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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

NY Times Makes a Correction, Thanks to WestportNow

Thanks to WestportNow, The New York Times today made a correction to its obituary of Anne Wexler.

The former Westport homemaker who left an indelible mark on Connecticut politics in the ‘60s and ‘70s and went on to become a national political figure and well known Washington lobbyist died Friday at the age of 79

The newspaper’s original obituary said Wexler “did just about everything in politics except run for office — from licking envelopes to running Democratic campaigns to serving as a top aide in the Carter White House before becoming an influential Washington lobbyist.”

In fact, as WestportNow reported in its obituary, Wexler ran twice for the Westport Zoning Board of Appeals—unsuccessfully in 1965 and successfully two years later. WestportNow notified the Times of its error.

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Caspar A. Merolla, 92

Caspar A. Merolla, 92, of Westport, husband of the late Dorothy (Searing) Merolla, passed away Saturday, Aug. 8 at Norwalk Hospital.

Born Dec. 25, 1916, in Brookly, N.Y., son of the late Antonio and Mamie Merolla, he has been a resident of Westport for 33 years.

Prior to retiring, he was employed as an office manager for Keefe and Keefe Company in New York City. He is a former volunteer at Wilton Meadows Health Care in Wilton and a U.S. Army veteran of World War II.

Survivors include one son Paul A. Merolla and his wife Nancy of Wilton, one sister, Rita DiStefano of Valley Stream, N.Y., two grandchildren, one niece and one nephew. In addition to his wife and parents, he was also predeceased by one sister, Gloria Vaccaro.

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Saturday, August 08, 2009

Former Westporter Anne Wexler, Powerful Lobbyist,  Dies at 79

UPDATE Anne Wexler, a former Westport homemaker who left an indelible mark on Connecticut politics in the ‘60s and ‘70s and went on to become a national political figure and well known Washington lobbyist, died Friday at her Washington home after a long battle with cancer. She was Image
Anne Wexler: Westport homemaker became a power in politics. File photo

She first delved into politics working on the Fairfield County congressional campaign of an antiwar candidate in the mid-60s. A staunch liberal, she helped run Eugene McCarthy’s Connecticut operation during his 1968 presidential run.

She got her start in public life working in the Westport PTA and as an elected member of the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) while the family lived in a Cape Cod-style home on Bonnie Brook Road. The New York Times once noted it had “a swimming pool in the back and a good deal of Chateau Lafite-Rothschild in the cellar.”

Her two sons attended Coleytown Elementary and Junior High schools as well as Staples.

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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Noted Architect Who Designed Westport Library Dies at 71

Charles Gwathmey, an architect who won wide acclaim for his love of Modernism and passion for geometrical complexity but whose Westport Public Library design drew much criticism, has died, The New York Times said today. He was 71 and lived in Image
Charles Gwathmey: Westport Library design was “problematic.” File photo

The Times said Gwathmey was part of a generation of architects who put their own aesthetic stamp on the “high Modernist” style developed in the early 20th century by Le Corbusier and others. It said many of his best buildings were houses.

The Westport Library was not one of his better designs. Library trustees hired him to design the $4.6 million, 33,000-square foot building that opened in 1986 on a former landfill site. Almost immediately, it was criticized for looking like a factory, not taking advantage properly of the river vistas, and poorly functional as a library.

A library document summed up the issues this way: “It proved to be problematic in terms of space and functionality.”

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Monday, August 03, 2009

Jerry M. Astrab, 79

Jerry Michael Astrab, 79, of Westport, passed away Friday at Norwalk Hospital with his family at the bedside. He was 79.

Jerry was born 25 May 1930, son of the late Michael and Helen (Drozdak) Astrab in Norwalk. Graduating Norwalk High School in 1948, he enlisted in the U. S. Navy and became an electronics expert.

Following his enlistment during the Korean War, he opened Jerry’s TV, which became a longtime fixture on the Boston Post Road in Norwalk. After closing the business, he was employed by Stauffer Chemical Co. of Westport until his retirement in the early 1990s.

Jerry was a No. 1 fan of the New York Rangers.

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John “Jack” Hooper, Former Chase Executive, Dies at 86

John “Jack” Hooper, a former vice chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank, died Friday at his Westport home after a long battle with cancer. He was 86. Image
John “Jack” Hooper: won fame as banker and pianist. Contributed photo

Hooper retired as the bank’s chief credit officer in 1985. Known affectionately by his colleagues as “Dr. No,” he had a responsibility for credit policy, country risk policy, real estate finance and lending services.

Born in Danbury, Hooper joined the Chase National Bank in 1948 after wartime service as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army.

He served in various local and national departments of the bank before he was named executive in charge of Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa in the banks international department.

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John W. Kiermaier, Media Exec and Former RTMer, Dies at 87

UPDATE John W. Kiermaier, a former longtime Westporter who made his mark professionally as a media executive for New York’s Channel 13 and CBS and who served his town on the Representative Town Meeting (RTM), a Charter Revision Commission, and other bodies, has died at the age of Image
John W. Kiermaier (far left) appears on a 2005 panel discussion on the media at the Westport Woman’s Club. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for

The New York Times reported today that his son, Lock, confirmed that his father died July 27 in Norwalk where he and his wife Constance, an artist, had moved two years ago.

Kiermaier served two terms on the RTM (2001-03 and 2005-07) as well as time on the Commission for Senior Services (2003-05) and the Charter Revision Commission (1999-2000).

In the 1960s, Kiermainer steered Channel 13, the New York area’s major public television station, through precarious financial times. He was president of what was then called WNDT/Channel 13 (it is now WNET/Channel 13) from September 1964 to May 1970.

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Esme O’Brien Carroll, 70

Esme O’Brien Carroll, 70, of Coral Springs, Fla., formerly of Westport, died on May 18.
She was born in the Riverdale N.Y., on Jan. 26, 1939, to the late Dr Gerald J. and Florence A. (Donnelly) Carroll.

She leaves her two adoring daughters: Patricia Carroll Britto and her husband Arthur Britto of Coral Springs, Fla., and Marianne Carroll Ieuter and her husband Jacob “Jake” Ieuter of Wilmette, Ill.; her brother, Kevin Carroll of Chester, Conn., her sister, Patricia Taylor of Westport; four grandchildren, Kathryn Ryan Britto, Jaclyn O’Brien Britto, Caroline Haeberle Ieuter and William Charles “Charlie” Ieuter; as well as several adored nieces and nephews.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Lauretta Oliver, 95

Lauretta Oliver, 95, of Westport, passed away peacefully on July 26, 2009 at Wilton Meadows Convalescent Home.

She was born Dec. 26, 1913, in Columbia, SC and moved with her mother and brother to Norwalk in the early 1920s, and attended local public schools.

She married William Bland from which her daughter Rosemary was born. During World War II, she worked in the defense plant and later as a domestic worker. Widowed, she later married Grant Oliver.

Lauretta was extremely interested in the world around her, and was well regarded by her family and friends for her ability to recall details of family history and historical facts of the world.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Henry C. “Budge” Atterbury, 77 Image
Henry C. “Budge” Atterbury: longtime Power Squadron member. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
Henry C. “Budge” Atterbury, 77, a husband, father to four sons, and longtime Westport resident, died July 24, 2009.

Born in Norwich, Conn., on May 13, 1932, he attended the Norwich Free Academy and Hebron Academy before graduating from Yale University with a B.A. in history and economics.

After Yale, he joined the U.S. Air Force where he became a pilot and navigator.

He was a longtime member of the U.S. Power Squadron where he taught boating safety and navigation courses for more than 50 years, was a past commander and a member of the local Saugatuck Squadron since 1969. He was an active and enthusiastic member of the Y’s Men of Westport.

He is survived by J. Shirley, his wife of 54 years; his four sons and their wives, Henry and Denise of New Paltz, NY.;. Bruce and Kim of Marysville, Wash.; Douglas and Cyndi of Johnstown, Pa.; and Dana and Jenniffer of Boston, Mass.; seven grandchildren, Katharine, Robert, Brittney, Lindsey, Margaret, Christina, and Elizabeth; and his sailboat Suntop.

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Marie Montano, 94

Marie Montano 94, wife of the late Alphonse Montano of Ladson, South Carolina formerly of Westport, Norwalk, and Hollywood, Fla., died peacefully at home Sunday July 19, 2009 in the company of her family.

Marie was born in Bridgeport, May 21, 1915, daughter of the late Dominick and Isabel DeMace. She worked for 40 years at Southern New England Telephone Company as an assistant 0anager.

She was a member of the Catholic Daughters of America, Court Assumption and the Horizon Club of St. Mathews Parish.

Marie is survived by her sister Madeline DeMace of Ladson, S.C., nephews and nieces,  Michael and Diane Adinolfi of Ladson, S.C., Pete and Mary Ludovicy of Westport, and Jack and Diane Adinolfi of Florida. Her great nieces and nephews, Anne Powell of San Antonio, Texas, Michelle Entrekin of Bristow, Va., and Paul Ludovicy of Westport.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

E. Malcolm “Mal” Burgess, 86

E. Malcolm “Mal” Burgess of Somersworth, N.H. passed away at his home on July 13, 2009, at the age of Image
E. Malcolm “Mal” Burgess: 40-year Westport resident. Contributed photo

He was born on Feb. 7, 1923 in Cranston, R.I., as the only child of Eric and Hildred Burgess. He met his first love, Virginia “Jinny” Burgess, in Westport, where they were married on Nov. 27, 1948. They lived on Cross Highway in Westport until 1990.

He was a veteran of the Marine Corps and served actively in the Pacific during World War II. He spent his career traveling the world as a military advisor and developer of commercial markets for Siskorsky Aircraft, retiring in 1989.

After retirement, he and Jinny moved to the New Hampshire seacoast. There he served proudly as commodore of the Portsmouth Yacht Club (PYC) in 1997, where he and Jinny have been active members since 1991.

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Friday, July 17, 2009

A Final Goodbye to a Westport Restaurant Legend Image
Family and friends paid tribute to legendary Westport restaurant owner Mario D. Sacco today at Westport’s Assumption Church. Sacco, who was co-owner of Mario’s Place, a Saugatuck eating and drinking landmark for four decades, died July 5 at the age of 92. (See WestportNow July 8, 2009) (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 04:25 PM
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Recounting Mario Sacco Stories Image
Paul Forte, a great nephew of Mario’s Place co-owner Mario D. Sacco, had an Assumption Church audience chuckling today as he recounted stories about the legendary Westport restaurateur. Forte, who worked many jobs at the restaurant over the years, recalled how Sacco and partner Frank DeMace once disagreed on the size of cake portions to be served—DeMace wanted 14 slices per cake to make larger portions and Sacco wanted 16 to save money. He said the solution was to tell the staff to slice cakes according to which partner was in the restaurant at a particular time. Sacco died July 5 at the age of 92. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 04:20 PM
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Stuart N. Handelman, 78

Stuart Norman Handelman, 78, of Westport, husband of Gladys Braver Handelman for 50 years, died Wednesday, July 15 in Norwalk Hospital.

Born March 12, 1931 in New York City, he was son of the late Benjamin and Ida Schaia Handelman.

Mr. Handelman graduated from New York University and the Parsons School of Design where he received his graphic design training. He owned and operated Stuart Handelman Design in Manhattan for 40 years.

With the advent of computer design, he decided to pursue an allied career as a print production manager for American Express Publishing. His buoyant personality carried him through 37 years of commuting to New York.

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