Charles “Charlie” M. Heck, 91, passed away peacefully at home in Farmington on Friday, November 25, 2011. Born on June 4, 1920 in Middletown, son of the late Charles and Bessie Heck and was a longtime resident of Bloomfield. Charlie served his country proudly for over 7 years as a US Navy Seabee during World War II in the South Pacific. He worked as a machinist at Underwood Corporation in Hartford. Charlie enjoyed his Corvette and Harley Davidson. He had been a long time member of the CT Corvette Club and served as President. In addition, he enjoyed riding his Harley, he and his wife Anita made several trips traveling across the country. Charlie leaves behind his longtime loving companion Ann Sauermann, two daughters Barbara Hammon of Florida and Carol Heck Medina of California, daughter-in-law, Judy Heck, several grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces and nephews as well as many friends. He also leaves his best friend, Tasha. Charlie was predeceased by his wife Anita Heck, son Charles Heck, and each of his brothers and sisters. Friends and Family are invited to attend a celebration of Charlie’s life at 32 Gabb Road, Bloomfield on Saturday, December 3, 2011 1:00pm – 3:00pm. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to a charity of the donor’s choice
Patricia (Titcomb) Dill, 79, of Avon, beloved wife of Hugh L. Dill Jr., passed away peacefully Monday, November 29, 2011 at the McLean Home in Simsbury. Born in Camden, ME on August 6, 1932, daughter of the late Harry and Gladys (Barter) Titcomb, Pat spent her childhood in Belmar, NJ. Pat graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.S. in Education and earned her M.A. from Central Connecticut State University. She was an elementary school teacher in Bristol where she lived most of her life. Pat was a very loving wife, mother and grandmother. She enjoyed gardening, cooking, and boating, but her greatest joy was being with her family. Some of her happiest times were spent over many summers on the ocean in Deer Isle, ME with her husband and daughter, and later with her son-in-law and grandchildren. Deer Isle was a special place for Pat and her family will always hold those memories dear. Pat was a member of St. James Episcopal Church in Farmington for over 40 years and served on the Alter Guild for many years. Besides her husband, Pat is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Cindy and Bob Rosenthal of Avon, her grandchildren, Jennifer Patricia Rosenthal of Canton and Michael Dill Rosenthal of Avon, her cousin Donna Billings of Deer Isle, ME, her sister and brother-in-law, Ray and Carolyn Schumann of Naples, FL, her sister-in-law, Barbara Gwillim of Littleton, CO and many nieces and nephews. Friends may call at The Ahern Funeral Home, 111 Main St., Rt. 4, Unionville on Thursday (Dec. 1) from 5:00-7:00pm. Funeral services will be held Friday (Dec. 2) at 10:00am in St. James Episcopal Church, Mountain Road, Farmington. Donations in Pat’s memory may be made to St. James Episcopal Church, 3 Mountain Road, Farmington, CT 06032 or to the McLean Home, 75 Great Pond Road, Simsbury, CT 06070.
Carol Janice (Waterman) Despres, 76, of Unionville, passed away peacefully Thursday (November 24, 2011) at Arden Courts in Farmington. Born December 15th, 1934 in Pawtucket, RI, she was a graduate of Hope High School and Katherine Gibbs College both in Providence, RI. Carol was retired from Aetna Insurance Company and spent most of her career in Advertising and Print Production. She is survived by her daughter, Karen Storms of Brandon, FL; her son and daughter-in-law, Wayne and Dawn Despres of Unionville; her three grandchildren, Amanda Storms of Southington and Dennis and Dustin Despres of Unionville; her sisters, Edith MacKendrick and Marjorie Klebes; and her brother Richard Waterman. Friends may call at The Ahern Funeral Home, 111 Main St., Rt. 4, Unionville on Thursday (Dec. 1) from 5-7 p.m
Frederic H. Bird, 89, of Avon, beloved husband of Jean (Whitney) Little Bird, passed away peacefully Wednesday, November 23rd. Born in Bala-Cynwyd, PA, February 1st, 1922, son of the late Benjamin N. and Anne (Jackson) Bird. He was a graduate of Episcopal Academy, Philadelphia, and Harvard University, Class of 1944. He later went on to earn his Master’s degree and taught Latin and Greek at Berkshire School before beginning a 33 year career with the Hartford Insurance Group. He was a United States Army Air Corps veteran of World War II. Fred loved playing golf, bridge, and bowling. Besides his wife, he is survived by his three children with his first wife Elsie, who predeceased him, Andrew Bird of Bridgewater, VT, Susan Wylie of Lyme, and Philip Bird of Wayland, MA; his two grandchildren, Sasha Bird of Wayland, MA and Matthew Bird of New York, NY; his siblings, Gene Ackerman, Anne Mayfield and Benjamin Lee Bird; and was predeceased by his brother, Jackson Bird. Also surviving are his step-children, Roscoe Conklin Little III of Virginia, Sarah Little Holcomb of New Jersey and James Whitney Little of New Jersey; and eleven step-grandchildren.
A Memorial Service will be held Saturday (Dec. 3) at 1:30 p.m. in Christ Episcopal Church of Avon, 35 Harris Rd., Avon. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to a charity of the donor’s choice .
Marie Mastronardi Coletti Charland, 92, of Farmington, passed away peacefully Wednesday, November 16th at her home. Born in Providence, Rhode Island, October 29th, 1919, she was one of ten children of the late Carmella and Dominic Mastronardi of Montalbano Jionico, Italy. In 1941 she married the love of her life, Anthony Coletti. She and Anthony opened Carol Florist in Providence, RI right after Anthony came home from the war. During this time tragedy struck with the passing of their 5 1/2 year old son Joey from cancer in 1960. After Anthony’s passing in 1976, Marie continued running the business for a total of 45 years. She was an extremely talented designer able to create the most intricate of designs. She married Raymond Charland in 1986. Raymond was a wonderful and loving husband for the next 14 years. After Raymond’s passing in 2000 she moved to Farmington to live with her daughter Anne-Marie, son-in-law Tim, and grandsons Logan and Mason until the present day. Marie was an avid golfer and a past member of Valley Ledgemont CC, Metacomet CC, Alpine CC, Louisquissett CC all of Rhode Island and the Country Club of Farmington. She was also a past member of the Catholic Women’s Youth League and played softball for the Girls Club of Providence. She was a strong minded, hard working woman who was an inspiration to all. Marie leaves her three daughters, Carole DeAngelis of Portsmouth, RI, Cathleen Rainey and her husband Larry of Portsmouth, RI, and Anne-Marie Portia Corbett and her husband Tim of Farmington, her sister Jeannette Andreozzi of Farmington, her brother, Anthony Mastronardi of East Greenwich, RI, eight grandchildren, 16 great grandchildren and her favorite Jack Russell Terrier “Terra”. Marie’s daughters would like to thank Amy’s Angels and the Farmington Valley VNA for the love and compassion they shared with their mother during the last days of her life. The Funeral Liturgy will be celebrated Wednesday (Nov. 23) at 10:00am in Holy Ghost Church, One Knight St., Providence, RI followed by burial in the family plot at St. Ann Cemetery, Cranston, RI. There will be no calling hours. Donations may be made to The Jimmy Fund, 10 Brookline Place West, 6th Floor, Brookline, MA 02445.
Richard “Dick” Leslie DuVerger Sr., 76, beloved husband of Gladys (Charboneau) DuVerger, ascended into Heaven during a beautiful sunset on Sunday November 13, 2011. Dick was born June 22, 1935 in Greenfield, MA, the son of Merle and Florence DuVerger. He served his country proudly in the Army during the Korean War. Upon his discharge he returned home where he met and fell in love with Gladys. They chose Hartford as their home where Dick had a long and distinguished career with the Aetna Insurance Company. Dick loved to read and watch westerns and was a huge fan of the “Duke”. He also liked to watch his Yankees play! Dick was active with Boy Scout Troop 105 in Hartford, a baseball coach for his sons and a member of the Loyal Order of Moose Chapter 723. In addition to his wife Gladys of 48 years, Dick is survived by his sons, Richard Jr. and his partner Roger, David and his wife Linda, Patrick, Kevin, Bobby and his wife Shamika and his daughter Nancy and her husband Raul all of Hartford and his brother Art and sister Paula. Dick has 13 grandchildren to whom he was devoted, Jay, Ashley, Lindsay, Breanna, Esther, Bobby, Johnathan, Kevin, Edward, Jacob, Janessa, Jomar and Honesty. Dick is also survived by his son Timothy and daughter Terry and their families from a previous marriage. Friends may call at The Ahern Funeral Home, 180 Farmington Ave., Hartford on Friday (Nov. 18) from 4:00-7:00pm. Services will be private at the convenience of the family. Memorial donations may be made in his name on behalf of his granddaughter Breanna to the Lupus Foundation of America, Connecticut Chapter, 270 Farmington Ave, Suite 218, Farmington, CT 06032.
Robert J. Matava, 90, of Unionville, passed away Friday, November 4th at his home that he built with his beloved wife Elizabeth “Bette” (Deegan) Matava. Born July 23rd, 1921 in Kerney, PA, son of the late Paul and Mary (Valigursky) Matava, he was a lifelong resident of Unionville. Bob was a highly decorated United States Marine Corps veteran of World War II, having served with distinction in the South Pacific area with the 3rd Marine Division, seeing harsh action in the following campaigns, Guadacanal, Bougainville and Guam, where he was twice wounded. Upon his return from the South Pacific, Bob established Edward Motor Service in Unionville in memory of his brother Edward who was killed in action on Iwo Jima. He was a member of the Iwo Jima’s Survivors Association. Bob was a founding member of the Iwo Jima Memorial in New Britain, a lifelong communicant at the Church of St. Mary Star of the Sea in Unionville, and a member of the VFW Post # 3272 in Avon. He is survived by his son, Robert D. “Skip” Matava of Unionville, his daughter Mary-Jo Matava of Unionville, his daughter, Patricia Matava Young and her husband Robert A. of Franklin, MA, his brother Jerry Matava and his wife Noreen of Burlington, three sisters, Sue Martin of Hyannis, MA, Bette and her husband George Lusis and Irene Bachman both of Port Orange, FL, and his grandchildren, Robert Joseph Matava of Arlington, VA, Christine A. Matava of New York City, Lindsay E. Young of Princeton, NJ, Robert A. Young Jr., and Colin R. Young both of Franklin, MA and several nieces and nephews. Bob fondly leaves many dear, close friends. The Funeral Mass celebrating Bob’s life will be held Thursday, November 10th (THE BIRTHDAY OF THE UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS) at 10:30am in the Church of St. Mary Star of the Sea, Main St., Unionville followed by full Marine Corps Honor’s at St. Mary Cemetery in Avon. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Marine Corps Family Foundation, 4000 Lancaster Drive NE Suite 57, Salem, OR 97309. Arrangements are being handled by The Ahern Funeral Home, www.ahernfuneralhome.com.
Dr. James O’Rourke, an ophthalmologist and researcher who helped found the vision research program at the University o f Connecticut Health Center, died on October 29, 2011 in Farmington. He retired in May 2011 from the UCONN Health Center where he was an emeritus professor of immunology. The author of more than 100 research articles on a wide array of topics, O’Rourke also established a close relationship with the Connecticut Lions Eye Research Foundation and served as director of the Connecticut Lions Vision Center for nearly 40 years. James Francis O’Rourke was born March 2, 1925 in Trenton, NJ. He attended the accelerated premedical program at Georgetown College and US Naval Unit during World War II and earned his medical degree from the Georgetown University School of Medicine in 1949. He received a M.Sc. as a postdoctoral fellow from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Medicine in 1952. From 1952-54 he was a resident surgeon at Wills Eye Hospital, a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness from 1954-57 and a trainee at Oak Ridge Institute of Nuclear Science from 1955-56. At Georgetown, with the help of a National Institutes of Health grant, he established the first ophthalmology residency program. From 1955-57 he was Chief of Clinical Research at NIH – Ophthalmology Branch and served as professor of Surgery in Ophthalmology at Georgetown Medical School from 1958-69. In 1969, UConn recruited O’Rourke for the nascent health center in Farmington. He became the first director of the health center’s ophthalmology division a position he held until 1988. Subsequent positions included professor of pathology, adjunct professor of surgery, and adjunct professor of engineering at Trinity College in Hartford. O’Rourke’s focus was on the tiny capillaries of the retina and how they reflect the health of the whole body. His research achievements included a “major discovery” that tissue plasminogen activator, the clot-busting protein given to stroke victims and widely known as tPA, is produced naturally under conditions of stress. “He constantly reminded us that our research should be translational, having as its central purpose the goal of advancing human health.” UConn Immunology Professor and Chair Leo LeFrancois Ph.D. wrote in a statement to the Health Center community on Tuesday. A passionate scientist who loved his work and mentoring new scientists, O’Rourke is a role model for students, faculty and former mentees who are researchers and physicians throughout the world. O’Rourke was a member of Sigma XI, the scientific research society and the Cosmos Club, a former Board Director of Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation, a Rotarian and a Paul Harris Fellow. In 1994, he was presented the Leader of Vision Award by the Connecticut Eye Bank and Research Foundation. His portrait was hung in the Department of Ophthalmology at Georgetown University in 1992. O’Rourke married the former Marita Howard in 1954. She survives him, as do his daughters Carol Troiani of Burlington, Elizabeth Doyle of Arlington, VA and Margaret Nowak of Spring, TX and eight grandchildren and a brother, Dr. William O’Rourke of E. Greenwich, Rhode Island. He was predeceased by a son, James Howard O’Rourke. A memorial service will be held at 11 am, Saturday, November 12, 2011 at St. James Church, Mountain Road, Farmington. Friends may visit with the family on Friday, November 11, 2011 from 4pm – 6pm at The Ahern Funeral Home, 111 Main St., Unionville. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Catherine Pope Vision Fund. Checks, payable to the University of Connecticut Foundation and marked for the Catherine Pope Vision Fund, may be sent to Mail Stop 3710, Department of Immunology, University of Connecticut Health Center, 263 Farmington Ave., Farmington, CT. 06030. Memorial donations may also be made to the Connecticut Lions Eye Research Foundation (CLERF), Inc., PO. Box 9268, New Haven, CT. 06533.
Lauren Mitchell-Simpson died peacefully Sunday evening at Hartford Hospital. Lauren was born in New Haven, to Jerome and Elizabeth Mitchell. She resided in Hamden, where she attended the Hamden School system. In 1978, she received her BA from Morgan State University. Lauren moved to Hartford, where she resided the last 15 years with her husband. Lauren is predeceased by her mother Elizabeth Mitchell. She is survived by her husband Gregory Simpson, her father Jerome Mitchell, her mother-in-law Mahala Simpson, her sister Deborah Mitchell, her uncle James Carr, and her close friend Shirley Bell, along with a host of cousins, other relatives and friends. Ahern Funeral Home located at 180 Farmington Ave., Hartford, will host the viewing Saturday, Nov. 5 from 9:00-11:00 AM, with the funeral immediately following. Flowers and condolences may be sent to the funeral home, www.ahernfuneralhome.com.