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Obituaries

Woody Klein, Journalist, Author, 90

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Woody Klein (l), lifelong journalist, former editor and columnist of the Westport News, died Feb. 11 after a brief illness. He was 90. He is pictured in this 2010 photo with Westport artist Miggs Burroughs with whom he collaborated on a book that chronicles the town’s history: “Westport, Connecticut: The Story of a New England Town’s Rise to Prominence.” The book was sponsored by the Westport Historical Society and was published by Greenwood Press of Westport, on May 28, 2000 –- the 165th anniversary of the town’s founding in 1835. (Full obituary HERE.) (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com

Elihu ‘Woody’ Klein, 90

It was published by Greenwood Press of Westport, on May 28, 2000 -– the 165th anniversary of the town’s founding in 1835.

In his early years, Klein was co-editor of The Fieldston News, a weekly high school newspaper published by the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in the Riverdale section of the Bronx.

He worked as a part-time reporter for The Riverdale Press, a weekly newspaper, and he served as sports editor of the Daily Dartmouth. He earned a B.A. in sociology at Dartmouth and worked as a stringer for The Associated Press, based in Hanover, N.H.

In 1952, he earned an M.S. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He served in the U.S. Army as a Public Information Officer at the headquarters of the Corps of Engineers at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. He was granted a direct commission as a second lieutenant and served in the active reserves until 1961, when he was honorably discharged as a first lieutenant.

Klein eventually became a specialist in investigative and undercover reporting. He began his professional career as a reporter for The Mount Vernon Daily Argus, near his parents’ home in Riverdale. He then worked as a night police and general assignment reporter for The Washington Post and the New York World Telegram & Sun for 10 years.

There, he won numerous awards for his writings. These included a memorable series, “I Lived in a Slum,” which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. The undercover series of full-length articles and photos vividly depicted his experience as a tenant trapped in the filth and squalor of what city officials labeled “the worst slum building in New York City.” The series of articles was selected in 2012 by the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism’s “100 Best Stories” in the school’s history.

At the World-Telegram & Sun, Klein covered poverty, housing, and the civil rights movement. He developed close working relationships with such noted civil rights leaders as the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., whom he interviewed for an hour-long exclusive story in 1965.

Klein was also close to Roy Wilkins, head of the N.A.A.C.P., Whitney M. Young, head of The National Urban League, James Farmer, head of the Congress of Racial Equality, Malcolm X, and Dr. Kenneth B. Clark, a renowned psychologist whose studies played a major role in the U.S. Supreme Court’s unanimous landmark 1954 Brown vs Board of Education decision calling for desegregation in the nation’s public schools.

Klein teamed up with Clark as a fellow at Clark’s Metropolitan Research Center, which advised corporate clients on how to work with the government’s federal affirmative action programs in hiring.

During his newspaper years, Klein served as the moderator of Channel 13 PBS-TV news, working for the late John “Jack” Kiermaier of Westport and former president of the Educational Broadcasting Network (Channel 13 in NY). Klein became an on-air TV investigative reporter for WCBS-TV in New York after he left the World-Telegram & Sun.

Klein spent the next 24 years as a communications executive with IBM, serving the last six years as Editor of Think Magazine, the company’s international employee magazine, published in more than 100 countries. In that job, he traveled extensively and had the privilege of conducting an exclusive interview with Vaclav Havel, then president of Czechoslovakia, for the company magazine.

Klein joined the Westport News in 1992 upon his retirement from IBM. During his tenure as editor from 1992 –- 1998, the newspaper received a nationally-coveted award – the most outstanding in the paper’s history – when it was selected by the Suburban Newspapers of America (SNA) in 1996 as “The Best Community Newspaper in America.”

Brooks Newspapers publisher, the late B.V. Brooks, its president, the late Kevin Lally, and Klein were honored on that occasion.

In addition to writing and editing the Westport News, Klein served as an elected member of the Representative Town Meeting in the 1970s, a member of the board of directors of the United Way of Westport and Weston, and a member of the Advisory Board of the Westport Historical Society.

As a magazine feature writer, Klein contributed numerous articles to Westport Magazine, The Columbia Journalism Review, Connecticut Magazine, Fairfield County Magazine, New York Magazine, The Nation, Commonweal, Pageant, The New Republic, and the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine.

Klein’s first book, “Let in the Sun (1964),” expanded on his award-winning series that examined poverty in a New York slum. He went on to write a book about his experiences as press secretary for Mayor John Lindsay, entitled “Lindsay’s Promise: The Dream that Failed (1970).”

After his career at IBM, he continued writing books, which included the Westport history, and five other books, dealing with national politics and social justice. Following, is a list of their titles:

• “Toward Humanity and Justice: The Writings of Kenneth B. Clark, Scholar of the 1954 Board of Education Decision (2004)”

•  “Liberties Lost: The Endangered Legacy of the ACLU (2006):

•  “All the Presidents’ Spokesmen: Spinning the News; White House Press Secretaries from Franklin D Roosevelt to George W. Bush (2008)”

•  “The Inside Stories of Modern Political Scandals: How Investigative Reporters Have Changed the Course of American History (2010)”

•  “American Poverty: Presidential Failures and a Call to Action (2013)”

Klein is survived by his wife, Audrey, his daughter, Wendy and her husband, Howard Lippitt of Long Beach, California; his niece, Judith Willison and her husband, Joel Haycock, of Cambridge, Massachusetts; his brother-in-law, Paul Lehman, and his wife, Angela of Santa Fe, New Mexico; his nephew Mark Lehman, of New York City; his niece, Pamela Tipping and her husband, Mark (and their children and two grandchildren) of Nazare, Portugal; and his nephew Geoff Lehman, and his wife, Lone, of London, U.K.

Enid H. Munroe, 96

She was a treasured teacher at Silvermine Arts Center, New Canaan, where she later served as a trustee; a founder of the Pequot Library Art Show, Southport, and chair of the Library’s Perkin Gallery, where she curated some 60 shows by regional artists.

Enid was also a gardener and author of the book, “An Artist in the Garden: A Guide to Creative and Natural Gardening,” published by Henry Holt & Co in 1994.

For Enid, the Munroe family was her greatest creation and her deepest joy in life. She was the wife of the late Henry Whitney Munroe and the inspiring mother of four daughters who followed her path in the arts: Victoria Sedgwick Munroe (Saltzman), Antonia Hughes Munroe (Fischer), Olivia Clark Munroe, and Alexandra Kneeland Munroe (Rosenkranz). As the “matriarch of Munroevia,” she was the grandmother of Theodosia, Julia, Turner, Gabriel, Adelaide, Gordon, Michael, and Fiona and great-grandmother of Elsa, Henry, and Theodore.

The legacy of her love, creativity, wisdom, and of all she taught lives on.

Mary G. Lang, 93

With a love of adventure, arts, and culture, Mary traveled extensively during her lifetime, visiting over 30 countries around the world with her children and with friends.

Mary is survived by her sons; Gerry Lang of Westport, and Frank F. Lang and his wife Sudasawan Pitak of Forest Hills, New York; her three grandsons, Adam Mally, David Mally and Benjamin Lang; and her son-in-law Edward P. Mally. She was predeceased by her daughter, Julia Lang Mally and her husband, Frank Lang.

Memorial donations may be made to Planned Parenthood Federation, (http://www.plannedparenthood.org) or The Southern Poverty Law Center, (http://www.splcenter.org).

Paul M. Matik, 82

After years of corporate sales, Mickey aspired to have his own brand and founded Design Cottage, where he created and marketed his line of home furnishings which he later sold to Barth & Dreyfuss of California, Inc. 

Mickey’s final business achievement was the creation of Glenhil, a highly successful importer and supplier of home accessories. It was here, that Mickey’s keen eye for design brought the taste level of department store customers to the mass merchant arena.

Mickey loved all sports, but especially the New York Giants, New York Mets and UCONN Women’s Basketball.  He was a founding member of the Boys Of Summer Softball Team (BOSS) in Westport, and treasured Sunday mornings on the mound spent with many local friends. 

In addition, his ties to his Bronx childhood friends rekindled in recent years through regular get-togethers in their original neighborhood recanting stories from the Pelham Parkway Times.

Mickey is survived by his wife Fran of 59 years, children; Leslie Hahn (Arthur), Amy Berkin (Michael), David Matik (Libia), Scott Matik (Boadicea), his adored grandchildren; Jesse and Sam, Lily and Drew, James and Nicholas, Peyton, Talia and Cooper. Mickey was predeceased by his sister, Marilyn Feiner.

Services will take place on Thursday, Feb. 13 at 10:30 a.m.  from Temple Israel, 14 Coleytown Road, Westport,  with interment following at Temple Israel Cemetery, 225 Richards Ave, Norwalk. Shiva will be observed at the home of Amy Berkin in Weston. 

Memorial contributions may be made to;  Fairfield County Hospice House and Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County.

For more information or to share an online condolence, please visit http://www.greensfuneralhome.com.

Michael K Aitken, 66

He was a kind gentle man that would always be there for you at the drop of a hat.  We will miss him forever.

He is survived by his daughters, the loves of his life, Stefanie Aitken of Bridgeport, Sarah Aitken of Norwalk, his ex-wife and friend Melanie Craig of Bridgeport, his sister-in-law (that became his sister) Bethryn Rogers of Norwalk and was predeceased by his sister Cerys Jones and his parents.

Services will be private.

In lieu of flowers, donations for CT Hospice for all their kindness, compassion and care would be appreciated.

Cynthia Buffinton Mason, 96

Born in Norwood, MA in 1923 and a Mayflower descendant, Cynthia was the daughter of Hazel Dell Sargent and Fred Grosvenor Allman of Sharon. She attended Sharon schools and the University of Massachusetts and loved all the New England communities she lived in.

A naturally gifted athlete and a great lover of the outdoors, Cynthia was an avid tennis player with a long-standing group in Westport, who until her mid-80s, regularly beat her grandsons on the court. She loved skiing, sailing, cruising, bird watching, reading, and gardening and had a great sense of fun and adventure much loved by her entire family.

Cynthia and her second husband, Frank Mason, whose own family has deep Westport roots, spent happy years summering in Groton Long Point along with her large family and many close friends. The Masons also enjoyed winter stays for many years at Ocean’s Reach on Sanibel Island, Florida.

Cynthia’s love of family and her close friendships spanning all ages will remain a source of great strength and comfort to her husband, and to her large family. Her generous spirit welcomed many far-flung friends and acquaintances to family gatherings. She frequently shared the family’s Westport home with those in need of a positive, loving environment.  She was an extraordinary woman who will be deeply missed.

A Celebration of Life for Cynthia Mason will be held Saturday, May 9 at 11 a.m. at the Mystic Congregational Church, followed by a reception at the Casino at Groton Long Point. The burial is private.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the National Audubon Society.

Fernando L. Rincon, 78

Fernando L. Rincon died Feb. 7 at Yale Bridgeport Hospital. He was 78.

He lived his happiest days in Westport for close to 15 years.

He is survived by his wife, Luz A. Rincon, and two sons, Fernando and Fabian Rincon as well as four grandchildren, Alejandro, Nicolas, Sofia and Santiago.

Funeral services will be held Wednesday, Feb. 12 at noon at Saint Luke Catholic Church, 9 Turkey Hill Road North, Westport.

Sandra Cordts, 46

An individual dedicated to her family and friends, she is also survived by her brothers, Michael and Nick Casolino of Norwalk, sisters, Gulia Modugno of Cronwall, New York and Domenica Casolino of Trumbull as well as eight nieces and nephews.

Family and friends are invited to attend a funeral on Saturday, Feb. 8 at 11 . a.m.,meeting directly at Our Lady of Assumption Church 98 Riverside Ave. Westport for a Mass of Christian Burial. Interment will follow in Hillside Cemetery 70 Ridgefield Road. Wilton.

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

Those wishing to send flowers, they should be sent directly to Our Lady of Assumption Church by 10: a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 8,

Condolences for the Cordts family may be left online at http://www.hardingfuneral.com.

David A. Jacqmin, 72

David earned his Ph.D. in applied physics from Harvard University in 1983, after which the family moved to Shaker Heights, Ohio, where they lived for the next 34 years.

After a two-year stint working for Standard Oil of Ohio, he joined NASA Glenn Research Center, where he worked for nearly 30 years before retiring as a principal investigator/senior research engineer in 2014.

During his time at NASA, he published numerous research papers. The paper he considered his best (“Very, Very Fast Wetting”) was published in the Journal of Fluid Mechanics in 2002. It showed how it is possible to coat fibers and flat surfaces at very high capillary numbers.

David was also a musician, and-after playing the French horn as a teenager in the Connecticut All State Band-took up the instrument again in the mid-90s. He played for many years with the Shaker Symphony, a community orchestra.

David loved being outdoors, and was always the first to wade into any body of water he came across—regardless of whether he packed swim trunks.

He was an avid traveler, taking his family on numerous trips, perhaps most memorably to Nantucket, the Jersey shore, and Napa Valley.

He was a voracious reader who loved James Thurber, Djuna Barnes, “The Wind in the Willows,” “Mistress Masham’s Repose,” and poetry. And he loved to eat-especially ice cream.

After being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2004, David became active with the InMotion nonprofit center and the Parkinson Education Program of Greater Cleveland.

He is survived by his wife of almost 43 years, Maxine; daughters Hilary Jacqmin (husband David Fishman) and Laura Jacqmin (partner James Tasch); sister Deborah Jacqmin Kramer and brother-in-law Gregory Kramer; niece Alex Kramer; granddaughter Violet Ada Fishman; and many cousins.

Donations may be made in his memory to InMotion (beinmotion.org) and the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes (shakerlakes.org).