Muriel Heilshorn Kilbride, a resident of Montclair’s Family of Caring nursing home, died on March 18.
Born in Brooklyn on June 26, 1923 to William H. Heilshorn Jr. and Anna Hudaff Heilshorn, Muriel was raised in Floral Park, Long Island and Norwalk, CT. She met her future husband John J. (Jack) Kilbride when they were senior classmates at Sewanhaka High School. They were married at Christ Lutheran Church in Floral Park on June 14, 1947.
As life partner to an international shipping executive who traveled continuously on business, Muriel was an accomplished home front chief executive, juggling the demands of raising five children at home in Bellerose Village, Long Island, and was an accomplished hostess, chef, needleworker, gardener, creative force, family counselor and community and church volunteer. She was a dear companion and listener to a wide circle of cherished lifelong friends. Muriel was a lifetime learner, always enrolled in some sort of coursework, ranging from literature to opera to Bible studies to flower arranging. She and Jack traveled extensively, both internationally and across the United States as they worked through their bucket list of national parks. She was Jack’s navigator on his successful mission to capture a photograph in front of every U.S. state capitol building. After his death in 1989, Muriel moved to New Canaan, CT to live closer to her family. She became active immediately in the community and served as a deacon at the New Canaan Congregational Church. Muriel moved to Montclair to be near her daughter Ann McCarthy in September 2016.
But her favorite place in the world was her home on Peconic Bay on the North Fork of Long Island. Her porch luncheons and dinner barbecue spreads of local bounty served overlooking the sparkling bay for visiting family and friends were legendary. From her porch she watched her 12 grandchildren grow and revel in the freedom and beauty of the place. WiFi and TV were banned (for a while, anyway). She continued Jack’s tradition of raising on the flagpole the nautical signal flags of the initials of her grandchildren and other house visitors to welcome their arrivals. She celebrated her 96th birthday last summer on the same porch and with the same style.
Muriel is survived by her five children: John, East Windsor, NJ; William (Mary), Chattanooga, TN; David (Kathleen), Cutchogue, NY; Richard (Marianna), New Canaan, CT; and Ann McCarthy (Dan), Montclair. She also is survived by her 11 granddaughters: Sara, Hannah, Addie, Laura, Johanna (Alex), Patricia, Anna, Elizabeth and Charlotte Kilbride, and Emily and Lucie McCarthy. She was predeceased by her parents, her husband, her brother John W. Heilshorn of Garden City and Litchfield, CT, and by her only grandson, Benjamin Kilbride.
Burial was at Cemetery of the Evergreens in Brooklyn on March 21 in her family plot. A memorial service will be scheduled in the future at the Congregational Church of New Canaan.