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Sunday, September 21, 2014



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

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Marjorie J. Potter, 89

UPDATE Marjorie J. Potter of Lincoln, Mass., a former Westport resident, died Aug. 4 after a long battle with cancer. She was 89.

She was born in the Bronx, N,Y., and received a mathematics degree from Swarthmore College.  She and her husband Edwin raised their four children in St. James, N.Y. and then in Westport, where they lived for 40 years. 

She was an active member of both the First Presbyterian Church of Smithtown, N.Y. and Saugatuck Congregational Church of Westport.

She was known for her selfless service to her community and church, her stand on issues of social justice, and her presence along with her husband in the English, contra, Scottish, folk, and square dance communities as a teacher and participant.

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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Michael A. Gilbertie, 74, Former RTM Member Image
Michael “Mickey” A. Gilbertie, a three-term member of the Westport Representative Town Meeting (RTM) and longtime advocate of reducing town spending, died Friday at his Westport home. He was 74. (See obituary here) From 1969 to 1978, he was co-owner of Westport Taxi and in 1991 won a court suit after claiming the town forced the company out of business with introduction of its “Maxytaxy” service. In 2002, the RTM (with Gilbertie recusing himself) approved payment of $1,050,000 in final settlement. Gilbertie failed in petition drive attempts in 2002 and 2003 to cut town expenditures. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 12:25 PM
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Michael A. Gilbertie, 74

Michael Angelo Gilbertie of Westport died Sept. 19 at his home. He was 74. Image
Michael A. Gilbertie: native Westporter. Contributed photo

He was born in Westport, the son of the late Lillian and John S. Gilbertie, Sr. 

He was a former co-owner of Westport Taxi, a member of the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) for three terms (1999-03, 2005-07),  former president of the Westport Lions Club, an avid golfer and a longtime member of the Assumption Church, both as a choir member and an usher.

In addition to his wife, Beatrix DeFreese Gilbertie, he is also survived by his son Brian and daughter-in-law Cinzia of Reading, Mass., daughter Linda and son-in-law Tom Grace of Fairfield, stepdaughter Yvette DeFreese and step son-in-law Maurice Pluijmen of the Netherlands, stepson Jonathan DeFreese and stepdaughter-in-law Corey of Brookline, Mass..; five grandchildren, T.J., Billy, Ginevra, Alexandra and Charlotte, a brother, Anthony Gilbertie, and sister-in-law, Diane Gilbertie, of Westport, and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. 

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Posted 12:18 PM
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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Armin A. Walker, 84

Armin A. Walker of Cos Cob, a former employee of the The Clam Box and Stauffer Chemical in Westport, died Sept. 13. He was 84.

Born in Erstfeld, Switzerland on Dec. 29, 1929, He was the son of Joachim and Frieda Bissig Walker.

After graduating from trade school as a pastry chef in Aarau, he moved to countries vast and varied. From Switzerland, he emigrated to Sweden, Venezuela and, ultimately, the United States, where he spread root along the banks of the Mill Pond.

As a pastry chef and cook, he worked in many places including J.J. Cassone’s Bakery, The Clam Box, Lou Singer’s Steakhouse, Stauffer Chemical Company in Westport, Nestlé in White Plains, St. Moritz Bakery, and the Greenwich Senior Center as head chef.

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Posted 01:28 PM
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Eva Popowich, 91

Eva Popowich of Westport died Sept. 15. She was 91.

A lifelong resident of Westport, she was the daughter of the late Bazil and Katie Popowich.

She is survived by her brothers Basil Popowich of Westport, William Popowich of Fairfield, and 11 nieces and nephews.

In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by one brother Stephen Popowich. At her request and her family’s, all services will be private.

Posted 08:55 AM
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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Phyllis J. Ohanian, 101

Phyllis Jane (Brown) Ohanian of Newton, Mass., a former Westport resident, died Sept. 10. She was 101. Image
Phyllis Ohanian: organist, teacher. Contributed photo

A piano teacher, accompanist and church organist, she spent many years at the Saugatuck Congregational Church in Westport and later worked as a teacher and school librarian in the Westport schools. She also wrote several books of children’s songs, of which the best known is “God’s Wonderful World” (1954).

She was the wife of the late John Ohanian, mother of Donald Cary Freeman of Heath, Mass., John David Ohanian of Newton, and Philip Andrew Ohanian of Bath, Maine.

Plans for a memorial service were incomplete.

Posted 02:25 PM
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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

James R. Conant, 60

James Rand Conant of Brookfield, a former Westport resident, died Sept. 13 after a long battle with ALS. He was 60. Image
James Conant: grew up in Westport. Contributed photo

Son of the late Barton C. and June K. Conant, he was born Sept. 14, 1953. He grew up in Westport and went on to study electrical engineering at Princeton University, graduating magna cum laude in 1975 with a B.S.E.E. degree. He graduated from UCLA in 1977 with an M.S.E.E. degree.

Through a career that spanned three corporations, he worked on radar seekerhead analysis and design, programmable signal processing systems for passive sonar, and software development and research, and came to hold two U.S. patents.

Active in the local community, his volunteer efforts included coaching Math Counts at Whisconier Middle School in Brookfield, youth hockey, and soccer, and working for Citizens for a Better Brookfield, Friends of the Lake, and ALS-ETF (Emergency Treatment Fund). In addition, he was an avid ice hockey player, water skier, and stock market investor, and was an excellent trumpet player in his college years.

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Posted 04:47 PM
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Aloysius J. Hribsek, 92

The Rev. Aloysius J. Hribsek, a retired priest of the Diocese of Bridgeport who lived for a time at Saint Luke Parish in Westport, died Sept. 14 at Stamford Hospital. He was 92. Image
The Rev. Aloysius J. Hribsek: lived at Saint Luke Parish. Contributed photo

He was pastor emeritus of Holy Cross Parish in Fairfield and was a resident of the Catherine Dennis Keefe Queen of the Clergy Residence in Stamford.

He died on the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross, notable because he served as pastor at Holy Cross Parish for 23 years and was responsible for the building of the new Holy Cross Church and Rectory in Fairfield in 1972.

He was born on Oct. 28, 1921 in Yugoslavia. He attended local schools there as a child. As a 23-year-old seminarian, he experienced the occupation of his homeland both by the Germans and the Russian Communists.

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Joseph A. McAleenan, 86 Image
Joseph A. McAleenan: served on Westport and Weston Police Departments. Contributed photo

Joseph Austin “Mac” McAleenan of New Bern, N.C., a former Westport resident and retired Westport and Weston police officer, died Sept. 12. He was 86.

Born in New York, N.Y. on Feb. 24, 1928, the son of the late Harold and Muriel (Moore) McAleenan, he had been a resident of Westport until 1990 when he and his wife moved to New Bern.

Prior to moving to North Carolina, he served as a police officer in Connecticut for 40 years.  He was first appointed a patrol officer with the Westport Police Department on July 1, 1950, and progressed through to the rank of lieutenant. 

On July 1, 1975, he became the first chief of police of Weston, where he served an additional 15 years before he retired on July 1, 1990.  He also was a graduate of the 90th session of the FBI National Academy on Sept. 15, 1972.  He also proudly served in the U.S. Navy during World War II.

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Posted 12:19 PM
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Friday, September 12, 2014

Arthur H. Kesten, 92 Image
Arthur Kesten and his wife, Dotty, in Japan during the post-World War II occupation. Contributed photo

Arthur H. (Art) Kesten of Westport, who founded Army Aviation Magazine in 1953 with his wife, Dotty, and the Army Aviation Association of America, (AAAA) in 1957, died Sept. 6. He was 92.

A Westport resident for almost 60 years, he was inducted into the Army Aviation Hall of Fame along with Dotty in 1975.

He served as executive vice president of the AAAA from the time of the association’s founding until his retirement in 1989.

He joined the U.S. Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) at Cornell University as a cadet in 1942 and became editor of the student newspaper, the Cornell Daily Sun.

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Doris L. Johnson, 67

Doris Lydia Johnson of Westport died Sept. 4 after a brief illness. She was 67.

She was born in Norwalk Hospital, and was raised in Silvermine. In 1984 as a young adult she moved into her lifelong home on Pine Drive in Westport.

She had a great appreciation of beauty, rainbows and flowers. Her love for coffee cannot be put into words. Her face lit up at the mere aroma. She spoke with a beautiful Finnish accent, and sang sweet songs. She also drew and painted as a way of sharing her artistic side.

She was beloved by so many people. She lived for 30 years in her home, lovingly supported by the CLASP staff who were her extended family.

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Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Irene A. Seifer, 72

Irene Audrey Seifer of Westport died Aug. 26 at home. She was 72.

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1941 to Ruth Belle Becker Gross and Philip Gross, she was married to the late Arthur M. Seifer of Westport.

She held B.A. and M.A. degrees from Brooklyn College and Long Island University respectively with a concentration in psychology. Beginning her career as a social worker, assisting incarcerated women moving into rehabilitation, she ultimately became a director of human resources at Perkin-Elmer Corp., where she worked for 20 years.

Following her retirement, she took up a second profession as an artist and teacher of paper arts, craft, and jewelry at Westport’s Great American Stamp Store. Her work appears on the cover of and in several books on paper crafts published by Arena Books.

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Posted 04:05 PM
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J. Portis Hicks, 76

J. Portis Hicks, father of Westport award-winning photographer Tyler Hicks, died Aug. 27 in New York City. He was 76.

A retired partner in Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittmann LLP, he was a volunteer mediator at the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, First Judicial Department.  He was also an avid skier, theatergoer, cyclist and world traveler.

He is survived by his wife, Laura J. Corwin, of New York City; his children, Darcy Anne Hicks of Westport, and Tyler Portis Hicks of Nairobi, Kenya; his grandchildren, Eli, Theo and Henry Koskoff, and his son-in-law, Joshua Koskoff, all of Westport; his brothers, Irwin Hicks of Wilmette, Ill., Hilary Hicks of Monrovia, Calif., and Carter Hicks of Bluffton, S.C.

There was a celebration of his life on Sept.  7 at The Yale Club, 50 Vanderbilt Ave., New York City.

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Monday, September 08, 2014

William J. Chiarchiaro, 94 Image
William J. Chiarchiaro: operated insurance companies. Contributed photo

William J. Chiarchiaro of Fort Myers, Fla., a former Weston resident who operated insurance companies in Weston and Westport, died July 16. He was 94.

He was born in the Bronx, N.Y. on July 25, 1919, the son of Ignatius and Rose Chiarchiaro.

Before retiring to Florida in 1984, he owned and operated William J. Chiarchiaro Insurance Agencies in Weston and Westport.

He was a staunch Democrat. While residing in Weston for 35 years, he was president of the 25th Senatorial District Democratic Committee and chairman of the Weston Democratic Town Committee.

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Posted 06:01 PM
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Saturday, September 06, 2014

John R. Howley Sr., 86

John “Jack” Howley, Sr. of Danbury, a former Westport resident, died Sept. 4 at Danbury Hospital. He was 86.

Born in Norwalk on Oct. 15, 1927, he grew up in Westport, graduating from Staples High School and working as a mate at Captain Allen’s Clam House.

After graduating from Staples and enlisting in the U.S. Navy, he began his life-long career in the construction business.

He was an avid snow skier and a scratch golfer, but his passion was sailing. After his retirement, along with his wife, he sailed from Westport to Key West, Fla. and throughout the Caribbean. For 15 years, he spent every winter in Key West. He loved being a grandfather and great-grandfather.

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