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Harding Funderal Home, Westport, CT

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Documentarian Bill Buckley, 88

By James Lomuscio

Bill Buckley, the longtime Westport, award-winning documentarian who created campaign films for Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson plus a television series with Harry Truman, worked up until his death Friday at 88. Image
Bill Buckley: filmmaker, jazz lover. Dave Matlow /WN photo

“The day he died he got a request for a film,” his wife Judith Hamer said tonight at Meadow Ridge Senior Living Community in Redding, where they have lived since 2008.

Buckley said Meadow Ridge was close enough to Westport, a town where he wanted to be but said had little senior housing.

His film company B&B Productions, which closed upon his death, was his bread and butter. It produced legal, medical films for litigating plaintiffs to show damages they incurred.

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Posted 07:09 PM
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Bill Buckley, 88, Documentary Filmmaker

Scenes from the life of award-winning documentary filmmaker Bill Buckley, a longtime Westport resident. He died Jan. 20 at age 88. He most recently lived at Meadow Ridge in Redding with wife Tracy Hamer, also a longtime Westporter. Many of his documentaries involved the civil and human rights movements. He worked closely with the late Westport author and illustrator Tracy Sugarman (his death coming four years to the day after Sugarman’s.) He helped to create campaign films for John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, and worked with Harry Truman on the award-winning television series, “Years of Decision.” Dave Matlow, Larry Untermeyer and Phyllis Groner for and contributed photos

Posted 03:56 PM
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John T. Valiante, 28

John T. Valiante of Westport died Jan. 17 in Greenbrae, California. He was 28. Image
John T. Valiante: musician Contributed photo

Born on April 16, 1988 in Norwalk, he was a son of Bart and Anne Valiante and a lifelong Westport resident.

He was a singer, songwriter, and a passionate musician. He was a fisherman, a carpenter as well as a licensed mechanic; — a Jack of all trades.

He had a heart of gold and would give you the shirt off his back. He made a special connection to everyone he touched, especially seen in his bond with animals

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Posted 02:04 PM
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Daniel B. Driscoll, 96

Daniel B. Driscoll, of West Yarmouth, Massachusetts, a Westport native, highly decorated World War II fighter pilot, and Westport selectman, died Jan. 11. He was 96. Image
Daniel B. Driscoll: former selectman. Contributed photo

Born in 1920 and raised in Westport, he attended Staples High School and Pratt Institute of Technology. He then enlisted in the U.S. Navy as a pilot.

He distinguished himself in several famous aerial battles in the Pacific.

Flying a Grumman F6F Hellcat, a carrier-based fighter aircraft, he was part of a group that downed 148 Japanese planes in the air and sank 48,000 tons of enemy shipping, according to historians.

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Posted 12:10 PM
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Saturday, January 21, 2017

Sonya M. Clark, 85

Sonya Morrison Clark, of Sarasota, Florida, a former Westport resident, died Dec. 6 after a long, valiant battle with vascular dementia. She was 85.

She was born Dec. 22, 1930, her father’s birthday, in Bay Shore, New York to Frederick Morrison and Sadie Morrison, Sonny graduated from Syracuse University.

She and one other woman were the first females to be elected to the university chapter of Beta Alpha Psi, national professional accounting fraternity. As a CPA, she worked with her father in a public accounting practice.

She later became a manager at the Coopers Lybrand (now PricewaterhouseCoopers) New York City office and traveled extensively as one of their expatriate tax specialists. Sonny developed a private practice in Westport and continued that practice when she relocated to Sarasota.

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Posted 02:18 PM
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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Edward B. Gill, 91

Edward B. Gill of Westport died Jan.15 at home. He was 91. Image
Edward Gill. World War II vet.. Contributed photo

Born in Rockville, Connecticut on May 25, 1925, he was the son of Andrew Stanley Gill and Bernice Sophia Gill (nee Baron).

A World War II veteran, he served as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 242 Army Air Force Base Unit as lead navigator for the 730th Bomb Squadron in the 452nd Bomb Group of the 8th Air Force. He flew 17 missions from Deopham Green Airfield in England. After the war he served in the Air Reserve until 1961.

He graduated from the University of Connecticut with a B.S. from the College of Agriculture and received a Master’s in education from the University of Bridgeport.

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Posted 11:35 AM
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Estelle Reitano, 92

Estelle “Stascia” Reitano of Westport died Jan. 12 at Maplewood Senior Living in Norwalk. She was 92. Image
Estelle Reitano: nurse. Contributed photo

She was born in Haydenville, Massachusetts, grew up in Glen Cove, New York, and moved to Bridgeport in her early teens.

She was a graduate of Bassick High School in Bridgeport, and became a registered nurse after graduating from Norwalk Hospital School of Nursing -– a lifelong vocation and core part of her identity.

She served in the Army Cadet Corps during World War II and spent many years as a school and public health nurse in Westport, along with acting as an enthusiastic troop leader for the Girl Scouts. During the school year break, she spent many summers as the camp nurse at Camp Kennebec in Maine.

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Posted 11:09 AM
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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Large Turnout for John Skinner Funeral Image
An overflow crowd today attended the funeral of Westporter John Skinner, former airline pilot and a founder of the Builders Beyond Borders charity, at the Southport Congregational Church. He died Jan. 13 at age 80.  (See WestportNow Jan. 16, 2017) Said son Chris Skinner: “My father had a blue collar attitude and wore the white shirt of professionalism. He was a man’s man, a regular guy.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 07:56 PM
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Lucia Nebel White, 93

Lucia Nebel White of Westport, a noted photographer and longtime member of Westport’s arts community, died Jan. 14 at home following a brief illness. She was 93. Image
Lucia Nebel White: photographer, swimmer. Howard Friedman photo from “High Tide Club”

Active into her 90s, she was a member of the High Tide Club, a group of elderly residents who swim at Westport’s Burying Hill Beach. She made it a point to swim there every day in all but the most inclement weather.

She was born April 19, 1923 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her father, Berthold Nebel, a Beaux-Arts sculptor, was born in Basil, Switzerland and came to the United States at age 1. Her mother, Maria Lucantoni, was born in Anticoli Corardo, Italy. They met at the American Academy in Rome, where Berthold had studied on a fellowship and where Maria was a model.

Lucia lived in Pittsburgh for four years while her father taught at the School of Sculpture at the Carnegie Institute of Technology, now Carnegie Mellon University.

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Posted 12:40 PM
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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Lynn Beinfield, 67

Lynn Beinfield of Colorado Springs, Colorado, a former Westport resident, died Jan. 1 at Baylor Hospital in Dallas, Texas while undergoing treatment for leukemia. She was 67. Image
Lynn Beinfield: former Westporter. Contributed photo

Born in Brooklyn, New York on Feb. 8, 1949, she was a daughter of Marjorie and Malcolm Beinfield. Malcolm Beinfield, who died in 2006 at age 84, was a well-known, longtime Westport surgeon. Marjorie, a social worker at Norwalk Hospital, died in March 2016 at age 90.

The Beinfield family moved to Westport in 1951 where Lynn graduated from Staples High School in 1967. She was a graduate of Antioch College, and SUNY Downstate College of Medicine, where her father and her grandfathers, Henry Beinfield and Harry Koster, had gone before her.

She practiced psychiatry in Newtown before moving to Colorado.

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Posted 11:26 PM
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Eleanor Shull, 91

Eleanor (Bickie) Shull of Westport died Jan. 11. She was 91. Image
Eleanor Shull: illustrator, painter. Contributed photo

A Westport resident for 60 years, she was born in Montclair, New Jersey, the daughter of Harriet Parsons and Ralph M. Watt. 

She graduated from Smith College where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in her junior year, and also to Sigma Xi, a national honorary scientific society.

She had been an illustrator for children’s magazines, advertising manager/art director, copy editor, and most recently a painter. 

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Posted 05:21 PM
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Ernest I. Arnow, 92

Ernest “Ernie” I. Arnow of Westport, a World War II veteran, longtime Norwalk dentist, and former member of Westport’s Representative Town Meeting (RTM), died Jan. 15 at home. He was 92. Image
Ernie Arnow: dentist, WWII vet. Contributed photo

The husband of Elaine Walkoff Arnow was born, July 6, 1924 in Bronx, N.Y., the son of Samuel and Sadie Arnow.

He attended the Bronx High School of Science and then served in the U.S. Army during World War II in the Medical Corps in the Pacific. He proudly participated in Westport Memorial Day parades over the years.

He attended New York University (NYU) undergraduate school and NYU Dental School. He practiced dentistry in Norwalk for more than 50 years. 

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Posted 01:45 PM
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Stephanie Miller, 78

Stephanie (Cohen) Miller of California, a former Westport resident, died Nov. 22, 2016. She was 78.

She was born on March 21, 1938 to Edith and Reverend Phillip Cohen. She grew up in London and then married Laurence Miller and relocated to the United States.

She was an educator and strong advocate for children with learning challenges. She created a series of tales about Pierre, a dog lost in London and Paris, to assist the students she tutored in reading comprehension. Unfortunately, shedied before she had an opportunity to publish any of her work.

She was loved by many - especially her children Alan and Janet Miller, as well as her four grandchildren, Connor, Tyler, Ben and Sean. She moved from Westport, CT to Mill Valley to be closer to her family. She had a close attachment to her British roots and was an active member of the Daughter’s of the British Empire.

Posted 12:22 PM
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Monday, January 16, 2017

John C. Skinner, 80

John Carl Skinner of Westport died Jan. 13 at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport as a result of injuries suffered from a fall the day after Christmas. He was 80. Image
John Skinner: leader for Builders Beyond Borders Contributed photo

He was born in San Jose, California on March 22, 1936.  He was adopted at age 6 by Cleo and Lempi Amanda Koivunen Skinner, and later at age 12 by Gladys May Skinner, following the death of Amanda. 

He grew up in Sacramento and joined the Navy at age 18 where he served as a fighter pilot for 12 years.  He met his future wife, Jeri Ann Hatch, at the Officers’ Club at Moffett Field in Sunnyvale, California. 

They were married on July 5, 1959.  They had two sons, Christian Carl born on Feb. 9, 1960 and Craig Steven born exactly two years later, on Feb. 9, 1962.

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Posted 07:01 PM
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Glenn Hightower Memorial Set for Saturday

A memorial service for Glenn Hightower, longtime Westport educator who died Jan. 1 at age 76, will be held Saturday, his family said today. Image
Glenn Hightower: Westport educator Contributed photo

The service will take place at United Methodist Church of Westport and Weston, 49 Weston Road, at 2 p.m. (See family-supplied obituary appended to the WestportNow obituary, WestportNow, Jan. 4, 2017)

The family requests that any memories people would like to share with them be sent to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) “as we are trying to collect such wonderful thoughts and remembrances for us and our children.”

In lieu of flowers, the family asks to consider a donation to the following organizations that will make an impact on people’s lives in a local community:

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