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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Dorothy Gambaccini, 91

Dorothy Gambaccini, wife of the late Mario Gambaccini and Westport resident for 56 years, died Dec. 27 at Norwalk Hospital. She was 91.

Born in Hartford and educated at Hunter College, she worked as a registered dietitian at Fordham University, where she met her husband.

In Westport, she became president of the League of Women Voters of Westport and president of the PTA Council. She served several terms on the Representative Town Meeting (RTM)—from 1969 to 1971 and 1972 to 1977.

She was also an active volunteer with the Westport-Weston chapter of the American Red Cross. She and her husband were avid boaters and had often traveled on the inland waterway to Florida.

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Monday, December 26, 2011

Mary M. McNulty, 92

Mary M. McNulty of Westport, wife of the late James McNulty, died Dec. 24 at Bridgeport Hospital. She was 92. Image
Mary M. McNulty: 45-year Westport resident. Contributed photo

Born in Clinton, Mass., she was the daughter of the late Michael and Mary (Mitchell) Kittredge and has been a resident of Westport for the past 45 years.

She graduated Emmanuel College in 1939 and then went on to teach at the School of the Assumption in Westport from 1968 to 1985. She was an avid bridge player and loved to travel. She volunteered for the Red Cross and the Literacy Volunteers of America in Norwalk.

She is survived by three daughters, Mary O’Connell and her husband Dave of Swampscott, Mass., Martha McNulty of Bridgeport, and Patricia Leahy and her husband William of Beverly, Mass., one son, James McNulty and his wife Lynn of Fairfield, and three grandchildren, Stephen O’Connell of Swampscott, Jake McNulty of New York, N.Y., and Leslie McNulty of Switzerland.

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Posted 07:53 PM
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Bobbie Friedman, 83

Bobbie Friedman, wife of Drew Friedman, died at her Westport home on Dec. 19 after years of battling dementia. She was 83. She was born Barbara Herta Kletzsch in Hollywood, Calif., on Oct. 3, 1928. Image
Bobbie Friedman: dancer, teacher, sculptor. Contributed photo

Everyone who came into contact with her felt her loving, vivacious and creative personality, her family said. They all loved her, and she loved everybody. She will be deeply missed.

First studying at the Belcher Studios, she was a prima ballerina and danced professionally from childhood. As Miss Plumas County in California, she competed in the Miss America contest.

After graduating Sacramento State College, she went on to teach grade school in Sacramento, Waco, Texas, Washington, D.C., and Durham, N.H.

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Friday, December 23, 2011

John B. Lawrence, Jr., 86

John (“Jack”) B. Lawrence, Jr. died Dec. 21. He was 86.

He was born in 1925 in Mount Vernon, N.Y., the son of Evelyn (McCullough) Lawrence and John B. Lawrence, and grew up in White Plains. He earned his bachelor’s degree in English from Brown University, where he belonged to the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. 

After college, he worked as a reporter and writer for daily and weekly newspapers in New Jersey and as an editor and writer for a weekly insurance/business trade journal in New York City.

He then embarked on a career in public relations, first at Bell Telephone Laboratories in Murray Hill, N.J., where he was a member of the technical staff, and later in the corporate communications department of General Telephone & Electronics Corporation (GTE) in New York City and Stamford.

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Colin A. Rankine, 47

Colin Alexander Rankine died Dec. 11. He was 47. Image
Colin Rankine: 1981 Staples graduate. Contributed photo

Born in 1963, he spent the early years of his life in New York and Massachusetts. His family moved to Westport in 1967 where he went through the Westport school system, graduating from Staples High School in 1981.

After attending Duke University, he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.S. in electrical engineering in 1985. He also earned an M.B.A. in finance and international business from New York University, where he was one of only two candidates awarded recognition as a Stern Scholar for Academic Excellence.

In 1989, he married Dawn Sesto, his wife of 22 years. Together they raised three children –- son Alex and daughters Emily and Heather. The family resided in Darien where they were active in the community sports and the Darien High School Theater and Arts programs. They recently relocated to their new home in Ridgefield.

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Posted 05:10 PM
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Harold E. Vogt, 93

Harold E. Vogt, husband of the late Elizabeth Vogt, died Dec. 15. He was 93.

Born Sept. 25, 1918 in Farmer City, Ill. son of the late Leo and Lora (Scott) Vogt, he had been a longtime resident of Westport.

During World War II. he served in the U.S. Army Signal Corp. Following the war, he was employed as a banker with Citigroup in New York.

He was an avid reader and treasured the time he spent with his grandsons, his family said.

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Posted 04:37 PM
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Jacob Goldman, Technology Pioneer, Dies at 90 Image
Jacob E. Goldman: Xerox chief scientist. photo

Jacob (Jack) E. Goldman, who as Xerox’s chief scientist founded the company’s vaunted Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) which invented some of the most important computer technology innovations in history, including the laser printer, the first personal computer, and Ethernet LANs, died on Tuesday in Westport, The New York Times reported today. He was 90.

The cause was congestive heart failure, his son Melvin said, according to the newspaper. A 40-year Westport resident, the physicist lived in a home overlooking Long Island Sound with magnificent views of both Compo Beach and Old Mill Beach.

Goldman played an important role both at the Ford Motor Company, during the 1950s, and later at Xerox in the 1960s and 1970s, in financing basic scientific research in an effort to spark corporate innovation, the Times said.

It was Goldman who urged Xerox to establish in 1970 an industrial park next to Stanford, University.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Callista D. Healey, 94

Callista D. Healey of Fairfield, a teacher at Westport’s Green’s Farms Elementary School for 33 years, died Dec. 19. She was 94.

The wife of the late George J. Healey, Jr., she was the daughter of Frank and Isabella Donlon and was born on Dec. 8, 1917 in Stratford.

She was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother. She was a graduate of Harding High School, Bridgeport Normal School, New Haven State Teacher’s College and received her Master’s Degree in education, Magna Cum Laude, from Columbia University.

She taught 33 years at Green’s Farms School and was active in many organizations both educational and charitable.

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Posted 11:39 PM
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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Remembering Jim Fine Image
More than 100 persons today attended a Westport Public Library memorial service for well known Westport and Weston raconteur Jim Fine who died Dec.11 at age 65. (See obituary here.)  William Sherman, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for the New York Daily News and a longtime friend and classmate at Bard College, described Fine as “a man who had a passion for food and wine, one who was uncensored in life and was never afraid to speak his mind, a wit that could have the effect of a table gun or jack hammer.” Westporter John Mihalec, a friend for more than 30 years, described Fine as “part Don Rickles and part Andy Rooney” and said when he and Fine were together before Fine died, Fine requested a glass of wine before going to hospice care. Mihalic added, “If I meet Jim in the after life I will remind him that the next round is on him.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 06:43 PM
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Friday, December 16, 2011

Susanna Chiarini, 69

Susanna Chiarini of Chesnut Ridge, N.Y., died Dec.12 in Daytona, Fla. She was 69.

Born in Budapest, Hungary, a daughter of the late Armin and Irene Katz, she will be remembered by all who knew her as a loving and devoted wife, mother, sister, grandmother, and aunt dedicating her days to the wellbeing of her family, her family said.

She survived by her husband Dominic “Nico” Chiarini, her sons, Stephan Chiarini and his wife Mickey of Miami, Marc Chiarini and his wife Lisa Lowy of Boston, her sister Agnes Vertes of Weston, and her grandchildren, Sasha and Nicholas Chiarini. 

Services will take place on Sunday, Dec. 18 at 2 p.m. from Temple Israel, 14 Coleytown Road, Westport, with interment following at Temple Israel Cemetery in Norwalk. 

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Westporter J. Lynn Helms, Reagan FAA chief, Dies at 86

J. Lynn Helms, who as federal aviation chief under President Ronald Reagan played a decisive role during the air traffic controllers strike in 1981, died Sunday, Dec. 11 at his Westport home in the Old Hill Road area. He was 86. Image
J. Lynn Helms: moved to Westport in 1969. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

The first man to fly 1,000 miles an hour as a gutsy Navy test pilot and former president of the Piper Aircraft Corp. who helped pull the company out of financial troubles, he was most recognized for the years as Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) under Reagan. It was Helms who advised Reagan that air travel would continue safely if the president chose to crush the labor protest.

The strike by the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization violated a law barring federal workers from striking. Reagan ordered the 11,400 controllers fired and Helms kept the FAA running with new employees, non-unionized workers, managers and members of the military.

The Washington Post quoted him as saying after years as a military and civilian test pilot that “you can think your way out of most problems.” And it cited his words after losing control of a jet at 52,000 feet: “Instead of panicking and ejecting, I figured out what to do by 12,000 feet.”

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cheryl Lynn Vetter, 54

Cheryl Lynn Vetter, a 1975 graduate of Westport’s Staples High School, died Dec. 11 at Sant Luke’s Episcopal Hospital in Houston after a 12½ year battle with interstitial cystitis, a relatively unknown inflammatory bladder disease which resulted in severe, progressive intractable pain. She was 54.

The disease, and complications from treatment of the disease led to her untimely death, said her family, which also said she fought bravely, but ultimately it was too much.

Born in Baton Rouge, La. on Oct. 16, 1957, she lived in Louisiana, New Jersey, Connecticut, London England, Boston, and Houston. She graduated from Staples in 1975 and was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate with a BA degree in social welfare/psychology at the College of Wooster in Ohio in 1980.

She later admirably studied and struggled for her Masters Degree in social work at the University of Houston while disabled, and was able to complete 85 percent of the coursework before having to bow out due to her ongoing progressive illness, according to her family.

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Posted 07:44 PM
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Frances Veronica Serchia Esser

Frances Esser, formerly of Westport, died Dec. 8 in Palm Desert, Calif.

Born and raised in Niagara Falls, N.Y., during World War II she was active in the USO and worked for Bell Aircraft. She then moved to Denver, Colo., married Dennis P. Esser and began a family.

The family finally settled in Westport where she involved herself in many community, cultural, political, church, and social activities while she raised her four children.

For many years she had a successful cosmetic line called ‘FranSalle,’ and later worked for Olin Corporation and CTI Industries among others.

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Posted 07:34 PM
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Monday, December 12, 2011

James L. Fine, 66

James L. Fine, entrepreneur, marketer and indefatigable bon vivant of Weston and previously a Westport resident, died Dec. 11 of acute myeloid leukemia. He was 66. Image
Jim Fine: “indefatigable bon vivant.” Contributed photo

Born in Brookline, Mass. on Nov. 28, 1945, he was the son of Milton and Marsha (Endlar) Fine.

After a peripatetic and indifferent secondary school career, he found his true home at Bard College, where he was active in dramatic productions with such classmates as Blythe Danner and Chevy Chase.

According to Bard legend, he also played a role in bringing together two students named Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, who became the jazz-rock band, Steely Dan. 

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Posted 09:19 PM
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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christina Olivieri, 80

Christina Olivieri of Norwalk died Dec. 10 in Norwalk Hospital. She was 80

Wife to the late John F. Olivieri of 28 years, she was born in Palermo, Sicily on Jan. 5, 1932. She was the daughter of the late Giuseppe and Caterina (Mineo) Albanese and attended local schools.

She emigrated to the Unied States in 1969, where she and her husband settled in Norwalk to raise their family.

As a homemaker, she enjoyed cooking and hosting many gatherings at her residence. Her passion in life was to surround herself among her family and friends, according to her family.

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