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Obituaries

Obituaries

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
Willowbrook Cemetary, 395 Main Street, Westport, CT 06880 (203) 222-8646

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Stephanie Miller, 78

Stephanie (Cohen) Miller of California, a former Westport resident, died Nov. 22, 2016. She was 78.

She was born on March 21, 1938 to Edith and Reverend Phillip Cohen. She grew up in London and then married Laurence Miller and relocated to the United States.

She was an educator and strong advocate for children with learning challenges. She created a series of tales about Pierre, a dog lost in London and Paris, to assist the students she tutored in reading comprehension. Unfortunately, shedied before she had an opportunity to publish any of her work.

She was loved by many - especially her children Alan and Janet Miller, as well as her four grandchildren, Connor, Tyler, Ben and Sean. She moved from Westport, CT to Mill Valley to be closer to her family. She had a close attachment to her British roots and was an active member of the Daughter’s of the British Empire.

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01/17/17 12:22 PM Comments () • Permalink

Monday, January 16, 2017

John C. Skinner, 80

John Carl Skinner of Westport died Jan. 13 at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport as a result of injuries suffered from a fall the day after Christmas. He was 80.

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John Skinner: leader for Builders Beyond Borders Contributed photo

He was born in San Jose, California on March 22, 1936.  He was adopted at age 6 by Cleo and Lempi Amanda Koivunen Skinner, and later at age 12 by Gladys May Skinner, following the death of Amanda. 

He grew up in Sacramento and joined the Navy at age 18 where he served as a fighter pilot for 12 years.  He met his future wife, Jeri Ann Hatch, at the Officers’ Club at Moffett Field in Sunnyvale, California. 

They were married on July 5, 1959.  They had two sons, Christian Carl born on Feb. 9, 1960 and Craig Steven born exactly two years later, on Feb. 9, 1962.

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01/16/17 07:01 PM Comments () • Permalink

Glenn Hightower Memorial Set for Saturday

A memorial service for Glenn Hightower, longtime Westport educator who died Jan. 1 at age 76, will be held Saturday, his family said today.

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Glenn Hightower: Westport educator Contributed photo

The service will take place at United Methodist Church of Westport and Weston, 49 Weston Road, at 2 p.m. (See family-supplied obituary appended to the WestportNow obituary, WestportNow, Jan. 4, 2017)

The family requests that any memories people would like to share with them be sent to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) “as we are trying to collect such wonderful thoughts and remembrances for us and our children.”

In lieu of flowers, the family asks to consider a donation to the following organizations that will make an impact on people’s lives in a local community:

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01/16/17 05:44 PM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Lois H. Roehr, 84

Lois H. Roehr, a longtime resident of Westport and Weston, died in September. She was 84.

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Lois H. Roehr: longtime Westporter. Contributed photo

Born in New York, she grew up in St. Albans and studied at Queens College CUNY, majoring in Latin American studies. After graduation, she worked at the Benrus Watch Company in Manhattan while pursuing a Master’s degree.

She met her husband at a New Year’s party. They eloped sixth months later. They moved to Westport in the late 1960s and to Weston in the 90s.

She s tutored students for the English SAT, taught Spanish to adults and children, and worked as a freelance editor and translator. She also substituted in the Westport public schools.

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01/11/17 06:12 PM Comments () • Permalink

Christopher Byron, 72

Christopher Byron of Weston, a former Westport resident, prizewinning business journalist and New York Times best-selling author, died Jan. 7 at Bridgeport Hospital following a long illness. He was 72.

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Christopher Byron: financial journalist. File photo

Byron’s career in business journalism spanned over 40 years, including editor positions at both Time and Forbes and contributing editor for publications such as Esquire, Playboy, Men’s Health, and Worth.

From 1995 to 2000, his “Back of the Envelope” column in the New York Observer exposed the swindlers and con artists from Wall Street to Silicon Valley.

He then wrote a weekly column for Bloomberg News and a column for the New York Post, and he wrote for TheStreet.com, all about similar subjects.

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01/11/17 03:56 PM Comments () • Permalink

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Nat Hentoff, Journalist, Author, 91

Nat Hentoff, a free-thinking columnist and author who maintained a home in Westport for more than 30 years, died Jan 7 at his Manhattan apartment. He was 91.

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Nat Hentoff: former Westporter. File photo

His son, Tom Hentoff, said his father died from natural causes.

Hentoff was perhaps best known as a Village Voice contributor and columnist for 50 years. He also wrote for The New Yorker, The New York Times, Down Beat and the Wall Street Journal.  His more than 25 books included jazz and First Amendment works, novels and memoirs.

Hentoff and his wife Margot purchased a home in Westport in 1972. They lived first at 21 Crooked Mile Road, then at 17 Darbrook Road, and then at the Lansdowne condominiums until 2006.

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01/08/17 03:43 PM Comments () • Permalink

Galy L. Starzyk, 98

Galy Lapin Starzyk of Westport died Dec. 28 at home. She was 98.

She was born May 21, 1918 in Tuapse, Russia, daughter of the late Leonid B. and Olga Harrin Lapin. She came to the United States as a young girl and was employed at Sikorsky Aircraft in the early days of operation.

On April 30, 1944, she began her 71-year marriage to Michael L. Starzyk, raising son Paul and daughter Nona together. She also busied herself as a volunteer transporter at Norwalk Hospital and involvement with the Home Builders Association of Fairfield County.

In addition to her parents and husband, she was predeceased by a brother, Vitaly Lapin; son Paul and Paul’s “spiritual wife” Joyce Graham. Survivors include daughter Nona Starzyk of Danbury; granddaughters Rebecca Wilson with husband Stephen of Massachusetts and Rachael Wolff of Florida; great-grandchildren Andrew, Lily and Kyle Wilson of Massachusetts and Aidan and Alyssa Wolff in Florida; sister-in-law Gene Reale of Westport and several nieces and their families.

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01/08/17 11:05 AM Comments () • Permalink

Friday, January 06, 2017

Renate W. Moss, 76

Renate W. Moss of Sandy Hook, a former employee of the Westport school system, died Jan. 3 at Danbury Hospital. She was 76.

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Renate Moss: former Westport school employee.. Contributed photo

She was born Aug. 9, 1940 in Landau, Germany, daughter of the late Michael and Walburga Harrer Gottfried. She met her husband, Edwin, overseas while he was serving in the Army, and returned with him to America to raise a family.

A longtime resident of Redding, she worked for the Westport public schools for 19 years until her retirement in 2003.

One of her greatest joys in life was being with her family, especially with her grandchildren and great-grandchild. She loved to sit in the sunshine with her morning coffee and a good book and enjoyed hearing birdsong in the spring and summer.

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01/06/17 02:52 PM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Barbara J. Howard, 79

Barbara J. Howard of Naples, Flordia, a former Westport resident, died Dec. 31 of complications from COPD. She was 79.

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Barbara Howard: former Westporter. Contributed photo

She was born Barbara Joyce Bethard on Oct. 28, 1937, in Litchfield, Illinois, daughter of Mildred McKee Bethard and Oral F. Bethard. She grew up in Barry, Illinois, where she attended Barry schools from first grade through high school, graduating as valedictorian of the class of 1955.

In high school, she and a girlfriend sang duets at school and at church, and were on the March of Dimes tour; they also won a talent contest on a local TV station. Among other activities, she was active in the school band (trombone and majorette), the 4H Club, and the Methodist Youth Fellowship. At graduation, she was given the American Legion “Good Citizenship” award.

She was awarded an academic scholarship to Illinois State University (then called Illinois State Normal University, a teachers’ college) where she attended one year, majoring in business education.

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01/05/17 11:14 AM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Glenn Hightower, 76, Westport Educator

Glenn Hightower of Westport, who served three decades as principal at Bedford Junior High and Middle Schools and later as principal of Westport Adult and Continuing Education, died Jan. 1 at home. He was 76.

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Glenn Hightower: former school principal. Contributed photo

Known for his easy going manner, Hightower combined his love of teaching with his love of athletics.

A native of Oklahoma City, Glenn Edward Hightower, or Dr. Hightower as he became known to legions of Westporters, excelled in athletics through high school and at Oklahoma State University until a medical condition eventually ended his formal sports career, according to a profile published when he was honored in 2005 by the Sportsmen of Westport.

But he continued to be active, competing in area and national handball tournaments, running marathons, including the New York Marathon 15 times and 10 ultra (50-mile) marathons.  It was routine for him to knock off eight to 10 miles before reporting to work and 20 to 25 miles on weekends.

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01/04/17 02:40 PM Comments () • Permalink

Barend van den Brink, 81

Barend “Bart” van den Brink of West Hartford, a former Westport resident, died Jan. 1. He was 81.

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Barend van den Brink: former Westporter. Contributed photo

The husband of Tonnie for 55 years was born in Rotterdam, Netherlands on Aug.16, 1935.

Besides his wife Tonnie, he is survived by his two children, their spouses, and his two granddaughters: his son Hans and wife Sheri of Georgia, and their daughter Bailea and husband Matthew of Texas; and his daughter Elisabeth, husband Nigel and their daughter Alexandra of West Hartford. He is also survived by two siblings: his sister Miep of Holland and brother John and wife Anneke of Holland.

He was defined by his great love for family, nature, animals and traveling. His last trip took him to Texas with family to attend his granddaughter’s wedding.

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01/04/17 11:43 AM Comments () • Permalink

Adele Gazzelli, 88

Adele (Tutino) Gazzelli of Westport died Dec. 31 at Norwalk Hospital. She was 88.

She was born in Brooklyn, New York on March 15, 1928 daughter of the late Bernardo and Carolina (Trifilitte) Tutino. She was a retired caterer. She was a longtime resident of Westport where she lived for 48 years.

She was a loving person who devoted her life to her husband and children. She enjoyed babysitting and playing with her grandchildren in her retirement. Adele loved to sing and introduced both grandchildren to music which developed into a passion for both of them.

She was preceded in death by her parents, husband John, and three brothers Santo, Joseph, and Hugo. She is survived by her sister Frances Lemanski, son Christopher, daughter Caroline Goldstein and her husband (Paul), two grandchildren Robert and Lia, and several nieces and nephews.

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01/04/17 11:39 AM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Eugenio Mercuri, 57

Eugenio “Gino” Mercuri of Norwalk, former owner of Andiamo’s Deli in Westport, died Jan. 1 in Norwalk Hospital. He was 57.

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Eugenio Mercuri: Wesport deli owner. Contributed photo

He was born Feb. 21, 1959 in Nicastro, Italy, the son of Giuseppe Mercuri of Norwalk.

He graduated from Norwalk High School in 1977 and went on to become a licensed hairdresser and for many years was the co-owner of Tony & Gino’s Hair Salon in New Canaan. He later pursued his passion for the culinary industry and went on to become owner of Andiamo’s Deli, 177 Post Road West, in Westport.

He had many passions; however his greatest enjoyment was his family, especially his granddaughter Mia. This past summer he fulfilled his dream of taking Mia to Disney World. He also enjoyed the company of his many friends.

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01/03/17 11:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Monday, January 02, 2017

Edna Butner, 88

Edna Mae Thomas Butner, formerly of Westport and Nantucket, Massachusetts, died Dec. 13 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. She was 88.

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Edna Butner: former Westporter. Contributed photo

She was born Sept. 24, 1928 in Negaunee, Michigan to Ira and Jennie Thomas. She attended Central Grammar School and graduated from Negaunee High School. She was a good student, and involved in her community, she was a Camp Fire Girl, as well as being part of many school clubs and organizations.

She attended Northern Michigan University until entering and graduating from Augustana Hospital School of Nursing in Chicago in 1950 as a registered nurse.

She met her future husband Edward in Long Beach, California and married him on Oct. 17, 1951. The couple moved to Westport where they lived their early years where they raised their three children.

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01/02/17 01:13 PM Comments () • Permalink

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Antonio Rodriguez, 74

Antonio “Tony” Rodriguez of Key Biscayne, Florida, a former Westport resident, died Nov. 10 in Miami. He was 74.

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Antonio Rodriguez: former Westporter. Contributed photo

He was born Aug. 12, 1942 in Camaguey, Cuba and left that country with his parents, brother and beloved pet dog seeking political asylum in 1961. The family relocated to Miami briefly before moving again to Denver, Colorado in 1962.

He completed his B.S. and M.S. in mathematics at the University of Denver. He met his first wife in Denver and went to work in business. The majority of his career was spent working for Xerox Corp. in the Latin American Division which allowed him to travel throughout Latin and South America as well as Europe and Asia.

His work also allowed the family to live in several states as well as for two years in Mexico City, Mexico. The family lived for the longest period of time in Westport, where their two children attended school.

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12/31/16 04:05 PM Comments () • Permalink

Lynn Backalenick, 65

Lynn Backalenick, who grew up in Westport, died Dec. 26 at Mt. Sinai Hospital, New York City. She was 65.

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Lynn Backalenick: art director. Contributed photo

She graduated from Staples High School and attended Goddard College, moving on to a career in the graphic arts. She gained recognition as an art director in the audio-visual field.

Her vast array of friends will remember her warmth, her quick smile, her ready wit, and her loving nature. She touched the lives of many and will be missed greatly.

She is survived by her husband James Kendrick, her siblings Paul, Lisa, Kim, and her mother Irene of Bridgeport, a former longtime Westport resident and noted journalist, theater critic, and most recently, poet.

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12/31/16 02:12 PM Comments () • Permalink

Friday, December 30, 2016

Lisa Ann Potts-Polito, 50

Lisa Ann Potts-Polito of Westport died Dec. 28 at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. She was 50.

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Lisa Ann Potts-Polito: Trump Hotels exec.  Contributed photo

Born in Evergreen Park, Illinois on Aug. 30, 1966, she was raised in South Holland and Crete, Illinois. A leader in the hospitality industry, she was most recently senior vice president of sales and marketing for Trump Hotels and was previously a longtime senior executive at Starwood Hotels.

She was predeceased by her parents, Richard Austin Potts and Anne Marie (Byrnes) Potts. She is survived by her husband, Vincent T. Polito; her siblings, Dr. Steven Potts of Chicago and Susan Kluskowski of Stillwater, Minnesota; nephews Jacob and Nicholas Kluskowski of Minneapolis; brother-in-law Mario Gonzalez and sister-in-law Janet Polito of Yarmouthport, Massachusetts; brother-in-law Robert Polito and sister-in-law Janice Bicchieri of Baltimore, Maryland; brother-in-law James Polito of Melrose, Massachusetts; nephew Christian Polito and niece Francesca Polito of Herndon, Virginia,  and by her many friends.

Lisa was a woman of strong Catholic faith; she touched the lives of countless co-workers and friends and was truly beloved by all.

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12/30/16 03:17 PM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Madeleine A. Mraz, 92

Madeleine A. “Queenie” O’Connell Mraz of Watertown Connecticut, a former Westport resident, died Dec. 23 at Masonicare in Newtown. She was 92.

She was born Sept. 2, 1924 in Bridgeport to Dr. John G. O’Connell and Madeleine A. Barwin O’Connell. She was a 1941 graduate of Bassick High School and received an Associate’s Degree from Weylister Secretarial Junior College, both in Bridgeport.

During World War II, she worked for Sikorsky Aircraft, Stratford, helping to make the famous Corsair airplanes. She was proud that due to her petite stature she was one of the few small enough to fit in the nosecone to work on the aircraft.

On Dec. 4, 1948, she married William W. Mraz, who predeceased her in 2004. They moved to Westport in 1956 and lived and raised their family here until 1981 when they moved to Woodbury and later to Watertown where they resided since 1985.

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12/28/16 11:22 AM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Richard Pustari, 83

Richard Pustari of Westport died Dec. 13 at home. He was 83.

The husband of the late Barbara (Britto) Pustari, he was born in Stamford on Dec. 9, 1933 and was the son of the late Frank and Bertha (Sterc) Pustari.  He worked for SNET as a technician for many years and in his later years he drove for Enterprise for enjoyment. He was an avid golfer and loved animals.

Survivors include two sons: Rit Pustari of Stratford, Bob Pustari of Norwalk, two daughters: Vickie Pastuszak of Delray Beach, Florida, Debbie Pustari of Denver, Colorado, one brother: William Pustari and his wife Barbara of New Canaan, one sister: Doris Macari of Norwalk, four grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, one nephew and two nieces.

All services were private.

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12/27/16 03:17 PM Comments () • Permalink

Monday, December 26, 2016

Charles S. Friedson, 55

Charles “Charly” Sanford Friedson of Denver, Colorado, a former Westport resident, died Dec. 19 of a heart attack. He was 55.

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Charles Friedson: 1978 Staples grad. LinkedIn photo

He grew up in Westport where members of the Friedson family were longtime residents. They owned Economy Foods and Economy Liquors on Main Street from the 1930s through early 1960s, and The Tack Room from 1963 through 2003, and now online. His grandparents owned the Music Room.

He graduated from Staples High School in 1978 and later joined the military, studying German and Spanish at the Defense Language Institute.

From 1981 to 1983, he served as a U.S. Army strategic debriefer for U.S. Army Intelligence in the Munich, Germany area.

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12/26/16 08:47 PM Comments () • Permalink

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