Aldo Salvestrini, lifelong Ridgefielder
Aldo Salvestrini, who lived in Ridgefield nearly all of his 93 years, died on Friday morning, Feb. 8, at Hancock Hall, Danbury.
Mr. Salvestrini, a son of the late Albert and Allegrina Monti Salvestrini, was born on Christmas Day in 1908 in a home on Sunset Lane that still belongs to the Salvestrini family. He attended Ridgefield schools.
Mr. Salvestrini worked for many years in the maintenance division of the former Ivan Sorvall Company of Newtown, now a division of E.I. DuPont de Nemours. He retired about 25 years ago.
Mr. Salvestrini, who lived at 144 Ramapoo Road for many years, had been married to Marie Mei Salvestrini, who died in 1990. They would have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in 1991.
Mr. Salvestrini was a founding member of the Italian American Mutual Aid Society of Ridgefield and belonged St. Mary’s Church.
He is survived by two daughters: Irene Falcinelli of Ridgefield and Barbara Waldron of Danbury; two sons: Richard Salvestrini of Margate, Fla., and James Salvestrini of Kernsville, N.C.; two sisters: Lena Frattini of Ridgefield and Mary Sartini of Brooklyn, N.Y.; two brothers: Dante Salvestrini of Florida and Raymond Salvestrini of Ridgefield; 14 grandchildren, including Evo Falcinelli of Ridgefield; 15 great-grandchildren; and nieces and nephews.
Four brothers — Armando, Anthony, Leno, and Joseph — died before him.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Tuesday in St. Mary’s Church. Burial followed in St. Mary’s Cemetery.
Contributions in Mr. Salvestrini’s memory may be made to the Hancock Hall Resident’s Recreational Fund, 31 Staples Street, Danbury, CT 06810.
Charlotte Sandberg, Ridgefield native
Charlotte E. Sandberg, a Ridgefield native, died at Filosa Convalescent Home on Friday, July 19. She was 88 years old and the widow of Sigvard Sanberg.
She was born in Ridgefield March 10, 1914, daughter of the late Wallace and Elizabeth (McLean) Smith. She moved to Danbury as a child and had been a Danbury resident since. Mrs. Sandberg was a member of St. James Episcopal.
Mrs. Sanberg is survived by a son: Robert S. Sanberg and his wife, Kathryn of Danbury; a granddaughter, Kirstin C. Sandberg of Danbury; and several nieces and nephews. Three brothers and a sister, Chester Smith, Charles Smith, Wallace Smith and Louise Butler, died before her.
Funeral services took place at the Green Funeral Home, 57 Main Street, Danbury, on Tuesday. Burial was in Wooster Cemetery.
Contributions in her memory may be made to St. James Episcopal Church, 22 West Street, Danbury, CT 06910.
Eleanor Schmidt, 79, artist, cartoonist
Eleanor Davison Schmidt of 57 Prospect Street, an artist and cartoonist who had lived here more than 40 years, died of a heart attack in a New Haven hospital on May 30. She was 79 years old and the widow of Felix Schmidt.
Mrs. Schmidt, who was known as Dell, was born Dec. 19, 1922, in East Orange, N.J., and later, her family moved to Riverside. After graduating from Greenwich High School, she attended art school in New York City, and went to work for Asiatic Petroleum Corporation in Rockefeller Center. She later worked at Famous Artists School in Westport and at the Frame and Art Shop in Ridgefield.
Her second husband, artist Felix Schmidt, whom she met at the Famous Artists School, died in 1971. After their marriage in 1960, Mrs. Schmidt moved to Ridgefield. She had lived many years on Skytop Road.
Mrs. Schmidt "enjoyed people, drama, music, art, humor, reading, travel, cartooning, and creativity," said her daughter, Chrystopher L. Harvey of North Little Rock, Ark. While working for Frame and Art Shop, she did window designs for several village businesses.
Besides her daughter, Mrs. Schmidt is survived by a brother, John Davision of Placida, Fla.; a sister, Hoit Palmer of Annapolis, Md.; and her first husband, George V. Harvey Jr. of Oriental, N.C.
Samuel Sixbey, 80, aerospace engineer
Samuel Richards Sixbey of 108 Spring Valley Road, a former Perkin-Elmer engineer who worked on major space projects, died Friday, Jan. 18, at Danbury Hospital. He was 80 years old and the husband of Elsie Anderson Sixbey.
He was born June 1, 1921 to Sarah Richards Sixbey and Carlton Buck Sixbey in Mayville, N.Y. He was the youngest of six children and valedictorian of his high school graduating class.
Mr. Sixbey spent nearly four years in the Army during World War II in the Signal Corps. He served in both the European theater and the Pacific islands. He left at the conclusion of the war in 1946 as a staff sergeant.
Mr. Sixbey attended Alfred University and Brooklyn Polytechnical Institute, where he graduated with a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering in 1949.
He began his family in Long Island, N.Y., where he worked as an electrical engineer for Servoc Corporation for 11 years.
In August 1960, Mr. Sixbey moved his family to Ridgefield and began a long career with Perkin-Elmer Corporation, where he worked as an optical and aerospace engineer and an optical physicist.
Mr. Sixbey was well known for his pioneering design work on scanning devices for the newspaper industry and for currencies. He worked on the lunar landing project, specifically on soft landing techniques. He pioneered work on lasers, early inkjet printers, servos, and fiber optics.
He worked on many projects for NASA. He spent the last 10 years of his professional career on the Hubble space telescope.
Mr. Sixbey retired from Perkin-Elmer in 1985 as a principal engineer. He was listed in Who’s Who in Engineering in New England. He was president of the Connecticut Branch of The Optical Society of America for two years. He was an honorary member of the Ridgefield Men’s Club and a member of the National Engineering Honor Society.
Mr. Sixbey was an avid amateur photographer all of his life. He enjoyed gardening, cooking, classical music and puttering around his Ridgefield home for 41 years.
For many years he was assistant scoutmaster and troop committee chairman of Boy Scout Troop 49 of Ridgefield.
“He was most happy when with his family,” a family spokesman said. “Mr. Sixbey valued and loved his family and they valued and loved him. He led a long, interesting, full and beautiful life.”
Besides his wife of 56 years, his survivors include four sons: Peter of Metlaketla, Alaska, Michael of Oxnard, Calif., Lawrence of Ridgefield, and Alexander of Danbury; one sister: Marietta Sixbey of West Hills, Calif.; eight grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
Services were Tuesday at the Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church. Burial will be in the spring at Ridgebury Cemetery.
Contributions in Mr. Sixbey’s memory may be made to Covenant House, 460 W. 41st Street, New York, NY 10036.
Gregg Sterling, master craftsman
Gregg Lawrence Sterling, 67, of Wilton died at his home Sunday, Feb. 24, after a long illness.
He was born in Norwalk on Jan. 23, 1935. After attending the University of Connecticut, he made his home on West Lane in Ridgefield.
In 1972 Mr. Sterling moved to Paradox, N.Y., where he lived and worked for 15 years.
In the tradition of his grandfather, Sydney E. Guthrie, who kept the Silvermine Market in New Canaan, he and his wife Sofia, owned and operated the Idlewild Store at Paradox Lake. He also served the community as building inspector and emergency medical technician. Mr. Sterling returned to Connecticut in the late 80s.
“He enhanced the Wilton area with his meticulous woodworking skills,” the family said.
Gregg Sterling was a master craftsman, builder, tree surgeon, photographer and passionate student of literature.” His appreciation of the natural world was manifest in his creations. He was a mentor and inspiration to many,” said his family and friends.
He is survived by two brothers, Alan Sterling of Westport, and Douglas Sterling of South Salem, N.Y.; ex-wife Sofia Sterling of Bethel; daughter Tina Phillips of Grass Valley, Calif.; two grandchildren, nine nephews and a niece.
A spring memorial service is planned.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Mid-Fairfield Hospice, P.O. Box 489, Wilton, CT 06897.
Edward A. Strouse, 65, physicist
Edward A. Strouse, a former Perkin-Elmer physicist, died Tuesday, Feb. 19, at Doctor’s Hospital in Sarasota, Fla. He was 65 years old and had lived in Ridgefield for 30 years.
Born in Newark, N.J., Mr. Strouse grew up in Irvington, N.J.
He graduated from Stevens Institute in Hoboken in 1958 with a degree in mechanical engineering, and received a master’s degree in physics from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Mr. Strouse was a physicist for Perkin-Elmer Corp. in Wilton for 25 years, specializing in optical coatings. He retired three and a half years ago. He had lived on Bayberry Hill Road for 30 years. He moved to Venice, Fla., about four years ago.
He was a member of American Contract Bridge League, American Vacuum Society, and Alpha Sigma Phi Fraternity.
Survivors include his wife, Irene Morning Strouse; two daughters, Susan and her husband Dominick Ferrara of Netcong, N.J., and Karianne Strouse of New York City; a sister: Nancy Smith of West Caldwell, N.J.; and a grandson, Dominick Ferrara.
Services were private.
Contributions in his memory may be made to the American Lung Association.
Frank Halpin’s Brookdale Funeral Home, 1284 Broad Street, Bloomfield, NJ 07003, was in charge of arrangements.
Jesse Swartout, 21, student, artist, athlete
Jesse Tomys Sherwin Swartout of Ridgefield, a gifted artist, athlete and writer, died Friday, Oct. 11, 2002, near Saratoga Springs, N.Y., where he was a senior at Skidmore College. He was 21 years old.
Mr. Swartout was born on Long Island, N.Y., on Sept. 13, 1981, a son of Torin and Anne Swartout of Ridgefield. He lived in Hempstead, N.Y., and Arlington Heights, Ill., before moving to Ridgefield in 1989 when he was eight years old.
He attended Ridgebury School, East Ridge Middle School, and graduated with high honors from Ridgefield High School in 1999.
As a boy he played sports and was active in Cub Scouts. “He was an outstanding soccer, basketball and baseball player, long remembered by those who played both with him and against him,” his family said.
“Jesse was an insightful and intelligent young man, with outstanding artistic talent,” his family said. “His drawings and paintings could be deeply moving, or could reflect his wonderful sense of humor. He majored in English and philosophy at Skidmore, and was a voracious reader and seeker of deeper meaning. Jesse’s writings were intricate and cerebral, and he enjoyed philosophical discussions and debates.”
A violinist in his younger years, he enjoyed playing guitar and listening to avant-garde modern music.
“He was a kind and loving person, always thinking of other people before himself,” his family said.
He loved to travel and had visited Norway, Holland, Belgium, Germany, Mexico, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. One of his favorite memories was taking a cruise to Alaska with his grandmother, Eileen Swartout of Ridgefield.
“He loved nature and was an accomplished outdoorsman, able to make fire using the same tools as Native Americans used centuries ago.”
Besides his parents and his Ridgefield grandmother, Mr. Swartout is survived by his brothers Jason and Joseph, and his sister Katherine, all of Ridgefield; his grandparents, Joseph and Wynelle Washington of London, Ontario; his great-grandmother Mattie Washington of Punta Gorda, Fla.; and several great-aunts and -uncles, as well as aunts, uncles, cousins and many friends.
Services took place Wednesday at the First Congregational Church.
Contributions may be made to the Anasazi Foundation, 1424 S. Stapley Drive, Mesa, AZ 85204.
The Kane Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Marion Swigart, 87, champion of seniors
Marion Agnes Swigart of Augusta, Maine, a former Ridgefielder who helped countless senior citizens and devised the name for the OWLS, died Thursday, Oct. 10, at the Maine General Medical Center. She was 87 years old.
In 1973 Mrs. Swigart was one of the founders of the OWLS. It was she who suggested the name for the organization, the letters standing for Older, Wiser, Livelier Set.
A native of New York City, Mrs. Swigart was born on Dec. 15, 1914, a daughter of Frank and Marie Gundeman Heckel. She graduated from Hunter College and did post-graduate study at Columbia University.
Mrs. Swigart had a long career as a personnel director for such companies as James Talcott, Benson and Hedges, Pratt and Whitney Engine and Aircraft, and Textron Industries.
She and her husband, Curtis, moved to Ridgefield more than 30 years ago, living on West Mountain Road, and she soon became involved in work with senior citizens. When the OWLS were formed to provide activities for seniors, she was its first treasurer and she later served two terms as president.
After she retired in 1974 from James Talcott, a finance company in New York City, Mrs. Swigart became more active in community work. When the town created the Commission on Aging in 1975, Mrs. Swigart was elected its first chairman, serving in that office for six years. When she retired in 1981, acting Chairman Tom Somma praised her and her work, saying “few understand the needs and have the vocal ability, the business acumen, and the courage and persistence to meet the numerous demands made daily upon you in your role as chairman.” He especially commended “your interest, your compassion, your sensitivity, and your very great and numerous talents in the service of the elderly in our community.”
In 1975, Mrs. Swigart was one of 84 people, selected from more than 1,100 applicants, who spent a week in Washington meeting with government officials under U.S. Senator Lowell P. Weicker’s Senior Citizens Intern Program.
In the early 1970s Mrs. Swigart had joined the RSVP, the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, and eventually served 12 years on its Advisory Council. She was a volunteer for the American Cancer Society, often participating in its Daffodil Days fund-raisers, and also volunteered at the Red Cross chapter in Danbury.
She also belonged to the Community Center Seniors group, and over the years had assisted many Ridgefield seniors with Medicare forms.
In 1986, when Connecticut marked its 350th anniversary, Mrs. Swigart was one of a handful of Ridgefielders who were named “Hometown Heroes” by the state.
“She was very energetic, very brilliant,” recalled Edna-May Olson, the town’s agent for the elderly, who was another OWLS founder.
Her husband died in 1991. Mrs. Swigart moved to Maine to be close to her nephew, Dr. Henry F. Ryan, M.D.
In Augusta, Mrs. Swigart was a member of St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church, St. Mary’s Guild and the American Association of Retired Persons.
Besides Dr. Ryan, Mrs. Swigart is survived by another nephew: Richard H. Ryan of Livingston, N.J. She had three sisters who died before her.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Tuesday at St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church in Augusta. Burial will be in Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Augusta, at the convenience of the family.
Contributions in her memory may be made to a charity of one’s choice.