Obituary: Olivia Joyce Cottrell LeVan, 90, longtime resident, D-Day hero

obit-LeVan-7-24Olivia Joyce Cottrell LeVan, 90, died at Greenwich Woods on July 18.

She was born on Oct. 14, 1923, in Brighton, England, to Thomas Cottrell and Liliane (Essling) Cottrell. Her father was a prominent British cartoonist who drew for a number of weekly magazines including Punch and Blighty, and was a press cartoonist for the Beaverbook group of papers. A compilation of his World War II work is in the collection of the Imperial War Museum in London.

In May 1941, she joined the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) of the British Army. Upon completing training, she was sent to Dorchester Barracks where she was a switchboard operator. She was then sent to Weymouth Barracks to be trained as a plotter, learning how to plot shipping and aircraft on a large plotting table and passing the information along to the gunners. When plotters were needed for aircraft operations, she was transferred to the RAF base at Middle Wallop. She was on duty in the operations room in the early morning hours of June 6, 1944 and plotted the movement of the D-Day forces crossing the English Channel.

During the war, Olivia met Arthur LeVan, an American soldier, on a blind date in London. They married in July 1945 and she became a U.S. citizen in November 1953. Ms. LeVan worked for Dixie Cup (American Can) and was transferred to its new Greenwich headquarters in 1971.

Olivia worked in Greenwich for over 20 years as an executive secretary at various companies including Timex, Heminway & Bartlett, Greenwich Academy, Greenwich Hospital, American Optical Corporation, and for Ambassador Joseph Verner Reed.

Family recalled that she enjoyed the Greenwich harbor ferry boat rides, vacationing in Bermuda, her cat Simon, listening to her daughter sing, gardening and writing. Ms. LeVan is survived by her daughter, Denise LeVan, of Stamford; her stepsister, Sally Thorpe, of Hailsham, E. Sussex, U.K., and stepbrother, Robin Cottrell, of London, U.K. She was predeceased by her husband, Arthur.

The family thanked Masonicare Hospice Care and Greenwich Woods for “the loving care given to Olivia.”

Arrangements are being made by Leo P. Gallagher & Son Funeral Home, 2900 Summer St., Stamford, CT. Service will be private. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Masonicare Hospice Care, CT Chapter of Alzheimer’s Association, or Friends of Felines, Stamford.

—by the staff

By participating in the comments section of this site you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and User Agreement

© Hersam Acorn. All rights reserved. The Greenwich Post, 10 Corbin Drive, Floor 3, Darien, CT 06820

Designed by WPSHOWER

Powered by WordPress