Obituary: Dr. Edward Stewart Holcomb, 92, father of Darien resident


02-23-darien-Edward-S.-HolcDr. Edward Holcomb, father of a Darien resident, died Sunday, Feb. 12, in Charleston, S.C. He was 92.

Dr. Holcomb was born May 11, 1919, in Brooklyn, N.Y. He graduated from Cornell University in 1939 and Cornell Medical School in 1943. During World War II he served as a captain in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, 63rd Field Hospital. In 1947 he married Nancy May Eggleston. They were married for 61 years.

Dr. Holcomb moved to Gloversville, N.Y., where he practiced medicine for more than 48 years. He was chief of medicine and chief of staff during his tenure at Nathan Littauer Hospital in Gloversville.

Dr. Holcomb was an avid sailor and former member of the Mayfield, N.Y., and Charleston, S.C., yacht clubs. At he time of his death, he was the oldest active fencer with the United States Fencing Association. Dr. Holcomb was a former captain of the Cornell University fencing team and recently served as a volunteer coach with the East of the Cooper Fencing Program

“He was a kind, intelligent, generous man of integrity, wit and wisdom — a true gentleman,” his family said. “He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.”

Dr. Holcomb is survived by his sons, Cary Holcomb of Darien, and his wife Heather; and RIchard Holcomb, and his wife Jacquie, of Christchurch, New Zealand; and grandchildren Taylor and Ben Holcomb of Darien.

Obituary: Charles ‘Chet’ William Gerdts III, 58, Darien resident, New York attorney

Charles W. GerdtsCharles “Chet” William Gerdts III, a long-time resident of Darien, died peacefully on Thursday, Feb. 16, in New York City. He was 58.

He was born to Charles W. Gerdts Jr. and Catherine Marie Jaicks on March 30, 1953, in New York City. He graduated from the Cranbrook School in 1971 before attending the University of Michigan, where he joined the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity and was also a member of the honor society Michigama.

While studying in Ann Arbor, he met and fell in love with Elizabeth Hume, his future wife. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1975, followed by his juris doctorate in 1978 from the Vanderbilt University Law School, where he was a member of the Law Review.

Mr. and Mrs. Gerdts married and moved to Manhattan, where he began his legal career with the firm of Donovan Leisure Newton & Irvine and became a partner of the firm in 1986. After 20 years with Donovan Leisure, he joined Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, serving as the managing partner for the litigation department and as a member of the firm’s executive committee. In 2002, Mr. Gerdts became the PricewaterhouseCoopers U.S. firm’s General Counsel, serving as the U.S. firm’s Chief Risk Officer and advisor to the Board of Partners and Principals.

He was a member of the New York City Bar Association’s 2006 Task Force on the Lawyer’s Role in Corporate Governance, served on the ABA’s Presidential Task Force on the Attorney-Client Privilege, was a member of the Vanderbilt University School of Law’s National Council and the Board of Directors for the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law.

“Chet was a loyal friend and was driven by a belief that everyone should strive to reach their greatest potential,” his family said. “He combined this drive with a sharp intellect, a keen sense of humor, kindness, and a deep love for his family.”

Besides his wife of 32 years, Mr. Gerdts is survived by his children, Emily Eaton Gerdts and Charles W. Gerdts IV; five brothers, two sisters, and a number of nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, March 3, at 1, atNoroton Presbyterian Church, 2011 Post Road, Darien.

Memorial donations may be made to the Charles W. Gerdts, III Scholarship Fund. Visit for details.

Obituary: Susan Bathrick Fischer, 73, psychotherapist, grew up in Darien

Susan Bathrick Fischer, who grew up in Darien, died at her California home on Sunday, Feb. 12, surrounded by her family, after a battle against cancer and the lingering effects of childhood polio. She was 73.

Born Sept. 29, 1938, in New York City, she spent her childhood in Darien. “She contracted polio in 1945,” her family said, “an experience that significantly shaped her force of character and the intense drive that defined the way she grappled with life and engaged the people around her.”

She graduated from Darien High School in 1956, where she was active in student government. Mrs. Fischer attending Skidmore College in Saratoga, N.Y., followed by a year of study at the Sorbonne University in Paris.

In 1959 she married Bill Fischer, her husband of 53 years, then a lieutenant junior grade in the U.S. Navy, stationed at Pearl Harbor. She continued her education at the University of Hawaii, moving to Berkeley, Calif., in 1960 where she completed her bachelor’s degree in French.

There she had two sons: Alex, born in San Francisco in 1964, and Nathan, now deceased, born in Oakland in 1966. At Berkeley she was an ardent participant in the student peace movement, her family said.

In 1967 she moved to Buffalo, N.Y., where her third son Matthew was born in 1969. Her family expanded later that year to include Jim Merigold who, over time, became her fourth son. She was a volunteer in the Head Start Program, counseled conscientious objectors at the Western New York Peace Center, and earned her master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling at the University at Buffalo.

She then pursued a 20-year career at Horizon Human Services, serving as a psychotherapist in a community mental health setting. She worked extensively with Vietnam War Veterans and created a program for people with physical disabilities. Mrs. Fischer and her husband retired to Oceanside, Calif., in 2002, where she was active in voter reform and participated in politics that she felt best served the common good.

“Her vivid temperament and gift for engaging people were shaped by three remarkable women: her mother, Margaret Holmes Bathrick; her aunt, Elizabeth ‘Bee’ Holmes; and her childhood caretaker, Julia Richardson,” her family said. “Her beauty and spirit were uncanny and inspiring, profoundly touching friends and family alike. She combined great strength with an engaging grace that inevitably drew people to her.”

“She lived life fully, devoting her last years to her family, especially her beloved grandchildren: Noah and Charlie, sons of Alex and Caryn, and Linnea and Skylar, daughters of Matthew and Kristin. May her new journey be filled with the guidance, light, and sense of adventure she has so abundantly conveyed to us all.”

Memorial donations may be made to the Susan B. Fischer Memorial Fund at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, 10010 North Torrey Pines Rd., La Jolla, CA 92037.

Obituary: Michelle LaBranche Campbell of Darien, former Rowayton resident

Michelle LaBranche Campbell of Darien, formerly of Rowayton and Greenwich, died of natural causes in Darien on Feb. 14.

One of four children, Mrs. Campbell was born in New York City in 1929, the daughter of George M.L. LaBranche and Sara Jane Spahr. She attended Spence School, Westover, and graduated Sarah Lawrence College.

She married the late Edward A. Daly, and raised a family of four children in Greenwich, Dina Delaini of Costa Rica, Mindy Green of Rowayton, Mark Daly of Hood River, Ore., and Brooke Daly of Corvallis, Ore.

Mrs. Campbell had great sense of style, her family said. “She appeared in a 1952 edition of Vogue magazine as a country club symbol of athleticism and grace. She had a ‘green thumb,’ loved a good party and made beautiful art.” Her family and friends enjoyed her great sense of humor, quick wit and warm heart.

She is survived by her brother, Anthony LaBranche of Pittsburgh, Pa, her four children, her seven grandchildren, and her great granddaughter.

A service will be held at Atria of Darien, 50 Ledge Road, on Monday, Feb. 20, at 4:30.

Obituary: Richard DeWitt Lockhart, 80, Darien resident, volunteer, worked for Westinghouse


02-10-darien-obt-lockhartRichard DeWitt Lockhart, a 30-year Darien resident who spent much his career with Westinghouse, died of cancer at his home on Wednesday morning, Feb. 8, surrounded by his family. Mr. Lockhart, 80, was the husband of Janice Bury Lockhart.

Born on May 28, 1931, in Miami, Ariz., he was the only son of Genevieve Jackson and John W. Lockhart, an F.W. Woolworth store manager.

Mr. Lockhart graduated second ranking cadet at St. Andrews Military Academy in Sewanee, Tenn., where he was a welterweight on the boxing team and an Eagle Scout. He earned a bachelor of science degree at the Georgia Institute of Technology and a master’s degree in business administration from the Harvard Business School.

He was commissioned as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Third Army Infantry, and was stationed at Fort Campbell in Kentucky and Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. While in the Army, he obtained his pilot license and enjoyed flying Piper Cubs.

Mr. Lockhart spent much of his career at Westinghouse, and retired from the Manhattan law firm, Cravath, Swaine & Moore as chief financial officer. He then went on to provide income tax assistance and counseling to the elderly, as a volunteer for Services for the Underserved.

Mr. Lockhart had a passion for reading, skiing, biking and hiking, his family said. He enjoyed many summers with family and friends at his home on Big Wolf Lake in Tupper Lake, N.Y. He loved dogs and was a member of the Ox Ridge Kennel Club.

Besides his wife of 52 years, Mr. Lockhart is survived by his three children, Brian Lockhart, Carolyn Alicandro and Douglas Lockhart; and three grandchildren, Tucker Lockhart, Rebecca Alicandro and Victoria Alicandro.

Calling hours are Friday, Feb. 10, from 5-7, at Edward Lawrence Funeral Home, 2119 Post Road. A funeral service will be held Saturday, Feb. 11, at 11, at St. John R.C. Parish, 1986 Post Road.

Memorial donations may be made to the American Cancer Society, 250 Williams Street NW, Atlanta, GA, 30303, Tax ID number 13-1788491.

Obituary: Michael V. Labozzo, 45, Darien resident

Michael V. Labozzo of Darien died on Saturday, Feb. 4, surrounded by his family at Stamford Hospital. He was 45.

Born in Stamford on Oct. 17, 1966, he was the son of Victor and Joan LaBozzo.

Mr. Labozzo’s enjoyments consisted of his sports teams, New York Yankees and the Giants and Nascar (Jeff Gordon No. 24). “Michael’s biggest success was all the lives he touched with his love each and every day and never missed a challenging chess game,” his family said.

Besides his parents, Mr. Labozzo is survived by his sisters, Diana Daniele and her husband Fortunato of Stamford and Lisa LaBozzo of Darien; and nephews, Ralph and Michael Daniele of Stamford; and his dog, Maverick.

A funeral procession will be leaving the Nicholas F. Cognetta Funeral Home & Crematory, 104 Myrtle Ave., Stamford, on Wednesday, Feb. 8, at 11:30 for a Mass of Christian Burial at noon at St. John’s R.C. Church, 1986 Post Road, Darien. Entombment will follow at St. John’s Cemetery, 223 Richards Ave., Norwalk.

Memorial donations may be made to St. John’s R.C. Church, 1986 Post Road, Darien, CT 06820.

Obituary: Matthew Kovacs, 28, DHS grad, lifelong Darien resident

Matthew Kovacs, a life long resident of Darien, died Saturday, Jan. 28, at Stamford Hospital. He was 28.

Born on March 18, 1983, in Stamford, he was the son of Stephen Kovacs of Darien and the late Barbara Ann Matthys Kovacs. He was a graduate of Darien High School.

Besides his father, he is survived by a brother, Stephen Kovacs Jr.; a sister, Jennifer Strada; a nephew, Joseph Strada and a niece, Ava Strada, all of Darien; a grandmother, Georgiann Mattys also of Darien. He was predeceased by his grandparents, Robert Matthys and Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Kovacs.

A Mass of Christian Burial was held at St. John R.C. Church on Saturday, Feb. 4. Burial was private. Memorial donations may be sent to St. Jude Tribute Program, P.O. Box 1000, Dept. 142, Memphis, TN 38148-0142.

Obituary: Virginia B. Rand, 99, owned Entre Nous boutique in Darien

Virginia B. Rand of Essex, a former Darien resident and business owner, died Wednesday, Feb. 1. She was 99.

She was born Nov. 29, 1912, in New York City to Edward and Elizabeth Schoder Barrett.

Mrs. Rand, raised her family in Darien. She was active for many years in the Children’s Aid Society of Connecticut and was a long-term member of the Darien Garden Club. Mrs. Rand was one of the original owners of Entre Nous, a gift and needlepoint boutique in Darien. In 1995, she and her husband moved to Essex Meadows in Essex, where they spent the rest of their lives. One of her greatest joys in her later life was the time she was able to devote to her grandchildren, her family said.

Mrs. Rand was predeceased by her husband, Richard Rand. She is survived by three children, her son, Richard Rand Jr. and his wife Revonda Barger of North Carolina; daughter, Lee Simonds Brown and her husband Shepard Brown of Massachusetts and son, Robert Rand of Massachusetts; eight grandchildren, Richard Rand III, Whitney Franz, Christina Fish, Courtney James, Peter Simonds, Charlie Simonds, Ginny Ramos, Chris Simonds; 33 great-grandchildren, a sister, Dorothy Fuller and a brother, Mike Barrett.

A memorial service was held on Saturday, Feb. 4, at the First Congregational Church in Old Lyme.

Memorial donations may be made to Essex Meadows Scholarship Fund, 30 Bokum Road, Essex CT 06426.

Obituary: Ballard Hill Cantrell, 91, Rowayton resident was sailor, worked for SNET

Ballard Hill Cantrell of Pine Point, Rowayton, died on Monday, Jan. 30, at Norwalk Hospital after a brief illness. A sailor and woodworker, Mr. Cantrell, 91, grew up in Darien and lived in Rowayton for the past 52 years.

Mr. Cantrell was born in New York City on April 17, 1920, the only child of the late Ruth Ballard and Florent Cantrell. He was raised in Darien and attended local schools. At 14, Mr. Cantrell began working at Hickory Bluff in Rowayton, which began his life-long association there and his love of sailing.

Mr. Cantrell graduated from Darien High School in 1938 and soon began a 39-year career with the Southern New England Telephone Company. With advent of World War II, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, where he served in the Communications Division, and worked tracking German U-boats in both Long Island Sound and New York Harbor. Mr. Cantrell was then transferred to the West Coast, where he was stationed at Camp McQuaid in Watsonville, Calif.

In 1949, Mr. Cantrell married Grace Ruddy of Stamford. She predeceased him in 1995.

Mr. Cantrell was an avid sailor, who enjoyed both long and short trips with family, friends and sometimes alone. He drew great strength from the sea. He was also a self-taught wood worker and produced many beautiful, intricate and creative pieces, his family said. His hobbies also included fishing and a love of dogs. A kind and gentle man, Ballard was always willing to help others.

Mr. Cantrell is survived by his two sons, Michael Cantrell and his wife Kay Pennington Cantrell of Madison, and Peter Cantrell of Rowayton; two grandchildren, Kimberly Cantrell and Christopher Cantrell of Madison.

There are no calling hours. A celebration of his life was held on Sunday, Feb. 5, at the Rowayton Yacht Club.

Memorial donations may be sent to Save the Sound, CT Fund for the Environment, 142 Temple Street, 3rd Floor, New Haven, CT 06510.

The Edward Lawrence Funeral Home in Darien is in charge of the arrangements.

Obituary: William J. Harford, 89, WWII fighter pilot, former Darien resident

William J. Harford of Naples, Fla, a former long time Darien resident and World War II fighter pilot, died Monday, Jan. 30, at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York. He was 89.

Born on June 4, 1922, in Jersey City, N.J., he was the son of the late Thomas and Jane Henderson Harford.

Mr. Harford attended Notre Dame University from 1940-42 and in 1947 graduated from Harvard University, were he played baseball and basketball. He served with the U.S. Marine Corps from 1942-46 as a fighter pilot during World War II and obtained the rank of captain.

Mr. Harford was owner of Harford Corporation, which was in Darien for 50 years. He also worked for New York Life Insurance Co. from 1951 to 1961 and Prudential Group Ins. Dept. as manager of the New Orleans Group Office from 1949 to 1951. He was also director of Bankers Security Life Insurance Society from 1955 to 1965 and Dairylea Cooperative, Inc. from 1970 to 1985.

He was a member of the Harvard Club of New York City; Woodway Country Club in Darien and Club Pelican Bay in Naples. He also enjoyed playing golf.

Mr. Harford is survived by his three children, William J. Harford of Chicago, Jean H. Cortes of New Canaan, and Robert M. Harford of Arlington, Va.; six grandchildren, William Harford III, Benjamin Cortes, Kathleen Harford, Robert Cortes, Mary Jean Harford and Cristina Cortes; a brother, James Harford of Princeton, N.J.; and a sister, Mary Jane Ferro of New Jersey.

He was predeceased by his wife, Jean M. Harford in 2001.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Thomas More Church, 374 Middlesex Road, Darien on Monday, Feb. 6, at 10:30. Burial will follow with full military honors at Lakeview Cemetery in New Canaan.

Memorial donations may be made to Founders Fund, The Club Pelican Bay, 707 Gulf Park Drive, Naples, FL 34108.