Obituary of Madeleine Sweet (1924 – 2021) – Hartford, CT
Madeleine Booth Sweet, of Simsbury, Connecticut and Falmouth, Maine, died of a brief illness on July 30, 2021. Born Madeleine Tasker Polk Booth on October 6, 1924 in Harrisburg, Pa., She was the fifth of six children born to ‘Anna. Peck and Samuel Booth. Her family moved to Burlington, Vermont soon after her birth, where her father was consecrated Episcopal Bishop of Vermont in February 1925. Maddy often remembered times from her idyllic childhood on the shores of Lake Champlain where she and her siblings were homeschooled by their mother. It was also around this time that she began a long-standing love affair with travel. When Bishop Booth was able to take a sabbatical in Florence, Italy, in December 1934, she traveled by steamboat to Europe with two of her siblings and their mother. Although their stay in Florence only lasted six months, her memories of attending the convent school and wandering the streets of Florence were vivid! She lived in Vermont until 1936, then graduated from high school at the National Cathedral School in Washington DC. She graduated from Radcliffe College in 1946 and majored in English. In 1941, she was introduced to Russell Prescott Sweet by a mutual friend. They really “fell in love at first sight”. Sadly, World War II intervened, and while Russ served in the Pacific Theater in the Navy, Maddy wrote him a love letter every day. The resulting marriage, in November 1946, lasted nearly seventy years, until Russell’s death in 2016. They settled in Simsbury, Connecticut in 1953 to raise their family where she became a woman in home and mother. She was passionate about organic gardening, cook and dressmaker, as well as an ardent environmentalist, lover of wildlife and nature. A passion that she instilled in all her children and grandchildren. In the 1960s, after reading Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, Maddy was instrumental in banning the aerial spraying of pesticides in Simsbury. She has always made her own bread and soups from scratch, and has spent many hours knitting beautifully detailed sweaters for her growing family. She and Russ were founding members of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Simsbury, where they sang in the choir, conducted church fairs, served in the sacristy, and where their sons became acolytes. She volunteered for many years at McLean Home in Simsbury. In addition, she launched an agency to connect high school students with employers, the Youth Employment Service. Maddy and Russ have traveled extensively in Europe, Italy, Turkey, the Caribbean and Asia, where she was able to indulge her passion for other ancient cultures and civilizations. Active in the women’s golf league for years, she had many quick friends. Sailing the New England coast on their sailboat has also occupied many happy summer seasons. She had a sharp wit and great intelligence, and will be remembered, among other things, for her dedication to the Sunday NY Times crossword puzzles and her liberal views on politics. Gifted with a winning smile, Maddy loved her husband, her kitchen, her cats and her babies, whether they were her own or someone else’s. She took advantage of the warm moments of family life by forging a unique bond with all of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren who will be missed beyond measure. She is survived by her six children: Russ, of Naples, Maine, Julian, of Owls Head, Maine, Tim, of Spokane, Washington, Curt, of South Portland, Maine, Jon of Savannah, Georgia and Eliza, of St. Hélène, California, plus ten grandchildren and eight great grandchildren, as well as numerous nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be held in his honor at St Alban’s Church in Simsbury, Connecticut, at 1 p.m. on October 10. Donations in memory of Madeleine can be made to: The Animal Welfare Society of Maine PO Box 43 West Kennebunk, ME 04094.
Posted by Hartford Courant on September 12, 2021.