CT State Representative Linda Ann (Smith) Orange, 69, of Colchester, passed away peacefully at Middlesex Hospital, surrounded by her loving husband, sons, family, and friends, on November 20, 2019 after a sudden and courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. During this time, she continued to put family, friends and community first. Linda's grace and courage never faltered. Linda and her family are grateful for the outpouring of well wishes that brought her joy and smiles. She never lost her sparkle. She was born in Hartford, CT on September 25, 1950 to the late Arthur L. and Anna (Gemeasky) Smith. Linda grew up in Marlborough and attended RHAM High School, became a respiratory therapist, and had a distinctive public service career. Linda was very dedicated to her two sons and always active in their lives, especially as they were growing up. She was very active in their schools, Boys Scouts, baseball games and as a second grade catechism teacher. She served as a member and chair of the Colchester Board of Assessment Appeals, the Colchester Police Commission, the East Haddam Historical Society, and as a corporator of William W. Backus Hospital. She also was an honorary member of the Colchester Hayward Volunteer Fire Company and a Major in the Connecticut Civil Air Patrol, Legislative Wing. Linda was an enthusiastic member of the Colchester Democratic Town Committee and the Colchester Democratic Women’s Club which led to her eventual career at the State Capitol. In 1991, she became assistant clerk of the Human Services Committee and later became clerk of the Public Health Committee. She made many friends and learned the working of the legislature so well that she ran as a candidate for State Representative of the 48th District in 1996. She went on to serve twelve terms in Hartford, becoming one of the longest serving members at twenty-three years. The interests of her constituents were always her priority without regard for political labels. As a legislator, Linda served on many committees and currently was a member of Legislative Management, General Law and the Public Safety and Security Committee. She became a knowledgeable authority on public safety issues and the legislature’s chief advocate for work of first responders – police, fire fighters, emergency medical personnel, dispatchers and others. Linda also was Deputy Speaker and often presided over the House of Representatives controlling the process by recognizing members wishing to speak, putting all questions to a vote, and directing the business of the legislature. While presiding, her charming personality, ability to add a quip or joke, and her booming voice endeared her to all her colleagues on both sides of the aisle. The staff at the Capitol, the Senators and Representatives, and all those associated with the Connecticut General Assembly will remember Linda for being such a kind and warm-hearted person, friendly to everyone, and always ready for a good laugh at herself or playing a joke on others. Over the years, Linda was recognized by many organizations too numerous to mention all. She humbly accepted such honors and was grateful to those who appreciated her work. Some of her distinctions included awards from the Connecticut Recreation and Parks Association, the Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen, UCONN Advocates, the Middlesex County and New London County Medical Associations, the Connecticut State Fire Fighters Association, the Connecticut Council of Police Unions, the National Guard Association, the Eastern Connecticut EMS Council, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and the Association of Connecticut Ambulance Providers. Recently, the charter of the Uniformed Professional Fire Fighters Association of Connecticut was changed to make Linda the only life-time honorary member. Linda was known to end her many encounters on the phone and in person with: “Bye, Bye, Now!” Her spirit will live on with her many friends, using this phrase to remember her extraordinary life. Linda is survived by her husband of 43 years, Dennis Orange, Sr.; her son Patrick Orange and his partner Jennifer Nadeau, step-son Dennis Orange, Jr., all of Colchester; step-daughters, Denise and Darleen O’Neal of Arkansas; her beautiful grand-daughter, Dezarae Ann Orange, whose love is everlasting; brothers, Brian and his wife Linda Smith, of Marlborough, George and his wife Phyllis, of Windham, ME; god-daughter, Lorna Smith, of Marlborough; sisters-in-law, Genevieve Lescoe, of Meriden, and Marion Coriaty, of Willimantic; many extended family members; and a host of amazing long-time friends. In addition to her parents, Linda was predeceased by her son, Matthew Orange who passed away in 2018 of pancreatic cancer, her brother Bruce Smith, parents-in-law William and Rose Orange, brother-in-law Henry Coriaty, and her sister-in-law Rosemarie Hart. Calling hours will be held on Monday, November 25, 2019 from 3:30-7:00pm at St. Andrew Church, located at 128 Norwich Ave., Colchester, CT. On Tuesday, November 26, 2019, a Mass of Christian burial will be held directly at St. Andrew Church at 10:30am. Burial will follow in Marlborough Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations in Linda's memory may be made to the Colchester Hayward Volunteer Fire Co., 52, Old Hartford Rd., Colchester, CT 06415. The Aurora-McCarthy Funeral Home of Colchester has been entrusted with care of arrangements. For online condolences, please visit www.auroramccarthyfuneralhome.com
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Colchester Hayward Volunteer Fire Department
52 Old Hartford Road, Colchester CT 06415