John H. Higgins, 78, of Stonington, well-known and respected local pharmacist, died February 28, 2002 at Mary Elizabeth Nursing Center in Mystic. He was born December 17, 1923 in a private home on Margin Street in Westerly, R.I., the son of C. Leo Higgins and Marie Henry Higgins. He was the husband of Rita Ann Corrigan Higgins, R.N. for more than 56 years.
He graduated from St. Michael School in Pawcatuck in 1937, and from Stonington High School in 1941. He worked for the U.S. Postal Service until 1943, then enlisted in the U.S. Army. He served in France and Germany, and attained the rank of Sergeant in the Armored Maintenance Division of the 22nd Armored Infantry. He married flight nurse Lt. Rita Corrigan in Heidelberg, Germany on February 16, 1946. After WWII ended, they settled in Pawcatuck and he worked the next half century furthering the family business which had begun two generations earlier. In 1951 he graduated from Rhode Island College of Pharmacy, and in 1955 he and his brothers, Leo and Bill, became co-owners of Higgins Pharmacy, Inc. in Pawcatuck. In 1980, Mr. Higgins expanded the business to a second location in Mystic. He retired in 1996.
Mr. Higgins led a lifetime of service to his family, his church, and his community. He was past President, and Steward, of the Westerly/Pawcatuck Friendly Sons of St. Patrick (which had been co-founded by his father twenty years earlier); past Board Member of the Westerly Rotary Club; past President of the Stonington Visiting Nurses Association; past Chairman of the Mystic Downtown Merchants Association; chaired the Mystic Merchants Group that brought forth the signs of "Welcome To Downtown Historic Mystic"; member of the Connecticut Pharmaceutical Association for over 50 years; and past Chairman of the Downtown Westerly/Pawcatuck Merchants Association of the Chamber of Commerce.
Mr. Higgins was a lifelong communicant of St. Michael Church in Pawcatuck, and a member of the Knights of Columbus for over 50 years.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by his three children, Janice Higgins Rissler of Stonington, James P. Higgins of Burbank, California, and Michael J. Higgins, R.Ph. of Clinton, Connecticut; fifteen grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; one brother, J. Leo Higgins; one sister, Marie Marr; and numerous loving in-laws, cousins, nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews. He was predeceased by two brothers, William J. Higgins and Francis Higgins, and a sister, Patricia Kelleher of Norwich.
A funeral service was held Saturday March 3, 2002 at 9 A.M. at St. Michael Church, 60 Liberty Street, Pawcatuck. In lieu of flowers, donations should be made to the "St. Michael School Educational Endowment Trust", c/o R. Woodworth, 63 Liberty Street, Pawcatuck, CT 06379.
(The text of this obituary was submitted to The Stonington Intelligencer by Jim Higgins.)
Jeal Jesse Pont, 90, of Flanders Road, died on Friday 22 February 2002 at The Westerly Hospital after a long illness.
The son of Jeal and Mary Augusta Travis Pont, he was born on 22 May 1911 in Stonington, where he lived his entire life and attended local schools. He married Audrey Augusta Lawrence on 8 July 1961 in New London.
He worked as an outside machinist at Electric Boat in Groton and as a painter supervisor at Atwood Machine Company before his retirement in 1976.
Mr Pont was a member of longstanding in the Old Mystic United Methodist Church, where he served as head usher for many years. He was also a life member of the Portuguese Holy Ghost Society and the International Association of Machinist and Aerospace Workers Union Lodge 1871.
Mr Pont was a member of the Neptune Engine Company in Stonington and a former member of the Stonington Golden Agers.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by a daughter, Bonnie Jean Canova of Norwich; a brother, Aires Pont of Pawcatuck; two sisters, Freida Waschmerth of Laguna Beach CA and Dorothy Guarino of Westerly; two grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by a sister, Irene Jackson.
The funeral service will take place on Wednesday 27 February 2002 at 10 am at the Old Mystic United Methodist Church, Route 27, Old Mystic. Burial will be in Stonington Cemetery.
Memorial donations may be made to The Old Mystic United Methodist Church, PO Box 542, Old Mystic CT.
Julia Mudrick Mankel, 86, of Stonington, died in the morning of Tuesday 19 February 2002 at the Nutmeg Pavilion in New London, where she had been a patient for the past eight years.
The daughter of Joseph and Mary Barone Mudrick, she was born in Imperial PA on 19 May 1915. She married Adam Mankel in Carteret NJ in 1945. Mr Mankel died in 1959.
Mrs Mankel is survived by two daughters, Grace Souza of Stonington and Mary Brayman of Washington; four sons, Joseph Mankel of East Brunswick NJ; Peter Mankel of Marrero LA; Frank Mankel of Reading PA; and John Mankel of Vineland NJ; two brothers, Harold Mudrick of Carteret NJ and Joseph Mudrick of Perth Amboy NJ; ten grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
In addition to her husband, Mrs Mankel was predeceased by a sister, Mary Kowalski, and a former husband, Joseph Soares.
Mrs Mankel was a communicant of St Mary Church in Stonington, where a mass of Christian burial was celebrated on Friday 22 February. Burial took place in Stonington Cemetary
Contributions in Mrs Mankel's memory may be made to St Mary Church, 95 Main Street, Stonington CT 06378 or to the Patient Recreation Fund, Nutmeg Pavilion, 78 Viets St Ext., New London CT 06320.
Nancy Ryon Richartz, 67, of Wamphassuc Point Road, died on Saturday 16 February 2002 at Lawrence & Memorial Hospital in New London.
The daughter of Walter G and Helen Fitzgerald Ryon, she was born on 5 July 1934 in Albany NY. She married Dr Frederick W Richartz on 7 September 1956 in Schenectady NY.
Mrs Richartz graduated from Skidmore College in 1956. She came to Mystic in 1964 and was a member of the Mystic Junior Women's Club, the board of the Child and Family Services of Southeastern Connecticut, the Stonington Country Club, the Herb Society of America and the Wadawawnuck Club of Stonington. She was a member and past president of the Mystic Garden Club and a trustee of the Stonington Tri-Centennial Scholarship Fund.
From 1980 to 1990 Mrs Richartz was the director of education at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum in New London.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by a daughter, Leslie Richartz of New York; three sons, Christopher Richartz of Los Angeles, Jeffrey Richartz of Old Lyme CT and Timothy Richartz of Hope Vally RI; two brothers, Walter Ryon of Narragansett RI and George Ryon of Schenectady NY; a sister, Margaret Ryon of Rosendale NY; and five grandchildren.
The time and date of a memorial service will be announced later.
Contributions in Mrs Richartz's memory may be made to the Society of Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, 1838 Greene Tree Road, Suite 515, Baltimore MD 21208.
Louise McClanahan Noble, 94, of Stonington, died on Tuesday 12 February 2002 at home. The daughter of George Xavier and Caroline Suydam Duer McClanahan and widow of Lawrence Mason Noble, she was born in New Haven on 13 April 1907.
Mrs Noble lived in Washington DC, New Haven, New York City and Groton before retiring to Stonington. She was active in the American Red Cross from 1933 to 1967 and was chairman of volunteers in Groton during World War II. Later, she worked for the Hungarian Relief effort.
Mrs Noble is survived by two daughters, Louise N Drury of Stowe VT and Alexandra N Heller of Morrisville VT; two sones, Lawrence M Noble Jr of Woodstock VT and Guildford CT; and David G Noble of Santa Fe NM; eight grandchildren and 14 great-granchildren.
A memorial service will be held in Stonington at a later date to be announced.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Visiting Nurses Association of Southeastern Connecticut, 403 North Frontage Road, Waterford CT 06385; the Animal Rescue League of Boston, PO Box 265, Boston MA 02117; or the Massachusetts Audubon Society, South Great Road, Lincoln MA 01773.
Patricia A. Lawrie, 55, of Stonington and Weston VT, died Monday 11 February 2002 at home after a two-year battle with melanoma.
The daughter of Ann Miner Lawrie and John E. Lawrie, she was born on 23 February 1946 in New London. She was the wife of David M. Rathbun.
Ms Lawrie graduated from Fitch High School in Groton, and Randolph Macon Women's College in Lynchburg VA. She was employed at the Kaplan Travel Agency before founding Trek Tours in Westerly in 1976 with Deidre Lonergan. She continued to work at Trek Tours until shortly before her death.
She was the current treasurer and trustee of the Stonington Free Library, a position she held since 1997; trustee of the Walter Palmer Society; incorporator and member of the Library Committee of the Westerly Public Library; and a member of the Watch Hill Yacht Club.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by a stepdaughter, Helen Burke Rathbun; and a stepson, David Morley Rathbun Jr.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday at Christ Church in Westerly.
Memorial donations may be made to the Stonington Free Library, PO Box 232, Stonington CT 06378.
Eloise Freeman Smith, 90, died Wednesday 6 February 2002 at The Westerly Hospital.
Born on 23 July 1911, in Norton, MA, she was the daughter of Charles A. and Bertha E. Valentine Freeman and the widow of Alexander B. Smith, whom she married on 26 October 1932.
Mrs Smith graduated from Westerly High School and continued her education at Lesley College in Cambridge MA, where she received a teaching certificate. She taught kindergarten at the Stonington Borough School.
A lifelong resident of Pawcatuck, she was a member of the Central Baptist Church and the Ruth Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star.
She is survived by a son, Roy L Smith of Stonington; a daughter, Ann S. Lema of Mystic; six grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.
In addition to her husband, she was predeceased by a sister, Hazel F. Leonard; and a brother, Dwight L. Freeman.
Memorial donations may be made to the American Cancer Society, 400 Main St., Pawtucket RI 02860, the American Heart Association, 40 Broad St., Pawtucket RI 02860, or to the Stonington Visiting Nurse Association, 403 North Frontage Road, Waterford CT 06385.