Sheila Simons Fleming Richards, 78, resident of Morningside in Milford, Connecticut for close to 60 years, spouse of James Richards, passed away peacefully, surrounded by her loving family on October 8, 2019. She was born on October 22, 1940 in Long Island, NY to the late Eileen (Lally) and Richard Hamilton Simons, Sr.
Sheila was an active member in her community and dedicated her life to the service and caring for others. She had been a member of the Morningside Association for over 60 years. Sheila tenderly cared for the elderly in their homes when her children were young. She was a “visiting angel” to many. She had a gift in caring for others. She was a past member of the Milford Democratic Town Committee, served on the Milford Board of Police Commission and had been the Democratic Deputy of Registrar of Voters. Sheila was also a member of the Jim Rose- Milford High School Scholarship Committee and a member of the American Legion Women’s Auxiliary Post 196. Sheila assisted countless victims of sexual assault in her 40 years of service as a Victim Advocate at the Milford Rape Crisis Center. She also held the role as the Volunteer Coordinator for many of those years as she trained volunteers to provide compassionate care to victims. She was currently serving on the Board of Directors for the Milford Rape Crisis Center. She was a selfless, caring and loving woman.
Whether you knew Sheila professionally or personally, you would receive the same love, care and understanding she was so well known for. Regardless of the situation, she would guide you and support you through kind words or a loving hug, as she provided a caring ear.
Sheila loved spending time with her family or at Spencers Marina where she was a fixture. Those who strolled the docks, whether young or old, never passed her boat, “Big Gym”, without seeing Sheila as she lovingly smiled, said hello and inquired as to how you or your family was doing. She spent her last summer, as she wanted, on the boat or front porch of her Morningside home observing the beauty around her, in her hometown, of which she loved ever so dearly, while never complaining about her difficulties.
As the mother of four, her door was open to all. The holidays were filled with laughter and her children never knew what stranger may be sitting at the table. All were invited and all were welcome. Many who passed through her door will remember her love, spirit & the sound of the songs bounding from the player piano as family, friends, and even some strangers of all ages surrounded the piano with a decorative hat from her Aunts and an instrument in their hand while they sang at any key. Her “happy trips” were enjoyed by many and will live on through her children & grandchildren. These trips created memories to last a lifetime.
In addition to her beloved husband, James, Sheila is survived by her children and step-children, Kelly Fleming Cirillo, Kim Fleming Merk, Karen “Kiki” (David) Enders, MSgt Joseph Lloyd Fleming, Jr. USAF Retired, Donald Richards, James Richards, Jr., and Leslie Hanks; her grandchildren, Cortny Cirillo, Mallory Merk, Gavin Merk, David Enders, Jr., Ryan Enders, Anneke Fleming, Gwendolyn Hanks, and Aiden Griffin Hanks; her siblings, Alannah Dutchess, Joseph (Cindy) Mariani, and Richard (Michelle) Simons, Jr., cousin Reverend Brendan Lally and several nieces and nephews. In addition to her parents, Sheila was predeceased by her sister, Rosemary Nolan Traub.
The family would like to thank The Connecticut Hospice staff for their kind, caring, and compassionate care provided to Sheila and her family as she peacefully transitioned to her place of rest. She made her mark on this community & she will be missed greatly. In the end she stood her ground and for the first time in her life put herself first and demanded she live out her final days at The Connecticut Hospice in order to meet her needs. She knew what she was doing and she had a plan. She had confidence the care would surpass all others and her family would have the support needed. In the end, perhaps her only act of putting herself ahead of others was not for herself at all. It was for all who loved her. Sheila graciously and courageously “Did It Her Way!”
Family and friends may call on Sunday, October 13, 2019 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the CODY-WHITE FUNERAL HOME, 107 N. Broad St., Milford, CT. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Sheila’s name may be made to The Connecticut Hospice, 100 Double Beach Rd., Branford, CT 06405. Please consider performing random acts of kindness, and then post stories of these acts of compassion on Sheila's or her children’s Facebook page, because she herself always gave to others.