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    Sunday, May 19, 2024

    Fundraising underway for memorial to beloved Stonington Borough resident

    In this undated photo, Gail Woodrow cuts out designs while volunteering for the children’s summer reading program at the Stonington Free Library. Photo courtesy of Stonington Free Library.

    Stonington ― An effort is underway in Stonington Borough to raise money for a memorial to honor Gail Woodrow, a beloved member of the village community.

    “Her passing leaves a huge void for those of us who called her our friend and in the telling of the Borough’s rich history,” said Mary Maranell, who is leading the fundraising effort.

    The estimated $2,000 memorial to Woodrow, who died in December at the age of 78, will be placed in Wadawanuck Square.

    Maranell said that when Woodrow died, many people in the community were saddened to learn her memorial services would be private. She said this memorial will offer the many local people who were touched by Woodrow a sense of closure as well as a place to leave a flower or visit.

    She said Woodrow attended the former Borough School, and every day after school she would meet her father, who worked at the American Velvet Mill, near a tree that used to stand at the corner of Main Street and High Street. He would then lift her up to the tree so she could climb it.

    When the tree was scheduled for removal several years ago due to disease, Woodrow advocated for saving it.

    “It made her sad to see it go, and of course, since it’s been taken down, they have planted another tree there. It’s still a sapling—there’s not much to it—but it’s actually by that little tree that we’re going to put the plaque,” Maranell said.

    Woodrow, who grew up on Temple Street, spent most of her life in the Borough where she walked several times a day for exercise, according to Tom Rezendes, owner of Tom’s News on Water Street.

    Rezendes said Woodrow, who often helped out at the newsstand, was a friendly, social woman who would always stop to chat with fellow community members and always had treats with her for the dogs she would come across.

    Woodrow also marveled at the wildlife in the seaside village.

    “She loved watching the local osprey, especially the one that would sit on the cross of St. Mary’s Church behind the library,” Micayla Hall, director of the Stonington Free Library, said on Friday.

    Hall said Woodrow was a frequent visitor to the library where she would read the newspaper, chat with library staff, share the local news, and volunteer to help with children’s programming, like the summer reading program.

    “Gail was a fixture around the borough and the library. We miss her dearly,” Hall said. “She touched the lives of countless children and families through her contributions.”

    Warden Michael Schefers said members of the Board of Warden and Burgesses voted to approve the memorial effort at their March meeting, and to collect the money for it, because Woodrow was so well known to longtime residents.

    “I think everybody was charmed by her,” Schefers said. “She was just a fixture in the borough.”

    Maranell said the fundraising goal for the 12-inch by 24-inch stone is $2,000. All donations and ideas for what should be engraved on the stone can be mailed to Borough of Stonington, P.O. Box 328, Stonington, CT, 06378.

    Checks for the memorial should be made payable to Borough of Stonington, with “Gail Woodrow Memorial” in the memo line. Any excess donations will be given to a memorial fund in the children’s room at the Stonington Free Library.

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