Linda Davies, 90, teacher for nearly half a century
Linda Davies of Ramapoo Hill Road, who was born and educated here and taught in the town's schools for nearly a half century, died Sunday, Feb. 13, at a nursing home in Mansfield. She was 90.
As a 20-year-old in 1930, Miss Davies began instructing first through fourth graders at the two-room Branchville Schoolhouse, which still stands along Old Branchville Road. She went on to teach for 42 years. "Even after her retirement, she came back and served as a substitute for a number of years, said schools personnel director Paul Hazel. "What a delightful thing that is.
Margaret Linda Davies was born here the day before Christmas in 1909, a daughter of William and Jane Tait Davies. She attended Ridgefield schools and graduated from Ridgefield High School in 1928.
Miss Davies could recall many details of what life in the village was like long before Main Street was even paved. She knew the people and places well, and had a collection of early photos of the town. She "maintained a vast knowledge of the history and people of Ridgefield, a family member said.
Miss Davies studied in the teaching program at Danbury Normal School, now Western Connecticut University, for two years and began teaching at Branchville School. By the 1950s, she was taking fifth grade at Veterans Park and when she retired in 1972, was a social studies teacher at East Ridge Junior High School.
Over the years she continued her studies, received a bachelor's degree from Teachers College at Columbia University in 1939 and a master's degree there two years later. She did advanced graduate studies at New York University, Eastern Connecticut State College, UConn, and Fairfield University. She was certified to teach social studies in junior and senior high schools.
"The processes of child development are extremely complex, she told a Press interviewer in 1955. "And in the background of each step in improvement must be study and evaluation of all the factors in the child's environment. One of the greatest sources of satisfaction to the teacher is in nothing this improvement and realizing that she or he, through study and evaluation, has had an opportunity to be of some assistance in helping the child to make these gains, whether they be social, emotional, educational, or other.
In retirement, she was active in many organizations, including the Sunshine Society, the OWLS, the Friends of the Library, and the Keeler Tavern, where she was a cashier for David's Shelf, the gift shop, for many years. She belonged to the old Ridgefield Grange and was a longtime member of the Connecticut Teachers Association.
Miss Davies was active in the First Congregational Church where she was a member of the Women's Fellowship. "She was a very dynamic and practical lady, said Dotty Hall, a fellow church member. "She had good sense and she always had the right answers.
For seven years, she aided the Ridgefield Archives Committee in its efforts to identify thousands of old Joseph Hartmann photographs of the town and its people from early in the century. "She knew everything, said Kay Ables of the Archives Committee. "She knew all the people all the stories. She had all this information in her head.
Miss Davies was always interest in politics. In 1978, she was selected as a senior intern to serve in the U.S Congress in Washington, D.C., as a representative from the Fifth Congressional District.
She was also an avid traveler and in her younger years, was an active bowler.
Caroline Ettinger, 79, shop owner, "Ma" at Judy's
Caroline Marie Ettinger, a former Ridgefield businesswoman, died Saturday, May 20, at the Laurelwood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. She was 79 years old and the widow of Charles Emerson Ettinger, Sr. A native of Long Island, N.Y., she was born on March 3, 1921, daughter of the late Persible and Marguerite (Buck) Barry and moved to Ridgefield in 1943.
Years ago, Mrs. Ettinger owned and operated Ridgefield Aquarium and the Knit and Pearl Shop.
In more recent years she had worked at her daughter's shop, Judy's Coffee Shop, where she was known as "Ma." The Ettingers lived at 380 Main Street for many years. Mr. Ettinger died in 1971. She was also a member of the Mary Rebecca Lodge in Ridgefield.
Mrs. Ettinger is survived by a son, Charles Ettinger and his wife, Bette, of St. Cloud, Fla.; two daughters, Karen Phelan and her husband, Wayne, of New York and Judy Moore and her husband, Joseph of Connecticut; five grandsons, Steven Moore of Connecticut, Kenneth, Douglas, David and Michael Phelan all of New York; four great-granddaughters, Joy, Beth, Alex and Abigail Phelan, all of New York.
A memorial service will take place Thursday, May 25, at 10 a.m. at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Ridgefield.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Anchor House Ministries, PO Box 625, Auburndale, FL 33823. Anchor House is a home for neglected boys.
Joan Ettinger, longtime Ridgefielder
Joan B. Ettinger of 66 Golf Lane, a Ridgefielder for more than 40 years, died Tuesday, April 30, at her home. She was 72 years old and the widow James P. Ettinger Jr.
Mrs. Ettinger was born on Jan. 29, 1930, one of six children of Richard and Hortense “Honey” Bates Bartlett. She grew up in Scotia, N.Y., and earned a degree as a registered nurse from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh.
At the age of 15, Mrs. Ettinger met her future husband, James Ettinger, and they were married when she was 20. Mr. Ettinger, who was president of Electric Regulator Company in Norwalk, died in 1996, a few months short of their 46th wedding anniversary.
“Everyone said they were soulmates,” recalled their daughter, Linda Wolski.
The Ettingers moved to Manor Road in 1958 and later lived on High Ridge, and finally on Golf Lane.
In the 1960s and 70s, Mrs. Ettinger volunteered with the Red Cross, serving as a “history nurse” at many Bloodmobiles.
She was active in the area Planned Parenthood chapter, and served as Ridgefield’s fund drive chairman in 1972 and 1973. She had also volunteered at the Family Planning Clinic at Danbury Hospital, and was a former recording secretary of Family and Children’s Aid Inc. of Danbury.
Mrs. Ettinger played the piano, favoring classical music, especially by Beethoven. She also enjoyed painting in oils.
“She was interested in beauty — visual beauty, aesthetics — and enjoyed decorating,” her daughter said.
Mrs. Ettinger’s survivors include a son: James P. Ettinger III and his wife Lena of Carlsbad, Calif.; two daughters: Ms. Wolski and her husband Michael of Pelham, N.Y., and Karen Warren and her husband Dick of Wilton; two brothers: Richard Bartlett of West Virginia, and Duane Bartlett of Worthington, Mass.; three sisters: Marilyn Valverde of Orangeburg, N.Y., Pat Myers of Georgia, and Donna Martin of Wilmington, N.C.; six grandchildren: Katie and Elyse Warren, Greg, Dana, Hillary, and Kevin Wolski, and one step-grandchild, Anya.
A son, Mark, died of cancer when he was four years old.
Services will take place Saturday at 1 p.m. at Kane Funeral Home, 41 Catoonah Street.
Friends may call at the funeral home starting an hour before the service.
Contributions in her memory may be made to the Planned Parenthood of Connecticut, 129 Whitney Avenue, New Haven, CT 06510
Patricia Fix, 58, nurse who grew up here
Patricia Florence Lawrynovicz Fix of Copperas Cove, Texas, a nurse who grew up in Ridgefield and whose parents have lived here more than 50 years, died Tuesday, Aug. 1, from injuries sustained when she was struck by a hit-and-run car while walking across a parking lot in Copperas Cove.
The driver of the car was later captured and arrested for intoxication and manslaughter.
“She was one of the original dispensers of TLC — tender, loving care,” said her father, Stanley Lawrynovicz of 58 Soundview Road. “Everyone loved her.”
Mrs. Fix was born on March 20, 1942, at the Brooklyn Naval Hospital in New York, and came to Ridgefield as a first grader. She graduated from Ridgefield High School in 1960 and from St. Vincent’s Hospital School of Nursing in Bridgeport.
Soon after, Mrs. Fix went to work in a hospital in Santa Barbara, Calif., and in 1967, she married Randall Ross Fix, a career Army sergeant. She worked in hospitals in this country and in Germany as she followed her husband’s assignments, and the couple eventually settled in Copperas Cove some years ago.
Mrs. Fix had been a surgical nurse at Coryell Memorial Hospital in Gatesville until arthritis forced her to take administrative nursing posts at the hospital.
Mrs. Fix enjoyed painting, flower gardening, and her family. “She was devoted to her three daughters and three grandchildren,” said her mother, Florence Horan Lawrynovicz.
Besides her parents and her husband, Mrs. Fix is survived by three daughters, Cynthia Tull of Issaquah, Wash., and Karen Wootten and Kristen Watson, both of Austin, Texas; a brother, S.L. Lawrynovicz of Hartland, Wisc.; and three grandchildren.
The Rev. Charlie Van Winkle conducted services Saturday at Holy Family Catholic Church in Copperas Cove. Burial was in Copperas Cove City Cemetery.
Mary M. Gagon, 84, native of Italy
Mary Modugno Gagon of 62-B Pelham Lane, a native of Italy and the mother and sister of Ridgefielders, died Saturday, July 29, in Danbury Hospital. She was 84 years old and the widow of Joseph W. Gagon.
Mrs. Gagon was born in Bari, Italy, on Dec. 16, 1915, a daughter of the late Felix and Rose Garutti Modugno. A year later, her family came to this country, settling in Stamford, where she grew up and lived her early married years.
Later she and her husband moved to Middle River Road in Danbury where she lived 27 years. For a period in the early 1970s she worked as an assembler at Risdon in Danbury.
After her husband’s death in 1998, Mrs. Gagon moved to Ridgefield to live with her daughter, Mary Ann (Mrs. Joseph) Sheehy.
Mrs. Gagon loved to read and always maintained a flower garden. She also enjoyed classical music, especially Italian opera.
She attended St. Mary’s Church here, and had belonged to St. Joseph’s Church in Danbury.
Mrs. Gagnon is survived by twin daughters, Mrs. Sheehy and Eileen (Mrs. William) Foley of Danbury; three sisters, Lee Skidd of Danbury, Irene Starr of Brookfield, and Carmella Petrone of Stamford; and a grandson, Gareth Foley of Danbury.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Tuesday at St. Mary’s Church. Burial was in St. Mary’s Cemetery.
Contributions in her memory may be made to the American Heart Association, 5 Brookside Drive, Wallingford CT 06492.
The Kane Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Dorothy Haight Glover, grew up here
Dorothy Haight Glover of Newtown, who grew up in Ridgefield, died Thursday, July 27, at the Bethel Health Care Center. She was 94 years old and the widow of Walter L. Glover, a former Newtown selectman and its first fire marshal.
A native of Nutley, N.J., Mrs. Glover was born on Jan. 9, 1906, the daughter of the late Ernest V. and C. May Hoyt Haight of Ridgefield. She graduated from Ridgefield High School and, on her marriage in 1926, moved to Newtown and the family homestead on Glover Avenue.
Mrs. Glover was a telephone operator in Newtown in the late 1940s and belonged to Trinity Church there.
Survivors include her daughter, Joan G. Crick of Newtown, a son Lew W. Glover Sr. of Southbury, a step-daughter, five grandchildren, two step-grandchildren; nine great grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.
The Rev. Nancy Gossling conducted services Tuesday, Aug. 1, at the Honan Funeral Home in Newtown. Burial was in Newtown Village Cemetery.
Contributions in her memory may be made to the Newtown Ambulance Association, Box 344, Newtown CT 06470, or the Newtown Hook and Ladder Company, Box 3911, Newtown CT 06470.
Frank Grandville, 29, a young man who helped others
Francis James "Frank" Grandville of 109 Olcott Way, a computer operator who often lent a helping hand to others, died Wednesday, March 22, at his home after a long illness. He was 29 years old.
"Francis would assist anyone who was in need of help, anytime, anyplace," said his mother. "He loved giving. He couldn't sleep the night before Christmas because he was so anxious to give everyone his gifts."
Frank Grandville was born on Jan. 24, 1971, in Stephenville, Newfoundland, Canada, and came to the United States on Aug. 17, 1972 when, at the age of 18 months, he was adopted by his parents, Marilyn and Frank Grandville, then of the Bronx.
The family moved to Simsbury in 1976 and then to Ridgefield in 1980. Mr. Grandville attended Veterans Park School, East Ridge Junior High, and Ridgefield High School.
Throughout his youth, he had many interests. "At the age of four, he taught himself how to read so he could read the TV Guide and demand his TV programs when his sister said they were not on," Mrs. Grandville recalled. "At the age of six, he taught himself how to ice skate."
As he boy, he rode horses, swam, skied, played soccer and Little League baseball, and learned to juggle. He acted in the Spotlight Summer Theater's production of Oklahoma! and had been a Boy Scout.
When he was 15, Mr. Grandville created his own skateboard club, Ground Zero, which was featured in a two-page spread in The Press as part of a feature promoting the need for a safe place in town for skaters.
He played bass guitar and formed a band, Sinister Ace, and at 15, earned a brown belt in karate.
Over his teenage and adult years, Mr. Grandville worked at many businesses in the village, including Pickles, Venice Pizza, Caldor, Grand Union, and Gail's Station House. When he was 21, he became a manager of Subway and also at Burgerloo's. For the past five years, he had been a computer operator at Pitney Bowes.
Mr. Grandville had belonged to both the Ridgefield Volunteer Fire Department and the West Redding Fire Department, and had trained as an EMT. He had been a volunteer at Danbury Hospital and at Bread & Roses hospice in Georgetown.
In describing Mr. Grandville's desire to help others, his mother told of the time Frank, then 10, noticed a wheelchair-bound woman moving into a nearby apartment. He helped her from the ambulance to her new unit and then offered his assistance whenever she needed it. "He came every day after school to help her," his mother said. Sometime later, the neighbor knocked on the door and explained to the Grandvilles how their son had been assisting her. They were stunned. "He never told anyone what he was doing," Mrs. Grandville said.
About two years ago, his mother took him to Newfoundland to see where he was born and to meet his birth mother. "He had a wonderful reunion with her and her family," she said. "He stayed with them for a week and they made him feel like he was one of them. When he came back, he filmed all his favorite places here so they could see his life in Ridgefield."
Besides his parents, Mr. Grandville is survived by a sister, Mary T. Grandville of Stamford; several aunts, including Kathleen Rogan of New York City and Catherine DeMarco of Coconut Creek, Fla; several uncles, including George Grandville of Lakewood, N.J.; and several cousins.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Monday in St. Mary's Church, Burial was in St. Mary's Cemetery.
Contributions in his memory may be made to the Crisis Intervention Program, Ridgefield High School, 700 North Salem Road, Ridgefield CT 06877.
The Kane Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Germaine Grillet Hellinger, 94, singer
Germaine Grillet Hellinger of High Valley Road, a native of Switzerland who as an adventuresome 20-year-old came to the United States to study opera, died Saturday, July 22, at Filosa Convalescent Center in Danbury. She was 94 years old and had lived in Ridgefield off and on since 1956.
"I knew no one in America," she said of her arrival from France in 1926, "and I didn't think I'd stay here, but even then I didn't feel a stranger." Indeed, late in life, after the death of her husband, she returned to France, only to come back to this country and to Ridgefield. "I thought I could return to France," she said. "My sister was there, but I love Ridgefield and found I had become more American than French."
Mrs. Hellinger was born Feb. 11, 1906 in Switzerland, but grew up in Lyons, France, and came here to further her studies in concert and operatic music begun in Geneva. She attended the Juilliard School of Music and in her early years performed roles in Aida, Tosca and other operas in the United States, Mexico, and her native France.
While living at the Three Arts Club in New York, she met and eventually married a Hungarian jeweler and horologist, Conrad Hellinger, who had studied piano with a student of Franz Liszt. Mr. Hellinger had designed and built Movado watches.
While living in New York, the Hellingers bought a weekend and summer place on Ned's Mountain Road in 1956. "They had a lot of musical friends," recalled Ridgeburian Paul Hampden, "and they used to give some wonderful parties."
After Mr. Hellinger died in 1968, Mrs. Hellinger moved to France, but returned a few years later, buying a weekend retreat on Silver Spring Road. She eventually met artist William Hopper in New York City and together they bought a house on High Valley Road, where the two lived for many years. Mr. Hopper died last August.
Well into her 80s, Mrs. Hellinger remained active in music and arts circles in New York. In 1990, she was chairman of the April in Paris Ball at the Waldorf Astoria and was on the board of La Maison Francaise at New York University.
She had no known survivors.
A graveside gathering and burial will take place at Ridgebury Cemetery at a time to be announced.
The Kane Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.