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Obituary: Priscilla Searles

February 14, 2023
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Obituary: Priscilla Searles
Priscilla Searles

Priscilla Searles, 83, of Orange, beloved wife of the late James C. Searles, passed away on December 30, 2022.  Born on October 18, 1939 in Hartford, CT, she was the daughter of the late Paul and Helen (Kerivan) Burgess.

Priscilla was a writer and contributor to Business New Haven since it was launched in 1993.  She began her career as editor of publications for the Armstrong Rubber Co.  A onetime staff reporter for the New Haven Journal Courier; she also served as executive director of Fort Nathan Hale Restoration Projects.  A director of the New Haven Colony Historical (now the New Haven Museum) for 14 years, Searles headed the NHCHS’s education committee, writing and implementing educational programs, including “Free Men:  The Amistad Revolt and the American Anti-Slavery Movement,” distributed to schools across the country.  She was an incorporator of the New Haven Crypt Association, the organization responsible for the restoration of the original New Haven Burial Ground, located beneath Center Church on the Green.  She was a former member of the board of directors of Domestic Violence Services of Greater New Haven and was a member of the formation committee of the Orange County Fair, for which she served as Arts and Crafts Superintendent.  She was also formerly on the Board of Directors of the Orange Historical Society.  Priscilla was Town Historian in the Town of Orange and has held that position for many years.  She was a writer for the Milford-Orange Times newspaper and had a monthly column featuring historic photos from the town’s past.  She was an active member of the Orange Bicentennial Committee and was appointed to the town’s time capsule which will be opened in the year 2072.  She thoroughly enjoyed this latest project, which was completed just two weeks before Christmas.

Priscilla is survived by her children, Kevin (Michele) Margenau, and Keith (Paula) Margenau; stepchildren, Susan (Matt) Schmitt, and David Searles; grandchildren, Kyle, Matthew, and Paige Margenau, and Sam and Benjamin Schmitt; and her brother, P. Douglas (Sue) Burgess.

Friends and family may call from 11:30a.m. to 1:30p.m. on Saturday, January 14, 2022 at the Cody-White Funeral Home, 107 Broad Street, Milford, CT.  A Memorial Service will immediately follow at the funeral home.  Interment will be private.  In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Orange Historical Society, P.O.B. 784, Orange, CT 06477 or through its website:

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