FAIRFIELD, Conn. — Beatrice Jean "Bea" DuPont Steeneck, a teacher, real estate agent and Democrat from Fairfield, died in her home on Wednesday, Aug. 2, after a long illness and many complications following a fall in January 2009. She was 86.
She was the wife of the late John H. Steeneck. She was born in Bridgeport to Isabel Nunes-DaGrella DuPont and David DuPont.
Steeneck graduated from Warren Harding High School in 1948 and was involved in Junior Achievement.
She attended the University of Connecticut for a year, until she learned she needed to pass a swimming test in order to graduate. Steeneck quickly transferred to the University of Bridgeport, where she majored in history. There, she participated in the Drama Club, and the Debating Society, was a delegate to the Connecticut Intercollegiate Scholastic Legislature, sang in the UB Chorus, was president of the Political Relations Forum and worked on Adlai Stevenson's campaign for president.
Upon graduating from UB, she was one of five women admitted to Fordham University Law School. After her first year, she decided that the law was not for her. She went on to get her master's and sixth-year certificate in education at Fairfield University. Steeneck taught elementary education for 25 years, in Stratford, Bridgeport and Trumbull. After her retirement, she went on to a career in real estate at Coldwell Banker, William Pitt and The Higgins Group.
Steeneck volunteered as an instructor in the Family to Family classes offered by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, as NAMI was exceptionally helpful to her family's coping with mental illness. She was a seamstress and a Brownie and a Girl Scout Leader.
She was a past president or officer of many organizations, including the American Association of University Women, the Trumbull Junior Women's Club, Trumbull Education Association, CT Education Association, Fairfield Democratic Women, Fairfield Democratic Town Committee, Church Women United and the Jewish Federation.
Steeneck was elected to the Fairfield RTM multiple times. She was also instrumental in the creation of the original senior housing complexes in Fairfield.
She was also a delegate to the Connecticut Democratic State Convention for decades and was a Democratic State Central Committeewoman for many years. Her political career culminated in her win of a seat as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in New York in 1992 where she cast a ballot for Bill Clinton and Al Gore.
She was mother to her daughter Sherri Steeneck, also of Fairfield, and her late son, John H. (Jay) Steeneck II and a grandmother to Hilary, Emily and Mallory Manning, Hannah-Lee Ellis and Chipper Steeneck.
She is also survived by two brothers, Robert DuPont (wife Patricia), of Westport, and David DuPont of Trumbull, as well as several nieces and nephews and several great-nieces and great-nephews.
She was cared for almost nine years by Nicole Doman, Tamara Muschett and Eduardo Ewerton, all of whom became part of the extended family.
Visitation will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 6, at the Shaughnessey Banks Funeral Home, 50 Reef Road in Fairfield Center. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Monday, Aug. 7, at 10 a.m. directly at St. Thomas Aquinas Church. Interment will be private.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the International Institute of Connecticut , 670 Clinton Ave., Bridgeport, CT 06605, or to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 3803 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 100 Arlington, VA 22203.
To send an online condolence or for more information, visit www.shaughnesseybanks.com .
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