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Gladys Denise Caswell Macbeth, age 96, a longtime resident of Old Saybrook, passed away peacefully at her home on Nov. 9 in the company of loved ones and her husband of 68 years. Born Aug. 4, 1923, in New Bedford, Massachusetts, she was the daughter of William Stuart and Lillian Dora Bouchard Caswell of Jamestown, Rhode Island.
Gladys spent her childhood in Jamestown, graduating from Thomas H. Clarke, Jamestown High School in 1936. In 1940, she attended Rhode Island State College graduating in 1944 with a bachelor of science in biology degree. Gladys went on to work for General Electric in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, where she met her future husband Charles (Chuck) Gordon Macbeth of Pittsfield. Gladys and Chuck were married in Pittsfield on October 13, 1951, at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church where she taught Sunday school.
After briefly residing in the area, the couple relocated to Old Saybrook in late 1951. The following year they began working on a new house on a wooded plot along the Connecticut River, designing and constructing the house themselves; they occupied the house in July 1954, where her surviving husband still resides.
Known for her organizational skills, unassailable integrity, indefatigable diligence and honesty, Gladys was a devoted mother, wife, and homemaker who proudly and selflessly raised four sons. She led an exemplary life, always caring for others first. Her children remember her as a “Super Mom,” tirelessly providing home-cooked meals, baking bread, and the manager of all things. Always leading by example, she provided a deep foundation of safety, cooperation, and love in her family.
Her strengths of character, acceptance, and service touched many in the community. Gladys is well known, not only to her extended family, but by many friends and acquaintances as never forgetting a single birthday, anniversary, holiday or special occasion date, mailing out dozens of handwritten cards every year—always on time! She was an active member of Grace Episcopal Church in Old Saybrook for more than 65 years, involved in many activities there including teaching Sunday school and leading Cub Scouts for many years.
Once her children started departing home, Gladys worked as a home healthcare aide, caring for house-bound invalid patients. She loved the outdoors, was an avid hiker and traveled often with her husband. In 1978, Gladys, Chuck, and their children built a log cabin in the woods of Vermont. This became one of her favorite places of respite for many years, as well as a place where she and Chuck took their grandchildren camping.
Gladys is survived by her husband Chuck; their son Thomas and partner Maureen Griffin of Lyme; son Stephen of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; son Eric and fiancée Jenny Olson of River Falls, Wisconsin; and son Christopher and wife Roberta of Loveland, Colorado. She is also survived by nine grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, and eleven nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her parents William (Stuart) and Lillian, and two brothers, William S. Caswell, Jr., and Frederick Albert Caswell, all of Rhode Island.
A memorial service celebrating Gladys’ life will be held at Grace Episcopal Church, 336 Main St., Old Saybrook, CT 06475 at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14. In lieu of flowers or gifts, the family gratefully requests friends consider donations in Gladys’ name to the American Parkinson Disease Association, PO Box 248, Shelton, CT 06484, www.apdaparkinson.org. Arrangements by the Robinson, Wright & Weymer Funeral Home in Centerbrook.