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Thomas D. Detlefsen

August 17, 1928 ~ February 2, 2024 (age 95) 95 Years Old


WOLCOTT- Thomas D. Detlefsen, 95, beloved husband of Shirley (Davis) Detlefsen, passed away February 2, 2024. Born on August 17, 1928, son of the late Frederick and Flora (Hunter) Detlefsen. He and his father lived with his beloved sister Shirley Jurewicz and her husband Michael until he joined the Army. He served in Germany from 1945 to 1948. Then he married Shirley, and they bought a house in Wolcott. In 1950 he served again during the Korean Conflict until 1951.  They began their family in 1951, raising Donna, Trudy, and Thomas in the home where his bride of 73 years still resides.

   Tom worked in the roundhouse at the Waterbury RR as a teen and after his Army service he began a career a s skilled machinist at Rowbottom, AM-Cam and Mallory Manufacturing, making many long-lasting friendships. The most enduring friendship was with his childhood buddy Richard Comerford. They shared a love of fishing, laughing, coffee, walking the mall and driving the streets of their old childhood haunts. Tom has sorely missed Richard since his 2017 passing.

     Tom worked multiple jobs to support his family, including house painting and caretaker of Woodtick Cemetery in Wolcott, teaching his kids and future son-in-law the joys of handheld grass clippers! He planted tiny trees lining the cemetery roadway, now they are huge steady pines.

     Tom was involved with the Grove Beach Association (still a member), The Hitchcock Lake Association, the Wolcott Zoning Board of Appeals, and various town committees.  His neighborhood was important to him, and the friendships and camaraderie endured for many years. Thank you, Sonny and Barbara! His love of fishing and boating was passed onto his children and grandchildren. Fishing from shore or his succession of boats in the Housatonic River with his own Dad, the CT river, Hitchcock Lake, Lake Powell, Lake Winnipesaukee, and Bantam Lake where many camping trips with all of the Welton family were occasions to remember!  He spent countless hours pulling his kids and friends on waterskiis, loved Whalers Hockey, hunting, bird-feeding, and Cape Cod trips that often included his sister Shirley and Mike and family.  He and his wife drove cross-country many times to AZ to visit Trudy. Every single detail of each trip was recorded for our viewing pleasure. He enjoyed every pit stop along the way, sharing stories with Texas cowboys and Florida Fishermen. He had the “gift of gab”, whether at DD with Tommy, or anywhere else. He genuinely enjoyed hearing others’ stories and had lots of his own too, some were true! Tom grew wonderful veggies and beautiful flowers. The arrival of seed catalogues brought him joy when snow still covered his lawn.  Tom could fix a car, dig up a broken septic tank (Thank Goodness for sewers now!), rebuild lawnmowers, tap the Alcott School maple tree for certain first graders, and create beautiful handcrafted wooden furniture, birdhouses and whirlygigs in his garage workshop. He was good company on 18-wheeler trips with Trudy, and the best Grandpa ever. He cheered at countless soccer, T-ball, baseball, volleyball, and hockey games. He enjoyed jr. ancient fife and drum parades (grandkids took inspiration from his love for the Mattatuck), recitals and concerts and baby sat for all of the kids, any time, with Gram.

They’ll miss his lessons, laughter, and love. His grandchildren are Jonathan Kupchik, Katie Loff (Geoff), Ben Detlefsen (Tati), Alex Detlefsen, and precious great granddaughter Sofie who loved her sweet Poppi. He also leaves his devoted children and spouses: Thomas Detlefsen (Barb), Trudy Detlefsen, Donna Kupchik (John), his cherished bride of 73 years Shirley, who shared a lifetime of adventures and love. He will be deeply missed. Others left behind are the Welton Family (so many holidays together), special nieces and nephews and their families, and many cousins.

He was predeceased by his loving dad, Fred and mother Flora, his brother Clifford (Barbara), and sister Shirley Jurewicz (Michael).

Thomas was hard working, humorous, personable, kind, generous and loving. He leaves a void in our lives.

A celebration of his life will happen this summer, at the lake with big band music, some fife and drum tunes, good scotch, and lots of great stories.

Woodtick Memorial is honored to serve Tom’s family at this time. Visit for online condolences.

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