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Obituaries

Obituaries

Monday, August 11, 2014

Leonard Stafford, 83

WestportNow.com Image
Leonard Stafford: former Westporter.  Contributed photo

Leonard “Bill” Stafford of Midland, Mich., a former Westport resident, died July 25. He was 83.

The son of the late Royce and Grace (Campbell) Stafford, he was a native of Woodbridge, N.J.

He graduated from Lehigh University and received an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, then pursued a career with IBM, including assignments in Iran, Hong Kong and France. A long time resident of Westport, he recently lived in Midland.

He enjoyed gardening and bird watching in his retirement along with traveling with his family and friends.

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Friday, August 08, 2014

Claudia N. Ebeling, 62

Claudia Neva Ebeling of Lewisburg, Pa., a former Westport resident, died July 29 of cancer at Riverwoods Nursing Facility in Lewisburg. She was 62.

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Claudia N. Ebeling: Staples graduate. Contributed photo

She was born Aug. 14, 1951 in San Francisco to Charles W. and the late Valerie (Turner) Ebeling. Her family moved to Connecticut in 1961, and she graduated from Staples High School in 1969. She graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in English literature from Susquehanna University in 1973.

On April 8, 1988, Claudia married her long-time companion, James M. Leitner. They met while attending Susquehanna, and their relationship spanned 40 years. Together, they enjoyed cooking, gardening, tending to their pet cats, biking, walking, and traveling as often as possible to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. 

Her love of organic gardening and cooking skills made her home an entertaining hub for friends and family. She particularly loved reading books, and writing her impressions in her journals as she finished each one.

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Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Shirley W. Land, 96

Shirley Wolfson Land, formerly of Westport, died July 13 in Pittsboro, N.C., where she had been living for the last six years. She was 96.

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Shirley W. Land:  active volunteer in Westport. Contributed photo

The wife of the late Alexander Land, she was the youngest of six children born in Chicago to CJ and Sabina Wolfson.

She attended the University of Illinois at Champagne-Urbana and graduated in 1939 with honors from the school of journalism. Post college she worked in New York City for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and at ad agency Kenyon & Eckhardt.

But the best thing to happen to her in New York was meeting her future husband, Alex, the love of her life. They had a whirlwind romance that continued for more than 60 years, a mutual adoration for each other evident throughout their life together, her family said.

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Laura K. Plimpton, 59

Laura Kostrya Plimpton of Weston, a former Westport resident and younger sister of former Westport resident Martha Stewart, died Aug. 6 at Norwalk Hospital. She was 59.

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Laura Plimpton: former Westport resident. Contributed photo

Stewart announced her sister’s death on her blog. She was born on March 4, 1955.

She said the youngest of the six Kostyra siblings had worked for her and her company for more than 25 years. Most recently, she edited, researched and often wrote, captioned and photographed content on her blogs, Stewart said.

Stewart said her sister woke up at 5 a.m. Monday to do her daily one hour of elliptical and weight training and felt ill after taking a shower.

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Katherine G. MacGregor, 67

Katherine Gregory MacGregor, a former Westport resident, died July 24in Burlington, Vt. She was 67.

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Katherine MacGregor: Staples graduate. Contributed photo

Born in Providence R.I. on April 21, 1947 to the late Allen Gregory and Lisa Gregory of Westport and now Fairfield, she was a graduate of Staples High School and Vernon Court of Newport R.I.

She married Ross Kitrell, had two sons and, after living a few years in Westport, moved to West Mystic where she was a paralegal in that area.

She used to complain about lifting the heavy volumes she did research in, but it was always with a smile. She loved her work, all the people she met in the Town Halls and the other paralegals

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Dorothy Ann Bernstein, 82

Dorothy Ann Bernstein of Bridgeport died at home. She was 82.

A former Easton resident for 43 years, she worked in Westport for several years, first at Peggy Kahn’s and later at The Cat’s Meow.

Born to Harry and Minnie Snyderman of Philadelphia, she attended Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art (now University of the Arts) on a full talent scholarship, receiving a degree in textile design. She went on to become fabric designer for such companies as F. Schumacher and Co. in New York City.

She also pursued the fine arts, exhibiting her drawings, painting and sculptures at such venues as the Westport Arts Center and Easton Public Library.

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Posted 01:34 PM
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Patricia T. Byrne, 87

Patricia Tierney Byrne, a former Westport resident, died July 3 in Delray Beach, Fla. She was 87

Born in Greens Farms on July 23, 1926, she was the third child of Howard S. Tierney and Belle T. Tierney. She grew up happily with her brother, the late Howard S. Tierney, Jr. of Fairfield, and her sister, the late Gene T. Lee of Houston.

She attended Greens Farms School and Bedford School in Westport before attending St. Catherine’s School in Richmond, Va., Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, Conn., and Holton-Arms School in Bethesda, Md.

Following graduation, she attended Barnard College and Finch College in New York, N.Y. In October, 1947, she married Elliott W. Reed of Savannah, Ga.

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Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Ralph F. Saviano, 87

Ralph F. Saviano, a longtime resident of Woburn, Mass., formerly of Westport, died Aug. 3 after a short illness. He was 87.

Born and raised in Westport, he was the son of the late Nicholas, and the late Rose Saviano. Following graduation from Staples High School in 1944, and shortly after his 18th birthday, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy to fight for his country during World War II. He volunteered for the Air Arm of the U.S. Navy.

He was assigned to the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Fla., where he was a gunner on a large amphibious aircraft tasked with reconnaissance and search and rescue for downed aircrew and seamen.

He retained a strong love for flying, and soon after he left the service he began taking flying lessons. He earned his private aircraft license and flew small seaplanes. He attended the University of Bridgeport, and later Cornell University to study engineering.

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Monday, August 04, 2014

Sally J. Reich

Sally J. Reich of Norwalk, daughter of Maude and Samuel Reich (deceased) of Westport, died July 29 after a long illness. 

A graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, she worked for Time-Life and Dreyfus Corp. before establishing her own highly successful executive search firm, Sally Reich Associates, in New York.

She is survived by her sister, Emmy Lu Friant, brother-in-law Ray Friant, two nieces Pamela Foley and Wendy Friant, nephew Douglas Friant, and four grand nieces and nephews.

A celebration of her life will be held in the fall.  Friends may contribute in her memory to Parkinson’s Research.

Posted 02:30 PM
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Carol Clarkson, 64

Carol Clarkson of Panama City Beach, Fla., wife of Thomas Clarkson, died July 31. She was 64.

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Carol Clarkson: former Westport resident. Contributed photo

Born in New York City on Jan. 15, 1950, she was the daughter of the late Alexander and Carmela Tessitore Salemmo and had been a Florida resident for more than 20 years. Prior to moving to Florida, she was a Westport resident for 20 years.

She was a registered nurse whose dedication and caring will be greatly missed by all, her family said. Her love of helping others will be her legacy. She was the “Miracle Girl” who lived only to give help to anyone who needed it. She fought carcinoid cancer for eight years without complaints. She was a loving wife, mother and grandmother.

In addition to her husband Tom, she is survived by a daughter; Cara Clarkson Singer and her husband Joseph of Norwalk, a son; Craig Clarkson of Panama City Beach, four grandchildren; Alyssa G. Singer, Joseph A. Singer, Anthony C. Singer and Davis Clarkson, a brother; Alexander Salemmo and his wife Antonietta of Queens, a sister; Rose Rebori and her husband Daniel of Huntington, N.Y., her godmother and aunt; Mary Scollo of Yonkers, N.Y., nephews; Richard Todd Rebori his wife Emily and their two sons, William and Alexander of Yorktown Heights, N.Y., and Robert Kurt Rebori and his wife Nicole of Ossining, N.Y., and several cousins.

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William J. Hart Jr., 91

William James Hart Jr., of Redding, formerly of Westport and husband of Barbara (Bennet) Hart, died July 29 in Meadow Ridge Health Care Center. He was 91.

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William J. Hart Jr.: 42-year Westport resident. Contributed photo

Born in Holyoke, Mass. on. June 20, 1923, he was the son of the late William J. Hart Sr. and Elizabeth (McDonnell) Hart and resided in Westport for 42 years prior to moving to Redding five years ago. He is a U.S. Navy veteran of World War II, serving in the North Atlantic as a lieutenant aboard the USS Swasey DE248.

He was a 1944 graduate of University of Massachusetts Amherst and received his Masters degree 1947 in food science also from University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Prior to retiring, he was employed as senior vice president with American Home Foods in research and development. He headed committees with both the National Food Processing Association and the Frozen Food Processors Association. He was a member of the UMass Alumni Association, the Westport Y’s Men, and the Hoot Owls.

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Friday, August 01, 2014

Harriet E. (Betty) Jennings, 90

Harriet E. (Betty) Jennings of Westport died July 23 at Norwalk Hospital. She was 90.

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Harriet Jennings: Westporter for more than 70 years. Contributed photo

Born in California on Nov. 7, 1923, she was the daughter of the late Dwight and Margaret (Yokum) Jennings. She has been a resident of Westport for more than 70 years.

Prior to retiring, she was employed by U.S. Plywood Division of Champion International in New York City where she served as the manager of the Industrial Graphic Design Department.

She was a graduate of Staples High School and the Pratt Institute in New York City and has been a longtime volunteer with the Westport–Weston American Red Cross.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Emily L. MacLachlan, 93

Emily Louise MacLachlan of Westport died July 27 at home. She was 93.

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Emily MacLachlan: 45-year Westport resident. Contributed ohoto

She was born in Lancaster, Ohio on May 22, 1921, oldest daughter of Albert and Emily Steiner. She attended St. Mary of the Springs Academy in Columbus and was an honors graduate of Trinity College in Washington where she was a vice president of student government.

She served three years in the U.S. Navy (WAVES), attaining the rank of lieutenant junior grade and joined the U.S. State Department after World War II. Admitted to the Ohio State University Law School, she elected instead to work in the Foreign Service Branch of the State Department in Washington, D.C. 

Subsequently, she worked in the U.S. embassy in China where she was among the last Americans to leave Shanghai when Mao Zedong came to power. Transferred to Iran, she met and married her husband, Robert MacLachlan, a native of Glasgow, Scotland, who was with British Petroleum. 

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Brian L. Neufeld, 67

Brian Lawrence Neufeld of Westport died July 13 at home after a five-year battle with prostate cancer. He was 67.

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Brian Neufeld: financial investor. Contributed photo

Known for his optimism, humor and lifelong love of learning, he worked through the years in positions as varied as high school French teacher, mortgage company owner and financial investor. He co-founded Resource Management Technologies, a company that developed and financed both energy management and alternative energy projects.

He was born in the Bronx, N.Y. on June 28, 1947, to the late Lorna (Gradwell) Neufeld and Herbert Neufeld, a dentist. He was the eldest of the couple’s three sons, although the family boxer, Champ, was jokingly referred to as the fourth brother.

As a boy growing up in the Riverdale neighborhood, he was part of an all-accordion orchestra that won an elite competition with its rendition of Franz von Suppé‘s operetta “The Beautiful Galatea.” He graduated in 1965 from Horace Mann School, where he played varsity football and basketball and was captain of the golf team.

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Eleanor G. Sporre, 90

Eleanor Grace Sporre, a former Westport resident, died May 31 at Hearthside Nursing Home in State College, Pa. She was 90.

She was born on July 22, 1923, in Worcester, Mass., the daughter of the late Frank H. and Lula Linscott Flagg, also of Westport.

On June 19, 1943 she married Kurt Erik Sporre, who preceded her in death on Sept. 6, 2002. She was a real estate agent and also enjoyed crocheting, knitting, oil painting, gardening and playing bridge.

She is survived by her three sons, Tor Sporre, Roger Karl Sporre of State College and Barrett Linscott Sporre of West Haven. She is also survived by her eight grandchildren; Erik John Sporre, Ian Sporre, Erik W. Sporre, Heidi Sporre Galloway, Jennifer Moeny, Rebecca Domagola and Roger Paul Sporre. Also surviving are her 11 plus great grandchildren; Ryker, William, Katie, Michael, Nathaniel, Jonathan, Anthony, Kirsten, Nikolas, and Natalie. She also left behind in California her very special nieces and nephews; Tobi, Katie, Johnny and Allen. Also two other nieces Kin and Didi (formally Flagg from Westport).

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