Elizabeth W. Chilton, 81, Active in Historical Society, Nature Center

The deceased was an accomplished artist who will be remembered by many for her love of plants and horticulture.


[Editor’s Note: The following obituary information is provided by Hoyt Funeral Home in the New Canaan business’s obituaries section.]

Elizabeth W. Chilton, 81 of New Canaan, died Tuesday, February 26th at her home after a long illness. She was an active member of the community, with her involvement with the New Canaan Historical Society, New Canaan Nature Center, the Herb Society of America/New York, Monday Morning Crafters and the Encore Group.

Liz graduated from St. Lawrence Academy and Hunter College in New York City. She retired in 1999 after a long career with Pitney Bowes as a Senior Technical Writer.

Liz was active in historical preservation, the arts and horticulture throughout her life. In 1970 while living in Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey she and a group of four other women formed the Friends of the Hermitage to save from the wrecking ball the Hermitage which is one of the most important mid 1700’s houses in New Jersey.

Formerly owned by Theodosia Barton Prevost, who later married Aaron Burr, it served as a strategic headquarters for General George Washington during the Revolutionary War. Later, it was a half way houses for the abolitionist movement to protect and relocate slaves during the Civil War. Designated a National Historic Landmark for the excellence of its Gothic Revival Architecture, today it serves as one of New Jersey’s most important historical houses and New Jersey’s first National Historic Landmark.

In addition, Liz served as Co-Chairman of Bergen County, New Jersey’s 1976 Bicentennial Celebration Committee.

Liz was an accomplished artist who often went on month-long artist retreats to learn and master the techniques of reverse painting on glass, painting on silk and theorem painting. An avid traveler, Liz adventured to Russia, China and Egypt during the 1970’s and 1980’s before it was fashionable. She will be remembered for her many passions which included her encyclopedic knowledge of plants and horticulture. Horticulture and her extensive gardens were her pride and joy. Her laid back and humble knowledge enabled all that knew her to share and learn from her pursuits.

She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law Cindy and Bob Leonard of Wilton, Connecticut, her son and daughter-in-law Richard and Maureen Chilton Jr. of Darien, Connecticut, her son Christopher Chilton of Virginia Beach, Virginia, and her son Randall Chilton of Chicago, Illinois, her former husband Richard L. Chilton Sr. of New Canaan and Naples, Florida, and her sister, Joanne Walker Moses of Albany, Georgia, as well as seven granddaughters and two grandsons.

A memorial celebration of her life will be held in May at her garden in New Canaan to honor Liz. Donations may be contributed to the New Canaan Historical Society.


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