Clifford W. Banks, 79, combat veteran
Clifford Warren Banks, a decorated combat veteran of World War II who had lived in Ridgefield, died Friday, June 13, at St. Raphael’s Hospital, New Haven. He was 79 years old.
Mr. Banks was born in Danbury on June 18, 1923, a son of the late Clifford and Alice Slocum Banks.
During World War II, Mr. Banks served in England with the Army 979th Signal Motor Messengers, delivering restricted material all over England, night and day, in all weather conditions.
He was a combat veteran of the D-Day landings June 6, 1944, on Omaha Beach, and participated in all the hedgerow fighting in France. He also fought in the Battle of the Bulge with the 26th Yankee Division, 101st Infantry Regiment, where he was wounded.
When he returned from the front lines in February 1945, he was sent to the 42nd Rainbow Division, 222nd Infantry Regiment, as replacement and was one of the first soldiers that helped liberate Dachau Concentration Camp. He was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Motor Vehicles Driver’s Award, the Good Conduct Medal, and the Victory Medal.
Mr. Banks returned home in December 1946 and operated gas stations in Georgetown and Branchville for many years. He had lived on Limekiln Road and later moved to Sharon and Lakeville where he had lived for more than 20 years before moving to New Haven a year ago.
His wife, Miriam Ranta Banks, died in 1966.
Mr. Banks is survived by two sons, Brian C. Banks and his wife Rhoda, of Danbury; Bruce C. Banks, of Danbury; a daughter, Jacqueline White, of Providence, R.I.; a brother Edward Banks, of New Milford; a granddaughter, Jessica White, as well as several nieces and nephews.
A graveside service took place Wednesday.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society, 372 Danbury Road, Wilton, CT 06897-2523.
The Hull Funeral Home in Danbury was in charge of arrangements.
Enzo Bartolucci, 88, merchant, town official
Enzo A. Bartolucci of 301 Danbury Road, a former school board member who had been a retailer in Ridgefield for nearly a half century, died on Friday, April 18, at Danbury Hospital. He was 88 years old and husband of Elsie Torcellini Bartolucci.
Mr. Bartolucci was a prominent Ridgefield businessman and citizen who had nearly died as a youth. One winter night in 1934, when he was only 18 years old, Mr. Bartolucci fell into the frigid waters of Lake Mamanasco. In what was the biggest story in that week’s Ridgefield Press, he was rescued by the heroic efforts of two teenage friends.
A native of Italy, Mr. Bartolucci was born in Castel Calona, Province of Ancona, on Dec. 4, 1914, a son of the late Alfredo and Cesira Chechini Bartolucci and stepson of the late Pietro Franceschini. He and his family came to the United States when he was a boy, settling in Ridgefield in 1921. He attended the Titicus Schoolhouse and graduated from Ridgefield High School in the Class of 1933.
A year later, on the night of Jan. 31, Mr. Bartolucci and a large group of young people were skating on Mamanasco when he fell through thin ice in an area that had recently been harvested for local iceboxes. His cries for help were heard by fellow teenagers Francis Rowland and Walter “Chuck” Walker, who skated to shore, found a boat, dragged it across the ice and put it in the water. “Rowland and Walker, by dint of hard struggling with the numbed form of the unfortunate skater, succeeded in pulling him into the boat,” The Press reported the next day. “A rope had been left attached to the end of the boat and the whole crowd of skaters pulled with a will and hauled the boat out onto the ice.”
Mr. Bartolucci, who could not swim and was being weighted down by his heavy clothing, had been in the icy water 15 minutes.
The same year he graduated from the high school, Mr. Bartolucci went into the grocery business, working at first as a butcher. It was the height of the Depression.
“In those difficult days, I got started in business by buying a calf from a farmer for $6,” he told historian Aldo Biagiotti, author of Impact: The Historical Account of the Italian Immigrants of Ridgefield, Connecticut. “After butchering the calf, I cut up the meat. In a day I sold all of the meat and took in $18. That $12 profit made me realize that this was a business to get into.”
A year later he bought an old truck and begin delivering fresh meats and groceries to homes, mostly members of the Italian community. By 1939, he had saved enough money to establish the Wayside Market on Danbury Road, opposite Grove Street. The market specialized in fine meats, fresh produce, and Italian cheeses.
“Throughout my life, I never borrowed a dime, either to get started in business or to purchase a car or a home,” Mr. Bartolucci told Mr. Biagiotti. “I was always able to save and pay for things. This has been my philosophy and way of life.”
In 1948, Mr. Bartolucci added a liquor store to his Danbury Road business. In 1967, he sold the market to Louis J. Fossi, who later became first selectman. He and his wife sold the liquor store in 1979 and retired.
During World War II, Mr. Bartolucci served in the U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps and was a veteran of the African and Italian campaigns. At one point he was in charge of the main prison in Rome.
He returned from the war in 1946, and he and Elsie Torcellini were married in St. Mary’s Church on Feb. 28 of that year.
In the late 1950s, Mr. Bartolucci became interested in community government. He served on the town’s Street Lighting Committee, on the town’s first Charter Revision Committee and on the Citizens Advisory Committee on Secondary Schools.
In 1963, he ran for the Board of Education on the Republican ticket and won more votes — 1,592 — than any of the five other Republican and Democratic candidates for the board. He served on the school board for six years.
Mr. Bartolucci had belonged to the Counter Intelligence Alumni, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the American Field Service. He had also been a member of the Italian American Mutual Aid Society, serving as its secretary for more than 15 years and as a trustee. He was a former member of the Kiwanis Club and belonged to St. Mary’s Church.
“He enjoyed being a part of his grandchildren’s many activities and accomplishments as well as traveling and playing golf,” his family said.
Besides his wife of 57 years, Mr. Bartolucci is survived by a son and daughter-in-law, Alfred and Susan Walsh Bartolucci, and their children, Andrew and Matthew Bartolucci, all of Ridgefield, as well as several nieces and nephews.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Tuesday in St. Mary’s Church.
Burial was in St. Mary’s Cemetery.
Contributions in his memory to the American Heart Association, 5 Brookside Drive, Wallingford, CT 06492 or to the American Diabetes Association, 300 Research Parkway, Meriden, CT 06450 would be greatly appreciated.
The Kane Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Yvonne Battaglia, operated inn here
Yvonne Prigent Battaglia of 80 Old Town Parks Road, New Milford, who grew up here and once operated a French-style inn on West Lane, died April 15 at the New Milford Nursing Home. She was 76 years old and the wife of Serge Battaglia.
Mrs. Battaglia was born in New York City, N.Y., on June 22, 1926, the daughter of the late Jean Prigent and Eloise Le Saus. Mrs. Battaglia grew up in Brest and Paris, France, and in Ridgefield. After her graduation from Ridgefield High School in 1942, she worked as a Conover model and a hat model for Lilly Daché.
It was at New York City’s French Canteen, run by her mother, that Mrs. Battaglia met her husband of 60 years, Serge, who had been a French war hero and four-time winner of the Croix de Guerre.
Upon returning to Ridgefield, she and her mother ran La Bretagne, a French inn and restaurant at the corner of West and Olmstead Lanes (see page 13C). In later years she worked for the artist T.M. Cleland and for banker R. Gordon Wasson. She was also an integral part of her husband’s restaurant at the Bowlerama in Danbury.
A lifelong volunteer, Mrs. Battaglia was a member of the New Milford Thrift Shop and the French Club.
Besides her husband, survivors include three daughters: Eloise Robinson of Bristol; Lt. Col (retired) Cory Elayne Richards of Arlington, Va.; and Janine Battaglia of New Milford. She also leaves a granddaughter, Tabitha Robinson of Bristol, and a great-granddaughter, Trinette Robinson.
Memorial donations may be made to the Trinette Robinson Educational Fund, 19 Lores Plaza, Box 229, New Milford, CT; the New Milford Nursing Home Recreation Fund, 19 Poplar Street, New Milford, CT 06776; or to The Country Players of Brookfield, P.O. Box 528, Brookfield, CT.
There are no services. Cremation was at the Connecticut Crematory, Stamford.
Hull Funeral Service, 60 Division Street, Danbury, was in charge of arrangements.
Stephanie Baumann, native of Vienna
Stephanie K. Baumann of 12 Island Hill Avenue, a native of Austria, died on Monday morning, Oct. 28, at Laurel Ridge Nursing & Rehabilitation Center. She was 90 years old and the widow of Otto Karl Baumann
Mrs. Baumann was born in Vienna, Austria, on May 4, 1912, a daughter of the late Stefan and Marie (Pechmann) Stegbauer. She came to the United States in 1935, after which she married and lived in New Jersey where she raised her family.
She had lived in Ridgefield with her family for the past five years.
“She is lovingly remembered for her enthusiasm, energy and love of love of life,” her family said.
Mrs. Baumann is survived by two sons: Otto Steven Baumann of Los Angles, Calif., and George F. Baumann of Ridgefield; six grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
Private services will take place at the convenience of the family.
There will be no calling hours.
The Kane Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Ruth M. Bergmueller, 76, former resident, active volunteer
Ruth M. Bergmueller of Newtown died Sunday, April 6, in Glen Hill Harborside Healthcare Center, Danbury. She was 76 and the wife of the late Walter Bergmueller and a former resident.
She was born in Perth Amboy, N.J., Nov. 10, 1926, a daughter of the late Joseph and Anna Blanche Petrick. She was a resident here from 1968 to 1973, where she was an active volunteer with Girl Scouts and the PTA.
Mrs. Bergmueller lived for a time in Skillman, N.J., where she was involved with youth mentoring. She then was a resident of Midlothian, Va., where she was a volunteer at Johnston Willis Hospital. She has been a resident of Newtown for the last one and one-half years.
She loved roller-skating, camping and fishing. She was a seamstress, loved bowling and tennis, was an artist and played the guitar.
She is survived by two daughters, Carol Walcott of Newtown and Heidi Wilson of Midlothian, Va.; six grandchildren, Meghan and Jeff Walcott and Kaitlin, Abigail, Gretchen and Jack Wilson; a sister, Dorothy Metcalf of Goodyear, Ariz.; and a brother, Joseph Petrick of Hopelawn, N.J.
Funeral services were April 9 in Newtown. Contributions may be made to Massey Cancer Center, Pediatric Medical Center, attention Fran Householder, Richmond, VA 23298-0037; or to Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, P.O. Box 304, Maryknoll, NY 10545-0304.
Michael E. Bruno, 93, lawyer, official
Michael E. Bruno of New Canaan, a retired attorney and former Ridgefield town official, died Wednesday, June 4. He was 93 years old.
Mr. Bruno was born on May 6, 1911, in Bridgeport and lived in Ridgefield and Wilton before moving to New Canaan.
After receiving his bachelor of arts degree from Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., he graduated from the law school there in 1934.
In 1937, he became one of the first attorneys to establish a full-time law practice in Ridgefield, maintaining an office above the old Gristede Brothers market (just south of Ridgefield Hardware).
After a brief stint in the Army in 1939, Mr. Bruno returned to Ridgefield, serving as chief air raid warden during World War II. He was the first chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals, had been a member of the Board of Education, and served on the Park Commission.
He was also the town’s prosecuting grand juror back in the days when the town had a court in the town hall for motor vehicle cases and misdemeanors.
Mr. Bruno served as the town attorney in the late 1940s and represented the town for a term in the state Legislature.
In November 1951, he ran on the Republican ticket for judge of probate after the sitting judge, Ralph Cramp, died in office. His opponent was John Edward Dowling, a Democrat. In what was called at the time “the biggest upset” in years, Judge Dowling won the election (the last Democrat to hold the probate judgeship had been in 1879, and not one has held it since).
In 1940, Mr. Bruno was instrumental in establishing the Rotary Club here, and in 1991 was honored by Rotary International for 50 years of service.
In 1969, he was appointed a member of the Advisory Board of Directors of the Westport Branch of the Connecticut National Bank.
Mr. Bruno originally lived in Ridgefield, but in the 1952 moved to Wilton, continuing to maintain his practice in Ridgefield until around 1963, when he started a law firm in the Virgin Islands. There he spent most of his time representing and counseling corporate clients. He retired in 1969 and returned to Wilton, and eventually moved to New Canaan to be closer to his son.
Surviving are two sons, Michael E. Bruno II of East Hampton, N.Y., and Todd Bruno of New Canaan, and six grandchildren.
Burial was in Hillside Cemetery, Wilton, on Monday, June 9. Arrangements were made through the Hoyt Funeral Home, 199 Main Street, New Canaan.
Nancy Kelly Calder, secretary, writer
Nancy J. Gillespie Kelly Calder of South Dennis, Mass., a former Ridgefielder who had worked on television and movie scripts, died on Friday, Feb. 7, at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis. She was the wife of Stuart Calder.
Mrs. Calder, the only daughter of Earle William and Jennie Lawrence Gillespie, was born in Norwalk and grew up in Ridgefield. She attended Ridgefield High School and Rogers Hall in Lowell, Mass. She graduated from Greenwich Academy in Greenwich where she majored in business administration and American and English literature, and was also a graduate of Wood Secretarial School in New York City.
She was secretary to the director of Gaines Dog Food Division of General Foods, once located in Ridgefield; secretary to the president of the National Tax Equality Association, Washington, D.C. and secretary to the director of Loan Administration for Mortgage Bankers Association in Washington.
Here, she established and operated her own secretarial/bookkeeping service, catering to small businesses in Connecticut and New York. She eventually branched out into freelance writing assignments, which included editing and preparing for publication books, television and motion picture scripts and magazine articles for numerous authors and playwrights. She worked on episodes of Rod Serling’s “The Twilight Zone” and on the screen play of the motion picture “The Longest Day” with Ridgefielder Cornelius Ryan, its author. Other assignments were commissioned by Coca-Cola Company and Playboy Magazine.
Mrs. Calder lived on Cape Cod since moving to Chatham in 1969. She was an administrative assistant for the Town of Chatham from 1987 until her retirement in 2000, and performed various duties for the Office of the Shellfish Constable, the Assessor’s Department, the Executive Secretary, the Board of Selectman and most recently, the Permit Department.
Besides her husband, Mrs. Calder is survived by one son, John Kelly of Grafton, Mass; two daughters, Joan Kelly Eldredge of Harwich, Mass., and Mariah Kelly of Worcester, Mass.; seven granddaughters and four step-grandchildren.
Funeral services were Tuesday, Feb. 11, at the First United Methodist Church, Chatham. Burial was at Union Cemetery, Chatham.
Memorial donations may be made to Chatham Park Department, c/o Dan Tobin, Chatham Town Hall, 549 Main Street, Chatham. MA 02633.