Chaia, Helen

It is with great sadness we announce the passing of Helen B. Chaia on Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at age 83. Born September 9, 1927 in New London, NH, Helen was an inspiration and a ray of sunshine to so many people she touched. Known for her keen sense of humor and a knack for always “teaching”, her life was rich with personal and professional achievements. She graduated from Jamaica Plain High School in 1945, and went on to earn her Bachelors of Science in Education from Salem Teacher’s College (1949), and a Master of Arts from the University of Connecticut (1961). Helen was both mentor and friend to many students (and colleagues) throughout a teaching career spanning 49 years. Following graduation, for 25 years she primarily taught first and second grade students at Silver Lane School, East Hartford, CT. When most decide to retire, she spent the next 28 years applying her skills as a patient and creative Reading Language Arts Consultant at the Norris, Sunset Ridge, and Meadow schools, with a majority of her time in the Mayberry Elementary School system. In her tenure, she was honored as Outstanding Educator in 1976; received an award for building the first Multimedia Reading Center in the school system; served as the Connecticut representative (and speaker) on the Board of the New England Reading Association; and actively participated on the boards of the Connecticut Association for Reading Research (CARR), the Connecticut Reading Association (CAR) as Treasurer and Membership chairperson and the International Reading Association. A devoted mother, avid reader, and active volunteer, she was the President of the Farmington Valley swim league, supported the Holiday Ridge Swim team, and has countless notes of appreciation and awards for her tireless work on town committees focused on recreation, the town library, and for support of town elections. Helen would often represent the “voice of the children” in her efforts. Her passion was seeing her grandchildren grow, watching her beloved New England Patriots play football, and seeing the UCONN Huskies win! Helen is predeceased by the love of her life, Frank Chaia, along with her brothers Arthur, Robert, William and sister, Lois. She is survived by her brother, Donald Brady of Wilmot, NH. She also leaves her beloved son, Jonathan Chaia his wife, Christine, and her three favorite guys – Tyler, Michael and Ryan. Friends may call at The Ahern Funeral Home, 111 Main St., Rt. 4, Unionville on Friday (July 15) from 4:00-7:00pm. Funeral Services will be held Saturday (July 16) at 11:00am in The Ahern Funeral Home with Rev. Wendell Taylor officiating. Burial will be in Riverside Cemetery, Farmington. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Cardiology Department at the University of Connecticut Health Center, Office of Development, 10 Talcott Notch Road, Suite 100, Farmington, CT 06032. Helen recently took the time to do what many only dream of – write a humorous memoir. She titled it “I’ll do it my way – follow your own bent”. And that, she did.

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2 Responses to 'Chaia, Helen'

  1. Rob kennan says:

    Your mother (my godmother) was a cool lady! Used to live across from you when we were kids. Is her memoir available to read (I’ll do it my way – follow your own bent’)?

  2. The DePalma's (Ohio) says:

    Jon, Our sincerest condolences go out to you and your family on this sad day. Your Mom lived a wonderful life and was surrounded by a loving son and family. She will be deeply missed but always remembered.

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