Laura Jeanne Totten passed away January 1, 2020, in West Hartford, Conn. She was 93.
Born December 15, 1926, in Cincinnati, Ohio, Jeannie, as she was called, was the eleventh of twelve children of Laura (Foy) and Robert E. Heekin. She would go on to have twelve children of her own.
Her life was forever linked to World War II, as five of her ten brothers served their country. One, Robert, died in Italy, and another, Frank, was a prisoner of war in Germany, who later escaped.
She was an accomplished pianist and attended the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.
In 1947, she married George Gilmer Totten in Cincinnati. Over their 70-year marriage, they lived in Chicago, Port Chester, Rye, Belle Haven, Va., Burlington, Vt., and Middletown, Conn.
Mrs. Totten was a fixture in Rye at her children’s sports games, on school field trips, at school plays, and graduations. In her VW bus, she chauffeured her children and their friends to sleepovers, ball fields, the movies, the pool, and, most memorably, to Jones Beach every Wednesday in the summer.
She also helped Vietnamese refugees, who arrived in the U.S. in the late 1970s, learn English.
A voracious reader, talented cook, and opera buff, she once commented that she loved the 1970s because her children were all grown or in school, and she had peace and quiet during the day for the first time since the late 1940s.
Jeannie Totten was predeceased by her husband Gil Totten in 2017, and by her eldest son Glenn and his wife Jan. She is survived by 11 of her children: Laurie Curry (Tim) of West Hartford, Conn., Lucy (Norm Williams) of Essex, N.Y. and Coral Gables, Fla., Margaret of Arlington, Va.; Willie (Susan) of Rye, Grant (Paula) of Napa, Calif., Priscilla of Alexandria, Va., Dennis of Gaithersburg, Md., Angela of Gaithersburg, Md., Toby of South Windsor, Conn., Ranald (Mindy) of Kure Beach, N.C., and Hope (Keith) of Richmond, Va. She is also survived by twelve grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.