Barbara Crook Ehrenfels

barbara ehrenfels
Barbara Crook Ehrenfels, long time resident of Cheshire CT, and lifetime spouse to the late Alfred L. Ehrenfels, passed away from this life on December 12th, at home, after 85 years of life. She was the loving mother of four sons: Eric W., Kurt A., Karl H., and Christian W. Ehrenfels; grandmother to her four cherished grandchildren: Richard Vaughn and his wife Ashleigh Miller, Bruno, Leo and Monica Ehrenfels; and great grandmother to Griffin F. Vaughn. Born Barbara Ann Crook, on December 10, 1930, in Hamden CT, she was the daughter of Charles and Bessie West Crook. She grew up as one of five children, including brothers: Jarvis, Richard, and Douglas and sister Janet 'Penny' Cilo. Much of Barbara's childhood revolved around her father Charlie's drugstore, a fixture in the Mount Carmel neighborhood of Hamden where she grew up. She attended Mt. Carmel Grammar School and graduated from Hamden High School. She was also a student of her late uncle, the pianist Walter West, and performed occasionally as organist in local churches. Following high school, Barbara attended Cornell University to study Spanish and Library Science. She returned to Hamden after two years of study, and worked for a period at the Sterling Memorial Library of Yale University, before marrying Alfred and starting a family. As her own children grew up, she spent her spare time volunteering with special needs children in the Cheshire Public School system. She was also involved in the Cheshire Occupational & Career Opportunities (COCO) organization, helping individuals with developmental disabilities to live productive and fulfilling lives. Eventually, she returned to college to complete her unfinished degree and start a new career in Occupational Therapy. Barbara relished her return to school, and graduated as the top student in her class at Quinnipiac College in 1983. She went on to work for 17 years in the Occupational Therapy department of Gaylord Hospital in Wallingford CT, improving the quality of life of thousands of patients recovering from traumatic injury and stroke. Throughout her life, Barbara made yearly trips with her family and friends to Block Island RI, her most special place. She enjoyed traveling with her lifelong friends Arlene Goodyear and the late Ann Darnell, and had many excellent adventures with them. Barbara inherited from her father, a lifelong love for classical music and especially Opera. She coordinated many group and family trips to NY City to see performances of the Metropolitan Opera, and her home was filled with the sounds of classical music. She was an avid reader and Scrabble player, who rarely lost to anyone who had not been allowed to win. One of her greatest pleasures each week was completing the NY Times Sunday crossword puzzle- in pen. Barbara had a vast creative hunger, and moved through many craft and artistic hobbies in her life. She enjoyed embroidery, cross-stitch, silk-screen printing, macramé, Ukrainian egg decorating, sewing, rug hooking, cooking, candy making, gardening, and knitting. After retiring from work, she dedicated much of her spare time to painting, and developed an impressive body of work in watercolors. Barbara was predeceased by her husband Alfred, brother Richard and sister Penny. She is survived by her brothers, Jarvis and his wife Nancy Crook, Douglas and wife Sheila Cook, and her children Eric and his wife Linda, Kurt, Karl and wife Sophally, and Christian and his wife Barbara N. Ehrenfels. Barbara was a dear friend to many and leaves behind countless friends and dear neighbors, including the two 'daughters she never had', Laura and Audrey Meusel. Much of her later years were plagued with challenging health issues. With her passing, the family wishes to thank the many dedicated and loving professional caregivers who helped care for Barbara in the waning years of her life. Friends are invited to share in a Celebration of Her Life on Friday, December 18th from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM at BEECHER & BENNETT FUNERAL HOME, 2300 Whitney Ave, Hamden. Donations may be made in her name to the Block Island Conservancy (

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  1. We were all so sorry to hear of Barbara\’s passing. We will miss her ever-present smile. God bless.

    Jane Sutcliffe

    Audiologist at Gaylord Hearing Center

  2. Dear Karl, Ly and Family: I am truly so very saddened to read this evening in the Cheshire Herald about the passing of your beloved mother. Please accept my sincerest sympathy and condolences on your very deep loss. Even though we never met, she sounded like a remarkable woman who made a profound difference in the lives of many people. She will truly be missed. May you sense our Lord\’s peace, a peace that surpasses all understanding, in your hearts at this very difficult time for you and your family. With much love, Your neighbor and friend, Laura

  3. I had the privileged of being one of Barbara\’s caregivers. I\’ve known her for a few years and cherished our talks, playing scrabble, and loved cooking for her(usually making too much). She was so intelligent and had a good heart. I knew how much she loved her family. I will miss her, our time with Felix and all our special talks. RIP Barbara… are so loved. Sharon Russo

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