On Monday, November 21, 2022, Elaine Smith Amendola passed away peacefully surrounded by her family and friends. Elaine was born on January 16, 1935, in New Haven, Connecticut, the daughter of Michael E. Smith and Rosa Witham Smith of Orange, Connecticut. She graduated from Hill House High School in 1952 and from Wellesley College in 1956 with a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics. Elaine was employed in the structural engineering department at Sikorsky Aircraft programming their first computers upon graduation from college.
In 1962, Elaine became one of the first women to graduate from the Yale University Law School. Elaine was admitted to the Connecticut Bar Association in 1962 and served as a member in good standing for over fifty years. Elaine was admitted to the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut in 1963, the United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court in 1967.
Elaine was widely recognized as a pioneer for professional women. Elaine co-founded the law firm of Zeldes, Needle & Cooper in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1971 where she specialized in criminal and civil litigation. Elaine was lead counsel in precedent setting cases before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and United States Supreme Court. Elaine was a fierce promoter of women’s rights, including on the groundbreaking level in Connecticut to protect reproductive rights. She sued the National Little League organization to allow girls to play and worked tirelessly to promote Title IX so women could have equal access to athletic opportunities in college sports.
In 1997, Elaine and Bonnie Amendola, founded the law firm of Amendola & Amendola, LLC., in Fairfield Connecticut with their beloved assistant, Ms. Jamie Caplinger of Westport. The firm concentrates in matrimonial law and advocacy for children’s rights. Bonnie and Jamie will continue her legacy; however, her courage, strength and incredible sense of humor will always be missed.
Elaine was a Gold Star Widow, surviving her true love, first husband, Lt. Joseph F. Crehore, who was killed on active duty serving as a member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard in 1962. She married David and Bonnie’s father, Bonaventure “Buddy” Amendola of Orange, Connecticut in 1964. Although divorced, they remained friends until his untimely death in 1994.
Elaine was an incredible athlete. She was an accomplished equestrian who showed horses from her teenage years well into her sixties, winning ribbons at the highest levels of competition throughout the country. Her escapades and adventures with her soulmate, Scott D. Wilson, on the horse show circuit were the joy of her life. She loved to ski and cherished her annual trips to Sugarloaf, Maine to visit her wood nymphs that she adored. She enjoyed nature, gardening, floral design, and most of all cooking! Her culinary talents and her love of food are legendary, and she welcomed all to her table.
Elaine was predeceased by her brother Willard C. Smith of Cheshire. Elaine is survived by her son, David Amendola and his wife Karen of Westbrook; her daughter Bonnie Amendola, of Bethany; her nieces Amy Smith and Elizabeth Friedler along with her husband Jeffrey of Cheshire; and her niece Dr. Maria A. Smith of Shelton. She is also survived by her grandchildren who were the light of her life: Alex Wilson of Temecula, California; Taylor, Brooke, and David Amendola, Jr. of Westbrook. She is also survived by her Witham Family - Martha (“Muffy”) Witham and George Diplock, Jr. of Augusta Maine along with their children and grandchildren Michael, Ashley, Jenny, Erik, Tate and Jack; Timothy and Mary Witham of Prospect, and their two daughters, Mrs. Caitlin Hernon (Dr. Michael Hernon) of West Hartford, and Ms. Christina Witham of Prospect; and her beloved dogs Jasper and Clyde. She was the Best Mommy to all! Fare you well, fare you well Elaine, we love you more than words can tell.
There will be a celebration of Elaine’s legendary life at the Race Brook Country Club, 246 Derby Avenue in Orange, Connecticut on January 16, 2023, at 11:00 a.m. Donations in her honor may be made to The V. Foundation Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund.