Michael Andrew Ellesio, 75, of Guilford, passed away peacefully on Saturday, December 1, 2018, with his family by his side. Known as Mike, Dad, Granddad, GrandMike, Uncle Mike, and Mr. Mike, his quiet and calming presence will be greatly missed by all who had the privilege to meet, know, and love him.
Mike was born on February 14, 1943, in New Haven, CT, the only child of Joseph and Anna (Sulkowski) Ellesio. He attended Wilbur Cross High School in New Haven and graduated from Quinnipiac College in Hamden, where he met his wife of 50 years, Fran. While dating, they enjoyed visiting East Rock Park in New Haven and Chatfield Hollow in Killingworth, a spot they continued to enjoy throughout their life together. They were married on April 20, 1968, and spent much of their married life in Hamden, before downsizing to their waterfront dream house on West Lake in Guilford in 2003.
Mike was a skilled gardener, keeping the window boxes, yard and beach looking beautiful regardless of the season. He was also a proficient handyman, building a second deck for his family to enjoy by the water just two summers ago. Mike was a talented artist who gained much inspiration from nature and the views overlooking the lake. He also enjoyed sharing his gift with others, whether designing personal greeting cards for friends and loved ones or teaching art to preschool children at Congregation Mishkan Israel Nursery School in Hamden. He also loved listening to music and singing. He spent several years as a member of the church choir at Hamden Plains United Methodist Church and participated in the “Shoreline Soul” Community Choral Gospel Workshop in 2015, performing at the First Congregational Church in Madison while his family clapped along from the pews.
Mike joined the United States Army Reserves in February 1966, becoming a Sergeant and working in army intelligence until January 1972. He spent his entire adult life working in the paper industry, first for Chatfield Paper in North Haven, then for Rourke Eno in West Haven. He retired from Unisource in Windsor in 2013, after making the 110-mile round trip commute for a decade.
In his retirement, Mike enjoyed experimenting with different artistic mediums, getting together with friends, and, above all else, spending time with his grandchildren. He also loved traveling with Fran, family and friends, visiting the Galapagos Islands, France, Norway, Boca Raton and Hawaii in recent years.
In addition to his wife Fran, Mike leaves his son, Michael J., and daughter-in-law, Danielle, of Guilford, and his daughter, Kristen, and son-in-law, Justin Lundbye, of Fairfield, as well as five grandchildren: Zack, 14, Lucas, 11, and Paige, 8, Ellesio and Elana, 15, and Jude, 9, Lundbye. He also leaves many extended family members and friends, each of whom held a special place in his heart.
Mike's family would like to thank all of the special caregivers who not only cared FOR him, but cared ABOUT him.
As Mike requested, family and close friends will gather for a private service to enjoy good food and wine while sharing memories. The B.C. Bailey Funeral Home in Wallingford has been entrusted with final arrangements. To leave a message of remembrance, please visit www.baileycares.com. In Mike's memory and to continue to share his love of art, donations can be made to Mishkan Israel Nursery School to support ongoing art education. Checks can be made out to MINS (785 Ridge Rd., Hamden, CT 06517), noting "Mr. Mike's Art Fund" in the memo line.