Lee Mather Harris of East Hampton, Connecticut, passed away in his home on Thursday, October 19th, 2023, just after celebrating his 86th birthday. Lee was a one-of-a-kind man, quick-witted, curious, and knowledgeable on so many topics and full of stories about his life and his adventures. He will be genuinely missed by many.
Lee had a truly remarkable and full life. He was born in New Haven, CT on October 16, 1937. As a youngster Morris Cove, the Southwest Ledge Lighthouse Point, and New Haven Harbor were his playground, where he would spend hours on the water boating, fishing, and scuba diving. He loved trains and trolleys and was known to run the local trolley while the conductor ate his dinner. (He may or may not have been skipping choir practice at the time.) As a member of the Junior Railroad at age 11, he helped run a steam engine from New Haven to New York.
Lee graduated from Wilbur Cross High School in New Haven. Following high school, he was proud to serve his country. He enlisted in the Army and served as a part of the General Honor Guard in the 7th Infantry in Korea and at Fort Benning, GA. While in Korea, he played on the Far East UN Army Champion Soccer team. During his military career, he was assigned to several important posts, one of which was the protective detail for First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Lee received a Congressional appointment to Maine Maritime Academy and served as a Navy Mid-Shipman, where he met the love of his life, Ruth Francis Wardwell, while on a double date. He was the other woman’s date, but Ruth managed to borrow a handkerchief from Lee and when she returned it, they knew they were a match. They were married in 1961 in Penobscot, Maine. They settled in Morris Cove, where they purchased their first home and started their family.
In 1970, Ruth and Lee moved their family to Madison, 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.
Lee was a lifelong learner, and while he never earned a college degree, he kept his mind sharp by taking classes at the New Britain State Technical College, as well as the University of New Haven. He had deep knowledge and appreciation for guns and firearms and spent his career in the firearms industry. He worked as an engineer and plant manager at Dresser Industries, Olin Corporation, Winchester, and US Repeating Arms. He was considered an expert in the industry and served as a consultant until his early eighties.
His biggest joys in life were his family, the outdoors (especially in Maine), shooting, and fishing. He loved being a father, grandfather, and great-grandfather and lit up every time family was nearby. He was a lifetime member of the NRA, a member of the New England Fishing and Hunting Club, and East Hampton Antique Car Club where he focused on his love for vintage cars and motorcycles.
Lee was a voracious reader on any topic that interested him and was artistically gifted, skilled handyman and craftsman – always looking for innovative ways to approach fix-it jobs. He was an avid collector of many things, including cars, coins, and stamps. He loved gardening, growing vegetables and flowers. He couldn’t pass by a garden center without stopping. Lee had a wonderful singing voice and was a long-time member of the Middlesex Vocal Chords.
Lee was extremely civic minded and was a part of many boards and committees. He was the Head Election Moderator for many elections in Madison and East Hampton, was a member of the Olin Fire Department and the American Legion and Scottish Rite. He served as a Justice of the Peace and was on the Board of Tax Review in Madison. He was a proud Mason and he served as Master in 1993. As a part of the Mason’s, he spoke extensively to groups about Organ and Tissue donation. Many will remember his dedication to collecting aluminum can tabs for charity. He was also a member of Trinity Church in Portland.
Lee was predeceased by his loving wife, Ruth Francis Harris and son, Christopher M. Harris, his parents, Edwin Harris and Charlotte Dursey Harris; brother, Lawrence Harris and his wife, Peggy; sister, Lynn Harris Conforte and her husband, Tony. He is survived by his daughter, Vicki Harris Schumann of East Hampton; daughter-in-law, Carla Myers Harris of South Glastonbury; four grandchildren, Jessica Schumann Ragozzine and her husband, Kenneth Ragozzine, Joshua Schumann and his wife, Chasetty Caez Schumann, Brandon Harris and Lydia Harris; great-granddaughters, Isabella and Rosalee Ragozzine and great-grandson, Liam Ragozzine; numerous nieces and nephews; and his beloved Bichon Frise, Madison (Maddie).
Relatives and friends are invited to attend a Funeral Service at Trinity Episcopal Church, 345 Main Street in Portland, Saturday, October 28, at 10:30 a.m., followed by a burial service at Trinity Cemetery. Friends and family may call at the church prior to the service at 9:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Lee’s name to the Shriners Children at donate.lovetotherescue.org.
The Portland Memorial Funeral Home, 231 Main St., Portland is in charge of arrangements.
Richard Bruce Ford, II, 43 of Stoughton, MA passed away unexpectedly on October 16, 2023. Rich lived a life of fitness and loved working in sales, most recently Summit Energy. He was known by his family and friends for his wit, charm, humor, and ability to talk to anyone anywhere. When he walked into a room everyone noticed, he had a presence that could not be denied. He is survived by his parents Richard and Wendy Ford of Hebron, CT. His sister Jennifer Orfitelli, brother-in-law Antonio Orfitelli and his beloved nieces Carmela and Francesca Orfitelli, also of Hebron, CT. His sister Nicole Lemek and brother-in-law Christopher Lemek of Ellington, CT. His girlfriend Crystal DeCosta and her kids MacKenzie and Connor. Along with his extended family, including uncles, aunts and cousins from east coast to west coast who have always shown unconditional love and support throughout his life. Rich leaves a long list of friends and co-workers who often said he was known for being fun loving, supportive, a valued team member and a hard worker. A private service will be held at Portland Funeral Home, 231 Main St, Portland, CT. In lieu of flowers, a donation to the charity of your choice or to Tunnel to Towers Foundation would be greatly appreciated.
It is with extreme sadness that we announce the passing of Thomas O. Tierney on Friday, October 20th , 2023 after serious heart surgery. Tom was born on September 27th, 1949 to Mary Sullivan Tierney and Vincent James Tierney. He was a life-long resident of Portland and a proud 100% Irishman. Tom was married to, and best friends with, Peggy Baines Tierney for 45 years. They have two sons, Michael V. Tierney and Patrick R. (Heather) Tierney, both of Portland. Tom is also survived by his sister, Eileen (Red) Little of Glastonbury, brother, John (Gerri) Tierney of Cromwell, his cousin Betty (Bill) Martyszczyk of Plantsville, nephew Will Little, niece Melissa Tierney, and sister- in- law Sandra Baines. Tom was predeceased by his brother, James, with whom he owned Tierney Brothers Package Store for many years and raced with at Waterford Speedbowl. Besides his parents, he was also predeceased by Peggy’s parents, Margaret and Chick Baines, brother- in- law Robert Baines Jr., his cousins, Michael, Patricia & Ed Sienkiewicz, William Sullivan, John Sullivan, Aunt Anne Sullivan, Uncles Thomas & Bill Sullivan, and Jack Sullivan, his mother’s cousin. Tom worked at Eastwood Chrysler-Plymouth while in high school, and later for 38 years with The Town of Glastonbury as mechanic and Fleet Superintendent of Vehicle Maintenance, retiring in 2008. He was a highly skilled mechanic and worked constantly on vehicles for friends and family. He took great pride in the work he did. Frequently, Tom could be found working in his garage, driving his Marina Blue 1967 Corvette to local car shows or around town, or just sitting in his recliner enjoying a NASCAR race on TV. As a member of St. Mary’s Church in Portland since birth, he was a 4thgeneration parishioner and never missed a Sunday mass.
In lieu of flowers, those who wish to make a memorial contribution can do so to St. Mary’s Church, 45 Freestone Ave., Portland, CT, 06480 or go to The American Heart Association online for donation details.
Visiting hours will be on Monday, October 30th at The Portland Memorial Funeral Home, 231 Main Street, from 4 to 7PM. A funeral mass will be celebrated at St. Mary’s on Tuesday, October 31st at 10:00 AM. Burial will follow at Center Cemetery, Bartlett Street Ext. in Portland.