Sallie Newton Calhoun VanItallie, wife of Ted VanItallie, and, for many years a resident of Boca Grande, died peacefully at her home in Old Lyme, Conn., on Dec. 29.
She was born in New York City on March 25, 1929. In 1930, her father, Carl Elbridge Newton, joined the international law firm of White & Case and was assigned to the firm’s Paris office in the Place Vendome, where he remained for four years.
In Paris, Sallie learned to speak French as her first language. After their return to the US, the Newton family lived in Bronxville, NY, where Sallie attended the local schools. Eventually she attended and graduated from the Madeira School in McLean, VA in 1946.
Sallie obtained a B.A. in philosophy from Vassar College in 1950, and then married her first husband Jose M. Calhoun. They built a full life in Connecticut—first in Suffield, and then West Hartford, where they raised their three children.
During those years, Sallie devoted much of her creative talent to various not-for-profit organizations, most notably the Wadsworth Atheneum, where she was not only president of the Women’s Committee but instrumental in the formation of the Docents’ Council, today a mainstay of the Atheneum’s outreach.
Divorced from Jose in 1981, Sallie, in 1984, met and subsequently married Dr. Theodore B. (Ted) VanItallie of New York and Fenwick, Connecticut.
Upon his retirement from the medical faculty of Columbia University and its teaching hospital, St. Luke’s Hospital Center, they moved to Boca Grande, FL.
There, Sallie co-founded, with Ted and three other couples, the Boca Grande Historical Society and Museum.
Early in its existence, she served the Society as a Board member and, for two terms, as its president.
During their years of association with BGHS, Sallie and Ted conceived and produced a series of local-history-oriented exhibitions, and contributed in many ways to the preservation of the fascinating history of this very special barrier island.
Sallie also was honored to serve for several years on the Board of Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, MA. After 20 years in Boca Grande, Sallie and Ted moved north to live full-time in their summer home in Old Lyme, CT.
In addition to her husband, Ted, and her children Jake, Celia and Nancy, she leaves her two sons-in-law, Phillip Brink of West Harford, and Robert Firger of Bloomfield, and five grandchildren, Caroline Louise Stevens, Cameron Calhoun Stevens, Avery Baldwin Brink, Paige Calhoun Brink and Mackenzie Ellis Brink.
Contributions may be made in Sallie’s memory to The Boca Grande Historical Society, P.O. Box 553, Boca Grande, FL 33921. Connecticut residents are invited to contribute to the Docents’ Council of the Wadsworth Atheneum, 600 Main Street, Hartford, CT 06103.
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