Southbury. James “Jimmy” Churchill Walen, 69, died Tuesday, November 24, 2020 at St. Mary’s Hospital after a long illness. He was born in Lawrence, MA on July 27, 1951 to the late Barbara (Gahm) and Edward Walen. In May 1962 he moved to the Southbury Training School (STS) having transferred from a facility in Virginia. Mr. Walen’s parents relocated from Virginia to Connecticut and established residency with the goal of Jim’s admission to STS. This took several years, during which time he remained in Virginia. Jim’s parents and family were actively involved in his life and were grateful for what STS offered him.
Mr. Walen was a good-natured, happy and social gentleman with a good sense of humor and a nice smile which appeared frequently. Some would describe him as meticulous, outgoing, but one who enjoyed quiet. Though Jim did not speak, he was able to communicate with those people he knew. Jim liked to be involved in whatever was going on. He loved to be with family, friends, and his familiar caregivers whom he considered as friends. He enjoyed participation at the adapted Fitness Center at STS. He enjoyed community trips to parks, movies, restaurants, the malls, and shopping. He loved vacations at Camp Harkness. Jim was a man who liked order and a predictable routine.
Through the years Mr. Walen was involved with several vocational and day programs, and he loved his instructors. One instructor remarked on Jim’s motivation and independent spirit, and that despite his physical challenges, Jim was always willing to try whatever task needed to be done. Most recently, Jim was involved with an in-home day program which provided learning experiences, recreation and leisure. He had some volunteer experience delivering Meals on Wheels, where he enjoyed friendly relationships with the people he delivered meals to. Previously Jim worked in various vocational programs including food service, soda vending, and mobile work crews, all of which he seemed to enjoy.
Mr. Walen’s family would like to thank the residential and medical staff at Southbury Training School for their loving and compassionate care. They want to thank all the staff through the years who worked to give Jimmy a good life. Jimmy will be dearly missed by his family, friends, and caregivers. He is survived by his brothers Eric Walen of South Dartmouth, MA and Peter Walen of Kingfield ME; nieces and nephews: Jenna Walen, Crystal Walen, Luke Walen, Peter Dean Walen, and Barbaralyn Walen.
Memorial contributions can be made to the STS Foundation, P.O. Box 872, Southbury, CT 06488, who provided advocacy services for Jim. It is hoped that a memorial service may be held at STS on a later date after health and travel conditions improve. Abbey Funeral and Cremation Service is in charge of arrangements.