Florence Karp Rakusin passed away at St. Rafael’s Hospital on Monday, October 14, two months before her 100th birthday. Florence was a longtime resident of Evergreen Woods in North Branford, where her engaging smile, views about a wide variety of subjects, and independent nature made her a well-known presence in the community. She served on the music and film committees, participated in the Bible Study Group and Poetry Club, and helped the dining service expand its menu for gluten and lactose free choices. She was passionate and outspoken about injustice and women’s rights. She was born a feminist, often speaking out against the inequalities in our society. She was a board member and Treasurer of the Yale U. Women’s Organization in the 70s, helping women to begin new careers. She successfully lobbied Congress to pass the 1983 Civil Service Retirement Spouse Equity Act providing continuation of spousal benefits after a divorce. She was an early and often supporter of Planned Parenthood and also a Peabody Museum volunteer for many years. She also had a passion for music, especially choral works. She sang in the Branford Chorus and served on the board of the Association of Conn. Choruses for almost 20 years, much of this time as Treasurer and Membership Chair. She was a scrupulous money manager for both herself and others, balancing her checkbook her entire life. Her third and greatest passion was her daughter Ellen and her husband John and grandson Jeremy and recently his wife Danieli. She loved proverbial sayings such as from her father “My children are my investments and my grandchildren are my dividends.” Her recent favorite was “Que sera, sera”. Florence was born in Hartford on Dec. 18, 1919 to Max and Sonia Karp. She grew up in West Hartford with two siblings who predeceased her: Jules and Mildred, while her third, Fay, lives in Florida married to Sam Kaplan. She graduated from U. Conn. in 1941 with a degree in Biology and worked during WW2 as a bacteriologist for the Conn. Bureau of Health. She was married to John Moses Rakusin from 1946 to 1976, living in State College, Pa., Perry Point, Md. and then Hamden for 55 years.
Interment will be in the Fairview Cemetery in West Hartford Friday Oct. 18 at 1:30. Donations may be made in her memory to Planned Parenthood or the Carter Center. To sign the online guestbook please visit hawleylincolnmemorial.com.
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