Aileen Agius, former Ridgefielder
Aileen M. Agius of Bridgewater, a former nurse who had lived here many years, died at Danbury Hospital on Sunday, Sept. 5, 2004. She was 75 years old and the wife of Jerome G. Agius of Bridgewater.
Mrs. Agius was born in Johnstown, Pa., on May 2, 1929, daughter of the late Patrick and Anna Mandichek O’Dowd. She was a graduate of the Jefferson Medical Center School of Nursing in Philadelphia, Pa., and had been a nurse for a cardiologist in the 1960s.
Mrs. Agius had been a resident of Ridgefield for 27 years, before moving to Bridgewater 10 years ago. The family had had a home on Silver Brook Lane.
She had been a member of St. Mary’s Church while in Ridgefield and was an active member of St. Joseph Church in Brookfield.
She and her husband celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on Oct. 24, 2003.
Besides her husband, Mrs. Agius is survived by her children: Patrick Agius and his wife, Kate of Danbury; Christine Nelson and her husband, Dr. John Nelson, of Mount Kisco, N.Y.; Daniel Agius and his wife, Jacquelyn of Newtown; and Marianne Altobelli and her husband, Ramon of Menasha, Wisc.; a sister, Carol Anne O’Dowd of Johnstown, Pa.; a brother, Patrick O’Dowd of Baltimore, Md.; seven grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. Her parents and two sisters, Donnalee Kalinyak and Patsy Becker, died before her.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Joseph Church, Brookfield on Thursday morning at 10. Burial will take place in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Watertown.
Contributions in her memory may be made to the Praxair Cancer Center, c/o Danbury Hospital, 24 Hospital Avenue, Danbury 06810.
The Green Funeral Home, 57 Main Street, Danbury is in charge of arrangements.
Dominic Bedini, D-day paratrooper
Dominic J. Bedini died on Monday evening, June 7, a day after the 60th anniversary of his parachuting into Normandy on D-day. He was 84 years old and had lived at Laurel Ridge Nursing & Skilled Care Center, Ridgefield.
Mr. Bedini, who was known as “Poni,” was wounded three times in World War II. He was a member of “The Screaming Eagles,” the 101st Airborne Division that dropped behind German lines on June 6, 1944.
He fought in Holland, was taken prisoner by the Germans, but was soon released as part of a prisoner trade for a German officer. He went on to fight in the Battle of the Bulge. There he was seriously wounded by machine gun fire, and spent more than a year recuperating in military hospitals.
His extraordinary service and survival from nearly mortal wounds came despite the fact that, as a child, he has contracted polio and had required regular treatment from Dr. Francis B. Woodford.
“For him to have been a paratrooper was almost unbelievable,” said his sister, Mary F. Braun of Wilton. “He was a strong man.”
Although he was awarded at least one Purple Heart and many other commendations, Mr. Bedini rarely talked about his war service. In the late 1990s, however, friends and community leaders convinced him to be grand marshal of the Memorial Day Parade.
Mr. Bedini was born in Ridgefield, April 9, 1920, son of Louis and Antonia Zandri Bedini. He attended local schools and was a Ridgefield High School graduate. He did not officially graduate until the year 2000 under a special program that awarded diplomas to veterans whose educations were interrupted by war. He was 80 years old when Dr. Ralph Wallace, Ridgefield’s superintendent, presented the diploma to him at Laurel Ridge.
A mason, Mr. Bedini had worked for Morganti Inc. for many years and later for Ippoliti Construction Company. He retired in 1985.
For many years Mr. Bedini lived in the family homestead on Prospect Street, and later moved to Ballard Green. He had been at Laurel Ridge for the past four years.
Mr. Bedini’s interests included horses — he once owned one named Lattimer — and golf. In later years “golf was his passion,” Mrs. Braun said.
Mr. Bedini also enjoyed gardening. While he was “not a joiner,” “he was very active in his quiet way” at Laurel Ridge. There, for instance, he grew tomatoes each year, sharing the harvest with fellow residents. He had started this year’s crop from seed and the plants are growing there now for residents to enjoy this season.
“He was a very quiet man, but a generous, good man,” his sister said. “He really was a good friend to everyone.”
Besides his sister, Mr. Bedini is survived by several nieces and nephews including Carolyn Fahey of Norwalk and her children, Michael and Rob; and Bob and Ed Braun, both of Ohio.
Three sisters, Tecla Keeler, Nana Servadio, and Elda Bedini, and a brother, Mario Bedini, died before him.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday at 10:15 a.m. in St. Mary’s Church.
Mr. Bedini will be buried in Fairmount Cemetery, Sutton, Province of Quebec, Canada., beside his longtime friend, Leona Kennison Morganti, a native of Quebec who died in 1996.
Contributions in Mr. Bedini’s memory may be made to the Laurel Ridge Resident Council Fund, 642 Danbury Road, Ridgefield, CT 06877.
The Kane Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Olga U. Biggar, active in Stamford
Olga Usky Biggar of Ridgefield and Holiday, Fla., a former Stamford official, died Thursday, Sept. 16, 2004, at Danbury Hospital. She was 83 years old and the wife of Harold A. Biggar.
Mrs. Biggar was born on Oct. 5, 1920, in Whitestone, N.Y., a daughter of the late Peter and Helen Domanick Usky. She graduated from Stamford High School in 1938.
A former city representative for the south end of Stamford, Mrs. Biggar had worked for the city for 20 years until retiring.
She was an avid golfer and an excellent baker. She had also worked with her husband and published a book on genealogy.
She was a longtime member of St. Mary’s Russian Orthodox Church of Stamford.
Besides her husband, Mrs. Biggar is survived by a son, Thomas J. Maybo of Stamford; a brother, Joseph Usky of Darien; and two grandchildren.
Her first husband, John Maybo, died before her.
A graveside service will take place today, Thursday, Sept. 23, at 1 p.m. at Fairfield Memorial Park, 230 Oaklawn Avenue, Stamford.
Beverly Bollenback, volunteer, leader
Beverly C. Bollenback of Ridgefield, a social worker and longtime Ridgefielder who had been active in many organizations, died Saturday, Sept. 11, 2004, at Danbury Hospital. She was 74 years old and the wife of Dirk F. Bollenback.
Mrs. Bollenback was born in Stamford on April 27, 1930, daughter of Archie and Agnes Buchanan Colvin. Her family moved to Chester where she grew up and graduated from Chester High School in the Class of 1948. In 1952 she earned a bachelor of arts degree in English at the University of Connecticut and was a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority.
She met her future husband through Mr. Bollenback’s college roommate, who had grown up across the street from the Colvins in Chester. The two were married in the summer of 1953, shortly after Mr. Bollenback graduated from Wesleyan University in Middletown.
Her interest in helping people had led Mrs. Bollenback to take a job with the State of Connecticut Department of Welfare. When Mr. Bollenback was working on his master’s degree at Johns Hopkins, she served as a social worker in the District of Columbia, and when her husband was an instructor in the Army at Fort Bragg, N.C., she spent two years as a state social worker there.
When Mr. Bollenback took a job as a teacher at Ridgefield High School 46 years ago, the Bollenbacks came to town, at first living in an apartment on West Lane.
Shortly after moving here, Mrs. Bollenback began being active in community work. She was a member of the League of Women Voters by 1959, and as voter service chairman in 1960, established the Ridgefield High School “mock election” program in which ninth graders met with candidates each fall, and then voted on their choices. The program is still in use today at the high school, although since 1995, it has been aimed at seniors instead of freshmen.
For many years Mrs. Bollenback had been a member of the Board of Directors of the Visiting Nurse Association of Ridgefield, and in 1989 was elected the VNA’s president. She served two terms.
In the 1970s, she was one of the founders of Meals on Wheels, and helped screen volunteers for the service.
Mrs. Bollenback was also a former secretary of the Republican Town Committee on which she served for eight years. She was chairman and served as a member of the Altar Guild of St. Stephen’s Church for many years.
For more than 25 years, Mrs. Bollenback worked at the Cortina Shop on Main Street.
Mrs. Bollenback’s interests included 18th and 19th Century country furniture. “She took a great interest and pride in Early American funeriture — our house has always been reflective of her tastes,” Mr. Bollenback said.
“She was an avid reader,” her husband said, adding that she also enjoyed crossword puzzles — “she was always a lot quicker than I was.”
Mrs. Bollenback loved animals, and the couple had always had a dog or a cat. The latest is Laddie, a collie.
Besides her husband of 51 years, Mrs. Bollenback is survived by a daughter, Ann Jamison and her husband Thomas of Fairfield; a grandson, Connor Jamison; and a sister, Melissa Clark and her husband, Donald, of Centreville, Del.
A daughter, Sarah Bollenback, died in 1989.
Services will take place on Friday, Sept. 17, at 11 a.m. in St. Stephen's Episcopal Church. The family will receive friends in North Hall of St. Stephen's Church after the funeral.
Interment will be private.
There will be no calling hours.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations in her memory be made to the Visiting Nurse Association of Ridgefield, 90 East Ridge, Ridgefield, CT 06877.
The Kane Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Irene Cassavechia, longtime Ridgefield resident
Irene V. Cassavechia of North Street, wife of Anthony “Tony” Cassavechia, died on April 15, 2004 at Danbury Hospital. She was 79.
Mrs. Cassavechia was born in Bridgeport on March 15, 1925, and attended Bridgeport schools.
A resident of Ridgefield since 1946, she was a member of the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary and of St. Mary’s Church. In addition to her husband of 58 years, she is survived by a son, Paul Cassavechia of Pasadena, Md., and a grandson.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Tuesday at St. Mary’s Church. Burial followed in St. Mary’s Cemetery.
Mary Cheney, former VNA administrator
Mary L. Cheney of St. Augustine, Fla., a former Ridgefielder who had been an administrator for the Visiting Nurse Association, died Sunday, Sept. 19, 2004, at her home. She was 75 years old.
Mrs. Cheney was born in Iowa and was a longtime resident of Ridgefield before moving to St. Augustine in 1988. She had worked for many years as a home healthcare administrator for District Nursing Association, now the Visiting Nurse Association.
In Florida, she was a member of St. Anastasia Catholic Church, did volunteer work with Habitat for Humanity and the Learn to Read Program, and was a member of the St. Augustine Women’s Club.
She is survived by her three sons, Victor Cheney and his wife Jan of St. Augustine, Philip Cheney and his wife Dawn of Ridgefield, and Stephen Cheney of Rocky Hill; a sister, Violet Englehardt of Riceville, Iowa; and eight grandchildren.
Father Seamus O’Flynn will conduct services Friday, Sept. 24, at noon in St. Anastasia Catholic Church.
A visitation will begin at 11 a.m. on Friday in the San Antonio Room at St. Anastasia Catholic Church.
Interment will follow at a later date in the Lowville Rural Cemetery in Lowville, N.Y.
Instead of flowers, contributions in her memory may be made to Community Hospice of N.E. Florida, 525 SR 16, Suite 112, St. Augustine, Fla. 32084 or to the America Cancer Society, St. Johns County Unit, 2850 Isabella Blvd. No.20, Jacksonville Beach, Fla. 32250.
Kotrady-Hudgins-Croyle Funeral Home in St. Augustine is in charge of arrangements.
Edith Dodd, Branchville homemaker
Edith M. Dodd, a Branchville resident for nearly 80 years, died Thursday, Sept. 23, 2004, at the Northwestern Medical Center in St. Albans, Vt. She was 83 years old.
Mrs. Dodd was born July 14, 1921 in the Branchville section of Ridgefield, the daughter of the late Antonio and Annantonia DiBerardino Forcelli.
She was a life-long resident of Branchville and in 1998 she moved to St. Albans along with her brother Peter to be with her family.
After the death of her mother when she was nine years old, Mrs. Dodd devoted her life to caring for her family. She was a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Georgetown.
She loved gardening and spending time with her family. “She was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and aunt,” her family said.
Mrs. Dodd is survived by her children and their spouses, Suzanne and Basil Burt of Georgia, Vt., Nancy and Wade Rodgers of Alstead, N.H., and Eric and Joyce Dodd of Berkshire, Vt.; five grandchildren, Melissa Buckley, her husband Doug and their two children Rachel and Megan, Jason Burt and his wife Christina, all of Georgia, Vt., Arica Dodd Petrino of Danbury, Lisa Methven and James Methven, both of Alstead, N.H.; a sister, Anne Frulla of Washington; a brother, John Forcelli of Ridgefield; her bothers and sister-in-law and their spouses, Kenneth and Avis Dodd of Fairfield, Vt., Russell and Eleanor Dodd of Sheldon, Vt., Irene and Burton Strong of Craftsbury Common, Vt.; and several nieces and nephews.
Her husband, Eric Dodd, died in 1980. Siblings James “Gig” Forcelli, Joseph Forcelli Sr., Theresa Forcelli, and Peter Forcelli, and a brother-in-law and his wife, Francis “Jack”and Velma Dodd, all died before her.
Services took place Monday Sept. 27, at the Spears Funeral Home, 96 Dickinson Ave., Enosburg Falls, Vt. Interment followed in the Missisquoi Cemetery in Enosburg Falls.
Contributions in her memory may be made to the Franklin County Home Health Agency Hospice Program, 3 Home Health Circle, St. Albans, VT 05478.