Alma Louise Derway, 96, of Columbia CT, daughter of Charles Alois Rudolph Bruech and Louise Sophie Preissner Hart, passed away January 2, 2021. A graduate of Hartford Hospital School of Nursing RN program, Alma worked as a career nurse at Hartford Hospital for over 42 years. While supervising the Post Anesthesia Care Unit at Hartford Hospital, she initiated the American Society of Post Anesthesia Nurses (ASPAN) of Connecticut, an organization which she helped develop into a national organization. After retirement from Hartford Hospital, Alma continued to work part time at Windham Hospital in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit then returned as a volunteer to assist in the hospital gift shop.
Alma’s interests were varied and many. She was the secretary of the Columbia Lake Association, secretary of the Windham Theater Guild, where she was an occasional actor and assisted in fund raising for the newer Theater Guild now located on Main Street in Willimantic. An avid dancer, she was a member of the Lone Star Square Dance Club, the Windham Whirlers Square Dance Club as well as frequenting ballroom dances. She read extensively and liked to embrace new areas of learning and activity with enthusiasm, always challenging herself. It was a trait that served her well throughout her life, whether kayaking, fund raising or painting the church. At the age of 70, she bicycled 250 miles following the Danube River in Germany. Her hosting of festive gatherings at her lake house in Columbia were enjoyed by many. On retirement, she cared for her garden, learned water colors and avidly attended theater and UConn sporting events. Support of the arts and charitable organizations were important to her.
Alma, a loving wife, cared for her predeceased husbands Edward Benton Derway, succeeded by her second husband Marvin Graboff. As a mother, her example of kindness, gentle acceptance and belief in others goodness and abilities encouraged her children to succeed in life. She is survived by her six children: John Derway with wife Elizabeth and their daughters Amanda and Charlotte; Virginia Hoffman with husband Bruce and their daughters Stephanie Szymczak and husband Gregory, Rebecca Jolly with husband Nicholas and daughters Genevieve and Annabelle; Pamela Gigle with husband John and sons Maxwell and Brandt; Nancy Tabor with husband Walter; Gregory Derway; Harriet Derway with Art Padovano.
Our mother was a gracious, fun loving women, who possessed a strong intellect with a remarkable strength of character and will be missed always.
Alma’s services will be held at the convenience of her family and a memorial gathering will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Windham Theater Guild in Willimantic, CT. To sign an online guestbook please go to www.potterfuneralhome.com.
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