Sheila Joan (Moreau) Traphagen, 89, passed away peacefully surrounded by her family on February 6, 2023 at the Center for Extended Care in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Sheila was born in Hartford, Connecticut to Mary Ellen "May" (Kelly) Moreau and Philip Ovid Moreau. She grew up in the South End of Hartford with her parents and brother Philip. She graduated from Mount St. Joseph Academy in 1950, earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from St. Joseph's College (now University) in 1954 and a Master's in Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Sheila worked as a Visiting Nurse in Boston and Hartford. She met the love of her life, William Chenoweth Traphagen, in the Catholic Graduates Club. They married in August 1963 at the Hartford Cathedral.
Sheila and Bill settled in Glastonbury, Connecticut, where their five daughters were born. Her life was full, raising her daughters and managing the household, working overnights at a nursing home for a time, attending and hosting often raucous Bridge Group gatherings, always welcoming the pack of children that roamed April Drive into the house, volunteering with St. Paul's parish, and hosting holidays and birthdays with her parents and in-laws. The family moved to Tequesta, Florida when Bill was transferred in 1977. Truth be told, Sheila never adjusted to the Florida weather, as she loved winter and missed the snow and change in seasons. However, she built a beautiful life in Tequesta, with close friends in the Wednesday Sewing Club, Fairview East neighbors, volunteering, and working as a teacher's aide at Jupiter Elementary, all while being a steady, loving, firm mom as her daughters grew up and of course living her love story with Bill.
They retired in 1997 and embarked on an epic tour of the UK and Ireland before settling in Bourne, MA. Sheila loved being back in New England. She celebrated and helped with the arrival of each of her 11 grandchildren and hosted the family for countless birthday and holiday celebrations. Sheila and Bill later moved to Westwood, MA. During their retirement years, they traveled extensively. Sheila was a champion traveler, with high tea in London perhaps her favorite experience, but always ready for any adventure.
Sheila loved drinking tea and reading and doing crosswords late into the night. She loved walking the beach at Old Lyme Shores in CT, Carlin Park in Jupiter and Scusset in Massachusetts. She had a killer dry wit and baked the best apple and mince pies and cranberry bread. She was fiercely smart, accepting of everyone, had a beautiful gentle smile and a twinkle in her eye. Sheila was a loyal person with many of her friendships lasting a lifetime.
Sheila is survived by her husband Bill of 59 years, their five daughters and their families: Mary Frances and Matt Day - Price, Will, Cormac and Gretchen; Kathleen and Khalid Elkalai - Zaim, Layla and Sahar; Sheila and former spouse Eoin Shannon - Parker and Declan; Elizabeth and the late Edward Vamenta - Adeline and Jude; and Ann and Justin Heitmann and his daughter Thea. Sheila is also survived by her brother Philip, his wife Carole and their family. Sheila was a devoted and loving wife, mother, aunt, grandmother, sister, cousin and friend to all.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend Visiting Hours at Holden-Dunn-Lawler Funeral Home, 55 High Rock St, Westwood, MA on February 15th from 9:00-10:30 AM. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 AM Wednesday, February 15th at St. Margaret Mary Parish in Westwood, MA, followed by a luncheon at The Chateau in Norwood, MA. Interment at the Massachusetts National Cemetery, Bourne, MA. In lieu of flowers or gifts, please consider a donation to the Alzheimer's Association or the Center for Extended Care at Amherst, 150 University Drive, Amherst MA.