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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

William B. Mervine, 93

Willam B. Mervine of Westport died July 4 at home. He was 93. Image
William Mervine: World War II veteran. Contributed photo

He was born in New York City on Oct. 15, 1920, son of Arthur E. and Ruth Weaver Mervine. Soon after, the family moved to Scarsdale. He attended Peddie, then graduated from Wesleyan University in 1947 and received an MBA from the NYU Stern School of Business.

He enlisted in the U.S. Eighth Army Air Force after two years at Wesleyan. He was promoted to tech sergeant and completed 35 missions over Germany and German occupied territories in the 92nd Bombardment Group, the oldest heavy bombardment group in England.

He was awarded the Air Medal with five Oak Leaf Clusters and the Presidential Citation for meritorious achievement while participating in sustained bomber combat.

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John Lillis, 69

John (Jack) Munroe Lillis of Saint Johns, Fla,, a former Westport resident, died July 16 at Baptist South Hospital in Jacksonville. He was 69.

He was born on May 4, 1945, in Greenwich to James (Jim) and Vera Lillis. He grew up in Westport, graduating from Staples High Schoolin 1963. After high school, he attended Syracuse University and received a Bachelor of Science degree.

He worked in various sales positions and started a manufacture rep business in Denver that specialized in giftware and Christmas decorations.
He married Karen Rogers in 1976 in Denver and were happily married for 38 years.

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Swan Yuan, 88

Swan Yuan of Westport, husband of Helen (Kao) Yuan for more than 58 years, died July 16 at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport. He was 88.

He was born on Aug. 12, 1925 in Ningbo, China and was a resident of Westport for more than 20 years.

Prior to retiring, he was a textile garment executive in the clothing manufacturing industry in Hong Kong. He was a graduate of Shanghai Baptist University in China with a textile chemistry degree. He loved and enjoyed spending his leisure time with his family, especially with his grandchildren, his family said.

Survivors in addition to his wife include two sons, Dr. Andrew Yuan and his wife Sieglinde of Fairfield, and Jim Yuan and his wife Sharon of Westport, four grandchildren, Kristina, Kristopher, Connor, and Rachel.

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Posted 02:24 PM
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Geoffrey Doyle Hunn, 63

Geoffrey Doyle Hunn of Fairfield, a former Westport resident, died July 10 at his home. He was 63.

He was born June 10, 1951 in Hackensack, N.J., son of Olivette Doyle Hunn and the late Daniel I. Hunn.

He was a former resident of Westport and a 1969 graduate of Staples High School.

He loved the outdoors and enjoyed sailing and scuba diving. He had formerly worked with his father in commercial animation, producing short subjects and advertising.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

David Giardina, 95

David D. Giardina of Westport, retired head of the radiology department at Norwalk Hospital, died July 10 at home. He was 95. Image
David D. Giardina: radiology head at Norwalk Hospital. Contributed photo

He was born in New Haven on July 5, 1919 to the late Vincenzo and Marianna (Alu) Giardina. He graduated from James Hillhouse High School, Columbia University, and New York Medical College where he earned a medical degree in radiology.

His education was interrupted by World War II when he served as a sergeant and a medic with the U.S. Army in the European Theater. He went on to work at Norwalk Hospital as the head of the radiology department until he retired in 1984.

During that time, belonged to the Connecticut Medical Association and the Connecticut Radiological Society where he served as a past president. He, also, taught radiology courses at Yale University.

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Robert Stein, 90

Robert Stein, editor, publisher, media critic, journalism teacher and blogger, died July 9 at the home of his son, Keith Stein, in Westport. He was 90. Image
Robert Stein: journalist summered in Westport.  Contributed photo

Keith Stein said in a posting on his father’s website,, that death was due to “kidney issues related to his several month battle with multiple myeloma cancer.”

In a career that spanned more than 70 years, Robert Stein was influential in bringing many of the political and social issues of the times to national attention.

His editorial discretion while heading Redbook and McCall’s magazines helped empower a generation of women by treating them as world citizens on equal footing as men—helping clarify the serious issues of the day and bringing insights into the problems and challenges of their lives.

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Posted 08:21 PM
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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Fist Pumps and Humor Mark Bill Meyer Memorial Service

Westport today bid farewell to its fist-pumping cheerleader Bill Meyer with a poignant, humor-filled memorial service that included fist pump salutes from speakers and a musical sendoff of “I’ll Be Seeing You” and “When the Saints Go Marching In.” Image
Former U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays greets Carolyn Meyer today at the Christ & Holy Trinity Church memorial service for her husband. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Meyer, a tireless community volunteer, died June 28 after a more than two-year battle with cancer. He was 85. (See WestportNow June 28, 2014)

The pews of Christ & Holy Trinity Church were overflowing for the slightly more than one hour service that attracted family and friends from all of Meyer’s causes, including the Representative Town Meeting, Y’s Men, Sunrise Rotary Club, Little League baseball, as well as his beloved Saugatuck Congregational Church.

Former U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays said in his 34 years of public service, he “never knew anyone like Bill Meyer.”

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Friday, July 11, 2014

Louis B. Gentile, 63

Louis B. Gentile of Fairfield, a retired Westport firefighter, died July 10 at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport. He was 63. Image
Louis Gentile: 27-year Westport firefighter. Contributed photo

Gentile, who retired in 2007 after 27 years, was the husband of Joan Szilagyi Gentile.

Born June 20, 1951 in New Haven the son of the late Louis R. Gentile and Marie Pastore Gentile, he was raised in Fairfield and had been a lifelong Fairfield resident.

He enjoyed boating and fishing in Long Island Sound and motorcycling on long distance cross country tours. He was a great fan of the 4th of July fireworks and was an all around handyman, studying the project and fixing the problem.

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Robert W. Obrecht, 92

Robert William Obrecht of Redding died June 29 at Meadow Ridge. He was 92.

He was born in Rolfe, Iowa on Feb. 7, 1922. He was a proud graduate of the Iowa public school system and received his B.A. from the University of Iowa. HE served in World War II as a second lieutenant in the 69th Tank Battalion of the 69th Armored Division and was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.

Upon completion of active military duty, he attended Columbia University School of Law and received his L.L.B. in 1949. The majority of his career was spent in the law department of what is now Exxon Corp.

A longtime resident of Fairfield County, het served on the Board of Education of the Weston Public Schools and was very active in the Unitarian Universalist Church in Westport, where he served on the board and taught Sunday School.

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Tuesday, July 08, 2014

John J. (Jack) Donovan, 87

Longtime Westporter John J. (Jack) Donovan, husband of the late well-known community volunteer Mollie Donovan, died July 4. He was 87. Image
Jack and Mollie Donovan at a 2004 event. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

A lifelong Connecticut resident, he was born in New Haven, April 6, 1927. He graduated president of the class of 1945 from Commercial High School in New Haven. He joined the U.S. Army and was honorably discharged in November 1946.

Returning to Connecticut, he attended The Connecticut College of Commerce (later to become Quinnipiac), and later earned his Certificate of Public Accountancy in 1953. He was a 50-year member of The Connecticut Society of Certified Public Accountants.

He established a private accounting practice in Westport that he maintained until his retirement at the age of 78.

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Posted 10:05 PM
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Marjorie Berke, 93

Marjorie Berke of Redding, a former Westport resident, died July 2. She was 93.

She had resided at Meadow Ridge in Redding for more than three years. Prior to moving to Meadow Ridge with her husband Arnold, she had lived in Westport for more than 50 years.

She was born in Boston on April 9, 1921 to Ida Letitia and Rueben L. Cate and was raised in East Concord, N.H.

She graduated in 1942 from Colby College in Waterville, Maine with a B.A. in foreign languages. She pursued her interest in languages by teaching French full time at two public schools in New Hampshire and Connecticut.

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Posted 07:28 PM
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Saturday, July 05, 2014

Gary N. Gill, 59

Gary Newell Gill of Westport died April 10. He was 59. Image
Gary Gill: Westporter since age 9. Contributed photo

He had just recently moved back to Westport from Norwalk, where he had lived for more than 20 years.

Born in Long Island, N.Y. on May 2, 1954, he moved with his family to the Compo Beach area when he was nine years old. He attended Saugatuck Elementary and Bedford Junior High School prior to graduating from Staples High School in 1972.

He was a member of Boy Scout Troop 36 where he attained the rank of Eagle Scout and attended many national and international Scouting Jamborees.

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Posted 08:09 PM
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Jean A. Silvestro, 81

Jean A. Silvestro of Sandy Hook died July 2.  She was 80.

She was born on July 7, 1932 in Westport, daughter of late Michael and Amy Gilbertie.

In addition to her husband of 55 years, Albert, she is survived by daughter Diana Stewart and husband Gary; sons Larry Silvestro and wife Katya Ilina, and Michael Silvestro and wife Suzanne; her brothers Ralph and Michael Gilbertie; seven grandchildren and a great-granddaughter; and several nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her brother Julius.

There will be no calling hours, and the memorial service will be held on Tuesday, July 8 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Rose Church at 46 Church Hill Road, Newtown. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the COPD Foundation at

Posted 01:26 PM
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Zenecia (Necia) Byerly Doyle, 80

Zenecia (Necia) Byerly Doyle of Norwell, Mass., formerly of Westport, died July 1. She was 80.

Born in New London on Sept. 11, 1933 to David and Mary Byerly, she grew up in Middletown and attended Connecticut College. 

She met her husband, Richard J. Doyle, in Hartford, and, after traveling the globe for his work, they finally settled in Westport where they raised their five children. She was known to all her friends for her generosity, warmth, and sense of humor, said her family, which was the cornerstone of her life.

For almost 31 years she was the wife of her late husband. She is survived by Richard J. Doyle, Jr. of Easton and his wife Susan; Michael D. Doyle of Dover, Mass., and his wife Gina; Timothy C. Doyle of Pepperell, Mass., and his wife Catherine, Mary Catherine French of Herndon, Va., and her husband Daniel, and Zenecia D. O’Neill of Hingham, Mass. and her husband, Raymond. She was also the grandmother of 13 grandchildren.

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Posted 01:14 PM
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Thursday, July 03, 2014

Harriet Hiller Lebish, 75

Harriet Hiller Lebish of Bridgeport, a former Westport resident and reporter and editor at the Westport Minuteman, died June 30 at home. She was 75. Image
Harriet Hiller Lebish: former Westport Minuteman editor-reporter. Contributed photo

Hiller served as arts and good living editor at the Minuteman from its founding in 1993 until 2002. She had earlier worked for The Hour of Norwalk. She also contributed to The New York Times, Connecticut Post, and the Westport News.

Later, she was an adjunct professor of art history at Housatonic Community College and Sacred Heart University,

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y. to the late Edmond and Janette Shiller, she was raised in The Bronx, where she graduated from William H. Taft High School. She attended City College, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and George Washington University before graduating cum laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in art history from the University of Bridgeport.

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