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Marcia Haynes (Peden) Miner
June 21, 1929 ~ November 15, 2023 (age 94) 94 Years Old
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Marcia Haynes Miner, longtime resident of Fairfield, Connecticut, whose ancestral roots reached back to the Revolution and whose restless life-journey brought her back to the town she learned to love, died peacefully on November 15th. She was 94.
The only child of Gertrude Haynes and Charles S. Peden, she was born in London where, in 1929, her father’s globe-trotting career as a newsreel sound engineer had taken them. The family returned to Jackson Heights, New York, where Marcia lived for most of her childhood, making frequent visits to her cousin’s house on South Benson Rd. in Fairfield.
Recollections of her adventurous youth included studying acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Art with classmate Grace Kelly, taking swimming lessons from a Miami Beach lifeguard who went on to Hollywood stardom as Buster Crabbe, working as an assistant editor of Faucette Magazine, whose writers included Ernest Hemingway, and accompanying her father to a White House event as a teenager where she received an admiring pat from President Truman.
Schooled in New York City, she attended the University of Bridgeport, later earning her MA degree in English Literature from Trinity College in Hartford. She had hoped to follow in her father’s footsteps, but chose instead to pursue her own calling as an educator. After teaching elementary school in Monroe, CT she traveled to Hawaii and taught military children at Pearl Harbor.
Following a brief marriage in the early 1960’s to naval officer T. R. Miner, Jr., she returned to the classroom to teach American Literature at the University of Sheffield in England. She moved to California in the 70’s where she studied at U. C. Berkeley and became active in the sociopolitical movements of the time. She taught in San Francisco and worked as a photographer at the Briarcombe artist’s retreat in Bolinas, where she lived with her partner, Trudy Renggli.
In 1987 she returned to Fairfield to care for her aging mother and inherited what had now become her family home, the historic 1779 “Benson House”, which had been passed down through her mother’s ancestral connections. Over the following years she reconnected with her local roots writing a regular column for the Fairfield Citizen called “Then And Now” and an award-winning series, “Fairfield Revisited.” Her ongoing work with the Fairfield Historical Society and continuing dedication to the preservation of local history was recognized in 2004 by the First Selectman’s bestowing upon her the title of “Honorary Town Historian.”
Marcia shared her family home with her longtime partner Trudy, who died in 2020. Relocating for a while to Sturges Ridge of Fairfield, she had lately been a resident of St. Joseph’s Center in Trumbull.
Teacher, artist, writer, blogger and activist, hers was a long life, fully lived. Provocative and ever eager to debate, she brought to any discussion an artist’s sensitivity, an actor’s instinct to engage and, above all, an educator’s passion to learn and enlighten. Both warm and witty, fragile and fierce, Marcia will be remembered by many and forgotten by none. A memorial service will be held on Sunday, January 7, 2024 at the Chapel at St. Joseph Center in Trumbull at 11 am. Memorial contributions can be made to: the Fairfield Historical Society or Hartford Health Care Hospice Services.