Elia Chepaitis, 80, of Westbrook, CT and Exeter, RI, passed away on June 29, 2023. She was the beloved wife of Joseph B. Chepaitis for 57 years, and the sole surviving sibling of Grace (Vallone) Mariorenzi of Jamestown, RI, and was predeceased by three brothers, Louis, John and William. Born in Providence, RI, Elia was the daughter of the late Dr. John J. Vallone, Jr. and Elia Nardolillo Vallone. She adored her family and is survived by a devoted daughter and son, Amy and Andrew, and pre-deceased by her son, Daniel.
She was a scholar -- majored in Russian at Manhattanville College, earned an MBA in International Information Systems at UNH, a masters in Russian Studies at Georgetown and a PhD in European History at the University of Connecticut. Dr. Chepaitis retired as a professor emeritus of computer information systems at Fairfield University. Multilingual, she worked in 32 countries, and was a three-time Fullbright fellow who also patented a simple alternative to Braille. After retirement, Elia turned to a life of crime, writing murder mysteries, encouraged by the Key West Writers Guild.
She spread her love of adventure to her beloved grandchildren, Emma, Kira and Alex. She biked from New Haven, CT to Exeter, RI, and from Marathon, FL to Key West. She also kayaked from Marathon to Key West and throughout the rivers of northern Florida to Apalachicola, and sailed her Sunfish across Long Island Sound. Elia and her family cherished and sheltered animals all their lives.
Burial and memo- rial gathering will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Estuary (Senior Center in Old Saybrook, CT), the Nature Conservancy, or Doctors without Borders.