NAUGATUCK — Judge Cara F. Eschuk, 68, died peacefully on Saturday night, April 11, 2020, at her home in Naugatuck following an arduous battle with cancer.
Cara was born in Nicosia, Cyprus, on June 6, 1951, the daughter of the late Hanbury Dawson Shepherd, O.B.E., and Mary (Bowyer) Dawson Shepherd. At age 12, she returned to England and she subsequently graduated from the University of Wales at Aberystwyth in 1972 with a degree in law. She entered the British legal system as a practicing attorney and was enjoying a burgeoning legal career in Oxford, England, in the early 1980s when she met her future husband, Paul, then serving as a judge advocate at a nearby U.S. airbase. She often jokingly referred to herself as “Paul’s service souvenir.”
They were married on June 30, 1984, at St. Martha’s-on-the-Hill in Surrey, England, and on July 5, 1984, Cara arrived in the United States. Being required to have a U.S. law degree to practice law in Connecticut, Cara entered the University of Connecticut School of Law in September 1984. She graduated from UConn in May 1986 and went to work at the firm of Carmody & Torrance in Waterbury. Criminal law was her first love, however, and in December of 1988 she joined the State’s Attorney’s Office in Waterbury.
Cara quickly specialized in the prosecution of child abuse, and her intelligence, skill and empathy made her one of the state’s leading trial prosecutors for this difficult field. She attended and later taught classes on the subject at the National Advocacy Center in South Carolina.
In 2003, continuing her work with children, she became supervising attorney at the Waterbury Juvenile Court State’s Attorney’s Office until March of 2008 when she was appointed a superior court judge by Governor M. Jodi Rell. Until her final illness in February, Cara continued to serve the people of Connecticut as a highly-respected jurist.
Left behind to cherish the memory of this remarkable woman are her husband of 35 years, Paul; her daughter, attorney Mary Eschuk and husband, Andrew DeSimone, as well as her beloved granddaughter, Samara, whose arrival last June gave her such great joy; her son, Michael Eschuk, whose progress in overcoming his disabilities was another source of happiness for her; her sister-in-law and her husband, Ruth and Don Delagrange, whose constant love and assistance to Cara’s family was never more evident than in her final illness; longtime dear friend and Michael’s caretaker, Merrilee Chrzanowski, without whose assistance with Michael Cara’s career may have been impossible; her loving sister, Christine Slater and her husband, John; her equally loving brother, Alec Dawson Shepherd, all of Chilworth, England; as well as several nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her parents, as well as a brother, John Dawson Shepherd.
A memorial service will be announced at a later date. Arrangements have been entrusted to the Buckmiller Thurston Mengacci Funeral Home, 82 Fairview Ave., Naugatuck.
Donations may be made to: Autism Society of America, 6110 Executive Boulevard, Suite 305, Rockville, MD 20852.
To leave an online condolence, visit www.buckmillerthurstonmengacci.com.