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Torrington -- Emma L. Byrne, 91, passed away peacefully and surrounded by her family on Sunday, January 28, 2018, after a brief illness. She was the wife of the late Robert W. Byrne.
Emma was born in Manhattan, NY, on May 4, 1926, daughter of Walter J. and Henrietta (Frank) Henning. She grew up in Montrose, NY before moving to Torrington in 1951 when Bob became employed at the Torrington Company. During WWII, she worked at Anaconda in Hastings, NY and later at National City Bank in Manhattan until her marriage in 1948.
After moving to Torrington, her neighbor Lena Ostrander introduced her to volleyball at the YMCA where she met Terry Kelly, and they and their husbands, Bill and Bob, became longtime friends. Through Terry, she also became friends with Bina and Bob Buzzi and Eunice and Doc Dilaurenzio. The four couples socialized and played cards monthly at each other’s homes for many years.
Emma’s joy was her family and friends and creating a welcoming home. There were many feasts around her table, especially during holidays and family celebrations, and more was always better. Those who came to these occasions looked forward to much to eat and a fun time.
Her true passion was her art, particularly working in oils and pastels as well as acrylic and watercolor. Starting in the early 1960s, she studied with teachers in both Connecticut and Massachusetts, including at the Northwest Connecticut Community College, and showed her work throughout the region in member and juried shows. At different times, Emma belonged to several art organizations including the Torrington Artist Association, the West Hartford Art League and the Kent Art Association, where she was proud to have won the Grumbacher Award in 1999 for a pastel titled “Blue Decanter” and a Members Award for Excellence in 2001. She was also associated for many years with a group of artists called The Rogues who worked at the 550 Gallery in Bethlehem and, more recently, the Ten-2-One Artists at the Crescent Gallery in Thomaston. A number of her paintings were included in a show by Ten-2-One at the State Capitol in Hartford. She enjoyed travelling to Cape Cod and other locations to sketch and paint and took great pleasure from the good friendships she had with her artist colleagues.
Emma is survived by sons, Robert Byrne and wife Lorraine of Warwick, RI, and Stephen Byrne and wife Jacqueline of Torrington; daughter, Penelope Byrne and husband Joseph Dante of Winchester Center; and numerous nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her grandson, Bryan C. Byrne; a sister, Ruth (Henning) Neff; and brothers, Harry and Walter Jr. (“Chub”) Henning.
Her family would like to thank the staff at Visiting Nurse Services, Valerie Manor and Charlotte Hungerford Hospital for their wonderful recent care.
A memorial gathering will be held on Saturday, February 24, 2018 at St. Peter Mausoleum, 236 East Pearl Road, Torrington at 11:00 AM. Burial in St. Peter Cemetery will be private at the convenience of the family. Gleeson-Ryan Funeral Home, 258 Prospect St., Torrington, is in care of arrangements
Memorial contributions may be made to the Fine Arts Connection of Thomaston – Art Department or Visiting Nurse Services of Connecticut.