Seth and Joanna Wakeman were well-known in Stonington and will certainly be missed by many.
“We’re absolutely devastated, you know, very much in shock,” said family friend Andi Burrow.
She said the Wakemans were the first to welcome her brother to the neighborhood when he moved in next door.
“I know my brother’s pretty torn up,” said Burrow, who tried to hold back tears. “I can’t imagine what their family’s going through.”
Shock and sadness for the Stonington couple killed on Saturday night after leaving Lattitude 41 restaurant. Flowers tied to a nearby light post pay tribute to the couple known to welcome everyone.
“They were that kind of people that they would have young people and they would have older people there,” said Burrow. “Just a lot of love and laughter.”
“To have both him and his wife Joanna, who also was a super person together was just… took my breath away,” said John Garbarino, President of the Quiambaug Fire District.
Garbarino was a Rotary Club member with Seth Wakeman and served on the Quiambaug Fire Distict with him. Wakeman was the vice president of the fire district and had also been a fire police volunteer until he turned 80.
“The guy was just fabulous,” said Garbarino. “Every way shape and form you can imagine. He was just level-headed dedicated beyond belief.”
He was 88 and his wife, Joanna, was 78. They were hit by a car police say was driven by 73-year-old Carol Belli of Groton. She was heading north on Rt. 27 near Rossie Pentway at the Mystic Seaport parking lot when the accident happened.
“The operator did stop. We had contact with her. Obviously, she was upset like anybody would be,” said Stonington Police Capt. Todd Olson.
Belli was charged with Driving Under the Influence.
Details of exactly how the accident happened, where the couple was when they crossed the street, and other factors leading to the tragedy are still under investigation.
“They lived life to the fullest,” said Burrow. “The only blessing we see out of this is they were together.”
And that’s how they will be remembered when their lives are celebrated and their loss is mourned.