George Wilson, volunteer fireman
George F. Wilson of 21 Harvey Drive, Old Saybrook, a Ridgefield native and former Ridgefield volunteer firefighter, died on Tuesday morning, Oct. 19, 2004, at Saybrook Convalescent Hospital, Old Saybrook. He was 76 years old and the husband of Audrey Haug Wilson.
Mr. Wilson was born in Ridgefield on June 24, 1928, son of Chauncey and Lena Partrick Wilson. He attended Ridgefield schools and served in the U.S. Navy from 1946 to 1950.
An operating engineer, Mr. Wilson was employed for 35 years with Morganti Inc. of Ridgefield before his retirement.
He was a member of the Operating Engineers Local #478 and a member of the Ridgefield Volunteer Fire Department, serving most recently with the fire police.
Besides his wife of 51 years, Mr. Wilson is survived by a daughter, Cynthia Kuehn and her husband Eckehard (Steve) of Bethlehem; a brother, Joseph Wilson and his wife Jean of Danbury; two sisters, Beatrice Seamann and Anne Gillotti and her husband Dave, all of Danbury; a sister-in-law, Lois Wilson of Daytona Beach, Fla.; two grandsons, Jason X. Hemm and his wife Corrie of Cedarville, Ohio, and Christopher X. Hemm and his fiance Heather Cyr of Bethel; and several nieces and nephews.
A brother, Leon Wilson and two sisters, Doris Ludwig and Marjorie Paris, died before him.
Services will take place on Saturday at 1 in the Jowdy-Kane Funeral Home, 9-11 Granville Avenue, Danbury.
Private interment in South Salem Cemetery, South Salem, N.Y., will take place at the direction of the family.
The family will receive friends in the Jowdy-Kane Funeral Home on Saturday after 11a.m.
Contributions in his memory may be made to the Parkinson Disease Association, 27 Allendale Drive, North Haven, CT 06473 or to the Ridgefield Volunteer Fire Department, 6 Catoonah Street.
John Forcelli, 81, baseball star
John Patrick Forcelli, a star baseball player who was once offered a contract to play with the St. Louis Cardinals’ organization, died Monday evening, Dec. 20, 2004, at Danbury Hospital. A lifelong resident of Branchville, he was 81 years old and the husband of Norma Forcelli.
As did most of his contemporaries in Branchville, Mr. Forcelli loved baseball and as a youth in the summers, played from dawn until dusk. He was a member of the 1940 championship Ridgefield High School baseball team and later starred at Henry Abbott Technical School in Danbury.
After high school he tried out with the New York Yankees in Yankee Stadium. During World War II, he played with and against several major league baseball players on U.S. Army teams.
Scouts had noticed his prowess and upon returning from the service, Mr. Forcelli was offered a contract to play with the St. Louis Cardinals organization in the Appalachian League. However, according to his old friend, Paul Baker, “the pay scale to play in the minors back in the 1940s was barely enough to make a living and offered less security than steady employment.”
Instead, he played local ball, starring as shortstop with the Ridgefield Motors and Branchville Civics team, and also with the powerful Hoffman Fuel team in the Danbury City League. He was also hired to play ball in Norwalk.
Mr. Forcelli was “a stellar defensive player,” said Mr. Baker. He “carried an outstanding batting average and was particularly noted as a line-drive hitter.”
Last October, Mr. Forcelli was honored at the annual Ridgefield Old Timers Association banquet.
Mr. Forcelli was also a lifetime Boston Red Sox fan, and was elated this fall when the Sox won their first World Series of his lifetime.
John Forcelli was born on April 26, 1923 in the family home in Branchville, a son of Antonio and Antoinetta Diberardino Forcelli, who had come here from Corvara, Pescara, Italy. Along with his six brothers and sisters, he attended the one-room schoolhouse on Old Branchville Road.
He later attended Ridgefield High School and Abbott Tech in Danbury.
During World War II he served in the 34th Infantry of the U.S. Army in the Pacific Islands and in Japan during the occupation. He vividly recalled the devastation of Hiroshima, where he was stationed a few months after the atomic bomb blast.
Mr. Forcelli worked for 25 years for Perkin-Elmer Corporation in Danbury.
He had lived at the Laurel Ridge Health center for the past two years.
Besides his wife, Mr. Forcelli is survived by a son, Tony Forcelli and his wife Jeanette of Ridgefield; a daughter, Linda Mihaley and her husband Gary of South Salem, N.Y.; his sister, Anna Frulla of Washington; five grandchildren, Patrick, Robin and Timothy Forcelli, and Gregory and James Mihaley; and nine nieces and nephews. A sister, Edith, and two brothers, Peter and Joseph, died before him.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Monday, Dec. 27, at 10 a.m. in Sacred Heart Church, Georgetown.
Burial will follow in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Ridgefield.
Friends may call at the Bouton Funeral Home, 31 West Church Street, Georgetown on Sunday, Dec. 26, from 5 to 8 p.m.
Contributions in his memory may be made to the Juvenile Diabies Research Foundation, 200 Connecticut Ave. Ste 5H, Norwalk CT 06854.
Mary Freivogel, bookkeeper, native
Mary Elisabeth Freivogel of Sarasota, Fla., a former longtime Ridgefielder who had been a bookkeeper, died on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2004, at Kensington Park Nursing Home in Sarasota. She had lived in Ridgefield all her life until retiring to Florida in 1986.
Dukie Freivogel, as she was known to her family and close friends, was born in Danbury Hospital on Feb. 15, 1923, a daughter of Mary Alice and Ernst Freivogel. She grew up on the corner of Wilton Road West and Creamery Lane, and graduated from Ridgefield High School in 1941.
She attended Grey Court College in what is now known as the Ridgefield Manor, and Merrill Business School in Stamford. During her life she was a bookkeeper for many companies in the surrounding towns, most recently Hamilton Avnet in Danbury.
She enjoyed knitting, crocheting and sewing. At one time she and several Ridgefielders formed a sewing club called Stitch and Chatter. They swapped patterns and discussed latest styles.
She had been a member of St. Stephen’s Church all her life.
Ms. Freivogel is survived by her brother, Richard E. Freivogel and sister-in-law, Dorothy of Sarasota, formerly of Ridgefield; a niece, Sally Legan and her husband, Joe, and a great-grandnephew and great-grandniece, Andrew and Michelle, all of Ridgefield.
A memorial service will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 18, at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Main Street.
In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to St. Stephen’s Memorial Fund, 351 Main Street, Ridgefield, CT 06877.
The Kane Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Alfred Kaletta, 75, Amtrak executive
Alfred J. Kaletta Jr. of Ridgefield, a retired Amtrak executive who was active in the community, died at his home on Friday, Dec. 24, 2004, after a lengthy illness. He was 75 years old and the husband of Mary Martin Kaletta.
Mr. Kaletta was born in St. Louis, Mo., on Jan. 15, 1929, a son of the late Alfred J. and Veronica Reis Kaletta. He attended St. Louis schools, St. Louis University High School and St. Louis University. As a student at the university, Mr. Kaletta was elected to serve as national president of his fraternity, Alpha Delta Gamma.
He was also a U.S. Army veteran, serving in Korea during the war.
Mr. Kaletta moved from St. Louis to New York in 1955, representing the International Shoe Company. It was there that he met Mary Martin on an ocean liner.
“We met almost immediately at a bon voyage party on the original Queen Mary,” Mrs. Kaletta said. “I grabbed him before any of the other Eastern girls had a chance to meet him.”
After they were married 47 years ago, Mr. Kaletta joined the family company, the Martin Travel Bureau, located in the Empire State Building and in Larchmont, N.Y. “Our life has been one long trip around the world ever since,” Mrs. Kaletta said.
Mr. Kaletta later joined Amtrak, serving as eastern sales director until his retirement in 1994.
A resident of Ridgefield for the past 22 years, Mr. Kaletta was a member of the American Legion, the Ridgefield Men’s Club, and the Knights of Columbus. He served on the Board of Directors of the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra and had been a lector at St. Mary’s Church.
He was also a member and past president of SKAL of New York, an organization for professionals in the travel industry.
Mr. Kaletta enjoyed golf, tending to his home, traveling, family, and especially his grandchildren.
Besides his wife, Mr. Kaletta is survived by a son, A. John Kaletta III of Santa Monica, Calif; three daughters, Karen K. Wojtowicz and her husband, Edward, of Newtown, Michelle Wishna of Ridgefield, and Christine Wilson and her husband, Chip, of Ridgefield; a brother, William Kaletta of Naples, Fla.; two sisters, Audrey McAuliffe of Larchmont, N.Y., and Jeanne Parsons of Moraga, Calif.; and six grandsons, Mac and Casey Wishna, Jack Wojtowicz, and Charles, Henry and William Wilson.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Tuesday in St. Mary’s Church. Burial was in St. Mary’s Cemetery.
Contributions in Mr. Kaletta’s memory may be made to the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra, Box 289, Ridgefield, or the Keeler Tavern Preservation Trust, P.O. Box 204, Ridgefield CT 06877.
The Kane Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Alice Kasuli, 90, cancer volunteer
Alice “Elsie” Kasuli of 25 Gilbert Street, a retired seamstress, died Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2004, at her home. She was 90 years old and the widow of Vasil Kasuli.
A native of St. Louis, Mo., she was born on Nov. 26, 1914, a daughter of Dimitri and Julia Foundos Apostolu. She grew up in St. Louis, and moved to New York City as a teenager. She lived in New York most of her life, moving to Ridgefield in 1994.
Mrs. Kasuli was a homemaker and seamstress and volunteered her skills as a seamstress to make many bibs for cancer patients through the American Cancer Society, of which she was a longtime member.
“She was an excellent cook Ń she could make a hamburger taste like a steak,” said her son, Richard. “She was a woman who loved people and loved to party. Her doors were always open to friends. She had a lot of warmth.”
Mrs. Kasuli is survived by her son Richard A. Kasuli and his wife Georgianne of Ridgefield; another son, William P. Kasuli of Forest Hills, N.Y.; three granddaughters, Erica Kasuli of Ridgefield, Kelly Scuotto of Cary, N.C., and Kristin Harrison of Cary; and two great-grandchildren, Brittany and Ryan Scuotto.
A daughter, Evelyn Harrison, died before her.
The Rite of Burial will take place on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. in St. Nicholas Albanian Orthodox Church, Jamaica Estates, N.Y.
Friends will be received in the Kane Funeral Home, 25 Catoonah Street, on Thursday and Friday from 4 to 8 p.m.
Rose Ribeiro, 88, worked for the Luces
Rose E. Ribeiro of New Fairfield, a longtime Ridgefielder who worked for both the Luce and the Kraus families, died on Sunday, Dec. 19, 2004, at Ashlar of Newtown. She was 88 years old and the widow of Antonio J. Ribeiro.
Mrs. Ribeiro was born on May 3, 1916, in Tampere, Finland, a daughter of Toivo and Senja Jarvinen. She immigrated to the United States in 1938 and soon went to work as a housekeeper for Henry and Clare Boothe Luce in Greenwich. Mr. Luce was founder and publisher of Time Magazine and Clare Boothe Luce was a playwright, a member of Congress from 1944 to 1946, and later an ambassador.
The Luces’ caretaker was Antonio Ribeiro, a native of Portugal. Rose and Antonio fell in love and were married in 1942.
When the Luces decided in 1945 to move to Great Hill Road in Ridgefield, the Ribeiros went with them, and she continued to serve as a housekeeper as well as a cook for the couple. Over the years she met many celebrities, from presidents to leading stage and literary personalities, all friends and acquaintances of the Luces.
When the Luces sold their estate to rare book dealer Hans P. Kraus and his wife, Hanni, the Ribeiros decided to work for the new owners. She remained with the family until Mr. Ribeiro’s death in 1979. That year, she retired and moved to New Fairfield to make her home with her daughter and son-in-law, Barbara and James Kaiser.
Mrs. Ribeiro enjoyed traveling, and over the years had visited her family in Finland a number of times.
She was a member of St. Mary’s Church.
Besides her daughter and son-in-law of New Fairfield, Mrs. Ribeiro is survived by two sons, Anthony H. Ribeiro of Danbury and Victor M. Ribeiro of Mississippi; a sister, Katri Lausamo and her husband Ahto of Finland; ten grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.
Two brothers, Robert and Esa, and a sister, Eva, died before her.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Wednesday in St. Mary’s Church.
Burial was in St. Mary’s Cemetery.
Memorial contributions to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, P.O. Box 96268, Washington, DC 20090-6268 would be greatly appreciated.
The Kane Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Martha Roberti, former resident
Martha C. Roberti of Lodi, Calif., a former longtime Ridgefielder, died Thursday evening, Nov. 25, 2004, at Delta Rehabilitation and Care Center, Lodi. She was 83 years old and the wife of Remo P. Roberti.
Mrs. Roberti was born Martha Claire Meier on July 12, 1921 in St. Gallen, Switzerland, the daughter of the late Wilheim and Stephanie Albrecht Meier.
Mrs. Roberti came to the United States at the age of 13 months with her parents, two brothers and two sisters aboard the ship Lapland, arriving at Ellis Island on Aug. 19, 1922. She was raised in Tillamook, Ore., and after her marriage to Remo Roberti, lived in Ridgefield for 39 years before retiring to Lodi, in 1983.
She was a homemaker and a member of St. Anne’s Catholic Church. She enjoyed cooking, entertaining and playing the Swiss card game, Jass.
Besides her husband of 61 years, Mrs. Roberti is survived by a son, Timothy L. Roberti, of the Philippines; a daughter, Karen A. Schemm, of Clayton, N.C.; two sisters, Trudy Schmidt of Galt, Calif., and Bette Beardsley of Lodi; three grandchildren, Jason T. Schemm and his wife Emily of Gaylordsville; Melissa M. Pillmear and Alexander J. Roberti, both of Valencia; and one great-grandson, Jonas B. Schemm, of Gaylordsville.
Her brothers, Walter and Bill Meier, and a sister, Patricia Fass, died before her.
The Rev. Jerry Ryle celebrated a Mass of Christian Burial on Dec. 1 at St. Christopher’s Church, Galt, Calif. Burial followed at Galt Cemetery.
Ben Salas Funeral Home in Galt was in charge of arrangements.