Ruth Francis Wardwell Harris, age 81, of East Hampton, Connecticut, entered into eternal peaceful rest on Friday, May 1, 2020, at Middlesex Hospital. Ruth was born in Castine, Maine on October 8, 1938 and grew up in Penobscot, Maine. She graduated from George Stevens Academy High School in 1956. She was employed as a computer key punch operator at St. Regis Paper Company in Bucksport, Maine and Adleys Trucking Company in New Haven, Connecticut. She worked for the town of Madison in the Town Clerk’s office and held the position of Town Clerk for Madison from 1984 to 2004, where she meticulously tracked public records with her lovely handwriting and attention to detail.
In 1959, she met the love of her life, Lee M. Harris, a young handsome cadet at the Maine Maritime Academy. They were married in 1961 in Penobscot, Maine. They settled in Morris Cove in New Haven, Connecticut, where they purchased their first home and started their family. In 1970, they moved to Madison, Connecticut, where they raised their children. They were involved in the Daniel Hand Parent’s Football Club, attended numerous New England Patriots games (with legendary tailgate parties), attended many productions at the Goodspeed Opera House and spent time with family in Maine. In 2005, they moved to East Hampton, Connecticut to be closer to their grandchildren, following the passing of their son.
Ruth was extremely creative. She was an accomplished cake maker, seamstress, and counted cross-stitcher. She adored flowers and gardening and was an excellent cook, creating many delicious family and holiday meals. In her later years, she became interested in genealogy, tracking the roots of the Wardwell and Harris families, and became a proficient scrapbooker, creatively recording family memories. She was a member of Eastern Star, Rising Sun Order #107, the Connecticut Town Clerks Association, and Trinity Episcopal Church.
Ruth was predeceased by her parents, Elliott Wardwell and Ellen Gross Wardwell; brothers, Dana Wardwell and John Wardwell; sister, Lois Wardwell; and son, Christopher M. Harris. She is survived by her husband, Lee M. Harris of East Hampton, CT, daughter, Vicki Harris Schumann of Preston, CT; daughter-in-law, Carla Myers Harris of South Glastonbury, CT; four grandchildren, Jessica Schumann Ragozzine and her husband, Kenneth Ragozzine, Joshua Schumann and his fiancé Chasetty Caez, Brandon Harris and Lydia Harris; great-granddaughters, Isabella and Rosalee Ragozzine; numerous nieces and nephews; as well as her beloved bichon frise, Madison (Maddie).
Due to present social distancing, a graveside and memorial service will be held at a later date. Memorial contributions can be made in her name to the Connecticut Humane Society, 701 Russell Rd, Newington, CT 06111.
The Portland Memorial Funeral Home, 231 Main St, Portland, is in charge of arrangements.
Russell F. Freitag, 73, of Glastonbury, CT, husband of Debra L. Freitag, passed away on May 6, 2020.
Born on 11/20/1946, he was the son of Russell E. Freitag and Dorothy E. (Foss) Freitag.
Russ was retired from the Internal Revenue Service. Formerly of West Haven and Durham, CT, Russ graduated from Quinnipiac College and Cal State San Bernadino, CA. He taught High School History in San Bernadino for a few years before moving back to Connecticut. He worked for the Railroad for twenty years. He then went on to get his Accounting Degree, passed the CPA Exam and was hired by the IRS. He received many Manager Awards and upon his retirement received the “Albert Gallatin” Award.
Russ had many interests, music, sports and swimming. Traveling and reading were his passions. His favorite place in the world was Venice. He was happiest when planning a trip. His books were his comfort and solace, especially after becoming ill.
He leaves his wife Debra Freitag; son Charles Stannard Freitag; step-daughter, Valerie Brown, her husband Gerald Brown, Jr. and their children, Mya and Cole; step-daughter Amy Catino, her husband Daniel Catino and their Danyiala and Cole. He was predeceased by his brother, Frederick Freitag. He leaves his sister Anne Siena of Lake Worth, Florida; also several sister and brother’s in-law and nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be private. The Portland Memorial Funeral Home, 231 Main St, Portland, is in charge of arrangements.
Laura (Laurie) J. Peterson, 58, of Portland, CT, passed away Wednesday, May 6th after a courageous battle with brain cancer. She was born September 30, 1961 in Palmer, MA and was predeceased by her mother Patricia Gaffney and Stepfather James Gaffney.
Laurie started her career at Liberty Bank in 1982 as a Teller Trainee, moved on to be an Assistant Branch Manager and ultimately earned a top role in the Liberty Bank branch network as Vice President, Branch Manager. Her long, successful and impactful career with Liberty included roles in the Washington Street office, East Hampton branch, Cromwell-Willowbrook location and eventually settling in as the longtime leader of the Portland office – making her one of only four bankers to manage that branch since it opened in the 1960’s.
She was elected Assistant Treasurer by the Board of Directors in 1989, graduated from the Connecticut School of Finance & Management in 1993 and was a dedicated volunteer with the Middlesex United Way.
Laurie’s greatest joy in her life was being a wife to Eric of 20 years, and a mother to Cole. Her favorite pastime was watching Cole play little league, high school, travel and college baseball. Laurie shared a special bond with her General’s baseball family. She was an avid gardener and a wonderful cook. She found her peace and solitude on Cape Cod, enjoying breathtaking sunsets at Mayflower Beach with a vodka tonic, overflowing lobster rolls at Sesuit Harbor Café, and tending to her hydrangea bushes at her Cape Cod home.
She is survived by her husband and best friend Eric; adored son Cole; stepdaughter Hannah Peterson of Ocean Gate, NJ; sister Deborah Landry and husband Tony Shurr of Golden, CO; sister in law Carrie Peterson of Locke, NY; brother in law Matthew Peterson of Cleveland, OH; her uncle Wayne Jodoin and wife Barbara of Beaufort, SC; many dear friends, special customers and longtime fellow employees.
Due to current circumstances a celebration of Laurie’s life will be held in the near future. Family will gather privately for burial at Swedish Cemetery in Portland. In lieu of flowers, donations in Laurie’s memory can be made to the Portland Food Bank, 7 Waverly Ave, Portland, CT 06480. The Portland Memorial Funeral Home, 231 Main St, Portland, is in charge of arrangements.
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Lyra Bray, beloved wife of Keith Bray, on May 15, 2020. Born in Bristol, CT on Sept. 6, 1982, Lyra is the daughter of Kim (Thibodeau) Damboise of Bristol, CT and Dwayne Damboise of Torrington, CT.
Besides her devoted and supportive husband, she also leaves behind her three amazing daughters Alexia, Savanna, and Areia, as well as her wonderful father-in-law Mel Bray, with whom she and her family resided, and who always kept her laughing.
Lyra is also survived by a host of family members, including her younger sister Teala Damboise, with whom she shared a special bond, and her loved sister Tasha, as well as her former husband Charles Luciuk, and her former mother-in-law, Marylin, and sister-in-law, Kimberly and several aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews. She had a special place in her heart for her mother-in-law, Deirdre Bray, who preceded her in death. Her step-father Paul and nephew Nathan also held a special place in her heart.
Lyra’s heartfelt passion and joy in life centered around her loving daughters, whom she adored, and whom she encouraged to be uniquely themselves. She took great delight in their silliness, antics, activities, and accomplishments. She helped them with their schooling, their interests, and volunteered at their school activities. Lyra wanted nothing more deeply, than to give her girls a good upbringing, and a good life, so that they could soar and follow their dreams. She cherished their annual beach vacation at Hawk’s Nest, where they shared family activities and fun and frolic on the beach and in the ocean. Simply put, she loved being with her girls, and doting on them. Second only to her family, was her love of all creatures. She was a protector of all animals, large and small, and had a houseful of pets over the years, including her bearded dragon, and a host of cats and dogs. She has passed her love of animals to each of her children.
Over the years, Lyra held various positions including working as a child-care worker, a vet tech and as a Senior Account Executive for a home security company.
Due to the Corona Virus restrictions, services will be private. A memorial in her memory will be held at a future date. Memorial contributions in Lyra’s memory may be made to the Dakin Humane Society by going to their website www.dakinhumane.org. The Portland Memorial Funeral Home, 231 Main St, Portland, is in charge of arrangements.
Mark Royce passed away peacefully at home after a short hard fought battle with cancer surrounded by his loving and loyal family. Mark is predeceased by his father William Royce and his only son Mark Royce Jr of East Hampton. He leaves behind his best friend and wife Kim Royce of 29 years from Portland, his 3 daughters Ashley Royce and Floyd Hardges, Amber Minas and husband Ron Minas, and Samantha Royce and her fiancé Christopher Caffrey. He will be remembered and loved by his 8 grandchildren, Kaylee, Markie, Brandon, Floyd, Alexa, Liliana, Greyson and Scarlett who were the spotlight of his life. He also leaves behind his mother Honey Taylor of East Hampton, brothers Keith and Todd Royce, Billy and Raymond Langmade, sister Karen Hudak and partner Dominic LaMonte, his mother in law Cecelia LaPlant and many nieces and nephews.
Mark grew up in East Hampton and loved hunting and fishing with his father, brothers, and friends. Other than hunting and fishing Mark loved watching Uconn Basketball and was the Patriots number 1 fan. He devoted his weekends to his family with many picnics, intense corn hole competitions, and loud enthusiastic Sunday football games at home. Mark had a love for German Shepards especially his boy Henry and little girl Sydney.
Marks family will keep his memory alive by continuing the weekend shenanigans.
“Rest in Peace Papa, we will miss you”
A graveside service will be held at Saint Mary’s Cemetery, Saturday June 6th at 10 am with social distancing. The Portland Memorial Funeral Home, 231 Main St, Portland, is in charge of arrangements.
William Anderson Darrow, Jr. “Bill” passed away on Saturday, May 30th. He was the son of William and Mabel (Blore) Darrow, born on April 26, 1946. Bill always said his dad, Willie, was his mentor.
Bill was drafted and served in Vietnam in 1968 and 1969. After his service he married Linda Mazzotta and they had two sons, Jason and Justin. Jason and wife MikYong have a son, Ryan. Justin has a daughter, Mya, and son, Cole.
Later Bill married Nancy Combe and they had a daughter, Katie, and son, William Benjamin (Billy). Katie Wesseling has a son, Chase. Billy and wife Stephanie have a daughter, Harper.
Bill worked for a cement boat works in Portland and then Rapidprint. He was the Vice-President of Goss & DeLeeuw for years, a job he loved. After that he was a consultant for a company in Hartford.
Bill has good memories with many friends, Nancy O’Neil, Tony Morelli, Carrie, Tammy, Al, Jeff, Brenda, and Jerry to mention a few. Bill’s friend and confidante was Nancy Darrow Croft.
Bill also leaves his sister, Nancy Darrow Sbona, his nephew, Jeffery Sbona, and niece, Cherie Bolton, and was predeceased by his sister, Florence.
Funeral services and burial will be private in Pine Grove Cemetery, Middletown, with full military honors. The Portland Memorial Funeral Home, 231 Main St, Portland, is in charge of arrangements.
Marion O’Leary Kollias, 97, of Glastonbury, former long-time resident of Portland, Connecticut, passed away peacefully at home the evening of May 30th.
Marion is survived by and will be dearly missed by her beloved husband of 68 years, Paris Kollias, her two daughters, Diane (Kollias) Bascom, and her husband, Donald, and Marlene Kollias, of Portland, her son, Paul Kollias, of Tuftonboro, NH and her two grandchildren, Katie and Brian Bascom, who were the light of her life. She will also be dearly missed by her many nieces and nephews.
Marion was born in Worcester, MA, November 24, 1922, the fourth of nine children, to Dennis and Julia (Shea) O’Leary. She was predeceased by her sisters, Eleanor (O’Leary) Aslanian of Worcester, MA, Lillian (O’Leary) Fontaine of Millbury, MA, Mary (O’Leary) Collins of Crystal City, VA, Margaret (O’Leary) Nootenboom of Springfield, VA, Catherine (O’Leary) Ritchie of Worcester, MA, Anne O’Leary of Worcester, MA, Jean O’Leary of Worcester, MA and her brother, Henry O’Leary, of San Diego, CA.
Marion was educated in Worcester, MA before becoming a Certified Dental Assistant and working in Worcester for many years. She later became a Para-professional for the Middletown Board of Education; a job she thoroughly enjoyed working with the students.
Marion was very actively involved in the Portland community. She was a founding member of the Brownstone Garden Club in 1963, which is now the Portland-River Valley Garden Club. She was also an active member of St. Mary’s Ladies’ Guild, the Sojourn Bears, a dedicated team who makes teddy bears for cancer patients, Portland’s Senior Readers, the Town of Portland Conservation Commission and the Connecticut Valley Hospital Auxiliary. Marion was a devout Roman Catholic parishioner of Saint Mary’s Church for the past 60 years, where she also coordinated an annual gift drive for veterans at the Connecticut Veterans Home and Hospital at Veterans’ Day.
Marion was a proud recipient of the Spirit of Portland award in 2010, in recognition of her many contributions to the community, where she was regarded as “an advocate for everyone, who performs many acts of quiet kindness”. She was always known for helping others when she saw important things that needed to be done.
Most importantly, Marion was intensely devoted to her family and friends. She leaves behind many who were touched by her warmth and generosity and will miss her laugh, her love and her compassion.
The family will hold a private graveside service at the State of Connecticut Veterans’ Cemetery in Middletown. Donations may be made to Saint Mary’s Church, 51 Freestone Avenue, Portland, CT 06480 or the Portland-River Valley Garden Club, c/o Kelle Young, 67 BlackBerry Ridge Road, Portland, CT 06480. The Portland Memorial Funeral Home, 231 Main St, Portland, is in charge of arrangements.