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Obituaries

Obituaries

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

Sunday, September 09, 2012

John H. Rieckers, 79

John H. Rieckers of Convent Station, N.J., and formerly of Short Hills, N.J., died Aug. 25. He was 79.

He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Beverly (nee Danks), and his three daughters, Nancy and her husband, Sam Gault, of Westport; Susan and her husband, Greg Voetsch of New Vernon, N.J., and Sandra “Ricki” and her husband, Josh Darwin, of Needham, Mass.

Affectionately known as “Pop Pop,” he was adored by his six grandchildren, John Voetsch, William Voetsch, Jillian Gault, Benjamin Gault, Jack Darwin and George Darwin.

Born in New York City on Jan. 13, 1933, he was raised in Bloomfield, N.J., as the only son of Mabel and Harry Rieckers. After serving for two years as a medic in the U.S. Army, he graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University, Madison, N.J., and began a successful career in chemical sales for Union Carbide.

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Saturday, September 08, 2012

William N. Wallace, 88

UPDATE (memorial service set) William N. Wallace of Westport, a former sports reporter for The New York Times and one of the first to cover professional football beyond following the local team, died Aug. 11 in Norwalk. He was 88.

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William N. Wallace: 1973 photo. New York Times photo

He had recently been found to have acute myeloid leukemia, his wife, the former Linda De Refler, said, according to the newspaper.

The Times said in its obituary that Wallace, along with Dave Brady of The Washington Post, was one of the first reporters assigned to write about broader issues affecting both the National and American Football Leagues, including their merger in 1970. It quoted Joe Browne, senior adviser to N.F.L. Commissioner Roger Goodell.

In 1986, he received the Dick McCann Memorial Award from the Pro Football Writers of America for distinguished reporting.

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Posted 04:55 PM
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Emily Muller, 93

Emily Del Mar Muller, a former Westport Public Library employee, died Sept. 2 at the Deerfield Retirement Community in Asheville, N.C. She was 93.

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Emily Muller: former Westport librarian. Contributed photo

She was born Dec. 25, 1918, in New York City to Breta Longacre, a painter in the Hudson School, and William Alexander Del Mar, an electrical engineer.

She attended the Greenwich Academy and, just as World War II started, married Ralph Edward Chapman, a commercial pilot for Pan American. During the war, she served as a nurse at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami and became a mother as the war ended.

After the war, she divorced and moved with her two young sons to Chapel Hill where she received a BA in art history and a Master’s degree in library science. Upon graduation at age 38, she moved herself and two young children to Germany where she worked as a librarian in a secondary school for Army dependents.

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Posted 12:07 AM
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Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Grace B. Veenis, 85

Grace B. Veenis of Guilford, formerly of Westport and a longtime employee at the Staples High School library, died Sept. 2. She was 85.

She was the wife of the late William J. Veenis for 50 years. Together, they traveled the world and built a company, VeeMetCo, Inc.

Born in Pittsburgh, she founded a school library in Pittsburgh, earned an MLA on top of her business BA and worked for years at the Staples High School Library.

She was a lifelong passionate gardener, churchwoman, reader and champion of libraries. She always loved meeting friends for games of serious bridge and light-hearted banter.

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Friday, August 31, 2012

Nancy K. Ivison, 92

Nancy Kenna Ivison, former owner of the Pymander Bookshop in Westport and a former New Canaan resident most recently of Atlanta, died Aug. 27 in Atlanta. She was 92.

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Nancy Ivison: owned Pymander Bookshop. Contributed photo

Born April 25, 1920 in Knoxville, Tenn. to Louise and Jo Kenna, she grew up in Charleston, W.V. where she attended Charleston High School and later Salem Academy in Winston-Salem, N.C. She was a graduate of King- Smith Studio School in Washington, D.C. where she studied theater arts and drawing.

She returned to Charleston and was an ambulance driver during World War II. She met and married Quin Morton, also of Charleston, with whom she had two daughters, Nancy Louise and Alice Byrd Morton.

The couple divorced in 1955 and she later married M. Thayer Ivison of New York City and moved with him to New Canaan where she lived until 2007.  They had two children together, Catherine Cady and Douglas Thayer Ivison.

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Posted 03:11 AM
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John K. Neale, 81

John Kennedy Neale of Fairfield, a former Westport resident, died Aug. 26. He was 81.

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John Neale: former Westporter. Contributed photo

Son of the late John Kennedy Neale Sr. and Virginia (Neale) LeBlanc, he was born in Saugus, Mass. A graduate of Saugus High School and Southeastern Louisiana University,  he excelled at football while at both schools. He was both a U.S. Navy veteran and physical therapist for more than 40 years.

He was very active in both the Gaelic American Club and Port 5 Naval Club. He was also a lifelong and avid New England Patriots fan.

He is survived by his sister Nancy (Neale) Ralph of Saugus and several nieces and nephews. John is predeceased by his longtime partner and fiancé, Gayle Clarke, of Westport.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Jean S. Pierson, 93

Jean Stringer Pierson of Darien and Delray Beach, Fla., formerly of Westport and St. Paul, Minn.,  died Aug. 22 at Meadow Ridge Health Center in Redding. She was 93.

Born on June 12, 1919 and raised in St. Paul, she was the daughter of McNeil Seymour and Louise Warren Stringer.  She shared a birthday with her older brother Warnie, and when her mother and father returned home from the hospital with his new birthday baby, her brother asked, “Where’s my Babby?” This nickname stuck and she was known as Babby for her entire life.

She attended Summit School and graduated from Central High School in 1937.  She then attended Pine Manor Junior College in Wellesley, Mass. before moving back to St. Paul where she held a variety of jobs including telephone operator at the Minnesota Federal Savings and Loan.

Despite a plethora of suitors, a fiercely independent Babby remained single until age 40, her family said.  In her book, she believed there was no reason to get married until she met “the love of her life.”

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Posted 04:38 PM
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Anne L. Duquette, 86

Anne Luciano Duquette, a Westport native who lived here more than 25 years, died Aug. 23 in Rutland, Vt. She was 86.

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Anne Luciano Duquette: Westport native. Contributed photo

Born June 5, 1926 in Westport to Dominic J. Luciano and Constantina Capase Luciano, she graduated from Staples High School in 1944.

After marrying her husband, Roland R. Duquette in 1947 and starting her family in Westport, she moved to Wilton in 1951 where she lived until shortly before her death.

She began her professional career in Westport, working for the law firm Wake & See. She later worked for more than 30 years as an executive secretary for Vesper Corp in Fairfield.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

David Zelkowitz, 71

David Zelkowitz, a longtime Westport resident, died Aug. 15. He was 71.

He was born in 1940 in a Soviet camp where his family was sent after having escaped Nazi Germany at the outbreak of World War II. He came to America in 1947 on the USS Ernie Pyle accompanied by his mother, father, aunts and uncles and settled in New York City.

He grew up in Washington Heights and attended Bronx High School of Science. He put himself through college while working his first job, graduating from City College of New York. There he met his wife, Suzanne Cowan.

They wed on Jan. 20, 1963, and remained married for 49 years. She was at his side when he passed away following a prolonged illness.

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Posted 08:10 PM
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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Carolyn A. Frost, 81

Carolyn Aldrich Frost, a former Westport resident, died Aug. 15 in Colorado Springs, Colo. She was 81.

She was born Sept. 20, 1930 in Baltimore, Md. to Dr. Robert Henry Aldrich of Baton Rouge, La. and writer Rhoda Truax Aldrich of New York. She was raised in Cambridge where she graduated from the Cambridge School of Weston.

She moved to Colorado in 1948 to attend Colorado College from which she graduated in 1952. In 1953, she married Hunter Swift Frost of Pleasantville, N.Y., and they lived in New York City until 1966. She worked as a social worker at Woman’s Hospital.

In 1966, they returned to Colorado where she became director of social work at Brady Hospital and Hunter taught at Fountain Valley School. In 1982, the couple moved to Connecticut, where she became an active member of the Democratic Women of Westport and enjoyed time in New York visiting family and attending shows.

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Posted 03:39 PM
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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Joan P. Smith, 87

Joan Patricia Smith of Westport died Aug. 11 at Edgehill in Stamford, where she had been a resident for a short time. She was 87.

She was the daughter of Dr. William Francis and Helen (Finnegan) Flanagan. She was raised in New Britain with her four siblings, Helen Walsh, William “Billy” Flanagan (deceased), Barbara “Bobby” Barry (deceased), and Jean Sposato.

She attended Moreland Hill School in Kensington, Conn., and then Trinity College in Washington D.C. She continued her education in music at Rochester School of Music in Rochester, N.Y, and then at the Julliard School, where she studied piano, her lifelong love.

She loved her life in Westport, and was involved in the community as a member of the Westport Garden Club and the Westport Historical Society.

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Posted 09:53 PM
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Don Z. Filson, 65

Don Z. Filson of Roanoke, Va., a former Westport resident, died at his home on Aug. 18 after a two-year courageous battle with ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease). He was 65.

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Don Filson: 1965 Staples grad . Contributed photo

Born in Chicago on Feb. 14, 1947 to Floyd V. Filson and Marguerite B. Filson, he was originally from Cleveland. He spent his high school years in Westport where he was captain of the football and wrestling teams and graduated from Staples in 1965.

He graduated from the University of Connecticut in 1969 and proudly served his country in the U.S. Army until 1971. After five years as a surety bond underwriter, he was hired by the Roanoke office of Thomas Rutherfoord, Inc. as a surety bond agent and was a dedicated Thomas Rutherfoord employee for 35 years.

He was probably best known for his honesty, generosity, sense of humor, keen wit, infectious laugh, sincere concern for others, love of sports and music, and of course, his slight-of-hand card magic, his family said.

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Posted 03:20 AM
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Roberta H. Grahn, 69

Roberta Harris Grahn, a former Westport resident, died Aug. 13 from an allergic reaction to a bee sting. She was 69.

She was born Aug. 12, 1943 in Martinez, Calif. to Darrol and Irene Harris. She moved to Westport in junior high school where she met Robert, her soul mate and lifelong companion whom she shared her life with and was married to for 47 years.

She graduated from Staples High School in 1961 and went on to college at Tufts University where she was a double major in psychology and education. The week after she graduated from college, Robert graduated from college and the next day they were married and “honeymooned” by hosting a group of kids at their children’s summer camp in Rangeley, Maine which they did annually for eight years.

At the end of each summer, she was an elementary school teacher for two years in New London and four years near Rochester, N.Y. She stopped teaching to raise their son David. Shortly thereafter they moved to California where they purchased Pine Grove Resort, where she spent the next 30 years raising her family and working side by side with them in the family business.

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Posted 03:07 AM
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Jennifer M. George, 36

Jennifer Madelyn Consuelo George of Westport and Hamden died Aug. 4 at her home in Hamden. She was 36.

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Jennifer George: musician and songwriter. Contributed photo

The daughter of Madelyn Consuelo ( Armijo ) George and the late Robert Vincent George, she was born in Mexico City on Jan. 6, 1976 and moved to Westport with her family in 1978.

Jennie was an incredibly gifted musician and songwriter who dedicated her life to music and philanthropy, her family said. From an early age, she immersed herself in music and was a member of various choral and musical theater groups at Long Lots Elementary, Coleytown Middle School, and Staples High School, including the award-winning Staples Players and the internationally renowned Staples Orphenians. She graduated in 1994.

Her high school era bands How to Grab Bugs, Decade and Divine Illusion garnered praise from audiences and music critics alike, and Divine Illusion would go on to win the Battle of the Bands at the Levitt Pavilion in 1994.

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Friday, August 17, 2012

Nancy L. Mills, 66

Nancy Lucille Mills, a Staples High School graduate, died Feb. 27 in Jacksonville, Fla. She was 66.

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Nancy Mills: 1963 Staples grad. Contributed photo

Born March 21, 1946 in Norwalk to Dr. Clifford Wheeler Mills and Lucille Jones Mills, she attended Staples High School, graduating in 1963, then went on to Laselle College in Massachusetts, and Norwalk Technical College.

After an early interest in a career in nursing, she began working as a computer programmer for Union Trust Bank, and has been a systems analyst and change management executive for Bank of America for the last 21 years.

She loved needlepoint, antiques, and raising zebra finches, her family said. She also read widely. Her favorite author was Agatha Christie, who was filled with wisdom that she embodied. Both knew that good advice was bound to be ignored, but should be given anyway, and that for everything one loves, one pays a price, according to her family.

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