November 27, 1917 ~ May 26, 2003
Fenmore Seton, 85, husband to his beloved Phyllis for 61 years, passed away on Memorial Day, May 26th 2003, following a lifetime of accomplishment, purpose and loving commitment to family, friends and the community. He will be remembered for his business acumen, his life-long devoted efforts to the cause of the physically disabled, and his wide-ranging philanthropy. A graduate of the Yale class of 1938, he established (with Phyllis) the Seton Elm & Ivy Awards to honor each year members of the Yale and New Haven communities who had worked to foster and improve town/gown relationships. This initiative earned for them jointly the honor of a Yale Medal award. Fen with Phyllis was also recognized with the 'Seal of the City' award of the New Haven Colony Historical Society and the 'Connecticut Philanthropist of the Year' award from the National Society of Fundraising Executives. Fen was a decorated WWII Air Force Major who participated in the Normandy D-Day landings on Omaha Beach and in the Battle of the Bulge. He was the founder and CEO of the Seton Name Plate Corporation (now part of Brady Corporation: NYSE - BRC) a company which he built and led to a position of worldwide prominence as a premier manufacturer of identification and labeling products. For more than 60 years Fen served as an active advocate for the physically handicapped. His significant efforts to empower persons with disabilities took many forms but were largely directed through Rehabilitation International, the global organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the disabled. Having served first as Treasurer, he was elected President of RI at its 1988 Congress in Tokyo. In 1992, Fen received from President George H W Bush the Presidential Distinguished Service Award 'For historic contributions over a period of years to the rights, quality of life and productivity of Americans with disabilities.' In the same year, Fen addressed the United Nations General Assembly to present a global program designed to benefit the millions of people worldwide with physical disabilities. Among Fen's other awards were a Citation of Honor from the Office of the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, the Preminger Medallion for Distinguished Service in the field of International Rehabilitation, and the Public Service Award presented by the Social Security Administration 'in recognition of your tireless efforts throughout the world to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities.' Fen was also honored with The Distinguished Service Award of the National Easter Seal Society 'for more than 55 years of dedicated service as a staunch champion for disabled persons and their just causes'; and The Chairman's Award of the People-to-People Committee on Disability 'for world leadershipand selfless service to people with disabilities.' Fen was an enthusiastic supporter of a myriad organizations and charities in the Greater New Haven community. He received Honorary Degrees from Albertus Magnus College and from the University of New Haven. He is survived by his adored partner Phyllis, his beloved daughter Dinny and her husband Charles Wakerley, his cherished grandsons Christopher and James Adams, his sisters Lucile Bendick and Myra Meyer, his brothers Charles and Ted Seton, and many treasured relatives and friends. Fen was an extraordinary man whose multitude of good deeds, large and small, will endure as an inspiration to so many whose lives he touched. The funeral service will be held on Friday, May 30 at 11:00 am at the Congregation Mishkan Israel, 785 Ridge Road, Hamden followed by interment at the Grove Street Cemetery. Calling hours will be on Wednesday May 28 and Thursday May 29 from 4 pm to 8 pm at Old Farm Road. Contributions may be made to The Rehabilitation Center, 95 Hamilton Street, New Haven CT 06511 or the Clifford Beers Clinic, 93 Edwards Street, New Haven, CT 06511.