Cynthia Miller Oakes of Hamden died on October 10, 2021; she slept and in peace. Cynthia was the loving wife of Abner Oakes, who died before her in May. Born in Lewiston, ME, she was the daughter of Doris Eyre and Carlton Pierce Miller. She lived with Abner in Hamden for over 50 years.
She attended Melrose (MA) High School and graduated from Westbrook Junior (ME) College in 1954. She and Abner met at the Newagen Seaside Inn in Southport, ME, when she was working in Boothbay Harbor and Abner was stationed at Naval Air Station in Braunschweig. They married in February 1959.
She and Abner lived in Hanover, NH from 1960 to 1970, where she was involved in various community activities. In winter she was a ski instructor for the Ford Sayre ski program, often seen on the slopes in her long raccoon coat. When she and Abner moved to Hamden in 1970, she was moved by the untimely death of her younger brother Tony, a Navy pilot during the Vietnam War. To raise awareness of Prisoners of War and Missing Soldiers (POWs / MIAs), she used her role as Chair of the Veterans Committee of the Hamden Junior Women’s Club to influence the city to plant a freedom tree in a park across from Hamden City Hall to Prisoners of war and this MIA should be further highlighted.
Cynthia was an entrepreneur before the word became fashionable. In Hanover she had a huge garden and sent her sons through the neighborhood to sell zucchini and tomatoes from a Radio Flyer car. She and Abner bred and sold pocket beagles and when they moved to Hamden they had a litter of puppies and their mother in the back of the station wagon. In Hamden, she opened a craft store on Whitney Avenue, the Craft Fair, and had three ovens in the basement of her house to burn her clay creations. On the weekends, she and Abner sold their wares at craft fairs in New England.
Particularly special for Cynthia was her family time in Little Neck, a beach community in Ipswich, MA. Her father built a cottage there in the late 1940s, and she and her boys lived in or rented one in the cottage during the summers while her husband was working. She fished with her sons, pulled lobster pots, dug clams and swam in the cold Ipswich River.
Cynthia leaves behind three sons, Abner IV (Laura Jewett) of Bethesda, MD, Jeffrey (Margaret) of Manassas, VA, and David (Nancy) of North Haven; her sisters Susan Henry of North Conway, NH and Judith Ward of York, ME; seven grandchildren; and a great grandson.
Relatives and friends are invited to visit family on Friday, October 29, 9:00 am to 11:00 am at the Beecher and Bennett Funeral Home, 2300 Whitney Avenue, Hamden. The funeral will follow at 11:00 a.m. She is buried in Centerville Cemetery. Those interested in honoring Cynthia’s legacy can donate to the Dementia Society of America at https://www.dementiasociety.org/donate. To offer their condolences to their families, please visit www.beecherandbennett.com.
Published by The New Haven Register on October 14, 2021.