Adrian Edward Offinger of Wilton passed away on Oct. 6, 2022, at the age of 102. He was born on April 21, 1920, in Mt. Vernon, NY, the youngest child of Martin H. and Clara J. (Groth) Offinger. Adrian grew up in Pelham Manor, NY and graduated from Pelham Memorial High School in 1938. The family purchased their farm on Chestnut Hill Rd. in Wilton in 1929 as a weekend and summer retreat. Adrian and his parents moved to Chestnut Hill full-time in 1942 after he graduated from Yale University with an engineering degree in metallurgy.
It was in Wilton where Adrian developed his life-long love for growing (and selling) produce and flowers as well as maintaining his beehives and apiary, a hobby he began at the age of 16. He learned about farming while working as a teenager at Harry Jackson’s farm nearby across Chestnut Hill. Mr. Jackson remained an important influence in Adrian’s life, providing space in a spare chicken coop for Adrian eventually to start his own metallurgy business.
Following college, Adrian worked at Bridgeport Brass as a metallurgist during World War II. In 1945, he started Beehive Heat Treating Service — a metallurgy shop — ultimately moving the company to South Norwalk. Adrian retired in 1985.
Adrian met Mary Ellen Uhrig during the Christmas holidays of 1949, and they were married in August 1950. They raised their three children on Chestnut Hill: Catherine, now of Falmouth, MA; Donald of Wilton; and Harry, now of North Sandwich, NH.
Retiring at age 65, Adrian had ample time to expand and tend to his gardens; sail on the family catboat and fish in Long Island Sound; sing in the Wilton Congregational Church choir; serve on various Town and church boards and committees; and remain active with the Yale Alumni Association.
In 1968, Adrian and Mary embarked on a wonderful tradition of annual worldwide travel. Memorable destinations were Hawaii, India, Egypt, all of Central America, several countries in Western Europe, Africa, South America, Greece and Antarctica. Adrian’s last international trip was with his son Don in 2006 to visit friends on Insel Rügen in Germany.
Among Adrian’s many attributes was his ability to make and sustain friendships with people of all ages and backgrounds. Throughout all of his 102 years, he kept up with and was visited by many dear neighbors, long-time Wilton residents, family and friends around the world, and loyal customers of the roadside farmstand who love Offinger Farm tomatoes! He enjoyed speaking German with the many ex-pats who frequent the farmstand.
Adrian is survived by his three children; three grandchildren, Heidi Lussier, Ross Offinger and Caitlin Offinger; and six great-grandchildren, as well as many cousins, nieces, nephews and extended family. He was pre-deceased by his wife, Mary, who died in 2013, his parents and his brother Martin William Offinger and his sister Marguerite Offinger Booda.
A celebration of Adrian’s remarkable life will be held in the spring of 2023 when his beloved peonies will be in bloom.
For those who wish to make a gift in Adrian’s memory, a donation to Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps (234 Danbury Rd; Wilton, CT 06897) would be greatly appreciated by the family.
Adrian was a wonderful gentleman. Adrian should also be remembered for his role in his family’s foresight and generosity with the protection of the farm for the community to enjoy in perpetuity. It is a fine legacy and it was my pleasure to work with the Offingers to see this preservation effort succeed.
My condolences to Don, Catherine, Harry and their families.
What a remarkable man, I’m proud to have met him and enjoyed the fresh produce from his beautiful land. The Offinger family farm has been a must-visit for generations of Wiltonians and is an aesthetic delight on Chestnut Hill. Here’s hoping against hope at least some of the land will be preserved in his memory.
There is a conservation easement on the Offinger Farm land so it will be open space for perpetuity.
I grew up across the street from the Offingers land. My grandparents (Larry and Terry Graham) originally bought our house in 1939 and moved in a few years before the Offingers moved in permanently. We are blessed to still have that house in my family too. What an amazing legacy Adrian created for his family and what an amazing life in Wilton. Offinger tomatoes and corn were the best and of course the gorgeous flowers! I went to high school with Hank and am sending heartfelt condolences to the whole family. Thinking of all of you, Beth Spangenberg Shea
Thank you Heather and Pat – that is so good to know! I grew up close to the Offinger farm and to this day every time I pass it on Chestnut Hill it reminds me again of Wilton’s special character and how fortunate I was (and am) to be part of it. A much-loved part of our community – thank you.
I will always love you, Adrian, Mary, and Donny, for making the history and beauty of this area come alive for me in our chats! You and your family have given our community lasting treasures, even along with your great fruits and vegetables!
I just happened to see this today and I’m brokenhearted. Adrian was always happy to see me and my dog, and all of the other dogs that I traveled with and would bring by the farm throughout the years. The vegetables were the best, as well as all of the beautiful flowers. I’d always drive by, waiting for that first day when the stand was officially open! We had many conversations about farm life and all of the animals that are a part of it. Thank you Don, for sharing all of your fun stories about your Dad. Sending my deepest condolences to you and your family. But I’m happy to know that the land will be preserved. Rest in peace my friend, you will surely be missed.
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