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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

Monday, April 08, 2013

Stanley Klein

Stanley Klein, co-founder of longtime Westport Main Street retailer Klein’s and for years known as the “mayor of Main Street,” died April 7 after a long battle with congestive heart disease. His age was not disclosed, but he was believed to be in his 80s.

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Stanley Klein: founded Klein’s with his father. Contributed photo

Born in Queens, N.Y, he founded Klein’s of Westport in 1937 with his father Henry, who died in 1990 at the age of 90, and mother Ada. Stanley retired in 1999, but the store—once a haven for books, personalized stationery, photographic materials, electronics and gift items—remained open until 2004 with son-in-law Bob Hertzel at the helm. (See WestportNow April 29, 2004)

An obituary provided by the family said he had a passion for positive hard work and he thoroughly enjoyed having developed a community icon for so many years. He loved his customers and treated his staff as family.

He was truly pure of heart and always tried to downplay negativity in business and his personal life. He always supported community organizations such as the Westport Downtown Merchants Association, United Way, Westport Little League and the building of the new library to name a few.

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Posted 01:14 PM
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Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Ann M. Melillo, 86

Ann Mayor Melillo of Westport, wife of Walter R. Melillo, died March 10 at Norwalk Hospital. She was 86.

She was born Aug. 22, 1926 in Norwalk, daughter of the late Anthony and Bertha Mayor. She has been a resident of Westport for 63 years.

She was a stay at home mother who took great pleasure of nurturing her three sons and one daughter. She enjoyed cooking for her family and a host of friends. She was a longtime member of Assumption Church and a source of strength and inspiration to all who knew her, her family said.

Survivors in addition to her husband of 62 years, include three sons, Bruce M. Melillo, Brian Melillo, Brett Melillo and one daughter, Carol Melillo.

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Posted 04:45 PM
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Monday, April 01, 2013

Isabelle Marranzino, 86

Isabelle “Dusty” Marranzino of Westport died March 27 at the Aurora Senior Living Center in Norwalk. She was 86.

She was born in Bridgeport, daughter of Alexander and Anne (Luciano) Marranzino and has been a resident of Westport for 39 years.

Prior to retiring, she had and her sister Michelina (Martha) served as the housekeeper for the clergy at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church in Bridgeport, Saint Lawrence Church in Huntington, and Assumption Church in Westport.

The sisters, who were called by their childhood names Dusty and Honey, always dressed alike, and as they took walks near their Canal Street home or visited nearby stores, passersby often mistook them for twins.

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Posted 05:16 PM
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Dora L. Fiddler, 91

Dora Louise (Altamura) Fiddler of Westport died March 30 at Danbury Health Care Center. She was 91.

She was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. on Oct. 31, 1921. Following a long and successful career on Wall Street in securities trading and investment banking in the 1940s and 1950s, she retired to devote her time to her family.

A resident of Westport for 47 years, she was active in numerous community service and civic activities, including the Westport Historical Society, Fairfield Women’s Exchange, the Investment Club of Westport and the Fairfield County Hunt Club.

She is survived by her husband of more than 56 years, Capt. Roy E. Fiddler; two children, Maria Leukart and her husband Jay of Monroe, and Edward Fiddler and his wife Terry of Brookfield; three grandchildren, Sarah Kelly and her husband Brian of Fairfield, Ashley Leukart of Monroe. and Timothy Fiddler of Brookfield; and two great-grand children, Connor and Jack Kelly.

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Posted 05:12 PM
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Friday, March 29, 2013

Bernard C. Pelzel, 97

Bernard C. Pelzel of Furlong, Pa., a former estate manager for the late Westporter Arnold Bernhard, died March 27. He was 97.

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Bernard Pelzel: 1943 photo. Contributed photo

The son of Clement and Augusta (Engel) Pelzel, he was born in 1916 in Sleepy Eye, Minn. He served as a medic and ambulance driver in the 306th Bombardment Group of the Army Air Corp while stationed in England during World War II. 

Once back in the United States, he drove a truck cross country, worked in an airplane propeller factory, and obtained his pilot’s license. 

He then became the property manager for the 16.4-acre estate of the late Arnold Bernhard on Sylvan Lane North in Westport, a position he held for the next 33 years.

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Posted 07:54 PM
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With Honors, Marine Muchnick Laid to Rest

Hundreds of persons packed St. Ann’s Church in Lenox, Mass. today for the funeral of Westporter Lance Cpl. Roger W. Muchnick, Jr., 23, one of seven U.S. Marines killed by a mortar shell during a training accident in Nevada March 18.

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Marines carry Lance Cpl. Roger W. Muchnick Jr.‘s coffin from St. Ann Church in Lenox, Mass. today. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Douglas Healey for WestportNow.com

The 90-minute service ended with those gathered singing the Marine Corps Hymn accompanied by the church organist. Westport police escorted the cortege and many mourners on foot to the nearby cemetery.

During the funeral, the 2008 Staples High School graduate was eulogized by several family members, including Muchnick’s twin 19-year-old sisters, Grace and Avery, and his maternal grandfather, Robert M. Coakley.

The sisters brought laughs and tears as they recalled growing up with their big brother who they said was always protective of them.

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Posted 07:11 PM
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Hazel P. Baldwin, 99

UPDATE (adds rescheduled memorial service) Hazel Pruitt Baldwin, a 60-year Westport resident, died Jan. 26 at Laurel Ridge in Ridgefield.  She was 99.

She was born on March 31, 1913 in Wendell, N.C. to William Crawford Pruitt and Nina Rhoads Pruitt. She moved to Washington, D.C. and met and married Marshall Baldwin on Dec. 6, 1940. 

She worked at the Chevy Chase Building and Loan, and then became a Navy wife when her husband joined that service. She later worked for the United Fund of Westport and Weston.

Her most important career was as homemaker and mother to Randall Baldwin of Ridgefield and Stephen Baldwin of Rochester, N.Y.

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Posted 04:24 PM
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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Florence L. Dryburgh, 101

Florence L. Dryburgh of Westport died at home on March 23. She was 101.

She was born in Newark, N.J. on June 1, 1911. She was predeceased by her husband, T. Douglas Dryburgh, in 2002.

Survivors include a son, Douglas T. and daughter-in-law, Jeanette, of Westport; grandson, Douglas T. Jr., his wife, Rebecca, and their children, Nikko and Abigail, of Beaverton, Ore.; grandson, Alec, his wife, Jennifer and their daughter, Alison, of Charlotte, N.C.

A calling will be held on Tuesday, April 2, from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m., at Weber Funeral Home, 1619 Hamilton St., Allentown, Pa., to be followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. at The Cathedral of St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church, 1825 Turner St., Allentown. http://www.weberfuneralhomes.com.

Posted 04:34 PM
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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Barlow Cutler Wotton, 91: ‘She Changed Westport’

By James Lomuscio

UPDATE Barlow Cutler Wotton, a lifelong Westporter whose passion for gardening and land preservation drove her to establish the Aspetuck Land Trust (ALT) in the 1960s, died Saturday in a Shelton assisted living facility after a short illness, friends said. She was 91.

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Barlow Cutler Wotton: preservationist. Aspetuck Land Trust photo

Before moving to Shelton in 2012, Wotton remained in the same home she was born in at 79 King Highway North. The gray shingled, traditional Colonial Revival was designed in 1920 by her father Charles E. Cutler, a locally renowned architect . He designed several landmark buildings in town, including the former site of the Westport Bank & Trust Co. and Green’s Farms Elementary School.

The Kings Highway North property’s expansive rear section was reserved for Wotton’s celebrated gardens, an interest she acquired from her gardener mother Amelia McDonald Cutler.

Wotton’s gardens were so grand, longtime Westporter Marjorie Silk said, that they were featured in the national Garden Conservancy’s “Open Garden Days” from 1995 to 2001.

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Posted 01:10 AM
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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Agnes Z. Kondub, 84

Agnes (Zygmant) Kondub, a former Westport resident, wife of the late Nicholas Kondub, died March 21. She was 84.

Born in Southport, she was a longtime resident of Westport before returning to Southport eight years ago.

Over many decades, she was very active in her church as a member of the St. Anthony Seniors and Women’s Guild, as well as devoting countless hours in the kitchen helping to prepare for the annual church picnic and other events.

She loved animals, and delighted in caring for both wildlife and domestic pets. She will be missed by her many loving and devoted nieces and nephews, and grand nieces and nephews.

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Posted 03:44 PM
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Margaret L. Egan, 98

Margaret “Maggie” Letitia Agnew Fortson Kwartin Egan, a former Westport resident, died Feb. 27 from complications of pneumonia at her home in Newton, Mass. She was 98.

Born 1914 in Shelby, Ohio, she grew up in Cleveland, the eldest of three daughters born to actress Mona Walter Agnew and Dr. Willliam Agnew. She attended Western Reserve University.

She had a great love for theater, pursuing acting in Cleveland and in New York where she worked at McCall’s Magazine and modeled with new cars for Ford Motors at the World’s Fair. She married John Lake Fortson in 1941. Their two children survive her—Deborah Lake Fortson of Brookline, Mass., and Thomas Burke Fortson of El Rito, N.M.

She and John Fortson moved to Westport where she founded The Little School and directed it for 25 years. After the death of John Fortson, she married Paul Kwartin and was active in the life of Union Temple, Brooklyn, where Paul became cantor.

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Posted 03:28 PM
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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Funeral Service Set for Roger Muchnick

A funeral service for Lance Cpl. Roger W. Muchnick Jr., the Westport Marine killed Monday in a Nevada training exercise, will be held Friday, March 29, in Lenox, Mass., a family friend said today, 

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Roger Muchnick: will be buried with family military heroes. Contributed photo

The service will take place at 11 a.m. at St. Ann’s Church, 134 Main St.

Muchnick is survived by his parents, Kate Coakley of Jupiter, Fla. and Roger Muchnick Sr. of Ashville, NC, his brother Will, 21, and sisters Avery and Grace, 19.  He is also survived by his grandparents, Jerome and Marilyn Muchnick of Philadelphia, and Dr. Robert and MaryAnne Coakley of Lenox as well as, several aunts, uncles and cousins.

The family has a long military history and they are extremely proud of the accomplishments of RJ, as he was called by his family. 

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Posted 10:55 PM
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Friday, March 22, 2013

Peter L. Kenney, 85

Peter Louis Kenney of Westport died March 17 after a short stay in hospice care near his home in Anna Maria Island, Fla. He was 85.

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Peter Kenney: 50-year Westport resident. Contributed photo

He and his wife Hap Kenney were residents of Westport for half a century, living in Owenoke Park and active in many civic activities.

“Big Pete” as he was known was born on April 10 1927 in Waterbury. to Peter Kenney and Augusta Oswald. Upon graduating from Cheshire Academy in 1945, he entered the Army and was sent to Berlin during the closing days of World War II.

As a language specialist, he was tasked with monitoring German broadcasts and later guarding Hitler’s bunker. He said driving into the Russian sector of Berlin in an open Jeep to show American presence was always unnerving because Stalin wanted full control of the city.

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Posted 05:29 PM
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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Staples Grad Among Marine Nevada Casualties

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Roger Muchnick: 2008 Staples grad. Facebook.com photo

UPDATE A 2008 graduate of Westport’s Staples High School was among seven U.S. Marines killed in a training exercise in Nevada, his grandfather said Wednesday.

Jerome Muchnick of Philadelphia told The Associated Press that the family of Roger W. Muchnick, 23, had been notified of his death by military authorities. He was a native of Philadelphia.

A friend in touch with the family said he had served a tour in Afghanistan and one in Kuwait.

Westport First Selectman Gordon Joseloff said he had heard reports of Muchnick’s death beginning in mid-afternoon Tuesday but had no confirmation until learning of the grandfather’s statement on Wednesday. “It is a sad day for Westport,” he said.

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Posted 02:47 AM
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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Mary Eastman, 97

Mary Louis Whitham Eastman, of Hanover, N.H., a former Westport resident, died Feb. 27. She was 97.

She was the widow of P. D. Eastman, children’s book author and illustrator.

She was born on April 30, 1915 in Seattle, Wash. In 1929, her family settled in Glendale, Calif. where she graduated in 1937 from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) with a Bachelor’s degree.

She worked at the Walt Disney Studio, helping to choose the colors for such films as “Pinocchio.” “Bambi,” and “Fantasia.” While at Disney, she met Philip Dey Eastman, and they married in 1941. He worked in the animation business and served in the Signal Corps Motion Picture Unit of U. S. military, while she raised their two young sons.

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Posted 03:10 PM
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