Carol Ruth Lombard Lutz, a resident of Greenwich for more than five decades, died Monday, March 6 at her home in Mystic at age 86.
All of us are unique, but some are unique in a unique way. Carol was extremely intelligent, skipping grades and graduating from St. John’s University by age 19 in 1950.
Trained by Jesuits in philosophy (and chemistry), she continued to read, question and discuss theology and politics until almost the end. She was active in social justice issues including civil rights, peace and anti-poverty work.
Born in Queens, NY, and raised in her early years by her beloved grandmother Alina “Mumu” Salo Laine in Fitchburg, MA, she was the only child of Ruth (Laine) and Michael Lombard. She met her husband of 51 years, George J. Lutz, Jr., at St. John’s and they had six children, Mary Fox, Catherine Lutz, Thomas Lutz, Elizabeth (Betsy) Lutz, Barbara Karina Lutz, and Anne Fernandez-Carol. She loved and was loved by husbands and partners of her children: Paul Fox, Matthew Gutmann, Nicholas Pettinati, James Tull and Paul Fernandez-Carol.
— This obituary previously was published by Greenwich Time.
She is also survived by 16 grandchildren: Jennifer Williams, Michael Fox, Ryan Fox, Liz Fox, Jonathan Schechter, Lianna Schechter, Liliana Gutmann-McKenzie, Maya Gutmann-McKenzie, Jesse Lutz, Yarrow Lutz, Cody Lutz, Kyle Silveri, Jamie Silveri, Colin Pettinati, Hannah Winkler and Sasha Winkler and by 10 great-grandchildren.
Yet she did not preside like a matriarch. At large family gatherings, she was usually in a corner engaged in smaller conversations where her sharp wit and wry sense of humor were at play. For all her brilliance, it was her self-described goofiness that often shone through.
Every Christmas Eve, she would read aloud the gospel of Luke passage describing the birth of Christ. She never once got through it without tears streaming down her face. She was sensitive about the things that touched her deeply.
Her lifelong activism traces the history of her times. She was deeply affected by growing up in the Great Depression. “We weren’t poor: both my parents had jobs,” she’d say. But her grandparents, immigrants from Finland and Ireland had been.
By the time she was raising her children in wealthy surroundings, she was sensitized about the Great Disconnect between the poor and the rich. In the 1950s and 60s, she worked for civil rights and fair housing in Cedar Grove, NJ, and then again when she moved with the family to Connecticut in 1963.
She was Greenwich’s first female Democratic Town Chairperson when feminism was just becoming a household word. She taught religious education at St. Catherine of Siena Church in Riverside, where she was active in social justice efforts.
She joined local movements against the Vietnam War, gathering petition signatures at Tod’s Point and canvassing door-to-door. She continued to oppose each war the U.S. engaged in since.
At a time when women were still too rare in the professions, she went back to school and graduated Fordham Law School in 1976. She worked as an attorney in New York, Darien and Greenwich, first at Cummings & Lockwood and then in her own practice.
When her husband died, she continued as a volunteer at the Greenwich World Hunger Association, the organization he had helped to found and they had long supported.
She cared for her husband, her beloved Ennie (“Aunt Nan”) Krudener and mother-in-law Elizabeth (“Oma”) Lutz at the end of their lives. Each spent their final weeks in her house surrounded by prayer, love and comfort.
In 2014 she left Greenwich to move closer to family, who were beside her at the end.
Please send donations in lieu of flowers to Greenwich World Hunger Association, George and Carol Lutz Memorial Fund for social justice abroad, P.O. Box 7444, Greenwich, CT 06836.