Karl Holzthum, TWA flight engineer
Karl Holzthum of Powderhorn Drive, a retired airline flight engineer who flew journalists on some of the major stories of the 20th Century, died Monday, April 14. He was 74 years old and the husband of Ruth I. Rubli Holzthum.
A native of Switzerland, Mr. Holzthum was born in Baden on March 9, 1929. He later moved to Zurich where, 61 years ago, he met Ruth Rubli. They were married in Zurich 11 years later and would have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this May 16.
Mr. Holzthum underwent early training at a technical center in Duebendorf. He began his career in 1950 as an aircraft mechanic for TransWorld Airlines in Zurich.
In 1953, he and his wife immigrated to the United States. Soon after, during the Korean War, he was drafted into the U.S. Army for two years, serving as a translator stationed in Germany.
After his discharge, Mr. Holzthum returned to TWA, becoming a flight engineer. During his more than 40 years with TWA, he flew many international routes. In the 1970s he was chosen for the crews that flew the White House press corps on President Richard Nixon’s trip to Moscow and President Gerald Ford’s journey to Korea and Japan. He also flew Time-Life reporters to the Middle East.
Mr. Holzthum retired in 1991.
A Ridgefielder since 1966, Mr. Holzthum was a member of the Ridgefield Men’s Club, and had recently served as its president. He was also a member of the Old Comers Bridge Club and Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church.
For relaxation, he enjoyed music and gardening. He frequently returned to his native land where loved to ski and hike in the Alps.
Mr. Holzthum was also a student of American history, particularly of Thomas Jefferson and the creation of the U.S. Constitution.
Besides his wife, Mr. Holzthum is survived by three sons, Karl and his wife Marian of Sherborn, Mass., Thomas and his wife Terese of Rocky Hill, and Mark and his wife Cidlete of Ridgefield; and by eight grandchildren, Kristine, Kathryn and Kimberly of Rocky Hill, Max and Eric of Massachusetts, and Gabriel, Andre, and Bianca of Ridgefield.
Services will take place Saturday, April 19, at 10 a.m. in Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church. Burial will follow in St. Mary’s Cemetery.
There will be no calling hours.
Contributions in his memory may be made to the American Cancer Society at 800-227-2345.
The Kane Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
James E. Sheehan, pediatrician, father
Dr. James Ennis Sheehan, who brought pediatrics to Ridgefield and practiced here for 43 years, caring for thousands of children and serving as an anchor of common sense, decency and kindness for countless parents, died Tuesday, March 25, at Danbury Hospital. He was 80, and leaves his wife of 52 years, Patricia Gallagher Sheehan, their 11 children and 21 grandchildren.
He was an old-fashioned doctor, visiting the homes of children with strep or the flu, black bag in hand, wearing just a rumpled suit jacket no matter the weather, dedicated to his patients, not worrying about the money.
“There were only four other doctors in Ridgefield then, and we all made house calls,” he said in a 1996 interview, looking back at the town he’d come to from Brooklyn in 1955. “My automobiles used to last me two years — that was it.”
“He was extremely dedicated. He was extremely honest,” said Dr. Christine Guigui, his partner in pediatrics from 1965 to 1983. “He never made much money from his specialty. When I came here he charged $7 for an office visit and $12 for a house call. That was in 1965... One of his famous sayings was ‘as long as I have a roof over my head.’ He didn't care about money.”
“He was just terrific. I went to him until I was 18. He took care of my kids,” said attorney Rex Gustafson. “I’m certain Dr. Sheehan could have been a very wealthy guy. But he took care of everybody, whether they could afford it or not.”
He was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., April 18, 1922, the fourth of 14 children of Dr. George and Loretto Sheehan. He grew up in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and spent summers at The Reservation at Monmouth Beach in New Jersey, where his family had a house. A love of the ocean stayed with him the rest of his life, and led him to take his own 11 children on family vacations to Rhode Island beaches.
“He taught every one of us to ride a wave,” said his daughter Anne Doughty. “It was the place he was most relaxed in the whole world. It was truly the place he went to find peace. He loved the ocean. When everything got too much, he would go to the water.”
He graduated from St. Augustine High School in Brooklyn, lettered in track and went to Manhattan College on a track scholarship, running mile and two-mile relays at Madison Square Garden and in the Millrose Games. One of his brothers, Dr. George Sheehan, was also a runner and became the voice of the running movement through his philosophical writings.
The Navy sent him to medical school, but World War II ended before he saw duty. He did his internship at Kings County Hospital and worked as physician with the Climax Molybdenum Co., a mining firm in Colorado, before returning to the Navy during the Korean War to serve as a division doctor, in California and then on a destroyer off Korea. After a year as doctor at the Brooklyn Navy Yard he began a residency in pediatrics at Kings County Hospital, and a year at New York Hospital.
He had married Patricia Gallagher on Dec. 31, 1949. “He was out in Colorado, and came back, and then we got married, and we went back to his job,” Mrs. Sheehan recalled. It started more half a century of New Year’s Eve wedding anniversaries.
After completing his residency in 1955, Dr. Sheehan came to Ridgefield to practice on the recommendation of Dr. Theodore Safford, whom he’d known in New York. Dr. and Mrs. Sheehan moved to Ridgefield with three children, buying a big old Victorian on Main Street, next to the library. His office was in the house for many years, and eventually he built an office addition in the back.
In 1978 he sold the Main Street house to the library, which knocked it down to make room for its expansion. Attorney Ed Dowling, who handled the closing on the sale, had raised a large family in town. He sent a note: “Here’s my bill. Take it off what I owe you.”
Dr. Sheehan moved his home and practice to Bryon Avenue, where he lived until moving to Casagmo about five years ago. “We all fought it,” he once said, looking the battle against the town’s first big apartment complex in the late 1960s. “Now we all live here.”
After practicing as the town’s only pediatrician for a decade, he started an 18-year partnership with Dr. Guigui.
“Intelligence and humor and dedicated and honest,” Dr. Guigui said. “...He took me into his practice. He had a tremendous practice at the time. He was very happy when I came — he was overworked ... At one point he had practically all of Ridgefield. There were a few general practitioners who saw children, but he practically had them all. I would say when he was alone he must have seen 40 patients a day.”
“He had also hospital obligations,” she said, “indigent patients, where he did not get compensated. He did a lot of that work.”
Rex Gustafson recalled an example of Dr. Sheehan’s personal touch. At age six or seven he was hospitalized with pneumonia. It was before hospital rooms had televisions. “I was staring at the four walls,” Mr. Gustafson said. Dr. Sheehan came to see him — and dropped off the Sheehan family’s TV set for his young patient to watch.
After Dr. Guigui retired he eventually merged his practice with Dr. Robert Elisofon’s Ridgefield Pediatric Associates.
“Dr. Elisofon asked if I’d hang around for six months to smooth the transition,” he told The Press in 1996. “It ended up eight years.” He then worked part time another two years after that.
He was affiliated over the years with both Norwalk and Danbury hospitals. At Norwalk he was a co-founder of the Pediatric Unit and served as director of pediatrics. He served on the Neonatal Mortality Committee for the Connecticut Medical Society. He was the Ridgefield public schools’ doctor for decades, up until just a couple of years ago.
In town he served for a time on the Republican Town Committee.
A man of deep and quiet faith, Dr. Sheehan was a member of St. Mary’s Parish for more than 50 years and had served on its parish council.
For all his dedication to work, his children recall him presiding over raucous family dinners at 6 each night, and in summer piling them into a succession of family station wagons for an after-dinner swim.
“He took us all to Great Pond every night, because then we’d be clean and tired,” said his daughter Anne.
His children remember a few all-purpose sayings that he employed periodically to cast light upon the mysterious workings of the world: “The higher the fewer.” “A week from Tuesday.” And, “Argue issues, not personalities.”
Over years of the tumult of raising a large family — daughters with worrisome boyfriends and troublesome pets, sons playing the drums or taking tramp steamers to Africa — he acquired a wisdom about parenting and life that he shared by example, and the occasional wry remark, rather than speechifying.
“...If you got interested in anything, he’d make sure he knew how it worked,” said his daughter Anne. “If you got interested in pottery, he built you a potter’s wheel. When I was a chef, he read the food reviews. I said ‘Daddy, you never go out to eat, why do you read the food reviews?’ He said ‘I’ve found it’s the only thing I can read without questioning my morals.’ ”
For years he maintained a fictional membership in “The Dull Men’s Club” — a group he claimed to have seen on television, marching in gray business suits in Philadelphia’s colorful mummer’s parade.
For a man who spent years wearing a suit and tie every day, he had a knack for being quietly unconventional. His son Matthew recalled him buying an old Datsun and paying a garage mechanic to come to the house Saturday mornings for breakfast and a two-hour lesson in auto repair. When his son James was being married in Brooklyn, he hired a bus to take family members to the celebration and back.
He was a voracious reader, interested in everything from history, biography and science to all sorts of fiction. “Whenever you didn’t have something to read you could go to his room, and there’d be stacks and stacks of books by the bed,” said his daughter, Anne.
Besides his wife, he is survived by eight daughters, three sons, five sisters, three brothers, and 21 grandchildren. His children include three Ridgefielders, Patsy Knoche, Connie Cozens and Betsy Reid, and eight who live in neighboring New York state or farther off in Georgia, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and California — Mary Clark, James Sheehan, Annie Doughty, Kathleen Lill, Matthew Sheehan, Teresa Sheehan, Stephen Sheehan, Maura Sheehan. Of his 21 grandchildren, 10 are Ridgefielders.
Calling hours will be Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Kane Funeral Home, Catoonah Street, Ridgefield. A Mass of Christian Burial will begin at 9:30 Saturday morning at St. Mary's Church, Ridgefield.
Contributions in his memory may be made to the Dorothy Day Hospitality House, 11 Spring Street, Danbury, 06810.
William Stoddard, investments expert
William B. Stoddard Jr., an investments expert who was active for 30 years in the civic affairs of Ridgefield, died at his home here on Wednesday, Oct. 16, of congestive heart failure. He was 76 years old and the husband of Carol Swartz Stoddard.
A genial man with a smiling face familiar to anyone who worked in the village, Mr. Stoddard was an investment economist who volunteered his talents to help direct the financial futures of the Ridgefield Library, Aldrich Museum, and other community organizations.
“He was the nicest man I ever knew,” said his daughter, Emily. “He was incredibly generous and very sweet.”
Mr. Stoddard was born on Oct. 6, 1926, in Carbondale, Pa., the only child of William Bert and Emily Trautwein Stoddard. He attended Lafayette College, received his undergraduate degree from New York University and earned a graduate degree from NYU’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
He spent two years in the U.S. Army and then began his career in finance and production with the Hendrick Manufacturing Company in Carbondale, a steel company founded by his great-grandfather, E.E. Hendrick. He later worked for U.S. Gypsum in New York City, and then returned to Hendrick in Carbondale.
There he met Carol Swartz, also a native of Carbondale, and the two were married on Feb. 28, 1970. Soon after, the Stoddards moved to Ridgefield, where their daughter Emily Coleman was born, and where Mr. Stoddard established his office at 23 Catoonah Street as a private investment counselor.
He was recognized as an expert in his field, and his biography has appeared in Who’s Who in America, and Who’s Who in Business and Finance.
Among his activities were serving as the treasurer and a trustee of the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art from 1976 to 1990. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Ridgefield Library and Historical Association from 1977 to 1985 and a trustee for the Ridgefield Library Endowment Fund Trust, from 1985 to 1999.
Both organizations reflected his interests. He was a collector of contemporary art as well as oriental rugs. And he loved to read.
“He was an incredible reader — four newspapers a day and five on Sunday,” Carol Stoddard said. “He also had a photographic memory. I don’t think he ever forgot anything he read.”
While he worked behind the scenes for the library and museum, Mr. Stoddard was better known to the public as the friendly man you’d run into on Main Street, at the post office, or in a village store. He enjoyed chatting with people of all walks of life, striking up conversations with newcomers and old-timers alike.
“He loved Ridgefield,” Carol Stoddard said, adding that he was once called the “ambassador to Main Street.”
“He had the ability to get along with everyone,” she added.
Mr. Stoddard had been a member of Waccabuc Country Club since 1974 and, when he lived in Carbondale, had served on the Board of Directors of the General Hospital and the First National Bank.
Besides his wife and daughter, he leaves a brother-in-law, Wallace J. Swartz; two sisters-in-law, Theresa Swartz and Kathleen Swartz; two nephews, two nieces, and cousins.
A memorial service will be announced.
Contributions in his memory may be made to the Ridgefield Conservation Commission Open Space Fund, 400 Main Street, Ridgefield, CT 06877.
The Kane Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Mary Watt Stolle, 89, RHS '31, known for her pies
Mary Watt Stolle of Warren, a Ridgefield native and former longtime resident, died on Tuesday, March 4, at the New Milford Nursing Home in New Milford. She was 89 years old.
Mrs. Stolle was the widow of Charles F.L. Stolle, to whom she had been married for 62 years until his death in 1996. Before moving to Warren seven years ago, Mrs. Stolle had lived in Ridgefield for some 80 years.
Mrs. Stolle was born here on March 13, 1913, a daughter of the late William and Elizabeth Watt, and graduated from Ridgefield High School in 1930. She and Charles Stolle were married in 1933 and lived for a short while in New London before returning to Ridgefield.
The Stolles lived for many years on Farmingville Road on land that was part of the old Walnut Grove Farm, owned by Mr. Stolle’s father.
Earlier in her life, she had been a nurse’s aide and later was employed by Monoplastics in Branchville. During this time, she also did housework for various families in the Ridgefield-Georgetown area.
Later she helped her son, Bob, who operated a restaurant at the corner of Main and Catoonah streets. “She used to make the homemade pies for the Country Kitchen,” said her daughter-in-law, Mary Stolle of Warren. “People use to come in there just for her apple pie.”
Mrs. Stolle was also an avid knitter and crocheter, and enjoyed flower gardening. She was devoted to her husband and family, her daughter-in-law said.
Survivors include her two sons, John Stolle and his wife, Mary, of Warren, and Thomas Stolle of Arizona; one sister, Alice Anabel of Poughquag, N.Y.; seven grandchildren; and one great-grandson.
Two sons, Donald and Robert Stolle, and her sister, Jean Anderson, died before her.
Services were Saturday, March 8, at the Bouton Funeral Home, 31 West Church Street, Georgetown. Burial will take place in Mapleshade Cemetery in Ridgefield in the spring.
Contributions in her memory may be made to the American Cancer Society, 372 Danbury Road, Wilton CT 06897.
Herbert Trumbore, 73, IBM executive, supporter of the arts
Herbert Clark Trumbore of Salisbury, Md., a former Ridgefielder who had been a food service executive with IBM, died Saturday, Feb. 1, at Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury. He was 73 years old and the husband of Elinor E. Trumbore of Salisbury.
A native of Bethlehem, Pa., Mr. Trumbore was born on June 24, 1929, a son of the late Henry and Eleanor Keifner Trumbore and graduated in 1952 from Penn State University with a degree in hotel management.
>From 1952 to 1954, he served as a photographer with the U.S. Army and saw duty in Korea during the war.
Mr. Trumbore started his food service career in 1954 at Bowling Green University. Three years later, he joined IBM as the cafeteria manager at the company’s facility in Owego, N.Y. When he retired in 1987, he was director of food services for IBM worldwide.
A year earlier, he had received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for Food Service Management. He had been president of the society for several years.
The Trumbores moved to Ridgefield in 1967, and lived on Nutmeg Ridge. After his retirement the couple moved to Savannah, Ga., where they operated a restaurant, The Nutmeg Tree.
Mr. Trumbore served on the Board of Directors of Savannah on Stage and the Savannah Symphony, and was active in St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Savannah.
When he lived in Ridgefield, he was active in St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church. He and his wife were early supporters and volunteers for the Ridgefield Symphonette, now the Ridgefield Orchestra. He was also active in the Ridgefield Community Center.
Mrs. Trumbore had been a typing teacher at East Ridge Junior High School for many years.
In 2001, the Trumbores moved to Salisbury to be closer to family. There, Mr. Trumbore headed the landscaping and food service committees at their retirement community.
Besides his wife of 46 years, Mr. Trumbore is survived by two daughters, Melanie S. Trumbore of Shrewsbury, Mass., and Melissa J. Trumbore of Norwalk; two brothers, James H. Trumbore of Long Beach, Calif., and John C. Trumbore of Bethlehem; and by several nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held in Ridgefield in the spring.
Contributions in his memory may be may be made to Savannah Symphony Endowment Fund, 225 Abercorn Street, Savannah, GA 31401.
Arrangements are being handled by Holloway Funeral Home, 501 Snow Hill Road, Salisbury, MD 21804.