Cornelius J. Colwell

cornelius colwell

March 2, 1934 ~ February 2, 2022

Born in: New Haven, CT
Resided in: Hamden, CT

Cornelius J. Colwell, 87, husband of the late Gloria Schott Colwell, passed away suddenly but peacefully at YNHH-St. Raphael’s February 2, 2022 with his sons by his side. “Neil” was born in New Haven March 2, 1934 to the late James and Mary Keohane Colwell, growing up in Newhallville. He resided in the Spring Glen neighborhood of Hamden for 37 years, where he was a parishioner of St. Rita’s Church, before moving to Branford and then East Haven. Other than stints in the Army, Air Force Reserve, and FBI in Washington, D.C. during the Kennedy administration, he was a Connecticut Yankee through and through. Neil worked at The New Haven Country Club, Winchester Repeating Arms, United Illuminating, and Yale University.
A graduate of the Connecticut Police Academy, University of New Haven, and the University of Bridgeport, he became a Hamden elementary school teacher in 1966 at Putnam Avenue School. When Putnam Ave. closed, he moved to Ridge Hill/St. Rita’s, Alice Peck, and Church St. schools over his 27 year career. He continued to be committed to education as a volunteer ESL instructor in Hamden, New Haven, and East Haven night programs for many years after retiring. Neil was a devoted member of the Hamden Elks Lodge #2224, serving on the Scholarship Committee.
Neil married Gloria June 4, 1966. After raising their sons, Neil and Gloria spent their Golden Years traveling and enjoying their grandchildren.
If Neil was talking, it was probably fast and furiously about sports; he was an avid fan of the NY Yankees, NY Football Giants, and UCONN Huskies. He loved to visit Yankee Stadium and quote Yogi Berra. He developed a love of golf as a caddy in his teenage years, and caddying paid his St. Mary’s High School tuition. The combination of his Catholic upbringing and law enforcement background made him fair; his capacity for compassion and understanding made him beloved.
He is survived by his sons and their spouses, Matthew J. (Erin) Colwell of Old Saybrook, Thomas P. (Nivea) Colwell of Walnut Creek, CA, a sister, Rosemary Dillon of Branford, a brother, Howard Colwell of Hamden, and 4 grandchildren, James, Ellen, Julia and Patrick Colwell. He was predeceased by a brother, James Colwell.
Friends are invited to visit with his family on Monday, February 7th, from 3-7 p.m. at BEECHER & BENNETT, 2300 Whitney Ave., Hamden. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in Divine Mercy-St. Rita Parish Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. Interment will follow in All Saints Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be sent to the Hamden Elks Scholarship Fund, c/o Hamden Elks Club, 175 School St., Hamden, CT 06518.


Visitation: February 7, 2022 3:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Beecher & Bennett Funeral Service - Hamden
2300 Whitney Avenue
Hamden, CT 06518


Mass of Christian Burial: February 8, 2022 10:00 am

St. Rita Church
1620 Whitney Avenue
Hamden, CT 06517


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  1. My sincere sympathy to all of you on the passing of Neal. He was our neighbor at 60 Hillside Ave. He was a a really nice, kind gentleman. Our prayers go out to you and Neal. Sincerely, Judy Wood and Anthony Marciano. Apt #303.

  2. My most sincere condolences on the death of your dad. I worked with Neil for many years at Church St.School. He was a wonderful person and a terrific teacher. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.

  3. I am so sorry to learn of your fathers passing. He was my 4th grade teacher at Church Street School many moons ago, but is always fondly remembered. May your memories bring you some comfort and peace.

  4. When I was teaching full-time at St. Rita School, Neil filled in for me occasionally as a substitute teacher. Neil always did a good job in the classroom, but beyond that Neil went out of his way to make the regular teacher’s return as easy as possible. If the lessons plans included collecting work from the students, each set of papers would be in alphabetical order. If the day included a test or quiz that could be quickly graded, Neil would find the time to take care of it. It was reassuring to be informed by the office that Neil would be coming in the next day as my sub.

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