Barbara Anne (Happy) Phelan


MIDDLEBURY — Barbara Anne (Happy) Phelan, 76, passed away suddenly on Dec. 11, 2021, at her home in Middlebury. She was the wife of Gregory J. Phelan Jr. for 55 years. They both have been Middlebury residents for the last 54 years and were both communicants of St. John of the Cross Church.

Barbara was born on April 4, 1945, in Waterbury. She was the daughter of the late Joseph S. Happy and Ann B. (Lisiewski) (Happy) Lytle. She was raised in Naugatuck, attended St. Francis Grammar School, and later graduated from Naugatuck High School in 1963.

Her first job, aside from being a world-class babysitter, was at Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, doing intake work. Her second job was as a Dental and Business Assistant to Dr. Roy Skerik, DDS. Her final occupation was as Administrative Secretary for the Waterbury

Extended Care Facility, in Watertown, where she worked for many years, until her retirement at age 50. She then enjoyed helping her daughter take care of her first child, often claiming that it was her most “rewarding” job yet.

Barbara was a member of the National Honor Society, an Honor Roll student, and a member of the Better Business Club, The Young Historians, Pep Club, and the Junior Red Cross. She was a poetry contest winner, and a member of both her High School Choir and later, the choir at St. John of the Cross Church. As a young adult, she was a member of the Kollege Kapers Group in Naugatuck and put on many musical variety shows. She performed at the 1965 World’s Fair in New York.

Barbara had many interests during her lifetime. She enjoyed sewing, decorating, crafting, cooking, reading, and being in nature. She enjoyed spending time vacationing in New Hampshire, The Berkshires, Maine, and Old Saybrook, Conn. But the things she enjoyed most were helping and spending time with her family and friends.

She is survived by her husband, Gregory J. Phelan Jr., and her only daughter, Jennifer (Phelan) Zawacki. She is also survived by her sisters, Judith A. (Happy) Griesbach (Edgar), and Loretta (Lytle) Potz; her sisters-in-law, Donna (Phelan) Cleary, Elizabeth (Phelan) Frank (Steve), and Ursula (Rossi) Happy. Barbara leaves behind two adoring grandsons: Connor Patrick Mahoney of Middlebury, and Jack Augustus Zawacki of Oakville. She leaves behind many caring and loving cousins, nieces, nephews, and grand nieces and nephews. Lastly, she leaves behind her two lifelong best friends, “The Three Musketeers,” Sandi (Bunce) Longo, and Patricia (Butkus) Bedell.

Services will be delayed, and be in the Spring of 2022, due to the Coronavirus Epidemic.

Notification of upcoming funeral mass, burial, etc., will be posted in the newspaper, closer to the springtime. We look forward to gathering together, in her name, when it is safer for those Barbara loved to do so.

Memorial donations, in lieu of flowers, can be made to some of Barbara’s favorite charities, CT Food Bank, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, The ASPCA, and The American Heart Association.

My mother never said a bad word about anyone, and helped all beyond her means, as a rule. She never complained through any of her illnesses, and instead tried to focus on the positive, in all situations. She was a healer and a confidant. She loved and protected, fiercely. Her faith was a strong one. She put others above herself. Her soul was a beautiful one, and she will be greatly missed, and never forgotten.

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