Cynthia Martin, 79, Former Darien Nursery School Teacher

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DARIEN, Conn. – Cynthia Halsey Martin, a longtime teacher at Noroton Presbyterian Nursery School, died Jan. 6 in Norwalk. She was 79.

Martin started teaching at the nursery school in 1964 after several years as a teacher in New Canaan. She received a master's degree in special education from Fairfield University mid-way through her career.

She was born Sept. 12, 1933, in Pittsburgh to William and Grace Patton Hetzel. After moving to Rowayton in 1941, she attended Norwalk public schools. She received a bachelor's degree in sociology from Bucknell University.

She lived in Northern Japan for two years with her first husband, Edward G. Halsey IV, who was stationed with the Army. She taught nursery school there to the children of enlisted soldiers.

They returned to Rowayton and had two children, Grace Anne Halsey, of Stamford, and William Isaac Halsey, of Norwalk. After a divorce, Martin remarried in 1969 and moved to Weston.

She commuted to Darien to teach at Noroton Presbyterian Nursery School, where she often played piano for her students before retiring in 2008. In 1975, she began working a second job at Wheeler Real Estate. She retired as the weekend office receptionist after 36 years.

Martin moved back to Rowayton in 1981 after a second divorce and lived on Farm Creek Road until moving to her son's house in Norwalk in 2009.

A seamstress, she sewed everything from her children's summer clothing to wedding gowns. An avid gardener, Martin's family said she he adored the natural world.

Martin is survived by her children; two sisters, Priscilla Van Lenten, of Ridgefield, and Ceville Duckworth, of Charlestown, R.I.; a brother, Peter Hetzel, of Englewood, Fla.; and three grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 1:30 p.m. Monday at Norton Presbyterian Church. Edward Lawrence Funeral Home in Darien is handling arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Noroton Presbyterian Church, Horton Scholarship Fund, 2011 Post Road, P.O. Box 3401, Darien, CT 06820.

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