Tag Archives: Tony Giunta

Remembering Tony Giunta

Flags are flying at half-staff in Westport in honor of Tony Giunta.

The Westport native, Staples High School graduate, longtime Police Department officer and detective, civic volunteer and all-around great guy, died Saturday. He was 77. His family says:

Anthony P. Giunta, Jr., son of Anthony P. Giunta Sr. and Maria Rose Giunta, was born March 2, 1945.

Tony was a life-long resident of Westport. He graduated from Staples High School in 1964. He graduated from New England College in 1969, with a BA in English. In 1975 he earned a masters of science degree in law enforcement from the University of New Haven.

Tony lived a life dedicated to his family and to the service of others.  Tony loved God, his family and his country.

In the US Army, he reached the rank of E-5. He was a lifetime member of the American Legion.

Tony Giunta

Tony joined the Westport Police Department as a patrolman in 1971. and retired as a sergeant in 2006. He served as Policemen’s Benevolent Association president for 2 years, and community outreach program chair for 8 years.

In 1982 he joined the Kiwanis Club of Westport, and became president 2 years later. Tony started the Staples High School Kiwanis Key Club in 1985, and served as its advisor through 2021.

Tony joined Boy Scouts of America in 1989 as an adult leader in Troop 39. His many leadership roles included scoutmaster and Eagle Scout coordinator. He received numerous awards, including Silver Beaver Award from the Connecticut Yankee Council and, through Masonic Scouters, the Daniel Carter Beard Award.

Tony served on committees of the American Red Cross and the Westport Weston Family YMCA.

In 1996 he was selected as an Olympic torch relay runner in Westport, recognition of being a Westport Community Hero.

He was a member of Temple Lodge #65 in Westport, and became Worshipful Master in 2014.

As a kidney transplant recipient in 2011, Tony understood the gift of life. He became a supporter of Donate Life, which encourages organ donation. He cared deeply about the program.

Besides his wife Frances, to whom he was married for 49 years, Tony is survived by his daughter Kirsten (Devin Middleditch), her husband, Devon Middleditch, son David and his partner Elizabeth; granddaughter Maria; sister Carol (Michael) Axley of California, and many other relatives.

Calling hours are Friday, July 22 (4 to 8 p.m., Harding Funeral Home). A funeral mass is set for Saturday, July 23 (10 a.m., St. Luke Church). Interment will follow at Willowbrook Cemetery.  Click here to leave condolences for the family.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions be made to the National Kidney Foundation, American Heart Association or Donate Life America.

Roundup: First Aid, First-Rate Service …

Yesterday’s “Unsung Hero” story brought tears to many readers’ eyes.

It also brought this email, from hero Tucker Peters himself. After saving fellow teenage sailor Mark Adipietro’s life — and reading many heart-warming comments — he wrote one of his own:

“Thank you to everyone for the kind words. I was just one part of an extraordinary team. The true hero though is Mark, who fought like hell. Not many people have the grit or determination to fight back the way he did. He was back on the water with me today — onward and upward we go, forever connected.”

Tucker Peters (left) and Mark Adipietro, on their C420.

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Speaking of first aid and safety:

The fall Emergency Medical Technician/Responder class, sponsored by Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Services, begins September 6. It runs through December 20. Classes are held Tuesdays and Thursdays, with some Saturday sessions.

Over the years, at least 14 WVEMS members have gone on to medical school. Others became nurses, physician assistants and paramedics.

The cost ($1250 per Emergency Medical Technician student, $750 per Emergency Medical Responder student) includes classes, book, stethoscope and BP cuff. WVEMS can reimburse for the cost of our class after students are cleared as regular WVEMS members.

Click here for more information, and registration details.

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Speaking of service: Tony Giunta died on Saturday. He lived for many years with kidney disease.

A Staples High School graduate who spent 34 years as a Westport Police Department officer and detective, he was equally dedicated to the Boy Scouts, Kiwanis Club, Staples Key Club and Masonic Lodge #65.

In 1996 he carried the Olympic torch down the Post Road, en route to Atlanta.

A full obituary will be posted later. Visitation is a week from tomorrow (Friday, July 22,  4 to 8 p.m., Harding Funeral Home). A funeral mass will be celebrated Saturday, July 23 (10 a.m., St. Luke Church), with a graveside service to follow at Willowbrook Cemetery.

Tony Giunta, in the Masonic Temple meeting room.

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Once upon a time, there were a few dozen service stations in Westport: up and down the Post Road, on Main Street, Riverside Avenue, even Hillspoint Road.

There are very few now. Most sell only gas (and food).

A shout-out to one of the stalwarts: Westport Center Service. The station directly opposite Playhouse Square went above and beyond when I had a tire issue the other day. They were quick, responsive, and very, very efficient.

it’s been owned by the same man — Robert Walsh — since 1965. In a world of ever-changing businesses, and every-diminishing quality, it’s not hard to see why.

Westport Center Service

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Earthplace’s animal rescue and care is ongoing: 365 days a year.

For the next few days, they seek aid from the community.

A few donors have pledged to match up to $20,000 in funds for Earthplace’s animal projects.

Earthplace notes that $50 buys weekly produce for Animal Hall. $150 provides equipment, while $250 feeds all owls for one month. Click here to help.

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Today’s entitled parking photo comes from downtown.

Apparently all the cars facing the opposite direction — and a double yellow line — mean nothing when there’s an open space to be snagged.

(Photo/Maria Freeman)

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Longtime resident Phyllis Tremonte died last month at her Westport home. She was 100 years old.

Phyllis worked for C.B. Dolge Company for over 20 years. She was a member of the VFW Women’s Auxiliary, and was an avid reader. She loved to travel, and enjoyed cooking, baking and taking care of her family.

Phyllis was predeceased by her husband Thomas Tremonte, son Thomas Tremonte Jr., brother John Borriello and sisters, Mary Carrione and Archangel Argenio.

She is survived by her daughter Loretta Tremonte of Westport, daughter-in-law Peggy Tremonte of Wilmont, New Hampshire, grandchildren Thomas P. (Jessica) Tremonte, Julia A. (Mike) Cushman and Michael J. Tremonte, great-granddaughters Laina and Gianna Tremonte, sister Amy Campanella, and many nieces and nephews.

A memorial Mass will be held on Monday, July 18 (10 a.m., Assumption Church). In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to a charity of one’s choice. Click here to leave online condolences.

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Thanks for all the “full buck moon” photos from last night.  It was quite a sight, as many photographers documented.

Here’s a unique shot. With birds chilling at Compo Beach around 12:30 a.m., it’s a great fit for our “Westport … Naturally” feature.

(Photo/Sunil Hirani)

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And finally … in honor of July 14:

(Reader support is crucial to “06880.” Please click here to help.)

Friday Flashback #100

This is the month of year when — for a quarter century — Westporters flocked to Festival Italiano at Luciano Park.

We were joined by thousands of others — plenty of actual Italians, and many more wannabes — from as far away as Brooklyn.

The Italian Festival is gone. So are the days when Saugatuck was a true Italian neighborhood, filled with extended families, shops and restaurants handed down through generations, and a special atmosphere remembered lovingly by the ever-dwindling number of people fortunate enough to grow up there.

Sam Febbraio did. The other day, while going through his mother’s papers, Tony Giunta found a list Sam made.

Tony thinks Sam typed it up in the mid-1960s. It’s filled with his best recollection of the names of people and places in Saugatuck in the 1930s and ’40s.

If you are a native Westporter — particularly from Saugatuck — you’ll remember many of these names.

If you don’t: You missed some of the best times — and people — our town has ever seen.

I’m sure “06880” readers will have comments about some of them. We should all read them.

It’s a way of celebrating our own Festival Italiano.

Masons’ Temple Lodge: Not The Scariest Building In Westport. My Bad.

A couple of years ago I called the Masonic Temple on the Post Road “the spookiest spot in Westport.” In the Comments section, Tony Giunta invited me to come see how un-scary it was.

Recently, the 1964 Staples grad — and current Worshipful Master — repeated the invitation.

The other day, I took him up on his offer. Despite occupying the top 2 floors of a building that also houses a funeral parlor, the building on the corner of the Post Road and Imperial Avenue is not particularly spooky.

Westport's Temple Lodge #65.

Westport’s Temple Lodge #65.

A bit dated, perhaps. But also — as Tony notes — one of “the best-kept secrets in Westport.”

Our Temple Lodge #65 has been around since 1824 — more than a decade before Westport itself was incorporated. After convening at various spots (including National Hall), the local chapter of the centuries-old international organization moved into the then-new building in 1911.

The Masons have been there — meeting the 2nd and 4th Thursday of every month — ever since.

There are now about 100 Masons, though a typical meeting draws 40 or so. The lodge includes a parlor, dining room, kitchen, library, foosball room and large meeting room.

The Mason's meeting room.

The Masons’ meeting room.

The meeting room includes a clock from Jason Robards’ estate, and an altar. “We’re not a religious organization. But to join you must have a belief in a Supreme Being,” Tony explained.

“We don’t discuss religion or politics in meetings,” he added. “That causes too much discord.”

Meetings are governed by rituals, but include committee reports, information on the welfare of brothers, and discussions of charitable works.

Tony joined in 2007, after retiring from the Westport Police Department. He’d been a Kiwanis Club member and worked with the Y, but had always wanted to be a Mason.

Tony Giunta, in the meeting room.

Tony Giunta, in the meeting room.

He proudly showed me a list of previous Masters. Well-known Westport names like George Constantikes, Don Goss, Tom Hofstetter, George Underhill, Carl Cirino and Rocco Frank are inscribed in careful calligraphy.

In earlier times, the list included Westporters from famed families like the Fables, Wakemans, Sniffens, Bradleys and Krauses.

As Tony conducted his tour, I realized that the Masonic Lodge is not a scary building. Instead, it’s simple — and historic.

Plus, it’s got a killer view of the Memorial Day parade. Every May, the Masons gather there.

When it’s over, the bagpipers come upstairs. And then the real party begins.

The downtown view, from Temple Lodge #65.

The downtown view, from Temple Lodge #65.

Tony Giunta Needs A Kidney

For 35 years, Tony Giunta served Westport.  Now it’s time to repay the favor.

The Staples grad spent his entire career working for us, as a police officer and detective.  With his dogged determination, quiet grace and gentle good humor, he epitomized Westport’s finest.

Beyond his shifts, he was active as a Boy Scout leader and Staples Key Club advisor.  In 1996 he carried the Olympic torch down the Post Road, en route to Atlanta.

For more than 2 years, Tony has been on dialysis.  His kidneys are failing, and he needs a transplant.

If you — or someone you know — can donate a life-saving kidney, the time is now.  Contact Joyce Albert, Yale-New Haven Hospital transplant coordinator, at 203-688-8373.

Yale-New Haven Hospital kidney transplant