CHESHIRE — A longtime town councilor and influential female leader died last month.
Selina McArdle, who was 81 years old when she died due to complications following surgery at MidState Medical Center, was Connecticut’s very first municipal agent for the elderly.
“She was just the most wonderful woman in the room,” remembered her husband of 61 years, Jim McArdle. “She loved this town and its people immensely, and I miss her very much.”
Selina McArdle was an accomplished pianist and artist and graduated from the Lebanon Valley College’s Conservatory of Music in Pennsylvania. She also owned and operated the Creative Craft Center, at 98 Elm St., for 15 years, selling art supplies and needlecraft materials.
She might have been best known for her many years on the Cheshire Town Council, where she served five consecutive terms over the course of 10 years, from 1975 to 1985.
McArdle, a proud Democrat, wrote the Health and Social Services component of the Community Development Action Plan, by which Cheshire’s current political and economic structures are heavily influenced. While creating the plan, she became aware of the struggles facing senior citizens.
“She saw the conditions that the elderly were living in and knew change needed to be made,” her husband said.
McArdle was well known for her involvement in the Women's Liberation movement of the 1960s and 70s, and was even awarded the Charter Revision’s “Man of the Year” award for her service. She was also the first woman to receive the Cheshire Jaycees Distinguished Service Award in 1973.
Her husband, who was also involved in politics, fondly recalls a time when he and his wife we’re both up for election, and he lost his seat.
“She polled 11 points higher than me. We we’re, at the time, the only two Democrats running and she made it and I didn’t,” he laughed. “She deserved it.”
Current Town Councilor David Borowy recalled what Selina was like to work with.
”I (was) elected in 1985 and that’s the year she left,” he remembered. “She was a wonderful woman and a fierce advocate for the elderly. She will certainly be missed.”
McArdle’s dedication to the elderly and social service never wavered throughout her tenure on the Council, helping establish the Cheshire Housing Authority, Cheshire Hospice, and aiding in the purchase of the Moore House on Maple Ave, which is now the Cheshire Senior Center.
When McArdle retired in 1985, the town hired three full-time employees in order to replace her and her volunteer efforts.
A contribution in Selina's memory may be made to The Cheshire Senior Center Membership Association, 240 Maple Ave., Cheshire, CT 06410. For online condolences, please visit www.dellavecchiafh.com