Obituary of Jeanie H. Snell
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Our beloved mother, Jeanie Hughes Snell, passed away January 27, 2023, at the age of 101. She was a wonderful person and we are heartbroken to lose someone so special.
Jeanie was born November 8, 1921, in New Haven, Connecticut to George William Reuben and Christina Mae (Stevenson) Hughes. Her father was a naval officer and maritime lawyer with offices in New Haven and New York City, and later Darien, Connecticut, where he continued to practice maritime law and was the honorary police commissioner. Jeanie and her older brother, George, were lovingly raised in a historic home that was moved from Old Wives River to the Boston Post Road.
In the mid-1930s, the family moved to Fort Schuyler in the Bronx, New York, where Jeanie’s father oversaw the transition of the New York State Merchant Marine Academy to its permanent onshore location. Jeanie attended the Gardner School for Girls in Manhattan and began a successful modeling career that would last well after the family returned to Darien.
After her father passed away in 1944, Jeanie and her mother moved into a townhome on Washington Square in Manhattan, which was next door to Eleanor Roosevelt’s. Jeanie continued modeling, attended the Marble Collegiate Church, which was ministered by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, and enjoyed New York City life with her friends, Nancy Chapman and Betty Rigg.
In the late 1940s, Jeanie attended Indiana University, where her brother, father and grandfather had graduated earlier. She was a proud member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority.
Sparks flew when Jeanie was introduced to George Roswell Snell at a social event in Darien, Connecticut. Sailing trips on the “Impala,” George’s 34-foot yawl, were chaperoned by his mother, Francis. After their wedding in 1953, their plan to begin married life aboard a 40-foot New York sloop was scuttled in favor of a first home in Fairfield County. They started a family and welcomed three sons.
From early on, their lives were enriched by the presence of Beatrice (“Bea”) Russell, who helped Jeanie run the household and keep the boys in line.
The family eventually settled in a Cape Cod-style residence on a cul-de-sac of homes in Darien developed by Jeanie and her mother, who was now known to the family as Bam-Bam. A large addition was built for her, while Jeanie's brother, George, and his family lived just down the road, providing the idyllic extended family setting.
The family and Bam-Bam moved to Bad Homburg, Germany in the early 1960s for George’s career with Burlington Mills, where he was VP of International Sales. Living in Germany was like “Eloise at the Plaza,” as the family lived in a suite at the Ritters Park Hotel. After a year in Europe, they moved to Weston, Connecticut, well known for its excellent schools and rural environment.
In 1970, a new adventure beckoned and the family and pets boarded the S.S. France and moved to Brussels, Belgium. The boys attended the International School of Brussels, and the family enjoyed snow skiing in the Alps and visiting other countries in the family’s travel trailer, “Big John.” Jeanie loved the excitement and international flare of living in Europe.
In 1972, the family returned to Weston and Jeanie began a long and successful career as a residential real estate broker. She owned and managed the Tilghman and Frost Real Estate Agency in Wilton and was later elected President of the Wilton Board of Realtors.
The family spent summer vacations in Delray Beach, Florida, and winter holidays in Vermont, where the boys skied and Jeanie enjoyed quiet time in the chalet. These trips created fond memories that her sons will cherish forever.
After Jeanie’s husband, George, passed away in 1987, she moved in with her son, Jeff, and his wife, Linda, and was a doting grandmother to her granddaughters. She also traveled frequently to Los Angeles to visit her sons, Tim and Pete.
Jeanie loved being with people and was an active bridge player at the Westport Women’s Club. She was also an enthusiastic supporter of several charitable organizations, including STAR, Inc., Lighting the Way, where her daughter-in-law Linda was a director. She helped manage the Curio Cottage at the Westport Women’s Club, raised money for the American Cancer Society, and delivered food to seniors and shut-ins.
Jeanie also adored animals. An avid equestrian from an early age, she loved riding on Galloping Hill Road in Fairfield, Connecticut, where she would live many years later. Although she was in tears when George surprised her with a 60-pound Irish Wolfhound puppy, she quickly grew to love his gentle and calm demeanor. Other beloved pets included a German Shepherd, three black miniature poodles, a Scottish Terrier, and several cats.
Jeanie is survived by her sons Timothy (Ann Marie Miller), Jeffrey, and Peter (Lisa Laursen), four grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, and a niece and nephew. She was predeceased by her husband George, daughter-in-law Linda Snell, brother George Hughes, MD, sister-in-law Julie Hughes, and nephew Steve Hughes.
Jeanie’s loving nature, warmth, grace, and positivity will be missed by her family and friends.
A private graveside service is planned for February 25, 2023, in New Canaan, Connecticut, followed by a luncheon celebrating her extraordinary life.
Gifts of flowers can be arranged through Hansen Flower Shop in Fairfield, CT 203-292-1142, www.hansensflowershop.com
In recognition of Jeanie’s love for others, donations can be made to STAR, Inc., Lighting the Way, https://starfoundationinc.harnessapp.com/wv2/donate and to the American Cancer Association https://donate3.cancer.org/?campaign=honormemorialbutton&giftType=hon