Mary Ellen Utell, 83, teacher, Ridgefield Chorale singer

Mary Ellen Utell, 83, of Ridgefield, formerly of Redding, Connecticut and Northport, New York passed away on Wednesday, May 24, 2017. She was the loving wife of the late Leonard Utell.

Mary Ellen was born in Floral Park, New York on May 10, 1934; a daughter of the late Philip and Marie (Haughney) Wachtel.

Mary Ellen attended our Lady of Mercy Academy in Syossett, New York where she excelled in softball, basketball and field hockey. She graduated from Misericordia College in Dallas, Pennsylvania, in January 1952, where she received a Bachelor’s Degree. She received her Master’s Degree of Education from St. John’s University in 1958. Mary Ellen began her teaching career in Syosset New York and later at Bellerose Elementary School in East Northport, New York. She loved teaching.

Mary Ellen has been a resident of both Ridgefield and Redding since 2001 when she moved to Connecticut to be closer to her daughter, son in law and grandchildren. Prior to that she lived in Northport, NY for 42 years. She was an active member of both Sacred Heart Church of Georgetown and St. Mary Church of Ridgefield. Mary Ellen was a volunteer of the Sacred Heart Church RCIA Program, among other activities.

She loved playing golf with her friends in Ridgefield, singing with the Ridgefield Chorale, traveling, walking with her dog Bailey and participating on her community garden committee. She had a lifelong love of learning and was constantly taking classes. Most important to her was spending time with her beloved family and her dear friends.

Mary Ellen is survived by her daughter, Mary Jo Fornshell and her husband, William of Westport, CT. She is also survived by her three grandchildren; Meghan, Matthew and Mary Kate Fornshell as well as a brother, Philip Wachtel. In addition to her daughter, grandchildren and brother, Mary Ellen is survived by her step children, John Utell, Linda Utell and Susan (Utell) Groshelle.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on May 31 at Sacred Heart Church; 30 Church Street, Georgetown (Redding). Interment followed at St. Mary Cemetery, Ridgefield.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to ROAR — Ridgefield Operations for Animal Rescue; 45 South Street Ridgefield, CT 06877.