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Obituary: Moraith “Rae” O’Neill Marra O’Toole of West Hartford

Moraith "Rae" O'Neill Marra O'Toole
Moraith "Rae" O'Neill Marra O'Toole
Moraith “Rae” O’Neill Marra O’Toole of West Hartford, Conn., and Wellfleet, Mass., died on Thursday, May 22, 2014, with her family by her side.

Rae was born in Hartford on September 1, 1936, to Joseph and Margaret (O’Neill) Marra. Her father, who was the first officer of Italian heritage in the Connecticut National Guard, died in 1944 after serving in the Pacific during WWII.

When Rae and her sister Judy became adults, their mother married George Minnery, whose wisdom and love helped fill the void they felt from the loss of their father at a young age. They also had many caring aunts, who had much to do with giving them a wonderful sense of family.

In 1956, Rae married Eugene Froebel and soon after gave birth to two daughters, Judith and Maribeth. Her world view was shaped by being born during the Depression and being aware of WWII as well as the death of her father. She had a deep empathy for the underdog and an intolerance of the bully. She attended Our Lady of Sorrows in the Parkville section of Hartford, through the 10th grade. She then went on to graduate from Hartford Public High School.

When her children were growing up in the ‘60s, she was active in Mother’s Circle at OLS. The hope of JFK, Vatican II, the Civil Rights Movement, and later Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, gave her inspiration and strength.

When she moved to West Hartford, she grew more involved in neighborhood issues and CCD. In the 1970s she went back to nursing school and became an LPN. She worked at the Hartford Dispensary and Hillside Manor, where she united with nurses and other care workers to form a union represented by 1199.

She became involved in many local Democratic campaigns. She then joined the West Hartford Democratic Town Committee, eventually serving as Recording Secretary, Vice-Chair and finally Chair. With wars being waged in Iraq and in Iran she became an active member of the West Hartford Citizens for Peace and Justice.

In the 2013 State Legislative Session she began serving as the first woman Sergeant at Arms of the State Senate. She believed in the Democratic Party of Roosevelt and Kennedy. Her politics were clearly progressive and to the left, unapologetically.

Rae is survived by her loving husband of 30 years, John O’Toole; her beloved daughters and sons-in-law, Judith and Riza Kaya, and Maribeth and Robert Perron; her adored grandchildren, Jennifer Gutierrez, and her husband Jon, Emma Perron and Luke Perron; and her cherished great grandchildren, James and Jackson Gutierrez.

She is also survived by her brothers and sisters-in-law Robert and Carol Argazzi of Berlin, Mary O’Toole and Donald Fortin of West Hartford, Bridget and Bodhan Sachok in Delaware, James O’Toole of West Hartford, Patrick and Nancy O’Toole of Stafford Springs, and Kevin O’Toole of Hartford. Rae also leaves behind her nephew and godson, Atty. Paul Argazzi and his wife Cynthia of Berlin; nieces Katie and Kera Fortin of Manchester and West Hartford, Erin and Ryan O’Toole of Stafford Springs, and Brianne Sachok in Delaware; her grandnephew A.J. Argazzi and grandniece Abigail Rae. She is also survived by her first husband Eugene Froebel and his wife Barbara of Cromwell; many cousins.

Besides her father, Rae was predeceased by her mother, her step-father, her sister and her brother-in-law Martin O’Toole. She loved her family and friends and rarely distinguished between the two.

Friends are invited to join Rae’s family at the celebration of her Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, May 28, in Our Lady of Sorrows Church, 160 New Park Ave. Hartford.

Burial will follow in Fairview Cemetery, West Hartford.

Calling hours are Tuesday May 27, from 6-8 p.m. at the Molloy Funeral Home 906 Farmington Ave. West Hartford, CT.

Donations in her memory may be made to Our Lady of Sorrows Church, 160 New Park Ave. Hartford, CT 06106 or The Town That Cares, West Hartford Human Services, Room 308, 50 South Main St. West Hartford, CT 06107.

Online remembrances may be made here.

Obituary from Molloy Funeral Home

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