Wilifred “Willie” Alberta Smith Cork passed away peacefully surrounded by family on August 19, 2017 in Putnam, Connecticut, after a brief illness. Willie was born on January 16, 1938 at home in Mt. Carmel, Connecticut. She was predeceased by her parents, Frederick Smith and Gladys Crowther Smith, and her brother, Russell Smith, all of Hamden, Connecticut. To know Willie was to understand that family was the center of her life, and everything radiated out from there. Most of us have a mirror on our bedroom wall to show us our reflection as we get ready to face the day. Willie’s bedroom walls, and indeed all the walls of every home she lived in, reflected her life back to her in photos of the people she loved best: her husband Bob, her six children, Bill, Pam, Rob, Jim, Dan, and Jason, her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, as well as friends and her beloved cats, past and present, Cuddles, Max, and Sancho. In everything she did Willie’s caring and giving heart shone through, and many of her interests were things she shared with her children or learned from them. After graduating at the top of her Licensed Practical Nurse class from Eli Whitney Regional Technical School in Hamden in 1965, she enjoyed a long and varied career in nursing, something she shares with her daughter Pam, working in nursing homes, hospitals, and a state mental health care facility. Her passionate advocacy for the people of Palestine grew out of her visit to Israel and Palestine in 1999, where she and Bob observed her son Dan’s work and spent time with the family of Iyad, one of Dan’s friends, a young second generation Palestinian refugee whom she grew to regard as her “sixth son.” Willie listened to stories of Palestinians throughout the West Bank, and was captivated by the visits to the holy sites in Jerusalem and Bethlehem as well. This visit enhanced her faith and gave her a new outlook on international affairs. Through her activism she became friends with people all over the world who shared that passion. Willie was also a voracious reader, and when something sparked her interest she would read everything she could find on the subject. Her love of family history, particularly the history of the Civil War and the roles her ancestors played in that great conflict, is one of the many things she shared with her oldest son, Bill, who also inherited her intellectual curiosity and passion for knowledge and truth. The Internet could not have come at a better time for Willie, as it gave her an even greater opportunity to read, learn, and grow. Like her son Jim, she was always fast to recognize the benefits of new technology. Willie was an early adopter of Facebook, which she instantly realized would give her the ability to keep in even better touch with friends and family, near and far; and to reconnect with friends from long ago with whom she had lost touch. Willie had a gift for friendship, and the ability technology gave her to find old friends and reestablish contact, as well as to make new friends, was something she cherished. She loved the years that she and Bob spent living in Florida. Being close to their youngest son Jason, and being able to see him and his growing family often brought her great joy. She also got a kick out of emailing family living further north about how lovely and warm the weather was in Florida, during the bleak and cold New England winters. Through Jason, she developed a greater appreciation of music and theatre, and developed a wide-ranging taste in music, and also shared with him her deep and abiding faith in God. Willie’s years in Florida also afforded her the chance to learn more about the space program, a passion of her son Rob. She enjoyed learning about the history as well as being able to see some of the last few shuttle launches. She is survived by her husband of 56 years, Bob Cork, originally of Terre Haute, Indiana, her children Pam (Eddie), Bill (Joy), Rob (Linda), Jim (Jessica), Dan (Marie-Ange), and Jason (Melissa), as well as fourteen grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and her beloved cats, Max and Sancho. She is also survived by a sister, June Smith Corraro, (Richard), of Cheshire, Connecticut; and also by brother-in-law Tom Cork, (Joan) of Chicago, and sister-in-law Marge Hinners (Gene) of Chicago, as well as many beloved nieces and nephews. She will be dearly missed by all who knew her. Friends and family are invited to an informal gathering to celebrate Willie’s life at New Haven Seventh-day Adventist Church on Tuesday, August 22 at 6:30 p.m. 355 Humphrey Street, New Haven. A funeral service will be held on Wednesday, August 23 at 11:00 a.m. at Beecher & Bennett Funeral Service, 2300 Whitney Ave, Hamden, followed by a burial in the State Veterans Cemetery in Middletown. Contributions in Willies memory may be sent to If Americans Knew @ www.ifamericansknew.org.

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  1. All that I am comes from my parents, and although there were some difficult times growing up with many moves from state to state, throughout it all my mother remained strong. She provided for our family and raised six children who are dedicated to serving others. We shared a love of history, and what many may not know is she was a talented artist. My first job was as a kitchen aide in the nursing home where she worked as a nurse in Orange, CT. We shared some memories of the patients there before she passed away. I will cherish the time that I spent last year when work took me to Connecticut for a time, including her presence as I played Will Rogers in my church in Glastonbury. I will miss the opportunity to share experiences with her. I was touched beyond words to see the way that she cared for my Dad as his health declined. She was a caring and compassionate nurse to the end.

  2. My beautiful grandmother, my heart although tender at your loss is also filled from your love! My fondest memory was spending a fun filled summer at your house on Grassy Hill Road. You always made my bed so neat and fresh, I still remember the smell of a cleaned room. I know my greatest gift from you passed through my mom, was your care for people and service before self! My tribute in my career is the service to others which I draw from you. As a 1SG in the US Army, I dedicate my Company motto to you which seems so fitting as I remember you… Rise Above, Service Before Self! I love you more than I ever probably told you, but hope that you always knew. Love your Grandson and your Great Grandchildren Adrianna and Jayson!

  3. My heart felt condolences to your family. I saw first hand how proud she was of you Jason. Prayers for you and Melissa, and especially Sadie and Matty at the loss of their Grandma.

  4. Our prayers are with you & the family, we’ll know she is now walking streets of gold with her Heavenly Father. -JJ And Gladys

  5. Willie always had a wonderful smile and made you feel good. Had great fun together. She will be missed. Prayers to all of the Family.

  6. May God bless you with the sweet memories of a beautiful person. Her devotion to you all was a testimony to her loving heart.

  7. Precious memories of a dear saint! She always greeted me warmly on visits to the home at the corner of Grassy Hill Rd and Derby Ave, Derby, CT. The home was always full of family and yet somehow it also seemed that she was always working outside the home caring for patients. Thank you for making the obituary so meaningful by bringing greater insights into the intellectual side of her life of research and her passion for great causes. May our Father in Heaven bring comfort to the family and friends as we anticipate seeing her again soon when Jesus awakens the sleeping saints and takes us to our Heavenly home in the New Jerusalem.

  8. So sorry for your loss! Remember the early visits from Illinois to CT with the ensuing members of your family. Many when you all moved to Orange and lived across town from my folks. You kids were the heart of your Mom’s life. She did everything for you. Even gave you support at the New Haven SDA Church Talent Shows. She was a nursing colleague, fb buddy, fellow genealogy buff, and fb game player. She will be missed.

  9. I first met Willie in Mt. Carmel, CT when we were both four years old. Together with her brother Russ and my brother Bruce we enjoyed an almost idyllic childhood. Sister June came later. By the time we were in our twenties we had lost touch until we reconnected thanks to the Internet and Google search, It was almost as if we had never lost one another. Catching up, via e-mail and in person, was something I will always treasure. Willie was a truly remarkable person as is evidenced by the obituary above. I will always miss her until the next time we reconnect. Condolences to her amazing children: Pam, Bill, Rob,Dan, Jim and Jason and their families and sister June and thank you all for the very warm welcome you gave me this week.

  10. I am so sorry for the loss a wife, a mother, a grandmother and a great-grandmother. I never saw that Wilifred had passed until just now. I was shocked because just two days ago I was on the Mt. Carmel School site on Facebook, and reread some of Willie’s posts. I hadn’t seen Willie in probably 50 years, but we became friends on Facebook. I grew up down the street from her on New Rd., being younger than her I played with her brother Russ and sister June. She was always Russell’s big sister. My sincere condolences to her family and may she Rest In Peace.

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