Peter Laqueur, executive, artist, Marine
Peter Laqueur of Ridgefield and Stowe, Vt., a retired financial services executive and a Marine veteran who earned two Purple Hearts in Vietnam, died on Flag Day, Saturday, June 14, at Danbury Hospital. He was 61 years old and the husband of Linda Rochfeld Laqueur.
Mr. Laqueur, a grand marshal of this year’s rain-cancelled Memorial Day Parade, had been an officer of a Marine regiment that saw much combat in Vietnam. “For a long time, I couldn’t talk about it,” he said in an interview last month. “Passage of time softens things a little bit. I’ve been able to talk about the experience if it helps other people gain some insight.”
Six years ago, after being diagnosed with lymphoma, he took up painting as part of his therapy. In March at the Community Center, he had his first solo art exhibit.
A native of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Mr. Laqueur was born on Nov. 15, 1941, a son of Julie Dixon of Melbourne, Fla., and the late H. Peter Laqueur, Md.
He came to the United States at the age of five and was raised in New York City where he attended Friends Seminary there. He later attended Friends Academy of Locust Valley, N.Y., the Oakwood School of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and graduated from Tufts University with a bachelor’s degree in English. He later obtained a master’s of business administration in marketing from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business.
In 1963, after graduating from Tufts, he joined the Marines, hoping to be trained as a pilot. Borderline eyesight resulted in his being assigned as a platoon leader and he arrived in Vietnam in 1965 with Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment.
“A number of ... missions were pretty dangerous,” he said last month. “You’d go flying in, they’d be shooting up the place, and you’d have to help out along the perimeter. There were usually a lot of casualties. We flew into some where the ground was literally covered with Marine dead, which was obviously tough.”
Mr. Laqueur was wounded twice, once when a nearby soldier tripped a booby trap and another time when his tank ran over a land mine. By the end of his tour of duty, 40% of his platoon had been killed or injured.
“Having gone through that experience, having gone through combat and been responsible at such a young age for the lives and the fortunes of 60 men, having seen a number of them wounded and killed — I had a very maturing kind of experience,” Mr. Laqueur said. “It brings me to tears sometimes.”
His commendations included the two Purple Hearts as well as service medals from both the Marine Corps and the Republic of Vietnam. He attained the rank of captain and was discharged in 1966. Five days after his return to the States, he married his fiancée, Linda Rochfeld, who had taken a civilian support job with the Army while Mr. Laqueur was overseas.
Mr. Laqueur began his business career with General Electric in 1969 and held sales and marketing positions with GE’s electronic components, industrial services and consumer products businesses in locations all over the U.S.
Between 1982 and 1989, he was executive vice president and sector executive for Marine Midland Bank in New York, a subsidiary of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation. He served on the Operating Committee and held directorships with the bank and the Marine Midland Benefits Administration Board.
In 1990, Mr. Laqueur became chairman, president and chief executive officer president of ITT Consumer Financial Corporation and executive vice president of its parent, ITT Financial Corporation, based in Greenwich.
The next year, Mr. Laqueur established The Performance Partnership Group, a management-consulting firm that focused on assisting businesses with strategic and cultural change. He also served as an executive coach and career counselor for transitioning senior executives.
Besides his management consulting work, Mr. Laqueur served from 1995 to 1997 as president, chief executive officer and a director of Angram Inc., a private venture company that purchases tax liens and privatizes municipal tax collections.
Mr. Laqueur had written articles for several trade publications, and had been a speaker and panelist at various professional conferences. He was listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the East.
He also assisted with corporate fund raising for Save the Children, a private, non-profit child assistance organization that works in the United States and in over 35 nations around the world. He was a volunteer member of the Board of Managers of Oakwood Friends School, a private secondary school in Poughkeepsie.
A Ridgefielder for more than 27 years, Mr. Laqueur was a member of the Marine Corps League, treasurer of the Friends of Ridgefield Library, a member of the Ridgefield Traffic Improvement Advisory Committee, and a member of St. Mary’s Church. He had also belonged to a number of professional, trade and entrepreneurial organizations.
He held a private pilot’s license and enjoyed flying as well as skiing, hiking and golf.
In 1997, he underwent a bone marrow stem cell transplant and several rounds of chemotherapy. As part of his therapy he took up painting and became an accomplished painter, focusing on New England landscapes, with a particular interest in barns. He studied drawing and painting at Fairfield University, The New School in New York, The Ridgefield Guild of Artists, and with Charles Reid at the Silvermine School of Art in New Canaan. Before his solo show this spring, he had exhibited in group shows at the Ridgefield Guild, and in Stowe. He had also donated his work to the Leukemia/Lymphoma Foundation for its annual auction.
Besides his wife of 37 years and his mother, Mr. Laqueur is survived by a son, John Peter Laqueur and his wife Suanne of North Salem, N.Y.; a daughter, Janine Laqueur Nickel and her husband Stewart of Potomac, Md.; two sisters, Mary Holt of Nashua, N.H., and Patricia Dixon of Boise, Idaho; three grandchildren, Julie Laqueur, Ellie Nickel and Emma Nickel; and several nieces and nephews.
The Rev. Paul G. Murphy, parochial vicar, celebrated a Mass of Christian Burial Wednesday in St. Mary’s Church, followed by Marine Corps Military Honors.
Burial will take place in Stowe, Vt.
Contributions may be made to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Fairfield County Chapter, 25 Third Street, Stamford, CT 06905, The Oakwood Friends School, 22 Spacken Hill Road, Poughkeepsie, NY 12603 or to a charity of a choice.
The Kane Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Louise McGlynn, retired school worker
Louise Santini McGlynn of Ridgefield, a retired school system employee, died on Thursday, June 12, at Danbury Hospital. She was 79 years old and the wife of retired Ridgefield Fire Chief Richard T. McGlynn.
Mrs. McGlynn was born in Ridgefield on March 18, 1924, a daughter of the late Orazio and Anita Bracocoli Santini. She attended Ridgefield schools and graduated from Ridgefield High School in 1942.
Mrs. McGlynn had been a member of the food service staff of the Ridgefield public school system for many years, starting at the Farmingville School and later working at Veterans Park. She retired in the early 1990s.
Mrs. McGlynn was a member of the Italian American Ladies Mutual Aid Society, and had helped with the annual Field Day and other events. She was a member of St. Mary’s Church.
Mrs. McGlynn enjoyed cooking and was well known among family and friends for her Italian tomato sauce.
Besides her husband of 47 years, she is survived by two daughters, Nancy Fazekas and her husband Frank of Newtown, and Cathleen Sabia and her husband William of Ridgefield; four grandchildren, Billy Sabia, Michelle Sabia, Amy Fazekas, and Brian Fazekas; and several nieces and nephews.
Four brothers and a sister died before her: Alex Santini, Julius Santini, Frank Santini, and Aldo Santini, and Rose Tarsi.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Monday in St. Mary’s Church, Ridgefield.
Burial was in St. Mary’s Cemetery.
Contributions in her memory to the Praxair Cancer Center, Danbury Hospital, 24 Hospital Avenue, Danbury, CT 06810 or to the Ridgefield Fire Department Ambulance Fund, 6 Catoonah Street, Ridgefield, CT 06877 would be appreciated.
The Kane Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Arthur Michaelsen, insurance agent
Arthur Michaelsen Sr. of 39 Cedar Hill Road, Bridgewater, a former Ridgefielder and an insurance agent, died unexpectedly at New Milford Hospital on Tuesday, Feb. 18.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., on March 22, 1932, Mr. Michaelsen was a veteran of the Korean War.
He enjoyed a long career with The New York Life Insurance Company and for much of his tenure was one of company’s top agents. He joined New York Life in 1956 and had served on its President’s Council, its Million Dollar Roundtable, and its Executive Council. In 1974, he was among the top 300 agents in New York Life’s field force of more than 9,000.
The Michaelsens came to Ridgefield in 1969, and lived on Old Branchville Road. He moved to Bridgewater in 1988.
He was an avid gardener, skilled woodworker and world traveler, his family reports.
Mr. Michaelsen is survived by his four children, Arthur Jr. of Danbury, Diane Michaelsen-McLaughlin of Naugatuck, Nancy Burke of Ridgefield, and Joanne Moore of Bantam; a sister, Della Moody; two brothers, Neil and Eugene Austin; nine grandchildren; and several cousins, nieces and nephews.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Bridgewater Volunteer Ambulance Association, Bridgewater, CT 06752.
A Mass of Christian burial was Monday, Feb. 2 at Sacred Heart Church, Church Street, Georgetown.
The Bouton Funeral Home in Georgetown was in charge of arrangements.
Frank Morgan, 83, retailer, athlete
Frank W. Morgan, an athlete, retailer and longtime Ridgefielder, died on Saturday evening, May 17, at Laurel Ridge Nursing & Rehabilitation Center here. He was 83 years old and the husband of Joretta Booth Morgan.
Mr. Morgan was born in Quincy, Mass., on Aug. 1, 1919, a son of Irish immigrants James and Eileen Glavin Morgan. While he was growing up, his family lived in several parts of the country. Once, when he was a small child, he nearly died of drowning in a lake in Michigan. He was rescued by a young man who turned out to be Johnny Weissmuller, the Olympic swimmer who later played Tarzan in many movies.
While he was still young, his family moved to Darien. Mr. Morgan attended Darien High School where he excelled in football and basketball, and later attended New York University.
A salesman and store manager, Mr. Morgan was affiliated in early years with Wallach’s Clothing Store, located on the ground floor of the Empire State Building of New York. One day in the late 1940s, he waited on a young woman who had recently moved to the city from Pennsyvania. Ironically, Joretta Booth was staying in a building called Morgan Hall. They began dating, and were married in 1953. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on Feb. 14.
Mr. Morgan later went to work for the Darien Sports Shop. In 1965, he established his own men’s clothing store, the former Doblin Shop, in New Canaan, operating it until his retirement in 1990.
“He was a fixture in New Canaan,” said his son, Frank Morgan. “Everyone in town knew him.”
Active in sports throughout his life either as a player, coach or scout, Mr. Morgan had been a semi-pro football player, an amateur boxer, and basketball player. He also closely followed his children, nieces and nephews in their sporting events — from Pop Warner Football and T-ball to high school football, baseball and basketball.
Mr. Morgan was honored by the Darien Old Timer’s Athletic Association and was a recipient of its Old Timer’s Athletic Award for his involvement and participation in sports.
He also enjoyed dancing and was an accomplished ballroom dancer and received many dance awards and trophies. He was a member of St. Mary’s Church.
He and his family moved here from Old Greenwich in 1960.
Besides his wife, he is survived by two sons, Frank W. Morgan Jr. of Ridgefield and Michael Morgan and his wife Angelique of Bermuda; a daughter, Taryn Philbin and her husband Timothy of Fairfield; a brother, James Morgan of Bethlehem; four sisters, Peggy Broman of Framingham, Mass., Geri Helie of Middletown, R.I., Nancy Boyle of Tabernacle, N.J., and Winifred Taylor of Venice, Fla.; five grandchildren, Meghan Philbin, Kaylie Philbin, Timothy Philbin, Emily Morgan and Bryn Morgan, as well as several nieces and nephews.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Wednesday in St. Mary’s Church. Burial was private.
Contributions in his memory may be made to the Visiting Nurse Association, 90 East Ridge, Ridgefield 06877.
The Kane Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Betty Grace Nash, 81, Press editor for 30 years
Elizabeth Grace Nash, who spent decades making sure Ridgefield’s weekly newspaper had a human face and did not forget its small-town roots, died at Cape Canaveral Hospital, Cocoa Beach, Fla., on Tuesday, June 3. She was 81 years old and had lived in Cocoa Beach for the past 10 years.
Mrs. Nash, who was known as Betty Grace, was the wife of the late Karl S. Nash, the editor and publisher of The Press for 50 years from 1937 to 1987. Mr. Nash died in 1992.
Mrs. Nash was born in St. Paul, Minn., on Nov. 2, 1921, daughter of the late Thomas Boyd and Margaret Smith Boyd, both newspaper writers and novelists. Her father’s novel, Through the Wheat, has been called one of the best portraits of war ever written, and Mrs. Nash had periodically helped scholars studying his work, and the writings of Mr. Boyd’s friends, including F. Scott Fitzgerald.
As a child, Mrs. Nash attended boarding schools in various places throughout the country as her parents pursued their writing careers. The Boyds were divorced in 1930, and Mrs. Nash lived with her mother on North Salem Road. After her father died while visiting her in Ridgefield in 1935, she moved to California for a year and attended high school in Venice, Calif. She returned to Ridgefield and went to Ridgefield High School as a junior.
For her senior year she went to Scarborough (N.Y.) School, a boarding school, graduating in 1938. She graduated from Vassar College in 1942.
After college she married Wesley Phillipson of New York City. The couple had three children, Brainerd, and twins Margaret and Theodore. Theodore died in 1975.
The couple lived in Remsenburg, Long Island, and New York City. During that time, she worked at the Art Students League in Manhattan and for 1,000 Jokes magazine. Their marriage ended in divorce in 1951.
After her divorce, she moved to Ridgefield and stayed at her mother and stepfather’s home on North Salem Road. She took a job at The Ridgefield Press, working on a special project, the Diamond Jubilee issue, having taken over the job that her half-sister, Gretchen, had been working on. She continued at the paper as a writer and editor.
She married Karl Nash, a Ridgefield native, in 1952.
They had twin sons, Thomas and Howard, in 1953. Howard died in 1990.
Mr. Nash had three daughters from a previous marriage. The family of eight children lived in a former two-family house on Main Street that was owned by the Nash family.
For some 30 years she was managing editor of The Press, and its sister newspapers, which included The Wilton Bulletin, The Redding Pilot, The Lewisboro Ledger and The Bethel Home News.
“Betty Grace had a lot to do with turning The Press into a modern newspaper,” said Jack Sanders, executive editor, who worked under Mrs. Nash for many years. “In the 1950s, she introduced the idea — then radical for The Press — of carrying feature stories that profiled people and organizations. She was always interested in people, and knew readers were interested in people, and would never run a press release about a graduation or a business promotion without first calling up the family to get more information.”
Macklin Reid, a longtime editor of The Press, said that “In the newsroom, Betty Grace was the first teacher of new reporters, who generally came with little or no journalistic experience. She taught countless new hires that you might write a fine story, but if you misspell somebody’s name, that’s all they’ll remember about it.
“She oversaw social news and features and reminded everyone that readers turned to The Press as much for the human things — weddings and births and ‘News of New Neighbors’ — as for stories about the school board or Planning and Zoning Commission.
“Another of her lessons was that no story was too small to be done thoughtfully, and written well. She also set the tone in the newsroom, making it a place where quirks were tolerated and creativity was valued as well as efficiency.”
During her years at the papers, Mrs. Nash and her husband founded The Redding Pilot (1966). For many years, she wrote the Bird Notes column, which continues to this day.
She was an avid reader, gardener and animal lover.
After her husband’s death, she moved permanently to their vacation home on the Atlantic Ocean in Cocoa Beach. There, she became a member of Literacy Volunteers, tutoring the foreign-born in the English language. She was also a volunteer for the local Chamber of Commerce, and regularly maintained the chamber booth in the lobby of Ron-Jon’s, the famous surfing store in Cocoa Beach. She was accompanied there by her Corgi, Duffin.
Mrs. Nash is survived by six children, Rhoda Oehser and her husband, Dick, of Boone, N.C.; Judy Hall and her husband, Bob, of New Canaan; Sally Coye and her husband, John, of Windsor, Calif.; Brainerd Phillipson and his wife, Pamela, of Holliston, Mass.; Margaret Nash of Wilton; Thomas Nash and his wife, Paula, of Main Street; a sister, Gretchen Shane Swackhamer of Seattle, Wash.; eight grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews.
A private memorial service is planned.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Ridgefield Library, 472 Main Street.
Tel Nordling, 92, librarian, traveler
Tellervo “Tel” Nordling, a librarian and a longtime Ridgefielder, died at Filosa Convalescent Home in Danbury on Wednesday, Feb. 19. She was 92 years old.
Mrs. Nordling was born in Cambridge, Mass., on March 30, 1910, the second of four children. Her Finnish-born parents, Risto and Milma Lappala, moved the family to Virginia, Minn., where they established a Unitarian ministry and raised their children among the forests, rivers and lakes of the north woods. True to her Finnish heritage Tellervo was named for a woods-maiden in the Finnish national epic, the “Kalevala,” and had a deep and life-long love of nature and the outdoors.
She was educated as a librarian, and lived briefly in Germany as a student until the imminent outbreak of World War II brought her back to the United States. Besides being fluent in Finnish, she also became proficient in German. She met Klaus Nordling, a cartoonist and comic book artist, while she was working as a translator for a Finnish newspaper in Brooklyn, N.Y. They married in March 1937, and lived in Brooklyn and Minnesota until moving first to Redding, and then in the mid-1940s to Florida Hill Road in Ridgefield, where Mr. Nordling worked at his home studio.
“Both dearly loved art, music, literature, their wonderful circle of friends, and living in Ridgefield,” said her daughter, Thea Nordling.
After her husband’s death in 1986, Mrs. Nordling moved to a cottage on Main Street. She stayed busy and active, substituting as a librarian at various schools in Ridgefield. “She thoroughly enjoyed sharing her love of books with young people, and is fondly remembered by former students as a warm, caring guide to the joys of reading and learning,” her daughter said.
After retiring as a librarian, she remained an active member of a local reading group.
Her “love of life, sense of humor, and independent, adventurous spirit gave joy and inspiration to all who knew her,” Thea Nordling said. “She seemed much younger than her years, taking daily walks from her home to town and back. Ever ready for a new adventure, she traveled throughout the United States and abroad with family and friends. A comment frequently heard from her friends and acquaintances has been ‘I want to be like Tel when I grow old.’ “
A boat tour she took in Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska 10 years ago exemplifies Mrs. Nordling’s indomitable spirit. According to her daughter, “The weather was blustery and the sea was very rough. Tel stood in the bow of the boat enjoying the wind and salt spray in her face, while the rest of us hung over the rail seasick.”
Besides her daughter, who lives in Moab, Utah, Mrs. Nordling is survived by a son, Fred Norlin of San Rafael, Calif.; a grandson, Joshua Thompson, of Lyons, Colo.; and two great-grandsons.
Services were private.
Donations in memory of Mrs. Nordling may be made to the Ridgefield Library, 472 Main Street, Ridgefield CT 06877
Emma-Gene Howes, 85, native, teacher
Emma-Gene S. Howes of Danbury, a teacher and Ridgefield native, died Monday, June 2, at Danbury Hospital. She was 85 years old and the widow Theodore Howes Sr.
Mrs. Howes was born in Danbury on July 27, 1917, daughter of the late Carl A.F. Stolle and Susan Lunn Stolle of Ridgefield, and grew up in Ridgefield.
She was a member of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church for 32 years, where she taught Sunday school and sang in the choir. After graduating from Danbury Teachers College, she taught school until her marriage to Theodore Howes, to whom she was married for 48 years.
When Mr. Howes began the Ted Howes Nursery of Danbury, she served as his “right-hand girl” for many years. After working at the nursery, Mrs. Howes became a substitute school teacher in the Danbury school system for 22 years.
Throughout her career, Mrs. Howes held various positions in several organizations, including Charter Chapter of St. James Episcopal Church of Danbury and the American Association of University Women. She was also a volunteer for the American Red Cross and spent time as a den mother for the Cub Scouts.
Her family said Mrs. Howes delighted in being “on the go” and traveled in the United States, Caribbean, Europe, Mexico and Egypt.
“However, late in her life she had to settle for becoming a ‘puzzle whiz’. Emma-Gene also delighted in the beauty of nature and took quiet pleasure in her small patch of wildflowers. Everyone who knew Emma-Gene Howes liked her.”
Mrs. Howes is survived by her daughter, Judith Howes, and two sons, Theodore Howes Jr. and William Carl Howes, all of Danbury; two sisters, Margaret Boyd of Bethel and Susan Abbott of Wilton and Florida; as well as several nieces and nephews, located throughout the country.
The Rev. Dr. John R. Gilchrist of St. Stephen’s Church will lead graveside services Saturday, June 7, at 12:30 in Mapleshade Cemetery in Ridgefield.
Friends may call at the Green Funeral Home, 57 Main Street, Danbury, on Friday evening from 6 to 8.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory may be made to a charity of one’s choice.