David M. Wood, 79, clothing executive
David M. Wood Jr. of Ridgefield, a longtime Wilton and recent Ridgefield resident, died Friday, Aug. 29. He was 79 years old.
A native of Abbeville, S.C., Mr. Wood was born on Aug. 27, 1924, a son of David M. Sr. and Grace Kay Wood. The son of a senior railroad executive, he lived in many parts of the South growing up, and graduated from Georgia Institute of Technology where he majored in engineering.
Mr. Wood moved his family to Wilton in 1959, and spent the majority of his career designing men’s sportswear in New York, initially as vice president of marketing for Arrow Shirts and Jockey Sportswear, and then with Oxford Industries where he was executive vice president.
He was a “steadily improving” golfer at Silver Spring Country Club for many years, but according to his family, had the most fun cheering people up after their rounds.
“His love of people and music left the room a brighter place wherever he went,” his family said.
Mr. Wood moved to Ridgefield six years ago after Dolores Cheek Wood, his wife of 47 years, died in September 1997.
He is survived by a daughter Debbie and her husband Ed Scully, and a granddaughter, Kimberleigh Ward, all of Chapel Hill, N.C.; a son David and his wife Bobbie and their children, Elena and David, all of Ridgefield.
A celebration service will take place Wednesday, Sept. 10, at 11 a.m. at the First Congregational Church in Ridgefield.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions in his memory be sent to the Ridgefield High School Music Department, 700 North Salem Road, Ridgefield, CT 06877.
Steven Zitzelberger, 43, excavator
Steven L. Zitzelbergerof Bethel, formerly of Ridgefield, died on Wednesday, Nov. 12, at his home. He was 43 years old.
Mr. Zitzelberger was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Jan. 29, 1960, a son of Patricia Hudson Colt Wheeler of New Milford, and the late Lawrence F. Zitzelberger. He attended schools on Long Island as well as Atlanta, Ga.
A resident of Long Island for 14 years, he moved with his parents to Atlanta in 1974 and later to Ridgefield in 1978.
A construction site developer and excavator, Mr. Zitzelberger was employed by the Alfredo Construction Company of Brewster, N.Y. In earlier years, he was employed by the Marconi Construction Company and the Cioffoletti Construction Company, both of Ridgefield.
An all-around athlete, he played many sports and enjoyed both fishing and billiards. He was an avid New York Yankees and Jets fan.
Besides his mother, Mr. Zitzelberger is survived by his stepfather, Alton W. Wheeler and a brother Kenneth J. Zitzelberger, both of New Milford; three sisters, Karen Touchette and her husband Donald of Rumford, Maine, Jill Colt and her fiancé Charles Iacuzzo of New York, N.Y., and Christine Zitzelberger of Lake Grove, N.Y.; and his paternal grandmother, Laura Zitzelberger of Freeport, L.I., N.Y.
Funeral services took place in the Kane Funeral Home, 25 Catoonah Street.
Interment will take place at the convenience of the family.
Contributions in his memory may be made to the Mid Western Council of Alcoholism, 38 Old Ridgebury Road, Danbury, CT 06810.
James N. Bodurtha, 81, navigator
James N. Bodurtha of Ridgefield, whose multifaceted career ranged from piloting Navy blimps and navigating airliners to teaching farming techniques and searching land titles, died Friday, Nov. 21. He was 81 years old and the husband of Norma Lobdell Bodurtha.
Starting out a farmer in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts, Mr. Bodurtha had a life of wide-ranging occupations include playing piano, hunting subMarines in the South Pacific, surveying land, and teaching. Some of his jobs, such as picking apples at an orchard in Newtown, were to help provide income during difficult times.
“He lived to provide for his family,” said his son, Professor James Bodurtha.
James Norton Bodurtha was born in Westfield, Mass., on May 1, 1922, a son of Frank T. and Annie Marie Fallon Bodurtha. He grew up on his parents’ dairy farm in Russellville, Mass., where he not only milked the cows, but also delivered the milk, and had probably envisioned for himself a life as a farmer. As a young man, he also played the piano solo and with bands in western Massachusetts.
When World War II broke out, Mr. Bodurtha joined the U.S. Navy. He was sent to the Pacific, and became a navigator on aircraft patrolling the South Pacific for Japanese subMarines. He was later trained as a pilot of Navy blimps, and patrolled the South Atlantic from a base in Brazil.
After the war, he remained in the Navy Reserve, serving stints in Korea and Vietnam, rising to the rank of commander.
While he was away in the war, the Bodurtha barn burned to the ground, ending the family’s dairy business. After he returned home, he entered the University of Massachusetts, where he earned a bachelor’s degree and where he eventually taught animal husbandry.
Later, he became managing editor of The Rural New Yorker. Although the monthly magazine was aimed at farmers in New York and New England, it was published in New York City. He and Norma, who were married in 1950, moved to Long Island and he commuted to the city. He later joined Wildrick and Miller, an advertising agency, specializing in agricultural accounts.
In 1964, Mr. Bodurtha was diagnosed with cancer, a disease he subsequently overcame and which led to a change of career.
Since the war, Mr. Bodurtha had remained active in the Naval Reserve, spending many weekends and vacations at Floyd Bennett Field in New Jersey and switching his specialty from blimps to aircraft navigation. He was a well-respected navigator and flew on a number of important missions, including the 1979 flight on which the Shah of Iran fled to exile in Egypt.
Using the training he had acquired in the Naval Reserve, Mr. Bodurtha joined Lufthansa, the German airline, serving as a navigator on international flights. He later navigated for Flying Tiger and Evergreen Airlines until computers took over the job on most commercial airlines.
The Bodurthas had moved from Long Island to Hayes Lane in Ridgefield in 1956. In the 1980s, after he left flying, Mr. Bodurtha took advantage of the federal Comprehensive Employment Training Act to learn the profession of title searching. He did a great deal of work for the Town of Ridgefield and for law firms in Fairfield County during the 1980s. He had also worked as a surveyor.
In the late 1950s and 1960s, Mr. Bodurtha served as a volunteer in town government. “He once got two write-in votes for first selectman, of which he was very proud at the time,” recalled his daughter, Dr. Joann Bodurtha.
He had belonged to the Knights of Columbus, and had volunteered with FISH, an organization that provides transportation for the elderly.
Besides his wife, who was the secretary of Veterans Park School for many years, Mr. Bodurtha is survived by three children, Dr. Joann Bodurtha and her husband, Dr. Tom Smith, of Ashland, Va., Dr. James N. Bodurtha Jr. and his wife, Kelly Flaherty, of Bethesda, Md., and Stephen Bodurtha and his wife Alison Cowan of Stamford; seven grandchildren, Anna Smith, Abby and Aidan Bodurtha of Bethesda, and Phoebe, Molly, Valerie, and Liam Bodurtha of Stamford; a brother, Frank T. Bodurtha Jr. of New London, N.H.; a niece, and a nephew.
His family said it was “deeply grateful to those in Ridgefield who helped him complete his life as the gentleman he was; especially Christine Barry, Rob Creamer, Danbury Hospital, Lee Goldenberg, the Girolamettis, Dale McKenzie, Laurel Ridge, Dr. David A. Pazer, his staff, the Ridgefield VNA, and Dr. Peter Yanity.”
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Tuesday in St. Mary’s Church. Burial was in Westfield, Mass.
Contributions in his memory may be made to the Visiting Nurse Association, 90 East Ridge, Ridgefield, CT 06877.
The Kane Funeral Home, 25 Catoonah Street, was in charge of arrangements.
Rosemary J. Gray, 78, retired Realtor
Rosemary J. Gray of Redding, a former Ridgefielder and Wilton real estate agent, died on Monday, Oct. 20, after a stroke. She was 78 and had lived at Meadow Ridge in Georgetown for only two months. Her husband of 53 years, George R. Gray, died of cancer earlier this year.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., to William and Mary Herley, Mrs. Gray was a graduate of Our Lady of Wisdom Academy in Queens. After completing studies at St. Mary’s Hospital School of Nursing in Brooklyn, N.Y., she became an operating room nurse.
She and her husband moved to Ridgefield in 1958, and lived on Saunders Lane before moving to Wilton in 1967, where she lived for 28 years.
In Wilton, she became a real estate broker, working at Richard Tjader Associates, DeForest Associates, Realty Seven, and King Real Estate.
She retired in 1990, and the Grays moved to Williamsburg, Va., in 1995, where they were active in the Christopher Wren Society of the College of William and Mary.
Mrs. Gray enjoyed travel, crossword puzzles, reading English history and birdwatching.
She is survived by her daughter, Allison Gray Sanders and her husband, Rob, of Wilton; her son, Jeff Gray and his wife, Clare, of Milton, Mass.; her grandson, Ian Sanders of Wilton; her sisters, Maryjane Bang of Melbourne, Fla., and Frances Kienenger of Garden City, N.Y.; her brothers, William Herley of New Port Richey, Fla., and David Herley of Forest Hills, N.Y.; and many nieces and nephews. Her younger sister, Patricia Nissen of Central Islip, N.Y., died earlier this year.
A Mass of Resurrection is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 24, at 10:30 at Our Lady of Fatima Church in Wilton. Private burial will take place at Hillside Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to The Neuropathy Association Inc., 60 East 42nd. Street, Suite 942, New York, NY 10165-0999.
Erwin Holmes, World War II veteran
Erwin W. Holmes, a longtime Ridgefielder who had served in the Army in the Pacific Theatre, died on Saturday, Sept. 13, at Danbury Hospital. He was 88 years old and the husband of Teckla Hildegarde Larson Holmes.
Mr. Holmes was born in Trenton, N.J., on Oct. 8, 1914, a son of the late Thomas Bewsey Holmes and Bertha Louise Waidelich Holmes Tripler. He came to Norwalk as a teenager and was a graduate of Norwalk High School, Class of 1933.
He met his future wife at a local church before the war, and the two were married on Jan. 26, 1945.
Mr. Holmes was a veteran of World War II, having served in the United States Army from 1941 to 1945. He was a corporal stationed in Australia and New Guinea.
Mr. Holmes’ career included working with Perkin-Elmer Corp. on electrical systems for space equipment, and as a draftsman for Schlumberger-Doll Research Center in Ridgefield. Most recently he worked for the South Norwalk Electric Company, retiring in 1980.
He and his family moved to Ridgefield in 1955
“He was a strong Christian man who sought God’s will for all his days,” his family said. Mr. Holmes was a very active member of the Danbury Church of Christ, where he had served as a deacon.
“Everyone loved him,” said his daughter Audrey Hill. “We always had friends at the house. He was always helping other people.”
She added that her parents placed great importance on education. Many children and grandchildren are teachers and health professionals.
For relaxation, Mr. Holmes enjoyed music — he played both the mandolin and the steel guitar — and vegetable gardening. “He always had a beautiful garden,” Audrey Hill said.
Besides his wife, Mr. Holmes is survived by five children: Karleen E. Holmes of Ridgefield; Dr. David L. Holmes and his wife Karen of Stockton, N.J.; Thomas E. Holmes and his wife Denise of Hamden; Audrey Hill and her husband Charles of Fayetteville, Pa.; and Theodore B. Holmes and his wife Susan of Columbia, Pa.; 11 grandchildren, Leslie Harrington, Melissa Burrows and Vanessa Holmes, all of Texas, Paige Selby of California, Corinne Holmes of New York, Nathan Hill of Washington, D.C. (an Army corpsman just back from Iraq), Jessica Hill of Texas, Jonathan Hill of Tennessee, and Lauren, Emily and Rebecca Holmes of Pennsylvania; one great-granddaughter, Lily, and several nieces and nephews.
Graveside committal prayers, with military honors, will take place today, Thursday, at 9:30 a.m. at the Branchville Cemetery.
Evangelist Dessain Terry will lead a memorial service today at 11 in the Danbury Church of Christ, 90 Clapboard Ridge Road, Danbury.
Contributions in memory of Mr. Holmes may be made to the Danbury Church of Christ, 90 Clapboard Ridge Road, Danbury, CT 06810.
The Bouton Funeral Home in Georgetown is in charge of arrangements.
James Lockfort, veteran, principal
James J. Lockfort of Ridgefield, a decorated World War II veteran who had been a trade school principal for many years, died at his home on Friday morning, Nov. 21. He was 84 years old and the husband of Catherine Hines Lockfort.
Mr. Lockfort was born in Jersey City, N.J., on Feb. 8, 1919, son of Frank and Bridget Quinn Lockfort, and grew up in New Jersey.
He served five years in the U.S. Army infantry during World War II. Mr. Lockfort was a communications specialist and while stringing phone lines in a garden in Germany near the end of the war, stepped on a land mine and lost part of a leg. He was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for his service.
In 1937, Mr. Lockfort had joined the Delehanty Institute, a private trade school in New York, as an administrator. He eventually became principal of the automotive division and spent his entire career at Delehanty, retiring in 1981.
Mr. Lockfort had lived in the Bronx and later Queens. He was a past commander of the VFW Post #95 of the Bronx, N.Y., was a member of Disabled American Veterans, and had been active in the Juniper Village Association in Middle Village, Queens.
He had moved to Ridgefield five years ago to be closer to his family.
Besides his wife of 54 years, he is survived by a son, Steven E. Lockfort and his wife Paula and their children, Christopher and Jennifer, all of Ridgefield.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Monday in St. Mary’s Church.
Burial was in St. Raymond Cemetery, Bronx, N.Y.
Contributions in his memory may be made to the Visiting Nurse Association of Ridgefield, 90 East Ridge.
The Kane Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Mary Ellen Martin, was volunteer here
Mary Ellen Martin of 67-B Heritage Village, Southbury, who had lived in Ridgefield more than 35 years, died Saturday, Oct. 4, at Danbury Hospital. She was 75 years old and the wife of Andrew Russell Martin.
Mrs. Martin was born Feb. 7, 1928, in Chicago, daughter of the late Raymond and Alice Ryan Schofield.
The Martins had lived on Seth Low Mountain Road for 36 years, coming to Ridgefield in 1965. They moved to Heritage Village in 2001.
While here, Mrs. Martin was a den mother in Cub Scouts, a Girl Scout leader, and a volunteer in the Little League program. She had been active in St. Mary’s Church and, after it was established, in St. Elizabeth Seton Church.
She was a member of Sacred Heart Church in Southbury.
Besides her husband of 45 years, Mrs. Martin leaves three sons, James Martin of Danbury; and John and Daniel Martin, both of Andover, Mass.; two daughters, Mary Therese “Tess” Martin-Riegel of Wilton; and Gigi DiLillo of Danbury; one brother, Daniel Schofield, of Chicago; and three grandchildren, Jessica Martin of Andover; Teddy Riegel of Wilton; and Ryan DiLillo of Danbury.
Her son, Thomas, died in 2001.
A funeral Mass was celebrated Wednesday, Oct. 8, at Sacred Heart Church in Southbury. Burial was in St. Peter’s Cemetery, Danbury.
Memorial contributions may be made to Ronald McDonald House, 501 George Street, New Haven, CT 06511.