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Obituaries

Obituaries

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Genevieve Gontar, 90

Genevieve (Sattarelli) Gontar, a longtime resident of Westport, died March10 at the Ellis Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Norwood, Mass. where she had been a resident since 2011. She was 90.

Born, raised and educated in Mount Vernon, N.Y., she was a daughter of the late Frank and Pauline (Signorelli) Sattarelli. She married and lived a short time in Ardsley, N.Y., prior to settling in Westport.

She was employed in advertising and sales with the Westport News for many years. She continued her education with writing courses at the New School of New York and went on to contribute feature articles to the paper.

She had also worked in real estate as a receptionist. A very creative lady, she particularly enjoyed drawing, printmaking and reading. She will also be remembered for her “party in a box,” a devise she designed to spread love and cheer to family and friends far and wide.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Large Turnout for John Izzo Funeral

WestportNow.com Image
There was a large turnout today at Westport’s Assumption Church for funeral services for former Selectman John J. Izzo. He died Friday after a three-month battle with heart disease exacerbated by diabetes, according to his family. He was 71. (See WestportNow March 13, 2015)  Fairfield resident Carl “Tucci” Palmieri, a lifelong friend, said of him: “Once he’s your friend, he’s your friend for life. John was a republicrat. He had compassion. He wanted everyone to win.”  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Posted 01:03 PM
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Remembering John Izzo

WestportNow.com Image
Family members greet mourners today outside Westport’s Assumption Church following a funeral service for former Selectman John J. Izzo, who died Friday at age 71. A reception followed at Mario’s Place restaurant in Saugatuck, one of Izzo’s favorite haunts. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Posted 12:58 PM
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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Loretta A. Frimpter, 87

Loretta Anna Frimpter of Westport died March 13 in St. Vincent’s Medical Center, Bridgeport. She was 87.

Born Feb. 15, 1928 in Norwalk, she was the daughter of the late Joseph and Anna (O’Connor) Smith. She worked as a bookkeeper for Wassell’s, She loved gardening as well as her role as wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

Survivors include a son, Donald Frimpter and his wife Elaine of West Redding, a daughter, Donna Frimpter of Trumbull, two sisters, Florence Chalfant of Miami Springs, Fla., and Agnes Violette-Danzer, three grandchildren and one great-grandchild. She was predeceased by her husband, Donald E. Frimpter and her parents, and two brothers, Edward Smith and James Smith.

The family will receive friends on Wednesday, March 18 from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Harding Funeral Home, 210 Post Road East. Friends are invited to attend a funeral on Thursday March 19 at 10 a.m. meeting directly at Assumption Church 98 Riverside Ave., for a Mass of Christian Burial. Interment will follow in Assumption Cemetery on Kings Highway North.

Condolences for the family may be left on line at http://www.hardingfuneral.com. Memorial contributions in lieu of flowers may be made to a charity of your choice.

Posted 12:26 PM
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Monday, March 16, 2015

Svea K. Sommer, 97

Svea K. Sommer, a former teacher in the Westport school system, died Feb. 20 at Norwalk Hospital after a brief illness. She was 97.

Known for her prodigious intellect, generosity, and zest for life, she was a role model for those with whom she came in contact. They included her many colleagues at Westport’s Staples High School, where she taught students with special needs, to the friends she made in her myriad and varied activities.

During the World War II, she enlisted in the U.S. Women’s Auxilliary Corps, where she achieved the rank of staff sergeant.  In New York, shortly after the war, she was introduced to John Sommer by their respective best friends. They began their 66 years of solid gold marriage six weeks later.

She lived life fully, working in many disciplines. During the 1940s, she was an avid labor organizer for autoworkers. When she and John became parents, she happily spent several years as a stay-at-home mother with their daughter, Catherine.

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Gerald M. Apoian, 65

Gerald “Jerry” Michael Apoian of Westport died March 10. He was 65.

WestportNow.com Image
Jerry Apoian: award-winning creative professional. Contributed photo

He was born Nov. 11, 1949 in Detroit, Mich. to parents of Armenian descent. He was a longtime Westport resident, moving here from New York in 1993.

He learned the values of hard work and devotion to family by witnessing his mother and father’s commitment to establishing a better life for their children in America, his family said.

Like his parents, he put his family before himself, and was unconditionally supportive of their happiness. His warmth and love were felt in abundance at family gatherings, annual Christmas trips to Michigan, and his delight in his three young grandchildren.

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Posted 01:31 PM
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Robert S. Genualdi, 84

Robert S. Genualdi of Bridgeport, a musician and retired educator who served twice as acting principal at Westport’s Staples High School, died March 14 at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport. He was 84.

He was born in Chicago to Biagio Genualdi and the former Elizabeth Doll. He was a conductor of the Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestras and a founding member of the Fairfield Country String Teachers Association and with his wife, Dorothy Straub Genualdi, helped run the P.T. Barnum Museum’s Jenny Lind Competition for many years.

He also gave private music lessons and composed music. He played string bass in the Miami, New Haven, Greater Bridgeport and Greenwich symphonies.

He served as acting principal of Staples High School in 1972-73 and again in 1975, and principal of Andrew Warde High School, then Roger Ludlowe and Andrew Warde High Schools in Fairfield simultaneously, and then as headmaster of the “new” consolidated Fairfield High School in Fairfield.

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Posted 01:29 PM
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Sunday, March 15, 2015

William E. Reed, 70

William Edward Reed, “Bunker Bill,” of Westport and Norwalk died March 5 in Norwalk Hospital. He was 70.

Born in Norwalk on Sept. 24, 1944, son of the late Wilmont and Jeanne Reed, he was a lifelong Westport and Norwalk resident, and a U. S. Navy veteran of the Vietnam War.

He was a self-employed landscape contractor and property manager. He served on the board of directors of Value Line Inc. in New York City and the board at the VFW in Westport.

He was an avid horseman who had a passion for thoroughbred racing. However, his true love was boating and fishing. He was a member of the Westport Striped Bass Club and a lifetime member of the South Norwalk Boat Club for more than 30 years.

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Posted 06:56 AM
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Saturday, March 14, 2015

John J. Izzo, 71

The family provided the following obituary:

John James Izzo, Sr., a lifetime resident of Westport, owner of Arrow Express, Inc. couriers in Bridgeport, inventor of Bikers Delight Signal Light, and former Westport selectman, died after a courageous battle on March 13. He was 71.

WestportNow.com Image
John J. Izzo, Sr: Former Westport selectman . Contributed photo

John, the son of James and Angelina (DiDomenico) Izzo, is one of 13 brothers and sisters.  Predeceased by Salvatore, Theresa, Antoinette, Sarah, Rosie and Joseph and survived by Mary Lehn, Florence (Lee) Schaffer, Anthony, James, Bernard and Francis (Cookie), as well as his many nieces and nephews.

His father emigrated from Italy and settled in Westport in 1912, and he and Angelina instilled in him a great passion for his family and their heritage while raising their children on Izzo Lane. He was a Staples High School graduate, class of 1961, and subsequently received his Associates Degree from Norwalk Community College.

An avid golfer, he enjoyed many days with “the boys” at Longshore Golf Course and Mario’s Place as well as tooling around in his green 1967 Ford Exel convertible. 

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Posted 03:08 PM
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Always Joyful, John Izzo, 71

By James Lomuscio

Lifetime Westporter John J. Izzo, Sr., the garrulous, joyful, backslapping cheerleader for his family, hometown and friends, the guy who never shied away from picking up the other’s tabs at restaurants and bars, a former town selectman, inventor and entrepreneur, died at Norwalk Hospital Friday after a three-month battle with heart disease exacerbated by diabetes, family members said today. He was 71.

WestportNow.com Image
When John Izzo lost to Gordon Joseloff and Shelly Kassen in 2005, he brought champagne to Democratic Party headquarters to toast them. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Emily Laux for WestportNow.com

“He lived life, the whole 71 years of it,” his brother Anthony Joseph (A.J.), 77, said. “He went out doing what he wanted to do, being with his family, his wife Joan, his two boys and his grandchildren. “He just basically enjoyed every day of his life, and he did it his way.”

Izzo, an avid golfer at Longshore Club Park and a regular at Mario’s Place and occasionally the Black Duck for its “clam jam,” was number 12 of 13 children who grew up on Izzo Lane off Richmondville Avenue. His parents James and Angelina (DiDomenico) Izzo, settled in Westport in 1912. He often said that his parents instilled in him great passion for family, his heritage and being American.

Izzo was predeceased by siblings Salvatore, Theresa, Antoinette, Sarah, Rosie and Joseph. In addition to A.J., surviving siblings are: Mary Lehn, Florence (Lee) Schaffer, James, Bernard and Francis (Cookie), as well many nieces and nephews. Nephew Jimmy Izzo, who runs Crossroads Hardware with his father A.J. on Main Street, a stone’s throw from the original family homestead, serves on the Representative Town Meeting.

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Posted 02:40 PM
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John Izzo, Former Selectman, 71

WestportNow.com Image
John J. Izzo, Sr. (c), former Westport selectman, died Friday at Norwalk Hospital. He was 71. He is pictured with former First Selectmen Gordon Joseloff and Diane Farrell at the 2008 Festival Italiano parade. Farrell defeated Republican Izzo in 2001 for the post. Joseloff defeated Izzo twice—in 2005 when he again was the Republican candidate, and in 2009 when he ran as an independent. The family will receive friends on Tuesday, March 17 from 4 to 8 p.m. in the Harding Funeral Home, 210 Post Road East, with the funeral on Wednesday, March 18 at 10:30 a.m. at Assumption Church, 98 Riverside Ave. (See family-provided obituary here)  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Posted 02:30 PM
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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Nita Cohen, 88

WestportNow.com Image
Nita Cohen: former Democratic registrar of voters. WestportNow.com photo

Nita Cohen, former Democratic Party registrar of voters in Westport, died March 10. She was 88.

According to John Hartwell, chair of the Democratic Town Committee (DTC) who announced her death, she had recently been living in West Hartford near her daughter Ellen and family.

She served as Democratic registrar of voters from 1993 until her retirement in 2010. She was a member of the League of Women Voters of Westport for more than 50 years, and was a board member of the Democratic Women of Westport, which awarded her its Silver Donkey Award in 1996.

In addition, she was a volunteer at the Pequot Library Book Sale for more than 25 years.

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Posted 05:01 PM
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Carol Lillis, 80

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Carol Lillis: former Wilton teacher. Contributed photo

Carol Anne Rawson Lillis of Enfield, wife of the late Guy Lillis, a 1950 Staples High School graduate where he played quarterback, died March 8 at home. She was 80.

She was born on March 16, 1934 in Providence, R.I., the daughter of the late Joseph and Doris Rawson. She attended the University of Rhode Island where she met Guy.

She graduated from the University of New Hampshire, where she was a member of Chi Omega, and began teaching in Wilton.

She was a teacher of young children in the Enfield school system for many years retiring in 1992. She had taught at the Country Day Kindergarten, Henry Barnard, Nathan Hale, Alcorn, and Enfield Street Schools.

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Posted 08:29 AM
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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Peter D. Hanson, 85

WestportNow.com Image
Peter Hanson: minister, Westport teacher. Contributed photo

Peter Day Hanson, a former Westport school teacher, died March 8 in Rutland, Vt. He was 85.

The eldest child of the Rev. Richard Ewing Hanson and Margery (Day) Hanson, he was born in New York City on March 29, 1929.

After elementary school in Scarsdale, N.Y., he attended Mount Hermon School in Massachusetts and entered Harvard College in the fall of 1946. He was stricken with polio and spent a year and a half at the Warm Springs Foundation in Warm Springs, Ga.

Returning to Harvard and graduating in 1951, he attended Union Theological Seminary in New York. After ordination as a Methodist minister, he served three parishes in Vermont, in the towns of Milton, Poultney and Brandon. He married Cynthia Barstow on Oct. 2, 1954, and together they had four children.

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Posted 04:22 PM
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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Yolanda Risko, 97

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Yolanda Risko: soloist at Westport congregations. Contributed photo

Yolanda Risko of Norwalk, a soloist at congregations in Westport and Stamford, died March 8 at Wilton Meadows Health Care Center. She was 97.

The daughter of the late Theresa and John B. Risko, she was a longtime resident of East Norwalk. She graduated from Norwalk High School in 1935 and worked at Nash Engineering for more than 40 years.

She was a faithful life-long member of East Avenue United Methodist Church in East Norwalk and was a featured soloist (alto) with the choirs of Saugatuck Congregational Church, Temple Israel in Westport and Stamford Congregational Church.

She was also a longtime member of the Fairfield County Chorale which performed and toured frequently, including trips to Europe and Japan.

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