Denise Gioffre, nursery school teacher
Denise E. Gioffre of Ridgefield, who had taught hundreds of nursery school children in town and was a volunteer in church and health programs, died on Sunday afternoon, March 20, 2005, at Danbury Hospital. She was 53 years old and the wife of Anthony J. Gioffre Jr.
Mrs. Gioffre was born in Oceanside, N.Y., a daughter of Austin and Olga Alchimionok Brandt, and grew up in Valley Stream, N.Y. She graduated from State University of New York at Oswego with a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a minor in mathematics.
After graduation, teaching jobs were scarce and she took a post with Xerox, where her abilities at mathematics were soon recognized.
'She was a math whiz,' said her husband. Mrs. Gioffre became a financial analyst with the company, and was involved early on in the programming and use of computers. She left Xerox to begin raising a family.
The Gioffres moved from Nyack, N.Y., to Ridgefield in 1975. Five years later, Mrs. Gioffre began teaching at My Nursery School and taught there and at the Children's Academy until her retirement in 2002.
'You could not walk down Main Street without running into someone who knew her,' Mr. Gioffre said. 'She taught so many children over the years.'
Mrs. Gioffre was also active as a volunteer. She assisted at the Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church, where she was a member of the Prayer and Healing Group and the Deborah Circle, and had helped at many events, including the annual Yankee Peddler Fair.
She had volunteered with the Meals on Wheels program, the Ridgebury School PTA, and the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.
Mrs. Gioffre was expert at cooking and baking, her husband said, observing that despite her Swedish background, 'Boy, could she cook Italian!' She learned the latter from Mr. Gioffre's mother and grandmother.
'She loved to make people happy, and that's one of the ways she did that,' he said of her cooking skills.
'She was exceptional at everything she did,' he added.
Besides her husband of 32 years, Mrs. Gioffre is survived by two sons, Daniel Gioffre and his wife, Bette, of Nashua, N.H., and Matthew Gioffre of Philadelphia, Pa.; a sister, Karin Logrieco and her husband, Peter, of Port Washington, N.Y.; two brothers, Andrew Brandt of West Long Branch, N.J., and Richard Brandt and his wife, Helene, of Yorktown Heights, N.Y.; as well as several nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Services will take place today, Thursday, at 11 at Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church.
Burial will follow in St. Mary's Cemetery, Ridgefield.
Contributions in her memory may be made to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, 51 Locust Ave., Suite 201, New Canaan, CT 06840.
The Kane Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Davood Zafarlotfi, carpet importer
Davood Zafarlotfi of Ridgefield, an area businessman dealing in oriental carpeting, died on Wednesday, March 16, 2005, at Danbury Hospital shortly after his admission. He had been stricken ill at home earlier in the day. He was 50 years old and the husband of Mehry Malekzadeh Zafarlotfi of Ridgefield.
Mr. Zafarlotfi was born in Iran on Jan. 1, 1955, son of Sarvar and Afagh Patakchi Zafarlotfi. He was raised in Iran and attended schools there.
In 1975, he emigrated to the United States, first settling in New Jersey. He attended the New York Institute of Technology and received his bachelor's degree in engineering.
In 1980, he established his business of importing and selling oriental carpets
He moved from New Jersey to Ridgefield in 1996. 'In addition to being a workaholic, he enjoyed sports and cooking,' his family said.
Besides his wife, Mr. Zafarlotfi is survived by a daughter, Sherean Nezhad of Hoboken, N.J.; a brother, Ali Zafarlotfi of Cedar Grove, N.J.; and a sister, Sima Sadrolashrafi of Iran.
Funeral services and burial were held on Saturday, March 19, in Ridgefield.
The Kane Funeral Home, 25 Catoonah St., Ridgefield, was in charge of arrangements.
Betty A. Churchill, avid gardener
Betty Ann Churchill, a longtime resident of Georgetown and Ridgefield, died on Monday, March 14, 2005, at the Connecticut Hospice in Branford. She was 63 years old and the wife of Warren R. Churchill.
Mrs. Churchill was born in Norwalk on Sept. 21, 1941, a daughter of the late William and Dorothy Scribner Schneider. She grew up in Wilton and was a graduate of Staples High School in Westport.
She was an avid gardener and enjoyed fishing.
Besides her husband of 41 years, Mrs. Churchill is survived by her sisters, Patricia Marino of Naugatuck, Shirley and Jean Schneider of Wilton; and a brother, Donald Schneider of Kennebunkport, Maine.
Private burial services will be held at a later date.
There are no calling hours.
The Bouton Funeral Home, 21 West Church Street, Georgetown, is handling arrangements.
Mark Piekarz, software developer
Mark A. Piekarz of St. Augustine, Fla., a software developer who lived here as a boy, died on Saturday, March 12, 2005, in St. Augustine. He was 38 years old.
Mr. Piekarz was born in Yonkers, N.Y., on Jan. 4, 1967, son of Donald R. and Elizabeth Speth Piekarz of Ridgefield. He attended Yonkers schools and at the age of 10, moved with his family to Ridgefield. Here, he was a member of St. Elizabeth Seton Parish, attended Ridgefield schools, and graduated from Ridgefield High School in 1985. He went on to obtain his bachelor of science in computer science from the Rochester Institute of Technology.
A software developer, Mr. Piekarz first worked for Dupont of Wilmington, Del. He later became an independent software consultant and most recently was a software developer for Citigroup.
During his career, several of his software developments later became patented.
He enjoyed music, was an avid reader and most recently took up the sports of surfing and sailing.
Besides his parents of Ridgefield, Mr. Piekarz is survivived by two brothers, Eric Piekarz and his wife Wynter of Madison, and Craig Piekarz and his wife Mary of Southborough, Mass.; his maternal grandmother, Ella Speth of Yonkers; four nieces, one nephew and several aunts, uncles and cousins.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday at 10 in St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church, 520 Ridgebury Road.
Burial will follow in St. Mary's Cemetery.
James E. Gay Sr., 95, arborist
James Edwin Gay Sr., a Ridgefield native and an arborist, died on Wednesday, March 9, 2005, at Marathon Health Care Center of Norwalk. Affectionately known as 'Uncle Ed,' he was 95 years old.
Mr. Gay was a longtime resident of Ridgefield and in later years made his home in Bethel. His wife, Ruthamae Finney Gay, died on Nov. 2, 1989. They had been married on Nov. 27, 1934 in Greenburgh, N.Y.
Mr. Gay was born on Nov. 25, 1909 at the Gay family homestead on Spectacle Lane and Gay Road. He was the son of the late Ulysses Simpson Grant Gay and Olive Bertha Gilbert Gay, a Putnam County, N.Y., native who had purchased the farm in 1900.
Mr. Gay was an arborist and a pioneer in the tree business in this area. He had managed the former Pawley's Tree Company in New Canaan for several years, and held the same position with the former Richdale Tree Service in Wilton until the death of Walter Richdale, and then he took over the business for himself.
Mr. Gay did a lot of subcontracting work for the State of Connecticut during snow and ice storms and would travel to Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine to assist with restoring power outages and clearing the roads. His last employment was at Silver Spring Country Club in Ridgefield where he maintained the grounds.
In his youth, Mr. Gay would go to Lake Kitchawan in Lewisboro, N.Y., to saw chunks of ice and transport it to homes with ice boxes, and also taught horseback riding at summer camp in Ridgefield.
Surviving are his three grandchildren: James E. Gay III and his wife, Karen of Danbury, Jill Sousa and her husband John, of Danbury, and Joy Steinmiller and her husband Fred, of Bethel; one great-granddaughter, Samantha Sousa of Danbury; daughter-in-law Jean Gay of Bethel; and several nieces and nephews.
His only child, James E. Gay Jr., died on Oct. 6, 2003. All his brothers and sisters N Oliver, J. Henry, Charles, Fred, Lewis, Julia Lancaster and Mary Broadhurst N died before him.
Services took place March 11 at the Bouton Funeral Home, 31 West Church Street, Georgetown.
Jean Giardini, 84, active at St. Mary's
Jean Alberta Johnson Giardini of Ridgefield, a longtime Ridgefielder who had been active in St. Mary's Church, died on Sunday afternoon, March 6, 2005, after a brief illness. She was 84 years old and the widow of Dino A. Giardini, her husband of 45 years.
Mrs. Giardini was born in Danbury, the oldest daughter of Albert and Gladys Hancock Johnson. She grew up in Danbury, and attended St. Joseph's School and Danbury High School. She studied hairdressing, a discipline at which, her family reported, she excelled.
After her marriage to Dino Giardini, who operated the Limestone Service Station on Danbury Road, Mrs. Giardini moved to Ridgefield, which she called home the rest of her life.
'She excelled at all types of handiwork,' her family said. 'Many of her paintings hang in the family home. The first quilt she ever made won viewers' choice for the unusual design, use of color and its meticulous stitching at a Nutmeg Quilt Show in 1981. Her best-known creativity came in clothes she designed and sewed. Her talent will be missed.'
An active member of St. Mary's Parish, she often volunteered there, most recently at the jewelry display at St. Mary's Fair.
'What is especially notable about Jean's life is the strength and length of the friendships she formed here,' her family said. Her friendships with her sister-in-law Del Pierandri and friends Ada Leary, Helen Pierandri, Monda Vozzo and many others spanned 60 years.
'Jean's simplicity of being, her creativity, her caring and her devotion to friends and family will be missed.'
Mrs. Giardini is survived by her son, James Giardini and his wife, Barbara ,and their son, Nicholas, of Brookfield; a daughter, Nancy Giardini Riedy and her husband, Tom, of Ridgefield; and a younger sister, Janet Edwards, her three children and three grandchildren, who live near Chicago.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday at 10:15 in St. Mary's Church.
Burial will follow in St. Mary's Cemetery.
The family will receive friends in the Kane Funeral Home, 25 Catoonah Street, Ridgefield on Friday morning from 9 to 10.
Contributions in her memory may be made to the Ridgefield Volunteer Fire Department, 6 Catoonah Street, Ridgefield, CT 06877.
Ada Walker, 91, lifelong resident
Ada Tulipani Walker, a native Ridgefielder and lifelong resident, died on Sunday afternoon, March 6, 2005, at the Lutheran Home, Southbury. She was 91 years old and the widow of Walter J. Walker Sr.
A Ridgefield native, Mrs. Walker was born July 7, 1913, daughter of Vincenzo and Evelina Branchini Tulipani. She attended Ridgefield schools.
Mrs. Walker was a homemaker and enjoyed cooking and baking as well as gardening and the love of animals.
She was a member of St. Mary's Church of Ridgefield and of its Rosary Society.
Mrs. Walker is survived a son, Walter J. Walker and his wife, Carol, of Waterbury; a daughter, Johanna M. Metzker of Southbury; a brother, Alfred Tulipani and his wife, Mary, of Ridgefield; a sister-in-law, Barbara Tulipani of Ridgefield; two grandchildren, Karin Metzker of New Milford and Stephen M. Metzker and his wife, Kathryn, of Newtown; a great-granddaughter, Anna Elizabeth Metzker; as well as nieces and nephews.
A grandson, Paul M. Metzker Jr., and four brothers, Aldo Tulipani, Joseph Tulipani, Albert Tulipani and John Tulipani, died before Mrs. Walker.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday at 1 p.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, today, Thursday, from 5 to 8.
George W. Tortosa, 88, was a POW
George W. Tortosa of Ridgefield, a retired plumber who had been a prisoner of war in World War II, died on Sunday afternoon, Feb. 27, 2005, at Danbury Hospital shortly after admission. He was 88 years old and the husband of Jennie Trefon Tortosa.
Mr. Tortosa was born in Flushing, Queens, N.Y., on Aug. 22, 1916, a son of Michael and Delores Paradiso Tortosa. He attended Flushing schools and graduated from Flushing High School.
He was a World War II U.S. Army veteran in the European theatre and had been a prisoner of war.
A lifelong plumber before his retirement in 1984, Mr. Tortosa became a 'weekend' resident of Ridgefield in 1950 and a permanent resident in 1975.
He was a member of St. Mary's Church and the Marquette Council Knights of Columbus.
Besides his wife of 29 years, Mr. Tortosa is survived by three sisters, Theresa Tortosa, Mildred Tortosa and Ann Tortosa, all of Bethel; a brother, Sam Tortosa of Redding; a granddaughter; and several nieces and nephews.
His first wife, Lucille, died before him.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated today, Thursday, at 10:15 a.m. in St. Mary's Church. Burial will follow in St. Mary's Cemetery.
The Kane Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.