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Sunday, January 25, 2015
Eugene E. Graze, 84
Eugene E. Graze of Stratford, who commanded soldiers at Westport’s Nike/Ajax missile site in the 1950s, which inspired Westport author Max Shulman’s comic novel “Rally Round the Flag, Boys!,” died Jan. 23 at Bridgeport Hospital. He was 84.
Eugene Graze: Westport Nike missile site commander. Contributed photo
Born on June 30, 1930 in Bridgeport, he was the son of the late Eugene E. and Marion E. (Barnish) Graze. He was a 1948 graduate of Bridgeport’s Harding High School and the University of Bridgeport in 1952.
He had a long and distinguished career with the Connecticut Army National Guard. He joined as a private, graduated from Officer Candidate School and retired as a major following 23 years of service.
He was the full-time commanding officer of the Nike/Ajax guided missile site in Westport. His unit—Battery B, 1st missile battalion, 242nd artillery—was recognized as the Outstanding Missile Battery in the state under his leadership.
Saturday, January 24, 2015
Remembering Sidney Kramer
There was a large turnout at the Westport Library today to celebrate the life of Westporter Sidney Kramer. The attorney, literary agent and co-founder of Bantam Books, as well as the prime mover of the local preservation group Save Westport Now (SWN), died Dec. 10 at age 99. Among the speakers was grandson Eli Kramer, 16, who said, “Sidney taught me to be humble. He proved to me that subtlety and persistence are far more efficient than eagerness and sheer force.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Recalling Sidney Kramer’s Generosity
Westport artist Miggs Burroughs recalled at the Sidney Kramer celebration of his life today at the Westport Library that his mother, now 101, worked in the Kramers’ Remarkable Book Shop for 35 years. She said she would come home many nights with humorous stories about incidents that happened at work. “Even though Sidney was rarely there, the incredibly generous atmosphere trickled down from him,” he said. Burroughs added, “My mother said in some years, the very generous end-of-year bonuses would be greater than her salary for the year.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Thursday, January 22, 2015
Caroline E. Greunke, 84
Caroline Eleanor Greunke of Westport died Jan. 12 in St. Vincent Medical Center, Bridgeport. She was 84.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y. on Oct. 9, 1930, she was the daughter of the late John and Sophie Brenner Huth. She was an avid antique collector and dealer, loved flowers and animals.
She is survived by her beloved husband, of 60 years, Orville Victor Greunke, her daughters Laura H. Jubenville and her husband Pete, Carol Greunke and her husband John, and her brother John Huth of Tennessee.. Besides her parents, she is predeceased by her sister Eleanor Wienands.
A memorial service will be held at a date to be announced. Interment will be private.
Magda M. Ivanyi, 83
Magda (Mandak) Ivanyi of Norwalk died Jan. 22 at her home. She was 83.
Born in Sopron, Hungary, she received her accounting degree in Budapest and has lived in Norwalk since 1954, after escaping Hungary in August 1951. She is the beloved wife of 54 years to Andrew Ivanyi.
Magda worked as a bookkeeper and comptroller for various local firms including Don Hansen Advertising of Westport, Deckers and the Law Offices of Miklos Koleszar in Norwalk and Rose Adams Construction of Westport.
She was the past president of the Hungarian Committee of Norwalk and Vicinity and has overseen many projects such as the Hungarian Heritage Wall plaque and the Freedom Fighters memorial in Freese Park.
Raymond J. Orr, 92
Raymond J. Orr, a longtime Westport resident who as a 19-year-old seaman first class survived the Dec. 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, died Jan. 16 at home. He was 92.
Raymond J. Orr: Pearl Harbor survivor. Contributed photo
Orr was the grand marshal of Westport’s Memorial Day parade in 1996, and for many years he proudly shared his war experiences with fellow Westporters. He frequently visited schools with other veterans to recount his war remembrances to youngsters.
On Dec. 7, 2005, as he prepared to lead the Pledge of Allegiance before a board of finance meeting, he remembered that fateful day in Hawaii 64 years earlier. He was aboard the USS Bagley, a destroyer, when the Japanese surprise attack began.
“I was in a great position to see what was happening,” recalled Orr. “I was on the deck of my ship, and I remember waving to the first Japanese torpedo plane as it flew overhead. I thought it was the Air Force practicing.
Raymond J. Orr, Pearl Harbor Survivor, 92
Raymond J. Orr of Westport, who as a 19-year-old seaman first class survived the Dec. 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, died Jan. 16. He was 92. The grand marshal of Westport’s Memorial Day parade in 1996, Orr frequently visited Westport schools with other veterans to recount his war experiences (above in 2009, pointing to his ship, the USS Bagley). In 2005, he told WestportNow he was still shaken by the loss of 2,300 sailors on Dec. 7, 1941, adding: “and, as a matter of fact, not to be maudlin, when I die, my ashes are going to be spread over Pearl Harbor. It’s some spiritual thinking that I’ll join them.” See full obituary here. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Gardner M. Bellanger, 71
Gardner Mays Bellanger, a former Westport resident, died Dec. 30 at home in Paris, France. She was 71.
She grew up in Westport and was a graduate of Miss Porter’s School in Farmington and Hollins College in Roanoke, Va. She spent her junior year in college studying in Paris.
She married Patrice Bellanger on July 9, 1966 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Fairfield and later moved with her husband to Paris and began a successful career in fashion publishing.
She was president director general of Condé Nast France from 1994 through to her retirement in 2002, and before that had served as both publisher of Vogue Paris and as U.S. Vogue’s Paris-based advertising sales director.
Thomas P. Wynne, 74
Thomas Patrick Wynne of Madison, a former Westport resident, died Jan. 16 after battling a lingering disease. He was 74.
He was born March 1, 1940 in the Washington Heights section of New York City to John Paul and Mary Kelly (Russell) Wynne. He attended Manhattan Prep and was a 1961 graduate of Manhattan College with a degree in electrical engineering.
He went on to work in the television, aerospace and telecommunications industries, ultimately retiring in 2006 from NEC America.
He was a Westport resident from 1988 to 2009.
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Frederick W. Klein, 92
Frederick W. Klein of Newtown, a former Westport resident, died Jan. 16 at Masonicare of Newtown. He was 92.
He was born in Newark, N.J. on Sept. 18, 1922, son of the late Siegfried and Agnes Klein. He served in World War II in the Pacific, enlisting in 1942 and assigned to the rapidly expanding Marine Air Corps. He participated in Marine aviation operations in the New Hebrides, New Caledonia, New Guinea, and Guadalcanal, finally joining a large convoy that occupied the Philippines.
In the 1980s, he joined his Marine Air Squadron’s veteran’s group and participated in yearly reunions up until 2004.
On returning to the United States after the war, he worked at Bamberger’s (later Macy’s) in Newark, eventually working for Calloway Mills and later joining Shaw Industries in New York City as east coast sales manager for their carpet division.
Sunday, January 18, 2015
Paige M. Totilo, 51
Paige Marie (Netherton) Totilo of Norwalk, a former Westport resident, died Jan. 5 at the JFK Medical Center in Atlantis, Fla. as a result of complications from pneumonia. She was 51.
Paige Totilo: 1981 Staples graduate. Contributed photo
She was born July 6, 1963 in Louisville, Ky., and moved to Westport with her family in 1973 where she graduated from Staples High School in 1981. At Staples, she was an active member of Staples Players.
She graduated from Katharine Gibbs and received an Associate Degree from Norwalk Community-Technical College. She worked as a business technology specialist for Evaluation Associates Inc. (EAI) and later for RTi Market Research.
She married Thomas Totilo in 2001 and moved to Norwalk where they lived happily with their three cats. She was a NASCAR enthusiast and enjoyed attending races with her husband and friends.
Saturday, January 17, 2015
Anna M. Rimby, 94
Anna M. Rimby of Westport died Jan. 12 at St. Joseph’s Manor in Trumbull. She was 94.
The wife of the late Francis LaPlace and Walter Rimby was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, on Aug. 31, 1920, the daughter of the late James and Margaret McCollum. She had been a Westport resident for more than 60 years.
She retired from People’s Bank in Westport at the age of 75 working in securities sales. She was a longtime parishioner of Assumption Church in Westport.
She was an avid New York Yankees fan and enjoyed her trips to the casinos in Connecticut.
Thomas H. McGannon, 62
Thomas Houghton McGannon of Wilmington, N.C., a former Westport resident, died Jan. 10 of leukemia. He was 62.
He was born in Connecticut on Sept. 15, 1952, and graduated from Staples High School in Westport and Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio.
In 1982, he married Janet Caldwell Noakes in Cairo, Egypt. He had an outstanding career with Chemtex International, initially in New York City and then in Wilmington. He started with the company after college as a summer farmhand and retired as the president and chief executive officer in 2007.
He is survived by his wife, Janet Caldwell Noakes McGannon, and his two daughters, Margaret Noakes McGannon and Molly Caldwell McGannon. He is also survived by his mother, Mrs. James V. Dunleavy, and his sister, Susan Emery McGannon.
Friday, January 16, 2015
William J. Prutting, 70
William J. Prutting of Washington, D.C., a former Westport resident, died Jan. 13. He was 70.
William Prutting: former Westport resident. Contributed photo
Born in Miami, he spent his early childhood in Ellington, Conn., where he developed an early love for many sports.
He was proud of his association with the Eagle Scouts, and he even learned to pick tobacco after school, his family said. He then lived in Westport and attended high school at Fairfield Prep before going to Washington, D.C. to attend Georgetown University.
He graduated from Georgetown with a BSBA degree in 1966. He then went on to receive his MBA at George Washington University.
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Gail Atkinson, 67
Gail Atkinson of San Diego, Calif., a former Westport resident, died Dec. 14 in Florida at the end of a Caribbean voyage. She was 67.
Gail Atkinson: former Westporter. Contributed photo
In Westport, she attended Saugatuck Elementary, Bedford Middle, and Staples High School. She attended New York University and completed her college and postgraduate education in the University of California system.
She resided in San Diego where she practiced law as a research attorney for the State of California.
She was predeceased in 1995 by her father Bill Atkinson, a well known fashion designer, who lived in Westport and New York City, and her mother, Sylvia Small Atkinson Wheeler, in 2013 of Westport, Long Island, northern Idaho, and San Diego.