Monday, December 11, 2023



Westport’s George Silk, Famed Life Photographer, Dead at 87

Famed Life magazine photographer George Silk stands before his photos at a Westport Arts Center reception in September 2003. Silk, 87, died at Norwalk Hospital Saturday of congestive heart failure. He had been in failing health for several years. For a selection of Silk’s photos, including the one of the pregnant cow above, click here. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

Bernice Corday, Westport-Weston United Way Executive, Dies

Bernice Corday: community mourns her loss.  Contributed photo
Bernice Corday, the longtime executive director of the Westport-Weston United Way, has died after a four-month struggle with cancer, the organization said. She was 57.

Corday, a resident of Brookfield, Conn., died in Danbury Hospital Friday night surrounded by her family, an announcement said.

Corday had been executive director of the non-profit group for more than 20 years and had been active in the United Way for 30 years as well as numerous other local civic organizations.

“She was really the fabric of the United Way,” said Mimi Greenlee, a past president of the Westport-Weston United Way.  “She was so pivotal to our community and made such a great difference in the lives of many people.”

She is survived by her husband, Neil, a son, Jeremy, of Orlando, Fla.; a brother, George Brennock and his wife June, of Cincinnati; and two nephews: Joshua Brennock and Seth Brennock.

A memorial service will be held Sunday, Nov. 7 at 2 p.m. at the United Jewish Center, 141 Deerhill Road, Danbury.

Leroy H. Ellis, Longtime Westporter, Dies at 82

Leroy H. Ellis, a longtime Westporter known for his kind and gentle manner who was a frequent guest at the weekly Town Hall brown bag lunches, has died at the age of 82.leroyellis100.jpg
Leroy H. Ellis: dies at age 82.WN photo

The former singer and owner of a house cleaning business had been in ill health for some time. He succumbed Wednesday morning at Norwalk Hospital, where he had been hospitalized for two weeks, said his wife, Venora.

Venora and Leroy Ellis were one of the town’s oldest black couples and were known to generations of Westporters. They frequently attended First Selectwoman Diane G. Farrell’s weekly luncheons, not far from their home on Gorham Avenue.

They met at Tougaloo College in Mississippi where they both went to school.

Venora spent summers in Westport, as many of her teachers were from New England. She moved here in 1942 because she had a scholarship to Teachers College at Columbia and Leroy followed a few years later.

Westport Man Dies in Greens Farms Road Accident

Police and fire officials confer at accident scene in front of sheared pole. photo
A Westport man died today when his pickup truck clipped a utility pole on Greens Farms Road and flipped over, police said.

The victim was later identified by police as Robert H. Bradley, 57.

The accident occurred shortly after 11 a.m. near the 55 Greens Farms Road office complex.

Witnesses said the vehicle was westbound on Greens Farms Road when it sudenly veered to the left, crossed the eastbound lane, struck the utility pole, and then rolled over, according to a police press statement.

The upper half of the pole remained intact while the bottom was sheared off by the impact.

One police officer on the scene said it was possible Bradley may have suffered some kind of medical episode before the accident—a heart attack or seizure—but that will not be known until an autopsy is conducted.

A witness told police that Bradley’s vehicle nearly crashed head-on with a car coming in the opposite direction but that the woman driver swerved in time.

Longtime Westporter Martin J. Hamer Dies at 72

Longtime resident Martin J. Hamer, an author, entrepreneur and former employee of IBM, died Friday at his Westport home. He was 72.

Hamer, who was active in local causes, was editor with his wife Judith of the 1994 book “Centers of the Self: Stories by Black American Women, From the Nineteenth Century to the Present.”

His first work won him an Atlantic Monthly First Award in the early 1960s. His writings were included in several short story anthologies. He was a former columnist for the Westport News and had been published on the op-ed page of The New York Times.

In addition to his wife of 41 years, he is survived by three daughters, two sisters, and five grandchildren. A memorial service will be held Tuesday at 1 p.m. at the Saugatuck Congregational Church in Westport.

Longtime Westporter Stanley A. Barnett Dies at 83

Stanley A. Barnett, a longtime Westporter who served as an alternate on the Planning and Zoning Commission and was active in the Westport League of Women Voters, has died at the age of 83.barnett88.jpg

His son, Don, said his father died Monday at Waterbury Hospital after a brief illness.

Barnett moved to Heritage Village in Southbury in 2000 after living in Westport for more than 40 years. But he returned here frequently for town events and the occasional Town Hall brown bag lunch.

Westport First Selectwoman Diane G. Farrell, who appointed Barnett as one of her representatives to the Southwest Regional Planning Agency, said she was saddened by his passing.

Tony Randall Played at Westport Country Playhouse

Actor Tony Randall, who died Tuesday at the age of 84, had a Westport connection at the Westport Country Playhouse.

Records show he directed 1953’s “Down in the Valley” and acted in 1959’s “Arms and the Man” at the Westport landmark.

He also participated in a benefit for flood victims at Hartford’s Bushnell Memorial in 1955, according to the Hartford Courant.

Westporter John Vlahos, TV Writer, Dies at 87

John Vlahos, a scriptwriter who earned an Emmy for “The Defenders,” has died at his Westport home. He was 87.

A native of Springfield, Ohio, Vlahos grew up working in the family restaurant,
playing violin and acting in school plays and local theater.

After graduating from Carnegie Mellon University, he moved to New York City to become an actor, but segued into writing instead.

Vlahos served as a Navy lieutenant in the South Pacific during World War II,
and then returned to New York, where he wrote sketches for a Broadway musical review called “New Faces.”

Richard Mott, Veteran Staples Social Studies Teacher, Dies

Richard Mott, a longtime social studies teacher at Staples High School, has died unexpectedly at his Monroe home, students at the school were told today.mott75.jpg

He was 54 and, according to a biography on the Staples Web site, had taught at the school since 1971.

Joyce Losen, a spokesperson for the school system, confirmed Mott’s death but said she had no details.

Update (4/14/2004): In a message Wednesday to parents, Staples principal John Brady said Mott took his own life with a gun at his home Monday afternoon.

“Rich had taught at Staples for more than 30 years, and will be remembered as a wonderful teacher and fine human being,” Brady said.

William W. Mraz Sr. 85

William Watkins Mraz Sr. of Watertown, a foremer Westport resident, died March 25 in Waterbury. He was 85.

He was the husband of Madeleine A. “Queenie” (O-Connell) Mraz. He was born in Bridgeport, on Jan. 24, 1919, son of the late Wenczel and Jessie (Watkins) Mraz. He lived in the Black Rock section of Bridgeport until 1956, when he moved with his family to Westport, where he resided until moving to the Watertown area in 1987.

He graduated from Bassick High School and attended the University School (now the University of Bridgeport). He married Madeleine Anne O-Connell in Bridgeport, on Dec. 4, 1948.

An accomplished athlete, he played for the Bridgeport Tigers semi-pro football team and was offered a scholarship to Syracuse University at the outset of World War II. He chose to serve his country in the U.S. Army and was a World War II veteran.