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Obituaries

Published 1:04 am, Thursday, May 6, 2010
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Timothy Oliver Appleton

Timothy Oliver Appleton a long-time resident of Darien and Sun Valley, Idaho, died Monday, April 26, at his home surrounded by his family, after a valiant 20-year fight against cancer.

Born in New York City on Aug. 23, 1960, he was the son of Fred and Sally Appleton. He attended Tokeneke School, Mather Junior High and the Darien High School class of 1979, where he excelled athletically, both in soccer and ice hockey.

In his youth, he spent his summers at the Tokeneke Club -- where he was a pool, diving and tennis rat -- in between hours of water skiing in Scotts Cove. In the fall, he played in the Darien Youth Football League for the Tokeneke Lions and Darien Little League. Winters were spent at the Haystack, Vt., ski house, the DYHA and 5:30 a.m. DHS hockey practices. After attending New England College, he moved to Sun Valley, where he continued his love of skiing and became an avid golfer, with a remarkable seven holes in one.

Survivors include his wife, Joanne; daughter, Ali; mother, Sally, and her husband, Jim Clements, of Naples Fla.; sister, Janet Thomas and her husband, Glenn; half brother Peter and his wife, Haylie, of Santa Fe, N.M.; stepbrother John and Kris Miller; nieces Madigan and Kinley; godchild Carter

His lovely ladies, wife, Joanne and daughter, Ali Appleton will carry on his legacy with the help of his mother Sally, and her husband Jim Clements of Naples, Fla.; sister Janet and brother-in-law Glenn Thomas; half brother Peter and wife, Haylie of Santa Fe, NM; step brother, John and Kris Miller; nieces, Madigan and Kinley; godson, Carter; step brother, Quintin Miller of Rowayton; and stepmother Emily and her husband, Tim McDonough, of Vero Beach, Fla.

He was predeceased by his father, Fred; his uncle, Charlie; his brother, Freddie; and his stepbrother, Carter.

In lieu of flowers, Mr. Appleton requested that donations be sent to Hospice and Palliative Care of Wood River Valley, PO Box 4320 Ketchum, ID 83340.

Norma de Rosa Bellis

Norma de Rosa Bellis, 75, of Darien died April 28 after battling colon cancer for seven years.

Born May 23, 1934, in New Rochelle, N.Y., she was the daughter of the late Joseph de Rosa and Lucia Cianci de Rosa.

Mrs. Bellis received her Bachelor of Arts degree in history and certification to teach high school from Manhattanville College in Purchase, N.Y. She taught history at Norwalk, Stamford and Darien high schools and was later the head social studies librarian for the Source Library in Darien. She was the assistant law librarian for Cummings & Lockwood Law Firm in Stamford.

Mrs. Bellis had a passion for writing autobiographical and historical books. She was a deacon at the First Presbyterian Church of New Canaan.

Survivors include husband of 52 years, William J. Bellis; her children, Stephen and his wife, Barbara, of Shelton, Sandra B. Parks of New Canaan, and Arthur and his wife, Mary, of Darien; seven grandchildren, Michael, Matthew and Lindsey Bellis, Douglas and Cora Parks and Alison and Sarah Bellis; and her brother, John de Rosa of New Rochelle.

The funeral service was held Wednesday, May 5, at the First Presbyterian Church of New Canaan. The Edward Lawrence Funeral Home in Darien handled the arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory can be made to the First Presbyterian Church of New Canaan, 178 Oenoke Ridge Road, New Canaan, 06840.

Richard M. Bennett

Richard M. Bennett, a Darien resident for 43 years, died at home surrounded by his family after a courageous battle with cancer. He was 84.

Born Oct. 5, 1925, in West Hartford, he was the son of the late Frederick and Ethel Scranton Bennett.

He was educated in the West Hartford School District, and graduated from Hall High. When he was 17 he joined the Marines Corps. and served in the South Pacific and China during World War II. Upon his return home, he enrolled and graduated from Colgate University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics.

He began working for IBM in 1950 and retired in 1983 as the director of litigation analysis.

Mr. Bennett enjoyed reading, golfing, skiing, boating, hunting and fishing. He summered in Groton Long Point. He was an avid Red Sox fan and was proud when they finally won the World Series.

He was a former member of the Darien Country Club.

Survivors include his wife of 62 years, Dora S. Bennett; his daughter Linda J. Bennett; his son John S. Bennett; his grandson Ovidio Richard Bennett Lagos, all of Darien; and his granddaughter Adrianna Marie Bennett of Bellingham, Mass.

In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his brothers, James Gordon Bennett and Fredrick Scranton Bennett.

A funeral service will be held on Saturday, May 8, at 1 p.m. with the Rev. Christopher Leighton officiating at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 471 Mansfield Ave., Darien. Interment will be private.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made in Mr. Bennett's name to St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 471 Mansfield Ave., Darien, CT 06820, or to Colgate University, 13 Oak Drive, Hamilton, NY 13346.

Visit www.cognetta.com to leave online condolences.

Maria Josephine Gargano

Maria Josephine Gargano, a former Darien resident, died at her Stamford home on Sunday, May 2. She was 79.

"Jo" Cotrona Gargano was born in Martone, Italy on Sept. 17, 1930. When she was 8, she immigrated to Darien with her family, the late Georgio and Caterina Cotrona and her late older sister, Elizabeth M. Calve, and where she remained a resident until her move to Stamford in 2000.

Mrs. Gargano began her business career as the assistant to her brother-in-law, George M. Calve, and Calve Brothers Construction Company, Darien developers during the 1950s and 1960s. Later she was affiliated with Retailers Commercial Agency where she worked for many years in credit research. Following her tenure at Retailers, Mrs. Gargano started a career in the credit union movement. She worked with the Machlette Employees Federal credit Union, of Stamford, where she rose to the position of treasurer, then manager, and where Mrs. Gargano assisted the credit union's members with financial advice until her retirement. She then went on to help raise her two grandchildren, Ford and Lucas Thompson.

Mrs. Gargano was predeceased by her husband of 40 years, Nicola Gargano, also an émigré of Italy. Together they raised two daughters, Elisabeth Gargano Thompson of Darien and Marcia Gargano of Stamford. She is survived by her grandchildren, as well as her son-in-law Howard L. Thompson and many nieces, nephews and grandnieces and grandnephews.

The family will receive friends at the Edward Lawrence Funeral Home, 2119 Post Road, Darien on Friday, May 7, from 6 to 8 p.m. A Mass of Christian burial will be held at St. John R.C. Church, 1986 Post Road, Darien on Saturday, May 8, at 12:30 p.m. Burial will follow St. John R.C. Cemetery in Darien.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to the Darien Lions Club, P. O. Box 144, Darien, CT 06820 or Discovery to Cure, Yale University School of Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Attn: Renee Luongo, P. O. Box 208063, New Haven, CT 06520.

Russell Henry Knisel

Russell Henry Knisel, a former long-time Darien resident, died Friday, April 30, at Yale-New Haven Hospital. He was 76.

Born in New Jersey, he was the son of the late Adolph Knisel and Elsie Vieht Knisel.

Mr. Knisel graduated of Wesleyan University and was active in the alumni association. He began his career in Hartford with Connecticut General Insurance and transitioned into the banking industry beginning with Marine Midland. He served as vice chairman of Shawmut/Fleet Bank prior to his retirement.

Mr. Knisel was a long-time chairman of CBIA, chairman of the board at Stamford Hospital, served on the board of the Darien Republican Town Committee, and was active for many years with the United Way. He was also a member of the Weeburn Country Club, where he served on the board.

Mr. Knisel was a member of the Noroton Presbyterian Church. He was an avid golfer, liked to sail and ski.

Survivors include his wife of 54 years, Diane Knisel, three daughters, Susan M. Slabicki, of Darien, Kimberly E. Frankel and her husband, William, of Mt. Pleasant, S.C., and Sally T. Knisel and her partner, Sarah Myers, of Vernon; one son, Russell H. Knisel Jr. and his wife, Stacey, of Simsbury; nine grandchildren; a niece, Liz Outwater Gettle; a nephew, Wes Outwater; and one great niece and two great nephews.

He is pre-deceased by his sister, June Outwater, and son-in-law, David Slabicki.

Calling hours were Wednesday, May 5. A service will be held at Noroton Presbyterian Chapel, 2011 Post Road, Darien, on Thursday, May 6, at 10:30 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the American Heart Association, 1 Union St., Suite 301, Robbinsville, NJ 08691-4183.

Edward Lawrence Funeral home is in charge of arrangements.

Marie Holslag Moore

Marie Holslag Moore died at Edgehill in Stamford on May 2. She was 97.

Mrs. Moore and her late husband, John L. Moore, moved their young family to Darien in 1944 where she lived for 65 years.

The daughter of Elizabeth Jetter and Claude Joseph Holslag, Marie grew up in South Orange, N.J. An excellent student, she graduated from Columbia High School at the age of 15 and enrolled at Smith College. She spent her junior year in Paris and graduated from Smith in 1932 at the height of the depression. The best job she was offered was with a girls boarding school for which she would receive room and board, but no pay.

An avid dancer, Mrs. Moore helped establish the South Orange Children's Theater.

She was an early member and enthusiastic volunteer with the Children's Aid Sale. Both she and her husband were Darien Red Cross volunteers. She enjoyed playing tennis and encouraged both her daughters to participate in team sports.

In 1961, when her older daughter was a freshman at Smith and Mrs. Moore was president of the Darien-New Canaan Smith Club, she founded the highly successful Smith Scholarship Used Book Sale. The Club's 50th annual and final sale, was held last month. Over the years it has raised more than $1 million for Smith College. Mrs. Moore was an active alumna, holding many offices. In 2007 she was the oldest alumna at alumnae reunion and led the alumnae parade on graduation weekend.

Survivors include her daughters, Barbara Cox and Dorothy Scott, both of Darien; her grandsons, Christopher Scott and Brian Scott; and her great grandson, Ethan Scott.

Services will be private. Gifts can be donated in her name to the Smith College Club of Darien and New Canaan and mailed to her daughter, Barbara Cox, at 174 Nearwater Lane, Darien, CT 06820.

Richard C. Nichols

Richard C. Nichols, a lifelong resident of Darien, died Saturday, May 1.

Born on May 16, 1932, in Stamford, he was the son of the late Frederick L. and Elizabeth Russo Nichols Sr.

Mr. Nichols was the owner of Darien Typewriter Repair of Darien for twenty years.

Survivors include his sister, Betty Andriunas of Stamford; his brother, Donald Nichols of Spring Hill, Fla.; three stepdaughters; and several nieces and nephews.

Besides his parents, he is predeceased by his wife, Virginia Nichols, and brother, Frederick L. Nichols Jr.

A graveside service will be held on Friday, May 7, at 11:30 a.m. at St. John's Cemetery in Darien.

Friends may call at the Nicholas F. Cognetta Funeral Home & Crematory, 104 Myrtle Ave., Stamford, on Thursday, May 6, from 6 to 8 p.m.

To leave online condolences, visit www.cognetta.com.