Clover

Peter J. Bellew

November 19, 1920 ~ November 11, 2021 (age 100)

Obituary

Peter J. Bellew, age 100, died peacefully surrounded by family at his home in Easton, CT on Nov. 11.

 

A talented and self-taught musician, he led an Irish band for 40 years and played at hundreds of weddings and dances throughout New York and Connecticut. He was one of the founders of the Gaelic-American Club in 1948. The GAC has been a pioneering force in promoting and preserving Irish culture and community in Fairfield County and now boasts over 6,000 members.

 

Growing up in Northern Ireland, Peter Bellew was witness to some watershed events of the 20th Century. His home was strafed by gunfire during the Irish War of Independence in 1921. He saw the night skies aglow over Belfast as its shipyards were bombed by the Germans in World War II. He flew on one of the first post-war trans-Atlantic flights from Ireland to the U.S. He lived and worked in Bridgeport when it was a booming industrial city in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

 

Peter Joseph Grattan Bellew was born in Dundalk, Ireland in 1920, the youngest of five children of Jane Bellew (nee Chalmers) and Michael Bellew, a publican. His mother died in 1921 from the Spanish Flu; his father later emigrated to the U.S to find work. Peter and his siblings lived on the small family farm, Kiltybane in South Armagh. They survived the Depression by working as farm laborers for hire.

 

Peter emigrated to the U.S in 1947, arriving in New York. He settled in Bridgeport, CT and found work first with the Underwood Typewriter Company then later, Connecticut Light and Power in Norwalk, where he had a 30-year career in operations. He met and married Ann Bellew (nee McInerney) of Kinvara, County Galway in 1952. They lived in Fairfield, then later Easton and raised five children. Ann died in 2010 and was deeply missed.

 

Along with his musical pursuits, Peter was a very active Irish dancer, traveling to many a feis (Gaelic for festival) throughout Ireland and the U.S. Peter enjoyed a 35-year retirement, during which he was able to indulge his love of history, learning, global travel and adventures with his wife, children, and extended family. He sang in the GAC Glee Club, was an animated player of the Irish card game “21,” and surprised many with his late-in-life thespian efforts on the stage of the GAC. 

 

Peter’s life was about an abiding love of all things Irish. After retirement, he returned every summer to the family farm, Kiltybane. He was a tireless ambassador for Irish culture, and nothing pleased him more than gathering friends together for music, songs, dancing, laughter, lively craic (Gaelic for conversation) and a good cup of tea. 

 

He leaves behind four children, Michael of Watchung NJ, Patricia Gray and husband John of Naples FL, Janet Grab and husband Glenn of Washington, DC, Brian and partner Jane Kiernan of Chicago, IL, three grandchildren, Christina, John and Caroline, beloved sister-in-law Rita Bellew, and many nieces and nephews. He will be missed by hundreds on two continents, including his friend Joan Homa of Fairfield, all of whom have enjoyed his easy laugh, keen intellect and steadfast friendship.

 

A wake will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 17th, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Spear Miller Funeral Home at 39 South Benson Road, Fairfield. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Thursday, Nov. 18th, at 10 a.m. at Notre Dame of Easton, 655 Morehouse Road. Burial will follow at Gate of Heaven in Trumbull. All are invited to a luncheon afterwards from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Gaelic-American Club at 74 Beach Road in Fairfield.   

 

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be sent to the attention of Frances O’Neill,  Feile, Incorporated, 74 Beach Road, Fairfield, CT 06824. Feile is a non-profit organization affiliated with the Gaelic-American Club whose mission is the promotion of Irish culture, music, and arts.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Peter J. Bellew, please visit our floral store.


Services

Viewing
Wednesday
November 17, 2021

4:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Spear Miller Funeral Home
39 South Benson Road
Fairfield, CT 06824

Mass of Christian Burial
Thursday
November 18, 2021

10:00 AM
Notre Dame of Easton, Morehouse Road

Donations

Feile, Inc.
74 Beach Road, Fairfield CT 06824

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