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Adelaide Eicks Comegys

November 13, 2018
Adelaide Eicks Comegys
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Obituary for Adelaide Eicks Comegys

Adelaide Eicks Comegys passed away at age 88 in her home in Providence on November 13, 2018. Born in Baltimore to US Navy Submarine Captain Casper Eicks and path-breaking journalist, Margaret Follin, Mrs. Comegys came of age in Cambridge, Massachusetts and New York City. She was educated at Concord Academy and Westhampton College (now the University of Richmond). At both schools Mrs. Comegys made close friends with whom she stayed in touch throughout her life. She later completed the Harvard Business School Management Training Program. While in Cambridge she met and married Harvard Law School graduate Walker B. Comegys of Wichita Falls, Texas. The couple moved to Wenham on the Massachusetts North Shore. Her husband practiced antitrust law in Boston and later served as acting head of the Antitrust Division of the US Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.

Mrs. Comegys had two daughters: the elder, Elizabeth Lee Chafee, a social worker who resides in Providence with her husband Zechariah Chafee and Catherine “Kate”, who was born with severe mental and physical handicaps, which led Mrs. Comegys to champion the rights of persons similarly challenged. Mrs. Comegys and her husband integrated the Hamilton-Wenham schools to allow Kate and those following her the opportunity for a main-stream education. She served as a board member for The Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps (TASH) and addressed groups across the country on the topic of the civil rights of the handicapped. The thrust of her advocacy was the inclusion of handicapped persons in the day-to-day life of their communities. She was honored by TASH for her outstanding leadership and won the 1998 Joan Shaw Herman Award from the Concord Academy Alumnae Association for her distinguished service.

During her many years in Wenham, a classic New England village, Mrs. Comegys enjoyed her membership in the Myopia Hunt Club, subscribed to the Boston Symphony Orchestra and, with her husband, participated actively in the International Churchill Societies, including travel abroad to locations associated with Winston Churchill. The Comegys family summered on Squam Lake in New Hampshire.

Following the death of her husband in 1998, Mrs. Comegys and Kate moved to Providence to live near her family. Kate passed away in 2009. Mrs. Comegys deeply loved her two grandsons; Samuel Comegys Chafee of New York City and Zechariah Chafee, Jr., who died in 2017. A deep believer in the importance of a good education, Mrs. Comegys generously supported the schooling of her grandchildren. The Chafee family will miss Mrs. Comegys’ wit, her love of Nature and her Yankee approach to life.

A Memorial Service will be held on Wednesday November 28th at 11am in St. Martin Church, Orchard Ave., Providence. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent in memory of Adelaide Comegys to the Audubon Society of Rhode Island, 12 Sanderson Road, Smithfield, RI 02917.

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