Ethel Lance
Ethel Lance, who served as a children’s librarian and volunteer for over 70 years, passed away July 14 of natural causes. Throughout her career in the greater Hartford area she impacted the lives of hundreds of children in public schools, private schools and non-profit organizations such as UConn Medical Center and the Newington Home for Crippled Children. She refused to accept a salary during any of her years as a volunteer, saying, “It didn’t seem right to charge money teaching children to love reading.”

A fifth-generation British-American, Ethel was born in Brooklyn, NY, the younger daughter of Morris and Leah Steinberg. Ethel attended Pratt University as an art major and moved to Hartford at the close of World War II. When her sons enrolled at the Yeshiva of Hartford (now the Bess and Paul Sigel Hebrew Academy), she volunteered to work in the nascent school’s library, eventually serving as school librarian for nearly 20 years.

When the Academy moved to Bloomfield, CT, Mrs. Lance began working at the Newington Home for Crippled Children (now Newington Children’s Hospital) and then established what would be a lifelong pattern of looking for places where there were children and not enough books—bringing reading and storytelling to the children of the Greater Hartford area. A master storyteller and reader, Mrs. Lance eventually acquired a menagerie of puppets, stuffed animals and figurines to help bring the stories to life for her children.

Over the next 30 years, she served as a volunteer at the Children’s Science Museum in West Hartford, Metacomet School in Bloomfield, the Bloomfield Prosser Public Library, UConn Child Life, CREC Magnet School and the Intensive Education Academy in West Hartford doing weekly storytelling sessions for the students with special needs.

While largely housebound her last five years, Mrs. Lance continued to do age-appropriate book evaluations and met with children’s librarians throughout the area on a regular basis.

Mrs. Lance is survived by Paul and Ellen Lance of Los Angeles, Steven Lance and Suzanne Davis of New York and daughter-in-law Carole Schweid of Westport. She has two grandsons, Max and wife Jennifer Lance and Daniel Lance. Services will be held at 1:30pm on Sunday July 16, 2017 in the Chapel of the Weinstein Mortuary, 640 Farmington Ave., Hartford, CT. Interment will follow in the Congregation Agudas Achim Cemetery, Cleveland Ave. Ext, Hartford, CT. Immediately following the interment, the family will receive relatives and friends at 11 Tumblebrook Lane, West Hartford. Shiva will continue Monday and Tuesday from 4pm to 7pm.

In lieu of flowers or gifts, donations may be made to Share The Care (, a non-profit that empowers individuals to organize support groups for individual caregivers.

For further information, directions or to sign the guest book for Ethel, please visit online at

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