Karen Jean "Hannah" Russell, Spanish teacher, artist
Karen Jean Russell, who was also known as Hannah, of Ridgefield died on April 5 at Danbury Hospital at the age of 60.
She was born on July 23, 1944 in Lincoln, Nebr., the daughter of Jean and the late Carroll Dahlberg. She received her bachelor's degree at Nebraska Wesleyan University and master's in Spanish from Middlebury College in Vermont and Spain.
She was a secondary school Spanish teacher in the Bronx for 10 years, and worked briefly at Danbury Hospital. In 1984 she married James Russell. She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1990 and though in a wheelchair for many years, remained 'an inspiration for many.'
'She once wrote of her M.S.: 'My moments of stillness nourish gratitude, vitality, and generosity that sweeten moments spent with other people. Through stillness my life may bear fruit. From stillness I recognize my temptation to blame all my sorrows on my M.S.' '
She was artistic and enjoyed using watercolors both on paper and fabric.
'The colors she used created vibrant flowers and peaceful scenes,' her family said. She was a devoted member of Saints Peter and Paul Mission.
She is survived by her husband James of Ridgefield; mother Jean of Nebraska; brother William of Seattle, and three nieces and two nephews, of Seattle and Massachusetts, respectively.
The family is making arrangements for a memorial service. Memorial donations may be made to Saint Peters and Paul Mission, P.O. Box 84, Bethel 06081 or the Well Spouse Foundation, an organization to support caregivers, at wellspouse.org.
Stanley F. Weston, longtime Ridgefielder, owned landscaping business
Stanley F. Weston, 60, of Ridgefield, husband of Linda (Sherburn) Weston, died on Monday, April 4, at his home after a long battle with cancer.
'Stash' was born in Colt's Neck, N.J., on Jan. 17, 1945, the eldest son of Helen Toth Weston of Manville, N.J., and the late Sidney Weston. He moved to Ridgefield when he was 17 and later owned and operated his own landscaping business.
In addition to his wife of 39 years, Linda, and mother, he is survived by three sons, Sidney of Texas, Stanley and his wife Dawn, and James, all of Bethel; a daughter Melissa Hackett and her husband Keith of Ridgefield; three grandchildren, Ashley, Elizabeth and Stanley; four sisters, Helen Penman and her husband Monty of Calawissa, Pa., Mary Connolly and her husband Woody of Cypress, Texas, Elizabeth Wutke and her husband Joe of Neshanic, N.J., and Clara Startzel and her husband Dave of Branchburg, N.J.; a brother Patrick Weston and his wife Andrea of Manville, N.J.; three godchildren, Amy Kahan of Bethel, Knute Wutke of Neshanic, N.J., and Jan Marie Weston; and many nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, including Stanley Weston and his wife Bonnie of Fairhaven, Vt.
In addition to his father, Mr.Weston was predeceased by his brother Joseph Weston and daughter-in-law Brenda Weston.
'Those who were fortunate enough to know Stan appreciated his sense of humor and strong work ethics. He always helped those he could and put others' needs before his own. All who loved him will sorely miss him,' the family said.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday, April 8, at 10:15 a.m. in St. Mary's Church. Burial will follow in St. Mary's Cemetery. Friends will be received in the Kane Funeral Home, 25 Catoonah Street, on Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m.
Memorial contributions may be made to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, P.O. Box 27106, New York, NY 10087 or online at mskgg.org, or to the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, c/o Gail Baker, Ridgefield High School, 700 North Salem Road, Ridgefield 06877.
Georgine Tulipani, former teacher, Eucharistic Minister, devoted to her family and her faith
Georgine Tulipani, devoted wife of J. Robert (Bob) Tulipani of 2 Cherry Lane, died on Sunday, April 3, at Danbury Hospital. She was 67 years old.
Ms. Tulipani was born in Norwalk, Feb. 2, 1938, daughter of the late George and Jean Rickus. She attended Wilton elementary schools and graduated from Laurelton High School. She then graduated from Regis College in Weston, Mass. She and three of her close classmates then volunteered in Regis' Lay Apostolate Program and opened a parochial school in Midland, Texas. Following that, she taught in the Wilton school system.
Georgine is survived by three daughters, Lori Carriero and her husband Joe of Newtown, Kathy Tulipani of Exeter, N.H., and Mary Beth Nemire and her husband Randy of Fountain Hills, Ariz.; and two grandchildren, Doug and Angela Carriero. She also is survived by a sister, Myrna Kahlo of Tonto Hills, Ariz., and a brother George Rickus Jr. of Houston, Texas.
A devout Catholic, she taught in St. Mary's religious education program. She was also a Eucharistic minister. She and Carmella Legan co-chaired St. Mary's Prayer Chain for many years and for 12 years she was a member of the Julian Sisters, a Christian women's group. She also collected toys for the needy children of Bridgeport for her friend George Fasolo, who was director of the Bishop Sheehan Center. She attended Mass daily until she had to give up driving because of her multiple sclerosis, a disease she had for more than 30 years, and met with a circle of friends to pray for others.
'She was an inspiration to all because of her devotion to family and friends,' the family said. 'Georgine was completely unselfish - always willing to believe in the best in everyone, trying to help whenever possible and was always willing to listen at any time of the day.'
Despite her multiple sclerosis, she always had a positive attitude, taking comfort in her faith in God. Throughout her marriage, she constantly put her children and husband first; worrying more about them than her own physical limitations, the family said.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Wednesday in St. Mary's Church. Burial followed in St. Mary's Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, 1 Selleck Street, Norwalk, 06855; Archdiocese of Hartford Office of Radio & Television, Channel 20, 15 Peach Orchard Road, Prospect, CT 06712; or to the Regional Hospice of Western Connecticut, 405 Main Street, Danbury 06810.
The Kane Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
MaryJo Berg, RHS 1972, vice president of Ridgefield business
MaryJo Berg, 50, of Ridgefield, wife of William F. Berg Jr., died on Saturday evening, April 2, at her home.
Mrs. Berg was born in the Bronx, N.Y., Nov. 7, 1954, daughter of Joseph Comba of Virginia Beach, Va., and the late Marie Meade Comba. Raised in the Bronx, MaryJo along with her family moved to Long Island, N.Y., where they lived for 12 years before moving to Ridgefield in 1967. She was a 1972 graduate of Ridgefield High School.
She was vice president of Allergy Control Products of Ridgefield for the past 15 years and a member of St. Mary's Parish of Ridgefield. MaryJo enjoyed shopping, her family said.
In addition to her husband William of Ridgefield and father Joseph and his wife Bev of Virginia Beach, she is survived by a son, Devin J. Berg of Ridgefield; three sisters, Pat Sykora and her husband Tim of Lexington, Ky., Eileen Pambianchi and her husband John, and Diane Brautigan and her husband Dave, all of Ridgefield; as well as several aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Wednesday in St. Mary's Church. Burial followed in St. Mary's Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Visiting Nurse Association, 90 East Ridge, Ridgefield 06877 or to the Columbia-Presbyterian Regional Cancer Center, New Milford Hospital, 21 Elm Street, New Milford, CT 06776.
Barbara Lucy Matthews Cassels, retired medical worker, poet
Barbara Lucy Matthews Cassels passed away on April 1 in Ridgefield. Born to Frederick and Florence Matthews on June 10, 1916 in Hollywood, Calif., she lived in New Jersey for much of her youth. She was married to Charles Cassels and spent several years in Argentina and Uruguay before returning to the United States in 1951.
She lived in Nyack, N.Y., and worked as a cardiology assistant. She then moved to New York City where she continued to work as a medical assistant until she moved to Ridgefield in 1996.
Blessed with the gifts of a special wit and sense of humor, she was best known for her unconditional love and care for her family and friends, her family said. A lover of letters and literature, she spent much of her time putting her thoughts into written form. Many of her letters and poems reflected her hidden passion to become a writer, they said. As the years passed, she often expressed her belief that the most important thing in life is family. She frequently expressed to them the thought that '...If you love me, love each other...' the family said.
She is survived by her daughter, Lynn Palmer Bowes of Harrisburg, Pa., and her granddaughter, Erika Lynn Vassal of Gales Ferry. She is also survived by her son, Christopher John Cassels and Anne Marie, his wife and her special friend. Both live in Ridgefield. Her two grandsons, Sean Christopher Cassels and Kirk Andrew Cassels, live in New York City and Philadelphia respectively. The family looks forward to the birth of her great-granddaughter, Olivia Vassal.
A memorial service will be held at Saint Andrew's Lutheran Church in Ridgefield on Sunday, April 17. Contact the church office for details. Memorials may be sent to the Visiting Nurse Association of Ridgefield.
Norman Douglass Tillinghast, 35-year Ridgefield resident, Air Force veteran, carpenter
Norman Douglass Tillinghast died on March 31 at his home in Groton after a long battle with cancer. He was 76.
He was born Nov. 2, 1928 in Swansea, Mass., son of the late Lloyd A. and Madeline (Douglass) Tillinghast. He was a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. He married Elizabeth Vishnosky in 1951 and they lived in Ridgefield for 35 years before moving to Groton. He was a master craftsman and self-employed carpenter for most of his career, and was especially knowledgeable of historic construction and materials.
Besides his wife, he is survived by four sons and their spouses, Christopher and Linda of Colchester; Timothy and Jeanne of Southbury; Mark of Groton; and Peter and Dianne of Ridgefield. A son, Douglass, died in 1993. His wife, Sallie, and her husband, Scott Franz, of Watertown, also survive. He also leaves behind grandchildren Jonathan, Jason, Alex, Amber, Sarah, and Charles Franz, and great-grandson Matthew.
Norman was a frequent and friendly visitor to Avery Point campus, where he would often walk his dog Mollie and talk to any and all who would call him a friend, the family said.
A memorial service and a celebration of his life will be held at a later date. Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of South Eastern Connecticut, 179 Gallivan Lane, P.O. Box 902, Uncasville, CT 06382-0902.
Byles-Groton Memorial Home, 310 Thames Street was in charge of arrangements.
Helen W. Lener, 92, O.W.L.S. member, retired telephone supervisor
Helen W. Lener, an AT&T telephone supervisor, died on Friday, March 25, at Connecticut Hospice in Branford. She was 92. Mrs. Lener was the wife of the late Gastone Lener.
Mrs. Lener was born in Nanticoke, Pa., on April 5, 1912, the daughter of the late Stanley and Josephine Wasilewski. Mrs. Lener attended Nanticoke schools and was employed with AT&T from 1945 to 1977 and retired as a telephone supervisor.
A resident of Ridgefield since 1994 coming from Astoria, Queens, N.Y., she was a member of the Telephone Pioneers of America, the Ridgefield O.W.L.S. and of St. Mary's Church. She enjoyed reading and cooking.
She is survived by her daughter, Rose J. Mari of Ridgefield; two granddaughters, Ellen Mari and Angela Loweth, and two great-grandchildren, Cody and Samantha Loweth.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Wednesday in St. Mary's Church. Burial followed in St. Michael's Cemetery, East Elmhurst, N.Y.
Memorial contributions may be made to Connecticut Hospice, 100 Double Beach Road, Branford 06405.
The Kane Funeral Home, 25 Catoonah Street, was in charge of arrangements.
Paul Motta, outdoorsman, RHS '70
Paul A. Motta of Ridgefield, a carpenter who enjoyed the outdoors and who had lived in Ridgefield most of his life, died on Monday, March 21, 2005, at Danbury Hospital. He was 52 years old.
Mr. Motta was born in Mount Vernon, N.Y., on May 4, 1952, a son of Lucy Telesca Motta of Ridgefield and the late Ben Motta.
He came to Ridgefield as a young boy and had lived here for 47 years. He attended Ridgefield schools, and graduated from Ridgefield High School in 1970 and later from Sacred Heart University with a bachelor's degree in psychology.
Mr. Motta was a construction carpenter, retiring five years ago due to failing health.
An avid outdoorsman, he enjoyed motorcycling, hiking, mountain climbing, skiing, skeet shooting, traveling, and photography. He especially enjoyed the outdoors while visiting Vermont, where he will be interred.
He was a member of St. Mary's Church.
Besides his mother, Mr. Motta is survived by a brother, Burt Motta, and his wife, Joanne, and their children, Blaise and Carly, all of Ridgefield.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Tuesday, March 29, at 10:15 in St. Mary's Church.
Interment will take place in Vermont at the convenience of the family.
There will be no calling hours.
Contributions in his memory may be made to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, 16 Forest St., New Canaan, CT 06840.
The Kane Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Lena A. Mastriani, 95, active in the community, radio spokesperson during WWII
Lena A. Mastriani of Ridgefield died on March 20 at Filosa Convalescent Home in Danbury. She was 95.
She was born on Dec. 21, 1909 in Rochester, N.Y., the daughter of the late Maria and Christy Boggus. Soon after, she and her family moved to Schenectady, N.Y. where she attended Schenectady public schools. Before her marriage she worked for the General Electric Company manufacturing radio components.
In 1934 she married the late William J. Mastriani, a General Electric Company employee, a union (IUE) activist and chief shop steward. He predeceased her in 1967. Lena was a stay-at-home wife and mother to her daughter, Nina, and her son, Billy. During World War II she supported the war effort as a community radio spokesperson and many years later she worked for the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.
'Lena was a warm and loving wife, mother, mother-in-law, grandmother and aunt. She was a talented homemaker, excellent cook and caregiver to her family and friends. She loved to crochet and shared many of her beautiful works of art,' her family said.
In 1979 Lena moved to Ridgefield to live with her daughter and family. She became involved in local activities, including the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), the Red Cross volunteers, the O.W.L.S. and the Ridgefield Community Center. She was also a communicant of St. Mary's Church in Ridgefield. She played a major role in bringing up her granddaughter, Debra. She taught her to cook and drive. Her greatest joy was attending and participating in Debra's many school and extracurricular activities.
Her daughter, Nina DePass, and her husband Gerald of Ridgefield survive her. She also leaves behind her granddaughter, Debra Jones and her husband Kevin of Redding and several nieces and nephews. Her son, William Jr., and three brothers and two sisters, predeceased her.
Friends will be received at the Kane Funeral Home, 25 Catoonah Street, Ridgefield on Sunday, April 3, from 1 to 3 with a Celebration of Life Service at 2:30. A Mass of Christian Burial and burial will take place in Schenectady, N.Y., at the convenience of the family.
Memorial donations may be made to Almost Home, 52 Federal Road, Danbury, 06810 or to Regional Hospice of Western Connecticut Inc., 405 Main Street, Danbury, 06810.