provide quilts to the homeless, Hospice patients, new parents, and masks for elementary school students and frontline healthcare workers.
Jude was a devout Catholic and member of Sacred Heart and St. Mary, Mother of the Redeemer Churches. At St. Mary's, she served as a CCD teacher, lector, and Eucharistic minister. She found immense strength in her faith and used it to face many health challenges throughout her life, and bring compassion, strength and understanding to others facing similar challenges.
Despite her health challenges, Jude was an adventurous traveler and loved exploring the U.S., Ireland, Scotland, Alaska, Myanmar and Thailand, where she traveled for the birth of her grandson, Ronan. She approached new people and cultures with enthusiasm, warmth, and appreciation for different cuisine, music, and worship traditions.
Throughout her life, Jude maintained an indomitable spirit and ability to turn negative setbacks into positive opportunities. She continually showed those she loved how to be stronger than they thought they could be, and to live to the fullest possibilities. She held her convictions and beliefs deeply, yet was not afraid to evolve in her opinions, embracing the LGBTQ+ community, working to become anti-racist in her thinking and actions and deepen her understanding of the role of faith in social justice. Over her life, she empowered thousands of people in her students learning to read, her co-ostomates to live with independence, her colleagues to become stronger educators, her family and friends to find joy and hope in unlikely places.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a Mass of Christian burial is tentatively scheduled for 10:30 a.m. April 15, 2021, at St. Mary, Mother of the Redeemer Church in Groton, with interment to follow at Colonel Ledyard Cemetery. Donations in lieu of flowers may be made in Jude's memory to Connecticut Children's Medical Center, 282 Washington Street, Hartford, CT 06106 at https://www.connecticutchildrens.org/
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