Mary Jane Lizauskas, 79, was a children's advocate
Mary Jane (Coll) Gugel Lizauskas, 79, of Washington, died June 12. The cause was lung cancer. She was the widow of John P. Lizauskas, to whom she had been married for more than 25 years. She and her late husband spent summers in Washington.
She was born April 8, 1934, in Washington, to Francis J. Coll and Elizabeth (Howard) Coll. She was one of six children.
She was the ex-wife of David Gugel Jr., with whom she had two children. They ran Washington Refuse Services for nine years until their divorce.
She was first and foremost a homemaker and mother who loved children. She worked at the Glenholme School in the late 1960s, drove a school bus, and fostered 11 children, starting with siblings Bruce and Anne D'Amigo, before her oldest child was born. She had remained in touch with them over the years.
Foster children Norman and Ralph Bouchard followed, after her first two children started school. Norman was considered the third child and a loving older brother. Norman, and his wife, Helen, and their children, Helena and Christian, have been loving members of the household for more than 40 years.
The Halpin children, Naomi, Preston, Clint, and Leah, Danny Fancher, Doug S, and others, all graced the halls of the little ranch house where the family always lived.
She also was known to turn a few heads in Washington, as hers was one of the first families to entertain children from New York City through the Fresh Air Fund. Two of those children, Patty and Arthur, would return for visits.
When she and her husband, John, lived in Florida, she became involved in the Florida Guardian Ad Litem Program, taking classes to become a child advocate in the Florida courts, where she represented the best interests of the child. She had hoped to see Connecticut adopt some of the Ad Litem philosophies. She dedicated much of her life to promoting the well being of children.
She is survived by her daughter, Elizabeth "Liz" Gugel, with whom she lived in Washington; a son, David T. "Tom" Gugel, of Levant, Maine; David's children, Christina and Matthew, of New Milford; brothers, Francis Coll, of Massachusetts, and Edward Coll, of Hawaii; and several nieces, nephews, foster children and grandchildren. In addition to her husband, who died in 2001, she was predeceased by a sister, Elizabeth (Coll) Tillman, and brothers, Robert Coll and Kevin Coll.
The Lillis Funeral Home in New Milford was in charge of the arrangements. Burial will be at the convenience of the family.
Memorials may be made to the Washington Ambulance Association, 109 Bee Brook Road, P.O. Box 294, Washington Depot CT 06794, or to New Milford VNA Hospice, 68 Park Lane Road, New Milford CT 06776.