Maureen Howard Casey, former owner and chef at the Griffin in Matlacha, died peacefully Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, at 9:50 p.m., of respiratory failure, surrounded by her loving family and friends at Mount Ascutney Hospice near Hartland Four Corners, Vt., after a long battle with COPD, a chronic debilitating and irreversible disease virtually 100 percent of which is caused by smoking.
She was born in New Haven, Conn., Oct. 28,1942. She was an interior designer graduated from the Pair School of Artin New Haven and a legendary chef in her three restaurants starting in 1968 with Casey's Tavern in Hartland Four Corners and finishing her career in 2006 at the Griffin restaurant and art gallery in Matlacha so she could care for her 95-year-old mother.
She was a local treasure in Matlacha known by most and a loving friend of many. She was loved for her dry wit and glorious sense of humor. She was painter, poet and gardener who could be found more often than not crawling around the Griffin gardens, her first love.
Maureen (AKA Mo) is survived by her husband, John (Jack) Casey; her mother, Lillian Howard (now 103); sister ,Barbara Murphy of Hamden; and brother, Raymond Howard of New Haven. She also leaves her loving step-daughters, Colleen and Eileen Casey, of North Haven, and Teresa Culmone of Northford, Conn.; nephews, Thomas Murphy of Hamden, Cassidy (Peter) Murphy of So. Royalton, Vt., Christopher Murphy of Burlington, Conn.; and nieces, Catherine Murphy of Norwich and Margaret Murphy of Guilford; and a host of grandnieces and nephews all who will miss her as she touched their lives and leaves fond memories.
After moving to Hartland Four Corners in 1968, Maureen and her husband Jack opened Casey's Tavern which became a well known gathering place for food, friendship and intellectual pursuits. Later, after traveling and living abroad for a time, she operated the restaurant and art gallery known as The Griffen in Matlacha,
Upon returning to the home she loved in Vermont, she could be seen from spring to fall gardening and surrounded by friends. She was well known and loved by many for her dry wit, sage advice, empathetic ear and great sense of humor. A true flower child of the '60s connected to the earth, justice and peace. A celebration of her life will be held at a later date.
Anyone wishing to commemorate her passing can make a gift in her memory to copdfoundation.org