Wednesday, April 17, 2024



Joan Burman, 73

Joan Burman of Westport died June 2 at home. She was 73. Image
Joan Burman: former teacher. Contributed photo

Born in Bridgeport on Oct. 21, 1945, she was the daughter of the late Benjamin and Blanche Miller. She graduated from the University of Bridgeport and received her Master’s degree from Fairfield University.

She was a longtime elementary and special education teacher in the Fairfield public schools. She was adored by her students and she adored them.

She enjoyed playing bridge, golfing, boating on Long Island Sound, winters on Longboat Key and summers on Martha’s Vineyard.

Steffi Friedman, 94, Prominent Sculptor

Prominent Westport sculptor Steffi Friedman died May 31. She was 94. Image
Steffi Friedman: loved teaching. Alison Wachstein photo

She had been a Westport resident since 1952 and took part in innumerable community activities. She was best known for her artistic talent and love of teaching.

Her sculpture was in private, public and museum collections worldwide. In Westport her sculpture can be viewed in the courtyard at Temple Israel.

She was born in Berlin, Germany in 1925. Much information about her early life and that of her family can be found in the material she donated to the archives of the Jewish Museum in Berlin and the interview she did with the Shoah Foundation.

Barbara Aber, 83

Barbara Aber (nee Cahane), a longtime Westport resident, died May 31. She was 83. Image
Barbara Aber: art teacher, painter. Contributed photo

She first came to Westport in the 1950s to be a set dresser and designer for Lucille Lortel and the White Barn Theatre. She always enjoyed the town and, in 1965 she and her husband, Bert Aber, bought the house she still lived in on Partrick Road.

Bert and Barbara were instrumental in the preservation of the 22-acre Partrick Wetlands open space.

Barbara graduated from Brandeis University and received her master’s degree from Columbia University. She went on to become the chief executive officer of a financial management company, but enjoyed the marketing aspect of her firm most.

Steven Della Rocca, 64

Steven Della Rocca of Southport died May 27. He was 64. Image
Steven Della Rocca: well-known attorney. Contributed photo

He was born in Brooklyn, New York on March 17, 1955 to Joan and Dominick Della Rocca. He grew up in Upper Brookville, New York and attended Locust Valley High School.

Steve was a Benjamin Franklin Scholar at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, earning his B.S. in 1977 and his J.D. from the New York University School of Law in 1980.

He joined law firm Latham & Watkins LLP’s Los Angeles office in 1980 and spent 25 years at the firm in the New York City office until 2010.

John B. Zembsch, 65

John Brandt Zembsch, a longtime resident of Weston and former Westport resident, died May 27. He was 65. Image
Brandt Zembsch: global traveler. Contributed photo

An Army brat, he was born Nov. 2, 1953 in Fort Sill, Oklahoma. He grew up in Fremont, California (the San Francisco Bay Area), where he began a life devoted to family, friends, adventure and fun.

As a child, Brandt’s many joys included leading his younger brothers as they romped around their family cabin in Yosemite National Park; winning a league championship as a high school miler; diving off any cliff he could find; and road tripping all over the United States with his high school friends.

He was a seasoned global traveler at age 17, a passion he enjoyed throughout his life, as he and wife Gail enjoyed six continents together.

Judith M. Brown, 70

Judith M. Brown of Westport died May 24 at home after a brief illness. She was 70.

She was the wife of Robert E. Brown for over 53 years. She was born on Feb. 6, 1949 to the late Florence E. and Ralph S. Brown, and was raised in Greens Farms. She resided in Westport with her husband in her childhood home.

She loved to spend time with her family. She loved animals of all kinds. She loved to read and listen to music. Judy loved nature and the beauty of everything life has to offer and was especially fond of Burying Hill Beach.

She adored going to the movies with her lifelong love, Bob. She was our glue, our rock, and a true friend to so many. There are no words to express how deeply we will miss her.

Emma T. Gibbons, 87

Emma T. Gibbons, a longtime resident of Westport, died May 26 at home. She was 87.

She was born in New York City in 1931. She was trained as a nurse at Kings County Hospital in New York and served as a nurse in Virginia, New York and Massachusetts as she raised her children with her husband Jack.

She turned her gentle hand to gardening, volunteering at Saint Luke Catholic Church, caring for her children and grandchildren, and a leading role in Westport’s “Oscarettes” circle of women friends.

She is survived by her children: Patricia, Louise and Michael, and four grandchildren.

Barbara Sametz, 92

Barbara “Bobbi” Weil Sametz, a former Westport resident, died May 24 at Verra Springs in Greensboro, North Carolina. She was 92.

Born in 1926 in Brooklyn, New York, she and her husband Leo Sametz were longtime residents of Westport, where they raised their three children, Roger, Lynn and Steven. Bobbi managed a dual career as homemaker and elementary school teacher in the Westport school system.

A graduate of Mills College, Bobbi volunteered for Hadassah and the Norwalk Hospital, and after her retirement taught English as a second language at Norwalk Community College. She loved cooking and entertaining.

In the 1960s she took her first trip to Italy, which inspired a lifelong love of travel. Of all her accomplishments, she was most proud of her family. She was predeceased by her husband of 56 years, Leo Sametz in 2011 and is survived by her three children, two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Darlene Krenz, 85

Darlene Francis Krenz of Westport died May 20 at the Fairfield County Hospice House in Stamford after a short battle with cancer. She was 85. Image
Darlene Krenz: arts advocate. Contributed photo

She was married to the late Donald Albert Krenz for 41 years. Prior to moving to Westport in 1974, the couple lived in Sleepy Hollow, New York and Manhattan.

She was born in Upsala, Minnesota to Robert and Agnes Ostreich Hedin. Upon moving to New York City, she began working for American Airlines and was a member of their management team for many years.

She was an advocate for the arts. Prior to her death, she spent 14 years as a trustee of the Westport Country Playhouse. She served on the committee of the annual playhouse gala since March 2009, being passionately invested in the auction portion of the event.

Richard M. Altman, 78

Richard M. Altman of Westport died May 18 at home after a valiant battle with brain cancer. He was 78. Image
Richard M. Altman: textile executive, developer. Contributed photo

He was born in Rockville Center, New York, a son of the late Jack and Sylvia Altman.

He grew up in Hewlett Harbor, New York and attended the Salisbury School in Salisbury, Connecticut. He graduated from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York with a B.S. degree in economics in 1963.

His first career was in the textile industry where he served as an executive at Beaunit Corporation and then completed one of the first leveraged buyouts purchasing what then became Beaunit Fabrics Corporation.