Joseph King, 82, former Ridgefielder
Joseph R. King Jr. of Ocean City, N.J., a former Ridgefielder, died on Thursday, Dec. 21, at his home. He was 82 years old.
Born in Philadelphia, Pa., Mr. King moved to North Salem Road in 1959 and summered many years in Ocean City before moving there permanently in 1985. He had worked at Graphic Color Plate in Stamford for many years. He was a vestryman of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Ocean City, a member of the Union Masonic Lodge #5 in Connecticut, the Crescent Temple in New Jersey and the American Legion.
Mr. King was an avid supporter of the Ocean City Pops, past president of the Ocean City Arts Center and a volunteer in the endo unit of Shore Memorial Hospital in New Jersey.
Surviving are his wife: Betty Frame King; his children: Barbara King-Hodges and her husband of North Carolina, Richard King and his wife of Connecticut, Betty Reynolds and her husband of New Jersey, Barbara Snyder of New Jersey; 12 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
He was predeceased by a son, Joseph R. King, III.
Burial was Wednesday, Jan. 3 at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Ridgefield.
Memorial contributions in his name may be made to Holy Trinity Memorial Fund, Ocean City, NJ 08226.
The Godfrey Funeral Home of Ocean City was in charge of arrangements.
Madelyn Hostetter, 87, artist
Madelyn H. Hostetter of Prospect Street, an artist who was active in promoting better education for women, died Monday, Feb. 28, at her home in the Ridgefield Arms. She was 87 years old and had been a Ridgefielder since 1972.
"She had a life full of fun," said her granddaughter and caregiver, Wendy O'Connell of Ridgefield. "She had an incredible capacity to give."
Mrs. Hostetter was born on March 15, 1912, in New York City, the daughter of Russell and Lillian Haight. She grew up in the city and graduated from high school at the age of 16. Soon after she married John O'Connell, and she began raising a family while pursuing her interest in art. She studied at the Art Students League and took courses in portraiture with Robert Blackman. She also taught art in the city.
The couple eventually moved to Leonia, N.J., where she continued to paint and exhibit her works in local and regional shows, including at the League Gallery in New York and the Teaneck Armory Show in New Jersey.
Her first marriage ended in divorce and in the early 1960s, she married the Rev. Paul V. Hostetter, a Presbyterian minister. The couple lived in Geneva, N.Y., and in St. Mary's City, Md.
Mrs. Hostetter moved to Ridgefield in 1972 soon after Mr. Hostetter's death, living at first in the Prospect Arms, then on Mountainview Avenue. In recent years, she returned to the Prospect Arms.
In Ridgefield she continued her work as an artist, exhibiting in town and in regional shows. "She was very creative, not just with her painting," said a longtime friend, Vicki Yoran of Ridgefield. She wrote plays, tributes to others, and poetry, which she shared with friends, Ms. Yoran said.
For much of her life, Mrs. Hostetter was a member of the P.E.O. (Philanthropic Education Organization), which provides scholarships and other educational support for women. Last year she celebrated her 50th year as a member of the organization.
She had also been active in the First Congregational Church.
Mrs. Hostetter is survived by two sons, John R. O'Connell Jr. of Reston, Va., formerly of Ridgefield, and Robert W. O'Connell of California; a stepson, Philip Hostetter of Hartsdale, N.Y., formerly of Ridgefield; and by three grandchildren.
A memorial service took place at the First Congregational Church. Burial will be in St. Mary's City, Md.
There are no calling hours.
Instead of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made to
The Kane Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Margaret Hanlon, homemaker, artist
Margaret W. Hanlon, 85, who lived in Ridgefield for more than 20 years and raised a family of seven children, died Thursday, Oct. 26, at New Milford Hospital after a brief illness. She was the wife of the late George W. Hanlon, and had lived the last 19 years in Bantam.
“She was a homemaker and mother — and with seven kids, you had to be organized,” said her son George A. Hanlon of Ridgefield.
“She was independent right up to her death,” he said. “She balanced her checkbook two weeks ago.”
Mrs. Hanlon was born in Beacon, N.Y., on Oct. 5, 1915, a daughter of the late Winfield K. and Mary Cummings Wurster. She grew up in Beacon.
Mrs. Hanlon moved to Ridgefield from New Canaan in 1957. She lived in town from 1957 to 1978, with homes on Wilton Road West, Great Hill Road and Craigmoor Road. She was an area resident until 1981, when she moved to Bantam.
She was an avid reader, a writer who had short stories published in magazines, an artist who worked in watercolors, and a pianist.
“She loved painting flowers,” said her son George. “She’d taken writing courses and painting courses. She was writing in the 70s, and actually they were pretty good stories.”
On the piano she played “the old favorites, mostly, everything by ear, though she had studied piano as a child and did read music,” said her daughter, Majorie Hanlon-Gardella of Redding.
She was a member of the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Bethel.
Mrs. Hanlon was predeceased by a brother, Arthur Wurster, and a sister, Beatrice Conway.
Besides her son in Ridgefield and daughter in Redding she is survived by two other sons, William N. Hanlon of Bethel and Michael P. Hanlon of Hudson, N.Y.; three other daughters, Patricia Clark of Park City, Utah, Catherine “Betty” Lischke of Newburyport, Mass., and Sharon Brewer of Wickford, R.I.; one brother, William Wurster of Baltimore, Md.; one sister, Catherine Sharkey of Mapleshade, N.J.; 22 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren.
A graveside service was conducted Monday at St. Mary’s Cemetery.
Kane Funeral Home, 41 Catoonah Street, handled arrangements. Contributions in Mrs. Hanlon’s memory may be made to New Milford Hospital, 21 Elm Street, New Milford, CT 06776.
Harvey Gustafson, 81, artist and teacher
Harvey V. Gustafson of Tiverton, R.I., an artist and art teacher who lived in Ridgefield more than 30 years, died Wednesday, Jan. 31, at Kimwell Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Fall River, Mass., after a long illness. He was 81 years old, the husband of Hope Rex Gustafson of Tiverton, and the father of Attorney Rex Gustafson of Ridgefield.
A native of Lakewood, R.I., Mr. Gustafson was born on Oct. 9, 1919, a son of Victor F. Gustafson and Elin Fredlund Gustafson. He grew up in Rhode Island and in 1941 entered the Rhode Island School of Design. He left to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II and returned to the school after his discharge.
Mr. Gustafson earned his teaching certificate in 1948 and came to Ridgefield that year to become the art teacher for the first through 12th grades, then all housed in the East Ridge School. In 1954, he began teaching art in the Weston schools, retiring in 1980 as chairman of the art department at the high school.
He was considered an inspirational teacher. “A lot of people have told me, ‘Your father’s the reason I became an artist or the reason I became a teacher,’ ” said Rex Gustafson.
Mr. Gustafson was an early and active member of the Ridgefield Guild of Artists. He had also been very active in St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church where he served on the Parish Planning Committee, was a Sunday School teacher, sang in the choir, and was chairman of the Nutmeg Festival.
A watercolorist who specialized in New England landscapes, Mr. Gustafson had exhibited his work in many shows and galleries throughout his career. He had belonged to the Hudson Valley Art Association, the Stamford Art Association, and the Providence Art Club.
During his years in Ridgefield, the family lived on Silver Spring Road.
After returning to his native Rhode Island, Mr. Gustafson taught private art lessons. He continued to paint until 1990 when he had the first of several strokes.
He was also an avid reader who used to visit the local library nearly every day.
Besides his Ridgefield son and his wife of 52 years, Mr. Gustafson is survived by two other sons, Mark Gustafson of Tiverton, and Eric Gustafson of Providence, and a daughter, Lisa Gustafson of Providence; and by eight grandchildren.
A brother, Robert Gustafson, and a sister, Beatrice Grassed, died before him.
A memorial service will take place Saturday, Feb. 10, at noon at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Main Road, Tiverton.
Contributions in his memory may be made to the Potter League for Animals, P.O. Box 412, Newport, RI, 02840-0400 or the Providence Art Club, 11 Thomas Street, Providence, RI 02903.
The Hathaway Home for Funerals in Fall River is in charge of arrangements.
John Frulla, Pearl Harbor survivor
John “Jack” Frulla, a Ridgefield native who survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, died Tuesday, Jan. 30, in Milford Hospital. He was 81 years old and had lived in Monroe most of his life.
Mr. Frulla was born on Ramapoo Road, a son of Peter and Theresa Petroni Frulla. He attended schools here and joined the Army in the late 1930s.
He was stationed at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 6, 1941, when the Japanese attack killed more than 2,300 soldiers, sailors and civilians. He was a member of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Group.
After the war, Mr. Frulla settled in Monroe where he was a self-employed building contractor. He was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and a lifetime member of the Newtown Country Club.
Survivors include a son, Frank Frulla of Monroe; two daughters Cora “Cookie” Graham of Bethel and Theresa Eigenbrodt of Bridgeport; a brother, Peter Frulla of Ridgefield; four grandchildren, Heather, Christopher and Jennifer Graham, and Jessica Nehez; and several nieces and nephews. Two brothers, Eugene and George Frulla, and a sister, Dina Mary Frulla, died before him.
Services will be held on Friday at 9:30 a.m. in the Lesko-Miner Funeral Home, 155 Main Street (Route 25) Monroe and 10:30 a.m. at St. Jude Church. Burial will be in Monroe Center Cemetery, with full military honors.
Friends may call at the funeral home Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m.
Contributions in his memory may be made to: The National W.W.II Memorial, c/o American Battle Monuments Commission, PO Box 96766, Washington, DC 20090-6766.
Frank Fitch, 62, an active Kiwanian
Francis A. “Frank” Fitch of Holly Hill, Fla., a former active member of the Ridgefield Kiwanis Club, died peacefully surrounded by his family on Wednesday, Dec. 13, at Memorial Hospital, Ormond Beach, Fla. He was 62 years old.
Mr. Fitch was born in Syracuse, N.Y., on May 29, 1938, the son of the late Frank and Philomena Fitch, and was a veteran of the U.S. Army. He lived in Binghamton, N.Y., until his marriage in 1964, when he moved to New Jersey. The family came to Ridgefield in 1984, living on Conant Road, and later Mr. Fitch lived at Rainbow Lake.
Mr. Fitch was employed for 17 years by the American Broadcasting Company in New York City, working for its magazine division. Just before moving to Florida, he sold sales premiums to many of the local merchants. “A lot of the merchants knew him well,” said Diane Dury Fitch of Ridgefield, his former wife, with whom he was still a close friend. “I never knew anyone who didn’t like Frank.”
As a Kiwanis Club member, Mr. Fitch assisted with advertising club events, parades and many club projects, but the military band concerts were his favorites. “He was always there with a helping hand,” said a club member.
In late 1995, Mr. Fitch moved to Holly Hill, but still visited family and friends in Ridgefield several times a year. In Florida, he became a cancer volunteer at Memorial Hospital in Ormond Beach. “His work as a cancer volunteer was very fulfilling to Mr. Fitch and he was admired by all the patients,” said a Florida friend.
Besides his former wife, Mr. Fitch is survived by a son, Mark Fitch and his wife, Jeanne Marquis of New Fairfield; a daughter, Audrey Favreau and her husband Carey, of Danbury; and by a granddaughter, Hannah Favreau, 20 months old, of Danbury.
The family will receive friends at the Kane Funeral Home, 41 Catoonah Street, today, Thursday, Dec. 21, from 5 to 8 p.m.
Lyndon Ferry, postal official, foster dad
Lyndon Ferry of Bethel, former superintendent of mails at the Ridgefield post office who was a parent or a foster parent to 18 children, died at Bethel Health Care Center Saturday, Dec. 9. He was 90 years old and the husband of the late Vivienne Seeley Ferry, who died in 1986.
Mr. Ferry was born in Ridgefield on Aug. 22, 1910, a son of the late Arthur Jennings and Minnie Beckwith Ferry. He was a 1928 graduate of Ridgefield High School and a 1930 graduate of Bay Path College in Longmeadow, Mass.
The son of a Ridgefield postal worker, Mr. Ferry joined the post office here in 1930 and worked his way up from a letter carrier to superintendent of mails.
When he began work at the post office, then on Main Street, the town had a population of 2,500. “You knew everyone and almost knew what kind of car they drove,” Mr. Ferry said at his retirement in 1965 after a 35-year career. “Now that the population has skyrocketed, it’s a different story.”
For a while after leaving the post office, he held several jobs including at the Wayside Food Market, Lighthouse Motors in Brewster, and as a house painter.
The Ferrys lived years ago on the Conklin Dairy Farm on Ramapoo Road where Mr. Ferry raised farm animals of his own. He later lived on Abbott Avenue for many years.
Through the years he and his wife, who had six children of their own, were foster parents to 12 more youngsters, ranging from babies to teenagers. Some stayed with the family as long as five years before being adopted or going off on their own.
Many maintained contact with the Ferrys for years. When Mr. Ferry celebrated his 90th birthday at a party last summer, three of the former foster children were among the guests, said his daughter, Elaine Crumrine of Bethel. Mr. Ferry had made his home with Mrs. Crumrine for the past 10 years.
An active man who enjoyed walking, Mr. Ferry played golf and played 18 holes without benefit of a golf cart until he was in his late 70s. He was named Senior Golfer of the Year at the Ridgefield Golf Course’s annual tournament and dinner in 1990. He was 80 years old then.
He bowled until he was 85, said Mrs. Crumrine. “He maintained a good average, too — 145 or 150.”
Mr. Ferry was a member of the Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church and of the Odd Fellows Lodge here.
Survivors include two sons: Frederic Ferry of Reedville, Va., and David K.S. Ferry of Newington; three other daughters: Janet Jespersen of Bedford, N.H., Ruth Ellen Mooney of Sutton, W.Va., and Arlene L. Corna of Danbury; 11 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren..
The Rev. William Pfohl of Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church conducted services Wednesday at the Kane Funeral Home on Catoonah Street. Burial will be in Fairlawn Cemetery in the spring.
Contributions in his memory may be made to the Bethel Senior Center, 1 School Street, Bethel, CT 06801, or the Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church, 207 Main Street, Ridgefield CT 06877.