Published 1:01 am, Wednesday, January 20, 2010
NOAL THOMAS CLARK
Noal Thomas Clark, 70, of Sugar Land, Texas, formerly of Westport, died Jan. 13, 2010, following a long illness.
Born April 16, 1939, in Reno, Nevada, he graduated from Stanford University in 1961 with a degree in history.
A lover of all sports and an avid reader, he had a quick wit and an optimistic approach to life. His demeanor was calm, rational, accepting, realistic and non-judgmental. He will always be remembered for his courage and will to survive despite devastating health challenges.
Clark was preceded in death by his parents, Noal Ford Clark and Blanche Inez Punty Clark.
He is survived by his wife of 28 years, Betty Clark of Sugar Land, Texas; four children, Capt. Martin Clark and his wife, Christine of Pensacola, Fla., Kimberly Lawrence and her husband, Scott of Tucson, Ariz., Shawn
Clark and his wife, Tawania of Pueblo, Colo., and Gentre Bradford and her husband, Reed of Mamaroneck, N.Y.; along with numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
A memorial celebration of his life was held Jan. 16 in the Chapel of Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, 16655 Southwest Freeway, Sugar Land, Texas.
Born on Jan. 27, 1923, in Chicago, Ill., she grew up in Evanston, Ill., where her father was a Chicago plumbing contractor and building owner. She graduated from Evanston Township High School in 1941 and attended a local community college. She was an early convert to the Christian Science religion.
After a brief marriage, which produced her only daughter, Arlene Tarson, she divorced. Her father had given her a convertible Buick upon graduation, which she sold and headed off to Europe, typical of her independent streak. She became a newspaper correspondent for The Chicago Tribune and wrote travel-related stories under the name Jan Peters as she toured around Europe in her small Fiat in the early 1950s. She became friends with Maurice Chevalier, W. Somerset Maugham and the Italian race car driver Count Giovanni Lurani, who offered to marry her, among others.
By the mid 1950s, she returned to Evanston, Ill., then decided to move east. She packed up her small Fiat 500c Belvedere and headed out. She had never been to New England but knew of a Christian Science School for her daughter in Stamford, and so headed there. She bought and rebuilt several houses in Stamford. In 1958, she met her future husband, Arie van Harwegen den Breems, also known as Arie van Breems or Den, as they both attended the Stamford Christian Science Church.
Den was born in Vlaardigen, The Netherlands, on Dec. 13, 1905. When the family shipping and fishing business failed, he was shipped off to Indonesia after he finished his schooling at the Rotterdam University of Economics. He became an accomplished sailor, racing 6M yachts, and was successful in business, heading Far East sales for the large Dutch-owned trading firm, Lindeteves Stokvis. In the late 1930s, he moved back to Holland and Germany to head the sales effort for Stokvis in Germany, as it became difficult for the firms Jewish principals to do so.
He managed to buy the principals of the firm out of concentration camps, got them out of Europe, then returned to Indonesia, only to sense that things were going to end up badly there also. He flew to the United States shortly before the Japanese takeover, which resulted in the death of virtually all the remaining Dutch countrymen. During and after World War II, he ran the successful import/export trading firm, French/Van Breems, out of the Chrysler Building, with his partner, Jesse French. In the late 1950s Den ran his own sales firm. He also commissioned some of the first large fiberglass sailing yachts, including the Block Island 40, and imported many Dutch-built sailing and motor yachts up to the 1980s. Jan worked closely with him on the decorating and outfitting of these yachts in the early years.
Jan and Den moved to Westport in 1962 when they bought Laurel Lodge, a 1918-era stone Tudor style house designed by Van Pelt on the Saugatuck River. Den adopted Arlene, and she became a van Breems. Arlene graduated for Columbia and, like her mom, became a journalist, first for The Los Angeles Times, then for CBS.
Jan became active in politics and, in 1964, was the head of Republican Womens Club of Wesport. She was also on the board of the Westport Country Playhouse. The family was all active sailors and members of Cedar Point Yacht Club in Westport. Later on, both Den and Jan enjoyed cruising on their 47-foot motor yacht, which Jan owned up to her death. Jan also enjoyed cross country skiing, and the family made several trip up to Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vt.
As their art collection of old masters and impressionist-era paintings grew, Den (together with his son, Arie) became an art dealer. Martin van Breems, their younger son, carried on the boat business, now known as Sound Sailing Center in Norwalk.
Jan spent much of the rest of her life rebuilding and adding on to Laurel Lodge. The many projects that she designed and built herself include a large pool house and many terraces and walkways. She primarily built with concrete, and her cement mixer was one of her favorite possessions. Well into her 80s, she still could be found up on the roof fixing the tiles.
An ardent conservative, Jan became active in the John Birch Society, which had a Westport chapter, and was responsible for many letters to the editor and articles. A lifelong Christian Scientist, she was also active in the Christian Science Church in both Westport and Norwalk.
When her older son came down with an apparent case of polio that infected several students at Daycroft, the Christian Science School that Arlene had also gone to, which now was in Greenwich, she moved her family down to Key Largo, Fla., for part of the winter. By the spring, Arie was almost completely back to normal.
After the death of her husband on Dec. 19, 1993, she turned most of her attention to personally managing her own investments, and would often research and execute several trades a week. She was successful as an investor, perhaps in part due to her contrarian streak and her suspicion of big business and government information.
Jan is survived by her three children, Arlene van Harwegen den Breems of Los Angeles, Arie den Breems of Amsterdam, Holland, and Martinus van Harwegen den Breems of Redding; along with 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will take place at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 23, at Redding Congregational Church, 25 Cross Highway, Redding.
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.shaughnesseybanks
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.
ELIZABETH `BETTY ANN' WIMSATT KIESTER
Elizabeth "Betty Ann" Wimsatt Kiester, 82, a long-time Westport resident and founder of Creative Windows, died Jan. 14, 2010, after a long and graceful struggle with Alzheimer's disease.
She was born in Owensboro, Ky., on April 6, 1927, the daughter of Robert P. Wimsatt and Ethel Smith Wimsatt. She had two sisters, Roberta and Emily, and three brothers, Thomas, Philip and John.
Growing up in Owensboro, Ky., Betty Ann Wimsatt sang in a trio with her sisters -- first during intermissions at the local moviehouse, then at parties held for departing World War II soldiers. At age 18, with her mother's encouragement, she moved to Pittsburgh, Pa., to attend the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, but was soon snapped up by the art department of the Star-Telegraph newspaper (in part, she was later told, because she was so pretty). Betty Ann loved city life and took full advantage of the cultural opportunities it offered, from dance to opera, to exotic foods like bagels. She became famous among friends and colleagues for her fashion sense, using her then princely $28-a-week salary to indulge in the latest colors and styles. By her own admission, she bought way too many shoes.
She met Edwin Kiester, a young reporter at the paper, and they were married in 1953. Shortly after they were married, Ed took a magazine editor's job in New York City, and the couple moved to the international creative hub of Greenwich Village. They flourished in the 1950s, spending time with their many writer/artist friends and attending plays, concerts and exhibits.
In 1956, they moved to the "artsy" bedroom community of Westport to raise a family. The couple built and resided in one of the first modern Tech-Built homes in Westport and spent summers in Wellfleet, Mass.
Inspired by her own fine sense of design, Kiester in 1973 founded Creative Windows, a Westport-based custom window treatment and interior design business. For more than 25 years, she was a mentor and a highly respected resource to many decorators and designers in Fairfield County and New York City. Her work was frequently featured in national design and decorating magazines.
Kiester's abiding interests were her family and wide circle of friends. True to her Southern roots, she relished the opportunity to tell a colorful story or engage in a spirited conversation. An adoring mother and grandmother, she was known for her love of entertaining. She readily welcomed friends, whether it was for a spontaneous home-cooked dinner or for her legendary annual Christmas party. Her pies were known to be the best north of the Mason-Dixon.
Well-traveled and well-read, one of her favorite pastimes was to take The New York Times to Compo Beach on a sunny day, and rejoice in the beauty of Westport's coastline.
She was predeceased by her daughter, Ann Curtis Kiester, and three of her siblings.
She is survived by her son, Philip Reaves Kiester; daughter-in-law, Gail, and grandsons, Doug and Kevin of Charlottesville, Va.; her daughter, Amy Kiester Leonard, son-in-law, Rick Leonard, and grandchildren, Lizzie and Charlie of Westport; and daughter, Elizabeth (Bitsy) Walton Kiester, Ann's twin, of Siem Reap, Cambodia.
A funeral mass will be held at Assumption Church in Westport on Saturday, Jan. 23, at 3 p.m., with a reception to follow at Earthplace, the former Nature Center, in Westport.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Staples Tuition Grants in care of the Ann Kiester Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 5159, Westport, CT 06881-5159; or Masonicare Home Health and Hospice in Norwalk.
HELEN STONE KINGSBURY
Helen Stone Kingsbury, 84, of Pelham, N.Y., died Dec. 30, 2009.
She is survived by her husband of 60 years, Richard W. Kingsbury; her daughters, Gayle K. Ferencz of Westport and Cynthia Cristofaro of Eastchester, N.Y.; her niece, Judy Hess of Langhorne, Pa.; and five grandchildren, Matthew, Alex, Jesse, Gwen and Chris.
She was the daughter of the late Joseph and Nelle Stone, and sister of the late Mary Alice Bogardus. A longtime member of the Pelham community, she was active in the Manor Club, the Bronxville Anne Hutchinson Chapter of the DAR, where she served as chaplain, and the Huguenot Memorial Presbyterian Church.
In her youth, she attended Southern Seminary and the Julliard School of Music. Kingsbury was a talented musician who taught piano lessons in Pelham, N.Y., for many years. She shared her talent playing the piano and organ at many musical events at Huguenot Memorial Church, the Manor Club and the DAR. She will be missed by her family and friends.
Services took place Jan. 2, at the Huguenot Memorial Church, Pelham, N.Y., followed by a short reception. Interment was at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, N.Y.
Loren Troy, 90, a World War II veteran and lifelong resident of Westport, died Jan. 16, 2010, at Danbury Hospital.
Born March 31, 1919, at his home in Westport, he was a son of the late Edward and Theresa (Belanger) Troy.
Troy was employed for 31 years with the U.S. Postal Service. He retired on Sept. 2, 1983, as a supervisor. He was a former president of the American Postal Workers Union.
A graduate of Staples High School, class of 1937, he is a former bowler, avid tennis player and loved to go clamming.
He played semi-pro ice hockey for a team in Norwalk at the Crystal Ice Rink. During the 1930s, Troy worked several summers at the Westport Country Playhouse. He is a U.S. Army veteran of World War II.
Survivors include five sons, Kevin M. Troy of New York City, Kerry L. Troy of Nederland, Colo., Khris R. Troy of Boulder, Colo., Kent H. Troy and his wife, Jenifer, and K.J. Troy and his wife, Nisargo, both of Nederland, Colo.; seven grandchildren, Sarah, Zach, Paul, Owen, Jason, Jonas and Anais; and his former wife, Kathleen Todd of Westport.
Troy was predeceased by three brothers, Edward, Harold and Vincent Troy.
The family will receive friends in The Harding Funeral Home, 210 Post Road E., Westport, at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 21. A funeral service will take place at the funeral home at 11. Interment will follow in Willowbrook Cemetery, Westport.
Memorial contributions in memory of Troy may be made to the Connecticut Humane Society, 455 Post Road E., Westport, CT 06880.