Marywade Rodier, 91, artist, florist
Marywade Rodier, an artist and a longtime Ridgefield florist, died on Saturday, May 31, in Miami, Fla. She was 91 years old and the widow of William Betts Rodier.
Her family said she died of Lewy body disease, a dementia similar to Alzheimer's disease. Mrs. Rodier was born on March 26, 1912, in Washington, D.C., a daughter of Arthur C. and Lillian Hohenstein Moses. She grew up in Washington, attended George Washington University there and Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Mass.
Mrs. Rodier and her husband came to town in 1937 when he took a job with Outpost Nurseries of Ridgefield, then the largest retail nursery in the East. They lived on Route 7 for a while, and in 1943, bought an old farmhouse on Ivy Hill Road which they spent many years restoring.
Mrs. Rodier lived there until her husband's death in 1999, when she moved to Miami to live with her daughter and son-in-law Christine and Stanley Pfeffer. The Rodiers had been married for 62 years.
In 1951, Mrs. Rodier established Rodier Flowers on Bailey Avenue. The store later moved to Main Street where it still operates under the Rodier name, though she retired and sold the business many years ago. A prolific artist, Mrs. Rodier painted portraits, many of whom were area people, and also did landscapes and still lifes.
In 1975, she was one of the founding members of the Ridgefield Guild of Artists, remaining active in the organization into the 1990s. She loved tennis and played until she was 85.
"She was always a caring and concerned mother," said daughters Christine Pfeffer and Gail Schonbeck.
Besides her daughter and son-in-law in Miami, she is survived by daughter Gail Schonbeck and her husband Gunnar of Hoosick Falls, N.Y.; her sisters Patricia and brother-in-law Darrie Richards of Alexandria, Va., and Patricia Moses of Canton, Ohio; five granddaughters: Susan, Cheryl and Jessica Wade Pfeffer, all of Miami; Katy Watson and Amy Lesseman, both of New York state; four great-grandchildren: Kyle and Molly Wade Watson, and Sarah and Vanessa Leeseman; as well as four nieces and three nephews. Three brothers died before her.
A memorial service may be planned for both Marywade and William Rodier later in the summer.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be sent to the Mid-Fairfield Hospice, Box 489, Wilton CT 06897, to HospiceCare of Southeast Florida, 1200 N.W. 78th Avenue, Suite 101, Miami, FL 33126, or the the University of Miami Alzheimers Research Project, c/o Medical Development, University of Miami, P.O. Box 016960, Miami, FL 33101.
Daniel Whelan, longtime Ridgefielder
Daniel A. Whelan, 85, of Ridgefield, died on Friday, August 1, 2003 at his home.
Mr. Whelan was born in Yonkers, NY, August 26, 1917, a son of Patrick J. and Nora (Fahey) Whalen. At the age of 11, Daniel along with his family relocated to Ridgefield where he attended local schools and graduated from Ridgefield High School.
For many years prior to his retirement, Mr. Whalen was employed by the CT Department of Transportation Highway Department and later at the former Oexle Supply Co. of Ridgefield.
A Ridgefield resident for the past 74 years, he was a former member of the Ridgefield Volunteer Fire Department, the Marquette Council Knights of Columbus, the Italian American Mutual Aid Society and St. Mary’s Church.
A sister, Nora W. Domenico of Santa Clara, CA, two nieces, Patricia DiDomenico and Eileen Vaughan, two nephews, James Domenico and Stephen DiDomenico and two grandnieces survive him.
A sister, Mary R. Whalen predeceased him.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Tuesday at 10:30AM in St. Mary’s Church, Ridgefield.
Burial will follow in St. Mary’s Cemetery.
There will be no calling hours.
Memorials to the Ridgefield Fire Department Ambulance Fund, 6 Catoonah Street or the Visiting Nurse Association, 90 East Ridge, both of Ridgefield 06877 would be appreciated.
The Kane Funeral Home, 41 Catoonah Street, Ridgefield is in charge of arrangements.
Karen Young, 56, active in Congregational Church
Karen Young, who had been active in the community for a dozen years, died from multiple myeloma, a cancer of the blood, on April 21, in her home in Tampa, Fla. She was 56 years old and the wife of John Young.
The Young family lived in Ridgefield at 2 Mulberry Lane and 51 Ketcham Road during the 1980’s and 1990’s. The couple’s three sons — Adam, Jacob, and Jason — graduated from Ridgefield High School in 1991 and 1993.
The Youngs moved to Tampa in the summer of 1994.
Mrs. Young was born in Evanston, Ill., and grew up in Glen Ellyn, Ill. She graduated from DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind., in 1968 with a bachelor’s degree in music education and was a member of the Delta Gamma Sorority.
Soon after college, Karen and John Young married and moved to California where she taught elementary school music.
The Youngs moved to Ridgefield in 1980. Here, Mrs. Young worked on the office staff at Ridgefield Pediatrics. The family were members of the First Congregational Church where she taught Sunday school to toddlers. She was active for many years in Community Bible Study, serving as children’s director.
“Karen loved Ridgefield for its people, history and New England beauty,” her husband John said. “She felt especially blessed by her association with the Christian community and by the opportunity to influence the Christian values of children. Service to others gave her great satisfaction.”
Her hobbies were “enjoying the power and beauty of music, sharing her love and her faith, and showing kindness to friends and strangers alike,” said her sons.
Besides her husband, Mrs. Young is survived by her parents, Wendell and Barbara Simpson of York Beach, Maine; her sons, Adam of Atlanta, Ga., and Jacob and Jason of Danbury; and her brothers, Stewart Simpson of Hallowell, Maine, and Christopher Simpson of North Whitefield, Maine.
A memorial service will be held in her honor at Saint George’s Episcopal Church in York Beach, Maine, where she will be interred at the Memorial Garden.
Gifts and donations in memory of Karen may be made to the American Cancer Society, PO Box 102454, Atlanta, GA 30368-2454, 800-227-2345, www.cancer.org/asp/donate, or to The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, 3 Forest Street, New Canaan, CT 06840, 203-972-1250, www.multiplemyeloma.org /foundation.
Eveline van Lidth de Jeude, Java native
Eveline Marguerite Nicoline van Lidth de Jeude of Short Lane, a longtime Ridgefielder and a native of Java who spent World War II in a Japanese concentration camp, died Saturday morning, May 31, in Danbury Hospital after a short illness. She was 75 years old and the widow of Cornelis Philip van Lidth de Jeude.
Mrs. van Lidth de Jeude was born on Nov. 27, 1927, on the Island of Java, Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), the third daughter of Jan Justus and Anna Jacoba Theodora Oosterman Swaving. When the Japanese invaded the islands, she was taken prisoner and spent World War II in a Japanese concentration camp there.
When the islands were liberated at the end of the war, she and her family were repatriated to the Netherlands, where she began studying to teach English. After a brief internship in London, she returned to the Netherlands, where she met and married Cornelis Philip van Lidth de Jeude. They emigrated to the United States in January 1958 and settled in Ridgefield in 1962.
Mrs. van Lidth de Jeude had been active in the League of Women Voters bridge games, the Bridge group of Jesse Lee Memorial Church and the weekly bridge games at the Community Center. She also regularly served as a proctor at the elections during the past several years. Two years ago, she began drawing a series of cartoons on the foibles of aging, many of which appeared in The Ridgefield Press. The series was called "Edna, Eleanor and Harry on Growing Old Gracefully."
Mrs. van Lidth de Jeude raised two sons and a daughter, all of whom became involved in the arts. Cornelis Philip Justus van Lidth de Jeude of Alton, Ill., has had a singing career and made a film in Europe. The late Erland van Lidth de Jeude became well known as a film and TV actor (The Wanderers, Stir Crazy, The Running Man, and As the World Turns). Philine Jo-Anne Dorothea van Lidth de Jeude of Ridgefield and New York is embarking on a singing career in opera.
Besides her son and daughter, Mrs. van Lidth de Jeude is survived by her daughter-in-law, Melody van Lidth de Jeude of Alton; two grandsons, Peter Cornelis Philip and Christiaan Erland Cornelis Louis; and a brother, Justus, and two sisters, Helma and Christina.
The Rev. William Pfohl and the Rev. K.P. Hong will conduct a memorial service Wednesday, June 11, at 4 p.m. at Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church. Burial will be private.
Contributions in her memory may be made to the Visiting Nurse Association, 90 East Ridge, or to the Praxair Cancer Center, The Danbury Hospital, 24 Hospital Avenue, Danbury, CT 06810.
The Kane Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Michael Tortora, 36, church treasurer
Michael J. Tortora of Ridgefield, an actuary who had been treasurer of St. Stephen’s Church, died on Sunday, May 25, at Danbury Hospital. He was 36 years old and the husband of Nancy Yarmon Tortora.
A native of New York City, Mr. Tortora was born on Jan. 22, 1967, a son of Peter J. and Judith A. Tortora of Greenwich. He grew up in Greenwich, and was active in the Greenwich Boys and Girls Club where he once received the Boys Club swimmer of the year award. He attended Greenwich schools, St. Mary High School in Greenwich, and Carnegie-Mellon University. In 1991 he graduated summa cum laude and with distinction from Fordham University with a bachelor of arts degree in mathematics and economics.
Mr. Tortora began his career as an inventory analyst with Amscan of Harrison, N.Y. Later, he became a senior pensions technician with William M. Mercer of Stamford.
In 1999, he joined Winklevoss Consultants’ WinTech division in Greenwich, where he was an actuarial associate and software programmer. There he worked on ProVal, a valuation and forecasting software system for actuaries and asset consultants, and he also trained people throughout North America in its use.
The Tortora family moved to Ridgefield from Stamford in 1994. Mr. Tortora became active in St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church where he served on the Vestry, became assistant treasurer and later treasurer for the parish. He belonged to the parish Finance Committee, Stewardship Committee and was active with the Alpha Group.
“He served with distinction,” said the Rev. John R. Gilchrist, the rector. “He was just the finest kind of person you could even imagine — kind, funny, smart, and dedicated to his family and the church. He will be terribly missed by a lot of people.”
Nancy Tortora said her husband loved being with his family, including sons Peter Joseph, 7, and Owen Michael, 5. “Michael told our two children to live by three special rules: Number one, to be happy; number two, to always be a good person; and number three, don’t listen to Dad except for rules one and two.”
Mr. Tortora and the children had a favorite game he called Mystery Math. “He loved teaching them,” she said.
He also enjoyed the outdoors and traveling. In January, the family took a trip to Turks and Caicos Islands where, despite the disabilities caused by his illness, Mr. Tortora went parasailing and snorkeling.
“He was a determined guy,” Nancy Tortora said. “His philosophy was ‘never give up.’ ”
Besides his wife of 11 years and his two sons, Mr. Tortora is survived by two brothers, Peter Tortora and Kyle Tortora, both of Greenwich; his paternal grandmother, Bette Tortora of Greenwich; his father-in-law, Robert Yarmon and his mother-in-law, Shirley VanMetre, both of Wahoo, Nebr.; his brother-in-law, Steve Yarmon of Lincoln, Nebr.; his sister-in-law, Jan Malousek and her husband Ray of Wahoo; a nephew, Jeff and Janelle Malousek; a niece, Kristy Malousek; and several aunts, uncles and cousins.
Mr. Tortora was predeceased by an infant son, Matthew Robert Tortora, and grandparents, Dr. Michael Tortora of Greenwich, and Dr. Carl and Eunice Ernst of Manhasset, N.Y.
Mr. Gilchrist will lead services on Friday morning at 11:30 in St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church.
Interment will be private.
Friends may call at the Kane Funeral Home, 41 Catoonah Street, on Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m.
Instead of flowers, the family would appreciate memorials to a trust fund that will be set up for the children. Checks payable to Tortora Children’s Fund may be sent to Ridgefield Bank, 150 Danbury Road, Ridgefield, CT 06877.
Joycelyn Thomas, longtime Ridgefielder
Joycelyn Quinn Thomas of 64 Blackman Road, a Ridgefielder for 36 years and a native of New Orleans, died Monday, June 2. She was 74 years old and the widow of August John "A.J." Thomas Sr.
A native of New Orleans, Mrs. Thomas was born on Oct. 25, 1928, a daughter of Arthur Henry and Caroline Gardere Quinn. She attended schools in New Orleans where, as a grammar school pupil, she met her future husband. The childhood sweethearts were married in 1949 and marked their 50th wedding anniversary in January 1999. A.J. Thomas died that summer.
The Thomases lived in Tampa, Fla., and San Francisco before settling in Ridgefield in 1967. Here, Mrs. Thomas was active in the Ridgefield Women's Bowling League, and was an avid bridge player. She volunteered at Meals on Wheels and belonged to the Ridgefield Senior Center where she especially enjoyed line dancing.
The Thomases also had a winter home on the Florida Panhandle. "Mom loved to spend her winters in Panama City, walking the beach with dad," said her daughter, Jude Thomas Wentz of Norwalk.
She also enjoyed gardening. "Mom loved her gardens and they were a testament to her green thumb," said her son Tom Thomas of Ridgefield. As construction was about to begin on the present-day Copps Hill Plaza, site of a former nursery, Mrs. Thomas and son Tom "took many trips and dug up specimen plantings to transplant in her yard."
Her son Kenny Thomas of Atlanta, Ga., said that, "next to her grandchildren, my mother's pride was her home, and she took great pleasure in having friends and family enjoy many special occasions there."
Besides her daughter and two sons, Mrs. Thomas is survived by daugthers-in-law Laurie Thomas of Ridgefield and Karen Thomas of Atlanta; grandchildren, Lauren, Casey, Henry and Max Thomas of Ridgefield, and Ashley, Kenny Jr. and Joseph Thomas of Atlanta; one great-grandson, Finn Thomas Swett of Ridgefield; and a sister, Iris Quinn Cooley of New Orleans.
A son, Wayne, died in December 1978.
A memorial Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Friday at 10:30 in St. Mary's Church. There are no calling hours.
Contributions in her memory may be made to 8 West Telemetry and ICU Nursing, c/o Danbury Hospital Development Fund, 24 Hospital Avenue, Danbury CT 06810, or to Meals on Wheels, 25 Gilbert Street, Ridgefield. The Kane Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Rose Tedesco, 92, telephone pioneer
Rose Tedesco of 51 Prospect Street, a retired telephone operator who had lived here 27 years, died on Thursday afternoon, Jan. 23, at Danbury Hospital.
She was 92 years old and the mother of Caroline Barrett Radachowsky of Danbury, a former Ridgefielder who is a desk clerk at the Ridgefield post office.
Mrs. Tedesco was born in New York, N.Y., on Sept. 7, 1910, a daughter of Marco and Caroline Ferrera Pagano.
She attended New York schools and was a retired telephone operator of AT&T.
Mrs. Tedesco came to Ridgefield from Brooklyn, N.Y., and had been a member of the Telephone Pioneers of America and of St. Mary’s Church.
Besides her daughter, Mrs. Tedesco is survived by a son, Marco Tedesco of Staten Island, N.Y.; a sister, Ann Albanese of Long Island, N.Y.; four grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Monday in St. Mary’s Church. Burial was in St. Mary’s Cemetery.
Contributions in her memory may be made to the Salvation Army, 15 Foster Street, Danbury, CT 06810.
The Kane Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.