Betsy De Filippis, reporter, avid gardener, longtime resident
Betsy De Filippis, a longtime Ridgefield resident, died at Danbury Hospital on Friday, June 25, from lingering complications of a stroke she suffered following surgery in October 2002. The wife of Nicholas A. (Nick) De Filippis, she was born to Bernard Theodore and Elisabeth Prince Ehrhardt on June 17, 1933 in Charleston, S.C., where she grew up, and where her ancestors settled in the 1600s. She is a graduate of Bishop England High School in Charleston, and the University of South Carolina, from which she received a bachelor of arts degree, cum laude, in English and journalism. While at Carolina, Betsy was president of the Alpha Delta Phi sorority.
Following college, Betsy was a reporter for the News and Courier in Charleston. After she married Nick in 1955, she became the first of her family to “defect” to “Yankee territory,” where she initially concentrated on raising her five daughters and becoming an avid and accomplished gardener. During those years she was active in both the Newcomers and Oldcomers Bridge clubs, as well as the Ridgefield school system, where she served as PTA president for what is now the East Ridge Middle School.
In the early 1970s she returned to work as a reporter for The Ridgefield Press, and, later, The News-Times, where some of her stories were run on the Associated Press (AP) and United Press International (UPI) wires. The early years of her career were spent mining the subject she knew best, family life, in the manner of Erma Bombeck. As these stories were frequently populated with fascinating tidbits about her family, such as her teenaged daughter’s obsession with the color “hot” pink — years before The Preppy Handbook came out — she frequently humiliated the very subjects she wrote about.
Her articles were not limited to her family. Her editor at The News-Times, Jean Buoy, reminisced recently about what her colleagues teasingly referred to as Betsy’s “Death and Destruction” or “Disease of the Week” beat. Lyn Hottes, another former colleague and a current editor at the paper, spoke of Betsy’s reams of notes, and steadfast commitment to her sources and topics. One friend said that years before she met Betsy through bridge connections, she had wanted to meet the woman behind the News-Times stories. On a lighter note, there exists a much loved (by her family) photo where Betsy appears to be interviewing a horse. She retired from writing in 1990.
Although gardening was her passion — her daughter Marybeth likes to say she was fanatical about flowers long before Martha Stewart made it trendy — she was also an accomplished pianist and bridge player, a voracious reader with a special interest in politics, and a lover of theater and The New York Times crossword puzzle.
So great was Betsy’s commitment to her garden, that she and her friend Pat Liptrot were known to dig up (some would say “steal”) day lilies they had spotted on the side of the road. The very same day lilies remain in her garden today. Yet those who only knew Betsy in her later years, and who were most apt to find her at home in her muddy gardening clothes, would be surprised to learn that their friend once counseled her daughter Marybeth that “a lady never leaves the house without lipstick on,” a statement that would have made her own proper, southern mother proud and her current friends howl.
In addition to her husband of 49 years, Betsy is survived by five daughters: Laura Kaiser and husband John of New Milford, Marybeth De Filippis of New York City, Suzanne Anderson and husband Arthur of Ridgefield, Caroline Burns and husband John of Ridgefield, and Jeanne Bartlett and husband Charles of Sinking Springs, Pa.; two sisters: Caroline Condon of Charleston and Mary Stoll Ferrara and husband William of Mt. Pleasant, S.C.; and her brother Ted Ehrhardt and wife Nina Robinson of Brooklyn, N.Y.; eight grandchildren: Sean, Gregory and Ryan Kaiser, Elizabeth Chen, Rebecca and Carly Anderson, Alden Burns, and Samuel Bartlett.
Memorial services took place earlier this week.
Ruth Devlin, 87, real estate agent
Ruth Devlin of Sarasota, Fla., a former Ridgefield real estate agent, died Monday, April 12, 2004, in Sarasota. She was 87 years old.
Mrs. Devlin came to Ridgefield in the 1950s and had lived here for many years, at first on Tackora Trail and later West Mountain Road.
She had owned and operated New England Realty on Grove Street.
Her husband, James J. Devlin, a foreign correspondent with the Associated Press, died in 1965.
Mrs. Devlin’s survivors include a daughter, Martha Devlin; two sons, James and Steven Devlin; a sister, Laurel Oliver of Ocala, Fla.; a brother, F.A. Pease of Rhode Island; four grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
Contributions in her memory may be made to Hospice of Southwest Florida, 4955 Rand Boulevard, Sarasota, FL 34238.
The National Cremation Society in Sarasota was in charge of arrangements.
James P. Evers, 88, retired attorney and judge
James P. Evers of Ridgefield Crossing, a retired New Jersey attorney and judge, died Saturday, June 12, 2004. He was 88 years old and the husband of Veronica Hetzel Evers.
Judge Evers was born May 21, 1916 in Paterson, N.J., son of James Edward Evers and Anne Diviny Evers. He attended St. Agnes Grammar School in Paterson, St. Peter’s Prep and St. Peter’s College in Jersey City, and graduated in 1938. He graduated from Fordham Law School in 1941 and was admitted to the New York Bar the same year and, later, to the New Jersey Bar.
On his birthday, May 21, 1946, he married the former Veronica “Vera” Helen Hetzel in South Orange, N.J.
Judge Evers, who had his office for many years in Hawthorne, had an extensive trial practice in both New York and New Jersey. He had been attorney for and secretary of the Hawthorne Board of Adjustment, a municipal court judge in Prospect Park, and attorney for the Catholic Diocese of Paterson.
He was a member of many organizations, including Rotary, Holy Name Society, the U.S. Catholic Conference of Diocesan Attorneys, and was a charter member of Serra Club. He was inducted into the Order of the Knights of St. Gregory.
Of all he accomplished, he was most proud of two things: His position as diocesan attorney and his continuous battle to preserve the sanctity of life, said Deacon Anthony Detje in a homily delivered at the funeral.
The couple had lived in Sea Girt, N.J., before moving to Ridgefield nine months ago.
Besides his wife of 55 years, Judge Evers is survived by two daughters, Ann Marie Manning and Margaret Frances “Megan” Hostler of Ridgefield; seven grandchildren, Michael Patrick Manning, Kathryn Diviny Manning, Colleen Elizabeth Manning, Mary Shannon Manning, Timothy Ryan Manning, David Christian Hostler and Christopher James Hostler; and three great-grandchildren, Michael Patrick Manning, James Daniel Manning, and Shannon Marie Manning.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Wednesday, June 16, in St. Mary’s Church, Ridgefield. Burial was in St. Mary’s Cemetery.
Donations in his memory may be made to St. Francis Breadline, c/o Father Peter Brophy OFM, Pastor/Guardian, St. Francis of Assisi, 135 West 31st Street, New York, NY 10001.
The Kane Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Rose M Franceschini, lifelong Ridgefield resident
Rose M. (Gaeta) Franceschini, 87, of Ridgefield, wife of the late Guedino “Jerry” Franceschini died on Friday morning, April 23, 2004 at Danbury Hospital.
Mrs. Franceschini was born in Ridgefield, May 26, 1916, daughter of the late Antonio and Filomena (Golucci) Gaeta.
A lifelong Ridgefield resident, she attended Ridgefield schools, graduated from Ridgefield High School and was a member of St. Mary’s Parish.
She is survived by a daughter, Geraldine A. Vaughn and her husband John of Danbury; a granddaughter, Traci DeLuca and her husband Ralph and their children Ralph and Anastasia; two brothers, Anthony Gaeta of Ridgefield and Albert Gaeta of Florida; a sister, Lucy Townsend of Milford, and several nieces and nephews.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Monday afternoon in St. Mary’s Church, Ridgefield. Burial followed in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Ridgefield. Memorial contributions may be made to the Ralph & Anastasia DeLuca Trust Fund for Education, P.O. Box 843, Bethel, CT 06801-0843.
Kane Funeral Home, 25 Catoonah Street, Ridgefield was in charge of arrangements.
Anthony Gaeta, plumber, veteran
Anthony J. Gaeta Jr. of Ridgefield, a plumber who had lived here all his life and had served in the Pacific during World War II, died on Tuesday afternoon, May 25, 2004, at Danbury Hospital. He was 89 years old, husband of the late Eleanor Callutti Gaeta.
Mr. Gaeta was born in a house on Bailey Avenue on March 23, 1915, a son of Antonio and Filomena Gallucci Gaeta. He attended local schools and graduated from Ridgefield High School.
During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army in New Guinea, where he was a telephone lineman.
Mr. Gaeta was a retired plumber and had worked for many years with the former Gaeta Plumbing & Heating Companies.
“He was very dedicated to his family and to his home,” said his son, Assistant Fire Chief Nicholas “Nick” Gaeta. An avid gardener, he maintained both vegetable and flower gardens as well as fruit trees.
Mr. Gaeta was also widely known for helping others. “He was a very kind person,” his son said. “He would spend hours helping people.” For instance, friends would often call with plumbing problems and he’d provide repairs without charge. Frequently, he would repair fixtures rather than replace them to save people money.
“He never got rich, but he had a lot of friends,” Chief Gaeta said.
Mr. Gaeta was one of the oldest members of the Italian American Mutual Aid Society. “The Italian Club was really his escape,” his son said.
He was also a member of St. Mary’s Church.
Mr. Gaeta was one of the few male members of his family who was not a Ridgefield fireman. His father, his son Nick, his grandson Anthony, and his brothers have all been volunteer firemen here.
Eleanor Gaeta died in 1998. They had been married for 56 years. He was also predeceased by brothers Dominic and James Gaeta, both of Ridgefield, and a sister, Rose Franceschini.
Besides his son Nick, Mr. Gaeta is survived by another son, Andrew Gaeta of Lothian, Md.; a daughter, Elaine Taylor of Bristol; a brother, Albert Gaeta of Boynton Beach, Fla.; a sister, Lucy Townsend of Milford; five grandchildren, Michele Gaeta of Norwalk (who will be married Saturday), Melissa Ann Gaeta of Ridgefield, Lt. Anthony Nicholas Jr., Sean Taylor of Bristol, and Christine Taylor of Bristol; a stepsister-in-law, Helen Gecinceis of Georgetown; and several nieces and nephews.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday at 10:15 a.m. in St. Mary’s Church.
Burial will take place in St. Mary’s Cemetery at the convenience of the family.
Friends will be received in the Kane Funeral Home, 25 Catoonah Street, on Thursday from 5 to 8.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to the Visiting Nurse Association, 90 East Ridge or to the Ridgefield Fire Department Ambulance Fund, 6 Catoonah Street, both of Ridgefield 06877, would be appreciated.
Marguerite Goodrow, 81, native
Marguerite Goodrow of Mahopac, N.Y., a Ridgefield native, formerly of Somers, N.Y., died Wednesday, July 14, 2004 She was 81.
Born in Ridgefield on July 24, 1922, she was the daughter of Joseph and Mary Sullivan Maddock. She graduated from Katonah High School.
On July 5, 1946 she married Willis A. Goodrow at St. Mary’s Church in Katonah.
Besides her husband, she is survived by her son, John and his wife Eileen of Mahopac; her daughter, Beverly Rosa and her husband John of Danbury; her son-in-law, Richard Dingee of Westport, formerly of Ridgefield; seven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
Her daughter, Valerie Dingee, and four brothers and four sisters died earlier.
A Mass of Christian Burial took place Saturday, July 17, at Our Lady Queen of Angels Chapel of St. John The Evangelist Church in Mahopac. Private interment took place at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Ridgefield.
Contributions in her memory may be made to The Alzheimer’s Association, Westchester Chapter, 785 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains, NY 10605-2523.
Karl W. Hering, 83, WWII veteran, Perkin-Elmer retiree, music lover
Karl W. Hering of 70 Lee Road, a World War II veteran and longtime Perkin-Elmer employee, died Friday, June 25, 2004 at his home. He was 83 years old and the husband of Heidi Schoeffler Hering.
A 55-year resident of Ridgefield, Mr. Hering was born on Nov. 30, 1918, in Bremerhaven, Germany. He came to this country as a youth in 1923. He received a bachelor’s degree in physics from M.I.T. in 1941 and a master’s degree from Columbia University in 1949.
He worked for the War Department in Dayton, Ohio, from 1942 to 1944 and then was in the United States Navy from 1944 until 1946, serving in the Pacific theater.
He moved to Ridgefield in 1949 when he was recruited by Perkin-Elmer. He worked at the company’s headquarters in Norwalk and later in Danbury until 1984. He remained with the company an additional five years as a consultant. He was an active member of Perkin-Elmer’s Retiree Club.
In 1954, Mr. Hering married Henrietta Hermanutz. The couple first lived on Soundview Road, but in 1957 purchased the “Picnic Hill” property on Lee Road and went on to build what they considered their “dream home.” Mrs. Hering died in 1983 and Mr. Hering later remarried. He and his wife Heidi had only recently celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary. His hobbies included reading, the piano, listening to all kinds of music (especially classical and opera), gardening and photography. He also loved to travel and had made many trips to Europe as well as touring throughout this country, Mexico and the Caribbean. During a vacation trip to Jamaica in 1996 he surprised everyone in his family by going parasailing at age 77.
His son Martin described his father as being “introspective, kind-hearted, caring, compassionate, content, thoughtful, and generous.” He added that his father “led a happy and purposeful life.”
Mr. Hering was an active member of St. Stephen’s Church. Over the years he had served there as an usher, greeter and, as his son Martin put it, “a bean counter.”
In addition to his his wife, Heidi, Mr. Hering is survived by two sons, Karl Jr. of San Diego, Calif., and Martin of Winter Park, Fla.; two grandchildren and a stepson, Scott Tydeman, a detective with the Ridgefield Police Department.
A memorial service will be held tomorrow morning at 11 at St. Andrew’s Church. The service will be there because of renovations being made to St. Stephen’s.
Contributions in Mr. Hering’s memory may be made to the Regional Hospice of Western Connecticut, 405 Main Street, Danbury, CT 06810.
Frank Ingraham, 72, Olin manager
Francis S. “Frank” Ingraham of Ridgefield, a corporate business manager who was active in church and community groups, died surrounded by his family Friday, July 9, 2004, at Danbury Hospital after a long illness with myotonic muscular dystrophy. He had just turned 72 years old the day before.
Mr. Ingraham was born July 8, 1932, in Natick, Mass., a son of the late Edward Forster Ingraham and Marion Slack Ingraham.
Mr. Ingraham attended Marblehead High School, graduating in the Class of 1949. He went on to Harvard University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1953. He married Janet Gould Ingraham on July 9, 1955 in Marblehead, Mass.
After graduation from Harvard, Mr. Ingraham attended the Naval Officers Candidate School in Newport, R.I., and, after being commissioned an ensign, trained at the Combat Information Center Officers School in Glenview, Ill., and the U.S. Naval School of Naval Justice. He spent four years in the U.S. Navy, serving as a lieutenant and chief justice aboard the USS Gearing DD710 in the Mediterranean during the end of the Korean War. He was awarded the National Defense Service Ribbon.
Upon completion of his naval duties, he attended Wharton Graduate School of the University of Pennsylvania, receiving a master’s degree in business administration.
Mr. Ingraham began his career with Penn Salt Corp in Philadelphia and Wyandotte, Mich. While with Penn Salt, he was a member of the American Chemical Society and wrote several papers for publication.
In 1970, he joined Olin Corporation in Stamford as business manager, and the same year, the family moved to Bruschi Lane. He retired from Olin in 1991 after 21 years with the company.
Over the years, Mr. Ingraham had volunteered with many community organizations, including serving as a PTA president and president of a church couples club in Bryn Mawr, Pa. In Ridgefield, he had been active at Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church, serving years ago as superintendent of the Sunday School. For many years, he baked the doughnuts and funnel cakes for the Yankee Peddler Fair. He also belonged to the Ridgefield Men’s Club and many bridge groups.
During his retirement the Ingrahams enjoyed traveling. He was especially fond of the annual reunions with friends from the Navy.
“He loved the Boston Red Sox, always hoping they would win the Big One,” his family said. “He enjoyed his six grandchildren. He played a mean game of bridge and cribbage, especially delighting in beating his sons and grandson, Jake, in cribbage — he’s still six games ahead!”
Mr. Ingraham also enjoyed gardening, refinishing furniture and spending time with his family and friends.
Besides his wife of 49 years, Mr. Ingraham is survived by four sons and their families: Francis “Skip” Ingraham Jr. and his wife, Deb, and their children Emily and Francis III “Jake” and their foster son, David Doebrick of Manchester; John “Jack” Ingraham and his wife Celeste and their children Mita and Martin of Dover, Pa.; Robert “Bob” Ingraham of Ridgefield; and Douglas “Doug” Ingraham and his finance, Meredith McDermott and Doug’s children, Hope and David of Ridgefield; and by a brother, Edward F. Ingraham of Epping, N.H. A sister, Emily Hammer, died before him.
A memorial service will be held on Monday, July 19, at 2 p.m. in Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church.
The family will receive friends at the Church from 1 to 2 and immediately after the services.
Burial with military honors will take place at a later date at the Waterside Cemetery in Marblehead.
In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, c/o Webster Bank, 141 Hebron Ave, Glastonbury, CT 06033 or Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church, 207 Main Street, Ridgefield, CT 06877
The Kane Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.