Edythe Director, who helped her husband Arthur start Connecticut Lighting Centers, died on July 21 after a long illness. Edythe, a resident of both Cromwell, CT, and Boynton Beach, FL, was 78.
Edythe’s son, David, who is now President of Connecticut Lighting Centers, says the lighting industry was a huge part of his parents’ lives.
“My parents loved this industry and made hundreds of friends that have become lifelong friends,” David Director says. “That was probably the biggest thing they took away from this industry was the friends they made.”
One of the Directors’ lifelong friends, Murray Feiss, founder of Murray Feiss Lighting and now head of Authenticity Lighting, remembers Edythe as “kind, warm, loving… a lady in every respect.”
“Edythe was a good friend all the time and you could always count on her,” Feiss says. “And when she got sick, she never complained and just did everything she needed to do. She was one of the bravest women I’ve ever known.”
Another longtime friend, Jack Fleischer, President of Hermitage Lighting, calls Edythe a "true sweetheart.”
“She was definitely beloved by many in the industry for her soft, thoughtful demeanor,” Fleischer says. “She frequently attended ALA Conference, and her presence will be greatly missed.”
Edythe was part of what would become the family business from the very beginning, having left her teaching job to help her husband start Connecticut Lighting back in 1972. Besides being known as one of the faces of the company, Edythe was also responsible for developing the home accessories side of the business.
“She was a pioneer in home accents,” David Director says. “She created the whole business for Connecticut Lighting. It was her vision.”
Edythe was also incredibly involved in several charitable organizations. One of her proudest achievements was an interfaith dialogue group in the 1960s that sought to establish better understanding between community members from different backgrounds. Edythe was also an active member of Congregation Adath Israel, leading several organizations and singing in the choir for many years. She and Arthur also established a trust that funds several causes, including the Boy Scouts, a local high school and a local mental health center.
“They were married for over 58 years and their family and their community were the two most important things to them,” David Director says.
Dean Gottesman, Executive Vice President of Royalite Lighting Centers and a friend of the Directors, agrees that family was the thing Edythe was most passionate about.
“She was a very caring individual who basically put family above everything else,” Gottesman says. “She loved to travel and spend time with her family. She was just very kind and wouldn’t hurt a fly.”
Edythe is survived by her two children, David (and his wife Carol) and Judy Guzman, and five grandchildren: Todd, Jenna and Brett Director and Jacob (Julia) and Rebecca Guzman.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Edythe and Arthur Family Fund at Congregation Adath Israel or the Arthur and Edythe Director Family Funds at Middlesex County Community Foundation, 211 S. Main St., Middletown, CT 06457.