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Friday, June 30, 2017

Rita V. Hooper, 91

Rita Vigilante Hooper of Westport and Fairfield died June 28 at home. She was 91.

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Rita Hooper: Staples graduate. Contributed photo

The wife of the late Raymond Lee Hooper for over 61 years was born in 1925 to the late Michael and Rose Vigilante. She grew up in Westport and graduated from Staples High School.

She attended the University of Connecticut before meeting her future husband Raymond on Martha’s Vineyard. They were married in 1948 and moved to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil where they lived for seven years before returning to Westport.

In her earlier years, she served as society editor for the Westport Town Crier and at Columbia University in New York. In her later years, she was an active member of the Town of Westport, spending years working for the town in various capacities.

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06/30/17 10:38 AM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Angela P. Chiaia, 89

Angela Palmer Chiaia, a former Westport resident, died June 21 in Tucson, Arizona. She was 89.

She was born in Westport on Sept. 11, 1927 and attended Staples High School. She married Nicolas Chiaia in 1952, and they had five children and a wonderful life together, married for 59 years. She was active in the community.

Nick and Angela went on a five-year trip in which they lived in their motor home and had the opportunity to visit every state and all of the National Parks, Canada and Mexico. They also spent a significant amount of time vacationing in Europe.

In 1980, they settled in Donna, Texas in the Rio Grande Valley. Angela was a mentor and taught elementary students reading and language arts. They also loved to dance and would often travel to different parks to show off their considerable dancing skills.

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06/28/17 11:01 PM Comments () • Permalink

Edward J. Butner, Jr. 93

Edward “Ed” John Butner, Jr., a native Westporter and a former resident of Nantucket, Massachusetts, died June 16. He was 93.

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Ed Butner: ‘41 Staples grad. Contributed photo

He was born Nov. 13, 1923 and was the oldest child of Susie Lanzo Butner and Edward John Butner, Sr. He graduated from Staples High School in 1941. He was a good student, Boy Scout and he sang in the school choral group.

He entered the Army Air Force on Oct. 23, 1942 and after basic training he was deployed to Lavenham, England and became a member of the 487th Bomb Group of the 8th Air Force, known as the “Gentlemen from Hell.” He was a B-17 radio operator and waist gunner. 

He received the Air Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, and three Battle Stars. 

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06/28/17 03:50 PM Comments () • Permalink

Eileen K. Helisch, 58

Eileen Kosan Helisch of Bridgeport, a former Westport resident, died June 21. She was 58.

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Eileen Helisch:  Staples grad. Contributed photo

She was the daughter of Shirley Kosan and her late father George Kosan. Born in Oak Park, Illinois; from the age of 3 to 7 she lived in Europe and then later resided in Garden City, New York and in Westport, where she was a graduate of Staples High School and finally many years in Bridgeport where she graduated from the University of Bridgeport with a B.S. degree.

She touched many lives with her unconditional love and kind nature. As a member of the Cathedral Parrish, she served for several years as a Eucharistic Minister at St Augustine Church. She adored her sweet kitties Barney and Pebbles, she loved her mom very much and helped care for her for the past several years.

Friends are invited to attend a graveside service on Friday June 30 at 2 p.m. at Mt. Grove Cemetery in Bridgeport, enter main gate and follow Larson signs to the site.


06/28/17 11:50 AM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Tom A. Aquila, 93

Tom A. Aquila of Weston died June 24. He was 93.

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Tom Aquila: former Weston superintendent. Contributed photo

Born in New Haven on June 11, 1924, he was the son of the late Thomas Aquila and Ann Salvati Aquila.

He grew up with three siblings on Frank Street in New Haven, marrying Louise Cusano, a marriage of 62 years. They raised two children in North Haven and Weston. He became a beloved mentor to his many nieces, nephews, in-laws, friends and neighbors.

He graduated from Commercial High School in 1942 and was awarded the Purple Heart and Silver Star, serving as a sergeant in the 36th Calvary Squadron during World War II.

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06/27/17 05:10 PM Comments () • Permalink

Lawrence G. Genovesi, 83

Lawrence G. Genovesi of Westport died Jan. 24. He was 83.

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Lawrence G. Genovesi: Air Force veteran. Contributed photo

Born in Springfield, Massachusetts, he was raised in Rockville and went on to a lifetime of service in the U.S. Air Force stationed at the Air Force Academy, Hamburg, Germany and NATO headquarters in Oslo, Norway, among other countries.

He joined the military with dreams of playing the sax, however as fate would have it, he found a higher meaning for his life in helping others as a paramedic and medic in emergency rooms for over 20 years, literally saving lives and touching many.

After distinguished service as a master sergeant in the Air Force, he went on to graduate with honors from Northeastern University.

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06/27/17 11:11 AM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Carolyn W. Meyer, 75

Carolyn W. Meyer, wife of the well-known late Westporter Bill Meyer, died June 6. She was 75.

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Carolyn and Bill Meyer at a 2013 Levitt Pavilion event. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

She was born in Washington, D.C. on May 2, 1942 and moved to Westport in 1977.

She was known to her many friends and family as joyful, gentle, and kind with a beautiful smile.

Of the many gifts Carolyn shared, her greatest was friendship which she offered to everyone and anyone she met.

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06/22/17 05:03 PM Comments () • Permalink

Barbara Papstein, 79

Barbara Papstein of Eureka, California,  former Westport resident, died May 26 from complications of congestive heart failure. She was 79.

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Barbara Papstein: met husband at Staples. Contributed photo

Born on Sept. 9, 1938 in New York City, she was raised in Garden City, Long Island, New York. Her family moved to Westport during her senior year in high school.

She attended the University on Connecticut (U-Conn) at Storrs. During her year at Staples High School, she met Hugo and they married two years later in 1958.

She was a partner in Eureka Broadcasting Company (KINS-KEKA-KWSW-KEJY in Eureka, California and KURY AM-KURY FM in Brookings, Oregon)

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06/22/17 04:32 PM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Ann M. Carissimi, 92

Ann M. (Delano) Carissimi of Fairfield, a former Westport resident, died June 10. She was 92.

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Ann Carissimi: Staples grad. Contributed photo

She was born in Westport on Nov. 26, 1924, the daughter of Joseph and Carmela Delano. She attended Staples High School and graduated in 1942 as the class salutatorian. She received a full scholarship to the Junior College of Connecticut and was elected class president.

Subsequently, she was employed by the Manning, Maxwell and Moore Company where she met her future husband, Vincent.

She became a Fairfield resident when she and Vincent were married in 1951 and was a charter member of the St. Pius X Church parish in Fairfield.

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06/15/17 11:10 AM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Playwright A. R. ‘Pete’ Gurney, 86

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Playwright and author A.R. “Pete” Gurney, whose works focusing on the quirks and barely concealed anxieties of the privileged class were seen frequently by Westport Country Playhouse audiences, died Tuesday at his Manhattan apartment. He was 86. He is pictured with Mark Lamos, Playhouse artistic director, on July 25, 2015 at the world premiere at the Playhouse of Gurney’s “Love and Money.” Not only were several Gurney plays performed at the Playhouse, but Gurney and his wife Molly attended many other opening night performances there. In addition to “Love and Money,” other Gurney productions at the Playhouse include “The Dining Room” and “The Cocktail Hour.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


06/14/17 09:47 PM Comments () • Permalink

Shirley R. Doyle, 96

Shirley R. Doyle of Denver, Colorado, a former Westport resident, died June 4, one week before her 97th birthday.

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Shirley Doyle: former Westporter. Contributed photo

Born in Brooklyn, New York, she and her husband Harry moved to Westport in 1953 where they raised their five children. 

She volunteered at Saint Luke Church and the Fairfield Junior League. She worked at the Pottery Corner in the 1970s and 1980s. 

She loved playing tennis with her longtime friends. A favorite pastime was walking the beaches and collecting sea glass. She enjoyed playing bingo at the Westport Senior Center. She moved to Colorado in 2011.

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06/14/17 07:58 PM Comments () • Permalink

Arthur Marciano, 88

Arthur Marciano, a longtime Westport resident and teacher, died June 12. He was 88.

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Arthur Marciano: former Westport teacher. Contributed photo

Born in Waterbury on Oct.14, 1928, he was the son of the late Anthony Marciano and Giaconda Perugini. 

He was the youngest of seven children, and upon the premature death of his parents, raised by his sisters. 

After starting a business, Arthur’s Flowers, he entered military service for two years. He went on to attend Central Connecticut State College on the GI bill.  He subsequently earned two master’s degrees from Columbia University’s Teachers College.

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06/14/17 12:07 PM Comments () • Permalink

Andrew P. Fain, 64

Andrew (Andy) Paul Fain of Huntington Beach, California, a former Westport resident, died April 27 after a brief illness. He was 64.

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Andrew Fain: Staples grad. Contributed photo

He was born Oct. 6, 1952 to the late Howard Fain and Joan (Katten) Fain in West Hartford, where he resided with his parents and brother Michael.

His father and hero, Howard Fain, was a captain in the 82nd Airborne Division of the U.S. Army. He was severely wounded during the Battle of the Bulge and died at age 42 when Andy was just 11 years old.

Three years later, his mother married Edwin Lasner, an industrial realtor and former Navy Seabee in Westport, with two sons, Mark and Stephen.

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06/14/17 11:29 AM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

James F. McFeely, 76

James F. McFeely of Westport died June 11 at home. He was 76. 

The husband of the late Mary Roberts McFeely was born in Brooklyn, New York. He worked as a teacher and enjoyed translating the classics from Greek and Latin into English. He also wrote poetry.

Hw is survived by his four children: Helen McFeely of New Mexico, Madeleine McFeely of Norwalk, Friar Jude, Mary of the Previous Blood, FI, of Griswold, and Mary McFeely of Argentina, eight grandchildren, and a sister-in-law, Frances McFeely as well as his nieces and nephews: Thomas, Joan, John, Mary, Kathleen and Michael.

His family will receive friends on Wednesday, June 14, from 5 p.n. to 8 .m. at the Magner Funeral Home, 12 Mott Ave, Norwalk. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 a.m. on Thursday. at Assumption Church, Westport with burial to follow at Assumption Cemetery, Greens Farms.


06/13/17 11:04 AM Comments () • Permalink

Monday, June 05, 2017

Bernard W. Pianka Sr., 93

Bernard W. Pianka Sr. of Westport died June 2 at Brookdale Assisted Living in Wilton. He was 93.

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Bernard W. Pianka Sr.: Navy veteran. Contributed photo

The husband of the late Dolores R. Pianka was born in Troupe, Pennsylvania on June 15, 1923 and was the son of the late Walter and Stella Fiedorczyk Pianka.

He was a U.S. Navy veteran who served on the South Pacific forward air base in Okinawa. 

He retired after a several decades career at ExxonMobil. He is also fondly remembered for his time working as a waiter at the Arrow restaurant during the 1960s. 

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06/05/17 04:52 PM Comments () • Permalink

Manuel Diaz, Jr., 63

Manuel Diaz, Jr. of Norwalk died June 4 at Connecticut Hospice in Branford after battling Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. He was 63.

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Manuel Diaz, Jr. : former synagogue employee. Contributed photo

Born Oct. 4, 1953 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, he was the son of the late Manuel and Angela Diaz-Zayas. He was a retired facilities manager for The Conservative Synagogue of Westport and was currently employed with ShopRite, Norwalk, in the produce department.

A hard-working family man, he was an avid Yankee fan and took great pride in watching his children participate in all of their sports.

He is survived by his wife of 30 years, Lori (Milici) Diaz and their three sons, Joseph (Bibiana Yoguez), Michael, and Daniel Diaz all of Norwalk. He is also survived by his daughter, Carmen Diaz of Long Branch, New Jersey and his son Manuel (Allison) Diaz III of Atlanta, Georgia, his brother, Efrain (Migdalia) Diaz, seven grandchildren and several nieces, nephews, relatives and friends. In addition to his parents, he is also predeceased by his sister, Carmen Milagros Diaz.

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06/05/17 04:14 PM Comments () • Permalink

Saturday, June 03, 2017

John A. Creatura, 84

John Anthony Creatura of Westport died June 3. He was 84.

He was born in Bridgeport, the son of Grazio and Lena Creatura. He was a graduate of Fairfield Prep, of Yale College and of the Yale School of Medicine.

He served in the U.S. Army from 1967 to 1969, achieving the rank of lieutenant colonel. 

He spent his medical career with Bridgeport Radiology Associates and retired as chief of nuclear medicine at Bridgeport Hospital. 

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06/03/17 02:05 PM Comments () • Permalink

Friday, June 02, 2017

Brian R. Orrico, 60

Brian Richard Orrico of Bloomingdale, Georgia, a former Westport resident, died March 21 at home. He was 60.

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Brian Orrico: Staples graduate. Contributed photo

He was born Aug. 1, 1956 in Jersey City, New Jersey to James and Marion (Brooks). As a child, he lived in East Brunswick, New Jersey and Westport. He is a graduate of Staples High School and a veteran of the U.S. Army. 

He worked for the last decade for the Economic Opportunity Authority in Savannah and was a Deacon at the Guyton Christian Church. He was an avid volunteer. 

He was a kind and caring person with a strong faith and work ethic in everything he did. He had a wonderful sense of humor and wit, along with an incredible memory and intelligence.

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06/02/17 11:40 AM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Michele M. Smith, 68

Michele (Miki) Smith died May 25 at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City following cardiac surgery. She was 68.

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Michele Smith: Staples graduate. Contributed photo

She was born March 7, 1949 in Schenectady, New York. She moved to Westport in 1964 with her family. She graduated from Staples High School and Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia.

She worked various jobs through her life and was happiest when spending time with her family and friends.

She was predeceased by her parents Clifford E. and Mary Finnerty Smith. She is survived by her brother Stephen (Linda) Smith and sisters Karen (Wayo) Yegen, Nancy Smith and Judith (James) Deegan. She is also survived by four nieces, four nephews, one great niece and three great nephews.

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05/31/17 12:32 PM Comments () • Permalink

Sylvia L. Bell, 80

Sylvia Lee Bell of Westport and Boca Raton, Florida died May 18 at her Boca Raton home. She was 80.

The “most beautiful red- head in the world” was the wife of Samuel Bell Senior. Born on Jan. 23, 1937 in Louisville, Kentucky, she was the daughter of Pearl and Stanley Hatch.

After spending her childhood and young adult years in Kentucky, she earned her degree in finance and later pursued a career in New England.

She loved life and was devoted to her family and friends. She was passionate about entertaining and was an accomplished cook. She will be remembered for her gourmet meals, family gatherings and celebrations.

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05/31/17 11:51 AM Comments () • Permalink

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