Another piece of old Staples, old Saugatuck, and old Westport is gone.
Junior Bieling died yesterday at Bridgeport Hospital. He was 80, and had been ill for several years.
A celebrated athlete at Staples, Junior — no one, then or now, ever called him “John” — returned to Westport after earning a Silver Star in the Korean War. He played football with the legendary local Advertisers team, and semi-pro softball for the Raybestos Cardinals. He is a member of the Connecticut Fast Pitch Hall of Fame.
Long-ago Westporters knew him as the owner and operator of the Jockey Club restaurant/bar in Saugatuck. He served as a bartender at the VFW, then opened Jr.’s Hot Dog Stand on Riverside Avenue — not far from the original Staples, where he had starred. He sold the restaurant in 2004.
Junior was also known as an avid Staples sports fan. For decades he was a fixture at football and basketball games. Though confined to a wheelchair in recent years, he seldom missed a game.
Junior’s wife — well-known Bedford teacher Carol Digisi Bieling — died this past November.
Friends are invited to the Harding Funeral Home (210 Post Road East) on Monday (April 2, 4-8 p.m.). A funeral will be held Tuesday at Assumption Church (10 a.m.). Interment with full military honors will follow.
To leave an online condolence note, click here. Contributions in Junior’s name may be sent to the Staples High School Athletic Department, c/0 Marty Lisevick, 70 North Avenue, Westport CT 06880.