Amelia “Millie” Grele, passed away peacefully on Thursday, December 24, 2020 at The Lutheran Home of
Southbury. She was 98. Millie was born on June 8, 1922. She grew up in Shelton, CT and was one of six children born to Maxim and Mary Wladyka.
In 1955, she moved to Seymour, after marrying Harvey R. Grele, Sr., her loving husband for 54 years.
Together, they ran Harvey’s Service Station, a local vehicle repair shop/gas station, with Millie managing
the office while Harvey and his helpers repaired the cars. The business kept her busy but raising her
three children was always her first priority.
In 1964, Millie became a den leader for her eldest son’s Cub Scout troop. Her involvement continued
while both of her sons were active in Scouting, and her young daughter tagged along, too. Millie went on
to become a trainer of adult volunteers, and in 1977, the Housatonic Council of Boy Scouts gave her the
Silver Beaver Award, Scouting’s highest honor.
With her children grown, and her husband looking to leave the garage business, Millie answered a help
wanted ad in a local paper. For the next ten years she would be an aide in Cottage 7A at Southbury
Training School. As a caregiver for residents who were both physically and mentally challenged, she
found a job that she loved. Her passion for helping others, being an efficient organizer, skills as a loving
mom, along with her creativity provided an environment of caring and comfort for the residents, their
families, and her co-workers. She would routinely help decorate the cottage for holiday and birthday
celebrations, and each fall, she would make arrangements for a small country western group to perform
live music for the residents and their families. She retired in 1987 having touched many lives in a positive
Millie was never one to sit still for very long. After her “retirement,” she took a part time job, for several
years, as a courier for Laboratory Medicine in Derby. Her route took her to Griffin Hospital, and doctors’
offices throughout the Valley. With her pleasant smile and helpful attitude, she made friends at each stop.
In November 1993, Millie was honored with being chosen to serve as the grand marshal of the 23rd annual
Seymour Christmas Parade. Never one to choose to be in the spotlight, she was, in her words,
“overwhelmed and flabbergasted.” She was selected for her years of working with children in the
community, and she accepted the honor with humility and grace.
Over the years, Millie loved to spend time with family and friends. She was a parishioner and choir
member at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Oxford. She enjoyed feeding the birds and squirrels, going for
walks in the woods, taking pictures, and babysitting for a variety of “grand-animals,” including dogs
(especially the “puppies” Boney and Clyde), cats, goats, and chickens.
Millie was a selfless woman who was always taking care of others, and went out of her way to make
people feel special. She lived her life in a gentle and unassuming way, which is simply and beautifully
expressed in a line of one of her favorite poems by Sam Walter Foss, “…Let me live in my house by the
side of the road and be a friend to man.”
She was predeceased by her husband, Harvey R. Grele, Sr.; her sisters, Julia Adams, Anna Nasta, and
Helen Whitely; and her brothers, Michael and Walter Wladyka.
Millie is survived by her children, H. Reed Grele, Jr. (Virgilio Dixon) of Beacon Falls; Christian P. Grele of
Waterbury; and Gretchen R. Grele (Gerald K. Cassin, Jr.) of Oxford; along with several nieces and
Heartfelt thanks to the entire staff at The Lutheran Home of Southbury. Your kindness, compassionate
caregiving, sense of dignity and respect, and loving support over the past five years, gave Millie the best
quality of life that anyone could wish for.
There will be no services at this time due to COVID-19. A memorial service and celebration of Millie’s life
will be scheduled at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the memorial fund of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Oxford, or The Lutheran Home of Southbury.