Wednesday, February 21, 2024



Margaret Sawch, 90

Margaret Johnston “Mo” Sawch, a longtime resident of Weston, Westport and Fairfield, died June 9, one day shy of her 91st birthday.

She was born on June 10, 1927 in Larchmont, New York, the daughter of the late Joseph and Eugenie Johnston. She graduated from the Ursuline School in New Rochelle, New York and Georgetown Visitation in Washington, D.C. 

While in Washington, she met her husband, Walter Sawch who graduated from Georgetown University. Mo and Wally were happily married for almost 58 years.

Mo enjoyed many passions including tennis, golf, music and most of all, gardening. She was also very committed to community service and was actively involved with Weston Girl Scouts, Westport Young Women’s League and the Weston Parent Teacher Association. 

Robert T. Duffy, 86

Robert Thomas Duffy of Lecanto, Florida, a former Westport resident, died July 4 at Norwalk Hospital. He was 86.

He was born at home in Westport on Sept. 22, 1931 and had resided in Westport for 68 years prior to moving to Florida.

He is known as Westport’s most avid clammer. He played football and baseball for Staples High School and in 1978 received the Sportsman of the Year award from the Westport Sportsman Club. 

He was also proud of the fact that he served in the honor guard for the Nash Engineering Band. A U.S. Army veteran, he was a member of the VFW Post 4252 in Florida, the Joseph Clinton VFW Post 399 in Westport and the American Legion Post 237.

James M. Lillis Jr., 76

James M. Lillis Jr, of Southport, a former Westport resident, died July 4 at home. He was 76.

He was born Oct. 30, 1941 and was raised in Westport, where he attended the Westport schools, having graduated from Staples High School in 1959.

He continued his education at Cornell University, earning a B.S. and an MBA degree. While at Cornell earning his graduate degree in marketing,

He married his sweetheart, Ann Buford, on Feb. 1, 1964. Upon graduating from Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management, Jim and Ann moved back to Westport. Jim then began his career at General Foods, and spent 35 years in the consumer products industry, where his focus was in sales and marketing.

Barbara Ann Van Orden, 88

Barbara Ann Van Orden of Westport died July 1. She was 88. Image
Barbara Ann Van Orden: active in community affairs. Contributed photo

Born on July 3, 1929 to Lucille and John Schneider in South Euclid, Ohio, she grew up with her younger sister Jane in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. She attended Cuyahoga Falls High School. 

She was 14 when she first met the love of her life Paul Van Orden. They married in 1950. She graduated from Bowling Green State University. Her studies in sociology were a good match for her lifelong interest in people. 
Barbara possessed a rare combination of warmth, intelligence, and humor. She loved art, history, traveling, gardening, and later in life, her summer home in Nantucket. 

But most of all she loved her family, and all the meaningful traditions that went with celebrating a full life with her husband, two daughters and four grandchildren. 

Henry W. McIver, Jr., 96

Henry (“Hank”) Walker McIver, Jr., a Westport resident for 25 years, died June 29 in Rochester, New York. He was 96. Image
Hank McIver: former Westporter. Contributed photo

He grew up in Rochester and attended the Mechanics Institute (presently RIT) as an art student. 

In 1942, he joined the U.S. Army, serving in North Africa and Italy with the 5th Army Signal Corps unit attached to the 2nd Moroccan Infantry Division, and later with the French Corps.

Returning to the United States, he attended Pratt Institute on the GI Bill.  It was there that he met his future wife, Joan Smith, who survives him after 69 years of marriage.

Loretta Wirth, 91

Loretta Wirth, 91, of St. Petersburg, Florida, a former Westport resident, died April 11. She was 91. Image
Loretta Wirth: former Westporter. Contributed photo

Formerly also of Inverness, Florida, she was wife, mother and a beloved grandmother of seven and great grandmother of five.

She is predeceased by her husband of 64 years, Lewis A. Wirth, and daughter Cindy Kerrigan.

She is survived by her sister Marge Harmeyer of Florida and brother Michael DePalmer and his wife Vicky of Tennessee; son Lewis A Wirth III and wife Pam of Westport; daughters Sandra Beardsley and husband Dave, of St. Petersburg, and Wendy Spencer and husband Kevin of Inverness. A celebration of life to be held at a later date.

Florence Dohanos, 83

Florence Marie Dohanos, a lifelong resident of Westport, died June 24. She was 83.

She was born in Norwalk on June 12, 1935, the daughter of the late Anthony and Mary (Sadowski) Klemish. 

She was a 1953 graduate of Staples High School and worked for the Town of Westport first in the Town Clerk’s Office and then for the Parks and Recreation Department. She was an avid painter and she loved the outdoors, especially the beach.

Survivors include three daughters: Karen Clark and her husband Kevin of Westport, Linda Dohanos of Sandy Hook, Jennifer Dohanos of Fairfield, one brother: William Klemish and his wife Marilyn of Parrish, Florida, and two granddaughters: Eleanora and Tatiana Gillchrist. In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by one sister, Antoinette Rideg.

Walter H. Papstein, 78

Walter H. Papstein, a former Westport resident, died June 23 in New Hampshire. He was 78.

He was born Feb. 6, 1940, was raised in Westport, and was a 1958 graduate of Staples High School.

There are no public calling hours. A memorial mass will be held on Saturday, July 14 at 11 a.m. at the Sacred Heart Church,  North Stratford, with The Rev. Daniel Deveau as celebrant.

Interment will occur at a later date in the Willowbrook Cemetery in Westport.

Robert M. Perlstein, 87

Robert Martin Perlstein, a former Westport resident who was responsible for numerous innovations in media operations and creative program development, died June 16 at Stamford Hospital. He was 87. Image
Robert Perlstein: ad exec. Contributed photo

Better known as Bob or Perlie, he died of complications from pneumonia. He had been hospitalized the prior week. He was 10 days short of his 88th birthday.

He had an illustrious 30-plus year career in advertising, his beloved field.

He started early on at a church bulletin board company, W.L. Clark in the late 1940s, and then spent two years (1951-52) in the Army during the Korean conflict.