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Wednesday, July 01, 2015



WestportNow publishes obituaries without charge. Funeral homes or individuals may submit obituaries to . Photos in jpeg format may be submitted to the same address. Obituaries should indicate full name of deceased, date and place of death, age, and connection to Westport. Please provide a name, telephone number, and email address for verification. WestportNow reserves the right to edit obituaries to conform to our editorial style.

Harding Funderal Home, Westport, CT

Friday, June 26, 2015

Jay Emmett, 86

Jay Emmett of West Palm Beach, Fla., a former Westport resident and prominent media and sports marketing executive who is credited with helping bring Batman and Superman to life on the silver screen, died June 22 of heart failure at his home. He was 86. Image
Jay Emmett: former Westporter. Contributed photo

Born and raised in New York City, where he maintained a residence throughout his life, he and his late wife Martha relocated to Westport, where together they grew their family while Jay built a formidable career in motion pictures and sports marketing. They later relocated full-time to their home in south Florida. Martha died in February at age 87. (See WestportNow Feb 9, 2015)

His professional life spanned many industries and many decades. He got his start early, working for his uncle in a family-run comic book publishing company that owned the rights to a number of iconic superheroes including Batman and Superman.

It was during his time in the family business that Jay learned the skills of marketing and licensing, which would carry him throughout his storied career and later help bring these beloved characters to life in film, while working for Warner Bros. as an executive vice president.

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Posted 01:29 PM
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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Sylvia Phillips, 95

Sylvia Phillips of Westport died June 19 at home. She was 95.

She was the wife of the late Nathan Phillips, mother of Joan Phillips and Laurie and Roy Witkin, grandmother of Mark Phillips, Neil and Kimberly Phillips, Nicole and Brian Keldsen, Scott and Dana Witkin, Josh and Nicole Witkin, and Jennifer and Darin McCollum, great-grandmother of Emily, Samantha and Jake Phillips; Dylan and Nathaniel Phillips; Toby Keldsen; Coco and Sawyer Witkin; Alexa and Sophia Witkin; and Rylie, Emma and Declan McCollum. 

Her love of family, zest for life, strength and indomitable spirit will always be remembered. 

A graveside service was held at Temple Israel Cemetery in Norwalk on June 19.

Posted 06:57 PM
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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

James K. Doyle, 64

James Kevin Doyle of Denver, Colo, a former Westport resident, died June 10 in Denver. He was 64. Image
James Doyle: 1969 Staples grad. Contributed photo

He was born in Dallas, Texas in 1951 and moved to Westport when he was 3. He attended Greens Farms, Burr Farms, and Assumption Elementary Schools and graduated from Staples High School in 1969.

He attended Nichols College in Dudley, Mass., and Paul Smith’s College in upstate New York.

His true calling in life was being outside in nature and working up in the trees. He loved to climb and swing high above the ground with his fellow tree surgeons.

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Posted 06:33 PM
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William C. Fasnacht, 60

UPDATED William C. Fasnacht of Mystic, a former Westport resident, died June 20 aboard a sailboat while participating in the 645-mile Marion, Mass. to Bermuda yacht race, according to race organizers. He was 60. Image
William Fasnacht: former Westporter. Contributed photo

He was aboard the 54-foot Alden ketch Legacy V, owned by Michael M. Wiseman of Westport and Stonington, Conn., an announcement said. The crew tried CPR for an hour, used the onboard defibrillator and all other methods at hand but without success.

“We extend our deepest sympathy to Mr. Fasnacht’s wife Betsy Bowman and all of his family, crew mates and friends,” said Allan McLean, Bermuda Cruising Yacht Race executive director.

Fasnacht had been a Westport resident for 13 years until 2012 when he and his wife moved to Mystic.

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Posted 08:21 AM
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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Evangeline H. Dillingham, 83

Evangeline Harlan Dillingham of Hingham, Mass., an accomplished pianist and chamber music player who helped establish the Heida Hermanns International Competition in Westport, died June 14. She was 83. Image
Evangeline Dillingham: active in classical music community. Contributed photo

A longtime resident of West Redding, she was active throughout her life in the classical music community in Connecticut and New York.

A passionate supporter of young musicians, she helped to establish the Heida Hermanns International Competition in Westport. She also founded the Meadow Ridge Concert Series in Redding.

She worked with many members of the Ridgefield Symphony. She served on the board and as president of the Connecticut Alliance For Music and oversaw the creation of its educational outreach program, which brought professional artists to inner-city schools.

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Posted 04:56 PM
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Joseph F. Nistico Jr., 64

Joseph Francis Nistico, Jr. of Houston, Texas, a former Westport resident, died June 21. He was 64. Image
Joseph Nistico, Jr.: former Westporter.  Contributed photo

He was born in Norwalk, son of Helene and Joseph Francis Nistico.

He excelled in school, and found passion in many types of music, from the classical piano he played as a youth, including at Carnegie Hall, to the late 1960s psychedelic songs his rock band, Goodhill, performed throughout southern Connecticut.

He spent his college years in Vermont at Windham College, where his love of literature and the English language flourished.

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Posted 10:38 AM
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Tod A. Dockstader, 82

Tod Allen Dockstader, a former Westport resident, died Feb. 27 in Arlington, Mass. He was 82 and had suffered from vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Image
Tod Dockstader: electronic music pioneer. Contributed photo

In Westport, he owned Westport Communications Group and made award-winning educational filmstrips and videos.

He and his wife Beverly enjoyed sailing, antiquing, reading, and lively conversation. A quiet, private, kind man, he had a fierce intellect, imagination, and a clever sense of humor. A true artist, he was a writer, painter, cartoonist, recording engineer, photographer, and composer.

He is best known as a pioneer of electronic music. His early works predated synthesizers. He referred to his music as “organized sound,” and he released more than a dozen albums over 45 years. His music appeared in Frederico Fellini’s “Satyricon,” and more recently in a boxed set of the Who’s “Tommy,” on Pete Townsend’s demos CD.

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Posted 06:00 AM
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Monday, June 22, 2015

William G. Cahill, 80

William “Bill” George Cahill of Cornucopia, Wisc., a former Westport resident, died June 14. He was 80. Image
William Cahill: former Westport resident. Contributed photo

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y, on Feb. 20, 1935, he was the fourth child of Francis and Margaret (White) Cahill. He spent his first years there with the family while his father worked in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The family returned to the Boston area and settled in Revere, Mass.

He was born into a large family of Irish descent steeped in the traditions of lively debate, celebration and hard work. Growing up he was known for his many escapades and his love of a new adventure.

These adventures were known in the family as “Uncle Billy” stories and were broken out at most family gatherings. As one nephew said, “He lived more life than most.”

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Posted 04:43 PM
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Linda S. Reilly, 80

Linda S. Reilly of Trumbull, a former Westport resident, died June 10. She was 80.

Born March 16, 1935, in Montclair, N.J., she was the eldest daughter of Dorothy and Herbert C. Schoof. After the family’s move to Charlotte, N.C., in her teenage years, she earned her BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

She began her career in New York City in the late 1950s, working in market research. She remained active professionally as she started a family with her husband at that time, Donald Reilly, the late New Yorker cartoonist.

A founding member of the tuition-free Grosvenor House nursery school in Manhattan in the early 1960s, she went on to become an early childhood educator in Westport after her family’s move here in 1966.

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Posted 01:55 PM
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Saturday, June 20, 2015

Judith H. Bernstein, 63

Judith Hill Bernstein of Tampa, Fla., formerly of Westport and Danbury, died June 19 at home after a two and a half year battle against leukemia. She was 63. Image
Judith Bernstein: child advocate. Contributed photo

Born and raised in Danbury to Anne and Berkley Hill, she worked more than a decade in the retail world at both Saks Fifth Avenue and Ralph Lauren.

Her impeccable sense of style helped her transition into a business as an interior stylist where she utilized her flawless taste for the benefit of a wide variety of clients.

She was one of the original child advocates and board member for the SMART Kids with Learning Disabilities of Westport. Through this affiliation, she dedicated a part of her life to helping parents advocate for their children with the Westport school system.

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Posted 03:36 PM
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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Karen M. Siddell, 51

Karen Marie Siddell of Boca Raton, Fla., a former Westport resident and 1981 graduate of Staples High School, died May 12. She was 51. Image
Karen Siddell: 1981 Staples grad. Contributed photo

She was born June 25, 1963 in Holyoke, Mass., the daughter of John A. and the late Mary Brunton Siddell. She was raised in Westport and remained here after graduating from Providence College in 1985, where she excelled in two varsity sports while earning a degree in business.

After leaving Westport in the early 1990s, she lived in Vail, Colo. before moving to Florida where she lived for the past 20 years.

Those who knew her will remember her beauty; inside and out, her extreme kindness, her athletic ability and her wonderful personality. 

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Posted 01:07 PM
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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Helene H. Veazie, 88

Helene H. Veazie, a former Westport resident, died June 4 in Corvallis, Ore. She was 88. Image
Helene Veazie: former Westporter. Contributed photo

She was born on Sept. 10, 1926 to Helen and John R. Hurley of White Plains, N.Y. Following high school graduation, she studied French at Laval University in Quebec, Canada and then enrolled at Connecticut College in New London. She went on to graduate from Stanford University. 

After college she worked for J. Walter Thompson Company in New York City.

In 1950, she married Wildes “Bill” Veazie in White Plains, N.Y. They moved to Westport where they raised their three children.

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Posted 08:14 AM
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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

William Backalenick , 94

William “Bill” Backalenick of Bridgeport, a former Westport resident, died June 7. He was 94. Image
William Backalenick: 45-year Westport resident. Contributed photo

A Brooklyn-born graphic artist, he was for many years chairman of the board of Comart-Aniforms, a New York City marketing and graphic design agency.  He co-founded the company in 1951 with his longtime friend and colleague Daniel Cassel.

A Westport resident for 45 years, he loved the visual arts, music and theater, and was known for his compassion, quick wit, and propensity for practical jokes. With his open, accepting outlook, he connected to people of all types and backgrounds, collecting a parade of friends throughout life.

He is survived by his wife Irene, his children Paul, Lynn, Lisa and Kim, and his grandchildren Ethan, Alex, and Kai.

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Posted 04:47 PM
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Gladys F. Jacobson, 85

Gladys Gochberg Jacobson of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. died June 12. She was 85.

She was born Jan. 13, 1930 in Brooklyn, N.Y. to Moe and Ruth Gochberg. After growing up in Stamford, she graduated from the University of Connecticut and went on to receive her master’s degree in education at University of Bridgeport.

Raising her family in Norwalk, she had a successful career in teaching in Wilton, where she received many accolades including the State of Connecticut’s first Teacher of Excellence award.

She was the first female president of Temple Shalom in Norwalk, Birchwood Country Club in Westport, and Eastpointe Country Club Palm Beach Gardens.

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Posted 01:36 PM
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Monday, June 15, 2015

Elias Z. Djimas, 77

Elias Z. Djimas of New Haven died June 12 at home.  He was 77.

He was born Aug. 12, 1937 in Albany, N,Y., the son of the late Zacharias and Annoula Djimas. He has been a resident at a New Haven assisted living facility for the last four years and prior to that he was a resident in the Tampa Bay area of Florida for 39 years.

He was a a U.S. Army veteran, serving as a lieutenant. He was former owner of the Diplomat Hotel on Longboat Key, Fla. He also served as a former chairman of the Lions Club. While in Florida, he was also an avid golfer, fisherman and boater.

Survivors includes one son; Zachary Djimas and his wife Eileen Murray and their two sons, Devon and Dylan of Westport, and one daughter, Alana Brayboy of Rochester Hills, Mich.  In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his sister; Matina Gratale.

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Posted 04:03 PM
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