Anna Coit's legacy

Southeastern Connecticut is rich in history made more vibrant by those who witnessed it, wrote about it and spent lifetimes celebrating it.

Anna Coit of North Stonington, who passed away at age 106 on Oct. 15, managed to accomplish all three.

As Day Staff Writer Ann Baldelli reports in today's edition, Miss Coit - an editor, author, environmentalist, historian, poet, farmer and teacher - lived an extraordinarily full and rewarding life that reflected her passion for land conservation, simplicity, education and, above all, generosity.

Her will provided thoughtful bequests not only to favorite charities - Mrs. Coit left most of her beloved Denison Hill Road tree farm, where she grew spruces and firs right up to the time of her death, to the Avalonia Land Conservancy, which she helped found - but also to the many people she befriended while growing up and living in a small, rural community. One longtime friend was willed $2,000 to buy a new hearing aid. Mrs. Coit (everyone knew her simply as "Anna"), a Vassar College graduate and the first woman writer at Time magazine, made additional bequests to the North Stonington Historical Society, which she also founded, and to the Westerly Monthly Meeting of Friends, with whom she shared Quaker beliefs.

"To the very end, she was faithful to those things that she believed in, and they were all good causes," said will co-executor and friend Frank Eppinger.

Mrs. Coit even left her body for research to the Yale School of Medicine - and made sure she spent the final year of her life at a Mystic convalescent home rather than one across the border in Westerly after learning that Yale wouldn't accept the body of a person who died out of state.

The Westerly Monthly Meeting of Friends will conduct a memorial service honoring Mrs. Coit at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Wheeler Library in North Stonington, with a reception to follow at the North Stonington Congregational Church.

Though Mrs. Coit probably wouldn't want such a fuss made over her, we believe it would please her to have so many friends gather together.

The editorial board is composed of the publisher and four journalists of varied editing and reporting backgrounds. The board's discussions and information gained from its meetings with political, civic, and business leaders drive the institutional voice of The Day, as expressed in its editorials. The editorial department operates separately from the newsroom.

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