Lee Feist, 58, revived failing corporations
Lee Feist of Copper Beech Lane, a longtime Ridgefielder who helped revive the Remington electric razor company, died April 14 in Arlington, Va., after a long battle with cancer. He was 58.
Mr. Feist joined Remington in 1981 to help then-owner Victor Kiam turn around the failing electric razor company. Among other things, Mr. Feist was put in charge of Remington’s retail operations, which included a small group of shaver service centers. As president, Mr. Feist expanded the service centers into Remington Shavers and Knives, a nationwide chain of retail stores. The stores eventually became one of the most profitable parts of the Remington business. Mr. Feist expanded the chain to become a fixture of shopping malls across the country.
In 1992, Mr. Feist left Remington to build a consulting firm specializing in turning around troubled companies. His firm built and turned around companies ranging from a small country music record label to a category-killer baby store for Service Merchandise, to an industrial textile company. His last project was a turnaround of USCI, a telecommunications company that had suffered heavy losses. While Mr. Feist fell ill to cancer, the turnaround was underway as the company stemmed its losses and approached the break-even point.
The Feists moved to Copper Beech Lane in 1981. During his time in Ridgefield, Mr. Feist was active in the schools, including supervising float-building for Ridgefield High School homecoming parades, serving as girls softball league coach, and participating in the Ridgefield Host-Homes program that helped troubled young Ridgefielders find a temporary place to live with a Ridgefield family. He was also active in Temple Shearith Israel.
Lee Feist was born in Memphis, Tenn., on April 24, 1943, son of Herbert and Betty Feist of Ripley, Tenn. He grew up in Ripley where he was an Eagle Scout, captain of the high school football team, and president of his class. He attended Vanderbilt University and received his MBA from Cornell University. He was awarded a Fulbright lecture grant to teach business administration at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad from 1967-1969. In the 1970’s, Mr. Feist took the helm of Remnant House Fabrics where he built a chain of three dozen fabric and notions mega-stores throughout the South.
He is survived by his wife of 38 years, Bobbye Walsh Feist; his children, Tamara Feist Whinston of Nederland, Colo., and Sam Feist of Arlington, Va.; a grandchild, Morgan Julia Feist; sisters, Carol Feist Hoxie of Memphis, Tenn., and Alice Feist Conte, formerly of Ridgefield and now living in Neptune, Beach, Fla.
The funeral is today, April 18, in Brownsville, Tenn.
Frederic Ferry, 66, aerospace worker
Frederic Lyndon Ferry of Reedville, Va., a retired aerospace worker, died Sunday, May 19, in Rappahanock General Hospital, Kilmarnock, Va. He was 66 years and the husband Lucille Carrine Ferry.
A native of Ridgefield, he was born in a house on West Mountain Road on Nov. 21, 1935, a son of A. Lyndon Ferry and Vivienne Seeley Ferry. He grew up here and graduated in 1953 from Ridgefield High School where he had played football.
He studied in college for a year before joining the U.S. Navy, serving on the first missle cruiser, U.S.S. Boston, in the Mediterranean. After his discharge in 1957, he joined Data Control in Danbury where he worked on aerospace equipment. It was there that he met Lucille Carrine. They were married in 1963 at Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church.
He remained with Data Control until the late 1970s when he joined Metraplex, also working on aerospace equipment, until his retirement in 1992.
The Ferrys, who had lived on Jeffro Drive, moved to Maryland in 1986 and to Reedville in 1992.
An outdoorsman, Mr. Ferry enjoyed hunting, fishing, trapping, and white-water canoeing. In Ridgefield he had been member of the Ramapoo Rifle and Revolver Club, and was an honorary member of the Italian American Club, often cooking pasta for the monthly dinners and the annual field days. He had also belonged to the Odd Fellows here, and the American Legion in Virginia.
Besides his wife, he is survived by a daughter, Donna L. Somoroff and her husband Erik, of Kent; two grandchildren, Lauren E. and Benjamin F. Somoroff of Kent; four sisters, Janet Jespersen of New Hampshire, Elaine Crumrine of Bethel, Ruth Ellen Mooney of West Virginia, and Arlene Corna of New Fairfield; one brother, David Ferry of Newington; and many nieces, nephews, and sisters- and brothers-in-law.
A memorial service will take place Saturday, June 22, at 3 p.m. at Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church here.
Burial was in Wicamoco Church, Va.
Contributions in his memory may be made to the Rappohannock General Hospital Cardiac Rehabilitation Center, c/o 101 Harris Drive, Kilmarnock, VA 22482.
Bud Flaherty, 70, retired Pan Am pilot
Martin F. “Bud” Flaherty of Brewster, Mass., a former Pan American Airlines pilot, died at Cape Cod Hospital, Hyannis Mass., on Friday, Aug. 17. He was 70 years old and the husband of Judith Fedisin Flaherty of Brewster.
Mr. Flaherty was born in Woburn, Mass., and grew up in Winchester. He graduated from Northeastern University in 1954 and entered the U.S. Navy in 1955, serving as a pilot and also flying in the Naval Reserve.
He worked for Pan American Airlines as a pilot for 27 years, retiring in 1991. He had lived in Ridgefield for many years before retiring to Brewster in 1998.
Mr. Flaherty was a member of the Airline Pilots Association and the retired Pan Am Pilots Association.
He enjoyed reading, crossword puzzles, and gardening, and was an avid history buff.
Besides his wife he is survived by son Kevin P. Flaherty of Roxbury; two daughters: Deborah F. Smith of Winchester, Mass., and Diane F. McGrath of Stamford; a sister: Mary T. Flaherty of Brewster; three grandchildren, three nieces and four nephews.
A memorial mass will be celebrated in Our Lady of Cape Church, Brewster, Monday, Aug. 27, at 11 a.m.
Donations in his memory may be made to The United Cerebral Palsy, 1600 L North West Suite 100, Washington, DC.20036. Attention Development Dept.
Nancy Gasparino, owned coffee shop, bakery
Nancy Gasparino of Largo, Fla., who had operated both a bakery and a restaurant here, died Saturday, Sept. 14, at Suncoast Hospital. She was 74 years old and the wife of Albert Gasparino.
A native of the Bronx, N.Y., Mrs. Gasparino moved to Ridgefield in 1948. In 1966, she took over the Ridgefield Pastry Shop on Main Street, later called The Village Bakery, which both she and her husband, and their children operated.
In 1973, the Gasparinos opened the Ridgefield Coffee Shop on Bailey Avenue, which became a popular breakfast and lunching spot for town officials and village old-timers.
“You could learn more about local politics at the coffeeshop place than in the town hall,” said one former customer.
The restaurant continued until 1995 under other owners, and was located where Bailey’s Backyard is today.
The Gasparinos, who had lived on Lewis Drive, moved in 1979 to Florida where Mrs. Gasparino became a real estate agent in Seminole. She was active in the Seminole Assembly of God Church and belonged to the Suncoasters in Largo.
Besides her husband of 55 years, Mrs. Gasparino is survived by a son, Daniel Gasparino of Germany; two daughters: Nancy Weisner of Largo and Grace Costa of Seminole; a brother: Armond Borelli of Seminole; two sisters: Louise D’Ippolito of Greenwich and Eleanor Darreta of Dunedin, Fla.; and by four grandchildren.
Arrangements were handled by Veterans Cremation and Burial Society of Clearwater.
Robert "Bob" Gustafson, 81, Press cartoonist for over 40 years
Robert D. “Bob” Gustafson of Old Greenwich, who had been a cartoonist for The Ridgefield Press for more than 40 years, died Wednesday, Nov. 28, at Stamford Hospital. He was 81 years old.
Since his first work appeared in a 1959 issue of The Press, Mr. Gustafson had created thousands of cartoons for this paper and its sister publications. Sometimes they teased town officials or were just a good gag, but frequently they promoted a good cause in a good-natured way.
“You have to come up with something you like and let everybody judge it,” he said in a 1991 interview about his work. “Sometimes it flops. It’s not like being a plumber — when you go in and fix a pipe and turn the faucet on and the water comes out, you know it’s OK.”
A native of Brookline, Mass., Mr. Gustafson was born on Aug. 8, 1920. He grew up in Brookline and was a paperboy as a youngster. After graduation from Brookline High School, he served in the U.S. Army as a pilot, but his military career ended after he was injured in a plane crash during a snowstorm.
He pitched semi-pro baseball in the Boston area, played drums in a band, and eventually studied at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts School. Before he was 21, he was sending cartoon gag ideas to The New Yorker, and several were purchased and used.
After working for a Boston magazine and a newspaper, he got a job with King Features, ghosting several comic strips and eventually taking over Tilly the Toiler, a strip created by Russ Westover. He drew Tilly the Toiler daily and Sunday for eight years.
Mr. Gustafson later did cartoons for magazines like Good Housekeeping and Saturday Evening Post and worked for Mort Walker on both Beetle Bailey and Hi & Lois. Mr. Walker, who lives in Stamford, became a close friend.
Mr. Gustafson had won many awards for his work, including commendations from professional cartoonist organizations and from the New England Press Association.
He lived in Ridgefield from 1954 to 1960, first on Wilton Road West and later on Cedar Lane. Though he moved to Old Greenwich, he continued to follow Ridgefield affairs at his Greenwich home through the pages of The Press, which he read thoroughly each week for ideas.
“Cartoonists never stop learning,” he once told an interviewer. “They're always observing.”
He was an avid fan of the Boston Red Sox, though in the last few years he had come to enjoy watching their arch-rivals, the New York Yankees; he especially admired Derek Jeter.
He enjoyed golf and tennis, performing and listening to jazz, and was an active supporter of animal welfare causes. He took great pleasure in spending time with his chihuahua, Peewee.
He was also active in the Fairfield County chapter of the Cartoonists Society of America.
His survivors include two daughters, Robin Carroll of Greenwich, and Carol Lyman and her husband, Frank, of Cincinnati, Ohio; and two grandchildren. His wife, Virginia, died in 1965.
A memorial service will be scheduled at a later date.
Contributions in his memory may be made to an animal welfare organization of one’s choice.
Frederick Hemm, flew Air Force One
Frederick X. Hemm of 47 Poplar Road, a pilot who flew Air Force One during the Johnson administration, died on Saturday, July 6, at Danbury Hospital. He was 74 years old and husband of the late Mary Ann Goens Hemm.
Mr. Hemm was born in Piqua, Ohio, on Nov. 29, 1927, a son of the late John A. and Ida Friggee Hemm. He attended Ohio schools and went Ohio State University before quitting after freshman year to join the U.S. Air Force.
Inspired by his brother Joe, a World War II pilot who was shot down and imprisoned by the Germans, Mr. Hemm became an Air Force pilot. He served in the Korean War and in the 1960s was assigned to the VIP service. Among his duties was flying Air Force One, ferrying President Lyndon B. Johnson and Vice President Hubert F. Humphrey.
During his 21-year career in the Air Force, Mr. Hemm continued his college studies in such far-flung places as California, Japan, Texas and Maryland. He finally earned his bachelor of science degree in political science from the University of Maryland in 1967.
Mr. Hemm retired in 1968 as a lieutenant colonel. He then joined the Ogden Corporation of New York City as a corporate pilot and moved to Ridgefield in 1969. He retired from Ogden about 10 years ago, but continued to fly his own private plane, based at Danbury Airport.
“He loved flying,” said his daughter, Teresa Ann Conroy of Weston. “He liked adventure. Any place he hadn’t been he wanted to go.”
He would fly his own plane all over the country, often deciding on a destination at the spur of the moment.
“He enjoyed life,” Ms. Conroy said. “He really lived it to the fullest.”
An avid golfer, Mr. Hemm was a member of the Dhly Ridge Men's Golf Association. He was also a member of a retired Air Force officers association of St. Mary's Church. He was gardener and also enjoyed clock collecting.
Mr. Hemm is survived by a son: Fred X. Hemm Jr., of Danbury; four daughters: Patricia Ann Lombard of Naperville, Ill., Theresa Ann Conroy of Weston, Marcella Maria Seaman of New Fairfield, and Nancy Ann Galligan of Wylie, Texas; four brothers: Joe Hemm, Chuck Hemm, Kenny Hemm and Dick Hemm: a sister: Ann Lewis: eight grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.
His wife Mary Ann died in 1998.
A Mass of Christian Burial and burial services will take place in Piqua, Ohio.
Contributions in his memory may be made to the Visiting Nurse Assocation, 90 East Ridge, Ridgefield 06877.
The Kane Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Patricia Johnson, Realtor, photographer
Patricia K. Johnson of 538 North Salem Road, a former Realtor who had also been a teacher and an award-winning photographer, died on Monday, Sept. 9, at her home.
She was 76 years old and the wife of Warren C. Johnson. They had been married 50 years.
Mrs. Johnson was born in Chicago, Ill., on July 14, 1926, a daughter of the late Walter G. and Katherine LaMont Faist. She grew up in Birmingham and Milford, Mich., and attended schools there. She graduated from Antioch College in Ohio and began her career as a teacher at a nursery school of the University of Illinois. She later taught third grade in California.
The Johnsons moved to Ridgefield in 1961. Mrs. Johnson became a real estate agent, working at first for Hackert and Monti and then A.J. Carnall, before starting her own firm, Trinity Real Estate, in the 1980s.
She was a serious amateur photographer and recipient of many photography awards as a member of the Candlewood Camera Club and the Ridgefield Guild of Artists. She specialized in photographs of flowers, both wild and garden varieties, and had exhibited her work with the camera club and the guild, and at the Richter Art Center in Danbury.
Mrs. Johnson was diagnosed with cancer 20 years ago. “Her strong faith, positive attitude and determination were an inspiration and encouragement to all who knew her,” her family said.
For the past five years, she had participated in Ann’s Place, The Home of I Can, a cancer support group in Danbury.
Mrs. Johnson was a charter member of St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, where she was a lector and a member of the Altar Guild.
“Her main interests were family, friends and church,” her family said. “She also enjoyed duplicate bridge, nature, particularly wildflowers and birds. Golf and football on television was also her passion as well as the University of Connecticut girl’s basketball team, reading and writing, wholesome jokes, crafts and cooking.”
Besides her husband, Mrs. Johnson is survived by a daughter: Gail and her husband Brian Quinn of Raleigh, N.C.; a son: Blake Carl Johnson and his wife Donna of Upper Frenchtown, Maine; and five grandchildren: Tim, Trevor and Taylor Johnson of Upper Frenchtown, and Tracy and Tyler Quinn of Raleigh. She also leaves her dog, Trinket.
Services will take place today, Thursday, at 11 a.m. in St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, 6 Ivy Hill Road. Burial will take place in St. Mary’s Cemetery.
Contributions in her memory may be made to Ann’s Place, The Home of I Can, Suite 210, Peacock Alley, 1 Padanaram Road, Danbury, CT 06811 or to Regional Hospice of Western Connecticut, 405 Main Street, Danbury, CT 06810.