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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Harry W. Ackley, 95

Harry W. Ackley of Southport, father of Westport Fire Chief Christopher Ackley and beloved husband of the late Rita (Neupert) Ackley, passed away peacefully in his home surrounded by his family on Feb. 18. He was 95. Image
Harry W. Ackley: father of Westport fire chief. Contributed photo

Harry, a member of our country’s “greatest generation,”  was born in Bridgeport, the son of the late Claude and Lucy (Goss) Ackley. As a young man mornings were started by going down to the train tracks with a bucket to collect coal that train engineers would kick off the tops of the coal cart. This coal was used to provide heat for his house and for cooking before the family woke up.

He had been a Southport resident since 1950. Harry drove a bread truck for the A & P grocery store in Fairfield during the 1930s. He proudly served in the U.S. Navy as a steamfitter in a construction battalion in Sicily, Italy, Anzio and North Africa during World War II. He was a 4th Degree member of the Knights of Columbus and a former president of the Southport Volunteer Fire Department.

He was an honorary member of the Theta Sigma Fraternity at the University of Bridgeport and was a former member of the Fairfield Rotary Club.

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Max Wilk, Author, Music Impresario, Dies at 90

UPDATE (adds additional details, memorial service information) Max Wilk, author, playwright, film and television writer, and music impresario who produced Westport Arts Center jazz and live musical shows for almost 20 years, died Saturday at his Saugatuck Shores home in Westport, his son David said today.  He was Image
Max Wilk addresses a Westport Public Library audience in 2008. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for

Many Westporters regarded Wilk as one of the town’s living treasures.  He took delight in regaling his fellow residents with insider tales of show business and the musical world – whether it was a large audience or an acquaintance he met at the deli.

In 2008, he appeared at the Westport Public Library to promote an updated edition of his best known nonfiction work, “They’re Playing Our Song:  Conversations With America’s Classic Songwriters”

When talking about the people he interviewed and had associations with over the years, he said, “I think I should have paid for the privilege of interviewing the people in my book.”  He added: “Stephen Sondheim and I are the only two left who are in my original book.”

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Nicholas J. DeMaria, 86

Nicholas Joseph DeMaria, 86, of Forrest Hills, N.Y. and formerly of Westport, passed away on Feb. 20 at North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, N.Y.

Mr. DeMaria was born in Westport on March 18, 1924, son of the late Frank and Carrie (Zelembo) DeMaria. He attended Westport schools and later moved to New York and worked as a insurance underwriter until his retirement. He is a U.S. Army veteran of World War II.

Survivors include one brother, Samuel DeMaria, three sisters, Angie Macaluso, Jane Doucette and Gloria Licari, and many nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents, he was pre-deceased by three brothers, Frank, Joseph and Jack DeMaria and one sister, Nette Reitano.

Friends are invited to attend the funeral on Thursday Feb. 24 at 10 a.m. directly at Assumption Church, 98 Riverside Ave. Interment will follow in Assumption Cemetery, Kings Highway, Westport. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to Assumption Church.

Posted 04:33 PM
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Sunday, February 20, 2011

John Edward Searight, 91

John Edward Searight (Ed), of Heritage Village in Southbury, formerly of Westport and Fairfield, died Feb. 16 of natural causes. He was 91.

Born Oct. 12, 1919 in Harrisburg, Pa., he was the son of the late Clarence Lee Searight and the late Amy Davidson Searight. He was raised in Harrisburg, Cincinnati, and Teaneck, N.J. where he graduated from high school.

An accomplished trumpet player, he trained in Manhattan and considered a career as a musician. His band was accompanied on occasion by Frank Sinatra.

In 1942, he graduated from Syracuse University where he was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity. He proudly served in the U.S. Navy from August 1942 to October 1945 as the commanding officer of the USS Andrews, PC606, in the South Pacific.

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Beatrice Kalman, 92

Beatrice Kalman, a longtime Westport resident who, with her late husband, ran the Compo Acres Luncheonette, died Feb. 12 in Lauderhill, Fla. She was 92.

Born Sept. 25, 1918, in Hartford, she was the widow of Morris Kalman, mother of David Kalman of Westport, and grandmother of Michael Kalman and Steven Kalman and grandmother of Lily and Abigail Kalman.

She and her husband Morris ran Compo Acres Luncheonette in Westport for more than 20 years. A mainstay and popular eating place, the luncheonette was a meeting place for many for breakfast, lunch and early dinner, enjoying Beatrice’s home-style cooking.

She was buried on Florida on Feb. 14.

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Arthur Levy, Jr., 90

Arthur Levy, Jr., an attorney and a Westport resident since 1954, died in his home on Feb. 18. He was 90.

In 1947, Levy joined the law firm of Friedman and Friedman in Bridgeport. He then practiced law until 2000 as a partner and of counsel to the firm and its successor, Friedman, Newman, Levy & Sheehan.

His calm demeanor provided needed support to his many clients. A quiet man, he excelled at legal research and writing. Even after computer research became the norm, he could still find the dispositive case, “in the books” faster than any attorney with a keyboard.

Born Oct. 24, 1920, he was the son of Arthur and Alice D. Levy. He was raised on the Upper West side of Manhattan and graduated from Townsend Harris High School at the age of 16. He then matriculated at NYU Heights and was admitted to Harvard Law School in 1940.

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Natale C. Arcudi, 86

Natale Carmelo Arcudi died Jan. 12. He was 86. Image
Natale C. Arcudi: native Westporter. Contributed photo

He was born Feb. 25, 1924, in Westport. He lived in Victorville, Calif. for more than 14 years and then moved to Oklahoma City, Okla., to live the balance of his life with his granddaughter, Jeannie and family.

Nat joined the Army Air Corps after high school, from 1943-1946, as an engine mechanic on transport aircraft.

He was one of seven children and survived by sisters Cora Arcudi of Florida, Mafalda Zona of Connecticut (predeceased by Jenny and Yolanda) and brothers Benny and Carmen Arcudi, both of Florida.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Helen Catherine Hart, 81

Helen Catherine Hart of Westport died Wednesday, Feb. 16. She was 81.

A native of Fairfield, she was the daughter of the late William Stephen and Helen Catherine Duffy Hart.

She was a graduate of Staples High School Class of 1948, a secretary in the Famous Artist School in Westport, and retired from Amax in Greenwich.

She is survived by her sister, Beverly Hart Conley and husband Mortimer of Arden, NC.

Posted 10:28 PM
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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Jacques V.B. Voris III, 73

Jacques V.B. Voris III of Westport, and husband of Patricia (Mills) Voris passed away Feb. 8 in Norwalk Hospital. He was 73.

Mr. Voris was born Oct. 7, 1937 in Norwalk, son of the late Jacques V.B. Voris II and Helena Voris and has been a resident of Westport for the past 39 years. He had attended the University of Connecticut and prior to retiring was employed as a systems analyst for General Reinsurance.

Survivors in addition to his wife of 47 years, includes one daughter, Rebecca Voris and her husband Robert Huff of Summerville, Mass. one son, Jacques V.B. Voris IV, and his wife Susan of Westport, three sisters, Jacqueline Kimsey of Springfield, Mass., Terry Seranno of Delray Beach, Fla., Nina Swain of Houston, Mo., and one grandson, Quint Voris.

Services will be announced at a later date. Interment was private. The Harding Funeral Home assisted the family with the arrangements. Memorial contributions in memory of Mr. Voris may be made to the Westport Historical Society, 25 Avery PL. Westport, CT 06880

Posted 08:51 PM
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Sharlene Surprise Hays, 53

Sharlene Surprise Hays of Stamford, formerly of Westport, passed away on Feb. 13 after complications from a long illness.  She was Image
Sharlene Surprise Hays: ‘76 Staples grad. Contributed photo

Sharlene was born and raised in Westport and graduated from Staples High School Class of 1976.  She then went on to graduate from Jacksonville University.

Upon returning to Westport she began working at Boatworks Yacht Sales in Rowayton, where she worked for 24 years, retiring this past November.

She was the beloved wife of Gene Hays of Stamford, and is also survived by her mother, Anne Surprise of Cape Cod, her brother Scott and his wife Deborah of Texas and many loving nieces and nephews.  Sharlene was predeceased by her father, Capt. Bill Surprise and her brother Steve Surprise of BVI.

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Zabelle Nigohosian, 90

Zabelle Nigohosian of Westport died Feb. 10 in her home. She was 90.

Born and raised in Medford, Mass., she married Gesag Nigohosian in 1945 when he returned from military service in North Africa and Europe during World War II. After starting their family in Lynn, Mass., the couple moved to Westport in 1954.

She worked 25 years in the Norwalk school system, serving as an administrative assistant at Honeyhill Elementary and Nathan Hale Middle schools. After retiring, she volunteered 24 years in the gift shop at Norwalk Hospital.

She is survived by her daughter Diana O’Donnell of Fairfield; her son Kenneth Nigohosian and his wife Kathy of Mission Viejo, Calif.; three granddaughters, Deborah O’Donnell of Fairfield, Erin Nigohosian Tavares of Mission Viejo, Calif., and Dayna Barringer of San Francisco, Calif., and a great-granddaughter, Ava Tavares of Mission Viejo, Calif. She was pre-deceased by her husband of 61 years.

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Nancy D. Brown, 86

Nancy D. Brown, a longtime resident of Westport, died Jan. 26. She was 86.

Born Dec. 20, 1924 in New York City, she was the daughter of Lilian Unterberg and Samuel Derecktor of Meriden. She grew up in New Rochelle, N.Y., before graduating from Northwestern University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in communication.

She married Alan M. Brown of Brooklyn, N.Y., on Jan. 23, 1945, and they raised three children in Scarsdale, N.Y. In 1969, she moved to Westport where she lived until her death.

She had worked many years for Glendenning Corp. and Homerica, helping businesses find homes for relocating employees. She was a member of the Westport Woman’s Club and also liked to travel.

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John Hubbard “Hub” Wheeler, 84

John Hubbard “Hub” Wheeler, formerly of Westport, passed away Jan. 15 in Good Samaritan Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Fla. with his family at his side. He was 84.

He was born April 1, 1926 in Bridgeport to the late John W. and Eleanor Wheeler. He was also the husband of the late Joan G. Wheeler, who passed away in 2007.

He was predeceased by siblings Kenneth G. Wheeler, Eleanor Joan LaPoint, R. Duff Wheeler and David B. Wheeler. Hub was educated at Northwood School and Vermont Academy and attended Dartmouth College.

He was also a veteran of the World War II military police in Korea. He was an investment banker with Carreau, Smith, Inc. and Advest for 31 years, prior to his retirement in 1985.

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Katherine J. Hornick, 82

Katherine Jane Hornick, “Jane,”died Feb. 7 at Maine Coast Memorial Hospital after a long battle with the effects of diabetes and heart disease. She was 82.

Born Aug. 21, 1928, in Westport, she was raised and lived most of her life in the Westport-Fairfield area. Jane was employed by Southern New England Telephone as a phone operator. She retired after 30 years.

She always loved to work out in her gardens and was a lover of good food and cooking.

She is survived by her sons, Leland Reichert and his wife, Kimberly, of Westport, and Peter Reichert and his wife, Gail, of Franklin. Jane also has a granddaughter, Jamie Reichert, of Kill Devil Hills, N.C. Her beloved dog “Missy” was always at her side and will miss her greatly. She was predeceased by her husband, Edward Hornick; her parents, Howard and Olive Baker; sisters, Olive Hansen and Dorothy Jennings; and nephew, Steve Jennings.

Posted 10:15 PM
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Carol M. Rafter, 78

Carol M. Rafter, a former Westporter for 30 years and beloved wife of John W. Rafter, died Feb. 8 in Naples, Fla., from complications following a long illness. She was Image
Carol M. Rafter: 30-year Westport resident. Contributed photo

Carol, maiden name Holland, was born Jan. 9, 1933 in Salem, Mass. She graduated from Salem High School and attended Emmanuel College in Boston before marrying the love of her life, “Jack” Rafter, in 1953.

After building their first house in Hamilton, Mass., they made their home in Westport for more than 30 years before moving to Naples following Jack’s retirement.

While in Westport, Carol was a member of various clubs, enjoyed playing bridge, sailing and the beach. When in better health, she loved to swim her many laps in the pool or at the beach.

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