Tag Archives: “Kids Are Talking”

Roundup: Tennis Courts, Stephen Wilkes, Monarchs …

A reader writes:

I am infuriated by this community.

My daughter and I played tennis Wednesday at Staples High School. I was disgusted to see all of the trash left on the court. The same trash I saw 2 days prior had grown in volume.

In addition to empty water bottles and tennis cans, there were about 8 of those sharp and dangerous metal seals. My daughter and I cleaned up the mess.

I don’t understand why people can’t clean up after themselves. They think it’s ok to leave their trash behind. There is a green receptacle on the court, and a garbage can just outside the fence.

Why is it so hard? Come on, people. Let’s all enjoy this public space together!

Mess at the Staples tennis courts.

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World-renowned (and Westport) photographer Stephen Wilkes is featured in a new Westport Library exhibit.

Encompassing all 3 galleries, the show will explore how his visualization of the concept of time has evolved from the earlier days of his career, on through his latest series “Day to Night” and “Tapestries.”

The exhibition opens September 8.

The program will be preceded by a reception with the photographer at 6:15, followed by a Q&A in the Forum, with Stacy Bass.

The show runs through November 29.

“Flatiron 2010” (Photo/Stephen Wilkes)

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Longtime Weston resident Bill Rother — a well-known musician and travel company executive — died August 1, at his beloved Kettle Creek Camp in the Pennsylvania mountains, surrounded by family. He was 89.

A strong athlete, Bill was captain of his high school swimming and crew teams. He continued to swim throughout his life, winning dozens of medals in the senior Olympics. Bill swam his age in laps on his birthday – hitting 89 this year.

He earned his bachelor’s degree from Penn State University in forestry in 1955, and remained a lifelong Nittany Lion supporter. Although he never worked in the field, Bill loved to quiz his grandkids on the Latin names of trees in the woods.

He served as an Army second lieutenant in the Reserve Officer Training Corps at Penn State, then first lieutenant and platoon leader with the combat engineers at Fort Bragg, North Carolina with the 82nd Airborne Division.

He was a musician from his earliest days, working his way through college playing banjo with a Dixieland band, The Sadistic Six. This led to work as a professional musician with Fred Waring & the Pennsylvanians. He traveled the world with the group, performing on live television with stars like Perry Como, Jackie Gleason and Garry Moore, and appearing on “The Ed Sullivan Show” right before the Beatles.

Highlights for Bill were playing at the White House and meeting a President (Eisenhower), a Queen (Elizabeth), and a King (Elvis).

Bill’s next foray into Hollywood was an attempt to produce his own TV show in London about a race car driver called “Knights of the Road.” Despite a year of work, even hiring a down and out actor who went on to future success (Peter O’Toole), they ran out of money and Bill returned to Los Angeles penniless.

He saw an ad in the L.A. Times: “Tour Director to lead deluxe groups to Hawaii.” He was quickly hired by the company, Ask Mr. Foster. Within days they bought Bill a tuxedo and sent him to work on the SS Lurline cruise ship, chatting with the likes of Lloyd Bridges on his way to run tours in Hawaii.

After several years in the travel industry Bill connected with his close friend, Arthur Tauck, who hired him as a tour director with his premier tour company, Tauck Tours. It was a career he enjoyed for over 30 years.

His most proud accomplishment was setting up Tauck’s first itinerary in Hawaii, fulfilling a lifelong dream of living in the islands. Bill couldn’t believe he got paid to travel the world, and live at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel.

Bill married the love of his life, Bonnie Marie Orton, in 1969 on Kauai. Their honeymoon included adventures in Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti and Bora Bora. Bill and Bonnie raised one daughter, Samantha Carrie Maile Lou Li’i Li’i Rother Nagy, who Bill called “the light of my life.”

In Weston, Bill became friendly with José Feliciano. He became the singer’s tour manager, and performed with him locally.

Bill was preceded in death by his brother Bobby. He is survived by his wife Bonnie, daughter Samantha, son-in-law Christopher, and grandsons William James and Luke Robert Nagy.

A celebration of life service will be held in September at the Unitarian Church in Westport, at a date to be determined.

In lieu of flowers, his fmaily says: :be kind, laugh, play music, love big, drink the good beer, and live a great life.”

Bill Rother

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Longtime Westporter Jo Ann Miller has a question: Should children and teenagers call adults by their first names?

She comes from a military family, where that was a no-no. But she’s seen and heard it around Westport.

Jo Ann wonders: Does the trend show a lack of respect? Or is it simply a new way of raising kids?

She’d love to hear readers’ thoughts. Click “Comments” below.

Back in the day, kids did not call parents — or their parents’ friends — by first names.

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Wakeman Town Farm’s lecture garden series continues August 29 (6:30 p.m.). Master gardener Alice Ely talks on Milkwood Growing and Monarch Raising.”

Monarchs have suffered tremendous habitat loss recently. Alice will describe ways to attract egg-laying monarchs to gardens, raising eggs into hungry caterpillars, and tips on growing a variety of milkweed species to help them thrive.

Click here for more information, and tickets.

Monarch butterfly and milkweed.

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Season 2 of “Kids are Talking” has been a great success.

Producer Michael Bud of Weston brought in new moderators for each episode. Among them: State Senator Will Haskell, who inspired teenager to get involved in politics; a “conspiracy rhetoric” professor who talked about the JFK assassination and lizard people; a Yale professor who discussed sleep habits and moods; an expert on boundaries, and last night, teen leaders of a suicide prevention organization.

Click here for past episodes, and more information.

Last night’s “Kids are Talking” episode.

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The Westport Library has added a noir film to Miggs Burroughs and Ann Chernow’s exhibition, “Double Indemnity.”

“Mildred Pierce” will be shown on the Trefz Forum big screen on August 25 (7 p.m.).

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” features some luscious tomatoes from Tom Cook’s Community Garden plot.

(Photo/Tom Cook)

Your bounty may not look like this. But there’s plenty of produce available today at the Westport Farmers’ Market. It’s runs through 2 p.m., at the Imperial Avenue parking lot.

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And finally … Judith Durham, whose beautiful voice helped make The Seekers the first Australian pop group a success during the British Invasion — died today in Melbourne. She was 79, and suffered from a lifelong lung disease.

“Georgy Girl” was the Seekers’ biggest hit. I didn’t care for that one, but I loved many of their other songs — those well known, and others less famous. Australians considered them a treasure, and they were right. Click here for a full obituary.

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Roundup: Ukraine, March Madness, History Bowl …

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Lynsey Addario’s photo of a family killed on the street in Ukraine horrified the world.

“06880” has reported on the reaction, and the back story. Yesterday, Lynsey — a 1991 Staples High School graduate — described it herself, on the New York Times’ “The Daily” podcast. Click here to listen to her fascinating, important words. (Hat tips: Tommy Greenwald, Lee Feldman, Susan Woog Wagner)

Ukrainian soldiers do what they can, moments after a mortar attack on civilians on the streets of Irpin, near Kyiv. (Photo/Lynsey Addario for The New York Times)

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Speaking of Ukraine: Irene Braziler is a native of that country. She’s spent the last 17 years in Westport; her sons Jake and Sam are in school here.

Last Thursday, Irene left for Romania. She met longtime Ukrainian friends at the border, where she’s helped them with cars and accommodations as they make their way to safety.

A video shared by Irene’s Westport friend Kelly Haazen shows the women — after being attacked, leaving their husbands behind, heading to an unknown destination with no idea how long they’d be there — beaming with joy at the sight of their old friend Irene.

Irene has started a GoFundMe drive to provide support to hospitals in Ukraine, civilians like her friends, and many others in desperate need. Every dollar donated will directly impact refugees and medical aid efforts, through DirectRelief.org.

Click here for Irene’s GoFundMe page.

Irene Braziler and her Ukrainian friend embrace at the border.

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Dave Briggs has been bitten by March Madness.

The media personality hosts a streaming show for Turner Sports during the first 2 rounds of the hoops classic.

“Fast Break” features Briggs, Kentucky legend Tony Delk, Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner, and former Northwestern player/sports betting expert Tim Doyle. There’s action from every game, analysis, and player and social media reaction.

Click here for the website; click here for the March Madness app.

Dave Briggs was formerly with CNN.

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Sure, Ken Jennings and Amy Schneider won over $1 million on “Jeopardy!” But could they do what Aalok Bhattacharya, Oliver Clachko and Thomas Sargent have done?

The Staples students — a junior and 2 seniors, respectively — took first place in last month’s regional History Bowl competition on Long Island.

They don’t just have to answer obscure questions (or, in “Jeopardy!”-speak, provide questions to answers). The History Bowl — run by former “Jeopardy!” champ David Madden — is buzzer-based. But there are toss-up questions, a lightning round, and besides, these are just high school students.

But — unlike Sam Cooke — Aalok, Oliver and Thomas know a lot about history. And not just our own. They know Roman history, European history, the history of philosophy — you name it, they know it.

And they practice it after school, with faculty advisor (and chemistry teacher) Dominick Messina. They work on questions and answers — and on being first to buzz the buzzer.

Staples’ win vaults them into the national competition, April 23-24 in Washington. They hope to raise $675 to help with the registration fee and travel expenses. History-minded Westporters — or anyone else — who can help sponsor them should email aalok.bhattacharya1@gmail.com.

History Bowl champs (from left): Thomas Sargent, Aalok Bhattacharya, Oliver Clachko.

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The last couple weeks of “Kids Are Talking” — the online show hosted by local therapist Dr. Don Cohen — have been interesting.

In a partnership with Turning Point CT, an organization for young people in recovery from mental health and substance use issues, Mental Health Stigma took a close look at breaking stigmas. A subsequent Mental Health in the Mirror episode addressed eating disorders.

College Application Stress was created in partnership with Fairfield CARES. The discussion included advice from high school seniors on how to handle the admissions process, and gave a heads up to juniors about what’s ahead.

Last week’s Athletes and Mental Health discussed the physical and mental stresses of performing during COVID and beyond.

Tomorrow’s show centers on the War in Ukraine, with teens who have family and friends in that troubled region. State Senator Will Haskell is the guest ono March 31.

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There’s a “BIG” event here March 31.

“BIG” — the acronym stands for “Believe, Inspire, Grow” — debuts in Westport at the Saugatuck Rowing Club’s Boathouse Restaurant, at noon.

BIG is a global woman’s empowerment community offering inspiration, community, and tools to move personal and professional lives forward. Members build relationships in a dynamic, supportive entrepreneurial community.

Melissa Bernstein — co-founder of toy company Melissa & Doug, and the mental health multi-media platform LifeLines — is the featured speaker.

All local women are invited. Click here to register. To learn more about BIG, email bigconnecticutregion@gmail.com.

Melissa Bernstein

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Another longtime, much-loved, and COVID-affected event is back — at a new but important location.

CLASP Homes’ “Taste of Westport” fundraiser is set for June 15, at the newly renovated Inn at Longshore. As always, it’s a great (and tasty) evening filled with food and drinks from your local restaurants, music, and a silent auction. Mark your calendars; details to follow.

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Westport resident — and internationally acclaimed photographer — Larry Silver has the lens pointed directly at him this month.

Fairfield University Art Museum presents 13 Ways of Looking at Landscape: Larry Silver’s Connecticut Photographs. The solo exhibition includes more than 80 works, and is on view from March 25 through June 18.

The exhibition brings together over 40 years of Silver’s work, made of and in this state. It opens with a lecture by guest curator Leslie K. Brown on March 24. For more information, click here.

“Sitting at Water’s Edge, Sherwood Island State Park, Westpor, 2014/2022,” archival inkjet print. Courtesy of Larry Silver and Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York.

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Here’s a “Westport … Naturally” scene you don’t see every day: a red fox, sunning itself in Greens Farms. Elena Nasereddin captured this image on Monday.

(Photo/Elena Nasereddin)

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And finally … in honor of Staples High School’s History Bowl team, which heads to the national competition next month (see story above):

Roundup: Auto Thefts, Christian Siriano, Kids Are Talking …

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A rash of auto thefts has rattled Westport.

Yesterday, the Police Department said it’s joining law enforcement agencies from Fairfield, Bridgeport, Stratford, Monroe and Newtown in a regional motor vehicle theft task force.  They’ll develop a comprehensive effort to deter auto theft and arrest those responsible.

Police Chief Foti Koskinas says that by “sharing resources and information with other communities that are also experiencing a large number of motor vehicle thefts, our ability to solve these crimes increases exponentially. While the theft of cars may seem like a youthful indiscretion to some, it is important to keep in mind that these stolen vehicles are often used in the commission of very serious crimes such as robberies and shootings.”

In almost every case, stolen vehicles are unlocked with the keys or key fob inside.  So even with the task force and extra officers on patrol, Westport Police urge (again and again): Keep your f—ing cars locked! (Expletive is mine.)

Please steal my car!

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Since moving to Westport, Christian Siriano has kept a relatively low profile.

But last night, the world got a glimpse of his digs.

MTV Cribs featured the world renowned fashion designer. A few days earlier, People magazine previewed the show.

They noted that his bedroom is “definitely bigger” than his New York apartment.

“The spacious room, which is decorated in neutral tones, features a large set of wide glass doors opening to a deck that overlooks the Project Runway alum’s sprawling yard,” People wrote.

Siriano said: “What I love about it is that you wake up every single morning to crazy, natural sunlight every day. We have no curtains, which is kind of wild. You have to be very comfortable being naked. Luckily there’s no neighbors around.”

(Click here for the full People story. Hat tip: Tracy Porosoff)

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What do Senator Elizabeth Warren, Fannie Mae chair Sheila Bair and Westonite Amy Weisman have in common?

All were just named to Forbes’ “50 Over 50” in finance list. They’re “shaping the future of finance, fueling high-growth businesses and forging a more innovative and inclusive financial future.”

In 2017, Weisman — then 53 years old, and managing director of business development for Sterling Investment Partners — co-founded Exponent Women, a membership network for senior women in private equity. After 30 years working in finance (while caring for her children and parents), she wanted to do more to support female dealmakers.

Last year, the Wall Street Journal named Weisman one of “10 Women to Watch in Private Equity.” She began her career as an analyst at Smith Barney.

Click here for the full Forbes list.

Amy Weisman

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Westport psychologist Dr. Don Cohen’s upcoming livestream focuses on an important topic. Titled “Kids Are Talking: Antisemitism — What Jewish Teens Want You to Know,” it’s set for September 23 (7 p.m.), in partnership with the ADL.

The new livestream format on Facebook, Twitch and YouTube has previously covered topics including body image, modern gender and sexuality; drug
use and abuse; romantic and sexual relationships; social misinformation, and mental health challenges.

Videos are found at http://kidsaretalking.live, youtube.com/kidsaretalking, facebook.com/kidsaretalking, and twitch.tv/kidsaretalking.

A retro poster.

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Attention “left-leaning, like-minded political activists”: ReSisters & Misters) is meeting Sunday (September 19, 1 p.m.) for painting, postcarding, Afghan refugee action, socializing and more. Contact msheinus@yahoo.com for information.

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Speaking of politics: A rally for women’s reproductive rights is set for October 2 (1 p.m., Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge). Click here for more information.

A rally earlier this month on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge featured signs like these.

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Heartlent — the local social strategy and creative content agency — just celebrated its 1st anniversary.

Among the highlights, they:

  • Created unique concept and content for Clemson Football’s social feeds celebrating their first ever #1 Overall NFL Draft Pick, Trevor Lawrence
  • Won 11 awards with their Rock the Vote “Hoopers Vote” campaign
  • Worked with Denver Nuggets sponsor Western Union to create unique content celebrating star center Nikola Jokic’s MVP honors
  • Created the opening day #MLSisBack graphic
  • Supported Joe Biden’s Presidential Campaign with creative, digital and social assets
  • Designed the shirt worn by New York Knick Immanuel Quickley at Madison Square Garden
  • Launched “Remotely Renee”, where Atlanta Dreams co-owner Renee Montgomery announced her retirement from the WNBA
  • Partnered with Opendorse to provide social strategy and content for student athletes and universities in advance of NIL (name, image, likeness).

That’s quite a list for one year. Congratulations to managing partner (and Westporter) Elliot Gerard, and all!

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“06880” has featured Gloria — the late Alan Sterling’s weather-beaten oyster boat — often. But today marks its first appearance as a “Westport … Naturally” feature. It sits in Gray’s Creek, deteriorating but surrounded by plenty of life.

(Photo/Matt Murray)

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And finally … today is my sister Laurie’s birthday. She shares a name with the title of one of the creepiest songs ever recorded.

The dead-teen genre was (ahem) alive and well in the 1950s and ’60s. Who can forget “Teen Angel,” “Tell Laura I Love Her,” “Last Kiss” or “Leader of the Pack”?

But for sheer, sad weirdness, nothing beats Dickey Lee’s tear-jerker.

Roundup: Leonard Bernstein, Yappy Hour, Kids Talking …

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The TriBeca Film Festival is back. This year, it’s very New York-centric.

Among the films: “Bernstein’s Wall.”

The Tribeca website describes the world premiere of the film directed by Westporter Douglas Tirola (4thRow Films; co-founder, Westport’s Remarkable Theater):

In this enlightening look at one of the greatest classical music figures of the 20th century, director Douglas Tirola mines a rich trove of interviews, television appearances, home movie footage, photos, letters to craft a comprehensive look at Leonard Bernstein, whose passion and drive took him well beyond the marvelous music he wrote and conducted.

Spanning the breadth of a life interwoven with key historic moments outside the concert hall, Bernstein’s Wall follows the son of a Russian Jewish immigrant who arrives in New York from his Boston hometown to eventually become conductor of the New York Philharmonic, and becomes a household name thanks to his numerous TV appearances, educating the public on all things symphonic, West Side Story, being seen with celebrities and politicians, and his crossing-the-line activism, from protesting the Vietnam War to (controversially) supporting the Black Panthers.

Tirola incorporates Bernstein’s personal life — his fraught relationship with his father, his marriage, his family life, his struggles to be at peace with his sexuality — to paint a complex portrait of a complex, driven individual who produced some of the most memorable music of his time as a product of those times.

(“Bernstein’s Wall” is available for streaming from June 15-23. Click here for details. Hat tip: Kerry Long)

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Yesterday’s Yappy Hour at MoCA Westport was paws-itively cool.

The arts center hosted plenty of dogs (and their owners) on its expansive Newtown Turnpike lawn. Food was collected for PAWS and Westport Animal Shelter Advocates.

Missed yesterday? Doggone it! The next one is July 1.

Yappy Hour at MoCA Westport! The next one will be held on Thursday, July 1.

Yappy hour, yesterday at MoCA Westport.

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Just in time for the end of the spring sports season: Westport Rotary Club and the Westport Soccer Association are collecting used soccer uniforms, clothing, shoes, shin guards, balls and other equipment.

They’ll ship it all to Nicaragua. Rotary already works there with NicaPhoteo, a non-profit that helps communities.

The soccer equipment is much needed. Soft backpack bags, old balls, socks, jerseys and shirts — it will all go to good use.

The drop-off location is 5 Sugar Maple Lane, Westport (off Whitney Street). There’s a box on the front porch. Please wash clothing items first!

Questions? Email registrar@westportsoccer.org.

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More than 30 years ago, kids were talking.

Dr. Donald Cohen’s nationally televised show — in which, well, kids talked (about everything in their lives) is being relaunched. Fittingly for a new century, it’s a livestream, on YouTube, Facebook and Twitch.

The first episode of the relaunch is tonight (Thursday, June 10), at 7 p.m. The topic is body image and eating disorders. Teenage guests come from Westport — and around the country.

“Kids Are Talking” started in 1990 at Fairfield University. It became a national radio call-in show on WICC, simulcast on Cablevision. In the late ’90s it found a home on WWPT-FM, broadcast from Toquet Hall.

“Kids Are Talking” and its host, Cohen, have been featured on “The CBS Morning Show”  and ABC-TV, as well as in the New York Times.

For more information, click here.

A retro poster.

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Traffic is up. Ahead of Memorial Day weekend, the Westport Police Department was on the lookout for people not wearing seatbelts.

The campaign — part of the state Department of Transportation’s “Click it or Ticket” campaign — yielded only 6 tickets.

Police call Westport compliance rate “remarkably high.” But until it’s 100%, they’ll stick be looking for infractions.

And don’t forget: After clicking your seatbelt, don’t look at your phone!

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TAP Strength Lab is the latest business to join the “Summer of Pride” promotion.

The downtown personalized fitness coaching, therapy, nutrition and preventative health center will donate 10% of the first month of membership (for new members who sign up now through August) to Westport Pride. Mention the code “Summer of Love.”

Oh, yeah: They’ve got a special Pride logo for this month too.

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Questions, concerns or just thoughts about Norwalk Hospital?

The local institution hosts an online “Community Update” (June 29, 5:30 to 7 p.m.).

President Peter Cordeau will discuss the latest hospital developments. an independent monitor will report on its review of compliance.

A Q-and-A session follows the presentation. Submit questions in advance by emailing (norwalkhospital.communityrelations@nuvancehealth.org), or call 203-852-2250. Click here for instructions on joining the virtual meeting.

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An osprey and a chick are today’s gorgeous “Westport … Naturally” subjects.

(Photo/Franco Fellah)

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Patricia Rogers Suda, died peacefully at home on May 24, surrounded by her loving family after a courageous fight against cancer. She was 69.

Born in New Haven, her family moved to Westport in 1959. She graduated in 1970 from Staples High, where she met and married the love of her life, Mark R. Suda.

Patti and Mark moved to Norwalk. They were married for nearly 50 years, before he passed in 2020.

Survivors include sons, Mark Suda Jr. (Michelle) and Joseph Suda (Amy); grandchildren Skyler, Madyson, Samantha and Joseph Jr.; brothers Bill, Paul and John Rogers; sister Janet Aitoro, and many nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews.

Patti loved watching her sons in their sports. From Cranbury League baseball and Pop Warner football, to high school baseball and football, she was there. She also enjoyed watching her grandkids in softball, baseball, gymnastics, soccer and hockey.

Patti retired in December 2017 as a bookkeeper after 32 years, to spend time with her family.

Her words to all family and friends are, “Live life to the fullest, with love and respect to others, because you never know what tomorrow brings.”

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Whittingham Cancer Center,  in memory of Patti.

Patti Suda

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And finally … Happy Kamehameha Day! The state holiday (one state only!) honors the monarch who first established the unified Kingdom of Hawai’i.