Obituary: Lee Sumner Cushman, 73, Darien resident, world traveler

obt-cushman 03-22Lee Sumner Cushman of Darien died on Tuesday, March 13, of pancreatic cancer. She was 73.

Mrs. Cushman was born in Boston on June 24, 1938, the daughter of the late Thurston Bradford Sumner and Jessica White Pirie.

Raised in Milford with her three late brothers, Richard Bradford Sumner, William White Sumner and Thurston Bradford Sumner Jr., she went to Smith College and was a member of the class of 1960.

She was married to Robert Edgar Cushman for 37 years. The couple raised their three children, Bert, Brad and Jessica while traveling the world, spending years in Geneva, Switzerland, Brussels, Belgium, San Francisco, Hong Kong and Rio de Janeiro before returning to Darien.

read moreObituary: Lee Sumner Cushman, 73, Darien resident, world traveler

Obituary: Shirley Nutting Hughes, 86, lifelong Darien resident

Shirley Nutting Hughes, a lifelong Darien resident, died Friday, March 16, at Waterbury Hospital surrounded by her family. She was 86.

Born on Dec. 20, 1925, Mrs. Hughes was the daughter of the late Clarence M. and Gladys Buck Nutting. She graduated from Darien High School in 1944 and raised four sons in Darien.

read moreObituary: Shirley Nutting Hughes, 86, lifelong Darien resident

Obituary: Dr. John Ryland Hinrichs, 82, former Darien resident, psychologist


obt-darien-HinrichsJohn Ryland Hinrichs, Ph.D., a former long-time Darien psychologist who was president of the United Way and served on the Representative Town Meeting here, along with serving two combat tours in the Korean War, died Wednesday, March 7, surrounded by his family at the VNA Hospice House in Vero Beach, Fla. Dr. Hinrichs, 82, was the husband of Peggy McConnell Hinrichs.

A recent resident of Vero Beach and New Canaan, Dr. Hinrichs was born in Baltimore, Md., the son of Dr. Ernest Henry Hinrichs and Elizabeth Sadler Hinrichs of Riderwood, Maryland.

Dr. Hinrichs, an industrial and organizational psychologist, was the founder and CEO of Management Decision Systems, Inc., a human resources consulting firm, and Spectrum Learning and Development Inc., a publisher of management training materials and software.

read moreObituary: Dr. John Ryland Hinrichs, 82, former Darien resident, psychologist

Obituary: Raymond H. Noble of Darien, 90, flight instructor, WWII bombardier


obt-darien-nobleRaymond H. Noble of Darien, a highly-regarded flight instructor based at Danbury Airport, died surrounded by his family on Thursday, March 1, in Norwalk Hospital after an extended kidney illness. Mr. Noble, 90, was the husband of Nancy Noble.

The native of Dayton, Ohio, he was the son of Dr. Charles G. Noble, M.D., and Alice B. Noble.

Mr. Noble was thrice cited by his peers and the Federal Aviation Authority for exceptional work as a flight instructor, twice being named New England Flight Instructor of the Year and once being chosen for the Wright Brothers Award. During 40 years at Danbury, he trained countless men and women who went on to become commercial pilots and others who just wanted to experience the joy of flying.

read moreObituary: Raymond H. Noble of Darien, 90, flight instructor, WWII bombardier

Obituary: John Pearson Hammond, 66, former Darien resident, built Internet companies


obt-darien-john-hammondJohn Pearson Hammond of Wilton, a former Darien resident who spent part of his life building Internet companies, died on Friday, March 9. Mr. Hammonds, 66, was the husband of Suzanne Simons Hammond.

Born on March 28, 1945, he was the son of the late Carleton and Dorothy Hammond. Mr. Hammond grew up in Darien and Chatham, Mass. He graduated from Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., and later earned his master’s of business administration from Columbia University.

Mr. Hammond started his career in the finance department of GMAC in New York City, later leaving to join Phelps Dodge Corp. As an officer of Phelps Dodge, Mr. Hammond was asked to relocate to Arizona, but could not leave his East Coast roots, his family said. He then worked to build and manage the Woodworker Store in South Norwalk. Mr. Hammond spent the rest of his career building hi-tech Internet companies.

read moreObituary: John Pearson Hammond, 66, former Darien resident, built Internet companies

Obituary: William C. Bell, 89, Darien senior center writer, U.S. Army veteran

William C. Bell of Darien, a regular at the Darien senior center and a U.S. Army veteran died Tuesday, March 6, surrounded by his family. He was 89.

Born July 28, 1922, in Stamford, he was the son of the late Abraham Lincoln and Mary Yanik Bell.

Mr. Bell graduated from Darien High School in 1940. He served in the U.S. Army from 1943-46, crossing the U.S. by train. When he returned to Darien he worked for the White Tower and Tom Brock Corporations as a purchasing agent, retiring in 1987 after 40 years.

read moreObituary: William C. Bell, 89, Darien senior center writer, U.S. Army veteran

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.

For online condolences and directions to the church visit

Obituary: Alexander ‘Al’ B. McElwee, 81, Darien resident was Pitney Bowes plant manager, U.S. Marine

Alexander “Al” B. McElwee of Darien, who was a U.S. Marine and plant manager for Pitney Bowes in Stamford, died Monday, March 5, in Darien. He was 81.

Born June 1, 1930, in Stamford, he was the first American-born son of the late Daniel and Olive McElwee. In 1951, he married Beverly Curtis of Darien, and they were married for 50 years until her death in 2002.

Mr. McElwee graduated from Stamford High School in 1948 where he was the junior class president. He attended Bridgeport Engineering Institute where he studied mechanical engineering and also took business courses at the University of Connecticut.

He was drafted into the U.S. Marine Corps and served from 1952-54. Mr. McElwee was stationed in Miami Beach, Fla., and while he was in the service, he was an air traffic controller. After his service in the Marine Corps, Mr. and Mrs. McElwee returned to Darien and he returned to work at Pitney Bowes where he went from the position of factory worker to plant manager. He retired after over 30 years of employment.

Mr. McElwee was an avid sports fan and enjoyed coaching youth football and baseball for 20 years, his family said. He was also the assistant treasurer at Union Memorial Church in Glenbrook, where he was an active member. He loved to work in his yard, fix things, and tend to his garden, his family said.

Mr. McElwee is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Scott and Donna McElwee of Rye, N.Y.; daughter and son-in-law, Joy and Richard Hamernick of Darien; son and daughter-in-law, Todd and Mary McElwee of Easton; daughter and son-in-law, Amanda and Mark Waters of England; and grandchildren, Blake and Scott McElwee, Peter, Tim, Steven, Chris and Will Hamernick, Alex, Meghan, Paige and Katie McElwee and Bethany and Abigail Waters.

Besides his wife, Mr. McElwee was predeceased by an infant daughter and his brother, Bill McElwee.

Calling hours are Friday, March 9, from 5-8, at the Edward Lawrence Funeral Home, 2119 Post Road. A funeral service will be held at Union Memorial Church, 58 Church Street, Glenbrook, on Saturday, March 10, at 10. Burial will follow at Spring Grove Cemetery, Darien

Memorial donations may be made to Union Memorial Church, 58 Church Street, Glenbrook, CT 06906 or Darien EMS-Post 53, PO Box 2066, Darien, CT 06820.

Obituary: John Francis Coyne Jr., 90, ran Darien insurance office, World War II veteran

John Francis Coyne Jr., a World War II veteran who opened and managed an insurance office in Darien, died Tuesday, Feb. 28, surrounded by his children, at Naples Community Hospital in Florida. He was 90.

Born in Hartford on June 29, 1921, to the late John F. and Marjorie Gordon Saxton Coyne, he attended schools in South Windsor, Hartford and the University of Pittsburgh.

Mr. Coyne served in World War II as a fighter pilot of the Luscious LuLu, a P-47 Thunderbolt, in the European Theater and was a proud member of the 366th Fighter Pilots Association, his family said.

A career casualty insurance agent, Mr. Coyne established and managed the Darien office of the J.M. Layton Insurance Co. until his retirement in 1990. He was also past president of the Connecticut Agents Insurance Association.

An avid golfer, Mr. Coyne scored two holes-in-one, was a member of the Highpoint Country Club in Naples, Fla., and a past member of the Pocassette Golf Club on Cape Cod and the Silvermine Golf Club in New Canaan. He was a lifetime Elk and actively involved with the Darien Chamber of Commerce, Red Cross, and Kiwanis for years.

“He shall long be remembered in our hearts for his fabulous sense of humor, great story telling, generosity, many volunteer years at NCH hospital, and his ‘love of dancing the nights away’,” his family said. “John will be deeply missed by family and friends, many who were lifelong.”

Mr. Coyne was predeceased by his wife of 62 years, Mary Lou Fister Coyne; son, John F Coyne III; and life-long best friend, Col. Frank Gionfriddo.

He is survived by his son, Thomas A. Coyne, and wife Susan, of Longboat Key, Fla., and Nantucket, Mass.; daughter, Susan C. Johnston of Tucson, Ariz.; grandchildren, Erin A. Coyne and Brendan M. Coyne, both of Tampa, Fla., and Lauren R. Benedict, and husband Whit, of Darien; and great grandchildren, Bruce W. Benedict III, Thomas Jackson “Jack” Benedict and Braydan Riley Coyne.

Services were private.

Memorial donations may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105; the American Cancer Society, PO Box 22718, Oklahoma City, OK, 73123-1718; or a charity of your choice.

For online condolences, visit