John W. Johnson, financial executive
John W. Johnson of 25 Gilbert Street, a retired financial executive who also advised two local religious congregations, died on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 29, at Danbury Hospital. He was 76 years old and the husband of the late Gloria Bringman Johnson.
Mr. Johnson was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., on June 24, 1926, a son of the late John W. and Elizabeth Carr Johnson. He attended schools in Brooklyn and later graduated from Fordham Preparatory School. He was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Fordham University where he received a degree in accounting.
A former partner in the accounting firm of Peat, Marwick & Mitchell of New York, N.Y., Mr. Johnson became a financial executive for various shipping companies as well as an administrative and financial assistant at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Ridgefield and the Jewish Family Congregation of South Salem, N.Y. He also was a substitute teacher in the Ridgefield public school system.
Mr. Johnson moved to Ridgefield from New Orleans, La., in 1971. He was a member of St. Mary’s Church.
Mr. Johnson is survived by two daughters: MaryAnn Brogan of South Salem and Deborah Ann Valus of Redding; and three grandchildren, Katie Brogan, Connor Brogan and Tyler Valus.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Wednesday morning in St. Mary’s Church. Burial followed in St. Charles Cemetery, Farmingdale, Long Island.
Memorial contributions in Mr. Johnson’s memory may be made to Fordham University Development Fund, Fordham Road, Bronx, NY 10458.
The Kane Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Mary Johnston, 90, volunteer, loved bridge
Mary Stewart Cunningham Johnston of Branchville Road, a longtime Ridgefielder who volunteered for several community agencies, died at her home Sunday, June 16. She was 90 years old and the widow of Joseph E. Johnston of North Salem, N.Y.
A native of New York City, Mrs. Johnston was born on May 31, 1912, daughter of William and Marion Cunningham. She graduated from the Master’s School at Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.
Mrs. Johnston had been a homemaker and had moved to Ridgefield in 1956. For a while in the 1970s, she had lived in North Salem, returning here to live on Branchville Road nearly 25 years ago.
Over the years Mrs. Johnston had worked as a volunteer at the District Nursing Association, now the Visiting Nurse Association, and at the Thrift Shop and the Ridgefield Library.
A longtime member of the Silver Spring Country Club, Mrs. Johnston enjoyed golf. She especially loved bridge, and played in many local bridge groups over the years. She was a longtime summer resident of Osterville, on Cape Cod, Mass.
More than 200 people attended her 90th birthday party in late April at Silver Spring Country Club.
Mrs. Johnston is survived by a daughter, Sara Stewart Champion of Manhattan; a niece, Anne Cunningham O’Neill of Manhattan; and a nephew, David Cunningham of Washington, D.C. Her only son, William Stewart Champion, was killed in a auto accident at age 20 in 1967.
There will be a private burial at the Cunningham mausoleum at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in North Tarrytown, N.Y. A memorial service will be announced later.
Contributions in her memory may be made to the Ridgefield Library, 472 Main Street, or the Visiting Nurse Association, 90 East Ridge Road.
John J. Klein, breeder of Samoyeds
John Joseph Klein, 71, of Smith Hill, Salisbury, a former Ridgefielder who bred prize-winning dogs, died at his home Tuesday morning, Oct. 1, after a long illness. He was the husband of Beverly L. Holt Klein.
Mr. Klein was born March 31, 1931 in Stamford, son of the late Francis L. and Ellen A. Cronin Klein Sr. During the Korean conflict, he was a corporal with the U.S. Army assigned to the 192 Field Artillery Battalion.
Mr. Klein had been a mechanic for Northeast Utilities for 40 years. He began his career in Stamford, and then transferred to the Falls Village unit. He retired in 1973.
The Kleins lived on Woodland Way in the 1960s and early 1970s and operated Sleighbell Kennel there. They bred and showed Samoyeds, and many of their dogs won awards at AKC shows. He and his wife were members of the Samoyed Club of America.
He had been a member of the Ridgefield Fire Department Drum Corps, which was known as the “Flamemen.”
He also was a member of the Association of Retired Employees of Northeast Utilities and of the Church of St. Mary in Lakeville.
Besides his wife, Mr. Klein is survived by many nieces and nephews. A brother, Francis L. Klein Jr., and a sister, Ellen M. Kellogg, died before him.
Services will take place Saturday from the Newkirk-Palmer Funeral Home, 118 Main Street, North Canaan at 11:15, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at noon in the Church of St. Mary, 76 Sharon Road, Lakeville.
Burial will be in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Cobble Road, Salisbury.
Friends will be received at the funeral home on Saturday from 10 to 11.
Memorial donations may be sent to the Salisbury Visiting Nurse Association, Salmon Kill Road, Salisbury, CT 06068 or to the Little Guild of St. Francis, 285 Goshen Sharon Turnpike, West Cornwall, CT 06796.
Jordan A. Konov, 75, lawyer and insurance executive, escaped from Communist Bulgaria
Jordan A. Konov, a prosecutor and judge, died on April 15 in his home on Blackman Road. He was 75.
Mr. Konov spent the first 30 years of his life in Bulgaria, where he grew up in Sofia and graduated with honors from Sofia University with a law degree.
During World War II, U.S. bombs destroyed houses across the street from his home, his father died from a stroke, and the communists overran the country, contributing to a turbulent adolescence. Because he and his widowed mother belonged to the upper class, nearly all of their property was confiscated, and he was forced to work in a uranium mine.
Nevertheless, he obtained a law degree and worked as a prosecutor and judge. But he was disturbed by the oppressive demands of the communist regime and plotted to escape from Bulgaria and was wounded while fleeing into Greece.
After spending some time in Greece and Germany, he was brought to the United States during the McCarthy regime with its fanatical suspicions about anyone associated with communism. At first, despite his education, fluency in English, and ability, he found it difficult to get a job with any American company or business. He was eventually hired by Swiss Reinsurance in Manhattan.
He applied both his background in law and in accounting to his managerial position there. Having seen nearly all of his family’s possessions in Bulgaria confiscated, he was determined to achieve material well-being in America. He succeeded in this goal due to his business acumen and strong discipline.
He and his former wife, Helen Mason, moved from Manhattan to Ridgefield in 1973. When her leukemia became debilitating, he took early retirement to care for her.
After her death, he married Patricia Jenkins, an English professor at Fairfield University, in 1981. During their years together, they took trips abroad; kept a diversified menagerie of dogs, cats, geese, ducks, and chickens, and enjoyed the cultural and social activities of
Ridgefield. His genealogical research into his wife’s background resulted in her membership in several societies. "No one was prouder than Jordan when I was elected governor of the Society of Mayflower Descendants in Connecticut," Mrs. Konov said.
"Jordan will be especially missed by the Men’s Club, and by the bridge groups" to which he and his wife belonged, most notably the seniors group at the Community Center.
"Jordan was a European gentleman whose generosity of spirit and sense of humor will be fondly remembered," she said. There are no other immediate survivors.
A burial service in Hackensack, N.J., will be private. There will be a memorial service at Jesse Lee Memorial Methodist Church, 207 Main Street in Ridgefield on Friday, April 19, at 3 p.m. Contributions in his memory may be sent to Regional Hospice of Western Connecticut, 30 West Street, Danbury, 06810.
Richard J. Loos, 73, retired banker
Richard John Loos of Prospect Ridge, a retired banker and investments executive, died on Saturday morning, Sept. 28, at Connecticut Hospice, Branford. He was 73 years old and the husband of Joan Sternberg Thornburg Loos.
Mr. Loos was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pa., and lived there until 1980 when he moved to Fairfield and subsequently to Ridgefield in 2000.
He attended Philadelphia schools and Temple University and spent more than 30 years in the banking business. He was last a manager of mutual funds at the HSBC Bank of New York retiring eight years ago. However, he remained on the bank’s Board of Investment Funds until January of this year.
Mr. Loos served in the U.S. Army in Germany during the Korean War from 1951 until 1953.
Besides his wife, Mr. Loos is survived by a son, Richard Loos Jr. of Newark, Del.; two daughters, Sarah Thornburg Westcott of Auburn, Mass., and Laura Thornburg Unfricht of Freeport, Maine; two brothers, Ronald Loos of Sammamish, Wash., and Roger Loos of Peachtree, Ga.; and two grandchildren, Richard and Sarah Loos of Philadelphia.
The Rev. John R. Gilchrist, rector, led services on Wednesday morning in St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. Burial was in Hillside Cemetery, Wilton.
Contributions in his memory may be made to St. Stephen’s Church, 351 Main Street, Ridgefield CT 06877, or toThe Connecticut Hospice Inc., 100 Double Beach Road, Branford, CT 06405.
The Kane Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Jack Manna, 92, bulldozer operator who built birdhouses
Ardwino “Jack” Manna of 18 Island Hill Avenue, a retired bulldozer operator who became well known as a builder of birdhouses, died Saturday, Sept. 14, at his home. He was 92 years old and the husband of Rica Torcellini Manna.
Mr. Manna was born in Tuckahoe, N.Y., on Nov. 3, 1909, a son of the late Eugene and Massima Genga Manna. When he was about two years old, his parents returned to their native Province of Ancona, Italy, where Mr. Manna grew up and attended schools.
In 1927, he returned to the United States and came to Ridgefield where he had lived ever since. He went to work as a laborer for Morganti Inc. and eventually became a bulldozer operator for the construction company. He retired in 1978 after 50 years with Morganti.
For many years Mr. Manna made and sold birdhouses, many of which he gave to friends and family. However, he would also hang them in a tree in the front yard, along with a for-sale sign, and over the years sold hundreds of birdhouses. On Friday, the day before he died, a man stopped by and bought eight of them.
Mr. Manna was an honorary life member of the Italian American Mutual Aid Society where he had been a member for more than 50 years. “He was one of the best bocce players around,” said former Ridgefielder Paul Baker of Southbury, a cousin. “He was also proud to carry the American flag when the Italian-American Club participated in the Memorial Day Parade.”
“I always thought he could have been an Olympic runner,” added Mr. Baker. “He was as fast a human being running as I have ever seen.”
Mr. Manna also enjoyed flower gardening. “His gardens were unbelievable,” said a family member.
He was a member of St. Mary’s Church.
Besides his wife of 67 years, Mr. Manna is survived by three sons: Robert E. Manna and his wife Linda of Newtown, Ronald A. Manna of Bethel, and John P. Manna and his wife Barbara of Lawrenceville, Ga.; a sister: Gentile Rothman of Lutton, England; 11 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren as well as several nieces and nephews.
A son, Richard D. Manna, and a brother, Massimo Manna, died before him.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Wednesday in St. Mary’s Church. Burial was in St. Mary’s Cemetery.
Contributions in Mr. Manna’s memory may be made to Regional Hospice of Western CT, 405 Main Street, Danbury, CT 06810 or to the Visiting Nurse Assoc., 90 East Ridge, Ridgefield, CT 06877.
Sr. Frances McManus, 100, retired educator
Sister Frances McManus, CND, known in religion as Sister Saint John Joseph, died at Lourdes Health Care Center in Wilton on Sunday, Sept. 9. She was 100 years old.
More than 75 people gathered last February to celebrate Sister Frances’s birthday. At the time she was remembered by fellow nuns as being popular with those she counseled because of her honesty. She was also praised for her willingness to help others.
Sister Frances was born in Bonshaw, Prince Edward Island, Canada, on Feb. 26, 1901, daughter of the late John and Susan Murphy McManus.
She made First Profession in August 1927 and made Final Vows in August 1933. From 1927 to 1950 Sister taught elementary school at St. Mary and St. Sebastian Schools in Providence, R.I. In 1950 Sister Frances became principal and superior of St. John the Baptist in New Haven, where she served for three years. In 1953 Sister Frances was on the staff of the Novitiate in Montreal, Canada and from 1954-1958 was directress of the Novitiate in Bourbonnais, Ill.
In 1958 she became provincial superior of the Congregation of Notre Dame until 1964. It was during this time that the Congregation moved its provincial administration to the present location in Ridgefield. She then served as superior of convents in Kankakee, Ill., and Providence, R.I., from 1964 to 1969.
>From 1969 to 1978 Sister Frances held various responsibilities in convents in Schenectady and the Bronx, N.Y., and Waterbury until her retirement to the Congregation of Notre Dame in Ridgefield in 1981. Sister moved to Lourdes Health Care Center in October 2000 where she celebrated her 100th birthday in February 2001.
Sister Frances is survived by several nieces and nephews in Canada.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday, Sept. 13, at 4:30 p.m. at CND, 223 West Mountain Road, Ridgefield, Burial will be in St. Peter Cemetery on Friday at 9:30 a.m.
The Cornell Memorial Home, 247 White Street, Danbury is in charge of arrangements.
Sister Ellen McNamara, 101, teacher, librarian
Sister Ellen McNamara CND, known in religion as Sister Maurice, died at Lourdes Health Center, 345 Belden Hill Road, Wilton, on Sunday, Oct. 6, at the age of 101.
Sister Ellen was born in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, on May 20, 1901, daughter of the late Edward and Louise Cogswell McNamara. She attended school in Cape Breton and Pictou, Nova Scotia.
She received her bachelor’s degree in education from Catholic Teachers’ College in Providence, R.I., and her master’s degree in library science from Villanova University.
Sister Ellen was an elementary school teacher for many years in Providence, R.I., Chicago and Bourbonnais, Ill. After she received her degree in library science, she was librarian at St. Jean the Baptiste High School, Villa Maria Academy and St. Columba School, all in New York. Sister Ellen also worked in the library at the Catechetical Center, Archdiocese of New York.
Along with her many years in education, Sister Ellen was very conscious of the plight of the poor. During the Depression she helped many families. When the poor would come to the convent doors, Sister Ellen would always make sandwiches for them and give them a cup of coffee.
In her later years, when she retired to the Congregation of Notre Dame’s motherhouse in Ridgefield, she knitted many winter hats for children.
Sister Ellen is survived by many family members in Nova Scotia and Virginia.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Wednesday, Oct. 9, at the Congregation of Notre Dame, 223 West Mountain Road, Ridgefield. Burial will be in St. Peter’s Cemetery on Thursday, Oct. 10, at 9 a.m.
The Cornell Memorial Home, 247 White Street, Danbury, is in charge of arrangements.