Archive for April 2015

Gresh, Michael B.

Michael B. Gresh, 85, of Avon, loving husband of Kathleen (Hawkes) Gresh, passed away peacefully Tuesday, April 28. Born in Unionville on January 2, 1930, son of the late Michael D. and Anna (Marek) Gresh. Michael graduated from Farmington High School in 1948. He was a United States Navy veteran of the Korean War. He worked as a refrigeration mechanic for the West Hartford Public Schools until his retirement. He was a longtime communicant at the Church of St. Ann in Avon. Besides his wife of fifty five years, he is survived by his daughter, Marykay Powers and her husband Robert; his daughter Cynthia Gresh; his son Brian Gresh and his wife Bethany; his five grandchildren, Samantha, Lily and Charlotte Powers and Mila and Alec Gresh; his sister Carol Sokel and her husband Jere; and many nieces and nephews. He was the loving brother in law to the late Kenneth Hawkes, Joseph Hawkes, Maureen Hawkes Gauba and Eileen Hawkes Vibert. He was predeceased by his twin brothers Rev. Edward Gresh and William Gresh and his two sisters Irene O’Malley and Margaret Mercuri. Friends may call at The Ahern Funeral Home, 111 Main Street, Route 4, Unionville on Friday, May 1 from 3:00-7:00 p.m. Funeral procession from The Ahern Funeral Home will be Saturday, May 2 at 12:15 p.m. followed by the Funeral Liturgy in the Church of St. Ann, Avon at 1:00 p.m. Burial with full military honors will be in St. Ann Cemetery, Avon. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Unionville Museum, 15 School St., Unionville, CT 06085 or to the Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County, P.O. Box 489, Wilton, CT 06897.

Leary, John M. “Jack”

Leary, JohnJohn “Jack” M. Leary, 60, of Lovettsville, Virginia, died Saturday, April 25, 2015, in Burlington, Connecticut. Jack was born October 23, 1954 in New York, NY, son of the late Daniel A. Leary and Elisabeth (Mullen) Leary; he grew up in Connecticut and spent much of his adult life in Litchfield. He received a BA in Political Science from Georgetown University, Washington DC, in 1976. Jack began his career in 1976 with Motorlease Corporation, his family’s fleet management company in Farmington, CT. He served the company for nearly forty years in various capacities, excelling in customer service and sales. He became President in 1988, and held that position until his death. He was a member of the Board of American Automotive Leasing Association (ALAA) from 1994-2015. He developed many strong friendships over the years with his colleagues and his clients, and will be remembered for his leadership, intelligence, and great sense of humor. He married Sara Miller in 2012, and found happiness in his new family life with Sara and her children, Megan and Jason Smallwood, in Lovettsville, and the vacation home they recently purchased in Paradise Island, Bahamas. As a young man, Jack was a talented and accomplished equestrian, competing at the national level in the sport of Combined Training. Later he lent his expertise as an official, and served the United Sates Eventing Association (USEA) in many capacities, including Chair of the Licensed Officials Committee, as well as the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), judging equestrian competitions across the US and internationally. In addition to equestrian, he had a fondness for bull mastiffs and especially his beloved dog “Freddy.” Jack was an avid historian and maintained an extensive library, with a particular interest in and vast knowledge about the American Civil War, Winston Churchill, and Margaret Thatcher. He enjoyed all sports, but especially was a lifelong fan of the New York Yankees, and his fondest memories included the many trips he took to Yankee Stadium over the years with his dad. Jack travelled extensively, and particularly enjoyed Singapore and the Bahamas. In addition to his wife and her children, he will be missed and lovingly remembered by his brother and sisters, Dan and Anne Leary III and of East Aurora, NY; Beth and Mike Kandrysawtz of Canton; and Pam Leary and Bob Neal of Burlington; as well as his nieces and nephews Dan IV, Meg, Nora, Conor, Kathy, Eliza, Peter, Julie, Caitlin, James, Jack, Samantha, Caroline and Elisabeth. He also leaves his former wife and good friend, Virginia Leary. His family will receive friends Wednesday, April 29 from 4-7 p.m. at The Ahern Funeral Home, 111 Main St., Unionville. Funeral procession from The Ahern Funeral Home will be Thursday, April 30 at 9:15 a.m. followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. in the Church of St. Mary Star of the Sea, 145 Main St., Unionville. Burial will be at the convenience of the family. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to the Relay For Life or McLean Hospice.

Peltier, Rita Blier

Rita Blier Peltier, 92, of Unionville, beloved wife of the late Robert J. Peltier Sr. to whom she was married to for 63 years, passed away peacefully Saturday, April 18, 2015. Born October 21, 1922 in Bristol, she was the daughter of the late Joseph and Roseanna (Corriveau) Blier. Rita retired in 1984 from Spencer Turbine in Windsor and was a longtime parishoner at the Church of St. Mary Star of the Sea in Unionville. She is survived by her three children, Marilyn Griffith-Creavy and her husband Alastair of Valdosta, GA, Robert J. Peltier and his wife Anne of Mooresville, NC, and Dennis Peltier and his wife Mary Ann of Roanoke, VA, her grandchildren, Kenneth R. Griffith and his wife Amy of Meriden, CT, Abby Peltier of Charlotte, NC, Julia Peltier of Roanoke, VA and John and Robert Peltier of Mooresville, NC and her great grandchildren, Emily and Lauren Griffith of Meriden, CT. The family would like to thank the staff of Avon Health Center for the wonderful care they provided to Rita for the past 11 years. The Funeral Liturgy will be celebrated Tuesday (Apr. 28) at 10:00am in the Church of St. Mary Star of the Sea, Unionville followed by burial in St. Mary Cemetery, Avon. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Children’s Cancer Fund at UCONN Medical Center, 10 Talcott Notch Road, Suite 100, Farmington, CT 06032.

Leeds, Dr. Barry H.

Barry H. Leeds, Ph.D., 74, of Bristol, died Wednesday, April 15, 2015. Dr. Leeds, CSU Distinguished Professor of English at CCSU, had taught at that institution for 47 years, since January 1968, and had a teaching career spanning over 52 years, including service at colleges and universities in New York City, Athens, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas. He had long been despondent over the death of his beloved daughter Leslie Lion Leeds in 1996, and he was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer. Dr. Leeds was the author of four books, including landmark studies of Norman Mailer (who he counted among his many friends) and Ken Kesey, along with his own autobiography, A Moveable Beast, and over two hundred articles in scholarly and popular journals and anthologies. He was most proud of his career as a professor, which he considered himself first and foremost, and for which he received the Distinguished Service Award in 1981. He was Editor-in-Chief of Connecticut Review, an interdisciplinary scholarly journal, from 1989-1992, and a member of its editorial board for over a decade, beginning in 1986. Born in Brooklyn, New York, December 6, 1940, Dr. Leeds joined the U.S. Merchant Marine at the age of 16, and served as a seaman on five freighters and tankers between 1957 and 1960. He earned his B.A. (1962) and M.A. (1963) from Columbia University in New York City and his Ph.D. from Ohio University in 1967. A member of the wrestling team at Columbia, Leeds practiced other avocations including weight lifting, karate, ballroom dancing, and SCUBA diving. He was a trophy-winning competition pistol shot, a Certified Range Officer at Metacon Gun Club, and had been Connecticut Director of Training for CQC (Close Quarters Combat), Inc. He was listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the East, Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in American Education, Contemporary Authors, Directory of American Scholars, Dictionary of International Biography, The Writers’ Directory, The International Authors’ and Writers’ Who’s Who, and other such reference works. Elected to the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1991, Leeds held a lifetime appointment in the CSU system as CSU Distinguished Professor, and was a member of numerous other professional organizations including the Norman Mailer Society (Vice President) and the American Association of University Professors (fifty years). Leeds is survived by his daughter, Brett Ashley Leeds, Ph.D. and his grandchildren, Gavin Leeds Woods and Julia Leeds Woods, all of Houston, Texas; his sister, Linda Field, a nephew Daniel Field, and niece, Sarah Field, of Peterborough, NH, and his mate and best friend, Janice O’Brien of Clinton, CT. He was predeceased by his daughter, Leslie Lion Leeds. Friends may call at The Ahern Funeral Home, 111 Main St., Rt. 4, Unionville on Sunday (Apr. 19) from 4:00-6:00pm. Funeral Services will be held Monday (Apr. 20) at 11:00am in The Ahern Funeral Home followed by burial next to his daughter Leslie in Burlington Center Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Barry H. Leeds Memorial Fund, c/o Farmington Bank, 1845 Farmington Ave., Unionville, CT 06085. The funds will be used to create a Dr. Barry H. Leeds Award at CCSU.Leeds, Barry

Taylor, Deborah M.

Taylor, DeborahDeborah Taylor, of Burlington, beloved wife of Wendell Taylor, died at home Sunday, April 12, losing her fifteen year battle with cancer. Deborah was a Journalism major at Northeastern University in Boston, where she graduated in 1977. She worked for PBS, local newspapers, and most recently at Barnes and Noble Booksellers. She will be remembered by all who knew her for her wonderful sense of humor, her encyclopedic knowledge, her love of reading and animals, her amazing cooking; her perseverance in the face of suffering, her New England stoicism and self-reliance, her loyalty to her children, her love for her husband, and her honest and human faith in her God. Deb has been an inspiration to her family and friends with her indomitable human spirit. Her family would like to extend thanks to Dr. Rathmann and the Oncology Department at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford, her friends, and her faith community at the Congregational Church of Burlington. Besides her husband, she is survived by her three daughters, Caitlin Taylor, Kelsey Thompson and her husband Brandon and Leah Taylor, her sister Victoria Ralston and her husband Robert Lawrence and her nephew, Addison. Deborah, fly with the angels and relish in the unspeakable joy of basking in God’s presence. Funeral Services will be held Saturday (Apr. 25) at11:00am in Burlington Congregational Church. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Deborah Taylor Memorial Fund, c/o Farmington Bank, 253 Spielman Highway, Burlington, CT 06013.

Kost, Martin R.

Kost, MartinMartin R. Kost, 60, of West Hartland, beloved husband of Roberta (Marinelli) Kost, passed away unexpectedly Tuesday, April 7th, 2015. Born April 2nd, 1955 in New Britain, he was the son of the late Edward and Anne (Marszalek) Kost. Martin was a graduate of Pulaski High School in New Britain. He was a construction foreman and retired from the Connecticut Laborers Union Local 230. He enjoyed walking his dogs in the Hogsback and Colebrook Reservoirs, loved wildlife, especially bird watching and fresh water fishing. He was a handyman, who enjoyed his home and working in the yard. Besides his wife, he is survived by his two daughters, Alison McCallum and her husband Jesse of Bristol and Kimberly Kost of Torrington, his two granddaughters, Victoria and Elizabeth McCallum, his three sisters, Marcia Kost of Bristol, Elaine Vale of Southington and Diane Osakowicz and her husband Steve of Berlin, his two best friends, Brandy and Leon and numerous extended family on both the Marinelli and Kost sides. Friends may call at The Ahern Funeral Home, 111 Main St., Rt. 4, Unionville on Friday (Apr. 10) from 5:00-8:00pm. The Funeral Liturgy will be celebrated on Saturday (Apr. 11) at 10:30am in Sacred Heart Church, 158 Broad St., New Britain. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the West Hartland Volunteer Fire Dept., 152 Center St., West Hartland, CT 06091 or to the East Hartland Volunteer Fire Dept., 34 South Rd., East Hartland, CT 06027.

Wolfe, Richard

Wolfe, RichardIt is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Richard Wolfe of Southington. In true Richard form, “Paw/Uncle Wolfie/Uncle Rich” left this earth on April Fools Day, 2015. Richard was born September 27, 1946 to the late John & Sophia (Manyak) Wolfe. He grew up in Unionville, CT and graduated from Farmington High School in 1964. He worked in several manufacturing fields throughout his life making cellar doors, slippers, clippers and springs. He could fix almost anything and loved explaining it to anyone who would listen (except, to his extreme frustration, his wife who has no concept of anything mechanical and whom he was convinced cannot run a can opener without him). Some of his favorite times were fishing at Crescent Lake, gardening, picking up sticks, tinkering, making maple syrup, feeding the birds, slot machines, scratchies, and teasing his family. If there was a group of children around, you would find him in the middle of everything, running the games at the annual Manyak Family reunions or the annual Easter Egg Hunt at Auntie Jill and Uncle Roger’s home. He realized his dream of owning a “farm” in Northern NY and spent 7 happy years there returning to Connecticut to care for family which was always his first priority. Richard is survived by his wife of 47 years, Karen (Jacobs) Wolfe, his daughter, Wendy Wolfe and beloved Grandson Christopher of Dickinson, NY, and his daughter Toni Anne and husband Jeremy Racine of Seal Cove, ME. He is also survived by his sisters, Cynthia Drake of Indiana, Joan & Al Murelli of Winsted, his brothers, William & Starr Wolfe of Bristol and Robert Wolfe of Florida, his sisters in-law & brothers in-law, Jill & Roger Parent, George & Marie Jacobs of Newington, and Annette Jacobs of Arizona. To his joy he had many wonderful nieces, nephews, great nieces & nephews and a new great great niece & nephew. The memories he made with them were talked about often. He made friends with everyone he met and leaves his special friends, Shirley & Sue Dancsak, Patty Rabis, Sue & Gus Lamb, and all his North Country NY friends. Richard was predeceased by his son Richard M. Wolfe, brothers James & John Wolfe, nephew Cullen Drake, brothers in-law Gordon Drake & Lee Jacobs Sr. Walk with the King until we meet again. We will miss you and continue to love you, M.T.Y.L.T.T. The Funeral Liturgy will be celebrated Saturday (Apr. 11) at 10:00am in the Church of St. Mary Star of the Sea, Unionville. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, 825 Brook St., I-91 Tech Center, Rocky Hill, CT 06067 or to the American Heart Association, 5 Brookside Drive, P.O. Box 5022, Wallingford, CT 06492.

Esthus, Donald Merritt

Esthus, DonaldDonald Merritt Esthus, beloved husband of Shirley J. Esthus, passed away Tuesday, March 31, 2015 at the age of 91. He was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan to Lyder and Ruth Esthus. He lived in Grand Rapids, Green Bay, WI; and Whitefish Bay, WI. He graduated from Whitefish Bay High School and entered Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI to study engineering. He completed two years as a civilian student and finished his last two years while in the Navy V-12 program. He graduated in 1944 with a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering degree. After graduation, he completed US Navy Midshipman School at Cornell University, becoming an Ensign. He attended the US Navy Diesel School at Cornell and after various other training, was assigned to the YMS 437 minesweeper as Engineering Officer, with duty in the Philippine Islands. Upon returning home, Donald was employed by the General Electric Co. on the Test Program. His assignments were in Erie, PA, Pittsfield, MA; and Schenectady, NY. In 1948 he married Shirley M. Jarvie of Pittsfield, MA. After completing the program, he was employed by the Graybar Electric Company, Inc., a nationwide distributor of electrical supplies. He lived in Cleveland and Toledo and worked as a salesman with accounts in northwest Ohio and in the City of Toledo. In 1954, he worked at a firm of architects and at a firm of consulting engineers in Syracuse, NY as an electrical designer. He became a licensed professional engineer in the State of New York and later in Connecticut and other states. In 1964 he moved to West Hartford to continue his career. He worked for several firms in the Hartford area and for a short time had his own business. Donald graduated from the University of Hartford in 1971 with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. In 1993 he moved to Farmington. He was a member of the faculty of Hartford State Technical College as a professor of Mechanical Engineering Technology from 1980 until his retirement in 1997. He graduated from Central Connecticut State University with a Master of Science in Technical Education in 1991. After his retirement, he worked in part-time positions as a designer of Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning, Plumbing, and Electrical Systems for buildings. He was a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church in West Hartford where he participated in the church activities by regular worship and teaching Sunday School. He was a member of the Committee of Boy Scout Troop 163 sponsored by Westminster Presbyterian Church and served in many capacities on the Committee. Besides his wife, he is survived by his sons, Gregory W. Esthus and his wife Marguerite of Simsbury, Bradley G. Esthus and his wife Jacqueline of Attleboro, MA, his daughter, Beverly Esthus Allard and her husband Carl of The Village of Loch Lloyd, MO, eight grandchildren, four great grandchildren and his sister, Janet Esthus Speicher of Urbandale, IA. He was predeceased by his son, David A. Esthus and his wife Nancy, and his sister, Barbara J. Esthus. A Memorial Service will be held Tuesday (Apr. 7) at 1:00pm at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 2080 Boulevard, West Hartford with Rev. Julie Emery officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in memory of his son David to Brain Injury Alliance of Connecticut, 200 Day Hill Road, Suite 250, Windsor, CT 06095.

Conrad, Kenneth Paul

Kenneth Paul Conrad, 74, of the Lake Garda section of Unionville, died on Thursday, April 2, 2015 at Hughes Health and Rehabilitation in West Hartford, CT. Kenneth was born in New Britain, CT, March 29, 1941, to the late Mary Carmen (Evans) Conrad and Wilbur Charles Conrad. He graduated from Farmington High School and for a time followed his father into precision machine tool work. In the summer of 1961, at age 20, Ken was in a rollover auto accident suffering a fracture of the spine and residual lifelong paraplegia. He spent a year in rehabilitation at Gaylord Hospital and was trained to walk with crutches and leg braces utilizing a “swing-through” gait, one of the few individuals in the state with paralysis from the waist down who was able to function independently. He drove a car with self-installed hand controls, lived independently in his own home until 2008, and worked in the home office of Aetna Insurance Co. from which he retired. He was mechanically gifted, an expert ship model builder, and creative and resourceful despite his severe disability. He was a lover of the sea from childhood, and owned two powerboats, Where Away, and Stormalong, berthed in Niantic, CT, in which he toured New England waters. Kenny’s lasting legacy will be his mentoring of the young men who served as crew menbers for him. Through him they learned basic seamanship, mechanical skills and duty to others. There is no surviving family. He was predeceased by his parents, and a sister, Carmen C. Bauer. Two families offered friendship and support to Kenneth over many years and mourn his passing—the Crombie family, formerly of West Hartford, and the Minerly family of Unionville. In his final years, as a resident of Hughes Health and Rehab, Ken expressed gratitude for the care he received from the staff, particularly, Richard McKee, Robin, Mirabel, Anna, Kisten, Neida, and Heidi, the nurse leader of the hospice team from Masonicare. At Mr. Conrad’s request, there are no services.