Pat Finch, 84, active in community
Adelaide Newman “Pat” Finch of Ridgefield, who had been active in the community for most of her life, died on Saturday, Feb. 28, 2004, at Danbury Hospital. She was 84 years old and the widow of Lewis J. “Bubby” Finch, who died in January 2003.
Mrs. Finch was born in Danbury on March 17, 1919, a daughter of Kenneth and Margaret Aldreani Newman. She attended Danbury schools and was a graduate of Danbury High School Class of 1935. For a brief time, she worked at the former Danbury Hat Company.
A resident of Ridgefield for the past 65 years, Mrs. Finch was a volunteer in the community and at St. Mary’s Church. For many years, she was a model for woman’s fashions and participated in many charitable fund-raising fashion shows.
She loved to paint with watercolors, oils and charcoal, and enjoyed cooking, needlepoint, and reading. She also liked to dance — her parents had operated the well-known Newman School of Dance in Danbury.
Her survivors include a son, Barry N. Finch and his wife Louise of Ridgefield; a daughter, Patti-Lou Schmidt and her husband John of Ridgefield; a sister, Nancy N. Montanari and her husband Fred of Ridgefield; six grandchildren, Heather Finch, Sean Finch, Seth Cashman, Ben Cashman, J. Michael Schmidt and David Schmidt; three great-grandchildren, twins Roger and Patrick Finch and Taylor Schmidt; and several nieces and nephews.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated today, Thursday, at 10:15 a.m. in St. Mary’s Church.
Burial will follow in St. Mary’s Cemetery.
Contributions in her memory may be made to the Danbury Hospital Development Fund, 24 Hospital Avenue, Danbury, CT 06810, the Ridgefield Fire Department Ambulance Fund, 6 Catoonah Street, Ridgefield, or to the Ridgefield Library, 472 Main Street, Ridgefield 06877.
The Kane Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Gloria Duffy, active in auxiliary
Gloria L. Duffy of Ridgefield died Thursday, Jan. 22, 2004, in Norwalk Hospital. She was 60 years old and the wife of Richard Duffy.
A native of Lubec, Maine, Mrs. Duffy was a past president of the Ladies Auxiliary Post 399 Veterans of Foreign Wars in Westport, and a past treasurer of the Norwalk Carting Association.
Besides her husband, she is survived by two sons, Darrell Duffy of Ridgefield and Richard Delano of Massachusetts; a daughter, Toni Lynn Johnson of Elken, N.C.; a brother, Edward Duffy of Lubec; and six sisters, Kathy, Bonnie, Brenda, Judy and Janet, all of Lubec, and Betty Wentworth of Sandy Hook; and five grandchildren, Matthew, Jordan, Jessica, Dakota, and Morgan, all of Elken.
A brother, Myron, died before her.
A Mass of Christian Burial took place Tuesday in St. Luke’s Church, Westport.
Memorial contributions may be made to The Women’s Auxiliary Post 399, 465 Riverside Avenue, Westport, CT 06880.
Richard Clarke, former resident
Richard K. Clarke, a former Ridgefielder, died on Tuesday, March 2, 2004, in Bethesda, Md.
The Clarke family lived many years on Stony Hill Terrace.
Mr. Clarke is survived by a son, Dr. Richard Clarke and his wife Pamela; two daughters, Darlene Sallan and her husband Dr. Stephen Sallan, and Kathleen Kitzinger and her husband Michael; seven grandchildren, RJ and Rachel Clarke, Stephen and Sarah Sallan, and Jessica, Emily and Joseph Kitzinger; one great-grandson, Jacob Clarke; and two sisters, Jeanne Declerk and Mary Clarke.
His wife, Mildred Clarke, died in 1988. A son, Dr. Kevin R. Clarke, died in 1991.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Saturday, March 6, at St. Mary’s Church in Ridgefield.
Linda Carboni, worked on Hubbell
Linda Grace Bria Carboni of Danbury, who had worked on the space telescope, died on Friday, March 19, 2004, at Danbury Hospital after a long battle with cancer.
She was 47 years old, the wife of former Ridefielder Michael A. Carboni and the mother of Jesse Bria and Sarah Carboni.
Mrs. Carboni was born July 13, 1956 in Greenwich, a daughter of Carol Covello Gergle of Danbury and the late George Gergle. Raised by her aunt, Frances Bria in Port Chester, N.Y., she attended Port Chester schools and graduated from Port Chester High School in the Class of 1974.
For many years she worked for the Perkin-Elmer Corp. in Norwalk, and was involved with the Hubble Space Telescope project. Most recently she was employed with Bria Carting and Somers Sanitation of Somers, N.Y.
“Linda had many talents and hobbies,” her family said. “She was an avid gardener and loved to fish, do woodworking and crafts. She collected lighthouses, enjoyed sewing outfits for her daughter and herself as well as maintaining and collecting hats and enjoyed a good game of Scrabble.”
Mrs. Carboni was active in the Amazing Grace Fellowship of Cheshire.
Besides her husband, daughters and mother, Mrs. Carboni is survived by a sister Mary Ann Conlan and husband Richard of Charlotte, N.C.; four brothers, Donald Gergle and wife Lauren of Hamden, Steven Gergle of Florida, Lawrence Bria and wife Molly of Pawling, N.Y., and Joseph Bria and wife Sharon of Stormville, N.Y.; and by nieces and nephews Nathaniel, Hannah, Joy, Noah, Faith, Richard Jr., Kristina, Larry, Jackie, Joey and Anthony.
A brother Anthony Bria, died before her.
Pastor Elijah Gibbs of the Amazing Grace Fellowship conducted services Tuesday in the Kane Funeral Home, Ridgefield.
Burial will take place in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Ridgefield, at the convenience of the family.
Contributions in her memory may be made to the Danbury Hospital Development Fund for Oncology Nursing Services, 24 Hospital Avenue, Danbury, CT 06810.
Dr. Harry Blum, 105, doctor, artist
Dr. Harry Blum of Southbury, a former Ridgefielder who left medicine at the age of 95 to spend more time at art, died Sunday, March 14, 2004, at his home. He was 105 years old.
When Dr. Blum had the first major showing of his paintings in 1999 at a New York City gallery, it was more than an average art-world milestone. Dr. Blum was 100 years old.
“I’ve learned a lot over the past 65 years,” he said. “I paint whatever I feel, and I don’t think I copy anyone.”
But painting past 100 is hardly the only example of Dr. Blum’s energy. He didn’t retire from his medical practice until the age of 95. At 101, he was still driving — the state Motor Vehicle Department found his eyesight was 20-30 when he was about to turn 100.
A native of Russia, Dr. Blum was born on Christmas Day in 1898, and came to New York when he was seven years old. He graduated from New York University School of Medicine and maintained a successful ear, nose and throat practice in Brooklyn until 1994.
He began painting at the age of 35 under the tutelage of a French artist and almost immediately won an award from the San Francisco Museum of Art. But it was not until he was 95 that he was able to take up painting full time.
He and his wife, Reggie, came to Ridgefield in 1943 and had a home on Route 7 between New and Stonehenge roads for 50 years. From the 1950s into the early 1970s, they operated a well-known mink farm on the property.
In 1995, the Blums moved to Heritage Village in Southbury. Mrs. Blum died in 1999.
At 102, Dr. Blum was still painting and showing his work.
“I have no plan to retire from painting,” he said. “It keeps me young.”
Services took place Tuesday at B’Nai Israel Temple in Southbury.
Burial was in Beth David Cemetery, Elmont, N.Y.
Richard A. Banks, 71, equestrian
Richard A. “Dick” Banks of Darien, a former Ridgefielder who had been a rodeo rider and operator of equestrian and dairy farms, died Monday, March 8, 2004, at Norwalk Hospital after a brief illness.
Born in Bridgeport July 6, 1932, son of the late Albert and Allene Banks, Mr. Banks came to Ridgefield in 1949 when his family bought a 100-acre Ridgeway dairy farm in Ridgebury. Mr. Banks was active in managing the farm until it was sold after the death of his father in 1954.
His love of horses led him to a successful career in performance and competitive riding in both the rodeo circuit and the entertainment industry. A serious injury while “trick riding” at Freedomland USA in New York took him out of the competitive saddle but he continued performing “Roman Riding” (standing while riding two or more horses) on the rodeo circuit for the next few years.
Mr. Banks then moved to Ocala, Fla., where he managed one of the largest thoroughbred breeding farms in the state until 1979. He then returned to his roots in dairy farming, managing the Hopkins Farm in New Preston. caring for more than 300 head of Holsteins, until 1982 when owner Bill Hopkins decided to convert the farm to a winery.
Mr. Banks then moved to Wilton to manage a private estate. After a few years, the opportunity to return to the full-time horse business availed itself in the same community. Mr. Banks leased the Firestone family’s famous Chance Hill Farm on Silver Spring Road. There, he managed the Chance Hill Equestrian Center until retirement in 1997.
Mr. Banks spent his retirement years enjoying time with his family — children, grandchildren and his great-grandson.
He is survived by longtime companion Patti Coughlin of Darien; six children, Cheryl and husband Douglas, Sandra Banks, Wendy and husband Lonnie Pola, and Penny Banks all of Ridgefield, Dean and wife Jennifer Banks of Tennessee, Richard Banks Jr. of New Fairfield; seven grandchildren, Randy and Craig Both, Victoria Matijevic, Miles Banks, Bradford and Jessica Banks, and Nina Pola; one great-grandson, Matthew Matijevic; four sisters, Marge and John Silverblade in Maine, Ellen “Babe” Scott of Ridgefield, Joan and Timothy Kline of Fairfield and “Kid Sister” Karen Donnelly of Portland, Conn.; and by several nieces and nephews.
“We will all remember our brother, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and good friend fondly,” his family said.
A service will be held to celebrate Mr. Banks’ life on Thursday at 1 p.m. at the First Congregational Church in Ridgefield.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to: Equine Advocates Inc., P.O. Box 700, Bedford, NY 10506.
Ruth Dingee Backer, restaurateur
Frances “Ruth” Dingee Backer of Sarasota, Fla., who had been a restaurant owner here, died March 14, 2004, in Florida. She was 93 years old.
Mrs. Backer was born on Jan. 10, 1911, in Redding, a daughter of Roswell and Minnie Jellife Dingee. She grew up in Ridgefield and lived much of her life here.
During the 1930s, she had been a waitress at the old Outpost Inn on Danbury Road, now the site of Fox Hill condominiums. In the 1940s, with her husband John Backer, she owned The White Spot Restaurant on Main Street, about where Subway is today.
Mrs. Backer moved to Sarasota in 1957, but continued to spend the summers here for many years and would work as a waitress at Luigi’s Restaurant in Branchville during those periods.
She had been a member of Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church and of its Epworth League. She had also belonged to the Order of the Eastern Star, Stella Chapter 55, in Danbury.
Until recently, Mrs. Backer had maintained her own house in Florida and even at the age of 92, would walk daily to the local shopping center where she met with others for morning coffee.
Survivors include a daughter, Dorothy Freivogel of Sarasota; a granddaughter, Sally Legan of Ridgefield; two great-grandchildren, Andrew and Michelle Legan of Ridgefield; three nephews, Robert Dingee of Denmark, Maine, and Port Charlotte, Fla., Arthur Dingee of West Palm Beach, Fla., and Richard Dingee of Westport, former assistant fire chief here.
Two brothers, William and Art Dingee, and a niece, Helen Feduzi, died before her.
A memorial graveside service will take place Saturday, May 22, at 12:30 in the Ridgefield Cemetery.
Memorial donations may be made to Pines of Sarasota, 1501 N. Orange Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34236.
The Kane Funeral home is in charge of arrangements.
Nano Ancona, longtime merchant
Nazzareno “Nano” Ancona, a lifelong Ridgefielder and well-known merchant here and in the state, died Sunday, Feb. 22, 2004, in Norwalk Hospital. He was 72 years old and the husband of Carol Gartrell Ancona.
Mr. Ancona was born on Aug. 18, 1931, in an apartment above his father’s grocery store on Route 7 in Branchville. His parents, Joseph and Josephine Bellante Ancona, were natives of Sicily. Joseph Ancona had come to the country in 1912 and soon after established his market in Branchville.
Nano Ancona grew up in Branchville, and was one of the last students to attend the old Branchville Schoolhouse. He graduated from Ridgefield High School in 1949 and two years later from the Merrill School of Business in Stamford.
He and Carol Gartrell were married July 4, 1956. They had known each other since she moved to Park Lane, just around the corner from the Ancona stores, when she was 11 years old.
In 1951, Mr. Ancona established Branchville Hardware in the brick building on the corner of Routes 7 and 102. “We sold everything — guns, ammunition, appliances, paint,” said Carol Ancona.
When his father died in 1958, Mr. Ancona closed the hardware store and took over the family package store, which had been in business since Prohibition ended. Under his ownership, the store grew from 650 square feet to 4,000 square feet, with more than 1,500 labels of wine, 450 of beer, and a hundred kinds of scotch.
A skill conversationalist who had studied at a New York wine institute, Mr. Ancona would often discuss wines with customers. “The biggest challenge for anyone in business is to try to figure out what their customers’ tastes are,” he said in a n inteview. “You try to match the product to the person or with the occasion. The more you interact with the customers, the more in tune you get with their tastes.”
Mr. Ancona was a former president of the Connecticut Package Stores Association, and had often appeared before legislative committees in Hartford, representing the liquor retailers. Five years ago, the association named him the “Retailer of the Year.”
In 2003, he and his family were honored by the Ridgefield Chamber of Commerce for community service.
Mr. Ancona was long active in the town. His high school yearbook predicted he would be “mayor of Branchville” and, indeed, he became the longtime president of the Branchville Civic Association and was later active in the Branchville Area Merchants.
In the wake of the 1955 flood that heavily damaged Branchville, he had served on the town’s Flood and Erosion Control Board. He was a member of the Board of Incorporators of the Ridgefield Bank, and had belonged to the Kiwanis Club and the Italian American Mutual Aid Society.
Like his father, who played the mandolin, Mr. Ancona was a musician. He played alto saxophone in the high school band and orchestra, and as a boy had learned the piano. But his favorite instrument was the organ.
Besides his wife, Mr. Ancona is survived by four children: Matthew and his wife Lisa of Woodbury, Cheryl Doroski and her husband Mark of Oslo, Norway, Cynthia Ancona of Pompano, Fla., and Mitchell Ancona and his wife Deborah of Redding; two brothers, Joseph and John Ancona, both of Ridgefield; a sister, Phyllis Taylor of Bethel; and six grandchildren, Jake, Nick and Kristen Ancona of Woodbury, Chrisitian and Allison Ancona of Pompano, and Alexandra Ancona of Redding.
The Rev. M. Joseph Joaquin will celebrate a Mass of Christian Burial Friday at 10 a.m. in Sacred Heart Church, Georgetown.
Friends may call at the Bouton Funeral Home today, Feb. 26, from 4 to 8.
Contributions in Mr. Ancona’s memory may be made to the Visiting Nurse Association, 90 East Ridge, or the Ridgefield Fire Department Ambulance Fund, 6 Catoonah Street.