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 Harding Funderal Home,Westport,CT

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Publisher, Preservationist Sidney Kramer Dies at 99

By James Lomuscio

UPDATE (adds Marpe comments) Westporter Sidney Kramer, a literary lion who seem to roar loudest when it came to preserving the environment and character of his hometown, died early today at home, just six weeks shy of his 100th birthday, friends said. Image
Sidney Kramer speaking at wife’s funeral in 2011. Dave Matlow for

An attorney, literary agent and co-founder of Bantam Books, as well as the prime mover of the local preservation group Save Westport Now (SWN), he had stopped eating and over the last few days refused to take water, said Connie Greenfield, a close friend for 30 years and SWN board member.

“He was very weak and very thin,” said Greenfield, noting that Kramer would have turned 100 on Jan. 21. “He just faded away.”

Kramer, his wife Esther and two children, moved to Westport in 1950. The family is best known for owning the iconic, 200-year-old converted sea captain’s house painted fluorescent pink on the corner of Main Street and Parker Harding Plaza.

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Posted 09:27 PM
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Margaret E. Troll, 87

Margaret Eleanor Troll of Westport died Dec. 7 at Norwalk Hospital after a brief illness. She was 87.

Born on May 14, 1927, she was daughter of the late William Vornkahl Jr. and Alice Gerrish Vornkahl. She was a lifelong resident of Westport. She was the wife of the late Maurice (Mike) Horn and the late Stephen L. Troll.

She graduated from Staples High School in 1944. She worked at the Westport Bank & Trust Co. and the Norwalk Savings Society.

She and her husband enjoyed many years traveling in their Holiday Rambler RV. They visited 49 states with their trailer and flew to Hawaii. She was a board member and treasurer of the Saugatuck Cooperative for many years.

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Posted 01:43 PM
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Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Kevin Brawley, 59

Kevin Brawley, a popular Westport restaurateur, died Dec. 7 at Yale-New Haven Hospital. He was 59. Image
Kevin Brawley: co-owned Tavern on Main, Dunville’s. photo

One of his restaurants, Tavern on Main, became a landmark in downtown Westport where he managed the front of the house.

He began his career as a busboy at Mario’s Place in Saugatuck, learning the business while still in high school. He moved up to maitre d’ status and, with his colleague Danny Horelick in 1980, opened Dunville’s on Riverside Avenue.

After selling his share of Dunville’s to his manager, Steve Carpentieri in 1993, he and partner Jocko Saltus opened Tavern on Main at the former site of the old time favorite, Chez Pierre restaurant.  Brawley sold Tavern on Main in 2006.

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Posted 07:44 PM
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Saturday, December 06, 2014

Walter R. Melillo, 90

Walter R. Melillo, a graduate of the Westport schools and then a teacher for 35 years in the school system, died Dec. 4 in Norwalk Hospital. He was 90. Image
Walter Melillo (c) was inducted into the Staples football “Wall of Fame” in 2004. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

The husband of the late Ann (Mayor) Melillo was born Feb. 25, 1924, the son of the late Joseph and Anna (Carrara) Melillo.

He grew up on Franklin Street in Saugatuck and attended Saugatuck Elementary School, Bedford Junior High, and Staples High School.

At Staples, Melillo was a stalwart two-way player who was one of the Wreckers’ first great running back/receivers. In 2004, he was inducted into the Staples football “Wall of Fame.”

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Posted 02:20 PM
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Walter J. Laughlin, 94

Walter J. Laughlin of Westport died Nov. 25 in the home that he built 61 years ago. He was 94.

He was born June 16, 1920 in New Haven to the late Joseph and Amelia Laughlin. He moved to Westport in 1938. A proud World War II veteran, he joined the U.S. Army in May 1942 and was stationed at a B-24 bomber air Base near Norwich, England. He returned home on the Queen Mary in 1945.

He married his wife Nancy on June 28, 1941 at Assumption Church in Westport. In the years to follow he built many homes in Westport and Monroe. He loved to travel and took many trips to London as well as touring the English countryside.  On one occasion, he visited the air base where he was stationed during the war.

He also enjoyed his travels to Ireland and Scotland. He and his family spent many summer vacations on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard.

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Thursday, December 04, 2014

Theresa Falasco, 101 Image
Theresa Falasco: lifelong Westport resident. Dave Matlow for

Theresa Falasco of Westport died Dec. 3 at home. She was 101.

Born Jan. 17, 1913 in Westport, she was the daughter of the late Salvatore and Geneva (Barber) Gilbertie.

She was a member of Assumption Church in Westport and a longtime member of the Catholic Daughters.

Survivors include three daughters: Claudette Foley of Westport, Beverly Valiante and her husband Joseph of Westport, Arlene Benincaso of Norwalk, one son, Henry Falasco and his wife Susan of Prospect, one sister, Antonette Doddo of Westport, four grandchildren and seven great grandchildren. In addition to her parents and husband, she was predeceased by one brother, Lester Gilbertie.

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Posted 12:18 PM
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Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Carol S. Plaut, 87

Carol (Barman) Stern Plaut of Westport died Dec. 1. She was 87. Image
Carol Plaut: 60-year Westport resident. Contributed photo

A Westport resident for more than 60 years, she was the wife of Edward Weill Plaut, who predeceased her in 2011.

Together the couple raised their three children in Westport: Edward “Wynn” Plaut of Greenwich, (Robin), Kim Plaut Sullivan of East Dennis, Mass.  (Joseph), and Quentin R. Plaut (Michelle) of Fairfax, Va. Survivors incude her grandchildren Douglas, Amy, Natalie, William and Ethan Plaut and Brett and Brooke Sullivan.\

Born in New York City on Oct. 18, 1927, she was the daughter of the late Walter and Celeste (Barman) Stern of Scarsdale, N.Y. She graduated from New York University with a degree in physical education in 1948 and received a Master’s Degree in career counseling from Fairfield University in 1984.

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Posted 01:48 PM
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Irene O. Deegan, 88

Irene O. Deegan of Norwalk, a former Westport resident, wife of the late William J. Deegan Sr., died Nov. 29 at Aurora Senior Living in Norwalk. She was 88.

Born in New York City on Dec. 6, 1925, she was the daughter of the late Francis and Mary (O’Leary) O’Moore.

She is survived by four sons: William James Deegan of Shelton,Thomas Francis Deegan of Westport, James William Deegan of Louisville, Ky., one daughter, Ellen Marie Deegan of Greenwich, and two granddaughters Erin and Maureen Deegan.

Friends are invited to attend a funeral on Friday, Dec. 5 at noon, meeting directly at Assumption Church, 98 Riverside Ave. for a Mass of Christian Burial. Interment will follow in Assumption Cemetery, Kings Highway North.

The Harding Funeral Home is assisting the family with the arrangements.

Posted 10:13 AM
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Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Frank Kokoska, 73

Frank Kokoska of Redding, a former Westport resident, died Nov. 29. He was 73.

He graduated from Staples High School in 1959 where his favorite subjects were shop and automotive, and he was adept at both. It took him five years after graduation to work his way through the journeyman level of carpentry, working for W. Punzelt of Westport, to achieve full status of carpenter.

He later worked for Charles Griffith of Westport until December 1968, when he and his wife, Elaine, began building their home in Redding. In his early 20s, he also graduated from Bullard-Tech in Bridgeport.

In 1970, he began The Country Craftsman in Redding and over the years, until he retired in 2007 due to illness, worked on many homes in the area and made many, many friends.

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Posted 05:22 PM
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Carole L. Haber, 72

Carole L. Haber of Westport died Nov. 27 at home following a lengthy illness. She was 72. Image
Carole Haber: co-produced Broadway shows. Contributed photo

Born and raised in Downey, Calif., she was the daughter of the late Alfred and Marguerite Deitricht Senechal. She received her Bachelor of Arts and Teaching Credential from the University of California.

She met her husband Bill while teaching at the Foundation for the Junior Blind in Los Angeles in 1955. The foundation’s founder, Norman Kaplan, was the godfather of their children. She was a French teacher in Palos Verdes High School for five years.

She and her family lived in Los Angeles and Malibu for 50 years. In 1995, they moved to Westport to take a greater part in the international humanitarian organization, Save the Children.

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Posted 09:09 AM
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Monday, December 01, 2014

Charlene (Chou Chou) Merrill, 62

Charlene (Chou Chou) Raum Merrill of Brookline, Mass., a former Westport resident, died Nov. 29. She was 62. Image
Chou Chou Merrill: 1970 Staples graduate. Contributed photo

She grew up in Westport, where her father, Jason Raum, owned and operated Jewels by Jason on Main Street. She was a 1970 graduate of Staples High School.

She married Michael Merrill of Westport in a 1973 ceremony at the Unitarian Church in Westport. Among the attendees was Michael’s mother, film star Bette Davis of Westport. The couple eventually settled in Brookline where she lived for 41 years. She also lived in Captiva, Fla., and Prout’s Neck, Maine.

A real estate agent for many years, she was passionate about her love first for her “boys” and secondly for Brookline. But she always remembered Westport and was a frequent poster on Facebook pages about Westport.

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Posted 03:53 PM
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Robert M. Curtis, 96

Robert (“Bob”) Miles Curtis of Westport died Nov. 20 at Norwalk Hospital. He was 96. Image
Robert M. Curtis: longtime Westport resident. Contributed photo

Born April 9, 1918 in Nova Scotia, he was the son of Claude Curtis and Claire John. After his mother died in the flu epidemic of 1918-19, his Aunt Helen moved in to care for him and his sister Margaret. 

The family moved frequently. He attended elementary school in Fall River, Mass., and began high school in Olympia, Wash., where he fell in love with sailing. He graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy and Williams College.

He played trumpet with the Purple Knights, a Williams College jazz ensemble, and in 1938 they were hired to play on the French luxury liner SS Normandie as it made its 100th Atlantic crossing.

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Posted 01:47 PM
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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Lois E. Treadway, 70

Lois EttaTreadway (born Alois Etta Palmer) of Norwalk, a longtime employee of Minute Men Cleaners in Westport, died Nov. 25 at Danbury Hospital. She was 70.

She was born in Norwalk on March 16, 1944 and graduated from Port Chester High School in Port Chester, N.Y. Class of 1963. After her tenure at the Westport business, she she spent most of her time as a volunteer for Lifeline in Norwalk and was a dedicated bell ringer for the Salvation Army during the holidays.

Her greatest joy was her family, she had a huge heart of gold, undeniable compassion for anyone she met no matter the circumstances, enjoyed playing Bingo and was a faithful member of Bethany Baptist Church in Stamford and Parkway Assembly of God in Norwalk during her earlier years, according to her family.

She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Mary and James M. Pearson, Sr of Newtown. grandchildren James Jr and Rebecca Pearson, family member Betty Pearson, siblings Ward and Joy Palmer, Sr., Bernadette “Bunny” Palmer, Louise and Joe Willette, Charmaine Letendre, Peggy and Paul Raymond and Charles Palmer, Jr., along with many nieces, nephews and cousins. She was predeceased by her mother Maybelle Heney, parents Charles and Bernadette Palmer, sister Ella-Mae Romsky and brother William A. Palmer, Sr.

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Posted 01:12 PM
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Anthony L. Wilcox, 87

Anthony Lyle Wilcox of Westport, husband of the late Jane L. Wilcox, died Nov. 27 in Norwalk Hospital. He was 87.

Born June 19, 1927 in Norwalk, he was son of the late William and Mary (Romananski) Wilcox and has been a resident of Westport for 63 years.

Prior to retiring in 1992, he was employed as a foreman by the Town of Westport Department of Parks and Recreation for more than 20 years.

He was a graduate of Norwalk High School, loved fishing and spending his free time with his family. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Navy.

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Posted 10:27 AM
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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

J. Elwood Betts, 89

J. Elwood Betts of Westport died Nov. 25 at Norwalk Hospital. He was 89. Image
J. Elwood Betts: lifelong Westport resident. Contributed photo

He was born in Westport at home on Oct. 1, 1925, son of the late Charles E. and Marjorie (Foster) Betts and has been a lifelong resident of Westport. He was employed as an engineer with General Electric for 42 years prior to retiring in 1989.

He was a 1943 graduate of Staples High School, and a 1946 graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) with a degree in chemical engineering. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Navy as a lieutenant.

A lifelong member of the Saugatuck Congregational Church, he served the church in many capacities. He was a deacon and a trustee emeritus.

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Posted 10:08 AM
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