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School 14

       


Willabel Hillyer Blodgett

September 6, 1917 ~ February 4, 2019 (age 101)

 

Willabel Hillyer Blodgett, 101, of Cromwell, CT and formerly a long time resident of Wilbraham, MA, died peacefully as the sun rose the morning of Monday, February 4, 2019 at Middlesex Health in Middletown, CT.  Willabel was born on September 6, 1917 in Winona, MN during the Great War, WWI, to Willard Lester and Charliebelle (Paris) Hillyer.  She grew up as a tomboy with one sister, Sarah Hillyer Schilling, in a house filled with music and a great library.  Summers were spent at Minneowah with friends along the Mississippi River in MN.  She was a spunky, adventurous young girl who enjoyed the outdoors and her dogs.  Between choirs, piano lessons and violin lessons, she became an accomplished musician and a lifelong lover of classical music.  Willabel and her husband enjoyed their many years attending the Springfield Symphony Orchestra which is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2019.  Willabel graduated Carleton College in 1939 playing violin and singing her way through her studies.  She proceeded to NYC where she completed studies at Katharine Gibbs and lived at International House.  While working at the Institute of PolyTech of Brooklyn, she also completed a masters’ degree from Teachers’ College, Columbia University in 1950.  Willabel married Giles Gilbert Blodgett on September 9, 1950 in Springfield, Massachusetts.  After staying at home with her four young daughters, she worked in administration for Western New England College, currently known as Western New England University, from 1971-1983.  She retired as the Assistant Dean of the evening division of the school.  Willabel volunteered many years at the Springfield Library.  There was always a book in her hand.  She strove to raise strong, well-educated, thoughtful women.  She made many ballet costumes for her young ballerinas, taught her daughters to sew and cook, garden and freeze homegrown foods, to love reading and learning forever, to enjoy music and  adventure, to be open to faith and all people, to be courageous and independent.  Willabel always had a kind, positive attitude and was a supportive, non-judgmental listener.  Willabel’s wit and dry humor lasted through her last week.  She was a lifelong church member.  Memberships included the First Congregational Church in Winona, MN, Plymouth Congregational Church in Brooklyn, Old First Church in Springfield, MA then Hope Congregational Church, which merged into Faith United Church, and later Hilltop Covenant Church in Cromwell, CT.  She leaves four loving daughters, Leslie Bothwell and husband, James of Keene, NH, Emily Pietras and husband, John of South Hadley, MA, Tertia Griffith and husband, Gary of Waterbury, VT and Priscilla Svec and husband, Ron of E. Dummerston, VT;  nine cherished grandchildren include,  Paul John Rudoi and wife, Brittany of Eugene, OR, Morgan Alexander Bothwell of Keene, NH, Stefanie Alice Pietras of Cambridge, MA, Timothy Edward Pietras of Dover, NH, Michael Giles Griffith and wife, Morgan of Waterbury, VT, Jonathan Gilbert Griffith of Flagstaff, AZ, Steven Doyle Griffith and wife, Katelyn of Seattle, WA, Hannah Lindsey Svec of Salt Lake, UT, and Victoria Grace Svec of Boston, MA;  two blessed great-granddaughters include; Jane Willabel and Alice Bea Griffith of Waterbury, VT.  Willabel also leaves many nieces and nephews.  Besides her parents, Willabel was predeceased by her loving husband of 54 years and her sister.  A private graveside service will be held in Hillcrest Park Cemetery in Springfield, MA.  A memorial service will be held on Saturday, February 9th at 11:00 AM at Covenant Village of Cromwell, 52 Missionary Road, Cromwell, CT 06416.  In lieu of flowers, donations in Willabel’s memory may be directed to the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, 1441 Main St., Springfield, MA 01103 or the Springfield Library Association, 220 State St., Springfield, MA 01103.  The Byron Keenan Funeral Home is honored to be handling her arrangements.  For more information, please visit us at www.byronkeenan.com

 

 


Donations may be made to:

Springfield Library Association
220 State Street, Springfield MA 01103

Springfield Symphony Orchestra
1441 Main Street, Springfield MA 01103


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