Elaine C. Luckey, 94, of Bloomfield, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, January 12, 2021. Elaine was a trail blazer with a true spirit of adventure. From her bipartisan election to become the First Selectman of Washington, CT, the first woman in the town's 240-year history, to her three-week trek in Nepal to the top of 18,500-foot Kala Patthar for a view of Mt. Everest, Elaine Luckey was always out in front and pressing forward.
Elaine was born April 4, 1926 to Paul and Edith Cruikshank and raised in Washington's Romford Valley where her father founded and led The Romford School. The property in Romford valley had been purchased by Elaine's maternal grandfather, Mr. Ezra Fitch, who co-founded an outfitting store, Abercrombie & Fitch, in New York City.
Educated at the Chatham Hall School in Chatham, VA, she subsequently earned her BA in Political Science at Vassar College in 1948. At the age of 60, she received her Master's in Environmental Law from the Vermont Law School.
Marrying the Rev.. Charles P Luckey, Jr. of Chappaqua, NY on August 28, 1948, she supported him in his ministry in Congregational Churches in Ohio and Connecticut. Rev. Luckey passed away in 1975.
Elaine served for fifteen years as an elementary public school teacher in Southbury and Oakville, CT. She also worked for the Housatonic Valley Association, the Carmody & Torrance Law Firm in Waterbury, and the firm of Murtha Cullina in Hartford.
Deeply committed to environmental causes and conservation of the vulnerable wetlands, she served on Washington's Inland Wetlands and Conservation Commission. Elaine had a passion for maintaining the trails in Connecticut including the Appalachian Trail that were under the care of the Appalachian Mountain Club. She was a conservationist in the most profound sense, cutting and splitting her own hardwood as fuel and therapy.
Elaine became politically active in the 1960s, first running for office in Middleburg Heights, OH where she served on the Charter Commission. As a young mother of three boys, and a Minister's wife, she was a role-model for other women seeking to become more engaged in Democracy.
She later served on the Middlebury/Southbury School Board as the towns worked to consolidate a regional collaborative educational architecture.
Elaine's political engagement culminated in 2001 when she was recruited by members of both political parties to run for the position of First Selectman of Washington, after having served honorably on the Board of Selectman for the four years proceeding. She was 75 at the time of her election.
Elaine's pioneer spirit called her off the beaten path. In addition to Mt. Everest adventure, she hiked extensively in the Brooks Range in Alaska, traveled by camper with her husband Charlie and her three sons to Alaska and Canada's Yukon Territory twice. She toured Moscow, Leningrad, Tashkent, and Samarkand in the former Soviet Union. She traveled the length of China and traversed the Khyber Pass into Pakistan. On an overnight train trip, she pulled out her sleeping bag and slept on the floor of the club car somewhere in Montana.
As a girl, she spent her summers on Martha's Vineyard. She was well known to shuck her footwear the minute she disembarked from the ferry. Nothing made her happier than to have her hand on the tiller of her sailboat "The Invictus."
During the winter, Elaine loved to ski downhill and cross country. She relished pick-up pond hockey. She is fondly remembered for being her own human Zamboni, digging through the snow and splashing buckets of water onto a pond's surface so that skaters could have smooth fresh ice.
She was a painter and a poet who believed in the goodness of people, built connections across racial barriers wherever possible, and was compelled to give back to the earth and the people who lived on it.
She loved to laugh. She laughed hardest when it was about herself. If we could imagine a spot where Elaine might be most blissful it would likely be at a little cafe in Greece enjoying great wine and dancing to the music of Zorba the Greek; or in the wilderness, taking a pause under a hemlock tree on a rock strewn mountain trail where one of her beloved dogs is wagging its tail, impatient to get moving again.
In addition to being survived by her sister, Sally Foster; and brother, Pete Cruikshank and his wife Alice; Elaine leaves her three sons, Peter and his wife Linda, Charles and his wife Julie, and Todd and his wife Ariane; as well as seven grandchildren; and two great-granddaughters.
Services are pending.
To leave an on-line condolence for her family, please visit www.carmonfuneralhome.com
Published by Litchfield County Times on Jan. 25, 2021.