1936 – 2016
Venice, FL – Elodie Theresa (Coutu) Semmelrock, ‘Ellie,’ passed peacefully on January 31, 2016 after a long and difficult battle with dementia. She was born in Willimantic, CT the daughter of the late Marianne (Allore) Coutu and Alphonse Coutu. Elodie grew up in Norwich before moving to Pomfret with her mother in the early 1950s. ‘Ellie’, and her husband, Alton, made Pomfret their home for the next 40 years.
Elodie was a giver, to any and all. An RN, she practiced at ‘The Haven’ convalescent home in Pomfret, as a charge nurse at Day Kimball Hospital, at Matulaitis Nursing Home, and as a school nurse at Pomfret School. She completed her nursing career caring for homebound elderly patients.
The thing that mattered most to Elodie was family, and she supported hers in anything they did. She was a Girl Scout leader, and an active supporter of Pomfret Little League, Boy Scout Troop 26 and the Pomfret Livestockers 4-H Club, in addition to the many sports teams, drama clubs and school bands in which her children participated. She loved any place where family would gather, especially under her apple tree and at Alexander’s Lake. ‘Ellie’ is fondly remembered for her bread & butter pickles; her strong belief in the presence and the power of angels; her ‘open door’ policy to welcome anyone, for anything, at any time, for as long as needed; her poetry and storytelling; her needlework; and her clairvoyant sixth sense. She found great joy in passing on the important things – her recipes for Corn Chowder and Cream Chipped Beef, the art of berry-picking to find the perfect ones for her jellies and jams, and the value of time – card time, family time, and especially dinner time. Elodie’s lasting legacy is and will forever be ‘Christmas Magic’, a poem that she first authored in 1970. It was her labor of love to recraft it every year and share the story of Christmas and Christmas customs with family and friends. Elodie’s ‘Magic’ grew to the community and ever larger audiences. To date, it has been shared with more than 10,000 people throughout the country and beyond.
Elodie leaves her husband of 58 years, Alton, and five children, Mark (& Brenda) Semmelrock of Southington, CT, Earl (& Sarah) Semmelrock and Donna Grant of Pomfret, Luke Semmelrock of Whitensville, MA and Mary Ann (& Kyle) Dostaler of East Hampton, CT. Her extended family also includes several ‘adopted’ children who moved into her home and into her heart over the years. ‘Gramma Elodie’ leaves 12 grandchildren: Matthew (& Kathryn) Semmelrock; Cody, Sothea and Seth Semmelrock; Shelby (& Ryan) Collwell, Branden and Gabriel Grant; Corey Montgomery and Tanner and Austin Semmelrock; Jason and Danielle Fortin; and two great granddaughters, Alexa and Taelyn Colwell. Elodie was predeceased by her brother Paul Coutu. She leaves her sister, Louise (Coutu) Syah and sister-in-law Bibiane Hafner, and many special nieces and nephews.
As Ellie passes from this world to the next, her words echo the peace and love that was forever in her heart: ‘Well my friends, my rhyme is through; I hope your list of customs grew! Just remember that Christmas is hope and love; and love is the MAGIC that is sent from above.’’ Rest in Peace to our beloved Christmas Magician.
Calling hours will take place in the Gilman Funeral Home, 104 Church St., Putnam, CT from 5:00 to 8:00 pm on Friday, February 19, 2016. A service of Christian burial will be at Westfield Congregational Church, Danielson, CT at 11:00 am Saturday, February 20, 2016 followed by a graveside service in Pomfret (weather permitting). A Celebration of Life will follow at the Audubon Center in Pomfret. In lieu of flowers, and in keeping with Elodie’s wishes to contribute to her Pomfret community and support the endeavors of her children, donations may be made to the CT Audubon Center at Pomfret, PO Box 11, Pomfret Center, CT 06259; TEEG, PO Box 664, North Grosvenordale, CT 06255; or BSA Troop 26, c/o Susan Horn, Treasurer, 321 Wrights Crossing Road, Pomfret Center, CT 06259.