Welcome to the memorial page for

Evelyn M. Reynolds

January 12, 1920 ~ November 18, 2018 (age 98)

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American Legion Service
November 21, 2018

10:30 AM
Holy Trinity Orthodox Church
414 Valley St.
Willimantic, CT 06226

November 21, 2018

12:00 PM

Evelyn Martha Hart Coppola Reynolds reposed November 18, 2018 at her home in Manchester, CT.  She was born January 12, 1920 in Quaker Hill, CT the daughter of Naval Lt Cmdr John Hart and Hannah Clarke Hart.

         She attended Quaker Hill Elementary School and lived on Harrison's Landing on the Thames River. Her family moved to Portsmouth, NH, then California, returned to Quaker Hill and then moved to New Jersey where she graduated from high school and returned again to Quaker Hill.  After taking post-graduate classes at The Williams School in New London, she attended Houghton College before taking training to be a Medical Laboratory Technician in Philadelphia.  She worked at the Lawrence and Memorial Hospitals in New London where she met pharmacist Eugene E. Coppol, to whom she was married for 45 years.

         Following World War II, Evelyn applied to the war department and was granted permission to be part of the first ship load of military dependents joining their husbands in Japan where they served with the army of occupation.  She drove alone from CT to the west coast so that she could bring their car with her.  Upon arrival in Japan she set up house in the Quonset huts that had been erected for the purpose. While in Japan their first two children, Norman and Dale, were born.  As a young mother she did not have the support and guidance of her mother and relied on the pamphlets that were published by the US Department of Health.  They joined the GI Gospel Hour group and met missionaries from the Sudan Interior Mission who were researching the possibility of opening missions in the far East. The plans for those missions were not developed but there was a need for medical personnel in Africa as the countries opened up again after the war. They became medical missionaries and served in Nigeria and Ethiopia for 15 years.  Their third child, Janice, was born during their first tour in Nigeria. While her children were toddlers Evelyn established a day care for the missionary children so that she would not have to leave her children in uncertain hands.  That day care continues to function to this day. Under their guidance central pharmacies in Nigeria and Ethiopia were established to provide medical supplies to the dispensaries, clinics and hospitals located on the mission stations throughout the country.  Upon their return to the US in 1965 they owned and operated Court Drug in New London, CT until Gene’s retirement in 1989. 

         In 1975 they purchased a small subsistence farm in Brooklyn, CT.  Stetson Woods Farm served as the family seat providing a home over the years to the senior Coppola’s, the Parker’s and the Reeves’.  The family gathered there for all manner of celebrations and the young cousins all spent time together there as they grew up.  Evelyn took in foster children for many years and they too reaped the benefits of country living.  She went on to work as a parent aid for several years assisting young mothers in navigating the social service system to get the help they needed.  She often took college classes at Quinabaug Valley Community College and UConn.  One foster son remarked to his teacher that his foster mom “even goes to school when she doesn’t have to!” Evelyn has expressed that she wants to be remembered as “a friend to children.”

        After Gene's death in 1991 she married Sam Reynolds, who reposed in 1994.

        When she was eighty years old, Evelyn found her home in the Eastern Orthodox Church and was much beloved as a parishioner both at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Church in East Syracuse, NY, and at Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Willimantic, CT.

         Evelyn lived her final years with her daughter Dale, great-granddaughter Kaitlin and great-great-grandsons Ryan and Andrew.  She took pleasure in watching the boys. Ryan would come into her room to read books, play with his cars, sing to her or just chat, sometimes they would have lunch together.  She liked to have baby Andrew brought over to her so she could look at him or reach out to touch and pat him.  From her bed she could look out the window and keep an eye on the neighbors and the weather and she could also keep a close eye on all the comings and goings in the kitchen. She was lovingly cared for by her PCA’s  Tonya and Moemoe King who made it possible for her to remain at home through her final days.  She said many times that she did not want to live to be 100 and remarked one Fall that she just wanted to see the leaves change then she was ready to go. Well, the leaves changed a few more times and this year she looked out her window at a glorious riot of color.

         She is predeceased by her parents, her brothers Robert and William Hart, her husbands, Gene Coppola and Sam Reynolds, her son-in-law Frank Reeves and great-granddaughter Johannah Rose Reeves. She is survived by her sister Joan Weigle.  She was the matriarch of an extensive family including her son Norman and his wife Judith-Anne Coppola of Fabius, NY and their children Joann and Lisa, Caleb and Sara, Tabitha and Phil Buffery, Nathaniel and Mary, and Hilary Anne. Daughters Dale Jean Reeves of Manchester, CT and her children Jim and Tiffany Reevior and Shannah Reeves and Janice Parker of Farmington, NH  and her children John Chris, Jenny, Reuben and Amy, and Andfew and Katie.  She has twenty-five great grandchildren Kaitlin, Dre, Owen, Kim, Daniel, Hollis, Willow, Johannah, Olivia, Mikaya, Isabella, Victoria, Landon, Calum, Elijah, Atticus, Elizabeth,  Nevin, Georgia, Noah, Xenia, Luka, Levi, Isabel, and Rosalie, and great-great grandsons Ryan and Andrew.  She also leaves behind many cousins and nieces and nephews.

          Memorial donations may be made to Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Willimantic, CT or to Saint Tabitha's House a Greek Orthodox orphanage in the Kibera slums of Kenya. Https://sainttabithahouse.wordpress.com/page 

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