Polly DeSanto Obituary

Polly  DeSanto
Polly DeSanto

June 18, 1941 - February 10, 2021
Born in Manchester, New Hampshire
Resided in Waterford, Connecticut

Obituary

Waterford-Polly (Gryzbek) DeSanto passed away peacefully at home on February 10, 2021 with her family close by. She was born on June 18, 1941, in Manchester, New Hampshire; the only child of Walter and Julia (Wyzskiel) Gryzbek.

Growing up in Manchester, she graduated from Central High School in 1959. Polly went on to Tuft University Bouve-Boston School of Physical Therapy and graduated in 1963 with a bachelor’s degree from Tufts and a diploma in Physical Therapy from Bouve. While at Tufts University, she met her husband, Robert DeSanto, sang in the Tufts Chorus and was a member of Odikon Music Honor S society.

Following graduation, she moved to New York City to work at St. Luke’s Hospital, as Bob was a graduate student at Columbia University. They married on June 6, 1964 and stayed in the city until 1968 when they m oved to New London, Connecticut, While in New York City, she was treasurer of the New York Tufts Club, met Elisabeth Bing and became interested in Prepared Childbirth. She became a childbirth instructor and a member of the Board of Directors of the American Society of Psychoprophylaxis in Obstetrics. While in New London, she worked briefly at Lawrence and Memorial Hospital and sang in the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Chorus.

In 1969, she moved to East Lyme, CT and went into business with two nurses forming the Council of Childbirth Education Specialists, Inc. This was an organization certifying nurses and physical therapists f or hospitals and privately to teach prepared childbirth. Her life was taken up with tennis, cross-country skiing and church work, w here she was the first female Senior Warden of St. John’s Episcopal Church. She was Senior Warden for six years and chairwoman of the Fisk Tracker Organ Fundraising Committee.

Due to undiagnosed Lyme disease that struck her in 1987, she spent most of the rest of her life with limited mobility. However, she continued to be active in St. John’s Church Choir, enjoyed meeting her tennis c club friends for lunch, her church friend’s for breakfast, Summer vacations in Maine and went on a cruise/land tour of Alaska with her children and grandchildren. She continued to attend n numerous sporting events and extra-curricular activities of her five grandchildren. In 2002, they retired to Waterford, CT to be grandparents. Most recently, Polly was a member of the East Lyme Public Trust Foundation through the construction of the Niantic Bay Overlook and Boardwalk.

She is survived by her husband of 56 years, Robert, daughters Amanda Zawacki and her husband Gary, of Waterford, CT; Pam O’Neil and her husband, Jim of Ludlow, VT. Five grandchildren, Julia, Franky and Robert Zawacki, David O’Neil and Katie Benson (Trevor); as well as one great granddaughter, Sadie Benson born on her great-grandparent is wedding anniversary.

The family would like to thank the Visiting Nursing Association of Southeastern Connecticut, Hartford Healthcare At Home-Hospice Care and Right At Home-Old Saybrook.


A Memorial Holy Eucharist was held privately for the family a t St. John’s Episcopal Church on Saturday, February 13, 2021. A Committal Prayers and Interment service will be held in St. John’s Memorial Garden in the spring.

Donations in her memory can be made to St. John’s Episcopal Church, PO Box 810, Niantic,
CT 06357 or the East Lyme Public Trust Foundation, Inc., PO Box 174, Niantic, CT 06357

The Thomas L. Neilan & Sons Funeral Home, 48 Grand St., Niantic is assisting the family with the arrangements. Online condolences may be expressed to the family at www.neilanfuneralhome.com

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