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Obituary: Aline Mahnken Knowlton

Aline Mahnken Knowlton, a resident of Darien for fifty-five years, died peacefully surrounded by her family on July 10th.

Mrs. Knowlton was born on December 9, 1920, the daughter of the late Marion and Henry Chandler Mahnken, residents of Brooklyn and Southold, New York. She attended the Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn and graduated from Smith College in 1941 with a major in mathematics. After her graduation, she worked for AT&T.

In 1948, she married Archa Osborne Knowlton, who affectionately called her “Leni” or “Arlene.” They initially lived in Illinois and Ohio, but in 1958, Mr. Knowlton took a job with the General Foods Corporation and they moved to Darien. After renting a house on Pratt Island for one year, they settled in Tokeneke, where they raised their family and where Mrs. Knowlton lived until her death.

Leni loved to travel, and in association with Mr. Knowlton’s “retirement” position with the International Executive Service Corps, was able to visit countries all over the world. She collected many handicrafts and ornaments that to this day adorn the homes of her children. Both Archa and Leni loved living near the water, both in Darien and for many years during winters in Marco Island, Florida. The Knowltons were also long time members of the Tokeneke Club.

Archa Knowlton died in 2007. Surviving family members include Mrs. Knowlton’s brother Chandler Mahnken, of Savannah, Georgia, and the families of her four daughters – Nancy Knowlton, and husband Jeremy Jackson of Washington, D.C. and their children Rebecca and Stephen Jackson; Sally Knowlton-Keen, and husband Frank Keen, of Darien, their daughters Marisa Keen and Adrienne DiNapoli, and Adrienne’s husband Michael DiNapoli; Susan Knowlton of Wilmington, Delaware, and her daughter Darcy Dobis; and Joanne Gabriel, and husband Stephen Gabriel, of Darien, and their sons Jack and Christopher.

“Bobby” often helped take care of her grandchildren (who gave her that name), and she was always happiest when all her family gathered together. She loved nature and was an avid bird-watcher, wildlife photographer, shell collector and gardener, passions that she passed on to her children, grandchildren, and those she knew. An environmentalist ahead of her time, Mrs. Knowlton joined and contributed to many societies including the World Wildlife Fund, The Sierra Club, and Natural Resources Defense Council, to name a few.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Connecticut Fund for the Environment/Save the Sound.

 

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