Robert S. Foote, 85, longtime Darien resident, engineer on GWB design


RSFooteRobert S. Foote, a former longtime Darien resident, died on Friday, March 30, at the Village at Waveny Care Center in New Canaan. Born Jan. 24, 1927, in Winthrop, Mass., he was the son of the late Helen Spofford and Charles Silas Foote. He was 85.

Mr. Foote received his bachelor’s of naval science degree from Dartmouth College in 1946 and a master of civil engineering degree from Yale University in 1949. He began his career with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and then completed his Navy service from 1951-53, stationed in Greece.

Upon his return to the Port Authority Mr. Foote was manager of the Research Division of the Tunnels & Bridges Department, where he participated in the design of the lower level of the George Washington Bridge, the catwalk car system in the Lincoln Tunnel, and the preliminary development of automatic vehicle identification systems, the precursor to EZ-Pass.

read moreRobert S. Foote, 85, longtime Darien resident, engineer on GWB design

Obituary: Rita Frances Jenkins, 78, longtime Darien resident

Rita Frances Jenkins, a Darien resident since 1973, died Tuesday, April 3, at Stamford Hospital. Mrs. Jenkins, 78, was the wife of Daniel Jenkins.

Born Aug. 24, 1933, in Ashtabula, Ohio, she was the daughter of the late Harry and Loretta Moats Recker.

Mrs. Jenkins graduated from Kent State University and was a parishioner of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Darien.

read moreObituary: Rita Frances Jenkins, 78, longtime Darien resident

Obituary: G. Emerson Cole, 93, former Darien resident, WWII veteran, broadcaster

G. Emerson Cole of Pinehurst, N.C., a former longtime Darien resident, who served in the U.S. Navy in World War II and went on to become a radio broadcaster died Saturday, March 31. He was 93.

• Check out the tribute to Mr. Cole at

Mr. Cole was born Jan. 5, 1919. He graduated from Cornell University with mechanical engineering and business administration degrees in 1941. Cornell was where Mr. Cole began his career in broadcasting by building and operating a wired college network station, which has become the Cornell FM radio station.

read moreObituary: G. Emerson Cole, 93, former Darien resident, WWII veteran, broadcaster

Obituary: Susan Marie Harnisch, 81, nurse, mother of Darien resident


03-30-darien-obt-harnisch-0Susan Marie Harnisch, a registered nurse and mother of a Darien resident, died after short illness Wednesday, March 28, at her Wenham, Mass., home, surrounded by her family. She was 81.

Mrs. Harnisch was born in Newark, N.J., on Nov. 5, 1930, the daughter of the late James McLaughlin and Marguerite DeCoursey.

She was raised in Bristol, Vt., and South Hadley, Mass., with her three sisters, Mary M. Rys of Falmouth, Mass., Elizabeth Todt of Sumter, S.C., and the late Patricia Robitaille of Truro, Nova Scotia. She received her registered nursing degree from Mercy Hospital in Springfield in 1951 and received her master’s in education from Antioch College in 1983.

read moreObituary: Susan Marie Harnisch, 81, nurse, mother of Darien resident

Obituary: Finn Wettergreen, 67, Rowayton man worked in tanker business, real estate


03-27-darien-obt-WettergreeFinn Wettergreen, a Norway native who worked in the international tanker business before becoming a Darien and Rowayton Realtor, died Saturday, March 24, at his home in Rowayton. Mr. Wettergreen, 67, was the husband of Terry Wettergreen.

Mr. Wettergreen was born in Oslo, Norway, on June 10, 1944, to Frederik Wettergreen and Hjordis “Vesla” Amundsen. During his early years Mr. Wettergreen attended schools in Oslo and then immigrated to the U.S. as a foreign exchange student while his mother was working in Michigan. He graduated from Midland High School in Michigan in 1962. Afterward, he attended the University of Delaware and then returned to Oslo to complete a business degree at Handels Gymnasium in 1966.

Mr. Wettergreen was in the international tanker business for more 35 years, first working at Stolt Nielsen Ltd. in New York (where he met his wife, Terry, on the 64th floor of the Chrysler Building) and then at Stolt’s offices in Connecticut. He also worked at MT Maritime Management Group in their Singapore and Westport offices. His work in shipping also took him to posts in Copenhagen and Manila.

read moreObituary: Finn Wettergreen, 67, Rowayton man worked in tanker business, real estate

Obituary: Elizabeth Burnett Brown, 92, former Darien resident, teacher, artist

Elizabeth Burnett Brown, formerly of Stamford and Darien, a teacher and caregiver, died on Thursday, March 8, at Sharon Hospital after a brief illness. She was 92.

She was the daughter of the late Harold Seymour and Katharine Crane Brown.

Miss Brown was a graduate of Vassar College, Class of 1941, where she studied art and art history. She was an artist, pianist, teacher and caregiver who devoted her life to others with laughter, smiles and wit, her family said. “She delighted in gardening, garden planning and bird watching and was an avid reader and Scrabble player who joyfully anticipated the next book or Scrabble game.”

read moreObituary: Elizabeth Burnett Brown, 92, former Darien resident, teacher, artist

Obituary: Lois Grace Steinmetz Ellson, 87, mother of Darien resident

Lois Grace Steinmetz Ellson of Milford, the mother of a Darien resident, died on Tuesday, March 6. Mrs. Ellson, 87, was the wife of William Ellson.

Born on February 14, 1925 in Richmond Hill, N.Y. A former Long Island resident, Mrs. Ellson also lived in numerous Connecticut towns. She graduated from Queens College in 1945, where she later taught speech, and received her master’s degree from Columbia University in 1947.

Besides her husband, Mrs. Ellson is survived by her children, Judith Ellson Sinche, and husband Robert, of Darien, Laurel Ellson of Milford; grandchildren, Greg and Samantha Sinche of Stamford, Lindsay, Genevieve and Jillian Martinez of Milford, Daniel Ellson of Los Angeles, and Rebecca and Elizabeth Ellson of Columbus.

Calling hours are Saturday, March 10, 9-10:30, at the Cody-White Funeral Home, 107 Broad St., Milford 06460. A prayer service will follow at 10:30 with the Rev. Adam Eckhart officiating. Burial will be private.

Memorial donations may be made to the American Cancer Society, 825 Brook St., Rocky Hill, CT 06067.

Obituary: Mary Rogers Hillas, 93, volunteer, mother of Darien resident

Mary Rogers Hillas, the mother of a Darien resident, died Thursday, March 1, surrounded by her family at Meadow Ridge Health Center in Redding. A longtime resident of Glenview, Ill., she was 93.

Born in Germantown, Pa., in 1918 she was the daughter of the late H. Albert and Mary Rohner Rogers. Mrs. Hillas was the wife of the late Roland A. Hillas, to whom she was married for 64 years.

“Mary and Rollie were a wonderful team,” their family said.

Mrs. Hillas spent her childhood in Philadelphia, Minneapolis, and Tulsa, Okla., graduating from Dean Academy High School in Massachusetts and then Cornell University in 1939. Out of school, she worked in the insurance industry in Philadelphia. Mr. Hillas, a pilot, and Mrs. Hillas were married during World War II and followed the U.S. Navy south and west.

As civilians with four children the family lived in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Michigan, Kentucky and Illinois, where they settled for 34 years. Mrs. Hillas was an active volunteer with the Visiting Nurse Service during the Vietnam War, working at the Great Lakes Naval Hospital. She was a 40-year survivor of cancer.

Mrs. Hillas is survived by her daughter Wendy Miller of Darien; her three sons, Roland A. Hillas III and his wife Chuenchit of Fort Worth, Texas, Robert S. Hillas and his wife Cynthia of Princeton, N.J., and James R. Hillas and his wife Arlene of Woodbridge; 13 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

Besides her parents and husband, she was predeceased by three siblings and her grandson, Roland A. Hillas IV.

A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, March 17, at 3, at the Congregational Church of Darien. Burial will be private.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Meadow Ridge Scholarship Fund, Attn: Sally Dimon, Meadow Ridge, 100 Redding Road, Redding, CT 06896

The Hoyt Funeral Home of New Canaan is in charge of arrangements.

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