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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Remembering Richard C. Hottelet, CBS News

By Gordon Joseloff

Richard C. Hottelet, my personal link to the legendary group of CBS News correspondents who covered World War II under Edward R. Murrow, died today at his Wilton home. He was 97. Image
Richard C. Hottelet: “consummate professional.”  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) CBS News photo

Hottelet was the last survivor of the group that became known as the “Murrow Boys. He joined CBS in London in 1944 and retired in 1985.

I first met him in the late 1970s. He was covering the United Nations for CBS but did an hourly network radio newscast daily before heading over to his U.N. office. I often wrote his hourly newscast for him.

I had joined CBS News a short time earlier after working for United Press International in outposts that included London and Moscow. Hottelet had worked for UPI’s predecessor, United Press, in London, Moscow, Berlin, and Washington.

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Posted 07:32 PM
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Monday, December 15, 2014

Ethel A. McMahon, 82

Ethel Ann (Groark) McMahon died Dec. 8. She was 82.

A longtime resident of Westport, she most recently resided in Massachusetts and California to be close her children and grandchildren.

She was born in Bridgeport on Nov. 14, 1932, the daughter of the late Dr. Owen and Ethel Groark of Fairfield.  Her father was born in New Haven and was chief of radiology at Bridgeport Hospital. Her mother, Ethel Donovan, was born in Bridgeport.

She attended the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Greenwich and was graduated from Lauralton Hall in Milford and Immaculata College, Washington, D.C. She met her husband, Frank, while he was at Georgetown University and she a student at Immaculata.

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Posted 01:32 PM
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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Martha H. Swenn, 86

Martha H. Swenn of Fairfield, a former Westport resident and former co-owner of Marvel’s Bakery in Westport, died Dec. 12 at the Jewish Home for the Elderly in Fairfield. She was 86.

Born in Boswil, Switzerland on Jan. 20, 1928, she has been a resident of both Westport and Fairfield for 66 years.

She was a member of Saint Anthony’s of Padua Roman Catholic Church and Saint Nicholas of Tolentine, Atlantic City, NJ.

Best known to many as “The Gingerbread Lady,” she was the former co-owner of Marvel’s Bakery in Westport. Her gingerbread houses, chocolates, cakes, and other sweet treats brought happiness to family and friends.

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Posted 11:30 AM
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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Anne W. Nakshian, 81

Anne Whelan Nakshian of Attleboro, Mass., a former Westport resident, died Dec. 11 at home. She was 81.

Born Dec. 24, 1932 in Brooklyn, N.Y., she was a daughter of the late William M. and Mildred L. (Love) Whelan.

She grew up in the New York/Connecticut area and was a 1950 graduate of Staples High School in Westport.  She later lived in Worcester for 10 years before moving to Attleboro in 1968.

She received a BA in Psychology from the University of Connecticut in 1955 and later received her MSW from Simmons College.

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Posted 06:16 PM
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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Publisher, Preservationist Sidney Kramer Dies at 99

By James Lomuscio

UPDATE (adds Marpe comments) Westporter Sidney Kramer, a literary lion who seem to roar loudest when it came to preserving the environment and character of his hometown, died early today at home, just six weeks shy of his 100th birthday, friends said. Image
Sidney Kramer speaking at wife’s funeral in 2011. Dave Matlow for

An attorney, literary agent and co-founder of Bantam Books, as well as the prime mover of the local preservation group Save Westport Now (SWN), he had stopped eating and over the last few days refused to take water, said Connie Greenfield, a close friend for 30 years and SWN board member.

“He was very weak and very thin,” said Greenfield, noting that Kramer would have turned 100 on Jan. 21. “He just faded away.”

Kramer, his wife Esther and two children, moved to Westport in 1950. The family is best known for owning the iconic, 200-year-old converted sea captain’s house painted fluorescent pink on the corner of Main Street and Parker Harding Plaza.

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Posted 09:27 PM
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Margaret E. Troll, 87

Margaret Eleanor Troll of Westport died Dec. 7 at Norwalk Hospital after a brief illness. She was 87.

Born on May 14, 1927, she was daughter of the late William Vornkahl Jr. and Alice Gerrish Vornkahl. She was a lifelong resident of Westport. She was the wife of the late Maurice (Mike) Horn and the late Stephen L. Troll.

She graduated from Staples High School in 1944. She worked at the Westport Bank & Trust Co. and the Norwalk Savings Society.

She and her husband enjoyed many years traveling in their Holiday Rambler RV. They visited 49 states with their trailer and flew to Hawaii. She was a board member and treasurer of the Saugatuck Cooperative for many years.

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Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Kevin Brawley, 59

Kevin Brawley, a popular Westport restaurateur, died Dec. 7 at Yale-New Haven Hospital. He was 59. Image
Kevin Brawley: co-owned Tavern on Main, Dunville’s. photo

One of his restaurants, Tavern on Main, became a landmark in downtown Westport where he managed the front of the house.

He began his career as a busboy at Mario’s Place in Saugatuck, learning the business while still in high school. He moved up to maitre d’ status and, with his colleague Danny Horelick in 1980, opened Dunville’s on Riverside Avenue.

After selling his share of Dunville’s to his manager, Steve Carpentieri in 1993, he and partner Jocko Saltus opened Tavern on Main at the former site of the old time favorite, Chez Pierre restaurant.  Brawley sold Tavern on Main in 2006.

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Posted 07:44 PM
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Saturday, December 06, 2014

Walter R. Melillo, 90

Walter R. Melillo, a graduate of the Westport schools and then a teacher for 35 years in the school system, died Dec. 4 in Norwalk Hospital. He was 90. Image
Walter Melillo (c) was inducted into the Staples football “Wall of Fame” in 2004. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

The husband of the late Ann (Mayor) Melillo was born Feb. 25, 1924, the son of the late Joseph and Anna (Carrara) Melillo.

He grew up on Franklin Street in Saugatuck and attended Saugatuck Elementary School, Bedford Junior High, and Staples High School.

At Staples, Melillo was a stalwart two-way player who was one of the Wreckers’ first great running back/receivers. In 2004, he was inducted into the Staples football “Wall of Fame.”

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Posted 02:20 PM
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Walter J. Laughlin, 94

Walter J. Laughlin of Westport died Nov. 25 in the home that he built 61 years ago. He was 94.

He was born June 16, 1920 in New Haven to the late Joseph and Amelia Laughlin. He moved to Westport in 1938. A proud World War II veteran, he joined the U.S. Army in May 1942 and was stationed at a B-24 bomber air Base near Norwich, England. He returned home on the Queen Mary in 1945.

He married his wife Nancy on June 28, 1941 at Assumption Church in Westport. In the years to follow he built many homes in Westport and Monroe. He loved to travel and took many trips to London as well as touring the English countryside.  On one occasion, he visited the air base where he was stationed during the war.

He also enjoyed his travels to Ireland and Scotland. He and his family spent many summer vacations on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard.

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Posted 01:47 PM
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Thursday, December 04, 2014

Theresa Falasco, 101 Image
Theresa Falasco: lifelong Westport resident. Dave Matlow for

Theresa Falasco of Westport died Dec. 3 at home. She was 101.

Born Jan. 17, 1913 in Westport, she was the daughter of the late Salvatore and Geneva (Barber) Gilbertie.

She was a member of Assumption Church in Westport and a longtime member of the Catholic Daughters.

Survivors include three daughters: Claudette Foley of Westport, Beverly Valiante and her husband Joseph of Westport, Arlene Benincaso of Norwalk, one son, Henry Falasco and his wife Susan of Prospect, one sister, Antonette Doddo of Westport, four grandchildren and seven great grandchildren. In addition to her parents and husband, she was predeceased by one brother, Lester Gilbertie.

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Posted 12:18 PM
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Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Carol S. Plaut, 87

Carol (Barman) Stern Plaut of Westport died Dec. 1. She was 87. Image
Carol Plaut: 60-year Westport resident. Contributed photo

A Westport resident for more than 60 years, she was the wife of Edward Weill Plaut, who predeceased her in 2011.

Together the couple raised their three children in Westport: Edward “Wynn” Plaut of Greenwich, (Robin), Kim Plaut Sullivan of East Dennis, Mass.  (Joseph), and Quentin R. Plaut (Michelle) of Fairfax, Va. Survivors incude her grandchildren Douglas, Amy, Natalie, William and Ethan Plaut and Brett and Brooke Sullivan.\

Born in New York City on Oct. 18, 1927, she was the daughter of the late Walter and Celeste (Barman) Stern of Scarsdale, N.Y. She graduated from New York University with a degree in physical education in 1948 and received a Master’s Degree in career counseling from Fairfield University in 1984.

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Posted 01:48 PM
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Irene O. Deegan, 88

Irene O. Deegan of Norwalk, a former Westport resident, wife of the late William J. Deegan Sr., died Nov. 29 at Aurora Senior Living in Norwalk. She was 88.

Born in New York City on Dec. 6, 1925, she was the daughter of the late Francis and Mary (O’Leary) O’Moore.

She is survived by four sons: William James Deegan of Shelton,Thomas Francis Deegan of Westport, James William Deegan of Louisville, Ky., one daughter, Ellen Marie Deegan of Greenwich, and two granddaughters Erin and Maureen Deegan.

Friends are invited to attend a funeral on Friday, Dec. 5 at noon, meeting directly at Assumption Church, 98 Riverside Ave. for a Mass of Christian Burial. Interment will follow in Assumption Cemetery, Kings Highway North.

The Harding Funeral Home is assisting the family with the arrangements.

Posted 10:13 AM
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Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Frank Kokoska, 73

Frank Kokoska of Redding, a former Westport resident, died Nov. 29. He was 73.

He graduated from Staples High School in 1959 where his favorite subjects were shop and automotive, and he was adept at both. It took him five years after graduation to work his way through the journeyman level of carpentry, working for W. Punzelt of Westport, to achieve full status of carpenter.

He later worked for Charles Griffith of Westport until December 1968, when he and his wife, Elaine, began building their home in Redding. In his early 20s, he also graduated from Bullard-Tech in Bridgeport.

In 1970, he began The Country Craftsman in Redding and over the years, until he retired in 2007 due to illness, worked on many homes in the area and made many, many friends.

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Posted 05:22 PM
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Carole L. Haber, 72

Carole L. Haber of Westport died Nov. 27 at home following a lengthy illness. She was 72. Image
Carole Haber: co-produced Broadway shows. Contributed photo

Born and raised in Downey, Calif., she was the daughter of the late Alfred and Marguerite Deitricht Senechal. She received her Bachelor of Arts and Teaching Credential from the University of California.

She met her husband Bill while teaching at the Foundation for the Junior Blind in Los Angeles in 1955. The foundation’s founder, Norman Kaplan, was the godfather of their children. She was a French teacher in Palos Verdes High School for five years.

She and her family lived in Los Angeles and Malibu for 50 years. In 1995, they moved to Westport to take a greater part in the international humanitarian organization, Save the Children.

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Posted 09:09 AM
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Monday, December 01, 2014

Charlene (Chou Chou) Merrill, 62

Charlene (Chou Chou) Raum Merrill of Brookline, Mass., a former Westport resident, died Nov. 29. She was 62. Image
Chou Chou Merrill: 1970 Staples graduate. Contributed photo

She grew up in Westport, where her father, Jason Raum, owned and operated Jewels by Jason on Main Street. She was a 1970 graduate of Staples High School.

She married Michael Merrill of Westport in a 1973 ceremony at the Unitarian Church in Westport. Among the attendees was Michael’s mother, film star Bette Davis of Westport. The couple eventually settled in Brookline where she lived for 41 years. She also lived in Captiva, Fla., and Prout’s Neck, Maine.

A real estate agent for many years, she was passionate about her love first for her “boys” and secondly for Brookline. But she always remembered Westport and was a frequent poster on Facebook pages about Westport.

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Posted 03:53 PM
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