Ethel W. (Wheeler) Melius

April 6, 1927 ~ June 21, 2020 (age 93)


Ethel (Wheeler) Melius, 93, of Torrington, CT, passed away on Sunday, June 21, 2020.  She was quietly laid to rest, in keeping with her wishes.

Ethel was the daughter of the late Henry and Minnie (Lange) Wheeler and lived in Torrington almost her entire life.  She attended the one-room schoolhouse at the corner of East Main and Torringford Street.  She enjoyed riding her pony or one of the neighbor’s horses on the cinder or dirt roads in Torringford.  She loved to wander the woods and streams in the area.  To her family she was known as “The Land Pirate” for she was a collector of nature, which included bits of bark, stones, fungus, grasses, and pinecones.  She also had a live collection of plants, toads, turtles, and snakes.

She graduated from the Torrington High School in 1945. 

Ethel’s mother and father were avid gardeners and she followed in their footsteps.

She was very active locally and became a Lecturer and later Master of the Torringford Grange.  She also was a Connecticut State Juvenile Deputy and served as a Director of Camp Berger, State Grange Camp.

In 1985, she was recognized by the Litchfield County Cooperative Extension Service for serving over forty years as a volunteer and represented Litchfield County and Connecticut at the National Homemakers Conference at Estes Park, Colorado.  Ethel was a charter member of the Torringford Homemakers and was the Editor of the Litchfield County Homemakers, a newsletter, for many years.

She enjoyed traveling in both the United States, Europe, and the Islands.  In England she studied crewel embroidery, bobbin lace and silk and metal embroidery.  Locally she did oil painting under the guidance of both Ronald Anderson and Arthur Gatz.

She also learned how to make braided or hooked rugs and do copper enameling.  However, in later years, she preferred to do patchwork quilts. 

She was always willing to share any of her knowledge with anyone who showed an interest.

But there were two things that she never accomplished and had a great desire to do so ….1) she could never carry a tune and 2) she never learned to swim.  Both she claimed she would learn in her next life!

She is survived by her daughter, Laura Vernesoni (with whom she lived) and seven grandchildren, Sheryl Miller, Heather Potter, Christine Melius, Nichole Warner, Shana Melius, Russell Melius, and Oran Vernesoni, as well as sixteen great grandchildren.

She was predeceased by her son, Clifford Allen Melius, and her brother, Harry Wheeler, and his wife Doris (Melius) Wheeler.

Private funeral services have been entrusted to Cook Funeral Home, Torrington, CT.  Condolences may be sent to Ethel’s family by visiting


To send flowers to Ethel's family, please visit our floral store.


You can still show your support by sending flowers directly to the family
© 2021 Cook Funeral Home. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy