Marge Louise Gelinas, 91; Social Worker Who was CT Educator of the Year

Calling hours and services are planned for Monday, July 7.

From Molloy Funeral Home.

Marguerite “Marge” Louise (Barry) Gelinas of West Hartford died peacefully on July 2, 2014 after an incredibly fulfilling 91 years of life.

She was particularly proud of the fact that she had lived longer than anyone in her entire family history.

Marge was the daughter of Richard and Marguerite (Rice) Barry and was born on August 28, 1922 in Boston, MA.

She maintained her heavy Bostonian accent throughout her life despite moving to Connecticut when she was in her early 20s.

She married Donald Louis Gelinas on October 6, 1951 and together they enjoyed more than 41 years together raising a family in North Haven. Don predeceased her on July 4, 1993.

She was also predeceased by an infant son Donald Thomas John. She was also predeceased by her sister Dorothy McQuaid and brothers Garrett Barry and Richard Barry.

She is survived by her children and their spouses Mark Gelinas and wife Betsy (Wyatt) of Waterford, CT; Margaret Morey and husband Bill of Cromwell, and Christopher Gelinas and wife Ann (Mason) of West Hartford. She is also survived by her grandchildren Morgan Gelinas, Taylor Gelinas, Makayla Gelinas, Matthew Gelinas. She is also survived by seven great-grandchildren.

Marge achieved her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Social Work from Simmons College in Boston MA and moved to New Haven where she worked at Yale-New Haven Hospital in the 1940’s - back when working professional women were not in vogue. She met her future husband, Don, while working in New Haven. She would often ride the trolley in the evening up Whitney Avenue to North Haven where Don would meet her at the bottom of Wayland St. with a lighted candle to escort her to his house. They eventually married and she put her Social Work career on hold to raise her children.

While raising her family she worked for Red Cross Home Service bringing servicemen home due to family emergencies during the Vietnam War. She then returned to the field of Social Work in the Branford CT school system working for another 30 years. While working in the Branford school system she was recognized in 1976 as the CT “Educator of the Year” for her advocacy for special education children.

She was a voracious reader and particularly loved political and biographical works. She and her family would spend summers at Lake Beseck in Middlefield, CT where they had a cottage and she taught her children how to swim. She spent an incalculable number of hours sitting at the beach, watching them swim, and dragging them home for supper only after their lips turned blue and their skin took on the consistency of a prune.

She had a strong sense of service to others and crocheted more than 200 afghan blankets for the Birthright Organization which provided them to new mothers. She will be sadly missed by her family and the community.

Visiting hours will be from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. on Monday, July 7, at the Molloy Funeral Home, 906 Farmington Ave, West Hartford, CT followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. in St. Thomas the Apostle Church, 872 Farmington Ave, West Hartford. Burial will be private at St. Mary’s Cemetery, 3126 Whitney Ave, Hamden, where she will rest alongside her husband and infant son.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Operation Smile, or Special Olympics of CT. 


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