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Obituaries

Published 1:02 am, Wednesday, January 20, 2010
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BESSIE ALBERT

Bessie Albert, 86, of Fairfield, died Jan. 14, 2010.

She was the wife of the late Gilbert Albert; mother of Aaron Albert of Shelton, Bruce and Debbie Albert of Moodus, Neal and Lan Albert of Shelburne, Vt.; grandmother of Ashley and Mike Stringer, Elyssa Albert and Ming Yan; and sister of Ruth Lang of Coconut Creek, Fla. Albert is also survived by many nieces, nephews and their children.

She and Gilbert were founding members of Congregation Beth El and played an active role for many years. She devoted her life to her husband and children. A friend to all, she will be deeply missed by those who respected her for her kindness, sense of humor and compassion.

Funeral services took place Jan. 17 at the Abraham L. Green and Son Funeral Home, 88 Beach Road, Fairfield; interment followed at Rodeph Sholom Cemetery on Kings Highway in Fairfield.

HELEN CROSS BOUNTY

Helen Cross Bounty of Palm Desert, Calif., and Fairfield died Jan. 8, 2010, in Palm Desert.

Born in New Rochelle, N.Y., she resided in Stamford and Fairfield, before moving to Sun City -- Palm Desert, Calif.

She graduated from Stamford High School and the Parsons School of Design in New York City. Painting was her passion, and she studied watercolor painting in Connecticut and received many awards for her works. She loved to paint and travel with her husband, Herbert, who predeceased her.

Bounty is survived by her daughters, Doreen Pottios of Indio, Calif., and Sandra Wooster of Mountainside, N.J., four grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. She is also survived by many loving friends.

She will be buried next to her husband Herbert at Oaklawn Cemetery in Fairfield, in the summer of 2010.

In lieu of flowers, memorail donations may be made to the charity of one's choice.

HAROLD PETER `POP' CATUZZI

Harold Peter "Pop" Catuzzi, 85, the husband of the late Shirley A. (Godfrey) Catuzzi, died Jan. 16, 2010, in Fairfield, with his family by his side.

Born in New Jersey to the late Peter and Elizabeth Catuzzi, he was a U.S. Army veteran of World War II. He served in the Battle of the Bulge in Europe with the Battery A 334 Field Artillery Battalion 87th Division.

He was a longtime member and past commander (1965-1966) of VFW Post 9427 in Fairfield.

Prior to his retirement, he was a milkman at Wade's Dairy for more than 35 years.

Catuzzi enjoyed spending time at his lake house in Croyden, N.H., and at Moosehead Lake in Maine, as well as winters in Arizona. He was a "jack of all trades," always willing to lend a hand on any project.

He is survived by his four daughters, Patricia Ostrowski and her husband, James of Fairfield, Kathy Delaney and Kathy Hyatt of Fairfield, Joanne Molnar and her husband, Mark of North Carolina and Rita Catuzzi and her partner, Lee Mensay of Mesa, Ariz.; six grandchildren, Christine Ostrowski, Jim Ostrowski and Christopher Molnar, all of Fairfield, Debra Carroll and Clifford of Fairfield, Michael Molnar and his wife, Heather of North Carolina, and Adam Molnar and his fiancée, Jessica Serrato of Maine; six great-grandchildren, Steven Carroll, Delaney Carroll, Alexis Molnar, Rylan Molnar, Julianna Serrato and Sullivan Molnar.

He was predeceased by his grandson, Ronald Delaney, and his six siblings.

A Mass of Christian burial was celebrated Tuesday at St. Thomas Aquinas Church; interment followed in Oaklawn Cemetery, with full military honors. The family greeted friends Monday at the Shaughnessey Banks Funeral Home, 50 Reef Road, Fairfield.

Donations may be made in his memory to Project from the Heart, for Soldiers in Iraq & Afghanistan, 160 Fairfield Woods Road, Unit 35, Fairfield, CT 06825.

To send an online condolence, visit www.shaughnesseybanksfuneralhome.com

WILHEMIA (WILMA) CHRASCEL

Wilhemia (Wilma) Chrascel, 96, of Fairfield, died Jan. 15, 2010.

Born in Binghampton, N.Y., on Sept. 22, 1913, to the late John and Stephania Petranek Chrascel, she was raised in Europe and later returned to the U.S.

A resident of Fairfield for more than 60 years, she worked for Sikorski Aircraft, from which she retired. "Mushie" -- as she was known to family and friends -- enjoyed sewing, knitting and crocheting, and took great pride in caring for her home.

She will be remembered for her love of children, especially her nieces, nephews and the children in her neighborhood.

Survivors include her niece, Lorraine McCall and her husband, Larry; grandnephews, Ed McCall and Steve McCall and his wife, Jean Lee; great-grandnephews, Connor and Colin McCall; and her great-grandnieces, Maxine and Veronica McCall.

She was predeceased by her brother, Milan, and sisters, Mary Giessler and Anna Chrascel.

Funeral services will be held on Friday at 10:15 a.m. in the Lesko & Polke Funeral Home, 1209 Post Road, Fairfield, and at 11 a.m. in Holy Family Church, 700 Old Stratfield Road, Fairfield; burial will follow in Lawncroft Cemetery. Friends may call on Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. in the funeral home.

To sign an online register, visit www.leskopolkefuneralhome.com

GEORGE S. HARKINS w pic

George S. Harkins, 82, of Fairfield and Palm Beach, Fla., the husband of the late Jane L. Harkins, died Jan. 17, 2010, at his home of 40 years, with his family by his side.

Born in South Amboy, N.J., he was the son of the late James and Helen Harkins.

He joined the U.S. Navy and was on the USS Princeton during the end of World War II. After he left the Navy, he attended Seton Hall University, which he paid for with a GI loan and by starting his own hot dog road stand.

Upon graduation, he married his high school sweetheart, Jane. His first job was as a real estate broker for his father's firm, James A. Harkins and Son. After four years he took a position with The Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. in Hackensack, N.J., as a field appraiser and underwriter. In 1960, he made his next move to Connecticut to work for The Lomas and Nettleton Co.

In 1966, he was hired by the Dillingham Co., a Hawaiian-based corporation, to open up and manage an office in New York City. Four years later, he was recruited to start up HNC Realty, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hartford National Corp. This was the springboard for the eventual creation of the Westport Company, a REIT, for which he was chairman and CEO. Harkins retired from the company upon the sale and worked as a private developer until he fully retired.

An avid basketball and tennis player who was called "Biggie" in his youth, he continued to play basketball in the Navy. He continued to play tennis through his adult years, but this which eventually gave way to golf. He loved to travel and could often be seen on the dance floor with his wife of 58 years.

In 1974, Harkins received the School of Business Distinguished Alumnus award from Seton Hall. He was an early member of the Patterson Club, Fairfield University's President Circle, the Gaelic American Club of Fairfield and a longtime member of St. Pius X Church.

He is survived by his son, Timothy Harkins and his wife, Leslie of Virginia Beach, Va.; two daughters, Diane Brown and her husband, Steven of Wilmette, Ill., and Cindy Harkins of Fairfield; his grandchildren, Natasha Harkins, Ryan, Sara and Jennifer Brown, Kelly, Katherine, Matthew and Kimberly Harkins and Jared and Candace Wyman; his brother, Eugene Harkins and his wife, Patricia of Stratford; and his sister-in-law, Phyllis Cholewa of Orlando, Fla.

He was predeceased by two brothers, Robert and James.

Friends are invited to attend a Mass of Christian burial on Saturday, Jan. 23, at 9:30 a.m. at St. Pius X Church in Fairfield. Burial will follow in Oak Lawn Cemetery, with full military honors. Friends may greet his family on Friday, Jan. 22, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Shaughnessey Banks Funeral Home, 50 Reef Road, Fairfield.

Donations may be made in his memory to Sloane Kettering Memorial Cancer Center, Pancreatic Cancer Research, 1275 York Ave., New York, NY 10021.

To send an online condolence, visit www.shaughnesseybanksfuneralhome.com

CHARLES F. HARWOOD

Charles F. Harwood, 77, formerly of Fairfield, died Jan. 5, 2010, in Fresno, Calif.

He was the brother of John Harwood of Fairfield.

MARY KEHLER JENNINGS

Mary Kehler Jennings, 70, of Eutawville, S.C., and formerly of Westport, died Jan. 14, 2010, at her home.

She was born on Feb. 13, 1939, and lived in Westport until moving to South Carolina in 2001. The daughter of the late John Peter and Margaret Kehler of Southport, she was the wife of Robert E. Jennings.

May, or May-May as she was known to her friends and family, was a retired case worker for Westport-based Save the Children.

She is survived by her two daughters, Karen Jennings of Fairfield and Sharon Landowne and her husband, Gary, and their son, Justin of Exeter, N.H.; one son, Peter Jennings and his wife, Ruth, and their two daughters, Katelin and Emily of Westport; one sister, Gail Ford and her husband, Carl of Newtown; a niece, Holli Schleicher of Sarasota, Fla.; and a nephew, James Bonito of Venice, Fla.

The family will receive friends at The Harding Funeral Home, 210 Post Road E., Westport, on Thursday, Jan. 21, from 5 to 8 p.m. Graveside services will take place at the Greens Farms Upper Cemetery in Westport.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Save the Children or The American Cancer Society.

GERALDINE BUCEK KERR

Geraldine Bucek Kerr of Greenfield Hill in Fairfield died after a difficult year recovering from aortic aneurysm surgery and stroke.

She was the daughter of the late Eugene Bucek and Mary Bucek, and the sister of the late Eleanore Bucek of Bridgeport. She was the widow of the late Thomas Campbell Kerr, a pilot for American Airlines and a colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves.

Kerr, known to friends and family as Gerry, was a graduate of Warren Harding High School. She went on to complete her certifications as a registered radiology technician and medical transcriptionist. She was employed by the medical offices of radiologists Dr. Robert D. Russo and Associates for more than 50 years until her retirement in 2006.

Previously, she was an active volunteer in the Fairfield Public Schools and the Greenfield Hill Garden Club. She was also a member and supporter of St. Pius X parish, the Audubon Society and the Gaelic-American Club of Fairfield, as well as the St. Jude Society, the Humane Society, the Franciscan Friars and the parent organizations of Princeton University and the University of Virginia.

Kerr is survived by her daughters, Mary Campbell Kerr, M.D., of Los Angeles and Karolyn Ross Kerr, M.D., of Greenwich; and her grandchildren, Wyatt, Hudson and Campbell Godfrey and Ellie and Katie McIntyre.

A Mass of Christian burial was celebrated at St. Pius X Church in Fairfield on Monday; interment followed at Oaklawn Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Kerr's memory may be sent to the parent organizations of Princeton University and the University of Virginia and the Franciscan Friars.

Arrangements are under the direction of the Spear-Miller Funeral Home, 39 South Benson Road, Fairfield. To sign an online guest register, visit www.SpearMillerFuneralHome.com

WENDELL JOSEPH KUPEC

Wendell "Windy" Joseph Kupec of Fairfield died Jan. 14, 2010, at St. Vincent's Medical Center, Bridgeport, while listening to his favorite polkas. He struggled valiantly with complications from diabetes, determined to live and die on his own terms.

He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Mary Grace Cerulli Kupec; his oldest daughter, Lolly Kupec and son-in-lawm Ed Miller of Lake Tahoe, Calif.; his youngest daughter, Barbara Lynn Kupec DiFranco and son-in-law, Peter DiFranco of Fairfield; his son, Adam Kupec of Naugatuck; and two granddaughters, Kate DiFranco of Fairfield and Amy DiFranco of Stamford.

A decorated veteran of World War II who served in the U.S. Coast Guard as a rescue swimmer on a destroyer escort in the North Atlantic, Kupec was awarded the Navy & Marine Corps Medal for heroism after jumping into flaming waters to rescue survivors of a torpedoed ship.

He was born Oct. 8, 1920, in Coaldale, Pa., to the late Adam and Ernestine Chudy Kupec.

Kupec was predeceased by his brothers, Joseph, John and Frank.

He is survived by two brothers, Peter of Lansford, Pa., and Mike of Spring Hill, Fla.; and his sister, Mary Kupec Roman of Claymont, Del.; and many nieces and nephews.

A memorial mass will take place at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 23, in St. Andrew Catholic Church, 435 Anton St., Bridgeport. Internment will follow at Lawncroft Cemetery, Fairfield, with full military honors. Following the cemetery service, family and friends will gather for a reception and celebration of Kupec's life at his home, 58 Cherry Hill Road, Fairfield.

Memorial donations in honor of Kupec may be made to the American Diabetes Association.

Arrangements have been entrusted to the Lesko & Polke Funeral Home of Fairfield. To sign an online register, visit www.LeskoPolkeFuneralHome.com

ERWIN D. NIESYN

Erwin D. Niesyn, M.D., a long-time resident of Bridgeport, Fairfield and Stratford, died in Cape Coral, Fla., on Jan. 16, 2010, at the age of 83.

He was the son of June and Joseph Niesyn of Bridgeport, both Polish immigrants.

He relocated to Cape Coral, Fla., in 1999 with his second wife, Rosemary, after retiring to Georges Mills, N.H. Before retiring, he had a 45-year medical practice in internal medicine in both Bridgeport and Stratford, and was on the staff of Bridgeport Hospital during that time.

A graduate of Stratford High School in 1944, he attended Georgetown University, where he received both his undergraduate and medical degrees. He did his residency in internal medicine at both the West Haven Veteran's Hospital and Yale New Haven hospital.

Prior to college, Niesyn served in the U.S. Navy during World War II.

He was an active member of various local fish and game clubs, including Monroe Rod and Gun Club and Newtown Fish and Game, and was also a lifelong member of the American Medical Society.

His first marriage to Barbara Bytniewska Niesyn of Fairfield ended in divorce.

He is survived by his wife, Rosemary Niesyn of Cape Coral, Fla.; his children from his first marriage, David Niesyn of Bridgeport, John Niesyn of Fairfield, Betsy Scala of Fairfield and Joseph Niesyn of Novato, Calif. He is also survived by two granddaughters, Paige and Madison Niesyn of Novato, Calif.; and his half-brother, Henry Sofeico Jr. of Columbo, Sri Lanka.

Private services will take place at Fort Myers Gardens Funeral Home in Fort Myers, Fla.

CHARLES (CHASE) D. SMITH

Charles (Chase) D. Smith, 58, of Bridgeport, a former pilot for private charter aviations, died Jan. 5, 2010, in his home.

He is survived by his son, Charles D. Smith II and his companion, Jessica Natera of Fairfield; one daughter, Charlotte Denyse; two grandchildren, Spencer Natera-Smith and Sage Natera; two brothers, Donald and Michael Smith; and several nieces and nephews.

A memorial mass was celebrated in Holy Family Church, 700 Old Stratfield Road, Fairfield, on Tuesday. Interment was private.

Arrangements have been entrusted to the Lesko & Polke Funeral Home of Fairfield. To sign an online register, visit www.LeskoPolkeFuneralHome.com