Rudy Casagrande Jr. was born in Danbury Oct. 6, 1959, a son of the late Rudolph and Alice (Banks) Casagrande. He attended Ridgefield schools and graduated from Ridgefield High School with the Class of 1978.
At the time of his death, he was employed by the Ridgefield Parks and Recreation Department, a position he held for the past six months. Before that he had worked for the Knapp Brothers tree surgeons as a crew foreman, operating a 52-foot cherry picker.
“We were sorry to see him go,” Darren Knapp said. “Always worked two jobs, and never missed time. I could always count on him, he was very dependable.”
“I could send him to any tree, and he would get it down.”
Mr. Casagrande will be well remembered for his off-beat and nearly continual humor, Mr. Knapp said.
There were lines of self-deprecating humor he would use again and again, which will be long remembered by friends and co-workers, Mr. Knapp said.
Mr. Casagrande, who’d had long blond hair in high school, had very little remaining in middle age, and would constantly ask “How’s my hair?” to draw laughs. Sometimes, high up in the cherry picker, he’d call down “Can you count the reindeer?” and sing a snippet of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer — “Dancer and Prancer and Donder and Blitzen” — referring to the remaining strands on his head.
In a similar spirit, he referred to his beat up old Dodge pick-up as “my prize Dodge.”
“He loved the outdoors, loved to fish, and he loved the New York Mets — he was certainly a Mets fan,” Mr. Knapp said.
Mr. Casagrande is survived by two brothers, Kenneth Marsh, and his wife Cheryl of Danbury, and Ralph Marsh, and his wife Joyce of Holcomb, Kans.; a sister, Barbara Coderre and her husband John of Terryville; two aunts, C. Frances Hodges of Hartford and Yola K. Casagrande of Danbury; and several nieces, nephews and cousins.
(See article below)
Darlene Cioffoletti Casagrande was born in New Rochelle, N.Y., Aug. 19, 1962, a daughter of Daniel J. and Nancy (Maduras) Cioffoletti of Sandy Hook. She attended St. Rose School, Newtown Middle School and graduated from Newtown High School. She was an area resident for the past 33 years.
She was a marketing researcher for Direct Media Marketing of Bethel.
“She probably called 100,000 people in the last six years,” said Mr. Crnic of Direct Media. “She was real good on the phone, real good.”
“Some people just have an energy when they’re on the phone that makes people want to talk to them. She had the voice, that friendly positive voice, and a nice delivery.”
In addition to her parents, she is survived by a daughter, Christina M. Fiore of Danbury; two brothers, Robert Cioffoletti of Ridgefield and Michael Cioffoletti of Newtown; four sisters, Francene Albert of Las Vegas, Nev., Marlene Cioffoletti of Southbury, Nancy Cameros of Newtown and Daniele Maguire of Hopewell Junction, N.Y.; her paternal grandmother, Frances Cioffoletti of Sandy Hook, and several nieces and nephews.
Following Saturday’s Mass at St. Mary’s, Mr. and Mrs. Casagrande will be buried in Ridgebury Cemetery at the convenience of the family.
There will be no calling hours.
Contributions in both Mr. and Mrs. Casagrande’s memory may be made to the Ridgefield Boys & Girls Club, 41 Governor Street, Ridgefield 06877.
The Kane Funeral Home, 41 Catoonah Street, is in charge of arrangements.
(See article below)
Fire takes lives of high-spirited, fun-loving couple
married just a year and half, Rudy and Darlene Casagrande died of smoke inhalation last Thursday night, Dec. 27, in a fire that burned their home at 86 Pine Mountain Road to the ground.
Friends and co-workers described the two as full of fun and humor — off-beat, high-spirited, kind-hearted, hard-working, down-to-earth.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held for Rudy Casagrande Jr., 42, a near lifelong Ridgefielder, and Darlene Cioffoletti Casagrande, 39, who grew up in Newtown, on Saturday at 10 a.m. in St. Mary's Church, Ridgefield.
“They were both characters,” said Bob Crnic, who as the owner of Direct Media Marketing in Bethel had employed Darlene Casagrande for the last six years. “It was very unusual to have two people be that outgoing and that boisterous” and manage to get along as a couple, he said.
But the Casagrandes were like that.
“Rudy was her rock,” Mr. Crnic said.
“What a character!” said Darren Knapp, who grew up with Rudy Casagrande, went to school with him, and employed him for the last six years at the Knapp Brothers Inc. of Florida Road. “It’s a terrible loss.”
“Always a positive attitude, always kidding and joking — morning, noon and night. He would joke with everybody,” Mr. Knapp said.
Walter Schuett, who also went to school with Mr. Casagrande, worked with him on the town parks crew, where he’d been employed the last six months.
“Just an extremely friendly, hard-working, very compassionate person,” Mr. Schuett said. “He just loved working outside.”
“He’s going to be missed,” said Bob Schneider, head of the parks maintenance operations. “He was an excellent worker, a real friendly, outgoing person.”
Mrs. Casagrande’s mother, Nancy Cioffoletti of Newtown, said her daughter and Mr. Casagrande had married in the summer of 2000, while the two were on a trip to Las Vegas.
“They got married a year ago August,” she said.
“She was a fun-loving girl, interested in sports. She was a great baseball fan, and she loved the Mets. She loved the outdoors. She and Rudy loved to go camping together.”
Mr. Crnic said Darlene Casagrande had been employed by his marketing research firm for about six years.
“She was like family. I know the word’s been used a little too much lately. She was literally like family. She considered this her home away from home,” he said. “Last week, the Thursday before Christmas, we had a Christmas gathering during the day at the office. She brought a huge basket filled with all kind of treats for my children.”
“Rudy was a unique person,” Mr. Crnic added, “constantly doing things for anyone and everyone. He had such a positive aura, just happy-go-lucky.”
William H. Casey, 84, founded Casey Fuel
William H. Casey, who was active in the business, civic and social life of Ridgefield for more than half a century, died on Saturday, Aug. 10, at his home on Main Street. He was 84 years old and the husband of Valerie Dyer Casey.
In 1949, Mr. Casey founded Casey Fuel, one of Ridgefield’s oldest family businesses. He was a former head of the Republican Party in town, had served on two town boards, and was a director of Danbury Hospital.
William Henry Casey was born in New York City on Oct. 21, 1917, son of Harold W. and Frieda Casey, and grew up on Long Island. He graduated from Lehigh University in 1939 and had worked for several oil companies before deciding to start his own business.
Mr. Casey married Valerie Dyer, a New York City native who was raised in Montreal, Canada. They were wed at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. In 1947 they moved to Ridgefield, living at first on West Lane and in 1953 buying an 18th Century homestead on northern Main Street that became both his home and his office for nearly 50 years.
Casey Fuel grew to become one of the town’s largest fuel oil dealers. In the early 1960s, Mr. Casey also owned an Esso gasoline station and paint store on Danbury Road, now the quarters of Marty Motors.
In 1961, he opened a real estate end of the business and was long active in the real estate community, serving in 1967 as president of the Ridgefield Board of Realtors.
Mr. Casey had served many community groups. An active Republican, he had worked on countless campaigns and became chairman of the Republican Town Committee. He served on town’s Board of Finance in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and had also been a member of the Board of Tax Review.
Mr. Casey joined the Ridgefield Lions Club on Nov. 1, 1948, and at the time of his death had been the longest, continuous, still-resident member of the club. He had served as the club president some years ago.
Mr. Casey was also a member of the Board of Directors and a trustee of Danbury Hospital, had served as a director of the Community Center, and was president of his Lehigh alumni class.
An avid golfer, Mr. Casey was one of the longest-term members of the Silver Spring Country Club. There, he was a founder of the Poison Ivy League, a group of local golfers that included such prominent businessmen and attorneys as Judge John E. Dowling, Alex Santini, Judge Joseph H. Donnelly, Edward Hyde and Judge Reed F. Shields.
He was interested in his family’s roots. In 1997, 18 members of the Casey clan traveled to Ireland for a 10-day trip that included visits to many ancestral sites of both the Casey and Dyer families. Last Memorial Day, the Casey family gathered here for a fifth-year reunion of that journey.
Mr. Casey was an active member of the Princeton Club of New York and a former member of the New York Athletic Club. He was also a member of St. Mary’s Church.
Besides his wife, Mr. Casey is survived by four children: Diane Brown of Brookfield, Michael Casey of Ridgefield, Ladd Casey of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Shaun Held of Tiburon, Calif.; seven grandchildren: Teddy and Michael Brown, Ford and Shane Casey, Shophia and Annika Held, and Laura Casey; and by three great-grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Wednesday in St. Mary’s Church. Burial followed in St. Mary’s Cemetery.
Contributions in his memory may be made to the Visiting Nurse Association, 90 East Ridge, Ridgefield 06877.
The Kane Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Vito A. Cavallo, 89, owned shop here
Vito A. Cavallo of 34 Ramapoo Road, a retired butcher who was active in the old Ridgefield Taxpayers League, died on Monday, Sept. 3, at Danbury Hospital after being stricken ill at his home. He was 89 years old and the husband of Grace Livingston Cavallo.
Mr. Cavallo was born in Italy, Dec. 17, 1911, the oldest of nine children of the late Vincenzo and Josephine Parra Cavallo and the only one born in Italy. He was a year-old baby when his mother came to this country to join her husband and his father in the small town of Crabtree, Pa., near Pittsburgh.
Mr. Cavallo attended Pennsylvania schools and as a teenager, worked in the coke ovens of the Pennsylvania steel country. Later, the Cavallo family moved to the Bronx, N.Y., where he and his brothers owned and operated Five Star Butcher Shop.
While living in New York, he met his wife of 53 years. In 1956, the couple moved to Ramapoo Road. Mr. Cavallo established his own butcher shop on Main Street in the storefront now occupied by Cappiello Brothers Jewelers. He continued to operate the business into the 1960s before selling the store and becoming associated with D&S Pump of Brewster, N.Y.
In the 1970s, Mr. Cavallo became active in the Ridgefield Taxpayers League, attending many town and school meetings and speaking out against what he saw as excessive government spending. He often wrote letters to the newspaper, supporting fiscally conservative positions. A student of American history, he was well read on the subject and would quote from past leaders in his letters.
An avid gardener, Mr. Cavallo grew many varieties of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and other vegetables. He also enjoyed dancing. “At the Firemen’s Ball, he was the first man on the dance floor,” his wife Grace said. “He loved to dance.”
“He just loved life,” she added.
Mr. Cavallo was a member of St. Mary’s Church.
Besides his wife, Mr. Cavallo is survived by three sons: Vincent Cavallo and his wife, Patricia, of Garner, N.C., Anthony Cavallo of San Rafael, Calif., and James P. Toohey Jr., of Memphis, Tenn.; three daughters: Marie Russo of Danbury, Laurel Casazza and her husband, William, of Southbury, and Pamela Miller and her husband, Thomas, also of Southbury; four brothers: Gerald Cavallo of the Bronx, Orlando Cavallo of New Rochelle, N.Y., Charles Cavallo of the Bronx, and Anthony Cavallo of Lawrenceville, Ga.; four sisters: Jean Crescenzi of Mineola, N.Y., Carmela Piascentina of the Bronx, Helen Borgia of Duluth, Ga., and Tina Morea of Tampa, Fla.; two sisters-in-law: Audrey Welsh of Leeds, N.Y., and Helen Livingston of Nashua, N.H.; 12 grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
Another son, Vito A. Cavallo II, died on April 20, 1981, after an auto accident. He was 22.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated today Thursday at 10:30 a.m. in St. Mary’s Church. Burial will follow in St. Mary’s Cemetery.
Contributions in Mr. Cavallo’s memory may be made to the Ridgefield Fire Department Ambulance Fund, 6 Catoonah Street, or the Tiger Hollow Sports Complex, Box 372, both Ridgefield 06877.
The Kane Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Mary S. Chard, 88, bookkeeper and volunteer
Marie Scully Chard of Mapleshade Road, formerly of Greenwich, died on Tuesday morning, April 1, at the Danbury Hospital.She was 88. She was the wife of Howard T. Chard who died Nov. 20, 2001.
Mrs. Chard was born in Greenwich, Jan. 9, 1915, a daughter of Thomas E. and Susan Sweeney Scully. She attended Greenwich schools and was a private bookkeeper and personal secretary retiring two years ago. Active in the Greenwich community until moving to Ridgefield three years ago, Mrs. Chard was a member of the Greenwich chapter of the American Red Cross, a past secretary and an instructor of first aid to the Greenwich public school system, the Greenwich Fire Department and Greenwich Police Department. A former member of the Greenwich PTA, she served as a member of the board of its Safety Council. In 1943, Mrs. Chard joined the Greenwich Woman’s Exchange as a volunteer, later became a staff member, a position she held for 50 years and later served as a member of its board.
A Ridgefield resident, she attended St. Mary’s Church. She is survived by a son, Howard T. Chard Jr., of Solana Beach, Calif., two daughters, Susan C. Silver of Southbury and Judith C. Knapp of Ridgefield; three sisters, Dorothy Scully and Madeleine Scully, both of Greenwich and Leona Reynolds of Wallingford; eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. A son, Peter S. Chard, a brother, Francis Scully and a sister, Helen Barnes predeceased her.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday, April 3 at 10:30 a.m. in St. Mary’s Church. Burial will follow in St. Mary’s Cemetery. The Kane Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements. Memorial contirubitons may be made to St. Mary’s Church Building & Development Fund, 55 Catoonah Street, Ridgefield, CT 06877.
Jonathan Chettle, former Ridgefielder
Jonathan Chettle of Rancho Murieta, Calif., an insurance broker and former Ridgefielder, died Saturday, July 6, of cancer. He was 58 years old and the husband of Donna Chettle.
A native of India, Mr. Chettle, an insurance broker, had lived on Branchville Road for five years before moving to California in January. Donna Chettle, his wife, operated Burke and Company, a shop on Bailey Avenue.
Besides his wife, Mr. Chettle is survived by his mother, Margaret Chettle; a daughter, Ashley Chettle, who worked at Hay Day; two brothers: Anthony and Nicholas; and a sister, Dawnie.
Memorial services will take place in England and California at a later date.
Contributions in his memory may be made to a charity of one’s choice.
The East Lawn Rancho Cordova Mortuary was in charge of arrangements.