Tag Archives: Friends of the Westport Senior Center

Roundup: The Brain, Rachel Doran, Senior Center …

The Westport Library’s recent 3-part medical series — focusing on cardiac issues — really got to the, um, heart of things. Each session drew SRO crowds.

Next up: a 3-part series centering on the brain.

Once again, recently retired physician Dr. Robert Altbaum has curated a team of experts, and will moderate each evening.

September 7: Dr. Daryl Story will discuss strokes and transient ischemic attacks (TIAs), along with how to maximize chances for recovery.

October 30: Dar. Dario Zagar on headaches and migraines, including new therapies.

November 21: Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick, on new research into dementia.

Dr. Robert Altbaum


Rachel Doran — the 2015 Staples High School graduate who died just before her senior year at Cornell University after a rare reaction to common medication — was honored yesterday in Ithaca.

Cornell Human Ecology remembered her contributions to the campus through her “intellect, creativity, warmth and sense of humor.”

Her legacy will now live on. An exhibit space in the Human Ecology Building — where she developed her talents as a curator — was named in her honor.

Rachel Doran, at Cornell University.


Friends of the Westport Center for Senior Activities — the non-profit that identifies, schedules, funds and runs an array of programs at the Senior Center — recently elected new board officers.

Pictured below (left to right): Sue Kane, secretary; Marsha Darmory, co-president; Wendy Petty, Senior Center executive director; Diane Bosch, co-president; Molly Alger, treasurer.


This photo at Old Mill can be captioned many ways.


(Photo/Pam Kesselman)

Photographer Pam Kesselman suggests: “Someone lost their drawers!”


Lifelong Westport resident Mary Q. Bulakites died peacefully on August 4 at her home. She was 95.

Mary worked as a clerk in the Assessor’s Office for the town of Westport for many years. She retired in 1980.

Mary was a member of Assumption Church, and the Joseph J. Clinton VFW Post Ladies Auxiliary.

Mary was predeceased by her husband George, her first husband Joseph McCaffrey, her sister Kathleen Quinn Marcroft and her daughter Kathi LeBlanc. She is survived by her grandson Ian LeBlanc (Ashley) of Norwalk, granddaughter Karis LeBlanc (Dmitry) of Brookly,, and great-grandchildren Aurora and Merida LeBlanc.

A graveside service will be held this Tuesday (August 15, Assumption Cemetery. Kings Highway North, 2 p.m.). Click here to leave online condolences.  In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Services.


Deer are a common sight here . They appear frequently — like the one below — in our “Westport … Naturally” feature.

We see them many places: darting across the road. Eating our plants. Hanging out in our woods.

One place we don’t see them — at least, we didn’t — is downtown.

John McKinney spotted this one the other day, smack in the middle of Main Street.

Obviously, looking for a parking spot.

(Photo/John McKinney)


And finally … Tom Jones died Friday, at his home in Sharon, Connecticut. He was 95.

Not the Welsh heartthrob. This Tom Jones wrote the book and lyrics for “The Fantasticks.” The show opened in 1960, and ran for an astonishing 42 years.

It all started with the memorable opening number. Click here for a full obituary.

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Senior Center: An “Old” Home Is Now Very New

Martha Aasen remembers when Westport’s Senior Center was part of Staples High School.

Two small rooms were hidden between the fieldhouse and wood shop. It was open just a few hours a day. Lunch came from the school cafeteria.

In 2003, a new Senior Center opened on Imperial Avenue. It was a spectacular improvement.

Bright and airy, it was filled with rooms for meetings, lectures, fitness and films. There was a library and dining room too. Seniors flocked there for events, classes and camaraderie.

That was 15 years ago. When First Selectman Jim Marpe cuts a ribbon tomorrow (Friday, January 4, 11 a.m.), Westporters of all ages will marvel at the first major enhancement of the Senior Center since it opened.

The 9-month project comes in on schedule — and on budget. The town appropriated $3.975 million. Friends of the Senior Center raised $300,000 for equipment and amenities.

(Clockwise from lower left): Martha Aasen, Leslie Wolf, Stan Nayer and Sue Pfister in the lobby of the newly modernized Senior Center.

Last week, Senior Center director Sue Pfister, Friends president Leslie Wolf, and Aasen — now in her 90s, and as passionate about the Center as ever — offered a tour of the new facility. It blends seamlessly with the original.

The 5,000-square foot new wing includes:

  • A new fitness center, with modern treadmills and machines
  • A strength classroom, also used for tap dancing and Zumba
  • A new library, with a computer and magnifiers
  • A drop-in game room
  • All new furniture and carpeting
  • New display cases for artwork
  • Outdoor access to the adjacent Baron’s South meadow, for tai chi and meditation
  • Offices for program manager Holly Betts, and interns
  • New restrooms with showers (for when the Senior Center is used as an emergency shelter).

Martha Aasen on the new treadmill. Doors open onto the Baron’s South park.

Other parts of the Senior Center have been modernized too. There are new floors, chairs and tabletops in the “Sue’s Cafe” dining room (where “grab-and-go” food will soon be available); a new wood floor next door, for dance classes; a second art room, and a handsome new custom desk in the entry foyer.

“It’s even better than we envisioned,” says Aasen — who was closely involved in the project — proudly.

“We’ve had so many meetings, and we saw all the plans. But when you actually see it finished, it’s unbelievable.”

“Stunning!” adds Pfister.

New windows provide the same airy look as the original wing of the Senior Center.

The Senior Center director credits the project’s smooth completion to “tremendous cooperation” from local officials. The Building Department’s Steve Smith, the Department of Public Works, and Parks & Recreation director Jen Fava were all all-in.

Architect Brian Scheuzger designed the original building too. A.P. Construction — which is also handling the Westport Library’s Transformation Project — did all the work.

The Senior Center attracts a wide range of people, Pfister notes: Those who are very active; those looking for quiet activities; those who want to meet old friends, and those seeking companionship.

It’s a welcoming facility for some, a second home for others.

Now — for all of them — Westport’s Senior Center is better than ever.

Workers were still finishing up — and unloading furniture — last week.