Tag Archives: Ina Chadwick

Remembering Charlie Capalbo

Charlie Capalbo — the Fairfield Ludlowe High School graduate and hockey player whose battle with 4 separate cancers inspired friends, neighbors, the sports world and countless strangers — died yesterday. He was 1 month shy of his 24th birthday.

Charlie’s Westport ties were long and deep. His grandmother is the writer/poet/storyteller Ina Chadwick. Her husband, Richard Epstein (Charlie’s grandfather) is a Westport native; his parents moved here in 1958. Charlie’s mother, Jennifer Wilde Capalbo (Ina’s youngest daughter) is a Staples graduate. 

Charlie’s family wrote:

After 5 years and 745 nights spent in hospitals, let’s just say that one got by Charlie in the 4th overtime today.

He passed away at 3 p.m.

When you are a goalie, sometimes you can do everything right, trying as hard as you can, and still lose.

The entire team can play with the utmost skill and energy and still not come away with a win.

The management, coaches, and team may have made all great decisions and have the right pieces in place and still lose.

The trainers, equipment managers, maintenance folks, parking attendants may have done everything right as well.

Charlie Capalbo (Photo/Dave Gunn)

While this loss is heartbreaking, Charlie, his family, friends, neighbors, community friends, doctors, nurses, technicians, clinical assistants, child life specialists, valet team, cafeteria, administrative and maintenance folks, volunteers, and security team, etc. all went way above and beyond what anyone would expect for all these years.

So many lessons were learned, and endless amounts of love and support were offered.

The depth of emotions we all feel are impossible to describe.

We will be forever grateful to the thousands of people that have made this entire journey special, despite each painful setback.

We will continue to honor Charlie in everything we do. We will stay grateful and hopeful and will recover from this loss the way that Charlie wanted us to.
Jenny, Anthony, Will, and Peyton would like to say “thank you” to everyone who has supported Charlie and them.

“Lean on me, and I’ll lean on you. And together we’ll get through…we always do” – Ray LaMontagne

“06880” was honored to share several stories of Charlie’s courage, and the Fairfield and Westport communities’ love for him. Click below to read 3:

Charlie Capalbo’s Biggest Battle

Charlie And Will Capalbo: Goalies Try For An Amazing Save

Charlie Capalbo: An Inspiring Update

Roundup: Christmas Tree, Charlie Capalbo, Aspetuck Land Trust


For years, one of the highlights of the holiday season has been the beautiful fir tree at 58 North Avenue.

Just a few yards south of Staples High School, it was a lit lovingly every year by the homeowners, the Hardin family. In its high visibility location, it brought joy to everyone who drove by.

But the gorgeous tree was in bad shape. The owners had to remove it.

Jodi Christensen-Hardin carefully cut off branches. She collected more fallen branches at Winslow Park, along with large vines that were killing trees there.

She created a new structure — and hung lights all around. It looks intriguing by day …

Jodi Christensen-Hardin with her new creation. (Photo/Jane Green)

… and wonderful at night:

(Photo/Jodi Christensen-Hardin)

Thanks, Jodi and family, for finding a way to keep lighting up our lives!


All across Connecticut, people have been inspired by Charlie Capalbo’s fight against cancer.

The 23-year-old Fairfield resident — grandson of Westport writer Ina Chadwick — had 3 different diagnoses, over the past 4 years. With the help of his younger brother, who donated bone marrow and T and stem cells — plus other family members, friends, teammates and opponents and others in the hockey world, and complete strangers, the former Fairfield Ludlowe High School goalkeeper has beaten the odds 3 times.

On Friday, hundreds of people gathered in Fairfield to welcome Charlie home. He’d spent 322 in a Boston hospital.

The crowd was overwhelming. Charlie and his family were overwhelmed. It’s hard to imagine a greater Christmas gift for anyone.

(Click here for the full Connecticut Post story.)

Welcome home, Charlie! (Photo/John McCormick)


After 10 years of negotiations and fundraising, Aspetuck Land Trust has closed on the 10-acre Montanaro property in Wilton

It’s in an important spot. It fills a “donut hole” in the Weston Wilton Forest Reserve. If — as proposed — 2 large houses had been built there, cars and trucks would have driven right through one of ALT’s oldest preserves, 119-acre Honey Hill.

That’s the second property in a month acquired by Aspetuck Land Trust. The other is the 85-acre Fromson Strassler property in Weston.

To learn more about this important preservation organization, click here.


Lou Weinberg is one of our town’s best nature photographers. His shot of a mourning dove is his latest “Westport … Naturally” contribution.

(Photo/Lou Weinberg)


And finally … Ralph Tavares died last week, a few days before his 80th birthday.

With his 4 younger brothers, he was part of the group Tavares. They had several hits in the 1970s — including, of course, a classic “Saturday Night Fever” cut.

Click here for a full obituary.(Hat tip: Amy Schneider)


Charlie And Will Capalbo: Goalies Try For An Amazing Save

Two years ago this month, “06880” reported a heart-breaking — yet inspiring — story.

Charlie Capalbo – Fairfield Ludlowe High School senior and star hockey goalie; grandson of Westport writer Ina Chadwick and Westport native Richard Epstein; son of Staples grad Jennifer Wilde Capalbo — was battling cancer. A tumor near his heart and lungs had spread to his lymph nodes.

Charlie’s Fairfield teammates and classmates rallied around him. So did his parents’ and grandparents’ Westport friends. A GoFundMe page raised nearly $200,000.

It took a year, but after grueling treatment Charlie’s cancer went into remission. He gained weight, felt good, and went off to Fairfield University. It was one of the greatest days of his family’s life.

Charlie Capalbo (Photo/Dave Gunn)

Charlie’s brother Will — now a senior at Ludlowe, and also a hockey goalie — says that being a cancer survivor is like playing that demanding position: “You have to always be prepared.”

But no one was prepared for the news just a month after Charlie started college. He was diagnosed with a new, aggressive form of cancer: leukemia.

Despite the devastating news, Charlie fought as strongly as he had the first time. He kept his sense of humor. He kept smiling.

He was hospitalized for 4 months. He underwent chemo, and radiation on his spine and brain. The goal was to prepare him for a bone marrow transplant.

Family members and friends all wanted to donate. Finding a match is not easy. Finally, at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Charlie and his parents FaceTimed his brother Will with the news: He was a 90% match.

From left: Will and Charlie Capalbo, and their parents on the ice.

Will was thrilled. At last, he thought, he could do something for his brother. The boys were always close, Jenny says. But that kind of closeness is unbelievable.

“Goalies are a special breed,” Will says simply.

Indeed. For Will, being a bone marrow donor meant enduring needles in his back — and missing the end of his senior hockey season.

The procedure took place on February 4. Charlie, Will, his family and friends are all waiting now to learn whether it worked.

Meanwhile, Charlie remains upbeat. He’s been buoyed by the love of his family, the support of countless friends and strangers, and messages of encouragement from NHL stars.

He’s still fighting. This courageous goalie’s goal is to get back on the ice.

(Click here for Charlie Capalbo’s GoFundMe page. Click here for last Sunday’s NBC Sports video story on Charlie.)

Charlie Capalbo’s Biggest Battle

Charlie Capalbo is not a Westporter. He’s a senior at Fairfield Ludlowe High School.

But his ties to this town are long and deep. Everyone here knows his grandmother: writer/poet/storyteller Ina Chadwick. Her husband, Richard Epstein — Charlie’s grandfather — is a Westport native; his parents moved here in 1958.

Charlie’s mother, Jennifer Wilde Capalbo — Ina’s youngest daughter — is a Staples graduate. For many years, she worked at a Westport asset management company.

Charlie’s aunts are Nina Wilde and Becky Wilde Goldberg Jarit. Years ago — to support her former Staples boyfriend, who suffered from lymphoma — Becky began running in charity events. She completed her first New York Marathon this year, at 50.

Ina Chadwick’s daughters: Nina, Becky and Jennifer.

Charlie has led a pretty good life. This winter as a goalie, he helped the Fairfield co-op ice hockey team make history. For the first time ever, the Mustangs qualified for the FCIAC and state Division I tournaments.

But other parts of his life are not good at all.

A few years ago, his house burned down. And just a couple of weeks ago — after making 27 saves in Fairfield’s 5-2 state tournament loss to West Haven — Charlie was diagnosed with cancer.

Charlie Capalbo (Photo/Dave Gunn)

His tumor is located near his heart and lungs, and has spread to his lymph nodes. Doctors say right now, an operation is not possible.

Charlie has already had a 5-hour biopsy at Yale-New Haven. Many more procedures lie ahead. Chemo starts tomorrow.

The Fairfield community — led by his coach and teammates — have rallied around Charlie.

Charlie Capalbo’s teammates lend support, as he heads to the OR.

A GoFundMe page was created Sunday night. In just 3 days, it’s already brought in over $129,000.

And that’s without most of Westport knowing his story.

Now we do.

(Click here for Charlie Capalbo’s GoFundMe page.)

A Father’s Day Read, From Ina Chadwick

The Good Men Project is “a glimpse of what enlightened masculinity might look like in the 21st century.” It gets 5 million visitors a month. Most of the voices are — naturally — male.

But Westport writer and storyteller Ina Chadwick recently posted a very powerful story. Called “A Father’s Legacy of Power and Powerlessness,” it’s not easy to read — but on this Father’s Day, it’s well worth your time. 

Here are the 1st 2 paragraphs:


When my father drove dead drunk up the Bronx River Parkway with his hat pulled over his eyes, while the passengers trembled with fear that if expressed aloud enraged him even further, my sister and I grasped each other and whimpered. My grandmother sobbed and begged for mercy in Yiddish.

If my mother shouted, “Nat, you’re a drunk,” with whatever slight vision he had left from beneath the brim of his fedora, he threatened to pull the hat over his whole face, and then jerk the wheel just to show my mother he was in charge.


To read the full story, click here.

Ina Chadwick

Ina Chadwick