In Memory of…

these very special artists,
who we had the joy to know & paint with


Fredricka 'Ricki' (Riggs) Schwanka

August 9, 1947 - February 15, 2019

Watercolor artist, Fine Art Connection of Thomaston - Art Department • Ten-2-One Artists, 2013-2019

Fredreicka “Ricki” (Riggs) Schwanka, 71, of Terryville, wife of Paul A. Schwanka, passed away Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, at Bristol Hospital. Ricki was born Aug. 9, 1947, in Bristol, she was the daughter of the late John J. and Mary (Sadoski) Riggs. Prior to her retirement, she was a florist for Jayne Eugene Florist and the former Village Florist of Terryville. Ricki was a member of the Ten-2-One Artists, Thomaston and was a volunteer for Friends of the Terryville Public Library.

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Emma L. (Henning) Byrne

May 4, 1926 - January 28, 2018

Oil and acrylic artist, Fine Art Connection of Thomaston - Art Department • Ten-2-One Artists, 2013-2018

Emma L. Byrne, 91, passed away peacefully and surrounded by her family on Sunday, January 28, 2018, after a brief illness.  She was the wife of the late Robert W. Byrne.

Emma was born in Manhattan, NY, on May 4, 1926, daughter of Walter J. and Henrietta (Frank) Henning.  She grew up in Montrose, NY before moving to Torrington in 1951 when Bob became employed at the Torrington Company.  During WWII, she worked at Anaconda in Hastings, NY and later at National City Bank in Manhattan until her marriage in 1948.

Her true passion was her art, particularly working in oils and pastels as well as acrylic and watercolor.  Starting in the early 1960s, she studied with teachers in both Connecticut and Massachusetts, including at the Northwest Connecticut Community College, and showed her work throughout the region in member and juried shows.  At different times, Emma belonged to several art organizations including the Torrington Artist Association, the West Hartford Art League and the Kent Art Association, where she was proud to have won the Grumbacher Award in 1999 for a pastel titled “Blue Decanter” and a Members Award for Excellence in 2001.  She was also associated for many years with a group of artists called The Rogues who worked at the 550 Gallery in Bethlehem and, more recently, the Ten-2-One Artists at the Crescent Gallery in Thomaston. A number of her paintings were included in a show by Ten-2-One at the State Capitol in Hartford.  She enjoyed travelling to Cape Cod and other locations to sketch and paint and took great pleasure from the good friendships she had with her artist colleagues.

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Mary Reynolds

February 21, 1926 - January 25, 2017

Watercolor artist, Director of the Fine Art Connection of Thomaston’s Art Department 2007-2008 • Ten-2-One Artists, 2013-2017 (Solo Show, “A Parade of Paintings”, July 2014).

Mary Siebert Reynolds died on Wednesday at Saint Mary’s Hospital less than a month shy of her 91st birthday. Mary was born Feb. 21, 1926, one of four children born to Dorothy Rappelt Siebert and Edward Louis Siebert of Waterbury. Mary graduated from Waterbury Catholic High School and Saint Mary’s School of Nursing. She was a registered nurse at Saint Mary’s Hospital and Charlotte Hungerford Hospital. Mary was a staff member of Thomaston High School for 20 years, first as the founder and teacher of the nurse aide program and then as school nurse.

Mary met her husband, Thomas F. Reynolds Jr. on a blind date in 1949, and the two were married five years later. They moved into a house in Thomaston that Tom and his father built, which would remain their home for their entire marriage. In 1960, Mary and Tom became the exuberant, proud parents of son Tom. Mary lived life to the fullest. She was the life of every party. She loved Boston Terriers and loved following politics. She was a loyal fan of the men’s and women’s UCONN Huskies basketball teams. She was a lector at Saint Thomas Catholic Church in Thomaston. For more than 50 years, Mary was a member of the Thomaston Ladies Choral Club. At age 66, she took up watercolor painting and untapped a talent she never knew she had. She helped organize Senior Citizen Education Enrichment Classes, and took classes herself in creative writing, yoga and line dancing.

Mary was a U.S. Cadet nurse, and loved her country and her community. In 1965, she created the Thomaston Fourth of July Children’s Parade for her son, his cousins and their neighborhood friends. In no time, this event included children from all over Thomaston and surrounding towns. For more than 50 years, Mary hosted the parade, wearing a red-white-and-blue dress and hoop skirt. Generations of kids marched on the street in front of her home and, at the end of the parade, gathered with her to sing Happy Birthday to the United States. Mary served as chairperson for reopening the Thomaston Opera House. In 1999, she was named Thomaston’s Citizen of the Year. Always the organizer, she left behind a sheet of notes for her obituary with this as the last line: “She loved the people and the town of Thomaston.”

The world was a better and much happier place for having her in it.

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Leo Raia

January 3, 1936 - December 29, 2016

Oil and acrylic artist, Fine Art Connection of Thomaston - Art Department • Ten-2-One Artists, 2014-2016

Leo was born January 3, 1936 in New York, NY, son of the late Joseph and Stella (Battaglia) Raia. He was a U.S. Army veteran of the Korean War. Prior to his retirement, he owned and operated Raia Custom Upholstery. Leo was a talented painter, an avid fisherman, loved the casino. He loved to eat and drink and have fun, He was a Tiger! He was a member of the Ten-2-One Artist Club The Fine Arts Connection of Thomaston. Leo is loved by everyone who ever met him. His joy for life showed in everything he did. He was often heard saying: "I live life my way!" and boy did he!! Nothing slowed him down. He loved his family and his friends and he loved to eat, drink and laugh!


Leo painting

Leo painting

Leo’s family

Leo’s family


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