UPDATE Staples High School informed students, teachers and parents today that Christopher Lemone, youth outreach counselor at the school for 17 years, died unexpectedly on Sunday. He was 49 and lived in Bethel.
Chris Lemone: died unexpectedly. Contributed photo
“It is with a heavy heart that I report to you that Mr. Chris Lemone, our Youth Outreach Counselor and TAG advisor, passed away unexpectedly yesterday,” Staples Principal Mark Karagus said in an email to students and in an announcement read over the school’s public address system.
“Mr. Lemone had worked with Staples students over the past 17 years, and will be missed by the entire Staples community. Our deepest thoughts and sympathy go out to the Lemone family and all of their friends.”
He added: “Many students and faculty members may need support today. Counselors will be available throughout the day in the Academic Study Hall room across from the cafeteria, in Mr. Lemone’s office, and in the guidance office.”
Some students had to remove themselves from class to regain their composure upon hearing the announcement, according to one student.
Lemone, an employee of the Westport Department of Human Services, was an adviser to the Staples Teen Awareness Group (TAG), a student club whose members meet weekly to plan and implement programs which focus on youth issues and highlight positive alternatives to risky behaviors.
“We are all heartbroken with this news,” said a Staples student who worked with Lemone in TAG.
“He was an amazing man. His office was a home-at-school to many students, always being able to just walk in and sit on his couch to talk or just grab a quick piece of candy.
“His passing is extremely difficult to students and the faculty that have worked with him.”
The student said all TAG members were called to Lemone’s office ahead of the public announcement to break the news of his death.
In addition to his work at Staples, Lemone was owner and licensed professional counselor at Lemone Consulting, LLC in Wilton as well as a partner and counselor in Substance Abuse Assessment Associates, also in Wilton, according to his LinkedIn profile.
No details of his death were announced, although word circulated at school that he died of an apparent heart attack.
Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe said in a statement: “He will be sorely missed by his co-workers, high school parents and, most importantly, the many students at Staples High School for whom he was an outstanding source of comfort and guidance.”
He added: “The numbers of TAG participants and related programs have grown enormously throughout the years, in great measure because of Chris’ involvement.”
Barbara Butler, director of the Department of Human Services, said: “TAG has become a part of the fabric of the Staples High School Community, and Chris was justifiably proud of the TAG students and what they accomplished year after year.
“His thoughtful guidance was a key element in the group’s success. Chris was a wonderful man, teacher, counselor, mentor, and friend.”
She added: “On behalf of the Town of Westport, his fellow employees, and the numerous young people who Chris worked with and inspired, we mourn with Chris’ wife, children and family.
“As a community, we will work together to give them our support during this difficult time in the same way that Chris supported the children and families of Westport throughout his career.”
Lemone is survived by his wife Kim and children Madison and Ryan of Bethel; stepdaughter Samantha of Westport; his parents, Nicholas and Theresa Cosentino Lemone of Stamford, and his sister Alisa Lemone Brill and her husband Christopher Brill of Trumbull. He is also survived by several aunts and uncles.
The family will greet relatives and friends Thursday, Oct. 22 from 4 to 8 p.m., at the Green Funeral home, 57 Main St., Danbury. A funeral Mass of Christian Burial will take place Friday, Oct. 23 at 10 a.m. at St. Mary Catholic Church, 26 Dodgingtown Road, Bethel.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to a scholarship fund set up at Morgan Stanley for his children. Donations can be sent to Morgan Stanley, c/o George Viebrock, 90 Grove St., 2nd floor, Ridgefield, CT 06877.
See full obituary here.