A view from Glen Hill — Win Kellogg: her legacy lives on

Wilton suffered a great loss when Win Kellogg died two weeks ago at the far-too-young age of 69.

Win was a visionary of the best sort who also always brought great judgment and refreshing insight to whatever she undertook: in volunteer leadership in education, in the A Better Chance program, in her Bosom Buddies breast cancer support group, in her parish of St. Matthew’s, and in care for others in all circumstances. As but one example of her work in education, the magnificent Clune Center auditorium reflects some of the effort that Win and her husband, Spen, devoted to seeing that a vision for the elevation of the arts in the Wilton Schools’ experience would be fulfilled.

Win also had an engaging and delightful wit. Until a month before her death, she continued her long-standing practice of filling the mornings of the many on her email list with humor of all sorts. How Win found all of this great material none of us fortunate recipients could even begin to guess, but it would offer an enlivening respite from the never-ending onslaught of ordinary email traffic.

As Win lay dying in Denver, Dodo Roberts gathered memories from several dozen of Win’s many friends in Wilton into a booklet that she sent to the Kellogg family. Here are just a few of those many memories:

“Through Bosom Buddies, Win ‘outed’ cancer in Wilton and gave so many a wonderful forum for getting together, talking, and sharing. Her handling of her own diagnosis back then was so typically Win — we all should learn from it.” “Win turned ‘lemon into lemonade’ by forming Bosom Buddies. When someone was diagnosed with breast cancer, Win would take that person under her wing with her firm but gentle hand that was always there to help. She never tired of doing whatever was needed to make someone’s life better.” “I came to Win when my sister had breast cancer, and she gave me sage and uplifting advice on how to look at the big picture and to be of help to her as she was going through her trials.”

“Win and her husband Spen volunteered to be host parents the first year Wilton opened an ABC boy’s house. We loved seeing their ABC Scholar in church each week and watching him grow from a teenager to a very accomplished young man.” “Win became a mentor to me as I became more and more involved with ABC. She was one of the warmest, kindest and most generous people I’ve ever known. Her patience was unending and her calm prevailed in all situations. She was the most down to earth, real, and genuinely caring person I’ve ever met!”

“Win was such a rock for so many people here in Wilton. I would hear about how she had helped someone with her care and reassurance. Her insights were always spot on and usually expressed with a style of humor all her own.” “Win brought dinner to our house after our child with Down Syndrome was born. She was a balm to my fearful, trying-hard-to-be-brave-ness. I have never forgotten her calm, peace, strength, and affirmation.” “When my husband was terminally ill, Win was wonderful to our whole family. On several occasions, she miraculously appeared at our doorstep with full, home-cooked dinners for the whole family. Her emails have assured me of my daily dose of chuckles — even on ‘unchuckly’ days!”

“Win asked three of us who had lost adult sons within the preceding year for coffee, or lunch, or whatever. So we met, and although things remained formal in the way they do when you know you’ll be asked to tell how you’re doing, how the family’s doing, and so forth, they could not stay somber with Win. The world was cheated of a priest/confessor when she decided to live in the workaday world.”

“I was introduced to Win as the most important person in town who would help me find meaningful volunteer work. I was slightly terrified to meet such a person, but quickly came to love Win’s wicked sense of humor, genuine warmth and lack of pretension, and generous heart. Everything good that has happened to us in Wilton — our friendships, our community involvement, our love for this town — flowed from that magical day when Win came into our lives.”

There are more than a few who can affirm the same thing. Win Kellogg will be sorely missed, but her rich legacy very much lives on.

Mr. Hudspeth lives on Glen Hill Road.