Wilton’s First Female First Selectman, Rose Marie Verrilli, 92, passes away

Image used for information purpose only. Picture Credit: www.wiltonbulletin.com

A few years before the term “glass ceiling” was used to characterize the imperceptible obstacles women encountered in securing prominent leadership positions in the workplace, Rose Marie Verrilli smashed over it.

In 1978, the phrase was first used. Verrilli was the first woman elected to Wilton’s top public position, first selectman, just a few years prior, in 1975.

During a brief illness, Verrilli passed away on October 24. She was ninety-two. Verrilli, hailed as a trailblazer by her family and other local authorities, would be followed by other first selectwomen. According to those who knew her, she leaves behind a legacy as a “fixture” in the community, well-known in business, the public sector, and local and regional non-profits. According to Verrilli’s obituary, she was “a distinguished civic and business leader.”

Rose Marie Verrilli’s five children included James Verrilli, who explained his mother’s rise to first selectman status as a logical development. Prior to her election, men were the only ones in that position. Rose Marie Verrilli had already held positions of local leadership despite the fact that there weren’t many local women participating in politics at the time. When the town’s sewer system was initially built, she served as its chair. She presided over the Wilton Planning and Zoning Commission as well.

James Verrilli stated that his mother’s election as first selectman wasn’t motivated by “ruffling feathers.” Thus, she did not refer to herself as the “first selectwoman.”

According to Donald Verrilli, his wife had a plan for growing Wilton while maintaining the town’s pastoral character, which includes protecting open land that is covered in trees.

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