Georga M. P. Ferris, artist
Georga Marie Perry Ferris, an artist and former Ridgefielder, died Monday, Feb. 2, 2004, in her home in Evans, Ga.
Mrs. Ferris, who moved to Fulling Mill Lane in 1967, had been an artist and painting instructor who had also operated Georga’s Gallery here. She specialized in tole and decorative painting.
“I sincerely feel that painting is such a joy that it should be shared by all, and not just the talented few,” she once told The Press. “I can teach anyone to paint, no matter how ‘untalented’ they may think they are. I can’t give them that extra spark that it takes to make someone famous, but I can certainly teach them well enough to make money at it, and be proud enough of their work to hang it.”
Since moving from Ridgefield in 1976, Mrs. Ferris and her husband Herschel have lived in Atlanta and Savannah, Ga., Sedona, Ariz., and of late, Augusta, Ga.
Besides her husband, Mrs. Ferris is survived by a son, Dr. Daron G. Ferris and his wife Pamella of Evans, Ga.; a daughter, Devon Greenwood and her husband William of Bethel; two granddaughters Heather and Kellie Greenwood, and a grandson, David Brown.
The family requests that donations in her memory be made to The American Cancer Society, PO Box 102454, Atlanta, GA 30368-2454 or Unity Church of Savannah, 2320 Sunset Boulevard, Savannah, GA 31404.
Paul M. Enlow, 77, patent counsel
Paul M. Enlow of Hudson, Ohio, a patent counsel who had worked for major corporations and who had lived in Ridgefield for 16 years, died Jan. 8, 2004. He was 77 years old and the husband for 57 years of Helen Enlow.
A native of Butte, Mont., Mr. Enlow grew up in Fargo, N.D., where he met his future wife in junior high school. He was a World War II veteran and had served with the Navy in China.
Mr. Enlow, a graduate of the University of Iowa and Fordham School of Law, had a long career as a patent attorney, working for such companies as IBM, Western Electric, Xerox and AT&T, where he became vice president for intellectual properties.
He and his family came to Ridgefield in 1969 and lived on Holmes Road. In 1985, the Enlows moved to Fearington, N.C., and in 2000, to Hudson.
He had been a ham radio operator since his youth, and had also enjoyed boating, flying and model railroading with his grandchildren.
Besides his wife, survivors include his daughters, Polly and Mary, a son Thomas, six grandchildren, a brother John, and a sister, Ruth Porter. His daughter, Elizabeth, died in 1989.
Services took place Monday, Jan. 12, at the First Congregational Church of Hudson. Burial was in Markillie Cemetery, Hudson, Ohio.
Judge John Edward Dowling, 82, attorney, war hero, Ridgefield native,
John Edward Dowling, a popular Ridgefield attorney and raconteur who won two Purple Hearts in World War II, died Thursday, Feb. 5, at Danbury Hospital. He was 82 years old and had lived at Ridgefield Crossings on Route 7 for the past few years.
“Eddie” Dowling, one of only a couple of Ridgefield natives to return to town to practice law, may also have been Ridgefield’s favorite, and most entertaining, attorney. “He’s the sweetest guy around,” said Superior Court Judge Patricia Geen at a 1985 dinner in his honor. He’s a “classic Irishman, a rare jewel,” added Judge Howard J. Moraghan.
At age 29, the former FBI agent was elected Ridgefield’s probate judge, the first Democrat to hold that office in 70 years and the youngest probate judge in the state at the time.
The son of Michael and Mary Kelly Dowling, he was born on Jan. 16, 1922, in a High Ridge house behind St. Mary’s Church, where his father was the sexton for many years.
As a boy, he earned money for the family delivering newspapers. One of his customers was Judge Joseph H. Donnelly, then the only lawyer in town. At a dinner honoring Judge Dowling some years ago, Judge Donnelly observed that the young Dowling had been a “skinny” paperboy. Judge Dowling replied: “Donnelly didn’t tip too much either.”
Mr. Dowling graduated in 1939 from Ridgefield High School where the six-foot-four-inch student played basketball. He worked at the old Ridgefield Playhouse, clerked at a store, and drove a school bus to earn money while attending Danbury State Teachers College.
Fought in Europe - In 1942, he joined the U.S. Army and fought with the infantry in the invasion of Europe. Around Christmas 1944, during the Battle of the Bulge, he rescued two injured comrades. Typically quiet about his war years, Judge Dowling would say little about the event, describing it tersely: “We were under attack and these fellows got wounded and I went out and got them out, back to a medic. It was under fire, but I got away with it.”
Private Dowling was wounded twice in the war, the more serious injury occurring in April 1945 during the invasion of Germany. “The war was rapidly ending,” he said in a 2002 interview. “We were liberating towns. They were happy to see us and not the Russians.”
He was a member of an infantry anti-tank unit, which set up a 57-mm gun on a road near the town of Unter Gruppenbach. An approaching German tank blew up the gun. Private Dowling and two other men were hit, and a fourth man was killed. Injured seriously enough to have been given the Last Rites, Private Dowling was sent to Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C., to recover, and was discharged from the Army in July.
Though he won the Soldiers Medal, two Purple Hearts, the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, and other commendations, Judge Dowling rarely talked of his war exploits and did not even receive his medals until 40 years after the war — and then, only because his son, Michael, researched and requested them from the Army.
Asked once about his war record, he replied, “You want a war record? Go see Dom Bedini. He jumped at D-Day.”
As for himself, “I was in the service — period.”
Late in life, when efforts were being made to record the experiences of Ridgefield soldiers in World War II, Judge Dowling allowed Press editor Macklin Reid to interview him on his service. He spoke little of the battle exploits, and much of the lighter incidents in the war.
“We never did hit a tank,” he admitted with a gleam in his eye. “My first shot with the anti-tank gun, I missed the tank and hit a house and it went through the basement. And you know what came out? Four hundred chickens! So after that, everyone in my unit would say, ‘Hit another house!’ They liked dead chicken meat.”
Probate victory - After his discharge, Judge Dowling obtained a law degree from Fordham University, and spent three years as an FBI agent in Illinois and Texas. He returned to town in 1951 and accomplished the then incredible: As a Democrat he was elected judge of probate, defeating the well-known Republican attorney Michael Bruno in a largely Republican town. The last Democrat to hold that office had been in 1879, and none has held it since.
“The response of townspeople to his candidacy must warm this young man’s heart and give him renewed inspiration to pursue his career with vigor and enthusiasm,” a Press editorial commented at the time. “During his school years here, Eddie Dowling worked hard. He clerked in a grocery store to earn money to continue his education in teachers college and later law school. Here is a local boy who has made good, a youth who, by diligent application to a program of study and work, has demonstrated that Ridgefield boys and girls need not necessarily go far afield to make their way in life.”
Judge Dowling continued to practice law here for most of the next half-century. Many young attorneys began their careers working in his office, including Joseph Egan, the current probate judge, Romeo Petroni and Sue Reynolds, both of whom later became Superior Court justices, George M. Cohan, and Jane Belote.
Townie - At Monday’s funeral Judge Egan called Judge Dowling “one of the best known and beloved people in Ridgefield.” Describing him as a “townie in the true sense of the word,” he said “Ed was great to and for the town of Ridgefield.”
“His life had its ups and downs,” he added. “He handled them all with class and dignity.”
Jane Belote said, “More than any other attorney I have ever known, John Dowling truly loved the law and enjoyed being a lawyer. As a summer intern in his office I discovered that, despite the roguish sense of humor and abundant Irish charm, he brought to his practice not only a keen analytic mind but also understanding, concern and tolerance for his often colorful clients.
“Unusual things happened regularly in John Edward’s life,” Attorney Belote said. “Every day was an opportunity for adventure.”
Pam Allen, who had been his legal secretary on and off for more than 30 years, said “he was a great boss. He was a legend. There won’t be another like him, ever.”
Many remember him also as a caring man, who often used his legal skills to assist people in need. “He’s helped Ridgefield a lot,” The Press once said in an editorial. “He’s one of the nicest guys in town, and if somebody needs a lawyer and can’t afford to pay, he’s the one most apt to help.”
Community work - Judge Dowling served the community as a member of the Board of Finance in the 1960s and the Veterans Park School Building Committee in the 1950s. He was appointed town attorney, both in the 1950s and in the late 1960s, and was frequently a moderator of town meetings. From 1959 to 1961, he was chief prosecutor in the Danbury Circuit Court, now the Superior Court.
He was one of the founders and a director of the Village Bank and Trust Company.
Judge Dowling was a longtime member of the Ridgefield Volunteer Fire Department, and had served as a trustee for many years. At one point, he acquired an antique Seagraves fire engine, which he outfitted with church pews and used to haul fans to football games at Immaculate High School in Danbury. He later gave the truck to the Ridgefield Volunteer Fire Department, which used it for parts in restoring and maintaining its 1931 Seagraves, which is used in parades.
He had been active at St. Mary’s Church where, in 1962, he chaired the committee that helped persuade voters to provide school bus transportation to St. Mary’s School in the days before state law required public busing of private school children.
In 2002, the Ridgefield Old Timers honored him at its annual awards banquet. Last May, he was a grand marshal of the Memorial Day Parade.
He enjoyed golf, and played frequently with other leaders of the business and professional community. He was a member of the Silver Spring Country Club for many years.
Famed for his sharp, wry wit, Judge Dowling regaled many with tales from his long career. Some described his FBI days, such as the time, in a Midwestern field, he stalked a criminal who turned out to be a scarecrow. Some told of unusual legal cases, such as the Bethel woman who left her sizable estate to a name she discovered using a Ouija board. And many were about life in Ridgefield, such as the time a well-known clergyman, who had been complaining for weeks about a pothole at a local gas station, grabbed a pole and went “fishing” in it to emphasize his point.
Geritol Gardens - When he was in his 70s, Judge Dowling lived for a number of years at Ballard Green, which he called “Geritol Gardens” and where he was still practicing law. One of the few single men living at the senior citizen community, he used to quip, “I never lock my door because there are 50 women watching it at all times.”
He had been a member of the Ridgefield Housing Authority for several years while at Ballard Green.
Judge Dowling’s wife, the former Regina Marie Malkiewicz, died in 1972. They met when he was an FBI agent in Chicago.
He is survived by eight children and their spouses: Mary and Carl Marino of Scottsdale, Ariz., Michael and Susan Dowling of Fairfield, Claire and Nick Deane of Montauk, N.Y., Margaret and Rick Thurston of Wellington, Fla., Theresa and Brian Phillips of Wilton, Joseph Dowling of Ridgefield, Anthony and Kristie Dowling of Raleigh, N.C., and John Jr. and Joanne Dowling of Fairfield; 12 grandchildren; and a sister, Mary Zandri of Rapid City, S.D.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Monday in St. Mary’s Church.
Contributions in his memory may be made to the Ridgefield Volunteer Fire Department, 6 Catoonah Street, Ridgefield.
The Kane Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Dorothy Reynolds Cogswell, native
Dorothy A. Reynolds Cogswell of Blakely, Pa., a teacher and Ridgefield native, died on Jan. 29, 2004. She was 85 years old and the widow of Charles A. Cogswell, who was killed during World War II.
Mrs. Cogswell was born in Ridgefield on Sept. 21, 1918, daughter of the late Clinton and Dorothy Brady Reynolds. She graduated at the age of 16 from Ridgefield High School in 1935 and received a teacher’s degree from Normal School (now Western Connecticut State University) in 1939.
Mrs. Cogswell was a teacher in the Newtown School system for 31 years. She taught at both Hawley and Sandy Hook Elementary. She was a past parishioner of St. Joseph Church in Danbury.
Mrs. Cogswell is survived by her children: Catherine F. Coer, of Pa.; Elaine Cogswell, of Blakely, Pa.; Charles A. Cogswell, of Shelton; and Dorothy E. Cogswell, of Newtown. She is also survived by three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Her daughter, Joan Cogswell, who worked in the Credit Department at Ethan Allen in Danbury for more than 25 years, died on Feb. 2, four days after her mother.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated for both Dorothy and Joan at St. Joseph Church, Danbury, on Friday, Feb. 6.
Burial was in St. Mary Cemetery, Ridgefield.
Memorial Contributions in the memory of Dorothy Cogswell may be made to the charity of one’s choice.
Cornell Memorial Home, 247 White Street, Danbury, was in charge of arrangements.
Delano Cassar, 71, biology teacher
Delano Barbour Cassar of Ridgefield, a longtime teacher who had lived here since 1965, died Monday, Feb. 9, 2004, at her home after an extended illness. She was 71 years old.
Born in Mount Olive, N.C. on Nov. 14, 1932, Mrs. Cassar was a daughter of Melba Ingram Barbour of Panama City, Fla. and the late Clifton Barbour.
Before teaching, Mrs. Cassar was a pharmacology technician with Smith, Kline and French in Philadelphia, Pa., and later held the same position with the New England Institute for Medical Research in Ridgefield.
Later she taught biology at John Jay High School in Katonah, N.Y., retiring in 1987.
Ms. Cassar’s family said that while teaching in the Katonah-Lewisboro School District, she took great pride in the success of her students and in 1973 was co-advisor of the senior class.
Ms. Cassar will be remembered for her volunteer work in a number of organizations including the Ridgefield Chapter of the American Association of University Women, of which she was a member for 35 years. She led the cultural events committee and planned trips to places such as the state legislative offices in Hartford and the sculpture glass works in Litchfield County.
She was also a longtime member of the National Organization for Women and the American Association of Retired Persons, volunteered for the Dorothy Day Soup Kitchen in Danbury and the Literacy Volunteers of America, and supported many other causes.
She was an avid gardener, an amateur beekeeper, and an ardent devotee of gourmet cooking.
Besides her mother, Ms. Cassar is survived by a daughter, Liana Maria Cassar of Barrington, R.I.; a son, Steven J. Cassar of Watertown; a sister, Alidia Brown of Panama City; three grandchildren and three nieces.
Her husband of 28 years, Stanley J. Cassar, died in August of 2002.
A memorial service will be held Thursday, Feb. 12 at 11 a.m. at the Bouton Funeral Home, 31 West Church Street, Georgetown.
Burial will follow at St. Mary’s Cemetery.
Contributions in her memory can be made to Danbury Hospital Oncology Department, 24 Hospital Avenue, Danbury, CT 06810.
Catherine Carbone, 70, nurse
Catherine Carbone, a nurse who had been a longtime resident of Ridgefield, died on Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2004, at St. Raphael’s Hospital in New Haven. She was 70 years old and the wife of Martin R. Carbone Sr. of Guilford.
Cathy, as she was known, was born Jan. 29, 1933 and was raised in St. Louis, Mo., where she attended Visitation Academy. In 1954, she graduated from the University of Missouri there with a bachelor’s degree from the School of Nursing. It is in St. Louis where she met her husband of 48 years.
The Carbones moved to Ridgefield in 1976 and were one of the first families to live in West Mountain Estates. After 20 years, they moved to Sherwood Road and in 1999, to Guilford.
During her nearly 25 years here, Mrs. Carbone was active in the community and worked as a nurse in family practices, both here and later in Newtown. She later served as a private duty nurse in and around the Ridgefield, including working historian Preston Bassett and, for more than 15 years, at the Congregation of Notre Dame on West Mountain Road.
“As a truly devoted wife, mother, grandmother, sister, mother-in-law, and friend, she will be truly missed by all she touched,” said her son, Martin. “Family was the most important aspect of Cathy’s life — even each grandchild had a close, personal relationship with her, visited and spent much time with her, and she spearheaded annually a large family vacation in Cape Cod that had been a tradition for over 15 years.”
Besides her husband, Mrs. Carbone is survived by her four children: Karen Bull of Madison; Kristen Daley of Wilmington, N.C., Kimberly Atwater of Madison, and Martin Carbone Jr. of Ridgefield; nine grandchildren ranging in age from 14 to 4, and including Martin III and Courtney Carbone of Ridgefield; and a sister, Judith Landry of McLean, Va.
Mrs. Carbone was surrounded by her immediate family during her final days and a private ceremony will take place in the Carbone home in Guilford.
Contributions in her memory may be made to Saint Raphael’s Foundation, 1450 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT 06511.