Muriel (Cissie) Wakeman, 97, a longtime resident of Darien, died on April 29 at her home.
Born May 2, 1918, she was the daughter of Frank C. and Martha Swindells Evitts. She grew up in Stratford and attended the University of Connecticut at Storrs and the University of Bridgeport before earning an AA degree from Edgewood Park College in New York.
After college she worked as a journalist at The Fairfield News, where she met her husband, Norman Burr Wakeman. She later served as clerk of probate in Stratford.
Cissie and Norman were married in 1946, and after residing briefly in Fairfield, Conn., they lived in Texas for two years, in Dallas and in Houston. They moved to Darien in 1952, where they raised their three daughters.
Although Norman’s career took them to San Juan, Puerto Rico for 2 ½ years in the 1960s and to San Antonio, Texas for five years in the 1970s, they returned after each of these moves to their house in Darien, where Cissie continued to live for the rest of her life.
Cissie was an active volunteer in the community. She was a member of the Noroton Presbyterian Church (NPC) for 62 years, where she was involved in women’s groups and Prime Timers for seniors. Cissie volunteered at Waveny Care Center in New Canaan from 1999 until 2012.
She was also a long-time supporter and active member of the Darien Community Association, where she helped found the Book Group in the early 1980s. She held several positions within the Book Group, including chairwoman, and remained involved until well into her nineties. She was often called upon to handle publicity for NPC and the DCA newsletter, drawing on her writing/editing skills. She also volunteered for the Red Cross.
Cissie had a strong love of family. Some of her happiest moments were those spent with all her family around her, eating a well-prepared meal together or sharing stories on the back porch on a clear summer day.
One of Cissie’s oldest friends was Simone Baudoin from Caen, France. They became pen pals when both were in high school, where Cissie studied French while Simone studied English. They met in 1950 in Houston, Texas — the first of many wonderful times together both in the U.S. and in France. They remained dear friends throughout their lives.
Cissie loved to travel. She and her husband undertook many enjoyable trips after he retired in 1981. Their travels included countries in Europe, Canada and a trip across the U.S.
Cissie was fascinated by birds, and spent many pleasant moments using her bird guidebooks to identify the wide variety of birds frequenting her bird feeder and birdbath.
She also was a keen gardener, planting beds of colorful flowers in her front and back yards every spring.
She was predeceased by her husband, Norman, who died in 1998. She is survived by her three daughters, Martha-Jane Wakeman Proctor of New London, Robin Wakeman Salmans of Darien, and Wendy Evitts Wakeman of Madison; sons-in-law Robert E. Proctor and Charles G. Salmans; five grandchildren, Rebecca and Andrew Proctor, and Jonathan, Peter and Charlie Salmans; Jonathan’s wife, Jennifer Alfieri Salmans; and a sister, Ellen Beveridge of Bridgeport.
Funeral services will take place at 1 p.m., May 7 at Noroton Presbyterian Church in Darien, followed by a reception at the church.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Noroton Presbyterian Church, 2011 Post Road, P. O. Box 3401, Darien, CT 06820 or the Darien Community Association, 274 Middlesex Road, Darien, CT 06820.