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Wednesday, February 22, 2017



WestportNow publishes obituaries without charge. Funeral homes or individuals may submit obituaries to . Photos in jpeg format may be submitted to the same address. Obituaries should indicate full name of deceased, date and place of death, age, and connection to Westport. Please provide a name, telephone number, and email address for verification. WestportNow reserves the right to edit obituaries to conform to our editorial style.

Harding Funderal Home, Westport, CT

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Ruth S. Gruber, 88

Ruth Sirot Gruber of Danbury, former director of education at Temple Israel in Westport, died Feb. 19.  She was 88. Image
Ruth S. Gruber: former Temple Israel employee. Contributed photo

A native New Yorker who came to Danbury as a young bride, she was the daughter of Nathan and Bella Sirot. She was married to Everett Gruber for 67 years.

As a teacher, educator and educational consultant her professional career spanned over 60 years. She was the principal of the religious school of the United Jewish Center in Danbury and the director of education at Temple Israel of Westport.

Upon her retirement from Temple Israel, she became an educational consultant training teachers, developing curricula and workshops. In her second retirement she was a Hebrew tutor.

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Posted 01:04 PM
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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Karla A. Roof, 57

Karla A. Roof of Westport died Feb. 16 at home. She was 57. Image
Karla Roof: community volunteer. Douglas Healey/WN photo

Born May 13, 1959 in Rochester, New York, she was the daughter of the late John and Janice Stevens and has been a resident of Westport for the past 20 years.

She was a 1981 graduate of Cornell University and a member and former treasurer of A Better Chance of Westport (ABC). She was also active in the Westport PTA and in local golf and tennis leagues.

Her interests included gardening, landscaping, interior design, and exercising. She enjoyed going on ski trips with her family and close friends. She spent most of her time as a devoted, loving mother to her children. Her wisdom and strength will continue to guide them.

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Posted 10:47 AM
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Monday, February 20, 2017

Sally Balch, 75

Sally Balch of Redding, a former Westport resident, died Feb. 17 in the Health Center at Meadow Ridge. She was 75. Image
Sally Balch: former Westporter. Photo by Phyllis Groner

She was born Oct. 6, 1941 in Nyack, New York., the daughter of the late Ruth (MacDonald) and Salvatore Ciancimino. Her mother was a teacher of Latin and her father had served as mayor of Nyack and treasurer of Rockland County, New York.

She graduated from Syracuse University and worked for Marshall Field in its Manhattan buying office on Fashion Avenue. She married Bill Balch in 1970 and lived in Riverdale, New York until 1983 when they moved to Westport.

She was active in the Westport Garden Club where she served on the board for 22 years. She and her husband were active boaters and have been members of the Saugatuck Harbor Yacht Club since 1989.

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Posted 10:55 AM
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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Michael R. Connors, 58

Michael R. Connors of Stratford, longtime bartender at Westport’s Black Duck, former Staples High School football player and coach, died Feb. 15 at Bridgeport Hospital. He was 58. Image
Mike Connors: Black Duck bartender, football player, coach. Contributed photo

The husband of Kelly Burns Wood Connors was born Nov. 20, 1958 in Bridgeport, son of the late Richard and Mickey (Hardy) Connors. He had been a resident of Stratford for the past 20 years.

He was employed as a bartender in the area for many years, 30 years at the Black Duck Cafe in Westport. He was a graduate of Staples High School and attended Syracuse University and was an outstanding football player at both Staples and Syracuse as well as an assistant coach at Staples for 10 years.

Survivors in addition to his wife of 15 years include one son, Robert C. Wood and his wife Jennifer of Shelton, two daughters, Amanda L. DeLise and her husband Vito of Stratford, and Lindsey Wood and her husband Anthony Rizza of Westport, one brother, Kyle Connors of Westport; two sisters, Kelli Connors-Gower of Maine and Jana Mathis of South Carolina; 12 grandchildren, Bailey Rizza, Robert Wood V., Jack DeLise, Bobbi Michaels, Emma DeLise, Avonlea Wood, Stevie Michaels, Ty Wood, Sophie DeLise, Carter Wood and Toni and Joey Rizza and many cousins, nieces and nephews

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Posted 12:35 PM
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Friday, February 17, 2017

Marianne R. Shaffer, 77

Marianne Rosche Shaffer of Winhall, Vermont, a former longtime retail employee in Westport, died Feb. 8. She was 77.

A longtime skier and Stratton figure, she was married to Wilson Shaffer for 52 years.

She lived the majority of her years in Fairfield, and, more recently, Winhall. She worked for many years at Brooks Brothers in Westport as a retail sales associate.

Born Sept. 5, 1939 in Berlin, Germany, she worked in the fashion industry until she moved to the United States in 1964. She enjoyed skiing and socializing with her friends from Stratton Mountain Trailblazers Ski Club.

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Posted 11:05 AM
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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Mike Connors, Bartender, Coach, 58 Image
Michael R. Connors of Stratford, known as “Wolfie,” a bartender at Westport’s Black Duck Cafe for 30 years until a year ago, and former Staples High School football player and coach, died today, according to friends. He was 58. See obituary HERE. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Posted 09:28 PM
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Elfriede S. Lafferty, 73

Elfriede S. Lafferty of Westport died Feb. 8 at Norwalk Hospital. She was 73.

The wife of the late John F. Lafferty was born June 16, 1943 in Buszkowo, Poland and was the daughter of Ludwig and Natalie (Wahl) Schulz.

A Westport resident for 35 years, she was a member of Assumption Church and the Westport Woman’s Club.

She is survived by one daughter, Monica L. Lafferty-Waupotitsch and her husband Robert Waupotitsch of Fairfield, one brother, Gustav Schilz of Edmonton, Canada, three sisters, Martha Kent of Phoenix, Arizona, Paulina Kauss and Lydia Grindi both of Edmonton, Canada. In addition to her husband and parents, she was predeceased by one brother, Adolf Schulz, two sisters, Wanda Young and Johanna Miess.

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Posted 11:53 AM
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Mary T. Ferruccio, 89

Mary T. Ferruccio of Westport died Feb. 13 in Danbury Hospital. She was 89.

The wife of the late Anthony J. Ferruccio was born in New York City on Nov. 17, 1927 and was the daughter of the late Patrick and Jane (McGirr) Treanor.

A longtime Westport resident, she was a member of the Catholic Daughters, the Joseph J. Clinton Post 399 Ladies Auxiliary and the Westport Center for Senior Activities.

Survivors include one son, Amedeo Ferruccio and his wife Mary of Silver City, New Mexico, two daughters, Marianne Ferruccio and her husband, Clemente Sanches, of Sandy Hook, and Jane Ferruccio of Milford, and her twin sister, Elizabeth Rienzi of Beechhurst, New York.

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Posted 11:43 AM
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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Claudia L. Hurd, 95

Claudia L. Hurd of Westport died Feb. 9 at home. She was 95.

The wife of the late Justin “Jud” Hurd was born in Cleveland, Ohio on Dec. 25, 1921 and was the daughter of the late Philip and Valerie (Vanko) Lipp.

A Westport resident since 1964, she was a graduate of Rhodes High School and Spencerian Business College, both in Cleveland. Some of her many interests included collecting books and browsing in bookstores, sewing and knitting, playing her piano, writing poetry, and her French conversation group.

Survivors include one son: Philip Hurd and his wife Janet (Kelley) of Lexington, Massachusetts, and three grandchildren: Audrey, Grace, and Annie.

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Posted 02:30 PM
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George F. Avery, Jr., 87

George F. Avery, Jr., a 50-year resident of Westport, died Jan. 11. He was 87. Image
George F. Avery, Jr: business executive. Contributed photo

He was born in Syracuse, New York, to George Francis Avery and Marion Riddler Avery. He graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 1951. He was the president of his fraternity, SAE, student manager of the football program, and held numerous honors for his academics, volunteerism and commitment to the Penn State community, including admission to the national Blue Key Honor Society.

Following his marriage to Janice in 1951, he served in the U.S. Air Force, and upon discharge began a 52-year career in the management of international transportation, with Alcoa in Pittsburgh, Celanese Corporation in New York City, Stauffer Chemical Company (later Rhone Poulenc) at the Nyala Farms complex in Westport, and thereafter as a consultant, dealing largely with raw materials and hazardous materials shipped by sea.

He was a co-founder and president of the United States Shippers Association, a founding member of Shippers for Competitive Ocean Transport, and led related industry committees of the National Council on International Trade Development, the National Industrial Transportation League, the Chemical Manufacturer’s Association, and the American-European Soda Ash Association.

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Posted 12:50 PM
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Carl W. Mutrynowski, 74

Carl Walter Mutrynowski of Fairfield, a former school crossing guard and marina security guard in Westport, died Feb. 7 at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport. He was 74. Image
Carl Mutrynowski: school crossing guard. Contributed photo

Born Oct. 7, 1942 in Bridgeport, he was the son of the late Walter and Anna (Washinski) Mutrynowski. He was a resident of Fairfield for the past 66 years.

He attended Andrew Warde High School and graduated with the class of 1962. Following graduation, he worked for more than 30 years as a machinist for Avco/Lycoming/Textron until his retirement in 1997.

Once retired, he took part-time jobs for the Town of Westport, working as a crossing guard during the school year and as a security guard at the Westport Marina.

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Posted 11:09 AM
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Jonathan B. Morris, 78

Jonathan (Jon, J.B.) B. Morris, a longtime Westport resident, died Jan. 14 at home. He was 78. Image
J.B. Morris: longtime Westporter. Contributed photo

Born in Hartford, he was raised in Fairfield and Easton. He attended the Taft School and graduated from Williams College with a degree in economics and finance.

His experiences playing varsity baseball and basketball helped establish a love of sports and numerous lifelong friendships.

After a tour of duty in the Army Reserve, he joined First National City Bank in New York City, advancing to the National Division of the Corporate Banking Group before leaving to join Bristol-Myers.

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Posted 02:03 AM
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Monday, February 13, 2017

Dorothy McAteer, 92

Dorothy McAteer of Westport died Feb. 12 in Norwalk Hospital. She was 92.

The wife of the late James A. McAteer was born on Aug. 18, 1924 in Brooklyn, N.Y. and was the daughter of the late Horace and Isabella (Murray) Tyers.

She was a longtime member of Christ & Holy Trinity Church in Westport where she was known as the “cookie lady.”

She was also a member of the Order of the Easter Star, Daughters of Scotia, Daughters of the British Empire and the International Association of Administration Officials.

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Posted 06:16 PM
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Large Turnout for Harold Levine Funeral Image
There was a large turnout today at Westport’s Temple Israel for the funeral of Westport arts patron and advertising executive Harold Levine, who died Feb 9 at 95. (See WestportNow Feb. 10, 2017) Son Jay Levine said of his father: “There were very few events my father enjoyed more than a party and none more than the ones at which he was honored … He was the consummate people person.” He added:  “He gave me these guidelines in life — one-third life is family, one-third is business, one-third is community.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 01:11 PM
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Philip W. Reeves, 57

Philip Walker Reeves of Wilton, a former Westport firefighter, died Feb. 7 of cancer. He was 57. Image
Philip Reeves: former Westport firefighter. Contributed photo

Born in Cleveland, Ohio on July 15, 1959 to the late Courtney H. Reeves Jr. and Sarah S. Reeves, he moved to Wilton in 1962 and remained there for most of his life, attending Wilton Public Schools.

As a member of the Wilton Volunteer Fire Department, he found his lifelong passion, becoming a firefighter with the Westport Fire Department in 1980, where he remained for six years.

He then joined the U.S. Army to earn his wings as an army aviator. After completing his active obligation, which included a tour in the Republic of Korea, he transferred to the Massachusetts National Guard, where he remained until his death, achieving the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 5 as the State Aviation Safety Officer. He served two tours in Iraq as a medieval helicopter pilot.

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Posted 11:09 AM
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