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Obituaries

Obituaries

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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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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Elizabeth A. Cizynski, 86

Elizabeth A. Cizynski “Betty” (nee Demarest) of Boca Raton, Fla., a former Westport resident, died after a long battle with cancer. No date was given. She was 86.

She was born and raised in New York City, resided in Westport, and lived her remaining years in Boca Raton.

She attended Mother Cabrini H.S., New York City and was a 1947 graduate of The College of Mount St. Vincent, Riverdale, N.Y

She was a loving wife and mother who enjoyed playing the piano, attending the opera, horticulture, cooking, “basketball” and family, her family said.

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Monday, March 18, 2013

Geraldine “Geri” F. Bonenfant, 65

Geraldine “Geri” F. Bonenfant of Southport, a former Westport resident, died March 17 at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport. She was 65.

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Geraldine Bonenfant: 1965 Staples graduate. Contributed photo

She was born on May 4, 1947 in Norwalk the daughter of the late Patrick and Angeline (DePala) Fratino. Prior to moving to Southport in 1984, she was a longtime resident of Westport and was a 1965 graduate of Staples High School.

She was the owner of Southport Data, a tabulation company for the market research industry. Also an artist, she loved oil painting and could often be found at the beach. 

She is survived by her daughter, Jessica Bonenfant Coogan and her husband Hughie of Southport.

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Agatha “Bing” M. Burke, 89

Agatha “Bing” Martin Burke of Charlottesville, Va., a former Westport resident, died March 16. She was 89.

Born in Schenectady, N.Y. to Frederick Martin and Agatha Shanahan, she graduated from Russell Sage College and went to work for General Electric. There she met the love of her life and husband for over 65 years, David Burke of Hoosick Falls, N.Y.

While in Schenectady, she gave birth to her three children, David, James and Barbara. In 1959, the family moved to Scarsdale, N.Y., where she enjoyed many years raising her children and accompanying David to social and business events in New York City and around the world.

She was a very bright woman, excellent conversationalist and enjoyed the many talented and diverse groups of people they met in their travels, her family said.

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John A. Berenyi, 65

John Andrew Berenyi of Westport, financial advisor and consultant to cities, states, and national governments, died March 16 from complications relating to cancer. He was 65.

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John Berenyi: investment banker. WVOX photo

Born in Budapest, Hungary, he grew up in Queens, N.Y. after emigrating to the Unites States via Israel in 1959.

He attended Brooklyn Technical High School before attaining an undergraduate degree in engineering and two graduate degrees, one in management science and the other in applied economics, all from Columbia University. He was also a Loeb Fellow in Advanced Environmental Studies at Harvard University.

In addition, in recognition of his academic achievements, he was a recipient of a NYC Urban Fellowship and NATO Fellowship.

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Posted 04:18 PM
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Ann Mayor Melillo, 86

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

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, includes, three sons, Bruce M. Melillo, Brian Melillo, Brett Melillo and one daughter, Carol Melillo.

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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Robert J. Brody, 57

Robert Jay Brody died Feb. 22 at his Westport home. He was 57.

He is survived by his wife Karen, his children Samantha, Valerie and Charlotte, his sister Ellen, his long-time friend and brother-in-law Michael, his brother Paul, his Aunt Gloria, and by his large extended family.

He touched many people with his wit, his warmth, his insight and his intellect. And his music, which he loved and played throughout his life, will be carried by us all, his family said. 

A memorial gathering will be held Saturday, May 4, at 11 a.m. at the Unitarian Church, 10 Lyons Plains Road, Westport.

Posted 04:04 PM
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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Michael Restaino, 87

Michael Restaino,, a longtime resident of Westport before moving to Southport, died March 11 at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport. He was 87.

He was born on July 19, 1925 in Bridgeport, son of the late Vincenzo and Catherine (Caldana) Restaino , and has resided in Southport for 26 years after 61 years in Westport.

He is survived by his nephew James Restaino of Westport and special friends Buster Cocivil, Greg Page and Jo Ann Pavone and their families, his feline friends, Mittens and Trigger, special checkers buddy Jeremy page, and his beloved caregivers Mary Ellen Johnson and Genie Snyder. He was pre-deceased by his brother Joseph and sisters Columbia, Sara, and Mary.

Visitation will take place Thursday, March 14,  9 to 10 a.m. at the Harding Funeral Home, 210 Post Road East.

The funeral will take place Thursday, March 14, at 10:30 a.m. at Saint Luke Church, 49 Turkey Hill Road South, Westport. Interment will follow in Assumption Cemetery, 73 Greens Farms Road.

Posted 04:51 PM
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Monday, March 11, 2013

Elizabeth Ann G. Miller, 97

Elizabeth Ann (Gehrling) Miller died March 10 in Norwalk Hospital following a brief illness. She was 97.

Born April 19, 1915 in Brooklyn, N.Y, daughter of the late Frank and Anne (Kirschenheiter) Gehrling, she has been a long-term resident of Norwalk. She is a member of the Norfield Grange and the Catholic Daughters of America, Court Assumption. She is a World War II U.S. Marine Corps. veteran serving as a 2nd lieutenant.

Survivors include two daughters, Marilyn Miller of Boston, Nancy L. Miller of Lafayette Hill, Pa., one son, Randolph J. Miller and his wife Doreen L. Miller of Westport, brother, Frederick Gehrling of Floral Park, N..,, two grandchildren, Kristina A. Miller and John Anthony T.F. Miller. She was also predeceased by one brother, Edmund Gehrling, and her former husband John F. Miller

Visiting hours will take place Tuesday, March 12, from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Harding Funeral Home, 210 Post Road East.

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Saturday, March 09, 2013

Michael O. Pettee Sr., 83

Michael O. Pettee, Sr., a longtime Westport resident, died March 7 at home after what his family described as “a long and sometimes difficult journey through cancer treatment.” He was 83.

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Michael Pettee Sr.: 56-year Westport resident. Contributed photo

The following is based on an obituary provided by the family: Born July 16, 1929, in San Juan, Puerto Rico to Naval Cmdr. Everett Pettee and Mary Hartung Pettee, he grew up swimming in the St. Croix River in Stillwater, Minn. He graduated from Shattuck School, Fairbault, Minn., in 1947 and attended Yale with the help of a “bursary job” scholarship and a Northwest alumni loan.

Yale was an extremely important part of his life. As a member of the Yale swim team, he went undefeated for four years and, more importantly, met lifelong friends. He assisted history professor, Pulitzer Prize winner, and Yale President, A. Whitney Griswold who encouraged him to major in history.

An articulate and industrious student, Mike won the 1951 Sterling Memorial Map Prize for his thesis, “Daniel Webster and the Northeast Boundary Dispute.” He graduated with a BA in history in 1951.

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Friday, March 08, 2013

William A. Hodgkinson, 97

William Arthur Hodgkinson of Marblehead, Mass., a former Westport resident, died Feb. 27 in Salem, Mass. He was 97.

He was born in London to Doris Catherine (Lace) and Arthur Hodgkinson on June 4, 1915. The family moved to Montral in 1927, and after high school, he attended coles des Beaux-Artes de Montral.

He moved to Manhattan to continue his art education at The Grand Central Art School, where he met his future wife, Dorothy (Anderson). They married in 1941 and returned to Montral when Bill received a commission in the Royal Canadian Navy.

He served in Shelburne, Nova Scotia, during World War II; then in 1946, the family moved to Mount Vernon, N.Y, and eventually settled in Westport.

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Thursday, March 07, 2013

Howard Stumpf, 93

Howard Stumpf, a former Westport resident, died March 5. He was 93.

A native of Lancaster, Pa.,  he was born Dec. 4, 1919 the son of Howard and Margaret (Mowrer) Stumpf. He graduated from Lancaster Boys High School in 1937 after which he commenced a business career in sales beginning with Armstrong Cork Company.

His career was interrupted by his enlistment into the U.S. Air Force ground services during World War II. He was stationed in the Panama Canal and rose to the rank of staff sergeant before his discharge in 1946.

He returned to Lancaster and resumed his sales position with Armstrong. In 1947 he married Helen Kohler Wentz. His sales career also included positions with Wilson Plastics and West Virginia Pulp and Paper in Sandusky, Ohio.

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Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Edwin W. Thomas, 88

Edwin William “Bill” Thomas, a Westport resident for five decades, died March 1 at Arlington Memorial Hospital in Arlington, Texas. He was 88.

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Edwin W. Thomas: Westport native. Contributed photo

He was born at Norwalk Hospital on Sept. 19, 1924 to Edwin William Thomas Sr. and Anita Wells Thomas of Westport.

After attending primary school in Westport, he attended the Castle Heights Military Academy in Lebanon, Tenn.  After graduation, he joined the U.S. Army, fought in World War II, and while seeing action in Europe was awarded a Bronze Star for meritorious service.

After his three-year tour of duty, he was honorably discharged and attended Kent State University in Ohio. He returned to Connecticut to complete is college education at Bridgeport University where he graduated with a degree in marketing.

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C. Lawrence Tirreno, 92

C. Lawrence Tirreno, a longtime Westport resident, husband of Mary (Bacik) Tirreno, died March 3. He was 92.

He born in Reggio Calabria, Italy and emigrated to the United States when he was six years old. He was raised and resided in Bridgeport until moving to Westport in 1963.

A veteran, he sailed as an officer in the Merchant Marine throughout World War II in both the Atlantic and Pacific Theaters. On return, he served on the Bridgeport Fire Department for 14 years.

A determined, self made businessman, he opened the first Volvo dealership in the United States in 1958, and went on to expand his dealership to Buick and Honda agencies. He owned the Honda of Westport business for more than 40 years.

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Note: WestportNow Publisher Gordon F. Joseloff is also First Selectman of Westport