Susan Elizabeth Moore Hart quietly departed her life on the morning of September 18. She was 104.
She was born on August 11, 1917, in Southington, the youngest daughter of Daisy Ackart and Charles Martin Moore.
Having skipped a grade in elementary school, she graduated as valedictorian of her high school class. Though this was the end of her formal education, she never stopped learning.
She was an avid reader, but she was not a recluse, seeking to learn from every encounter she had with family, friends and strangers. Books, though, were definitely an important element of her life and she fed her imagination through her extensive reading, (at one point she had subscriptions to over 30 periodicals).
Her intellectual interests were broad, though music, literature and nature were at the top of the list. She began each day with the New York Times crossword puzzle, which she would finish in record time, usually before her daughters left for school.
No account of her life would be complete without describing her love for and fascination with nature. She spent her early years on a farm where she grew to love the seasons, the plants and most of all the animals.
For many years she recorded her observations in small journals. Until she moved, at age 87, to her final home she always had at least one pet. Cats were her favorites, but we also had two Shelties and a bird.
She also loved wildlife and though she cherished her cats, she rescued any chipmunks, mice or baby squirrels that they caught. Her love of birds provided her husband with a lifelong challenge, trying to defeat the squirrels that attacked her feeders.
Following graduation, Susan moved to Hartford, where she worked for the Phoenix Life Insurance Company. Here she met the man, Orson H. Hart Jr., who would become her husband and best friend. They called each other “chum” a nickname that expressed their deep attachment to each other.
On Valentine’s Day, 1942, they were married in Washington, D.C. Following the war, they returned to Connecticut, establishing homes first in Darien and then in New Canaan, where they raised their two daughters.
Being a mother, grandmother and great grandmother, was a role Susan cherished but once her daughters were in school, being a housewife did not provide enough stimulation. She started as a volunteer with the local Red Cross Blood drive, eventually become Chairman of the drive and finally Chairman of the chapter in New Canaan.
Her service with the Red Cross led to her appointment to the local Board of Welfare. Following her “retirement” from the Red Cross, she volunteered with the New Canaan Historical Society.
In the late 1960s Susan and Orson purchased property on the Cape and for the next twenty years they entertained themselves, building a second home. They called this their “third child.” They cherished their home on the Cape and the hours they spent there, but it also gave them great pleasure to loan it to family and friends.
Susan made friends in every chapter of her life, and was the kind of person with whom people always felt at ease, whether they knew her or not. As a little girl, one of her daughters never understood why there had to be such long conversations with grocery clerks ‘when we didn’t even know them,’ but was always told that if the grocery clerk needed to talk, then the least Mom could do was listen.
Her family is particularly grateful to the staff at the Cascades, an assisted living facility in Bethel, where she lived for the last 17 years of her life. They not only took excellent care of her, they were her friends.
In addition to the staff, we must mention one other person, Nana Annoh. In February 2020, Nana became Susan’s 24/7 aide. This is a significant commitment under normal circumstances, but quickly became surreal when the Cascades entered lockdown due to the Covid Pandemic. Isolated together in two rooms, Nana not only took excellent care of Susan, she provided companionship and stimulation. Nana is a Pandemic hero.
In addition to her husband, she is predeceased by her three sisters, Charlotte Rowe, Adelaide Butler, Doris Moore and her nephew Lawrence Smith. She is survived by her two daughters, Katherine Hart (William Uricchio) and Sarah Tornow, two nieces, Barbara Went (Joe), and Eleanor Patterson (George), four grandchildren, Christopher Tornow (Adina), Nicole Yarrish (Adam), Lawrence Uricchio (Zina Deldar) and Phoebe Uricchio (Michael Gilliam) plus five great grandchildren in addition to many great nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 16 at the Hull Funeral Home, 60 Division St., Danbury. The family will receive friends preceding the service from 10:30 to 11 a.m. Burial will be private.
— an obituary from Hull Funeral Home, where online condolences may be left