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Monday, February 27, 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

Monday, February 27, 2017

Ernest C. Trefz, 84

Noted businessman and philanthropist Ernest C. Trefz of Trumbull died Feb. 25. He was 84. Image
Ernest C. Trefz: noted businessman. Contributed photo

He was co-owner of Bridgeport-based Trefz Corp. with his brother, Christian, a Westport resident. The company owns McDonald’s franchises throughout the area as well as commercial property in Westport and elsewhere.

The husband of Joan Frisk Trefz was born in New Haven on Dec. 19, 1932, son of the late Christian and Katherine Pfister Trefz. He was a U.S. Army veteran.

Brothers Ernie and Christian opened their first restaurant in Waterbury in 1964 after noticing how much hamburger meat was being sent from Bridgeport-based Roessler Packing Co., where they worked as general managers, to Connecticut’s first McDonald’s restaurant in Hamden.

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Walter J. Sutherland, 77

Walter (“Wally”) Joseph Sutherland of Westport died Feb. 25 at home. He was 77. Image
Walter Sutherland: military veteran. Contributed photo

He was the husband of Patricia ( Patsy ) Powell Sutherland.

Funeral services will be held on Thursday, March 2 at 11 a.m. directly at Saint Luke Church, 49 Turkey Hill Road North,  with burial to follow in Willowbrook Cemetery with full military honors. Calling hours will be held on Wednesday, March 1 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Lesko & Polke Funeral Home, 1209 Post Road, Fairfield.

Memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital , One St. Jude Pl., P.O.Box 1000 Dept 300, Memphis, TN 38148-0552.

Posted 11:04 AM
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Saturday, February 25, 2017

Ezequiel F. Barrero, 89

Ezequiel F. Barrero, a former Westport resident, did Feb. 18 at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport. He was 89. Image
Ezequiel F. Barrero: physician. Contributed photo

Born in La Coruna, Spain on Aug. 16, 1927, he finished medical school in Santiago de Compostela, Spain and began his medical career as a ship’s doctor in the Spanish Merchant Marines before relocating to Fairfield County.

A retired physician, he had a private practice of internal medicine with privileges at Bridgeport Hospital and was truly dedicated to the care of his patients.

Chich and Judi raised their family in Trumbull and Westport, moving to Stratford and Hilton Head, South Carolina after their retirement. He traveled the world with his wife and children, and was especially fond of Hong Kong and Dublin.

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Posted 03:18 PM
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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Mary J. Giunta, 95

Mary J. Giunta, a lifelong Westport resident, died Feb. 13 at Lord Camberlain Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Stratford. She was 95.

The wife of the late John J. Giunta Sr. was born Aug. 1, 1921 in New Brunswick, New Jersey, the daughter of the late Joseph and Rose Candito.

She was a member of Assumption Church in Westport and The Catholic Daughters. She was a member of the Shorehaven Country Club and an active volunteer with Westport and Norwalk Senior Centers.

Survivors include two sons: Robert Giunta and his wife Louann of Westport, and John Giunta and his wife Stephanie of the Villages in Florida. in addition to her husband, she was predeceased by one brother: Pen Candito and three sisters,  Nancy Anderson, Rose Porfido, and Minnie Desomond.

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Posted 11:20 AM
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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Large Turnout for Mike Connors Service Image
A large crowd today attended a memorial service at Saugatuck Congregational Church for Michael R. Connors of Stratford, longtime bartender at Westport’s Black Duck, former Syracuse University and Staples High School football player and Staples coach who died Feb. 15 at Bridgeport Hospital at age 58. (See WestportNow Feb. 19, 2017) Among tributes was this from one attendee: “Mike was the only guy I ever knew who could insult you and make it feel like a compliment.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 01:53 PM
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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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