Thelma Lydia Santoro Lumpkin (Teddy), of Bethany passed away peacefully at her home January 23, 2019. She was born the third of three children December 3, 1925 in her parental home at 32 Granger Street, Waterbury, Connecticut, after her mother had been told that she would not be able to have any more children, a fact that always amused both Teddy and her mother. Starting the third grade at H.S. Chase Grammar School, Waterbury, Teddy was a writer. A collection of her poems was hung in the office of the school superintendent. A graduate of Crosby High School, Waterbury, and Simmons College, Boston, she directed her first play at Simmons and was class song leader for all four years. She led her class in the Alma Mater from the stage of Symphony Hall at Simmons night at the Boston Pops concerts and graduated with a BS degree in English and Publishing. Eventually, she expanded her public relations and advertising careers with special study at Yale and Harvard, and is listed in Who’s Who of American Women, Who’s Who in the East, Foremost Women in communications, and The World Who’s Who of Women, and the Two Thousand Women of Achievement, published in Cambridge and London, England, respectively. As playwright, her first play, Shadow of Reason, won the Connecticut State Drama Tournament. Her second play, Susanne’s Room, won second place in a national playwriting contest and was performed in St. Louis, MO. By commission of the Town of Woodbridge, she wrote book, music, and lyrics for a historical musical, Amity Parish, and directed it for three performances with a cast and crew of 150 townspeople. In 1960, she rode horseback with Ronald Regan who was passing through Waterbury on a speaking tour. At her invitation he stopped off in Bethany, CT where Teddy boarded her horse and spent the day riding with Teddy and three friends, later taking her and two friends out to dinner. At a time when allowing women into undergraduate study at Harvard was unthinkable, she was the first woman ever admitted to those hallowed halls and dormitories for a seminar in Advertising and Marketing Management at the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration, under the sponsorship of the Advertising Federation of America. The seminar consisted of 60 top male executives of national corporations, and one woman, Teddy, who was Advertising Manager of the Waterbury National Bank at the time. She was the only graduate of the two-month seminar who received a kiss with her certificate. During her career with the bank, the 1963 annual report she designed won the Financial World Annual Report award. In earlier careers, after running her own advertising agency for five years, she was Public Relations Director of St. Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury. She moved to Bethany in 1962 where she volunteered at the Bethany Library, helped establish a town scenic roads ordinance, helped initiate an increase in the tow’s financial support of the elderly, and was a founding member and later president of The Bethany Horsemen. Through the yeasts, she owned six horses and kept them all for their lifetimes. She married G. Thomas Lumkin Jr. of North Carolina in 1966, retired in 1967, and juggled marriage, horses, and writing, not always in that order, until Tom’s death in 1989. From 1995 until her death, she wrotea book every year and self-published them, giving as gifts to local libraries, family, and friends. Her parents Fiorinda M. DiNapoli Santoro and Quirino C. Santoro, and two brothers, Primo”Bud” M.V. and Quentin V. are deceased. She leaves many beloveds: her Corgis and horse; niece, Susanne Shaffer Santoro Whayne and great-niece Miranda Jane Miller, both of Massachusetts; nephew, Christopher Allen Santoro, of Florida; stepchildren, Kathryn Love Lumpkin of North Carolina and G. Thomas Lumpkin III of New York; cousins in Connecticut, New Jersey, and Florida; godchildren, the late Joanne Acford Burgay remembered here, and Cathie Jean Pugliese Cameron of Florida. Teddy loved the solitary life she chose as a writer and never felt alone.
All services will be held privately. The Monahan, Cox, Smith & Crimmins Funeral Home, Inc. has been entrusted with the arrangements. Memorial contributions in Teddy’s name may be made to the Bethany Horseman 340 Old Mill Rd. Bethany, CT 06524.