Isabelle Therese Kenny Carlin was born on September 30, 1931 in Waterbury, CT., to Laurence Ambrose and Germaine Therese (Hevey) Kenny at St. Mary’s Hospital. Belle was predeceased by her husband, of fifty-two years of marriage, Joseph Patrick Carlin. On Holy Thursday, March 29, 2018, Belle succumbed peacefully at home, surrounded by loving family. She was 86 years young and still a beautiful person.
Belle attended kindergarten to sixth grade at St. Peter and Paul Grammar School, and finished seventh and eighth grades at St. Margaret Grammar School, in Waterbury, CT. In 1949, Belle graduated from Crosby High School in Waterbury, CT., was voted Vice-President and Best Looking, and was Captain of the Cheerleader Team. She attended UCONN at Storrs, and spent two years at Maryknoll in Ossining, NY. She attended Southern CT College, worked evenings at Grace New Haven Hospital, and later in the Trust Department at the Second National Bank of New Haven, CT.
In 1955, Belle married her husband, Joseph, while he was serving in the Army, stationed in Puerto Rico. She raised seven children, and obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from Charter Oak State College in New Britain, CT. Throughout her years of raising a family, she volunteered for St. Francis of Xavier Grammar School in Waterbury, CT., and organized Crosby High School class reunion events. Belle worked for the Howland Hughes Department Store, and retired from the City of Waterbury Reading Department in Waterbury, CT.
In her retirement, Belle volunteered at St. Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury, CT., as a typist, at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Litchfield, CT., as a CCD teacher, and at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception Church in Waterbury, CT., as a Perpetual Adoration Chapel volunteer. As a parent, and grandparent, Belle was available to her family at all times, and was available as a sitter for all of her grandchildren.
Belle was a devoted and dedicated wife, to her husband Joseph. She was a caring and loving mother and grandmother. She entertained the entire family and in-laws for Sundays and holidays. She did all the cooking herself, and served everyone, whenever they came through the door, always keeping the food hot. Belle was known for her scrabble and card playing (she would surprisingly come from behind with a remarkable word or card play which set her ahead of everyone else to win the game), baking homemade mulberry pies and canning grape jelly from backyard picked berries and grapes, canning vegetables from her son Christopher’s three large gardens from the time he was ten years old, devising her own recipes of desserts and fine dinners, decorating bulletin boards for her husband’s classroom at Slocum School in Waterbury, CT., fishing with her son, Patrick, and exemplary parenting of a large family.
Her children, continued to enjoy visiting Mom throughout the years, coming back from college, the military, marriages and professions, for a brief glimpse into their happy childhood of: catching fireflies on summer nights, winter sledding and building forts with snowball arsenals, playing family card games, kickball, whiffle ball and badminton, enjoying Mom's picnics, her beautiful Sunday dinners after church, homemade apple pies, and retreating to a place where there was joy, happiness, honesty, forgiveness, and love without negativity, criticism, pride or judgement, amongst many siblings. She brought her grandchildren apple picking, to feed the ducks at parks, to watch parades or fireworks, etc. She always had a sense of humor, wit, and a gift for making everyone feel welcome.
She shares her birthday with her daughter, Linda, and they would spend the day together each year. Her favorite trip was when she traveled to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception Church in Washington, DC. with Linda, and Pope John Paul II came through the side door where they were standing. Belle was a beautiful person inside and out, an incredibly spiritual person, who said the rosary daily and always enjoyed attending Mass and receiving Communion. She was blessed with grace and she had a deep devotion to Our Lady of Grace. Belle would place the statue of Our Lady of Grace in the middle of the family dinner table. The statue miraculously survived many hands of a large family passing food, after the blessing was said each meal.
Belle held the family together by her faith, guidance and love. She offered prayers daily for everyone in the family. She never sought recognition for her unending sacrifice and devotion to family. “Everyone always felt a radiance of grace and love in her presence” her eldest daughter, Susan, said. Belle set the best example for all of us by her selfless service in her vocation, as a mother and wife. She never ceased to do or care for her family, even when she was limited by health problems, her first concern was her family. She dealt with every challenge in her intelligent, calm manner, always praying for strength, never acting with pride, but with courage.
Belle was the epitome of goodness and elegance, and she was contented with the simple things in life. She had named her daughter, Janet Therese, after St. Therese, the Little Flower, who died on Sept. 30, 1897, and Belle’s birthday was Sept. 30. Belle was cared for by her daughters, Linda and Judy, since 2007, after her husband passed. Belle never complained, never ceased to be independent and she always tried more than ever to help those around her, even in her weakened condition. She would talk to her son, Larry, or her brother, Larry, by telephone, expressing her concern for them instead of herself, offering words of encouragement, love and tenderness.
Belle’s older sibling, Elizabeth (Kenny) Lee was predeceased. She leaves her sister, Lucille (Kenny) Martin and her brother-in-law, Paul Martin of Waterbury, CT., her siblings Laurence Kenny of Biddeford, ME., and Kathleen (Kenny) Bannon of Farmington, CT. She leaves her children: Susan (Carlin) Griffin of Watertown, CT., Christopher Carlin of Pawling, NY., Janet (Carlin) Coyle of Woodbury, CT., Judy (Carlin) Arnold and Linda Carlin of South Windsor, CT., Laurence Carlin of Las Vegas, NV., Patrick Carlin of Shelton, CT. She leaves her grandchildren: Kathleen Marie, Jessica Ann, Michael Christopher, Megan Mary, Kerry Ann, Kurt Joseph, Christine Isabelle, Ryan Christopher, Emily Rene, Sean Michael, and Katie Ann. Her step grandchildren, Brandon Chase and Tyler Anthony (predeceased), received her love, guidance, inspiration, and wholeheartedness. Daughter-in-laws are: Michele (Harrison) Carlin, Christopher’s wife, and Valerie (DiConstanzo) Carlin, Patrick’s wife.
Her wish was that all of her family remain in the faith, attend the Holy Mass weekly, and continue in God’s grace and love toward others. She enjoyed country music, and would say “never compromise what is right,” from Aaron Tippin’s song, “You’ve got to stand for something.”
Mom, you're a wonderful mother, So gentle, yet so strong. The many ways you show you care Always make me feel I belong.
You're patient when I'm foolish; You give guidance when I ask; It seems you can do most anything; You're the master of every task.
You're a dependable source of comfort; You're my cushion when I fall. You help in times of trouble; You support me whenever I call.
I love you more than you know; You have my total respect. If I had my choice of mothers, You'd be the one I'd select! By Joanna Fuchs
Donations in memory of Belle Carlin, can be made to CT Hospice, 100 Double Beach Rd., Branford, CT. 06405, for their loving and quality care of her, and also for the care of her late husband, Joseph. Special thanks to her eldest grandchild, Kathleen, for her loving and kind gifts throughout the years, which kept Belle warm in her weakened condition. A memorial Mass will be on May 28, 2018, Memorial Day, at 9:00 a.m., at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception Church in Waterbury, CT.