Joyce Wilson, 79, hospital leader
Joyce Bending Wilson, who had been active in hospital work in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., died Saturday, Feb. 7, 2004, at Laurel Ridge in Ridgefield. She was 79 years old and the widow of H. Clifton Wilson Jr., former President of Central Hudson Gas and Electric Company in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
Mrs. Wilson was born Nov. 29, 1924 in Smith County, Miss. of Henry Bending and Emma Elizabeth Norton. She graduated from Louisiana State University in 1946 with a bachelor of arts degree in physical education. She chose to teach and coach basketball in high school before marrying Mr. Wilson on Oct. 8, 1948 in Laurel, Miss, after which she became a full-time housewife and homemaker. She moved to Ridgefield in 1999 after living for 27 years in Poughkeepsie.
Mrs. Wilson was active in the Poughkeepsie community, most notably as a volunteer and member of the Board of Trustees at the Vassar Brothers Medical Center, with the Vassar Brothers Hospital Auxiliary including service as its president, and in a number of positions with the Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie and as a member of its Board of Managers.
Her survivors include four of her children, Richard B. Wilson of Carteret, N.J., Elizabeth W. Buchanan of Fredericksburg, Va., Patricia W. Palmer of Ridgefield, and Charles A. Wilson of Poughkeepsie; and 12 grandchildren.
Memorial services will be on Thursday, Feb. 12 at 1 p.m. at the Reformed Church, 70 Hooker Avenue, Poughkeepsie.
Burial will be at the convenience of the family.
Contributions in her memory may be made to Vassar Brothers Medical Center Foundation, 45 Reade Place, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601, or Marist College, H. Clifton Wilson Scholarship Fund, Marist College, 290 North Road, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601; or Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie, 10 Children’s Way, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601; or St. Francis Health Care Foundation, 35 North Road, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601; or the Reformed Church of Poughkeepsie, 70 Hooker Avenue, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601.
William G. Miller and Son Funeral Home in Poughkeepsie is handling arrangements.
Dennis Tessier, 61, bank president
Dennis R. Tessier of 2840 Beard Terrace, Fremont, Calif., the first president of the Village Bank and Trust Company here, died Sunday, Jan. 4, in his home after a four-year battle with leukemia.
He was 61 years old and the husband for 40 years of Katherine H. Naughton Tessier.
Mr. Tessier was born in Lancaster, Mass., son of Armand and Frances Daniels Tessier, and lived in California for the past 14 years.
He worked in the banking industry for 17 years, beginning at the former Clinton Trust Co. in Massachusetts. He then worked at Garden City Trust, Newton, and Framingham Trust, Framingham, both Massachusetts.
In 1974, he became the first president of the Village Bank & Trust on Prospect Street in Ridgefield. Village Bank was acquired in the 1990s by Webster Bank.
He then worked in sales and marketing for several years before working for Darien Microsystems in Darien from 1983-1991, serving four years as president of the company.
Before his retirement in 2000, he worked as a business consultant in the real estate industry.
He was honoree for the Monterey-Santa Cruz Leukemia Society, TNT Program for the past three years.
“He shared an active, adventurous and fulfilling life with his family,” his family said. “He was an avid bicyclist with a tremendous zest for life. Dennis was a person one could never forget once they met him. He touched many lives and will be dearly missed by all.”
Mr. Tessier is survived by a son, Michael Tessier and his wife Bunny of Santa Cruz, Calif., three daughters, Denise Spicher and her husband Doug of McKinney, Texas, Yvette Wilson and her husband, Don, of Goose Creek, S.C., and Michelle Fabbrini and her husband, Joe of Bedford, N.H.; four grandchildren, Rebecca and Sam Dennis Spicher and Nico and Joseph Fabbrini; three sisters, Brenda Beauregard of Florida, Linda Auer of Tennessee and Eleanor Baxter of Florida; and two brothers, Edward Tessier and William Daniels, both of Florida.
The funeral will be Friday, Jan. 9, from the Robert J. McNally Funeral Home, 304 Church Street, Clinton, Mass., with a Mass at 10 a.m. in St. John the Evangelist Church, 80 Union Street, Clinton.
Burial will be in St. John’s Cemetery, Lancaster.
Calling hours will be Thursday, Jan. 8, from 6 to 9 p.m. in the funeral home.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Mass. Chapter, 495 Old Connecticut Path, Suite 220, Framingham, MA 01701.
Dorothea Sturges, 90, ceramicist
Dorothea Marie Sturges, a ceramicist who had lived in Ridgefield many years, died on Saturday, Jan. 10, 2004, at Danbury Hospital. She was 90 years old and the widow of Lloyd R. Sturges.
A native of Norwalk, Mrs. Sturges was born on April 21, 1913, a daughter of William E. and Alice Hall Allison. She grew up in Norwalk and graduated from Norwalk High School.
After her marriage, she continued to live in Norwalk. During World War II, she was active in the USO and she and her husband opened their house as a host home to servicemen at the Noroton Naval Station nearby.
Later in life, Mrs. Sturges became active in the Civil Air Patrol, assisting her son Lloyd, then a commander of the Danbury unit, and remaining a member until her death.
The Sturges family had also lived on Honey Hill Road in Wilton many years ago.
Mrs. Sturges was an accomplished ceramicist. In the 1970s and 1980s, she operated Belle-Dot Ceramics from her home on Catoonah Street, which included both a retail shop and a studio where she taught ceramics and other crafts.
She had been a member of the Order of Eastern Star in Norwalk.
Mrs. Sturges is survived by two sons, Lloyd R. Sturges Jr. of West Redding, and Ernest William Sturges of Arcadia, Fla.; three sisters, Jean Martin of Salisbury, N.H.; Grace Scarborough of Dunnellin, Fla., and Roberta Scarpello of Sun City, Fla.; nine grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.
Her husband died in 1974.
Bishop David Oakes will lead services tonight, Thursday, Jan. 15, at 7 in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 16 Sawmill Road, Newtown.
Private burial will be in Hillside Cemetery, Wilton, in the spring.
There are no calling hours.
The Bouton Funeral Home in Georgetown is in charge of arrangements.
Lena Schutte, 91, Ridgefield native
Lena Mary Schutte of Fairfield, a Ridgefield native, died Saturday, Feb. 7, 2004, at her home with her family at her side. She was 91 years old and the widow of Gustav J. Schutte.
Born in Ridgefield, Mrs. Schutte was the daughter of Adolfo and Nancy Cimarelli, and had lived in Vista, N.Y. most of her life. She had been a Fairfield resident for the past 17 years.
She was a former member of the Women’s Auxillary of the Vista Fire Department.
Mrs. Schutte’s survivors include her three daughters, Doris Schutte and Erik Peterson of Fairfield, Nancy Bielik and her husband Richard of Fairfield and Carol Marsland and her husband Peter of Scottsdale, Ariz.; a sister, Irene Dazi of Mahopac, N.Y.; six grandchildren, Brian Marsland and his wife Cheryl of Melbourne Beach, Fla., Kevin Marsland of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., Michelle Otstot and her husband Tom of Scottsdale, Ariz., Renee Marsland of Gilbert, Ariz., Jeffrey Bielik of New York City and Gretchen Bielik of Bridgeport; and four great-grandchildren.
Her sister Corrine T. Moore died before her.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated today, Thursday, at 10 a.m. at St. Pius X Church, Fairfield.
Burial will follow in Oak Lawn Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to the American Heart Association, 5 Brookside Drive, Wallingford, Conn. 06492.
The Spear Funeral home 39 South Benson Road, Fairfield. See www. spearfuneralhome. com of information and on-line guest register.
Walter Robak, Navy veteran, golfer
Walter J. Robak Sr. of Brookfield, a former Ridgefielder who took up golf in his 40s and shot three holes in one, died on Tuesday evening, Jan. 13, 2004, after a long battle with prostate cancer. He was 77 years old and the husband of the late Helen Madrak Robak.
Mr. Robak was born in Taylor, Pa., Jan. 12, 1927, a son of Bartholomew and Della Hyrn Robak. He grew up in Taylor.
During World War II, he joined the Navy, serving as a fireman first class aboard ships in both the Atlantic and Pacific theatres.
Mr. Robak moved to Stamford in the early 1950s and worked for Pitney Bowes where he was in charge of night shift operations and where his wife also worked. In 1975, the couple moved to Limestone Terrace with their family.
Mr. Robak retired in 1988 after 32 years with Pitney Bowes. He moved to Brookfield in 2002.
In his earlier years, he was an avid hunter and fisherman. When he was in his 40s, he took up golf and over the years, shot three holes in one. Two were on the par three, 136-yard 17th hole at Dlhy Ridge Golf Course in Ridgefield.
“He was good,” said his son, Walter, who witnessed one of the holes in one at Dlhy Ridge. “He wouldn’t hit the ball very far, but he would hit it very straight. He was always a tough one — I could never beat him!”
In his retirement, Mr. Robak also enjoyed vegetable gardening and being with family and friends. He had belonged to the OWLS senior group, the American Legion, and the Elks lodge in Danbury.
Mr. Robak is survived by his son, Walter J. Robak Jr., of Brookfield; a daughter, Carol A. Morrell of Norwalk; a sister, Genevieve Capparell of Pennsylvania; and four grandchildren, Emily Morrell, and Christopher, Jennifer, and Laura Robak.
His wife died in 1987.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Monday in Holy Rosary Church, Duryea, Pa. Burial will follow in Holy Rosary Cemetery.
Contributions in his memory may be made to the Visiting Nurse Association, 4 Liberty Street, Danbury, CT 06810.
The Kane Funeral Home was in charge of local arrangements.
Margaret Murphy, former resident
Margaret Murphy, a former Ridgefield resident died on Jan. 16, in Del Mar, Calif.
She was predeceased by her son, Mitchell. She is survived by her son, Charlie of Del Mar, Calif.; her daughter-in-law Cheryl of California; three grandchildren, Nicole of New York City, Dom and Peter of California; and three sisters, Rose Senirchia of New Rochelle, N.Y., Mary Johnstone and Doris Marshall, both of Southbury. Her ashes were scattered at El Camino Mortuary in San Diego, Calif. Memorial contributions may be made to the Parkinson’s Disease Society.
Joan Henderson, visiting nurse
Joan Henderson of Ridgefield, a nurse who had worked here at the Children’s Academy, died surrounded by her family on Thursday, Jan. 22, 2004.
Mrs. Henderson was born in Timmins, Ontario, attended high school at Brantford Collegiate, was educated as a registered nurse at St. Joseph’s School of Nursing, and worked as a visiting nurse for a number of years in Canada.
She and her family lived in Cobourg, Ontario, from 1968 until 1986 when they moved to Ridgefield.
She was a member of St. Stephen’s Church in Ridgefield and was active in the quilting community. She also enjoyed traveling.
Mrs. Duffy also loved children and worked for several years at the Children’s Academy in Ridgefield.
She is survived by her mother, Lola DeLaFranier, a longtime resident of Brantford, Ontario; her husband Gary of Ridgefield; a son, Andrew; three daughters, Katharine, Loretta and Sarah; and two grandchildren, Alexander and William.
A private service and burial was held in Brantford, Ontario.
Contributions in her memory may be made to St. Joseph’s School of Nursing Alumni Association, 155 Lloyminn Avenue, Ancaster, Ontario, L9G 1H7, Canada.
Geraldine Helie, model, executive
Geraldine V. Morgan Helie of Goat Island, Newport, R.I., a former Ridgefielder who had been a model and later a fashion executive and real estate agent, died of pneumonia Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2004. She was 86 years old.
Ms. Helie was born in Quincy, Mass., on Feb. 20, 1917, a daughter of Eileen and James Morgan. She had been a high fashion model in the 1940’s and 1950’s and later was a fashion executive at B. Altman’s, Mondel Brothers, Forbes & Wallace, Arnold Constable, BH Wraggs, and Saks Fifth Avenue in New York.
She was an entrepreneur, partner in Purdy-Helie Productions “Fashion on Wheels,” and president of Retail and Merchandise Promotions Services. She was later a real estate executive in Rye, N.Y., and in Ridgefield.
While in Ridgefield, she had been secretary and president of the Fifth Congressional District Women’s Republican Club and had been involved with the National Republican Women’s Club during the Nixon administration.
“Gerry was a woman of the 90’s during the 50’s and 60’s,” her family said.
Mrs. Helie is survived by four children: Morgan X. Helie of Jamestown, R.I., Peter G. Helie of Fairfield and Groton Long Point, Michele Millard of Newport, R.I., and Palm Beach, Fla., and Broderick Helie of Charlotte, N.C.; eight grandchildren; one great-grandchild; four brothers and sisters; and 13 nieces and nephews.
O’Neil Hayes Funeral Home in Newport was in charge of arrangements.
Contributions in her memory may be made to the Arthritis Foundation, P.O. Box 96280, Washington, DC 20090, or the Visiting Nurses Service of Newport and Bristol County, 21 Chapel Street, Newport, RI 02840-3255.