John Fitzgerald, 81, helped Danbury Hospital
John A. Fitzgerald of Ridgefield, who spent 47 years with Merrill Lynch, many of them in philanthropic work, died on Wednesday, Aug. 6, at Danbury Hospital. He was 81 years old and the husband of Vera Mears Fitzgerald.
Mr. Fitzgerald led Merrill Lynch charitable efforts for 12 years and later became vice president of Danbury Hospital’s Development Fund. He and his wife were major contributors to technological improvements at the hospital.
Mr. Fitzgerald was born in Springfield, Mass., a son of James and Helen Sherwood Fitzgerald. He attended Springfield public schools and was studying at American International College there when World War II broke out.
He left school to join the U.S. Army and began as a “Ski Troops” trainee in Colorado. But when an opportunity to attend officer candidate school arose, he wound up at Ft. Benning, Ga., where he was commissioned a lieutenant. Instead of on the mountains of Europe, Mr. Fitzgerald wound up in the Pacific Theatre and was on Okinawa when the atomic bomb was dropped in August 1945. He served with the 25th Infantry Division during the occupation in Japan.
Recalled to active duty in August 1950, he served 17 months during the Korean War, first at Ft. Dix, N.J., teaching basic training, and later becoming a company commander at Camp Drake outside Tokyo
After World War II, Mr. Fitzgerald completed his bachelor’s degree in economics at American International and earned a master’s degree in business administration at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He later studied at New York University Graduate Business School.
Mr. Fitzgerald’s career began as a journalist. He worked for several months as a financial writer for The Philadelphia Bulletin, serving under Financial Editor Joseph Livingston, a nationally syndicated columnist at the time.
In February 1950, he joined the training program at Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner and Beane as an account executive in its New York City sales office. During his career, he held jobs in nearly every area of the company’s business. By 1959, he was assistant to the president.
Mr. Fitzgerald was named vice president and voting stockholder in 1963, became director of sales planning and development in 1966, and was named regional director for the northeastern United States in 1971.
Five years later, Mr. Fitzgerald became director of marketing services, encompassing advertising, new product development, sales promotion, and pricing, after Wall Street gave up fixed commissions and adopted competitive pricing systems. In 1981, he was appointed to the newly created position of vice president for corporate communications, responsible for all external communications, including public (now media) relations, advertising and sales promotion, investor relations, publications, and corporate philanthropy. He served in that role until retiring in 1985.
He was elected to the board of directors for Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith in 1967 and served until 1985. As a member of executive management, he participated in the restructuring of the securities and financing operations that accompanied the company’s growth and diversification program.
>From 1985 to 1997, Mr. Fitzgerald served as president of the Merrill Lynch & Co. Foundation Inc., which focuses on supporting educational programs for underserved children and youth.
“John was beloved throughout the firm, a mentor to many and a true gentleman known for his integrity and honesty,” said Senior Vice President Paul Critchlow, who succeeded him as foundation president. “He led by example, was a trusted adviser to a succession of chairmen and a compassionate, inspiring leader looked up to by all who knew him.”
A resident of Ridgefield since 1971, Mr. Fitzgerald had served on the Danbury Hospital Development Fund Board of Directors since 1999 and was most recently a vice chairman.
“He and his wife Vera were outstanding benefactors to the hospital,” said Gerald D. Robilotti, executive vice president of Danbury Hospital and president of its development fund. “They were particularly interested in oncology and made a gift for the Chemotherapy Infusion Center, which is part of the Praxair Cancer Center. They also recently made a substantial donation to the Department of Radiology, which helped the hospital purchase a state-of-the-art Multidetector CT, which is now operational near the hospital’s emergency/trauma department.
“These gifts,” Mr. Robilotti said, “are two examples of their support of various critical needs for the hospital and have helped the hospital maintain state-of-the-art technology.”
Mr. Fitzgerald had played football, baseball and basketball while in high school and college. After his training with the Army Ski Troops, he became an avid skier. He also enjoyed golf and had been a member of Silver Spring Country Club for many years.
Besides his wife of 56 years, Mr. Fitzgerald is survived by a son, John Jr., and daughter, Barbara, and one granddaughter, Meghan Campbell, all of Portland, Ore.; and a sister, Marie Haggar of the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina.
A sister and two brothers — Eileen, George and James — died before him.
The Rev. Dr. Paul Beavers, director of pastoral care at Danbury Hospital, led services Saturday morning in Fairlawn Cemetery.
Contributions in his memory may be made to the Danbury Hospital Development Fund, 24 Hospital Avenue, Danbury, CT 06810.
The Kane Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Eugene E. Fowler, farm supervisor
Eugene Ernest Fowler of Rutland Town, Vt., who had managed Waterfall Farm in Ridgebury for many years, died Wednesday, July 9, at his home. He was 74 years old.
Mr. Fowler was born in Rutland Town on Dec. 16, 1928, the son of Ernest and Iva Martell Fowler.
He was a veteran of the U.S. Army Air Force.
Mr. Fowler had been the estate manager for Waterfall Farm (now Stepping Stone Farm) on Spring Valley Road in the 1950s and 1960s, working there most recently for the late Hubert S. Dunning.
He later worked for the John Russell Corporation in Vermont and had also been a self-employed farmer.
“He was a great family man with his family giving him the greatest pleasure,” his family said.
Survivors include his wife of 56 years Margaret “Peggy” Fowler; two daughters, Deanne Heath of Nashua, N.H., and Rosemary Farnsworth of North Walpole, N.H.; three sons, Eugene E. Fowler Jr. of Chester, James “Jonny” Fowler of Castleton and David H. Fowler of Williamstown; two brothers, John G. Fowler of Rutland and David W. Fowler of Brandon, Fla.; nine grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.
Memorial services took place Friday evening at the Aldous Funeral Home in Rutland.
Memorial contributions may be made to the American Lung Association of Vermont, 30 Farrell Street, South Burlington, VT 05403-9987.
Raymond Fox, selectman, swimmer
Raymond N. Fox of Deerfield Beach and Lantana, Fla., a former Ridgefield selectman who retired to Florida and became a celebrated senior swimmer, died on Monday, May 26. He was 94 years old.
Mr. Fox was a retired attorney who received his degree in law in 1931 and his L.L.M. degree in 1934 from St. John's University School of Law in New York. A Ridgefielder from 1955 until 1979, Mr. Fox was an elected to the Board of Selectmen as a Republican in the mid-1970s. He served while Democrat Louis J. Fossi was first selectman and was sometimes criticized by Republicans for voting too often with Mr. Fossi on issues. He would respond that he always voted in the best interests of the town, not by party lines.
Mr. Fox had also served as a justice of the peace here and had been active in the Lions Club. He was also chairman of the publications committee that produced Heritage '76, the town's 200-page salute to the nation's bicentennial. He and his wife Ruth lived on Rita Road and were both active in the Fox Hill Lake Association. Mrs. Fox died in 1995.
In Florida, when he had lived for 24 years, Mr. Fox had volunteered as chief executive officer of an Alzheimer's day care center, was active in the Lions Club, was an instructor for AARP 55/above driving school, and served on the advisory board of the North Broward Hospital. However, it was his swimming prowess that gained him considerable notoriety, even a picture on the front page of the Sunday New York Times several years ago. "When I was in Ridgefield, I enjoyed swimming," Mr. Fox told The Press in 1997, recalling regularly "breaking the ice on April 1 and swimming until Nov. 1." Florida, he said, "is very conducive to swimming. When I came down here I found this beautiful pool and started with lap swimming."
He eventually worked his way up to a mile a day. At the age of 86 he was a gold medallist in the one-mile ocean swim sponsored by the International Swimming Hall of Fame in Ft. Lauderdale. At the age of 87, he won two gold medals in the South Florida Senior Games, in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle, and a silver in the 200-yard freestyle. Between 1993 and 1997, he won 10 gold medals in the games. What kept him so young? he was asked at the age of 88. "Having a sense of humor and a good attitude," he said. "Plus, I exercise every day."
Mr. Fox continued to receive The Ridgefield Press until 2001 when, because of failing eyesight, he had to cancel his subscription. "The paper gave me pleasant memories of my days up on Rita Road," he wrote. "I enjoyed reading of the progress the town has made."
He is survived by his son, Donald Fox of Midlothian, Ill., seven grandsons, three great-granddaughters, nephews Alan Seiler, Louis William Spiegel and longtime dear friend Anne Friedman. A memorial service was conducted at Riverside Gordon Memorial in Delray Beach on May 28. Arrangements were handled by Menorah Chapels, Deerfield Beach.
Frances Frattini, 96, Ridgefield native
Frances Frattini of 25 Sunset Lane, who had been the oldest living Ridgefielder of Italian extraction born in the town, died on Tuesday, June 24, at Laurel Ridge Nursing & Rehabilitation Center. She was 96 years old.
Miss Frattini was born Jan 18, 1906 on Sunset Lane and lived in the same house all her life until she had to move to Laurel Ridge.
She was the daughter of Ettore and Antonia Zandri Frattini, recent immigrants from Italy before her birth. Ettore was a mason who built the stone wall at Casagmo along Main Street.
The Frattini house is believed to be the first house built in Ridgefield by Italian immigrants.
Miss Frattini was a retired housekeeper for the Elms Restaurant & Inn where she had worked for more than 40 years.
“She was absolutely the sweetest person and never had an unkind word to say about anybody,” said Joan Zawacki, whose husband Gary was Miss Frattini’s nephew. “She never complained and up until the day she died, would always say when asked how she was, ‘I am fine.’ ”
She was a member of St. Mary's Church.
Survivors include nieces and nephews Gary Zawacki of Ridgefield, Chester Zawacki of Oxford, Dorothy Stern of Manhattan, Joan and Evelyn Pandolfi of Danbury.
Graveside funeral services will take place on Thursday morning at 10:30 in St. Mary’s Cemetery.
There will be no calling hours.
Contributions in her memory may be made to St. Mary’s Parish, 183 High Ridge.
The Kane Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
George H. Goral, Sr. retired foreman, Bedient employee
George H. Goral, Sr., 80, of Ridgefield, husband of Marjorie J. (Muzzio) Goral died on Friday, August 1, 2003 at Danbury Hospital.
Mr. Goral was born August 1, 1923, a son of Theodore and Bernice (Zawadzka) Goral in Hamden and was raised in Stamford where he attended Stamford schools.
A resident of Ridgefield since 1963 coming from Darien, Mr. Goral was employed by the Norfield Corporation of Danbury where he was an assistant foreman prior to his retirement. In later years, he worked in the gardening and outdoor supply department of the former D.F. Bedient Company of Ridgefield.
A US Army veteran of World War II, he served with the Army Signal Corps.
He was a former member of the V.F.W. of Georgetown and a member of St. Mary’s Church, Ridgefield.
Mr. Goral was an avid gardener and enjoyed hunting and fishing.
Mr. & Mrs. Goral celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary in November 2002.
In addition to his wife, a daughter, Virginia E. McKinstry and her husband Michael of Danbury, CT, three sons, George H. Goral, Jr. and his wife Linda of Wolcott, CT, Timothy A. Goral and his wife Tracey of Danbury, CT and David J. Goral and his wife Sungok of Brookfield, CT, his twin brother, Anthony Goral of Pinellas Park, FL, two sisters, Constance Igelstrom of Tomelilla, Sweden and Helen West of New York State, seven grandchildren and several nieces and nephews survive him.
Three brothers, Henry Goral, Frank Goral and Stanley Goral predeceased him.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Wednesday at 10:30AM in St. Mary’s Church, Ridgefield.
Burial will follow in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Ridgefield.
There will be no calling hours.
Memorials to the Ridgefield Fire Department Ambulance Fund, 6 Catoonah Street, Ridgefield, CT 06877 would be appreciated.
The Kane Funeral Home, 41 Catoonah Street, Ridgefield is in charge of arrangements.
Elaine D. Hansen, 73, retired teacher
Elaine D. Hansen of 15 Marcardon Avenue, a retired Wilton teacher who was active in education circles, died on Saturday, Feb. 8, at Norwalk Hospital. She was 73 years old and the widow of Louis J. Hansen.
Mrs. Hansen was born in New York City on Aug. 8, 1929, a daughter of Alfred and Annetta Hansen Higgins. She grew up in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., where she attended schools and graduated from Dobbs Ferry High School. She was a 1951 graduate of Mt. Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass., and did advanced studies at the Teachers College of Columbia University and at the University of Missouri. She received her master’s degree from Fairfield University.
Mrs. Hansen lived in Georgia, Michigan, Illinois, and Missouri before moving to Ridgefield in 1973. She had taught in Palatine, Ill. and in St. Louis, and from 1975 until her retirement in 1992, was a first grade teacher at the Tilford W. Miller School in Wilton.
“She was just an extremely pleasant woman and a wonderful and caring teacher,” Dr. David Clune, Wilton’s superintendent of schools, said this week.
Mrs. Hansen maintained a great love of books and was an avid reader. “A nature lover, she enjoyed walking, hiking, birds, and the outdoors,” said her son, Timothy Hansen.
Dr. Clune recalled one time while working in his garden, he came down with a bad case of poison ivy. “Elaine said ‘I have just the thing for you,’” he said. She brought him a “potion” of jewelweed, a wildflower that she used to treat poison ivy rashes and that Dr. Clune said helped him greatly.
Mrs. Hansen enjoyed swimming and skating on the frozen lakes — she had taken figure skating lessons at the Ridgefield rink. A sports enthusiast, she enjoyed baseball and hockey. She also liked to visit her native city of New York, attending Broadway shows, and going to museums and parks.
She was active in alumnae work for Mt. Holyoke College, and helped organize the school’s 45th class reunion in 1996, and worked on the 50th reunion two years ago. Often through the college’s alumnae organization, she had traveled widely, including such places as Scandinavia, Iceland, England, France, Spain, and the western United States.
Mrs. Hansen was a member of the American Association of University Woman in Ridgefield, the National Education Association, the Connecticut Education Association and the Wilton Education Association, where she served as an officer.
Survivors include her son, Timothy L. Hansen of Ridgefield; a brother, Roy Higgins of Amelia Island, Fla.; a sister-in-law, Alma Foster of Greenville, Mich.; and several nieces and nephews.
Two brothers, Robert Higgins and James Higgins, died before her. Her husband, Louis, died in 1973.
The Rev. William Pfohl, pastor of Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church in Ridgefield, will conduct services today, Thursday, Feb. 13, at 11 a.m. in the Zion Hill United Methodist Church, 470 Danbury Road (Route 7), Wilton.
Burial will follow in Kensico Cemetery, Valhalla, N.Y.
Contributions in her memory may be made to the Whittingham Cancer Center, The Norwalk Hospital, Maple Street, Norwalk, CT 06856 .
The Kane Funeral Home in Ridgefield is in charge of arrangements.