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Obituaries

Obituaries

Friday, February 17, 2017

Marianne R. Shaffer, 77

Marianne Rosche Shaffer of Winhall, Vermont, a former longtime retail employee in Westport, died Feb. 8. She was 77.

A longtime skier and Stratton figure, she was married to Wilson Shaffer for 52 years.

She lived the majority of her years in Fairfield, and, more recently, Winhall. She worked for many years at Brooks Brothers in Westport as a retail sales associate.

Born Sept. 5, 1939 in Berlin, Germany, she worked in the fashion industry until she moved to the United States in 1964. She enjoyed skiing and socializing with her friends from Stratton Mountain Trailblazers Ski Club.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Mike Connors, Bartender, Coach, 58

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Michael R. Connors of Stratford, known as “Wolfie,” a bartender at Westport’s Black Duck Cafe for 30 years until a year ago, and former Staples High School football player and coach, died today, according to friends. He was 58. Obituary to come. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

02/15/17 09:28 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Elfriede S. Lafferty, 73

Elfriede S. Lafferty of Westport died Feb. 8 at Norwalk Hospital. She was 73.

The wife of the late John F. Lafferty was born June 16, 1943 in Buszkowo, Poland and was the daughter of Ludwig and Natalie (Wahl) Schulz.

A Westport resident for 35 years, she was a member of Assumption Church and the Westport Woman’s Club.

She is survived by one daughter, Monica L. Lafferty-Waupotitsch and her husband Robert Waupotitsch of Fairfield, one brother, Gustav Schilz of Edmonton, Canada, three sisters, Martha Kent of Phoenix, Arizona, Paulina Kauss and Lydia Grindi both of Edmonton, Canada. In addition to her husband and parents, she was predeceased by one brother, Adolf Schulz, two sisters, Wanda Young and Johanna Miess.

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Mary T. Ferruccio, 89

Mary T. Ferruccio of Westport died Feb. 13 in Danbury Hospital. She was 89.

The wife of the late Anthony J. Ferruccio was born in New York City on Nov. 17, 1927 and was the daughter of the late Patrick and Jane (McGirr) Treanor.

A longtime Westport resident, she was a member of the Catholic Daughters, the Joseph J. Clinton Post 399 Ladies Auxiliary and the Westport Center for Senior Activities.

Survivors include one son, Amedeo Ferruccio and his wife Mary of Silver City, New Mexico, two daughters, Marianne Ferruccio and her husband, Clemente Sanches, of Sandy Hook, and Jane Ferruccio of Milford, and her twin sister, Elizabeth Rienzi of Beechhurst, New York.

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02/15/17 11:43 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Claudia L. Hurd, 95

Claudia L. Hurd of Westport died Feb. 9 at home. She was 95.

The wife of the late Justin “Jud” Hurd was born in Cleveland, Ohio on Dec. 25, 1921 and was the daughter of the late Philip and Valerie (Vanko) Lipp.

A Westport resident since 1964, she was a graduate of Rhodes High School and Spencerian Business College, both in Cleveland. Some of her many interests included collecting books and browsing in bookstores, sewing and knitting, playing her piano, writing poetry, and her French conversation group.

Survivors include one son: Philip Hurd and his wife Janet (Kelley) of Lexington, Massachusetts, and three grandchildren: Audrey, Grace, and Annie.

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02/14/17 02:30 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

George F. Avery, Jr., 87

George F. Avery, Jr., a 50-year resident of Westport, died Jan. 11. He was 87.

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George F. Avery, Jr: business executive. Contributed photo

He was born in Syracuse, New York, to George Francis Avery and Marion Riddler Avery. He graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 1951. He was the president of his fraternity, SAE, student manager of the football program, and held numerous honors for his academics, volunteerism and commitment to the Penn State community, including admission to the national Blue Key Honor Society.

Following his marriage to Janice in 1951, he served in the U.S. Air Force, and upon discharge began a 52-year career in the management of international transportation, with Alcoa in Pittsburgh, Celanese Corporation in New York City, Stauffer Chemical Company (later Rhone Poulenc) at the Nyala Farms complex in Westport, and thereafter as a consultant, dealing largely with raw materials and hazardous materials shipped by sea.

He was a co-founder and president of the United States Shippers Association, a founding member of Shippers for Competitive Ocean Transport, and led related industry committees of the National Council on International Trade Development, the National Industrial Transportation League, the Chemical Manufacturer’s Association, and the American-European Soda Ash Association.

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02/14/17 12:50 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Carl W. Mutrynowski, 74

Carl Walter Mutrynowski of Fairfield, a former school crossing guard and marina security guard in Westport, died Feb. 7 at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport. He was 74.

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Carl Mutrynowski: school crossing guard. Contributed photo

Born Oct. 7, 1942 in Bridgeport, he was the son of the late Walter and Anna (Washinski) Mutrynowski. He was a resident of Fairfield for the past 66 years.

He attended Andrew Warde High School and graduated with the class of 1962. Following graduation, he worked for more than 30 years as a machinist for Avco/Lycoming/Textron until his retirement in 1997.

Once retired, he took part-time jobs for the Town of Westport, working as a crossing guard during the school year and as a security guard at the Westport Marina.

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02/14/17 11:09 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Jonathan B. Morris, 78

Jonathan (Jon, J.B.) B. Morris, a longtime Westport resident, died Jan. 14 at home. He was 78.

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J.B. Morris: longtime Westporter. Contributed photo

Born in Hartford, he was raised in Fairfield and Easton. He attended the Taft School and graduated from Williams College with a degree in economics and finance.

His experiences playing varsity baseball and basketball helped establish a love of sports and numerous lifelong friendships.

After a tour of duty in the Army Reserve, he joined First National City Bank in New York City, advancing to the National Division of the Corporate Banking Group before leaving to join Bristol-Myers.

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Monday, February 13, 2017

Dorothy McAteer, 92

Dorothy McAteer of Westport died Feb. 12 in Norwalk Hospital. She was 92.

The wife of the late James A. McAteer was born on Aug. 18, 1924 in Brooklyn, N.Y. and was the daughter of the late Horace and Isabella (Murray) Tyers.

She was a longtime member of Christ & Holy Trinity Church in Westport where she was known as the “cookie lady.”

She was also a member of the Order of the Easter Star, Daughters of Scotia, Daughters of the British Empire and the International Association of Administration Officials.

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02/13/17 06:16 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Large Turnout for Harold Levine Funeral

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There was a large turnout today at Westport’s Temple Israel for the funeral of Westport arts patron and advertising executive Harold Levine, who died Feb 9 at 95. (See WestportNow Feb. 10, 2017) Son Jay Levine said of his father: “There were very few events my father enjoyed more than a party and none more than the ones at which he was honored … He was the consummate people person.” He added:  “He gave me these guidelines in life — one-third life is family, one-third is business, one-third is community.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

02/13/17 01:11 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Philip W. Reeves, 57

Philip Walker Reeves of Wilton, a former Westport firefighter, died Feb. 7 of cancer. He was 57.

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Philip Reeves: former Westport firefighter. Contributed photo

Born in Cleveland, Ohio on July 15, 1959 to the late Courtney H. Reeves Jr. and Sarah S. Reeves, he moved to Wilton in 1962 and remained there for most of his life, attending Wilton Public Schools.

As a member of the Wilton Volunteer Fire Department, he found his lifelong passion, becoming a firefighter with the Westport Fire Department in 1980, where he remained for six years.

He then joined the U.S. Army to earn his wings as an army aviator. After completing his active obligation, which included a tour in the Republic of Korea, he transferred to the Massachusetts National Guard, where he remained until his death, achieving the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 5 as the State Aviation Safety Officer. He served two tours in Iraq as a medieval helicopter pilot.

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Saturday, February 11, 2017

Ralph P. Arena, Jr., 60

Ralph P. Arena, Jr. of Hartford, a former co-owner with his brother Sean of The Brook Café in Westport, died Feb. 10 of heart failure at Florida Medical Center. He was 60.

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Ralph P. Arena Jr. : co-owned Brook Café. Contributed photo

The son of the late Bernice Ermark Arena and Ralph Arena Sr. was born and raised in Norwalk with his brothers Phillip (deceased) and Sean and sister Tami

He co-owned Hartford’s popular Polo Club; served on the Hartford Democratic Town Committee, and co-owned The Brook Café, 919 Post Road East,  Westport from 1992 to 1998.

Opened in 1939 and later called The Cedar Brook Café, it closed in 2010 (See WestportNow June 25, 2010). It was said to be the nation’s oldest, continually operating gay bar

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02/11/17 01:33 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Kenneth H. Lanouette Jr., 91

Kenneth H. Lanouette Jr. of Westport died Jan. 23. He was, 91.

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Kenneth H. Lanouette Jr.:  Navy vet. Contributed photo

He was raised in North. Hollywood, California and attended the University of Southern California in the Naval officer training program during World War II, graduating with a degree in engineering.

He also served in the Korean conflict, remaining in the Reserves until he retired as a lieutenant commander in 1985. He and his wife Midge settled in Westport where they raised their family.

As a leading member of the Unitarian Church of Westport, he was instrumental in the development and construction of the architecturally noted church building, as well as growing the congregation. He loved singing in the church choirs and with his various barbershop quartets.

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02/11/17 10:31 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Friday, February 10, 2017

Harold Levine, 95, Patron of the Arts, Adman

Harold Levine of Westport, a longtime patron of the arts and founder of a highly creative advertising agency, died Feb. 9 at home. He was 95.

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Harold Levine: longtime Westporter. Contributed photo

He was born in 1921, the son of Jack and Lillian Levine. His father was a traveling salesman. In 1970, he founded the highly creative advertising agency, Levine, Huntley, Schmidt, & Beaver in association with his colleague Bob Schmidt and newsman Chet Huntley.

In its successful 20 years, Levine Huntley became one of the country’s outstanding creative ad agencies serving consumer product clients on a national and international scale. Selected by AdWeek as Agency of the Year in 1989, Levine Huntley was one of the most awarded agencies year in and year out.

It was not only a creative force in the industry, but also was on the forefront of providing career opportunities for women and minorities. In 1996, Levine received a diversity achievement award from the American Advertising Federation.

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Marguerite Mortensen, 85

Marguerite (Peggy) Joyce Kramer Mortensen of Aromas, California, a Staples High School graduate, died Jan. 28 at her home at Rooster Ridge in Aromas. She was 85.

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Marguerite Mortensen: Staples grad. Contributed photo

She was born in Stamford on Dec. 23, 1931, and raised in Weston. After graduating from Staples High School in Westport, she worked as a receptionist at Perkin-Elmer in Norwalk, where she met her sweetheart, Robert (Bob) Mortensen. They married in 1958, at which time she became a homemaker and a mother of three.

Spending time at her hilltop farm, Rooster Ridge, was a great joy for her as she tended to her beloved goats, donkeys, chickens, cats, and dogs.

She is survived by her husband, Bob; and her three children, Rob Mortensen and his wife Jennifer of Kent, Washington., Kurt Mortensen and his wife Mary of Boulder Creek, and Paige Heller and her husband Ken of Aromas; two grandchildren; sisters, Joan Kramer DeLuca of Ridgefield, and Carol M. Kramer of Mountain View. She was preceded in death by her sister, Miriam Kramer Johnson.

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Thursday, February 09, 2017

John T. Hastings, 81

John Tovey Hastings of Siesta Key, Florida, a former Westport resident, died Feb. 5. He was 81,

He was born Feb. 6, 1935 at Norwalk Hospital to Ruth and John Hastings of Westport. He attended Saugatuck Elementary, Bedford Junior High and Staples High School. He had wonderful memories of growing up in Westport and enjoyed keeping in touch with many of his classmates.

He was a Marine veteran. He taught physical education and coached in Miami for 30 years. After retiring from Dade County Schools, he and Joan moved to Valle Crucis, North Carolina and ran two “Country Farmhouse” antique and gift shops, one in Blowing Rock and the other in Valle Crucis.

He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Joan; daughter Kyle Hastings of Maryville, Tennessee; son John Hastings and daughter-in-law Tracy Hastings of Vilas, North Carolina,  granddaughters Cameron Hastings and Marissa Hastings and grandson Brooks Hastings and brother Peter Hastings and his wife Carol of Redding.

02/09/17 05:50 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Ronald J. Swenn, 81

Ronald J. Swenn of Fairfield, a former Westport resident and a retired Westport firefighter, died Feb. 3. He was 81.

Born March 13, 1935, he was the only child of Joseph and Stefania Swiencicki. A former head of Westport Fire Fighters Local 1081, he retired as a lieutenant after 24 years service.

He grew up in Westport, starting his first landscaping business when he was 16 years old. He graduated from Staples High School and Nichols College in Massachusetts with a business degree.

While on the Fire Department, he continued his landscaping business and also owned and operated the Carvel Ice Cream Store in Strawberry Hill, Norwalk for two years with his wife by his side.

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Saturday, February 04, 2017

Jonathan I. Walker, 46

Jonathan Immanuel Walker of Fairfield, a former Westport resident, died Feb. 1. He was 46.

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Jon Walker: 1988 Staples grad.  Contributed photo

The husband of Bridget Short Walker was born Feb 15, 1970 in New York City, the son of the late Howard Walker and Sandra Schapiro Walker of Westport and Boca Raton, Florida.

He spent his entire life living in the Westport/Fairfield area where he formed lifelong friendships and positively impacted countless people with his infectious personality and kindness.

He graduated from Staples High School in 1988 and Skidmore College in 1992.  In 1990 at Skidmore, he found the love of his life and soul mate in Bridget and they celebrated their 16th year of marriage this last fall.

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Friday, February 03, 2017

Peter Bernhard, 81

Peter Bernhard of Milford, former owner of the Peppermill Restaurant in Westport, died Jan. 24. He was 81.

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Peter Bernhard: owner of Peppermill Restaurant. Contributed photo

Born Nov. 14, 1935 in Manhattan, he was the son of the late Helen Hotchkiss Bernhard and the late Manfred E. Bernhard.

He was a loving father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend. He was a lover of life, living it to the fullest (avid skier, hiker, biker, gardener, cook, animal lover and world traveler). He was a lover of adventure, living on the edge, and he was a successful and hardworking restaurant owner and a U.S. Navy veteran.

As a young man, he began a successful restaurant career managing Big Boy Restaurants in Oklahoma and then New Hampshire. In 1966, he moved to Weston with his young family and in 1967 opened the Peppermill Restaurant in Westport, and then in 1969 opened The Peppermill/The Gathering in Milford.

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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Ellen C. Nims, 76

Ellen C. Nims, 76, of Keene, New Hampshire, a former resident of Westport, died Jan. 24 after a brief period of declining health. She was 76.

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Ellen Nims: 1958 Staples graduate. Contributed photo

She was born on Oct. 16, 1940 in New York City, the daughter of the late Catherine (Ollis) and Ralph Nims. She was educated in Westport and graduated from Staples High School class of 1958.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts in education from Connecticut College in 1962 and her Master’s of education from the University of California, Berkeley.

On Jan. 10, 1987 she exchanged vows with Kenneth Meyers. They were married in a simple service in Reno, Nevada. He died on April 27, 1991 after four years of marriage.

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Sunday, January 29, 2017

C. Steven Crosby, 65

C. Steven Crosby of Westport died Jan. 26 on his way home from work. He was 65.

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C. Steven Crosby: financial executive. Contributed photo

Born in Charlotte, N.C., he was the son of the late Ottie and Vernon Crosby. He lived in Westport since 1998. 

He received his law degree from Wake Forest University and was currently working for Pricewaterhousecoopers in New York. 

He focused on helping PwC clients address challenges to their success across a broad spectrum of management consulting including strategy, operations, risk and regulatory compliance as well as technology solutions, data and analytics.

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Saturday, January 28, 2017

Lawrence N. Waterbury, 82

Lawrence N. Waterbury of Westport died Jan. 20 at home. He was 82.

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Lawrence N. Waterbury:  CPA. Contributed photo

Born in 1934 in Canton, Ohio, he received his undergraduate degree in business at Ohio State in 1956. He obtained his MBA from the University of Chicago in 1963.

He was a Certified Public Accountant and maintained a local practice in Westport since 1969. At the time of his death, he was still practicing and maintained over 60 active clients.

He was unusual in that he continued to file tax returns by hand. The New York Times once published an article about the experience of actually watching someone file your tax return while you sat answering questions and watching.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Jeffrey M. Crowne, 63

Jeffrey Michael Crowne of Fairfield, a former Westport resident, died Jan. 17. He was 63.

A graduate of Fordham University, he had a long career in the financial industry, most recently at Edgewater Markets, LLC.

He was passionate about wine, cigars, travel and entertaining. He was truly loved by so many.

His is survived by his wife of 30 years, Jennifer, his children Michael and Elizabeth, his brothers Frank, James and Greg, his sisters Kathy and Shari, many nieces and nephews, and a lifetime of treasured friends.

01/25/17 08:24 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Susan J. Beecher, 73

Susan J. Beecher of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, a former Westport resident, died Jan. 25 after a brave battle with cancer. She was 73.

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Susan J. Beecher: former Westporter. Contributed photo

She was born in New York, New York, raised in the Bronx and North White Plains, and lived with her family in Westport.

She received her degree in medical technology from Moravian College, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and began her second career as a mental health counselor specializing in addictions after earning her Master’s Degree in 1989 from the University of Bridgeport.

It was this career that allowed Susan to touch so many lives and provide a path to recovery for all who reached out to her for help.

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Steven T. Calzone, 61

Steven T. Calzone of Norwalk, a co-owner of Westport’s Little Barn restaurant, died Jan. 24 at Bridgeport Hospital. He was 61.

Born in Norwalk, he was the son of Rocco and Jean Marie (McGinty) Calzone. He was also a co-owner of The Chelsea in Fairfield.

Everyone who had the privilege of calling Steve their friend knew that he loved life, family and friends. He was happiest snorkeling in the Caribbean with his family or boating on the Long Island Sound.

He was a member of the Shore and Country Club where he enjoyed warm summer nights and salt air breezes.

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01/25/17 12:28 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Harold L. Rogers, 96

Harold L. Rogers of Bonita Springs, Florida and Texas, a former Westport resident, died Jan. 13 in Bonita Springs. He was 96.

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Harold L. Rogers: art director. Contributed photo

He was born in 1920 to Harold and Ethel Rogers in Detroit, Michigan. As a young man, he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force where he developed his artistic talent.

After the service, he spent four years at the Pratt Institute School of Art. He spent several years working at the American Management Association in New York City as art and production manager. This led him to an 18-year career as a vice president for the Famous Artists School based in Westport with assignments in the United States. and Europe.

After leaving Famous Artists, he opened his own ad agency, The Rogers Group. He has written many magazine articles on art direction and co-authored a book “How to Make Your Own Picture Frames.” He had a passion for painting, boating and fishing.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

James B. Schryver, 93

James Burton Schryver of Fall River Mills, California, a former Westport resident, died Jan. 11. He was 93.

He was born in Orange, New Jersey, to Edson and Elizabeth Schryver. After graduating from Staples High School in Westport, he enrolled in the engineering program at Cornell University in 1941.

Before completing his degree, he enlisted in the Army in 1943 and ultimately became part of the U.S. involvement in World War II. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge and remained in Europe after the war as a first lieutenant., responsible for relocating German prisoners of war.

In 1946, he returned home and resumed his education at Cornell, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in mechanical engineering. In 1949 he moved to Reno, Nevada, and worked for Dean Witter as a stockbroker.

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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Documentarian Bill Buckley, 88

By James Lomuscio

UPDATE (adds memorial service) Bill Buckley, the longtime Westport, award-winning documentarian who created campaign films for Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson plus a television series with Harry Truman, worked up until his death Friday at 88.

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Bill Buckley: filmmaker, jazz lover. Dave Matlow /WN photo

“The day he died he got a request for a film,” his wife Judith Hamer said tonight at Meadow Ridge Senior Living Community in Redding, where they have lived since 2007.

Buckley said Meadow Ridge was close enough to Westport, a town where he wanted to be but said had little senior housing.

His film company B&B Productions, which closed upon his death, was his bread and butter. It produced legal, medical films for litigating plaintiffs to show damages they incurred.

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Bill Buckley, 88, Documentary Filmmaker


Scenes from the life of award-winning documentary filmmaker Bill Buckley, a longtime Westport resident. He died Jan. 20 at age 88. He most recently lived at Meadow Ridge in Redding with wife Judy Hamer, also a longtime Westporter. Many of his documentaries involved the civil and human rights movements. He worked closely with the late Westport author and illustrator Tracy Sugarman (his death coming four years to the day after Sugarman’s.) He helped to create campaign films for John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, and worked with Harry Truman on the award-winning television series, “Years of Decision.” Dave Matlow, Larry Untermeyer and Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com and contributed photos

01/22/17 03:56 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

John T. Valiante, 28

John T. Valiante of Westport died Jan. 17 in Greenbrae, California. He was 28.

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John T. Valiante: musician Contributed photo

Born on April 16, 1988 in Norwalk, he was a son of Bart and Anne Valiante and a lifelong Westport resident.

He was a singer, songwriter, and a passionate musician. He was a fisherman, a carpenter as well as a licensed mechanic; — a Jack of all trades.

He had a heart of gold and would give you the shirt off his back. He made a special connection to everyone he touched, especially seen in his bond with animals

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