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Monday, February 08, 2016



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 03, 2016

William H. Weeks II, 65

William Harrison Weeks II of Somerset, Pa., formerly of Westport, died Jan. 29 at Somerset Hospital.  He was 65.

He was born July 7, 1950 in Bridgeport, son of William Richard and Pauline O. (Kovacs) Weeks.

He was a U.S. Army Vietnam veteran and received a bachelor’s degree in social work.

He was a member of Saint Luke Catholic Church, Westport, D.A.V., and American Legion Post 63, Westport. He had a great respect for the military and loved rock and roll music.

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Posted 03:39 PM
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Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Arnold R. Ganz, 90

Arnold R. Ganz, a Westport resident for 47 years, died at Jan. 21 at home. He was 90.

He was born in New York City, son of the late William and Irene Ganz, and was a U.S. Army veteran who served during World War II. He was a recipient of a Purple Heart and Bronze Star. He attended Biarritz American University and New York University majoring in business administration.

He was president of Pervel Ind., a subsidiary of Bemis Corporation, until his retirement in 1990.

He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Enid W. Ganz, his children; Austin (Cheryl), Harrison (Heidi), and Andrea (Robert Vogel), and grandchildren Evan, Bradford, and Jordan. He was predeceased by his sister, Lenore Epstein.

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Monday, February 01, 2016

Donna J. Bender, 63

Donna Jane Bender of Fairfield, a former Westport resident, died Jan. 28 at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport. She was 63.

She was born in Asheboro, N.C. and had been an area resident for 45 years. A graduate of Katherine Gibbs College in Manhattan and Staples High School in Westport, she worked at various retailers and The Fairfield Store, and as computer support technician for the Fairfield public school system at Stratfield Elementary School, and more recently at Roger Ludlowe Middle School.

She was very active at in the faith she converted to at Our Lady of the Assumption Parish in Fairfield, serving as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, lector, a member of the Liturgical Committee and head of the Family Mass Committee.

She enjoyed needlework, visiting the beach, visiting with friends and family, wineries, and reading, and taught classes on knitting and computers.

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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Patrick C. Haggerty Jr., 46

Patrick C. Haggerty Jr., a lifelong Westport resident, died Jan. 28 at home. He was 46.

Born in Norwalk on April 23, 1969, he was the son of Karen A. Haggerty and the late Patrick C. Haggerty Sr.

He was a well decorated Go Kart Racer. He raced in Connecticut, New Hampshire, and South Carolina and was a member of the Nutmeg Go-Kart Association.

He was an avid fisherman, collector of music art and music. He was a loving father to his son Patrick.

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Posted 02:01 PM
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Friday, January 29, 2016

Antonia Welsher, 61

Antonia “Toni” Welsher of Toms River, N.J., a former Westport resident, died Jan. 28 at Community Medical Center. She was 61.

Born in Italy, she came to the United States when she was four years old. She lived in Westport prior to moving to Toms River in 1984.

Shei was the founder and operator of the Michel Welsher Scholarship for pediatric cancer, which awards high school children college scholarships.

She was predeceased by her son, Michael Welsher. She is survived by her husband Joel Welsher; one son Matthew Welsher and his wife Brianne; two grandchildren, Benjamin and Megan; one sister Pasqualina Coppola and her husband Teodoro; niece, Flora and her husband Dario; nephew, Stefano and his wife Donna; also by her great nieces and great nephews, Lillian, Luke, Michael, Sophia, and Sabrina.

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Posted 08:09 PM
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Evan Rackson, 25

Evan Rackson of Westport died Jan. 28 at Norwalk Hospital. He was 25.

Born in New York, N.Y., he was a 2009 graduate of Staples High School.

He s survived by his parents, Alan and Fran Rackson, his brother and sister, Brian Paul Rackson and Alyson Michelle Rackson, and by his grandparents, Hy and Taffy Goldberg and Chester and Selma Rackson.

Services will take place on Sunday, Jan. 31 at 1 p.m. from The Conservative Synagogue of Westport, 30 Hillspoint Road, with interment following at The Conservative Synagogue of Westport Cemetery, Reid Street, Fairfield. Shiva will be held at the family’s home on Sunday immediately following the funeral until 8 p.m. with minyan at 5p.m., Monday from 1 to 4 p.m., and 7 to 9 p.m., Tuesday from 1 to 4 p.m., and 7 to 9 p.m., Wednesday from 7 to 9 p.m., and Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m.with Shiva minyanim held each night at 7:30 p.m.

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Posted 04:45 PM
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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Concetta A. Gomes, 86

Concetta (Connie) Arre Gomes, a former Westport resident, died Jan. 18 in Kingwood, Texas. She was 86.

Born in Westport, she was one of four children of the late Stephen and Mary Arre of Enfield. Her love was raising her family and watching them grow. While doing so, she was able to enjoy volunteering at the schools her sons attended, knitting, golf, and bowling. Her warm, welcoming smile and engaging personality touched so many.

She is survived by her husband of more than 60 years, Joseph W. Gomes, and her sons Joseph, James, and John. She also leaves behind her daughter-in-law Valerie Gomes, Jacqueline Crowder, and her grandchildren Mackenzie, Marissa, and John Gomes. She is also survived by her sister Christine Savio, sister-in-law Joanne Coehlo, and brother-in-law Fredrick Gomes, as well as many nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her brothers Stephen and Anthony (Red) Arre, brother-in-laws Ronald and Edward Gomes, and sister-in-law Ruth Wilbur.

A private memorial service will be held at the Kingwood Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the American Cancer Society and/or the Joslin Diabetes Center

Posted 09:56 PM
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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Dale E. Lamberty, 69

Dale Elise Lamberty of Westport died Jan. 24 at Norwalk Hospital. She was 69.

Born in Long Island the daughter of the late Dolores Cutler Wollam and Nat Cutler, she had been a Westport resident for 48 years. She graduated from college in New Paltz, N.Y., and later proudly received a nursing degree from St. Vincent’s College of Nursing.

She had a great talent for baking cakes like few others and would create amazing 3D replicas of anything. She was part owner of the original Great Cakes and since then has been known by many as Cake Lady Dale.

She was an avid gardener and a member of the Fairfield Garden Club where she won many awards. Above all else, cooking and baking was one of her greatest passions and she loved to share her many creations.

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Posted 02:23 PM
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Stuart S. Bernard, 96

Stuart Sidney Bernard, a former Westport resident long involved in community activities, died Jan. 22 at Meadow Ridge retirement community in Redding. He was 96. Image
Stu Bernard: active in community affairs.  Contributed photo

In Westport, where he and his late wife Perry moved in 1959, he became involved in organizing the Greens Farms Association. He also served on the Representative Town Meeting (1995-97), the Flood & Erosion Control Board, Commission for Senior Services, Commuters Association, Long Lots Intergenerational Program, was Y’s Men president (1994-95), co-founder of their singing group, the Hoot Owls, and driver for Meals-on-Wheels and Red Cross.

He was also on the Senior Center Construction Committee. He remarked to WestportNow Associate Editor James Lomuscio for a series on Westport seniors last summer: “You’ll find my name on a goddamn plaque outside the goddamn Senior Center.”

In 1999, he and his wife became the first husband and wife team to be honored as grand marshals of Westport’s Memorial Day Parade.

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Posted 01:37 PM
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Alice J. Chappa, 99

Alice Chappa (Jaya) , a former Westport resident, died Oct. 13, 2015 in Jacksonville, Fla.. She was 99.

She was born Jan. 8, 1916 in Oran, Algeria the daughter of Pedro Maria Jaya Galvez and Isidora Amelia Martinez She was one of four sisters, including Teresa, Jeanne, and Odette Joya.

She came to the United States in 1947 after World War II. Prior to moving to Westport, she resided in North Africa as a French citizen where she worked for the United States during the war.

There, she met Michael J. Chappa, a native Westporter, who was in charge of a Quartermaster Company In Oran at the time. He asked her to come to the United States. where they married in 1947.

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Posted 02:12 AM
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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Janet G. O’Connell, 96

Janet Griffin O’Connell of Westport died Jan. 19. She was 96. Image
Janet O’Connell: speech pathologist, Realtor. Contributed photo

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., she was a graduate of The College of New Rochelle and earned a master’s from Columbia University.

During World War II, she joined the American Red Cross and was posted to Miami Beach where she served until the end of the war supporting the Army Air Force redistribution service, while also meeting her future husband Bob.

She taught speech and drama (her first love) at both her alma mater and Manhattanville College. After focusing on her young daughters, she began work as a speech pathologist for the Norwalk school system.

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Posted 04:50 PM
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Christopher Lanni Vigil Canceled

Organizers of a planned vigil today at 7 p.m. on Jesup Green for Staples High School freshman Christopher Lanni, 14,have canceled the event. He died Dec. 23. Image
Christopher Lanni: Staples freshman. Contributed photo

The announcement followed Saturday’s death of Staples English teacher Cody Thomas, 27. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has ruled both took their own lives.

“We hope the Lanni family can find comfort in knowing that the intent and spirit of the vigil has already affected and impacted many in our community,” organizers said in a Facebook posting.

“In holding the safety of our students and families in upmost importance, we are cancelling tonight’s vigil.”

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Posted 03:20 PM
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Services Set for Staples Teacher Cody Thomas

Services were announced today for Cody Thomas, the Staples English teacher and co-adviser to the award-winning Inklings school newspaper who died Saturday at age 27. (See WestportNow Jan. 25, 2016 Image
Cody Thomas: died Saturday. Contributed photo

Relatives and friends may call at the Lacerenza Funeral Home, 8 Schuyler Ave., Stamford on Thursday, Jan. 28 from 2 to - 8 p.m.

A prayer service will be held at the Lacerenza Funeral Home on Friday, Jan. 29 at 10 a.m. Interment will follow at Fairfield Memorial Park, Oaklawn Avenue, Stamford.

Donations may be made in his memory to Staples Tuition Grants, PO Box 5159, Westport, CT 06681-5159 or

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Posted 01:43 PM
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Monday, January 25, 2016

Cody Thomas, 27, Staples Teacher

UPDATE Staples High School English teacher Cody Thomas, 27, took his own life, Superintendent of Schools Elliott Landon told the school community today. Image
Cody Thomas: popular teacher. Contributed photo

“Mr. Thomas’ death has been declared a suicide and we are all profoundly saddened by this event,” Landon said in an email to Staples parents.

An email from him on Saturday informed them of the death of Thomas, of Fairfield, who was also co-adviser to the award-winning student newspaper Inklings.

Landon said an announcement at Staples today told students: “All of us want you to know that we are here to help you in any way we can. We know that Mr. Thomas’ death has been declared a suicide.

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Posted 11:21 AM
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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Seda Kochian

Seda Kochian of Fairfield, wife of 60 years of Varujan Kochian, died Jan. 21. Image
Seda Kochian: seamstress at Plumed Serpent. Contributed photo

Born in Sivas, Turkey, she had been a Fairfield resident since 1981 A talented and gifted seamstress, she worked for many years at the Plumed Serpent Bridal Shop in Westport where she was delighted to meet and become friends with many future brides.

She also loved creating clothes for her family and friends.

Survivors in addition to her husband include two children, Markirit Edwards and her husband Simon of Trumbull and Mirijan M. Kochian and his wife Yeva of Southport; four grandchildren, Tigran and Hamlet, Maria Seda Kochian, and Varujan Edwards and; a brother, Manuk Bozoklu: a sister, Satenig Seheryildizi.

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Posted 01:49 PM
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