Jean Margaret (Reilly) Cushing, 95, of Madison and Southington, wife of the late William Joseph “Bill” Cushing, Jr., passed away peacefully on October 24, 2019. Born in Hartford on February 28, 1924, she was the daughter of Andrew and Rhea (Carroll) Reilly.
A life-long teacher, she began with summer camp while attending Wethersfield High School and went on to earn her teaching certificate at Wheelock College and Master of Science in Education from University of Hartford with Certification in Special Education. She taught at the Noah Webster School in West Hartford, the Laupāhoehoe School in Hilo, Hawai, the Plantsville Nursery School, St Dominic’s School in Southington and St. Joseph’s Elementary School in New Britain. She was most proud of her self-developed method for tutoring struggling readers.
Jean lived life to the fullest. She was an avid sport fisherman and a talented amateur golfer who eschewed golf carts (though eventually allowing herself the luxury of a bag with wheels) as well as an avid skier who skied from Bromley to Killington in Vermont, Mont Tremblant in Canada and at the famed Portillo ski resort in the Chilean Andes where she met and skied with John F. Kennedy. Skiing also brought her to her husband Bill, whom she met at the West Hartford Ski Club. She would later teach her four children to ski, putting them on skis as soon as they could stand, and held a family season’s pass at Maple Valley and Haystack for many years.
Off the slopes, Jean was also an après-ski enthusiast, enjoying the fire with Bill in the lodge or at BentBoards, their East Jamaica, Vermont ski house.
A long time collector who considered antiquing her other sport, Jean began collecting with her mother and continued through most of her life with her husband Bill and then her son Andrew.
Jean and Bill enjoyed traveling together and with the family. Highlights included touring Ireland and revisiting Bill’s Paris haunts from his military service. They were longtime Madison Beach Club members and summer residents, and moved permanently to Madison to enjoy their retirement with views of Long Island Sound and the company of their many friends and neighbors on their always welcoming front porch.
While in retirement she enjoyed her grandchildren, first babysitting and reading them stories, then sleepovers at the beach and later watching them each perform as they grew.
Jean is survived by her three sons Will Cushing and his wife Joy of Bristol, Andrew and his husband Ralph Burr, Jr., of San Francisco and Norfolk, Patrick and his wife Mary Larson of Newtown, her daughter Gretta Cushing of Westport, her sisters-in-law Barbara (Cushing) Hoffman of Southington and Nancy (Cushing) Ostheimer of Fort Collins, and five grandchildren who loved their Grammy Jean: Dylan, Aidan, Holly, Jasmin, and Maceo, as well as numerous other family members and friends. In addition to her husband, she was predeceased by her brother, Andrew “Ned” O’Reilly, and her sisters Rhea (Reilly) Grant and Rose Ann (Reilly) Morton.
There will be a brief ceremony with Military Honors held at 11 a.m., Saturday, November 16, 2019 at St. Thomas Cemetery, Southington, CT. DellaVecchia Funeral Home, 211 N. Main St.
Southington, CT. For online condolences and directions please visit www.dellavecchiafh.com.