Arthur H. Frentrop, 77, nuclear physicist, artist
Arthur H. Frentrop of 123 Limekiln Road, a nuclear physicist whose inventions have been used for years to discover oil, died on Tuesday, July 9, at Yale-New Haven Hospital. He was 77 years old and had lived in Ridgefield since 1953.
While his career was in science, Mr. Frentrop was also an artist and craftsman who had studied painting in Paris and had exhibited his work widely after his retirement.
Mr. Frentrop was born in St. Louis, Mo., on Nov. 9, 1924, the son of C. Arthur and Adele Flachmeier Frentrop. After studying mechanical engineering at the Missouri School of Mines, he joined the U.S. Army in 1944 and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. His Rainbow Division later liberated the prisoners of Dachau, the infamous concentration camp.
After the war, he was stationed in Austria, which was divided into three zones, among the allied armies. While in Salzburg, in the American Zone, he met his wife, Erika Weihs, a medical student from Graz in the Russian Zone, who was working with wounded soldiers nearby. A year later, he was discharged in Vienna, and took a civilian job with the American occupation forces, in Intelligence, mapping the elaborate sewers of Vienna.
Arthur and Erika were married in Paris in 1946. While there, he studied fine arts at the Academie Julien where Mrs. Frentrop was also a student.
In 1947, the newlyweds were running out of money and decided to move to the United States. Mr. Frentrop studied physics for the next four years at Washington University in St. Louis and went to Los Alamos, N.M., in 1951, to work with the team that designed the accelerator for the hydrogen bomb at the UCLA Laboratory for Nuclear Research.
While there, Mr. Frentrop became active in efforts to promote world peace. Among the community of scientists at Los Alamos, he led a chapter of the United World Federalists, which supported the United Nations and tried to influence political leaders to support peace.
“He was a fabulous American,” Erika Frentrop said. “He had John Adams’ values — the values of our forefathers. He believed in a pure and a just country.”
In 1953 he was hired as a nuclear physicist by Schlumberger’s research laboratory in Ridgefield, to develop a miniature accelerator, which he called The Minitron. Schlumberger still uses the device around the world to search for underground oil. Seven of his inventions were patented by Schlumberger.
He retired after 28 years with the company.
Mr. Frentrop was actively involved in the town of Ridgefield, serving as a president of the PTA in the 1950s, and as a member of the building committee of what is now East Ridge Middle School in the 1960s.
In the early 1970s, the Frentrops operated a children’s camp, Camp Osprey, on Little Cranberry Island off Northeast Harbor on Mount Desert Island, Maine. They later bought and restored a 150-year-old Victorian home on the island and continued to summer there until 1987.
In retirement, Mr. Frentrop devoted much of his time to the arts, which had been a lifelong interest. His finely turned Shaker furniture had an appreciative audience and his wood sculpture and papier-mâché masks were exhibited extensively, including at the Ridgefield Guild of Artists and at area galleries.
He also loved music, especially jazz, and enjoyed singing. Mrs. Frentrop recalled their life in Paris in 1946. “Those were the ‘Stardust’ days — swing, jitterbug, Glenn Miller — and we danced to those tunes. And he sang with his incomparable bass voice the jazz songs he had learned as a teenager when he soaked up the atmosphere at The Cherry Blossom Lunchroom in East St. Louis and its all-night jam sessions.”
Besides his wife, Mr. Frentrop is survived by three daughters, Renee Santhouse of Wilton, Michele Frentrop of Philadelphia and Andrea Davies of Ridgefield; and by three grandchildren: Aaron, Lloyd and Roy Davies.
A memorial celebration for family and friends will be held at a later date.
Contributions to his memory may be made to Planned Parenthood of Connecticut, 129 Whitney Avenue, New Haven, CT 06501, or to the Williams Syndrome Association, Box 297, Clawson, MI 48017-0297.
Susan Elizabeth Foyto, 56, homemaker
Susan Elizabeth Foyto of 31 Pointe Rok Drive, Worcester, Mass., a former Ridgefielder, died on Thursday, June 21, at her home. She was 56 years old and the wife of Peter Jay Foyto.
Mrs. Foyto was born in Norwalk on Feb. 23, 1945, a daughter of Joan Bath Holthausen of Guilford and the late Thomas Webb. She attended Wilton schools and graduated from Wilton High School.
A resident of Worcester for the past 11 year, she had lived in Ridgefield from 1975 to 1990 and had a home on Old South Salem Road.
Mrs. Foyto was a homemaker, but had also worked for several years at the Home Video Outlet on Danbury Road. She had been a member of the First Congregational Church here.
Before moving to Ridgefield, she had lived in Westborough, Mass.
Besides her mother and husband of 35 years, Mrs. Foyto is survived by two daughters, Kimberly S. Fratino of New Milford and Brienne W. Leslie of Worcester; a brother, Michael J. Webb of Danbury; and three grandchildren, Tyler Leslie, Michael Leslie and Anthony Fratino IV.
Services took place on Tuesday in the First Congregational Church. Burial was in St. Mary’s Cemetery.
Contributions in Mrs. Foyto’s memory may be made to Our Danny Cancer Fund, UMass Memorial Foundation, Biotech IV, Suite 315, 377 Plantation Street, Worcester, MA 01605.
The Kane Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Nell Fortin, active in Legion Auxiliary
Helen “Nell” Fortin of Venice, Fla., a Ridgefield native who had lived most of her life here, died on Wednesday, Nov. 28, at Bon Secours-Venice Hospital. She was 89 years old and the widow of Richard Fortin.
Mrs. Fortin was born in Ridgefield Feb. 29, 1912, a daughter of the late Nazzareno and Palmina Goffi Birarelli. She attended Ridgefield schools and graduated from Ridgefield High School with the Class of 1930.
Many years ago, Mrs. Fortin was a waitress at the old Book Barn, a restaurant and book store situated on Wilton Road West at the border of Ridgefield and Wilton.
Mrs. Fortin was a member of the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary and had served as treasurer for 20 years. For many years, she was a familiar sight selling poppies for the Legion in the weeks before Memorial Day.
That holiday was special to Mrs. Fortin. She and her husband were married on Memorial Day, May 30, 1941 in St. Mary’s Church (her brother, Father Dionisi Birarelli, performed the ceremony). Mrs. Fortin’s brother, James Birarelli, was the first Ridgefielder killed in World War II, dying in the Tunisian Campaign in 1943 after stepping on a mine. Mr. Fortin served in Europe under General Patton.
“We always put Memorial Day first,” she told an interviewer in 1991 on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary.
In Ridgefield, she was also a member of St. Mary’s Church and of its Rosary Society.
Mrs. Fortin, who had lived on upper Wilton Road East for many years, moved to Florida in 1995, the year her husband died.
Her survivors include two sons: Richard Fortin of Nokomis, Fla., and Joel Fortin of Ridgefield; a brother: Charles Biarelli of Trumbull; a sister: Mary Morrow of Nokomis; six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Graveside funeral services and burial will take place on Saturday at 11a.m. in St. Mary’s Cemetery.
Friends will be received in the Kane Funeral Home, 41 Catoonah Street, on Friday evening from 5 to 8.
Contributions in Mrs. Fortin’s memory may be made to the Ridgefield Volunteer Fire Department, 6 Catoonah Street, Ridgefield, 06877.
Ruth Farrell, 41, librarian, volunteer
Ruth Anne Marie Farrell of Kiwi Corner, a librarian who was also a volunteer with local organizations, died on Monday, Jan. 28, in New Canaan. She was 41 years old.
Ms. Farrell was born in New York City on Dec. 27, 1960, a daughter of the late MacLennan and Ingeborg Zucker Farrell. As a child, she moved with her family to Weston, where she was a former member of the Norfield Congregational Church. She then moved to Westport and, four and a half years ago, to Fox Hill condominiums here.
Ms. Farrell had been a librarian at the Westport Library for 20 years, and was writer and editor of its monthly newsletter.
“She was very well-liked and well-respected,” said Licia Murphy, a friend and neighbor at Fox Hill, who noted that 30 members of the library staff attended the funeral.
Ms. Farrell was also active in the First Congregational Church where she helped organize the church library. An accomplished baker, she would often make the communion bread for the church as well as for events at the Westport Library. Recently, she had baked the wedding cake for the daughter of a friend.
Ms. Farrell had also been a volunteer with Mid-Fairfield Hospice and at the soup kitchen in Westport.
“She was a very sweet, giving, gracious woman,” said Ms. Murphy. “She gave a great deal of herself. She was the best neighbor anyone could want.”
Her only survivor is a sister, Mary Farrell of Tarrytown, N.Y.
Services took place on Friday afternoon at the First Congregational Church. Interment was private.
Contributions in her memory may be made to the First Congregational Church of Ridgefield, 103 Main Street, Ridgefield, CT 06877
The Kane Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Caroline Grace Failla, infant
Caroline Grace Failla, an infant, died at her home on Tuesday morning, Dec. 4. She was two months and 27 days old.
Caroline, a daughter of Sean M. and Jennifer Eriksen Failla of 28 Madeline Drive, was born in Danbury on Sept. 7, 2001.
Besides her parents, she is survived by a sister, Emily Failla of Ridgefield; her maternal grandmother, Kathleen Fury of Ossining, N.Y.; her paternal grandparents, Gerry and Jane Eriksen of Thomasville, Ala.; and by several aunts, uncles and cousins.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday at 1 p.m. in St. Mary's Church. Burial will follow in St. Mary's Cemetery.
There will be no calling hours.
Contributions in Caroline’s memory may be made to Yale New Haven Hospital, Pediatric Services, 20 York Street, New Haven, CT 06504.
The Kane Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Catherine Fahey, Eucharistic minister
Catherine M. Fahey of 11 Conant Road, a longtime Ridgefielder who was active in the Catholic Church, died Wednesday, April 24, at her home. She was 74 years old and the wife of Francis J. Fahey.
A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Mrs. Fahey was born Aug. 4, 1927, a daughter of Mary and Henry Selzer. She grew up in Brooklyn.
Early in her career Mrs. Fahey was an executive secretary for Pfizer in New York City. After raising a family, she returned to work as circulation and office manager at Tepfer Publishing, a magazine publishing company in Ridgefield. She later was a paralegal for Belote and Belote, attorneys at law, in Ridgefield.
The Fahey family moved here from New Jersey in 1968.
Mrs. Fahey was a Eucharistic minister at St. Mary’s Church and a member of the parish Adoration Chapel Prayer Group.
For many years she volunteered in the school and town libraries.
“Everyone knew her for her cooking,” said her daughter, Catherine DeCesare. “She did everything from barbecue beef to gourmet cooking.”
She was also known for her shopping skills — “she was a great tag sale shopper, a great bargain shopper,” her daughter said. “She could spot a good bargain before anyone.” She also enjoyed traveling.
More than anything, Ms. DeCesare added, “she was very devoted to her family.”
Besides her husband of 52 years, Mrs. Fahey is survived by two daughters: Catherine F. DeCesare of Norwalk and Virginia F. Aloise of Lincoln, N.H.; a son, Kevin F. Fahey of of Higganum; a sister, Teresa Weiss of Ithaca, N.Y.; and four grandchildren: Shaleighne Fahey, Caitlin Fahey, Elizabeth DeCesare and Matthew Aloise; and several nieces and nephews.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Mary’s Church at a time to be announced. Burial will be in St. Mary’s
Contributions in her memory may be made to the Visiting Nurse Association of Ridgefield, 90 East Ridge.
Call the Kane Funeral Home, 438-6597, for times of calling hours and the service.
Samantha Everson, mother of two
Samantha Everson of Ridgefield died Monday, July 23, at Danbury Hospital. She was 31.
She was born in Norwalk on Feb. 8, 1970 and grew up in Ridgefield, attending public schools here.
She is survived by her two daughters, Ashley and Briana Sherwood of Danbury Road; her parents, Harry J. and Maryellen Everson of West Branchville Road; a grandmother, Helen Hyvarinen of Wilton; a brother, Harry J. Everson III and his wife, Heidi, of Danbury; and a sister, Crystal H. Everson and her daughters, Zionnah and Anisa of West Branchville Road.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Aug. 11, at 11 a.m. at the United Methodist Church, West Church Street, Georgetown.
Funeral arrangements were handled by Hoyt Funeral Home, New Canaan.
Betty Esterheld, active in community, early Kodak manager
Mary Elizabeth “Betty” Esterheld, 80, a former Ridgefielder who was once one of the first female managers at Kodak, died at the Filosa Convalescent Home in Danbury on Sunday, Nov. 4, after a lengthy illness. She was 80 years old and the widow of Frank R. Esterheld, who died in December 1999.
Mrs. Esterheld was born in Rochester, N.Y., Nov. 18, 1920, daughter of the late Edward and Florence DePugh Fitzgibbons. She grew up in Rochester and was a graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology.
During the mid-1940s, Mrs. Esterheld was the mail and file room manager for Kodak’s headquarters in Rochester, and was one of the first female managers at the company.
She and her husband lived on Tally-Ho Road from 1966 until 1986, when they moved to Marietta, Ga. While here, she was active in the Women’s Committee of the Ridgefield Community Center, and as a volunteer in St. Mary’s Parish.
Both she and her husband were avid bridge players, and Mrs. Esterheld also enjoyed painting.
Mrs. Esterheld returned to Connecticut two and one-half years ago, living at Laurel Ridge for a while before moving to Filosa.
Mrs. Esterheld is survived by two sons: Paul G. Esterheld of Palm Harbor, Fla., and John F. Esterheld of Danbury; two daughters: Joan Zawacki of Ridgefield and Lisbeth DeNapoli of Totowa, N.J.; two sisters: Sister Joan Fitzgibbons of Rochester and Winifred Hall of Penfield, N.Y.; six grandchildren: Raymond and Edward Esterheld, Jessica and Greg Zawacki and Jennifer and Mark Esterheld; and several nieces and nephews.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, Danbury, on Friday morning at 10. Burial will follow in St. Peter’s Cemetery. There will be no calling hours.
Contributions may be made to Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, 12 Cottage Street, Danbury, CT 06810.