Helen Hardy Kraybill, 80, of 960 Benham St., Hamden died Wednesday May 15, 2002 at CT Hospice, Branford after a brief illness. She was the wife of Henry Kraybill retired professor of Physics at Yale University. She was born in Terrell, Texas daughter of the late Vessie & Olga DeAlva Wall. A talented and creative person, she pursued lifelong interests in art, theatre, music and was also a accomplished singer. During the War, before her marriage, she attended the Art Institute of Chicago. She painted created beautiful jewelry and ceramics. A member of the Little groups in the 1950's she was involved in the Yale Drama production of ' Harvey '- among others. After attending the Manhattan School of Music in New York and several master Classes on theatre direction for Opera in the USA and Europe she returned to New Haven to open the Total Theatre Group, focusing on Community Theatre for aspiring local performers. The group performed several Broadway musicals including ''The Sound of Music'' and ''Fantasiks'' and produced one-act opera on the Green. She was the roving theatre and opera critic for the New Haven Register, reviewing local and New York productions. In the mid 70's she opened ''The Prop Shop'' in Hamden, and specialized in ''Custom Ensembles'' for private rental and costumes and stage stage properties for local and college theatres. They were all handmade or assembled and garnered many prizes and accolades. She resided in Vienna, Austria durning the late 1970's and taught courses on ''Theatre in Opera'' and opera appreciation at at the American School in Vienna. Family concerns had here move her business to Texas. Ill health caused her to retire in 1998 and return to Hamden in 1999. She is survived by her loving husband, Henry Lawrence Kraybill, two children, April R. Cervero and husband Anthony Cervero of Wallingford and Robert H. G. Kraybill and wife Christina Kraybill of PA, one grandson, Michael G. Lewis, one brother, Vessie Hardy and wife Jean Hardy of Texas, a niece and nephew and four grandnieces and one grandnephew and her beloved cats. A Memorial service will be held at BEECHER & BENNETT, 2300 Whitney Ave., Hamden, Wednesday, May 22, 2002 at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the ASPCA, 424 East 92nd St., 4th Floor, New York, NY 10128

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