Saturday, October 31, 2020


Edna May Orlins



Edna May Orlins, 97, passed away peacefully in her home on Sept. 27. Edna was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1923. She graduated from Weequahic High School, Newark, New Jersey, in 1940 and from Goucher College in Maryland in 1944. As a young woman, she was an accomplished horseback rider, tennis playerm and civil rights organizer around racial and gender equality. She adored nature, birding, paintingm and the ocean, taking long walks along the shore until the time of her death. As she once said, “pools are for exercise, the ocean is for memories”.

In her early working life, Edna taught math and general science to high school students, then went on to become a registered nurse at the age of 58, often leading science study groups for her younger classmates. After retirement, her enthusiasm for helping others led her to volunteer as a literacy tutor for grade school students in New Haven and as a Friendly Visitor in Guilford. In her late 80s and 90s, Edna enjoyed Senior Center activities in both Guilford and Madison, including lunches and spending time shooting pool with the guys.

She had a brilliant, inquisitive mind, witnessed by neighbors who would stop by to chat as she sat in her front yard, nearly every day, reading books on politics and world issues.

Edna is survived by her four children, Richard Orlins, Philip Orlins (Suejin), Wendy Lewis (Thomas), and Terry Halot (Pierre). She adored her nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren who live in Brazil, Spain, France, and on both coasts of the U.S. She will be missed immensely by all of them who visited regularly, despite the geographic distance.

Edna was predeceased by her husband Alvin Orlins, her daughter-in-law Mariette Orlins, her parents Fanny and Abraham Lewis, her sister Sylvia Sher, and her brothers Milton and Arthur Lewis.

Donations in Edna’s memory may be made to the American Civil Liberties Union ( or the Madison Senior Center (

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