Sheila Joan Smolens Traub, 75, of Greenwich CT, passed away after a brief illness on September 21, 2021.
Sheila was born on May 19, 1946, in Bryn Mawr, PA. After graduating from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in 1968 with a B.A. in French, Sheila went to work on Wall Street. She had a successful career as a private wealth management executive, serving as Vice President, Investment Division for Citibank’s Private Bank; and, for over 11 years, as Senior Vice President, US Trust. After retiring, Sheila earned an M.F.A. in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College in 2015.
Sheila was committed, always, to serving the non-profit sector. She was founding Chairman of the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. In New York, Sheila was on the board of directors and treasurer of Health Advocates for Older People, Inc., where she was involved in the planning and construction of a 19-story assisted living facility on Second Avenue. An officer and board member of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America (PA), Sheila eloquently advocated for historic preservation and the study of early US history.
Wherever Sheila lived, her religion and her church were central to the fabric of her life. In New York, she was an active member of the Church of the Heavenly Rest; there she trained as a Stephen Minister, selected by the clergy to provide comfort to congregants. Following 9/11, Sheila volunteered at Ground Zero.
After moving to Connecticut, Sheila was ever-present at the historic Trinity Church (Southport, CT). She led the organization of adult education programs and was an active member of the brain trust that recently launched Trinity Spiritual Center. For over a decade, Sheila created countless “Art & Soul” programs, which explored the connections among arts, humanities, and the divine. Sheila led a group of parishioners on a pilgrimage to Salisbury, England and volunteered tirelessly at Saint Luke’s-Saint Paul’s Food Pantry in Bridgeport. A rising second-year student in the Education for Ministry program (a four-year course of study that deepens lay formation), Sheila somehow managed to find time to establish a virtual, laity-led Morning Prayer service on weekdays during COVID-19.
Sheila often visited New York after she moved to Greenwich, CT, visiting art museums and her many friends, who still fondly remember her annual Christmas party overlooking the caroling at the Brick Church. When in the City, Sheila made a point of going to Madison Avenue and 90th Street to look for James, a homeless man whom she had looked out for in the past -- to give him money and talk to him if he was there, and to worry about him if he wasn’t.
Sheila was graceful and had a classic sense of style. She was intellectually curious and always learning. She was a voracious reader with deep passions, ranging from the study of religions, historic preservation and art, to interior design, global travel and theater. Sheila loved cooking and baking, and entertained with perfection. An elegant writer of fiction and essays, she was an insightful editor too. Sheila treasured her friends and took great joy in showering them with thoughtful gifts. She was an angel to many.
A dear friend from college sums up Sheila’s unique approach to life this way: “Despite that China doll appearance – her flawless skin and delicate frame – she was a warrior for everything and everyone she believed in and loved.”
Sheila is survived by her son Patchin Barrett Traub, her goddaughter, Charlotte Healy, and her devoted friends. She was predeceased by her beloved parents, Stanley and Alice Smolens, and her adored cousin Beth Luce.
A celebration of Sheila’s life will be held at Trinity Episcopal Church – Southport on Friday, October 15th at 1:30PM. Face masks are requested for the service. For live stream of service please visit Trinity Episcopal Church - Southport on YouTube.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to Trinity Episcopal Church - Southport (651 Pequot Avenue, Southport, CT 06890) or a charity of your choice.
For information or to offer an online condolence please visit www.SpearFuneralHome.com.
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