Mom in West Hartford

Shirley L. C. Dunning READING — Shirley Lewis Cooke Dunning, 98 of Reading, Vermont and East Hampton, Connecticut, died peacefully on March 2, 2019 in the home she shared with her daughter and son-in-law, Leslie and John O’Kelly in East Hampton. She was born February 4, 1921 in Camden, NJ, the daughter of Dwight Whitmore Cooke and Katharine Fiske Cooke. She lived in Merchantville and Haddonfield, NJ and graduated from Haddonfield Memorial High School in 1938. She then moved to Winchester, Massachusetts where she lived with her grandmother, Mrs. Fiske-Bradford, and attended school. Later she took courses at Middlebury College while living in Middlebury, Vermont and in past years enjoyed their Alumni College. In 1942 she and George R. Dunning were married in Winchester, MA and they lived in Marblehead, MA. During the war years she was in Walnut Ridge, AR, Dothan, AL, and Fort Myers, FL until her husband went to England as a P-51 fighter pilot. At that point, she moved to the family farm in Reading, Vermont, the seventh generation of her family to live in Reading. She was co-president with her husband of the Reading P.T.A., a Den Mother of Cub Scouts, active in the Reading Christian Union (Reading Community Church) as secretary for many years, was on the Planning Committee and Zoning Board for the town. She was a member of the Reading Historical Society and was an associate member of the Perkinsville Community Church. Shirley and her husband George owned and operated the Mt. Ascutney (VT) Ski Shop in the base lodge for fifteen years. She continued skiing in her later life. She was happy hiking the hills around her home and was a competent hunter into her eighties. Being an avid traveler, she had visited all seven continents and over thirty countries and had given talks and shown her slides on many occasions. Sailing was a passion and she had made many long passages — the Virgin Islands to Bermuda; two trips from Massachusetts to the Bahamas; Picton, Ontario to North Carolina and return; down the St. Lawrence to New Brunswick; Washington State to Alaska; as well as yearly sailing cruises on the coast of Maine, and exciting sails in Alaska and other places. Her husband George died in an automobile accident in 1978. She will be remembered with love by her three children: Dwight and his wife Judy of Cornwall, Vermont, and their two children, Rebecca (and her husband Brian) Jones, and Tim (and his wife Tiffany) Dunning; Richard and his wife Lori Kincaid of Anchorage, AK and their children, Kitty Kincaid, Kris Kincaid, and Karen Kincaid; Leslie and her husband John O’Kelly of East Hampton, CT and their children, Aimee (and her husband Len) Carlson, Kristie (and her husband Josh) Cannon, Stephen O’Kelly, and Matthew O’Kelly; and ten great-grandchildren: Eowyn Jones, Lyra Jones, Peter Sweetman, James Sweetman, Mckenna Kincaid, Payton Kincaid, Ashley Carlson, Hunter Carlson, Cole Cannon, and Milo Cannon; and one great-great-granddaughter, Zoe Carlson. She is also survived by her nephews, Randy and Michael Mulligan, and her niece Kathy Mulligan Lord and their families. In addition to her parents and her husband, Shirley was predeceased by her treasured sister Katharine (Kay) Mulligan, her brother-in-law E.W. (Pat) Mulligan, and by her grandson David Kincaid. She was the niece of the noted raconteur, Dwight Fiske and a descendant of Mayflower passengers and founding fathers. She will be missed by all who knew her — especially all her Reading, Vermont neighbors and Virginia friends, including Vicki Van Mater and Sandy Smith of Virginia (daughters of the late Bob Van Mater, Shirley’s high school beau, and her dear companion in later years) with whom she spent many special winters. Her family thanks the Middlesex Hospital Homecare Hospice nurses and aides for their wonderful and compassionate care, and the helpers from Companions and Homemakers. A Celebration of Life will be held in Vermont at a later date. Friends are invited to Leslie and John O’Kelly’s home on Saturday, March 16, 2019 between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. at 10 Sherry Drive, East Hampton, CT. If one desires, contributions may be made in Shirley’s name to the “Middlesex Hospital Hospice”, 28 Crescent Street, Middletown, CT 06457.

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