Maureen Cieplak D’Ascanio, 61, passed away peacefully surrounded by her loving family at their home on the Housatonic River in Shelton, CT on April 17, 2020. She waged a courageous battle against ovarian cancer with dignity and fortitude, trademarks throughout her life.
Maureen graduated from Sacred Heart Academy (1976), earned a B.A in Physical and Biological Anthropology from Harvard University (1980) and was awarded an M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business (1986). She embarked on a new career path later in life returning to Southern Connecticut State University to earn a Sixth Year in Library Science (2008). Upon graduating from Harvard and Stanford, Maureen worked as a banker in San Francisco before returning to Connecticut to pursue a career in corporate strategy at GE. After a hiatus from her professional life to raise her family, she has dedicated the past decade to teaching underserved elementary school students.
Maureen was an avid explorer and lifelong learner traveling throughout the world. After hiking the Himalayas or visiting orangutans in Indonesia, she would share her many cultural and historical experiences with her children and friends. Her love of all things living invaded her life and her home and her creative eye nourished beautiful gardens bursting with color. Throughout college she was active in theatre as a producer, manager and set designer, and she enjoyed skiing, snow shoeing, biking and kayaking with her family.
She leaves behind to cherish her memory her husband, Dr. Joseph D'Ascanio, son Christian and daughter-in-law Chelsea of Boston, daughter Lauren and son-in-law Blake Lucy of Queens, sons Steven and Reid of Shelton and Michael of San Diego and daughter Monica and husband Ryan Hopman and grandchildren Wesley and Penelope of Los Angeles. She is survived by her cherished Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Charlie and Teddy, and Casey who predeceased her. Maureen will be sorely missed by her brothers and sisters, Joseph Cieplak of Cheshire, Robert of Derby, Barbara Cieplak Migani of Woodbridge, JoAnn Foley of Waterbury, James of Eagle River, Alaska and many nieces and nephews. Maureen was predeceased by her parents, Bertha "Kris" and Joseph Cieplak formerly of Ansonia.
Pam Klein Smith writes:
Up to the very end, Maureen remained positive, vibrant, determined and active. Just last year, Donna Marcus Laing, Linda Mar Weidman and I got to spend a long weekend in Cancun with Maureen who was swimming, hiking and planning exotic travel even in the face of a terminal diagnosis. From the first day meeting her at Greenough, she remained a wonderful friend.
Shipley Munson writes:
Maureen “Mo” Cieplak (as she was known then) was a huge part of Erika’s and my G&S life and also with the Hasty Pudding Show. Maureen was one of the ablest stage managers Harvard produced in those days. I can still hear the voice of current NJ governor Phil Murphy--who every year for four years liked to wait to the last second before his first entrance on stage to get into costume and make-up. Maureen would dutifully remind him about 10 minutes, 5 minutes, 3 minutes, 1 minute, 30 seconds--at which point Phil would say, “Maureen, you're boring me!” and then get it all together with maybe 1 second to spare. And usually Maureen was amazingly patient. But occasionally even Maureen would be frustrated. Once, with maybe 3 seconds left, as Phil huffed it to the wings, usually stage right near the manager’s station, Maureen *might* have rolled her eyes...
One of the best people ever. Salt of the earth. Caring. She will be missed.