Gretl Nitsche, 94, real estate agent
Margaret 'Gretl' Nitsche of White Horse Village, Newtown Square, Pa., a former longtime Ridgefielder who had worked in real estate, died on Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2005. She was 94 years old.
Mrs. Nitsche was a native of Munich, Germany, before immigrating to the United States in the early 1930's.
She worked for many years as a Realtor for the Gordon Walsh Agency on Main Street.
Mrs. Nitsche made Ridgefield her home for more than 50 years before moving to Pennsylvania in 1998. She lived from the early 1950's to mid-1960's on Lounsbury Road, then moved to Old Branchville Road where she lived until she moved to Pennsylvania.
She is survived by her two sons, Marc and John, both of whom graduated from Ridgefield High School, and by five grandchildren.
A memorial service will take place in Pennsylvania on Friday, March 11, at 1:30 at White Horse Village.
Vivien Kapsiak, pharmacist, teacher
Vivien S. Kapsiak of Ridgefield, a pharmacist who was also a teacher for 25 years, died on Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2005, at Bethel Health Care. She was 76 years old.
Mrs. Kapsiak was born in Long Branch, N.J., on Dec. 3, 1928, daughter of Herbert T. and Bessie Wagner Smith, and attended New Jersey schools.
As a geology and biology major, she graduated from Rutgers University at the age of 18, received her master's degree from Fordham University, and was certified in advanced studies from Wesleyan University.
Mrs. Kapsiak moved to Ridgefield from Mount Kisco, N.Y., in 1971. Her career included working as a pharmacist for a New York hospital, teaching earth science in Brewster High School, and most recently, working as a pharmacist at the Rite Aid Pharmacy of Danbury.
Mrs. Kapsiak was a member of the New York State Teachers Association, the Connecticut Pharmaceutical Association, the Revivers N a breast cancer support group in Ridgefield, and Ann's Place: the home of I Can, in Danbury. She was also a 20-year member of Alcoholics Anonymous and belonged to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Danbury.
Mrs. Kapsiak is survived by three sons, Eric R. Kaye and his wife Nancy of Northampton, Mass., Douglas A. Kaye and his wife Karen of Sugar Land, Texas, and Roger Kaye and his wife Teresa and their children Justin, Hyla and Evan of Fort Ann, N.Y., and her former husband Gorden Kaye of Garrison, N.Y.
The Rev. Dr. Linda Hanson of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Danbury led a Celebration of Life Tuesday in the Kane Funeral Home.
John V. Hawley Sr., outdoorsman
John V. Hawley Sr. of New Fairfield, a former Georgetown resident, died on Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2005, at Harborside Healthcare-Glen Hill in Danbury after a long illness. He was 77 years old and the husband of the late Betty Broadhurst Hawley, who died in February 2003.
Affectionately know as 'Hawkeye,' Mr. Hawley was born in Norwalk on Feb. 2, 1928, a son of the late Edgar V. and Eva Mae Mead Hawley, and was raised in Vista, N.Y. He was retired from Dichello Distributors of Orange, where he had been employed for 25 years. He had previously lived in Georgetown and Danbury.
He enjoyed fishing, hunting and was an avid sports fan, especially of the New York Yankees.
Survivors include his five daughters: Vivian Tooker of New Fairfield, Toni Hawley of Ridgefield, Betty Booth of Wilton, Terry Lepoutre of Wilton, and May Hawley of New Milford; one son, John V. Hawley Jr. of Danbury; two brothers, Charles and William Hawley; one sister, Emma Stanek of Danbury; 17 grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.
Services were held on Monday, Feb. 21, at the Bouton Funeral Home, Georgetown. Burial was in Branchville Cemetery.
Donations in his memory may be made to the American Heart Association, Connecticut Affiliate, P.O. Box 100, 5 Brookside Drive, Wallingford, CT 06492.
Timothy Rowe, 53, orchestra founder
Timothy Rowe, a classical musician, orchestra founder and music lecturer who grew up in Ridgefield, died last week in northern Virginia, where he had lived for many years.
Mr. Rowe's body was found on Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2005, in the woods near a dirt road in Shenandoah County, Virginia, according to The Washington Post. The death is being investigated by the Shenandoah County Sheriff Timothy C. Carter, according to The Post, and preliminary autopsy results indicate Mr. Rowe died of a self-inflicted stab wound. 'We have no reason to believe there was any foul play,' the Post quotes Sheriff Carter as saying.
The sheriff's office offered no further news of the investigation on Wednesday.
Mr. Rowe, 53, grew up on High Ridge Road in Ridgefield. He was a son of the late Dr. Robert Rowe, longtime music teacher in town and director of music for the Ridgefield Public Schools for many years, and the late Page Rowe, a former children's librarian at the New Canaan Library and longtime volunteer at the Ridgefield Thrift Shop.
One of five children in a very musical family, Mr. Rowe graduated from Ridgefield High School in 1969 and earned degrees in music from Middlebury College in Vermont and also the University of Wisconsin, where he studied under Robert Fountain.
He was the founder and music director of the Amadeus Orchestra, founded in 1983 in Great Falls, Va., and was founder and artistic director of the Potomac Theater Orchestra started in 1996. He made his conducting debut in Carnegie Hall in 1991.
Mr. Rowe started the Amadeus Concerts series, presenting classical music at sites throughout northern Virginia for the last 24 years. He was an adjunct lecturer at Georgetown University, and senior lecturer in music for the Smithsonian Institution. He designed the certificate studies program in music history for the Smithsonian Associates and was a guest lecturer for organizations such as a The Washington Opera and the Baltimore Symphony.
He led several trips to the Danube countries of central Europe for the Smithsonian and the Trust for Historic Preservation, and was a panel member of the USIA Cultural Ambassadors program.
Mr. Rowe chose Beethoven's Seventh Symphony for a free concert given by the Amadeus Orchestra on the first anniversary of the Sept. 11th attack on the Pentagon, which had taken the lives of six people from Great Falls, Va.
At the time he spoke of choosing for the occasion a symphony written after Beethoven came to accept his loss of hearing.
'He thought his composing life was over in 1802. He had to change his way of living, He did, and he was reaping the joy of life in a way: every note is an affirmation of hope,' Mr. Rowe said.
'In the Seventh, he had come to grips with his loss of hearing and emerged in triumph. Even the slow movement is a contemplation and not a tragedy.'
A memorial service for Mr. Rowe is planned Saturday, March 5, at 4 p.m. at St. Francis Episcopal Church, 9220 Georgetown Pike, Great Falls, VA, 22066.
Timothy Rowe is survived by four siblings: Judith R. Michaels of Hopewell, N.J., Randolph B. Rowe of South Egremont, Mass., Christopher G. Rowe of Concord, Mass., and Ellen H. Rowe of Storrs.
Mary Anna Schoenfeld, Red Cross worker
Mary Anna Schoenfeld of Heritage Village, Southbury, who lived in Ridgefield for nearly 50 years, died at Danbury Hospital on Feb. 7, 2005.
Mrs. Schoenfeld was born in Philadelphia Nov. 12, 1926, daughter of the late Hans C. and Mary Pennypacker Duus. She grew up in Wilmington, Del., and graduated from Antioch College with a degree in business and sociology. She married Charles W. Schoenfeld in 1949 and in 1956 settled in Ridgefield, where she lived until 2003, the year her husband died.
She worked for many years for the Western Connecticut chapter of the Red Cross. She was a longtime member of the Danbury branch of the American Association of University Women, for which she served as president in 1989-1991 and 1999-2003.
Mrs. Schoenfeld is survived by a daughter, Lynn Abrahamson of South Windsor; two sons, Steven Schoenfeld of Thomaston and Martin Schoenfeld of Trumbull; a sister, Louise Duus of Franklin Park, N.J.; a brother, Peter Duus of Stanford, Calif.; and three grandchildren.
Contributions in her memory may be made to WECAHR, 211 Main Street, Danbury, CT 06810 or to Devil's Den Nature Conservancy, 33 Pent Road, Weston, CT 06883.
Private funeral services will take place at the convenience of the family.
Green Funeral Home, 57 Main Street, Danbury, is in charge of arrangements.
Valerie Casey, community leader
Valerie Dyer Casey of Main Street, who was active in Ridgefield community and volunteer work for a half-century, died on Saturday morning, Feb. 5, 2005, at Danbury Hospital. She was 87 years old and the widow of William H. Casey.
Mrs. Casey was born in New York City, daughter of the late Roy E. and Mary Wilson Dyer. She was raised and schooled in Montreal, Canada, where her father worked as a commercial artist with an advertising agency.
As a young woman, she returned to New York City as a fashion model. She met her future husband through a mutual friend at Lehigh University. They were married on May 3, 1939 in St. Patrick's Cathedral and honeymooned at the Cobb's Mill Inn in Weston. Early in their marriage, the couple lived in Forest Hills, Queens, and later moved to Kent and then Danbury.
The Caseys came to Ridgefield in 1948 when they bought a small fuel oil company from John Leahy, renaming it Casey Fuel. Mrs. Casey remained an active adviser to the business throughout her life.
Mrs. Casey was a volunteer in many community organizations. She was a member and past president of the Caudatowa Garden Club, was on the board of the Ridgefield Thrift Shop, served on the Parks and Recreation Commission, was on the board of the Ridgefield Boys and Girls Club, and worked with the Girl Scouts. She was a member of Silver Spring Country Club and St. Mary's Church.
She was long active in the Visiting Nurse Association where she founded the Friendly Visitor Program and the volunteer driving program, and served many years on the board. 'She was a very visible presence at the agency,' said Helena Jedlinsky, chief executive director of the VNA. 'She was soft-spoken and her actions were always patient-focused. She was a remarkable lady.'
Mrs. Casey also enjoyed gardening and was an accomplished artist.
'She radiated beauty and lived a life of gentleness,' her family said. 'She treated everyone equally well -- it's something we all learned from her, her universal kindness.
'She will live in the hearts and minds of many people for many years.'
Mrs. Casey is survived by four children, Diane Brown of Brookfield, Michael D. Casey of Ridgefield, Laddie Casey of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Shaun Held of San Rafael, Calif. She also had seven grandchildren, Michael and Teddy Brown, Ford and Shane Casey, Laura Katie Casey, and Sophia and Annika Held; and three great-grandchildren, Joseph, Anna, and Rachel.
Mrs. Casey was predeceased by her husband, William, and her daughter, Kathleen Dervin Casey; and by two sisters, Audrey Dyer Kaine and Claire Dyer Audet.
The Rev. Paul G. Murphy, parochial vicar, celebrated a Mass of Christian Burial Wednesday in St. Mary's Church.
Burial was in St. Mary's Cemetery.
Contributions in her memory may be made to the Visiting Nurse Association, 90 East Ridge, Ridgefield, CT 06877
The Kane Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Louis 'Squash' Travaglini, dispatcher
Louis J. 'Squash' Travaglini of Ridgefield, a dispatcher whose deep, gravelly voice sent police to investigate countless crimes and crashes over nearly a half-century, died Friday, Feb. 4, 2005, at Danbury Hospital. He was 86 years old.
State police troopers used to say they could hear Dispatcher Travaglini's distinctive voice 20 miles away N without a radio. Rarely was he asked to repeat a transmission.
'Well, I guess they couldn't say, 'I didn't hear you,'' Mr. Travaglini said with a smile during a 1974 interview.
From 1942 until his retirement in 1990, 'Squash' was the main radio voice for the state police barracks in Ridgefield and then for the Ridgefield Police. He was one of the original dispatchers for the Connecticut State Police and was the first for the Ridgefield police.
A native of Ridgefield, Mr. Travaglini was born on Nov. 23, 1918, a son of Nazzareno and Domenica Camelloni Travaglini, who had immigrated from the province of Pesaro, Italy, a few years earlier. He grew up on Bailey Avenue, attended Ridgefield schools, and played both baseball and basketball at Ridgefield High School.
In 1938, he went to work at Troop A, the state police barracks in Ridgefield that is now the home of the Ridgefield Police. In those days, troopers lived at the barracks for days at a time, and Troop A was also a training center. The staff included a full-time chef and Mr. Travaglini was hired as the chef's assistant, helping prepare meals for 25 to 30 troopers and trainees three times a day.
In 1940, the training school moved to Groton and Mr. Travaglini was transferred to the Westport barracks. He returned to Ridgefield a year later as a custodian.
When radio communications came to the state police around 1942, Mr. Travaglini took the FCC examination then required to be a commercial radio operator. He passed and got the radio-dispatching job at Troop A, only to resign in June of that year to enter the Army in World War II.
As an infantryman, he was a 40-millimeter gun operator in the Fifth Division under General Patton in France, Luxembourg, and Germany. He was part of a D-Plus-Four landing at Omaha Beach.
After the war, he returned to the Connecticut State Police as a dispatcher with Troop A, which covered northern Fairfield County, and parts of New Haven and Litchfield Counties.
During his 36 years and eight months at the barracks, Mr. Travaglini was at the center of much excitement, handling communications in murder investigations, bank robber chases, plane crashes, and, of course, innumerable automobile mishaps (in official state police radio lingo, a car collision was a 'signal 10,' but Squash usually just called it an 'accident.')
Mr. Travaglini left the state police in 1974 when a centralized communications center was established in Litchfield to handle cruisers in all of western Connecticut. He wasn't interested in commuting nearly 40 miles to the new center.
Though he was not a policeman, Mr. Travaglini had a reputation for breaking in new troopers and showing them the ropes. 'More than a dispatcher, Squash was one of the best training officers the state police department ever had,' Lt. Jack Jones of Ridgefield, a former Troop A commander, said at Mr. Travaglini's 1974 retirement dinner, which was attended by scores of troopers and state police executives.
Ridgefield Police quickly took advantage of his availability. With Board of Finance approval, he was hired that year as the Ridgefield Police Department's first full-time dispatcher. He worked at first in the old police station in the town hall basement. In 1975, the police took over the renovated East Ridge quarters of Troop A, which had moved to Southbury, and he wound up in the same building in which he had already worked for 36 years.
As dispatcher, he communicated with patrol cars, but he also answered the department phones, dealt with walk-in customers, operated the computer systems, monitored prisoners when they were in the lockup, and handled the hundreds of burglar alarm systems connected to the station.
When he retired in 1990, a plaque in his memory was placed on the wall near his dispatching desk, honoring his half-century of police service. 'He gave his all for this town,' then First Selectman Sue Manning said at the plaque ceremony.
Mr. Travaglini was a member of the Italian American Mutual Aid Society, belonged to the Marquette Council Knights of Columbus, was an honorary life member of the Ridgefield Volunteer Fire Department, and served as an usher at St. Mary's Church.
Being called 'Squash,' Mr. Travaglini was sometimes confused with his brother, Aldo Travaglini, also known as 'Squash,' who operated the well-known news and stationery store on Main Street. (Some distinguished between the two by calling Aldo 'Big Squash' and Louis 'Little Squash.') Another brother, the late Eugene Travaglini, was also called 'Squash' when he lived in town.
Friends and acquaintances handed down the nickname to the Travaglini brothers, somewhat to the distress of their father, Nazzareno. He, too, had been called 'Squash' N it is not certain why N and he never liked it.
'He didn't go with it at all,' Dispatcher Travaglini recalled. 'He always said he was christened with a right name and he wanted it used.' His father even made Louis take the name 'Squash' off the back of an athletic jacket he'd once acquired.
'I don't mind it,' the son said of the nickname. 'A lot of people wouldn't know me by Louis.'
Besides his brother, Aldo of Goldens Bridge, N.Y., Mr. Travaglini is survived several nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.
Four sisters N Josephine Serfilippi, Leanna Santini, Franca Falcinelli and Theresa Rinciotti N and a brother, Eugene Travaglini, died before him.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Monday in St. Mary's Church,
Burial was in St. Mary's Cemetery.
Contributions in his memory may be made to the Ridgefield Fire Department Ambulance Fund, 6 Catoonah Street or to the Visiting Nurse Association, 90 East Ridge, Ridgefield 06877.
The Kane Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.