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Obituary of Janice (Colton) Ellison
Janice (Colton) Ellison was born May 24th 1932, to Ralph E. Colton and Janette Buchanan Colton in Burlington, VT, and grew up in Waterbury, VT. She moved to East Hartford where her father worked at Pratt-Whitney. She survived the Hartford Circus Fire of 1944 at age 12 where she recounted her father’s perceptive calm as he held her hand to wait out the panic thereby saving them from getting caught in the deadly melee. After graduating from East Hartford High School, she went on to earn a B.S. in education from Willimantic State Teachers College (Eastern Connecticut State University), where she was a member of the National Honor Society and where she also met her husband of 65 years, Carl Ellison. Jan proudly taught elementary school for 44 years at Woodland School in East Hartford, Flanders/East Lyme Elementary, Essex Elementary and the Country School in Madison, teaching in a variety of classes and ages. She also sang in the First Congregational Church of Essex Choir. Jan’s favorite grade to teach was 2nd because of the intellectual blossoming of the children. She considered teaching to be a dignified honor, and forever impressed upon her sons the value of education (to which they did not always listen). She enthusiastically taught second graders until the age of 70 and would have gladly carried on longer were it not for her illness. According to a teaching colleague of 22 years, “never did I hear Jan raise her voice, speak sharply or even punish a child. A teacher must manage more than twenty different personalities, and Jan did it effortlessly. She inspired children to believe they could do or accomplish anything. Many can teach, but not everyone can decipher how their teaching is received and adjust accordingly. Jan was kind, had a tremendous sense of humor and was a fabulous teacher.” One of the highlights of her life was a trip to Europe to discover family in the UK and road-tripping across the Netherlands, Switzerland and France with Carl and their two young children, Todd and Tom. She also loved summer beach days walking the Connecticut shoreline looking for sea glass. Always up for chatting and socializing, Jan never met a glass of white wine (with one ice cube) or a dessert she didn’t like. In addition to her love of teaching and delight in singing, she was an avid quilter and met weekly for many years with like-minded friends. Always intellectually curious, politically opinionated and informed, she frequently read up to three books at a time to satisfy her curiosities. Jan died July 5th 2020 peacefully at home surrounded by her family after prolonged non-COVID illness. She is survived by her husband, Carl, her sons, Todd and his partner, Gavin and his children, Ellison & Colton, and her son Tom and wife Trish and his children Drew and Ryan. A private graveside service will be held at a later date. Special thanks go out to Visiting Nurses Association Community Health Care & Hospice (VNA) and the tremendous comfort provided by the nurses and aides to Janice. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating in Jan’s name to the Ivoryton Library Association’s 150th anniversary fundraising drive, Ivoryton Library P.O. Box 515 Ivoryton, CT 06442. To share a memory of Jan or send a condolence to her family please visit www.rwwfh.com Arrangements are in the care of the Robinson, Wright & Weymer Funeral Home in Centerbook.
A graveside service will be privately held by the Ellison family.