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William Edelen

Published: October 11, 2017

The Newtown Bee

William McDonald “Bill” Edelen, 83, a 36-year resident of Newtown, died peacefully at the Danbury Regional Hospice. He was born in Toledo, Ohio, to Mary Ann McDonald and Cloyd Chambers Edelen on May 9, 1934.

Mr Edelen married Cheryl Peeke on August 31, 1957. This summer they celebrated their 60th anniversary. His family lived in Oak Ridge,Tenn., Norwalk, Westport, Charleston, W.Va., and Newtown.

Along with his wife, his children, William McDonald “Mac” Edelen, Jr, and his wife, Evelyn; Jeanne Edelen and her partner, Anthony Paolantonio; and James Peeke “Jim” Edelen and his wife, Dawn Bowlus, survive him. Mr Edelen is also survived by his grandchildren, Alonzo Bradley; Jacob McDonald; Caroline Joy; and Alice Quinn; and his sister, Ann Edelen Roulet.

Mr Edelen graduated from Maumee Valley Country Day School in Toledo, Ohio, where his mother was a teacher. His father was an engineer and then a librarian in the headquarters of the Surface Combustion Corporation. Mr Edelen’s Toledo Blade paper route, which he delivered from age 10 until college, paid for his first two years at Northwestern University. As an engineering student, he co-oped at Union Carbide Corporation in Oak Ridge, Tenn., where he was subsequently hired.

Mr Edelen had a 38-year career as a systems analyst for Union Carbide, where he was involved in the design and execution of what became legacy systems. Travel and transfers were part of life in those days, and he was posted to Oak Ridge; New York City; Charleston; and Danbury. His long-term projects took him to Bound Brook, N.J.; Tonawanda, N.Y.; Ponce, Puerto Rico; Chicago; and New York City. Mr Edelen finished his career helping to create the FBI’s digital fingerprint system, which took him to Clarksburg, W.Va., and Orlando, Fla. He retired from Union Carbide in 1994 and from Lockheed Martin in 1999.

He enjoyed his family and his home; his gardens and woodpile; his sheep, chickens, and bees; his book groups and The New York Times. Mr Edelen lent his big bass voice to church choirs and The Danbury Concert Chorus. He and Mac learned the cello. During his jogging days, they ran the annual half-marathon in Charleston together.

He became a Unitarian in the early 1960s and was an active member. Travel for pleasure took him on touring and bicycling adventures to England, Ireland, Norway, Germany, Tuscany, Greece, Japan, South Africa, the Galapagos Islands, Guatemala, Hawaii, Alaska, and New Zealand.

Mr Edelen and Cheryl greatly enjoyed the first two stages of retirement they called “Go-Go” and “Go-Slow” and did not realize Mr Edelen had entered the “No-Go” stage until about a month ago. His loved ones say that in passing he joins a rare cadre of men who were hardworking, thoroughly loyal, dependable, honest, and true.

Friends and family will celebrate his life at Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Danbury, 24 Clapboard Ridge Road, at 11:30 am, on Saturday, October 14.

Memorial contributions honoring Mr Edelen’s spiritual values, compassion, and empathy for the plight of Puerto Rico to can be sent to Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Danbury, 24 Clapboard Ridge Road, Danbury CT 06811; Regional Hospice of Danbury, 30 Milestone Road, Danbury CT 06810; or Friends of Puerto Rico at

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