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Monday, June 09, 2014

Claire V. Jospé, 93

Claire Vilenkin Jospé, a major figure in Westport real estate circles for more than 40 years, died June 7 at home. She was 93.

She moved to Westport in 1951 and in 1953 she began a successful real estate career that spanned more than 40 years. In 1961, she became the sole proprietor of the William Codman Agency which then became Claire Jospé Real Estate that had included a star-studded list of clientele. 

She was born in Antwerp, Belgium on March 17, 1921. Under the name of Claire Viking, she had a brief acting career in which she was recognized for her beauty and dancing.

During World War II, she met and married Maurice Jospé and in 1946 immigrated to New York City and eventually settled in Westport. In 1982, she was remarried to Henry Opalach, (deceased 2012) from Manchester, Conn.

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Posted 09:44 PM
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Christopher L. Hoffman, 28

Christopher L. Hoffmann of Brick, N.J., a Staples High School graduate who was a police officer in Watchung, N.J., died June 7 in a motorcycle accident in Jackson Township, N.J. He was 28. Image
Christopher Hoffman: Staples graduate. Contributed photo

Born in Englewood, N.J., he was raised in Westport, then moved to Brick in 2005. He graduated Staples High School and the Ocean County Police Academy in Seaside Heights.

He was a police officer with the Borough of Watchung. Prior to joining the Watchung Police Department, he worked in the Borough of Seaside Heights as a special officer.

He also worked at McGuire Air Force Base. He was an active member of the U.S. Air Force, completing boot camp in Lackland, Texas. He served overseas for three months.

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Posted 11:23 AM
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Friday, June 06, 2014

Carmella R. Vento, 90

Carmella Mary Rubiano Vento of Westport died June 4 at home. She was 90.

She was a first generation Italian-American , born Sept. 6, 1923 in Providence, R.I. to the late Gerardo and Maria Rubiano of Caserta, Italy. 

She attended the Westport Public Schools where she met her husband John (who later became a master builder in Fairfield County) and together they were star athletes on the local town teams.

She excelled in basketball, softball and for many years was an avid tennis player at the Longshore Country Club. 

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Posted 03:36 PM
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Maria P. Thompson, 63

Maria Polseno Thompson of Westport. wife of Daniel Sullivan, died June 1 after a battle with cancer. She was 63.

She was the mother of Keith (Kate) and Scott (Kim) Thompson. She also leaves her grandchildren Heather, Tara, Erik and Bridget, as well as great-grandson, Zachary.

A memorial service will be announced at a later date.

Posted 01:03 PM
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Thursday, June 05, 2014

Margaret D. Bishop, 92

Margaret D. Bishop of Westport died May 30. She was 92.

A resident of Greenwich for 26 years, she moved to Westport in 1982 where she was active in the League of Women Voters of Westport. She was a member of the New Canaan Nature Center where she volunteered in the Center’s Herb Garden. She was also an enthusiastic tennis player, playing until age 83.

Born in Baltimore, Md, Sept. 6, 1921, she was the daughter of Ruth Pumphrey Bishop, a pianist, and George W. Bishop, a doctor. She graduated from the Roland Park Country School, the Rindhart School of Sculpture, and the University of Maryland.

While employed at the Foreign Policy Association in New York, she edited its Pamphlet Advisory Service.

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Posted 10:05 PM
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Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Hilda Kraus, 99 Image
Hilda Kraus: metalwork designer Contributed photo

Hilda Kraus of Westport died June 2 at home. She was 99.

Born in New York City to Isaac and Sadie (Langer), she received a B.A. degree from Hunter College in 1935. She did post graduate work at International Academy of Art, Salzburg, Austria, in 1967, 1972, and 1977.

Apprentice to a Danish silversmith for three years, she studied traditional enameling methods in France, Italy, and Germany, the great enameling centers. 

She was a well known designer, artist, jeweler, enamellist and metalwork designer. She at one time had shops in New York City and Maine.

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Posted 09:47 PM
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Monday, May 26, 2014

Robert Katz, 90

Robert Katz of Westport died May 25 at Norwalk Hospital from complications of Alzheimers Disease. He was 90. Image
Robert Katz: Westport resident since 1978. Contributed photo

He was born Sept. 23, 1923 in Fauresmith, Orange Free State, South Africa the son of the late August and Frieda (Prager) Katz. He grew up in Fauresmith and Cape Town, South Africa.

During World War II he served as an air mechanic, air mechanic instructor, and non-commissioned officer in the South African Air Force. He was awarded the Africa Service Medal in 1944.

At age 21, he graduated from the University of Cape Town (UCT) with a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering, and was appointed assistant professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at UCT.

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Posted 06:20 PM
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Florence H. Cole, 93

Florence Hanslam Cole, a former Westport resident, died May 23 at Putnam Farm in Danvers, Mass. She was 93.

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., she was the daughter of the late Frederick and Florence (Newman) Haslam. She was raised and educated in Westport.

She was a graduate of the North Field Mount Hermon School, Barnard College and Katherine Gibbs School. She was a longtime member of the Congregational Church of Topsfield.

Active in church circles she enjoyed singing and was a member of the church choir at the Congregational Church of Norwalk and the Choir at Congregational Church of Topsfield.

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Posted 02:37 PM
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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Rene D. Purcell, 77

Rene Dawson Purcell, a 50-year resident of Westport, died May 21 following a brief illness. She was 77.

Born and raised in Syracuse, N.Y., the daughter of George and Pauline Dawson, she attended Marymount College in Tarrytown, N.Y. where she received a B.S. in biology graduating magna cum laude.

Following graduation, she worked for Bristol-Myers where she met her husband, Frank E. Purcell, Jr. They began their married life in Evanston, Ill. where their first child, Frank III was born. They transferred to Westport in 1965 to raise two more children, Pauline P. Akers and Timothy M. Purcell.

She was active in many town and community affairs including the St. Luke Parish Altar Guild, Meals on Wheels, the Longshore Ladies Golf Association, the Minuteman Yacht Club and the American Cancer Society.

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Posted 07:07 PM
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Friday, May 23, 2014

Ralph A. Armstrong

Ralph Armond Armstrong of Weston died May 22.

He was the husband of Susan Most Armstrong, father of Jenny and Sam, brother of Patrice (Clareman), Robert and Tom.

Services will be held Monday, May 26, at 11:30 a.m. at The Conservative Synagogue, 30 Hillspoint Road, Westport.

Interment will follow at Willowbrook Cemetery in Westport.

Posted 04:51 PM
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Mercelene A. Smith, 68

Mercelene Adams Smith of Delray Beach, Fla., a former Westport resident, died May 21 under hospice care in Palm Beach. She was 68. Image
Mercelene Smith: former Westporter. Contributed photo

Born in Jersey City, N.J. to Herbert H. Adams and Mary Jane (Marquis) Adams, Mercelene Jane Adams grew up in the Scotch Plains/Westfield, New Jersey area, where she met her husband, Bob, and raised a family.

Known as Merci to her friends, she had moved to Florida in 2013 full-time after living in Westport for more than 33 years.

A member of both the Saugatuck Harbor Yacht Club in Westport and Stamford Yacht Club, where she served as entertainment chair, she had made many friends as a result of her vibrant and outgoing personality, her family said.

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Posted 02:57 AM
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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Elizabeth K. Ferencz, 60

Elizabeth Gayle Kingsbury Ferencz of Westport died May 19 at Norwalk Hospital after a long illness. She was 60.

The wife of John P. Ferencz Jr. (Jack), she has been a Westport resident for 32 years.

Born June 20, 1953 in Bronxville, N.Y. she was the daughter of Richard W. Kingsbury and the late Helen Stone Kingsbury. She resided with her family in Pelham, N.Y. and graduated from Pelham Memorial High School.

She attended the College of New Rochelle and received her Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pa.

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Posted 08:11 PM
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Frank W. Honackie, 68

Frank W. Honackie of Sarasota, Fla., a former Westport resident, died May 19. He was 68.

He was born in Norwalk and moved to Sarasota from Westport in 1998. He was the owner of Sandman Of Sarasota.

He is survived by his wife, Jane; a son, Shane (Angela) Honackie; a daughter, Heather (Cleve) Banks; a stepdaughter, Christina (Michael) Tanner; a stepson, Shawn (Jennifer) Royle; a sister, Sharon Wentovich; and grandchildren, Ciarra Honackie, Kaitlyn Givens, Haley Honackie, Jade Banks, Ashlyn Banks, Louis Royle and Skylar Honackie.

A gathering of family and friends will be held Friday, May 23 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Palms-Robarts Funerral Home, Sarasota.

Posted 06:14 PM
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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Ruth Stein, 95

Ruth Stein of Westport and Palm Beach, Fla., died May 18. She was 95. Image
Ruth Stein: Enjoyed Senior Center. Contributed photo

Born on St. Patrick’s Day in New York City to Ida and Raphael Levy, she was the last of 12 children.

She established and ran the Red Bank Answering Service in Red Bank, N.J. She volunteered at Riverview Medical Center initiating their Tel-Med program. She helped establish and was a charter member of the Shadow Lake Auxiliary of the Riverview Medical Center.

She was a charter member and president of the Red Bank Chapter of Deborah Hospital of Browns Mills, N.J., and a life member of Hadassah.

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Posted 06:26 PM
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Mildred F. Baynham, 94

Mildred Frances Baynham of Burlington, Vt., a former Westport resident, died April 29 after a long illness. She was 94.

She was born March 9, 1920 in Jersey City, N.J. the daughter of Margaret Tatem and James Guilfoyle.

She graduated from St. Joseph’s High School in 1938. During World War II, she worked at Federal Shipyards and Drydock Co. in Kearney, N.J.

She married William Patrick Baynham of Westport on April 7, 1951 at St. Lawrence Catholic Church, Laurence Harbor, N.J.

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Posted 06:00 PM
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