The Life of Jean Ritchie Whalen
Jean Ritchie Whalen of Ansonia died peacefully on Monday, August 15, 2011 at Griffin Hospital with her daughter by her side. Jean was born in Paisley, Scotland on August 13, 1918, the daughter of James & Jeanne Blackwood. She was the widow of Francis J. Whalen. Jean came to the U.S. at the age of five, and attended public schools in Ansonia, graduating from Ansonia High School in 1936. She married her high school sweetheart Francis “Bud” Whalen in 1947 and they lived, worked and raised their children in Ansonia. Jean worked at Vonetes, The American Brass Company, and for thirty years, at the Ansonia Library, serving as head librarian from 1976-1991. A conference room in the library was named after her. Jean worshipped at The First Congregational Church in Ansonia for 88 years, where she taught Sunday School and was a deaconess. She also was on The Board of Directors of the Julia Day Nursery School. Jean was proud of her Scottish heritage and was a member of The Daughters of Scotia Lodge. In 1990, Jean and her cousin Betty Windisch, enjoyed a vacation in Scotland. Jean enjoyed reading, baking, playing cards and telling stories about the “old days”. She shared her love and laughter with everyone she met. She will be missed. Jean is survived by her daughter, Jean Smuckler and her husband Allen of Southbury. She leaves her cherished grandchildren, Katie Smuckler of New Haven, Emily Smuckler of Syracuse, Benjamin Smuckler of Boston, and Maeve Whalen of Newport. She also leaves her special cousins Betty Windisch of Ansonia and Charles “Bucky” Howard of Beacon Falls, as well as many cousins, nieces and nephews in the U.S. and Scotland. She was predeceased by her son, Dennis Whalen and her brother James Ritchie. The family would like to extend sincere gratitude to the staff of Hilltop Health Care of CT for their wonderful care. Friends may call on Wednesday, 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. from The Jenkins King & Malerba Funeral Home, 12 Franklin St. Ansonia (www.jenkinskingfh.com). Funeral services will be held on Thursday at 10:00 a.m., with friends asked to go directly to The First Congregational Church of Ansonia. Burial will follow in Pine Grove Cemetery in Ansonia.