Alma (Polly) Griswold Funk, 99, of Coventry, formerly of East Granby, passed peacefully on Saturday, (June 2, 2012), at the Mansfield Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, Mansfield.
Polly, a woman of many talents, grew up in Madison. As a young teenager she drove new cars from New Haven to her father's Madison Chrysler dealership garage. During her teenage years she was a certified lifeguard at the Madison Beach Club, and was among the first, possibly the first, certified woman lifeguard in Connecticut. She graduated from Hand High School in Madison and attended Antioch College in Ohio where she met Charles her husband-to-be, and acquired the nickname Polly. When they married during the Depression in 1934, she and Chuck lived in the Pepper House in Rowayton. The Pepper House was later purchased by Andy Rooney who wrote a column about Polly, the woman who lived in the house and was always willing to provide food for people in need looking for a meal.
Before the children were born, she worked for her husband's family's publishing company in New York City. She and Chuck later lived in the North Mianus section of Greenwich, where they raised their three children, built their own house, and maintained large vegetable and flower gardens. She played a mean game of hockey during those years and the neighborhood kids always wanted her on their team. Polly taught piano at the Greenwich Country Day School.
She later worked professionally making designer handbags for a New York City firm. She was an accomplished seamstress and knitter, and made beautiful clothing and sweaters for family and friends. Later she and Chuck moved to East Granby.
Polly ice and roller skated well into her 80s. She was 94 the last time she roller skated. She also made her own skating costumes. In 2001, she moved to Coventry, and became an active member of the Willimantic Interfaith Sewing and Service Group. Over the years she has cared for and loved her cats and dogs, the latest, her beloved cat, Sam. Polly was feisty, determined, and independent as long as she lived.
The family is so grateful to the staff at MCNR for all their kind, gentle, loving, and competent care that she received during her stay there. Their loving and fun-loving attitude helped make her last months a new chapter that was good.
Born in 1913, the daughter of John S. Griswold and Caroline Holt Griswold, of Madison, she was predeceased by her husband of 59 years, Charles E. Funk, Jr., and her younger brother Sherman H. Griswold. She is survived by her son Charles E. III, and his wife Frances, Coventry, her daughters Cynthia Funk and her partner Janice Kuhagen, Virginia Beach, VA, and Dency Sargent and her husband Robert Sawyer, Windham; four grandchildren, Catherine Sargent, Northampton, MA, Charles E. IV and Rachael Funk, Ashford, Benjamin and Lorraine Funk, Coventry, and Diana Jabbour, Washington, D.C.; seven great-grandchildren Charles E. Funk V, Stephanie, Molly, and Carley Funk, Jasper Mele Sargent, Leah and Adam Bonaccorsi; also her sister-in-law MaryAnn Griswold; nephew Robert Rosenberg, and two nieces Sharon Griswold and Gail Hannigan.
Services will be private. Memorial contributions to recognize her life may be made to the Interfaith Sewing and Service Group, Inc., c/o First Congregational Church of Willimantic UCC, 199 Valley Street, Willimantic, CT 06226.