Margaret McAleer, Ireland native
Margaret F. McAleer of Ridgefield, a native of Ireland who had lived in Ridgefield nearly 60 years, died on Thursday evening, March 4, at Hancock Hall, Danbury. She was 97 years old and the widow of Patrick McAleer.
Mrs. McAleer was born in Plumbridge, County Tyrone, Ireland, Sept. 29, 1906, a daughter of John and Bridget Morris Conway She attended schools in Ireland and immigrated to the United States, living in Southampton, Long Island, until 1946 when she moved to Ridgefield.
She was an avid bingo player and had worked as a Ridgefield election polling place assistant.
Mrs. McAleer was a member of St. Mary’s Church of Ridgefield and of its Rosary Society.
Mrs. McAleer is survived by a son, John McAleer of North Andover, Mass.; five daughters, Mary F. Morrill of Bethel, Kathleen Skandera of Woodbury, Eileen McAleer of South Salem, N.Y., Alice Carboni of Ridgefield and Regina Bell of Hampton, N.J.; two sisters, Una Docherty of Edinburgh, Scotland and Bridget Conway of Glasgow, Scotland; 19 grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren; and nieces and nephews.
A son Edward, brothers Patrick and James, and sisters May, Agnes and Beatrice, died before her.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Tuesday at St. Mary’s Church. Burial followed in St. Mary’s Cemetery.
Memorials to Meals on Wheels, 25 Gilbert Street, Ridgefield, CT 06877 or to the Hancock Hall Resident Recreational Fund, 31 Staples Street, Danbury, CT 06810 would be appreciated.
Barbara McClellan, 83, singer, bowler,
Barbara "Bobbie" McClellan, a longtime Ridgefielder who enjoyed bowling and singing, died on Thursday afternoon, March 4, 2004, at Danbury Hospital. She was 83 years old.
Ms. McClellan was born in Mount Vernon, N.Y., on Dec. 11, 1920, a daughter of Vernon and Josephine Pomeroy McClellan. She attended Mount Vernon schools and graduated from the Packard Business School of New York City.
During World War II, she served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a clerical worker, and at one point, was stationed in San Diego, processing troops returning from Iwo Jima. She served from 1942 until 1944.
During her career, Ms. McClellan had worked as a bank teller in Mount Vernon, a bookkeeper and as travel agent for Ridgefield Travel for many years. Her parents, who lived in Mount Vernon, N.Y., bought a summer home at the Ridgefield Lakes in 1949. The family moved here full time in 1956.
An avid bowler for more than 60 years, she served in various offices -- including president -- with the Greater Danbury Women's Bowling Association, and had helped plan and operate state bowling tournaments. In 1991, she was inducted into the Danbury Bowling Hall of Fame.
A member of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Ms. McClellan had sung in its choir for 40 years. Her father had been active in the church and in December 1961 donated half the cost of its new organ.
She was a volunteer with the Girl Scouts of America and the Danbury Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Ms. McClellan is survived by a daughter, Kathleen M. Polverari and her husband Richard of Newtown; a sister, Virginia Moskowitz of Salisbury; a granddaughter Stephanie Brown and her husband Robert of Bristol, R.I.; a grandson, Scott Polverari and his wife Jill Cee of Southington; two great-grandchildren, David and Jessica Brown; a niece and several nephews.
Her twin sister, Beatrice Ludwig, died before her.
The Rev. Aaron Manderbach, former rector, and the Rev. Joseph Herring led services Monday at St. StephenŐs Church. Interment will take place in the crypt of St. Stephen's.
Contributions in her memory may be made to the American Red Cross, 2 Terrace Place, Danbury, CT.
James McEvoy, 66, textile executive
James J. McEvoy of Ridgefield, a textile executive known for his love of Ireland, died on Saturday evening, March 13, at Bethel Health Care. He was 66 years old and the husband for 30 years of Patti Morgan McEvoy.
A native and longtime resident of New York City, Mr. McEvoy was born on Sept. 14, 1937, a son of the late Thomas and Bridget Kielt McEvoy. His mother had been born in the north of Ireland and his father in Dublin, and the two had met in New York City.
He attended New York schools, graduated from Iona College in New Rochelle, N.Y., with a degree in economics, and did graduate studies in business administration at New York University. He served in the U.S. Army from 1958 to 1960 as a technician at the Biological Warfare Laboratories in Frederick, Md.
Mr. McEvoy had a 40-year career in the American fiber, textile and apparel industries. He began at Standard Research Consultants Inc. in 1961, then worked for the National Knitted Outerwear Association from 1965 until 1973, leaving as assistant director of market research. In 1974 he became director of market research at West Point Stevens, retiring in 1999.
He was a member of the Textile Analyst Group, National Furniture Manufacturers Association, and the American Textile Manufacturers Institute’s Market Analyst Subcommittee.
Mr. McEvoy spent most of his life in New York City, where he and his wife enjoyed long walks around Manhattan. When the McEvoys moved to Ridgefield in 1994, he became an avid gardener. “He absolutely loved gardening,” said Mrs. McEvoy. “He took a lot of pride in his garden.”
A voracious reader, Mr. McEvoy enjoyed history, especially related to Ireland. He was proud of his Irish heritage and rarely missed a St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
“It’s very fitting we’re having his funeral on St. Patrick’s Day,” Mrs. McEvoy said.
“He had a very dry, Irish sense of humor,” she added. “He was a very social person, and everyone loved him.”
Besides his wife, who is a fitness teacher at Founders Hall, Mr. McEvoy is survived by two daughters, Mary McEvoy Hoag and her husband Jeffrey of Windermere, Fla., and Colleen McEvoy of San Francisco; a brother, Thomas McEvoy of San Francisco; and two grandchildren, Jacqueline and Alexandra.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Wednesday in St. Mary’s Church. Entombment followed in Rose Hills Memorial Park, Putnam Valley, N.Y.
Contributions in his memory may be made to Regional Hospice of Western Connecticut, Home Care Program, 405 Main Street, Danbury, CT 06810.
The Kane Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Dr. Henry Minot, 84, retired surgeon
Dr. Henry Davis Minot Jr., who retired from a distinguished medical career and then drove school buses and served as assistant medical examiner, died Wednesday morning, March 31, 2004, at his home on West Mountain Road. He was 84, had been the husband of Joan Minot for more than 30 years, and had lived in Ridgefield for 44 years.
A native of Massachusetts, Dr. Minot was born in 1919 to Henry D. Minot and Harriet Northrop Minot, a well-known Boston family. He graduated from Harvard College in 1940, and served as a naval aviator in carrier-based dive-bombing squadrons during World War II. He obtained his medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1950.
Dr. Minot and his first wife, the late Mollie Lowrance, moved to Ridgefield in 1960, buying a house on Main Street near the fountain. He opened a medical practice in Darien, beginning a long and distinguished career as a thoracic surgeon at Norwalk, Stamford and Greenwich hospitals.
After a divorce, Dr. Minot married Joan Lochner in 1973, and in 1976 they moved to West Mountain Road.
When he retired from his surgical career in 1986, he was determined that retirement would not end his contribution to society. There was a critical shortage of school bus drivers in Ridgefield at the time and Dr. Minot, who had collected old cars and long enjoyed driving, signed on and drove school buses in town for three years. He later drove part time for the Wilton schools.
Retirement, Dr. Minot said, allows people to do low-paying jobs that are important but not particularly popular — such as driving a school bus. “It’s fun,” he told The Press in 1992. “Some of the kids are very irritating, but most are OK and some are just amazing. It renews your faith in what’s going to happen in the country and in the world.”
In recent years Dr. Minot also took on work as an assistant medical examiner. State law requires that victims of murder, suicide or fatal accidents be declared dead by a medical examiner, but being called out to crime and accident scenes a few times a week for a small fee is not an obligation sought by many doctors in private practice. So, Dr. Minot took the position as another way contribute to society in retirement.
Dr. Minot’s relaxations ranged from baking bread and cooking to riding the country roads on his antique BMW motorcycle.
Besides his wife, Dr. Minot is survived by three daughters, Abby More of San Rafael, Calif., Sarah Gold of Los Angeles, and Ione Minot of Essex Junction, Vt.; a son, Harry Minot of Fairfield; his stepchildren S. Reid Minot of Austin, Texas, H. Paul Jacobson of Wilton, Kathryn Jacobson of California, and Matthew Jacobson of Versailles, Ky. He also leaves three grandchildren: Rebecca Frost, Henry D. Minot V and Asia Gold, and stepgrandchildren John Minot and Samuel Minot.
A funeral will take place on Sunday at 3 in the Kane Funeral Home, 25 Catoonah Street, Ridgefield. Burial will be private. The family will receive friends at the funeral home on Sunday from 2 p.m. until the service. A reception at Keeler Tavern will follow the funeral services.
Contributions in his memory may be made to the Whittingham Cancer Center at Norwalk Hospital, Maple Street, Norwalk, CT 06856.
Jonathan Moix, graphic designer
Jonathan A. Moix of Ridgefield, a graphic designer and student, died Tuesday, Feb. 24. He was 27 years old.
A native of Madrid, Spain, Mr. Moix was born April 28, 1976, the son of Angel J. and Isabel Moix. He came to this country when he was 10 and to Ridgefield a year later. In 1994, he graduated from Ridgefield High School, where he was an honor student.
Mr. Moix studied graphic design at Norwalk Community Technical College, was studying for his bachelor’s degree in art at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, and was on the dean’s list at both schools. He had worked as a designer with H Graphic Design in Norwalk.
Mr. Moix loved to run, was an avid bicyclist, and often went hiking. He enjoyed painting a variety of subjects in oils, was a photographer, and also built models of antique and exotic automobiles. He was a talented mechanic who enjoy working on vintage BMWs.
A fan of wildlife, he would often bring home injured animals and nurse them back to health. His pet cat was among the creatures he rescued. He had found “Haven” as an abandoned, flea-covered kitten in New Haven.
Besides his parents, Mr. Moix is survived by two sisters, Andrea Moix and Sara Carpender, both of Ridgefield.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Monday in St. Mary’s Church. Burial was in St. Mary’s Cemetery.
Contributions in his memory may be made to the new animal shelter fund, c/o ROAR, Box 43, Ridgefield, CT 06877.
The Kane Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Joseph A. Morganti, 73, contractor
Joseph A. Morganti of Jupiter, Fla., a Ridgefield native and a co-owner of the Morganti Inc. construction company, died Tuesday, March 9, 2004, at Jupiter Medical Center. He was 73 years old.
Mr. Morganti was born in Ridgefield on Jan. 28, 1931, a son of the late John S. and Elizabeth Morganti. He graduated from Ridgefield High School in 1949 and served in the U.S. Air Force.
For 50 years Mr. Morganti had been a co-owner of Morganti Inc., once one of the nation’s 400 largest construction companies, with offices in Ridgefield, Washington, D.C., Houston, Texas, and West Palm Beach, Fla. Morganti built many Ridgefield buildings, including East Ridge Middle School, Ridgebury School, Yankee Ridge Shopping Center, Ridgefield Commerce Park, and the old Benrus-Perkin Elmer-SVG building on Route 7. Mr. Morganti was also a co-partner of the John Morganti and Sons Real Estate.
Mr. Morganti was a member of the American Legion Post No. 271, in Tequesta, Fla., and the Moose Lodge no. 340 of Jupiter. He also was a member of the Italian Mutual Aid Society in Ridgefield and had been a member of the Ridgefield Volunteer Fire Department.
A longtime resident of Tanglewood Court, he moved to Jupiter eight years ago.
Survivors include his wife, Patricia Morganti of Jupiter; a son Joseph Morganti Jr. of Alexandria, Va; two daughters, Sharon Houk of Grapevine, Texas, and Danette Morganti of Louisville, Ky.; two stepsons, Jeffrey Teague of Jupiter and Mark Teague of Danbury; a brother, Robert Morganti of Ridgefield; a sister, Gloria Marchison of Ridgefield; three grandchildren; one stepgrandchild and several nieces and nephews.
His brothers, Paul Morganti and John Morganti, and a grandson, Patrick Kremer, died before him.
A memorial service will be held 1 p.m. Saturday, March 13, at the Aycock Funeral home Chapel, Jupiter.
Contributions in his memory may be made to the American Heart Association, 1301 S. Olive Avenue, West Palm Beach, FL 33401.
Paul Rosa, longtime town leader, computing pioneer, dies at 76
Town flags flew at half-staff this week and tributes poured in for Paul J. Rosa Jr., a gentle and gentlemanly public official who over four decades had served the town on most of its major boards and as a member of many of its civic organizations.
Mr. Rosa, who lived on Olmstead Lane, died Friday, March 26, 2004, in Newport Beach, Calif., where he had spent the winter months in recent years. He was 76 years old and the husband of Kathryn “Kitty” Venus Rosa.
When he retired from public service in 1997, The Press called Mr. Rosa “a versatile political workhorse.” The story added, “in a world sometimes distorted by partisan passion and personal ambition, his has been a voice of reason in the cause of public good.”
Starting in 1960 when he joined the old Zoning Commission, Mr. Rosa served Ridgefield for 37 years. All were volunteer positions. He spent 10 years as chairman of the Republican Party in town, and had been vice chairman of the GOP’s Fifth Congressional District Committee and a delegate to many state conventions.
“Politics is a way of getting the government going, but the true end is government,” Mr. Rosa said. “That’s our true goal, good government.”
A native of Stamford, Mr. Rosa was born on Aug. 11, 1927, a son of Paul J. and Anna Annunziato Rosa. He grew up in Stamford and New Canaan and graduated in 1949 with a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Connecticut, where he played varsity football. In between his years at UConn, he served as a seaman in the U.S. Navy, enlisting when he was 17 years old.
Perkin-Elmer computing - Mr. Rosa spent more than 40 years as a systems expert with the Perkin-Elmer Corporation. As manager of business systems, he helped the company introduce computers in its manufacturing sites all over the world.
“He led the company into the computer age,” said Arthur Cummings, retired material manager at Perkin-Elmer.
Don Mahon, another former co-worker, said Mr. Rosa “gained the respect and admiration of employees at all levels, from the front office on down.”
He added that “Wherever Paul went, he built bridges of friendship with hundreds and hundreds of Perkin-Elmer people and vendor companies. He was pragmatic, honest and respectful of all who came in contact with him.”
Mr. Rosa came to town in 1959 and almost immediately became involved in Ridgefield government. He spent four years on the Zoning Commission, and two more on the combined Planning and Zoning Commission. From 1972 to 1976, he was a member of the Parks and Recreation Commission, and then served on the Board of Selectmen from 1981 to 1987. His last post was 10 years as a member of the Board of Finance. He led the Republican Party from 1965 to 1975.
In between and often simultaneously, Mr. Rosa served on many smaller town government panels such as the Charter Revision Commission and the 1983 Data Processing Steering Committee, which helped bring modern computing to town government. In 1973 he served on the Committee to Provide Tax Relief for the Elderly, which drafted Ridgefield’s system of tax breaks for senior citizens.
“His tenure, as a selectman, as a finance board member and chairman, and on numerous other commissions and committees, was distinguished by an unreserved dedication and a quiet dignity unique to him,” said AJ Di Mattia, current chairman of the Republican Town Committee. “He has left for us a very high standard.”
His word - When he retired as chairman of the Republican Town Committee, Mr. Rosa told an interviewer his secret of successfully running a political party. “You’re only as good as your word,” he said. “It’s a difficult task and the only way you survive is to be honest and above-board.”
As GOP town chairman, Mr. Rosa was often pitted against a fellow Connecticut native and UConn alumnus, Bernard P. Dzielinski, who headed the local Democratic Party and whom Mr. Rosa had known in college. “We got along well,” Mr. Rosa recalled in a 1997 interview. “Our political races were, I think, hard fought but good races.”
“He and I worked together in a non-partisan way,” Mr. Dzielinski said this week, citing in particular their service together on the Board of Finance in the 1990s. “We agreed on issues that were considered best for the people of Ridgefield.
“I owe a great deal to Paul for keeping up my spirits when things looked bad,” Mr. Dzielinski added. “And this town owes Paul a debt of gratitude for helping Ridgefield become the outstanding community that it is.”
When he retired as the GOP chairman, a Democrat, Louis J. Fossi, was in the first selectman’s office. While he may have preferred a Republican, Mr. Rosa was pleased that Ridgefield could elect a Democrat as chief executive. “The two-party system has grown in this town in the last 10 years,” he said in 1975. “The Democratic Party has grown, but this is for the good of the town. There’s now strength in the two-party system.”
Of all the boards he served on, Mr. Rosa considered the selectmen the most enjoyable. “It really runs the town,” he said. “You have a lot of effect on things.”
When a town charter amendment changed the Board of Finance from appointed to elected, Mr. Rosa ran for a seat, won, and was selected as the new board’s first chairman. “It’s fun getting something organized that’s brand new,” he said several years later, “and the elected board was really brand new.”
In the community - Over the years Mr. Rosa served many non-government agencies and organizations. He had been a trustee of the Italian American Mutual Aid Society, had worked on Boy Scout fund drives, had assisted the Norwalk YMCA, and was a life member of the Marquette Council, Knights of Columbus.
He was a founder and the first president of the Fairfield County UConn Alumni Association, and had served on the Building Fund Committee for the Stamford Branch of UConn. He was also a life member of the UConn Alumni Association, and a scholarship in his name is being established at the university.
In working for Perkin-Elmer, he spent long periods in Europe, mostly England but also in Überlingen, in the south of Germany. There, he helped set up a student exchange program between public schools in Überlingen and Ridgefield that has lasted more than 20 years.
He had belonged to the Ridgefield Men’s Club, and had been active years ago in the Young Republicans. He helped create the Perkin-Elmer Retiree Club in 1991 and was elected its first president.
Mr. Rosa had been a member of the American Production and Inventory Control Society and for 25 years, he served on the society’s committee that prepared examinations for certification.
Citizens of the Year - In 1968, Mr. Rosa was given the Ridgefield Jaycees Distinguished Service Award, and he had been listed in both Who’s Who in American Politics and in Community Leaders of America. In 1998, the Kiwanis Club named both him and his wife, Kitty, “Citizens of the Year,” the first time the club had so honored a husband and wife.
The Rosas were married on May 25, 1957, in St. Mary’s Church. The couple met in Ridgefield when a friend of Mrs. Rosa had a party for Perkin-Elmer employees and urged Kitty Venus to attend, saying, “A lot of interesting people will be there.” Among them was Paul Rosa. “We were married six months later,” Mrs. Rosa said this week, adding with a smile, “I was told I was getting ‘the catch’ at Perkin-Elmer.”
Mr. Rosa lived in an 18th Century farmhouse on Olmstead Lane and with his wife had supported historic preservation efforts, particularly the 1966 acquisition of the Keeler Tavern by the Keeler Tavern Preservation Society. Mrs. Rosa has been a mainstay of the tavern for 35 years, and a longtime member of the Historic District Commission.
“We both have been very supportive of one another in our endeavors,” Mrs. Rosa said in 1998. “I’m really ... very thankful that Paul has given me the time and also his encouragement and his listening to my tales of woe and the good and the bad times. He’s been very supportive — that has allowed me to give the town 32 years, and I daresay he feels the same.”
Mrs. Rosa once praised her husband’s years in public and community service, saying he brought thoughtfulness to everything he did. “He’s a man of reason,” she said.
“I’ve always been a believer in participatory government,” Mr. Rosa said a few years ago. “I always felt that if I had something to say or do, I ought to get in the middle of it and do it. And I’ve always thought that if Kitty has something to do, I ought not to interfere — she ought to be able to do what she believes in.”
Survivors include their daughter, Elizabeth “Betsy” Beresford of Newport Beach; a granddaughter, Amanda Kathryn Beresford of Boston, Mass.; a brother, Robert Rosa of Milford; and two nieces and a nephew.
Father Paul Murphy will celebrate a Mass of Christian Burial on Saturday at 11 a.m. in St. Mary’s Church. Burial will be in St. Mary’s Cemetery.
Friends may call at the Kane Funeral Home, 25 Catoonah Street, on Friday from 4 until 8.
Contributions in his memory may be made to the Paul J. Rosa Jr. Scholarship, c/o UConn Alumni Association, Alumni Drive, Storrs, CT 06269, or the Keeler Tavern Museum, 132 Main Street, Ridgefield.