Jeffrey McKeown, sales vice president
Jeffrey Peter McKeown of Harrison Court, an executive with The Gilman Paper Company of St. Mary’s, Ga., died on Friday, March 16, at his home after a lengthy illness. He was 45 years old and the husband of Deborah St. Peter McKeown.
Mr. McKeown was born in Providence, R.I., on Sept. 18, 1955, a son of Paul F. and Helen Seery McKeown of Stuart, Fla. He attended schools in Cranston, R.I., and graduated from the LaSalle Academy of Providence in 1973.
Mr. McKeown received a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1977 from St. Michael’s College, Winooski, Vt., and had maintained a lifelong association with the college. He had been president of the student body while at the school, and later served on the Alumni Board of Directors. In 1987 he was named National Alumnus of the Year.
Mr. and Mrs. McKeown were married in 1986 after having met as partners in a wedding party of a St. Michael’s alumnus.
In 1977, Mr. McKeown joined The Gilman Paper Company, producers of industrial packaging — the heavy duty bags that hold such products as flour, pet foods and concrete mixes. When he retired due to his illness, he was vice president of sales.
The McKeowns moved to Ridgefield from Greenwich 12 years ago, living at first on Crest Road, then Keeler Drive and finally on Harrison Court.
Although he enjoyed golf and vacation travel, Mr. McKeown liked being with his family most, said Mrs. McKeown. “He enjoyed spending time with his children.”
He also liked working around the yard, and assisting others in the neighborhood. “He had a heart of gold and was a very caring individual,” Mrs. McKeown said. “He would go out of his way to help anyone. He was liked by everyone.”
Mr. McKeown was a member of St. Mary’s Church.
Besides his wife and parents, Mr. McKeown is survived by his two children, Christopher S. McKeown and Kristin M. McKeown, both of Ridgefield; three sisters, Paula McKeown-Longo of Niskayuna, N.Y., Susan Barbara Reutershan of Potomac, Md., and Nancy Beth Aboyan of Woodbury, Minn., as well as several nieces and nephews.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Tuesday in St. Mary’s Church. Burial followed in St. Mary’s Cemetery.
Contributions in his memory may be made to the McKeown Children Trust Fund, The Ridgefield Bank, 374 Main Street, Ridgefield, 06877 or to Regional Hospice of Western Connecticut, 30 West Street, Danbury, CT 06810.
The Kane Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Filomena Marsili, former restaurateur
Filomena Marsili of Wilridge Road, Ridgefield, a former chef and Georgetown businesswoman, died Monday, March 26, at her Branchville home after a long illness. She was 68 years old and the wife of Gianvincenzo Marsili.
A native of the village of Pietranico, Province of Pescara, Italy, Mrs. Marsili was born on Sept. 22, 1932, a daughter of Rose G. Zappacosta DeLuca of West Redding and the late Albert DeLuca.
She came to this country in 1960, following many members of her family, and settled in the Branchville section of Ridgefield.
A talented cook, Mrs. Marsili had joined her son, Gino, in operating Gino’s Italian Restaurant on St. Simon’s Island off the coast of Georgia for eight years. She had also operated Anna’s Food Boutique on Old Mill Road in Georgetown for about five years.
“She liked to cook,” said her son, Albert Marsili of Ridgefield, adding that her specialties were homemade pasta dishes such as lasagna as well as seafood. She grew many of the herbs used to flavor her dishes.
Mrs. Marsili was a member of Sacred Heart Church in Georgetown.
Besides her husband, mother and Ridgefield son, Mrs. Marsili is survived by a daughter, Anna Boccuzzi of Darien and a son, Gino Marsili of Atlanta, Ga.; two sisters, Maria Cavecchia of Weston and Ann DeLuca of West Redding; three brothers, Anthony DeLuca of Bethel, Bruno DeLuca of Redding, and Giuliano DeLuca of Redding; six grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews. A brother, Paolo DeLuca of Italy, died before her.
The Rev. M. Joseph Joaquin will celebrate a Mass of Christian Burial today, Thursday, March 29, at 10 a.m. in Sacred Heart Church, Georgetown. Entombment will follow in Lakeview Cemetery, New Canaan.
Contributions in her memory may be made to the Mid-Fairfield Hospice, P.O. Box 489, Wilton CT 06897.
The Bouton Funeral Home in Georgetown was in charge of arrangements.
R. Benjamin Maltas, toolmaker, coach
Richard Benjamin Maltas of Anchorage, Alaska, a retired toolmaker and youth team coach who played Santa Claus for many Ridgefielders, died of natural causes April 10 at his home. A former area resident, he was 83 years old and husband of the late Virginia Tallon Maltas.
Mr. Maltas was born Feb. 15, 1918, in Bridgeport, the only son of first generation Greek immigrant George Maltas and French immigrant Jeanne Scheamberger.
He began his military service in 1937 with a three-year enlistment in the Army and later served in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Mr. Maltas worked for more than 30 years as a toolmaker, manufacturing Thompson submachine guns during WWII in Bridgeport. He also manufactured surveillance equipment during the Vietnam War.
After retiring from his trade he worked with his son at Frances Cleaners in Ridgefield. While there, he would dress as Santa Claus every Christmas when he delivered clothes. “He loved children and holidays,” the family said.
Mr. Maltas was a volunteer fireman in Redding. Besides responding to fires and medical emergencies, he helped organize and cook for annual fund-raisers.
Mr. Maltas loved baseball. He managed Little League, Pony League and the fire department baseball teams, and was proud that his Pony League team won the championship in Norwalk. He also umpired.
Mr. Maltas was born the last year Boston won the World Series and was a faithful Red Sox fan.
Mr. Maltas was a member of the South Norwalk Boat Club for many years. Before Anchorage, he had lived in Redding, Wilton and Norwalk.
Besides his wife of 50 years, his survivors include four sons, Richard Brian Maltas of Redding, John Thomas Maltas of Anchorage, Alaska, George Robert Maltas of Norwalk, and Michael Leo Maltas of Riva, Md.; twin daughters, Patrice Ellen Maltas of Newtown and Jeanne Marie Piro of Norwalk; grandchildren Richard Arthur Maltas, Scott Thomas Maltas, William Bisch, James Bisch, Troy Maltas, Terry Maltas, Kimberly Maltas, Jon Maltas, Jennifer Maltas, Sarah Maltas, John Piro and twins, Daniel and Benjamin Piro; and great-grandchildren Brittany and Devin Maltas.
A daughter, Virginia Ann Maltas, died before him.
A graveside service will be conducted Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Ridgefield.
Contributions in his memory may be made to the American Heart Association, 5 Brookside Drive, Wallingford CT 06492.
George C. Leach, TV repairman
George C. Leach Jr. of 785 Massachusetts Avenue, Lunenburg, Mass., a former Ridgefielder and TV repairman, died on Thursday, March 8, at Clark Manor, Worcester, Mass. He was 94 years old.
Mr. Leach was the husband of the late Viola (Schmidt) Leach and the late Ethel (Mead) Leach.
He was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, Nov. 19, 1906, a son of Mr. and Mrs. George C. Leach Sr. At the age of 14, as a shiphand, Mr. Leach traveled from Hawaii to the United States and remained in this country and an area resident from 1920 to 1991 when he relocated to Lunenburg, to make his home with his son, George C. Leach III.
As a Ridgefielder, Mr. Leach was a television repairman with the former Baldwin TV of Ridgefield. He was a member of the Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church of Ridgefield and of the Ridgefield OWLS. He had lived at Ballard Green during his last years here.
Besides his son George, he is survived by another son, Richard Leach of Greenlawn, L.I., New York; a daughter, Louise N. Paloian of New Canaan, 20 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
A graveside funeral service will take place on Saturday, April 28, in the Beck Hill Cemetery, Lewisboro, N.Y.
There will be no calling hours.
The Kane Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Norma J. Lauer, former Ridgefielder
Norma J. Lauer of Ft. Myers Beach, Fla., a former Ridgefielder, died Oct. 26 at Johns Hopkins Hospital from complications following lung transplant surgery. She was 65.
Mrs. Lauer was born in Racine, Wisc., the daughter of the late Benjamin and Francelia Spieth.
She received a bachelor of science degree in modern dance from the University of Wisconsin, and was an All-American field hockey player in her freshman year at Milwaukee Downer College. Before her marriage in 1959 she danced in New York with Jose Limon and in Colorado with the Martha Graham dance troupe.
When asked what her most fulfilling job was, however, she would always reply “Mother!” a famiily member said.
She lived on Mimosa Court from 1970 until 1990 and was a real estate agent at Hackert and Monti on Main Street, and then at Realtech Realtors relocation division in Danbury. She was active in the Scotland School PTA, and taught an “alternative gym” dance class for sixth graders at Scotland School in 1972..
Survivors include her daughters, Aimee Hawley of Rockville, Md.; Donna Lauer of Vienna, Va.; Susan Lauer of Hartsdale, N.Y., and a son, Steven of Virginia Beach, Va., as well as five grandchildren, Caitlin Hawley, Jennifer Hawley, Emily Hawley, Connor Lauer, and Moira Lauer.
Services will be held at the Chapel by the Sea Presbyterian Church, Ft. Myers Beach, Fla., on Nov. 8 at 11 a.m. Memorial contributions may be made to Angelflight Southeast, 8742 Airport Blvd., Leesburg, FL 34788.
Barbara Deegan, led Meals on Wheels
Barbara Ann Deegan of 75 Sugar Loaf Mountain Road, a founder and longtime coordinator of the Meals on Wheels program in Ridgefield, died Saturday, March 10, at Danbury Hospital. She was 69 years old and the wife of Robert A. Deegan.
Mrs. Deegan, an outdoorswoman from Maine, had a varied career that included serving as a nurse and working as a professional fly-tier. But she was best known in Ridgefield as a tireless volunteer and one of the people who established the successful Meals on Wheels program more than 25 years ago.
A native of Old Towne, Maine, Mrs. Deegan was born on Aug. 27, 1931, a daughter of the late Augustus and Ann McAllister Paige. She grew up in Maine and attended nursing school there.
In 1951, Mrs. Deegan moved to Stamford where she worked as a psychiatric nurse at the former Stamford Hall Psychiatric and Rehabilitation Hospital.
Twelve years later, she and her husband moved to Ridgefield where she immediately became involved in the Ridgefield branch of the American Red Cross, at first as a donor and eventually as the chief of the Bloodmobile visits in town. She worked with the Aid to Disaster Victims program here in the 1960s, and helped manage the community shelter during the famous December 1973 ice storm that shut down the town for nearly a week.
By early 1974, Mrs. Deegan had seen the need for a service that would provide nutritious food to shut-ins and others in need of delivered meals. “We want to help people widowed or living alone,” she said that year. “People who have no desire to cook and are in the tea and toast syndrome. We want to help people keep their independence, stay in their homes, not have to go to a nursing home to get proper nutrition.”
That fall, Meals on Wheels was up and running from a kitchen at St. Mary’s School basement. In its first year of operation, some 5,000 meals were served. Today, more than 16,000 are served annually.
For many years, Mrs. Deegan was the chief cook, coordinator, and purchasing agent for Meals on Wheels, which grew to have more than 100 volunteers by the 1980s. The organization was often strapped for funds and she had to spend carefully. “I study the food ads on Sunday,” she said in 1981, “and at 8 a.m. Monday, I’m in the grocery store, any one that has bargains.”
Mrs. Deegan retired from Meals on Wheels in the late 1980s. Darwin Yoran, current president of the organization, said Ridgefield’s Meals on Wheels is one of the few in the state that is entirely independent of government. “Barbara and the two other founders had the foresight to establish an independent, nonaffiliated organization so we don’t have any of the constraints on services or quotas to meet,” he said. “We can serve the needs of Ridgefielders as the needs arise.”
For her work with both the Red Cross and Meals on Wheels, Mrs. Deegan was given the Outstanding Citizen of the Year Award by the Jaycees in 1975.
Mrs. Deegan was also a volunteer at the Ridgefield Thrift Shop and taught needlepoint and crafts to senior citizens.
She and her husband loved the outdoors and often went camping and fishing. Her interest in fishing led her to a hobby of fly-tying that turned into a profession. In the 1960s, she was supplying a half-dozen outdoor sports stores in Fairfield County with flies and other lures she created at home. They bore such colorful names as Midnight Fancy, Seboomook, Evening Star, and Marian’s Favorite.
“I once tried a month to make a muddler minnow,” she said in a 1965 interview. “I take a great deal of pride in my flies. I feel as though I’m an artist at this.”
Besides her husband, Mrs. Deegan has no immediate survivors.
There will be no formal funeral services.
Contributions in her memory may be made to the Visiting Nurse Association, 90 East Ridge, or to Meals on Wheels, 25 Gilbert Street.
The Kane Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Helen Bacchiochi, 87, businesswoman
Helen A. Bacchiochi of 32 Gilbert Street, a former businesswoman and home health aide who had lived here 70 years, died Wednesday, May 2, at her home. She was 87 years old and the widow of Aldo J. Bacchiochi.
A native of Jersey City, N.J., Mrs. Bacchiochi was born on March 9, 1914, a daughter of the late Alexander and Mary Finfa Hudiak. As a child, she moved with her family to Yonkers, N.Y., where she attended schools.
After her marriage to Ridgefielder Aldo Bacchiochi, she worked side by side with her husband as a bookkeeper and “parts chaser” at Al’s Garage on Gilbert Street. “She could strip the valves out of a ’40 V-8 faster than many mechanics,” her husband once bragged.
During World War II, she was a volunteer with the Motor Corps.
After the war, Mr. Bacchiochi closed the business and went to work with his brothers at Bacchiochi Construction. Then in her 40s, Mrs. Bacchiochi studied to be a licensed practical nurse and became a home health aide for a number of people in the area, including Henry Dick of Danbury, Ted Jessup and Joan Conklin-Cox of Ridgefield.
She later worked for 12 years as an electrical assembler for Digitech of Ridgefield.
In 1981, Mrs. Bacchiochi became the bookkeeper, office manager and delivery service for the then-new Bacchiochi Photo Service, operated by her son Anthony and daughter-in-law, Donna. Though she was nearing her 70s “Helen was unafraid to tackle the computer skills necessary to streamline the bookkeeping,” Donna Bacchiochi said. “She continued to be the backbone of the business until stricken by illness in 1995.”
Mrs. Bacchiochi was an avid bowler. During her years with the women’s league that met in the basement of the old First Congregational Church clubhouse, she was overheard remarking that she bowled so well because she was aiming at the “pin boy.” The pin boy was the late Charles Ritch, who later became her son-in-law.
She also enjoyed quilting, needlepoint, crocheting, and ceramics.
Mrs. Bacchiochi went through a “long and debilitating decline,” said Donna Bacchiochi. She “was cared for in her home with her dog Cricket by her loving family and a small Army of devoted nurses and friends, among them and especially Dorothy Lockwood of Ridgefield.”
Donna Bacchiochi added: “Fiercely protective of her family and their interests, Helen appeared contentious to many, but those who enjoyed the privilege of her friendship discovered a generous and loving soul.”
She was well known for her sense of humor. In his eulogy at the funeral, longtime friend Bob Cuneo told how a few days before her death, her son and Father Robert Morrissey of St. Mary’s visited her. “She was sleeping in her bed and slowly opened her eyes to see Tony and Father Morrissey in the room,” Mr. Cuneo said.
“What are you doing here?” Mrs. Bacchiochi asked the pastor.
“Helen, I’m here to help you get ready to meet God,” Father Morrissey replied.
Mrs. Bacchiochi looked at him and said, “Maybe you should get God ready to meet me.”
“She never lost her quick wit,” Mr. Cuneo said.
Besides her son and daughter-in-law, Mrs. Bacchiochi is survived by a daughter, Joyce Ritch West of Bethel; two sisters, Sofy Barron of Satellite Beach, Fla., and Jeanette Petrullo of Manasquan, N.J.; four grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren. A sister, Dorothy Hoffer of Yonkers, died before her.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Saturday at St. Mary’s Church. Burial will be in St. Mary’s Cemetery at the convenience of the family.
Contributions in her memory may be made to the Visiting Nurse Association, 90 East Ridge, Ridgefield.
The Kane Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.