March 8, 2021

Death of Vincent Scordino Announced; Old Lyme Beaches Were “His Favorite”

“If we would just slow down, happiness would catch up to us.” R Carlson, Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff

Quick with a smile, open heart, and listening ear, Vincent Scordino knew how to be happy. He also knew how to worry. Here’s to hoping he only leaves the first trait behind. If not, he left us Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff … And It’s All Small Stuff in his office, so we too, can be open, kind and happy in his honor.

On Thursday January 21, 2021, at age 77, Vincent Scordino of East Longmeadow, MA and Venice, FL, passed away. He fought for weeks against COVID, beating the virus but not the after effects …

… Friends and family will miss his warmth, humor, love and generosity, but we celebrate a life well-lived, traveling and enjoying the waters and beaches from Prince Edward Island to Hawaii (and always comparing them to Old Lyme, CT, his favorite).

Visit this link to read the full obituary published Jan. 26, 2021 in The Republican.

Death Announced of Ann Peck of Niantic, Mother of David Peck of Old Lyme

NIANTIC — Surrounded by family and after battling declining health, Ann Peck, 92, of Niantic passed away Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, at the Lawrence and Memorial Hospital.

Born in New London Oct. 7, 1928, to Joseph and Jennie Bonafede, Ann married Norman B. Peck Jr. Aug. 11, 1951. They would have celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary this August …

… Ann will be sadly missed by her family and friends. In addition to her husband Norman, Ann is survived by her three children and grandchildren: son Norman B. Peck III, wife Patricia Avery and children Tyler and Hayley Engleberg; son David A. Peck [of Old Lyme], wife Nina and children Sarah, Charlie and Dave Peck …

Visit this link to read the full obituary published Jan. 22, 2021 in The Day.

Death of Stephen A. Zrenda Jr. Announced; Brother of Marian Landry, Jerry & Joe Zrenda, All of Old Lyme

EDMOND, OKLA. – Stephen A. Zrenda Jr. entered eternal life Jan. 16, 2021. He was born in New London Aug. 2, 1945, the son of Stephen A. Zrenda and Dorothy A. Zrenda.

He attended St. Bernard High School, an exceptional student athlete, well known for his varsity basketball and baseball accomplishments. He was duly inducted into the SBHS Athletic Hall of Fame.

He was recruited by UConn for basketball and baseball and played alongside standout players Wes Bialosuknia, Bill Holowaty, and Tom Penders …

… Brothers and sisters include Ellen Chandler (Bruce) of East Lyme; Jerry Zrenda (Karen) of Old Lyme; Joanne Z. Moore (Joe) of East Lyme; Marian Landry (Art) of Old Lyme; Joe Zrenda of Old Lyme; and Laurie Zrenda of East Lyme.

Visit this link to read the full obituary published Jan. 21, 2021 in The Day.

Death of Charles Taylor Announced, Former Board Member of Lyme Academy; Burial Scheduled in Lyme, Saturday

SAVANNAH, GA. — Charles C. Taylor of Savannah, Ga., died peacefully Jan. 18, 2021, after a short illness. He was 55 years old. Charles was the personification of a gentleman, sweet-natured and kind. He was born in Virginia, grew up in Tennessee, and spent most of his adult life in New York and Connecticut before moving to Savannah in 2013.

… He served as a Board member of the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts in Old Lyme …

…He is survived by his husband Samir Nikocevic; his parents, Millard and Patsy Taylor; his sisters, April Taylor and Hope Murph; and his brother, Bryan Taylor.

Burial will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 23, at the Eight Mile River Cemetery in Lyme. A Celebration of Life will take place in Savannah at a later date …

Visit this link to read the full obituary published Jan. 21, 2021 in The Day.

Death of Patience “Penny” Zawacki of Old Lyme Announced

OLD LYME —  Patience “Penny” Zawacki, of Old Lyme passed away Jan. 11, 2021. She was born Sept. 23, 1937, in New Britain, the daughter of Archibald and Ida Johnson Waters …

… She was a member of the Lady’s Auxiliary for the South End’s Fire Department in Old Lyme. She loved to get together with her girlfriends weekly and paint ceramics. She was also a first basemen for the Old Lyme Seafood’s Women’s softball team …

… Calling hours will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16, at Fulton-Theroux Funeral Home, 13 Beckwith Lane, Old Lyme. A graveside service will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 17, at Duck River Cemetery, Old Lyme.

Visit this link to read the full obituary published Jan. 14, 2021 in The Day.

Death of Helen Hilda Goss Way Announced, Born 1930 in Old Lyme

NEW LONDON – Helen Hilda Goss Way, 90, born April 8, 1930, passed away Jan. 2, 2021. Beloved mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Born in Old Lyme, loved and enjoyed gardening and cooking with her mother Ellen Fratus Goss. She was a great mom who will be loved and missed by all …

Visit this link to read the full obituary published Jan. 6, 2021 in The Day.

Death Announced of Marlene Joan Goss DeGray, Graduated 1953 from Old Lyme High School

EAST LYME — Marlene Joan Goss DeGray was born April 11, 1935, and passed Dec. 29, 2020. She met William K. DeGray while square dancing and they married May 18, 1957. They celebrated 52 years of marriage before his passing …

… She was a 1953 graduate of Old Lyme High School where she played field hockey, softball, and basketball. She also belonged to many clubs and committees, and earned herself the “Most Talkative” superlative. …

Visit this link to read the full obituary published Dec. 29, 2020 in The Day.

Death Announced of Yvonne Eufemia Anderson Montmeat of Old Lyme, She “Loved Life, … her Family, and … to Garden”

OLD LYME – Yvonne Eufemia Anderson Montmeat, 72, passed away Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021, in Old Lyme, after a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer …

… they established New England Cartridge Company, a copier supply and mobile paper shredding business, in Old Lyme in 1988, operating it for 27 years …

… Yvonne is survived by her husband of 43 years Jay Montmeat. She is also survived by her son Jack Montmeat (Lesley Moore) of Old Lyme; her daughter Brit Ann Rueb (Darren Rueb) of Vernon; her grandson Jack Montmeat Jr. and his brother Thomas Moore of Old Lyme; …

…Yvonne loved life, loved her family, and loved to garden.

Visit this link to read the full obituary published Dec. 29, 2020 in The Day.

Death Announced of Roger B. Heap of Hamburg Cove, Lyme; ‘His Greatest Joy … was for Life Itself’

LYME — Roger B. Heap of Hamburg Cove, Lyme died Jan. 3, 2021. Born in Boston, Mass. to Col. Roger A B and Eirene (O’Neil) Heap, he grew up in Longmeadow, Mass. and attended Tech High School in Springfield, Mass. where he also worked at the Indian Motorcycle headquarters before joining the Army Air Corp in 1944 during World War II …

… After High School he moved to Lyme where he purchased and operated the Gordon Hall Manufacturing Company in Old Lyme for ten years …

… they made their home at Hamburg Cove where he lived until relocating a year ago to the good care at The Saybrook at Haddam for which the family is most appreciative.

… His greatest joy though, was for life itself, for love and happiness.

…Remembrance donations may be made to the Lymes Senior Center, 26 Town Woods Road, Old Lyme, CT 06371 or Lyme Ambulance, PO Box 911, Hadlyme, CT 06439.

Visit this link to view the full obituary published Jan. 9, 2021 in The Day.

Death Announced of Justin Thomas Wells, 30, Son of Steven Wells of Old Lyme

WILBRAHAM, MA. — Justin Thomas Wells, 30, of Wilbraham, MA and Los Angeles, CA. passed away on December 19, 2020 after a brief illness. Justin was born on May 26, 1990 in New Haven, CT, a son of Dusti (Thomas) Wells of Wilbraham and Steven Wells of Old Lyme, CT. He attended Minnechaug Regional High School. Justin leaves his loving siblings; Jacob and Katelyn Wells of Old Lyme, CT …

Visit this link to view the full obituary published Jan. 9, 2021 in The Republican.

 

Death Announced of Phillip Randall Bucchi, Sr., of Old Lyme

OLD LYME — Phillip Randall Bucchi, Sr., 79, beloved husband of Edith (Prassl) Bucchi, of Old Lyme, and Ocala, Fla., passed away peacefully on Jan. 1, 2021. Phillip is survived by his wife of 55 years; his children Larissa (Edwin) Schroeder and Phillip Jr. (Kelly); five grandchildren; and sister Cristina Bucchi of Urbania, Italy …

Visit this link to view the full obituary published Jan. 9, 2021 in the New Britain Herald.

Death Announced of Michael J. Picano, 60, Brother of Karen Kerwin of Old Lyme

Michael J. Picano, 60 of Sacramento, California passed away at home on Saturday, December 19, 2020 surrounded by his loving family after a courageous battle with cancer. He was born on May 2, 1960 in Hartford, CT …

… He is survived by his wife, Maura and his son Nathan Picano of Sacramento CA; brother Stephen Picano and his wife Debra of Enfield, CT, sister Karen Kerwin of Old Lyme, CT; nieces and nephews Marissa Carignan of Waterford, CT and James Kerwin of Old Lyme, CT.

Visit this link to read the full obituary published jan. 3, 2021 in the Hartford Courant.

Old Lyme Says Poignant Farewell to the ‘Ever Thoughtful’ Mervin F. Roberts (Neel Roberts)

The firetruck bearing the coffin of Mervin F. Roberts begins its journey to the Duck River Cemetery. Photo by Gregg Jacobson.

OLD LYME — Mervin F. Roberts, 98, of Old Lyme, who passed away in the early hours of Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020 was laid to rest in a poignant graveside ceremony held Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021 at Duck River Cemetery in Old Lyme.

The Old Lyme Fire Department (OLFD), of which Mr. Roberts had been Chaplain for 50 years, played an integral role in the ceremony, transporting Mr. Roberts’s coffin down Lyme Street with an honor guard in front and a procession of firetrucks behind.

The procession of firetrucks passes the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme. Photo by Gregg Jacobson.

This was the eulogy read by Mervin Roberts’s daughter, Martha Delana McNair, at the graveside service for Mr. Roberts. It was written Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020 in Chiang Rai, Thailand, by Mr. Roberts’s son Neel Roberts, who has been with the Overseas Missionary Fellowship (OMF) since 1987. Neel Roberts was unable to attend the ceremony in person due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Donations in Mr. Roberts’s honor can be made to OMF at this link. Neel’s wife, Chalor, works with the tribal Shan community in Mae Sai, Northern Thailand, where they cross over from Myanmar, often destitute after losing their farm and water buffalo to the Burmese military. Chalor uses donations to provide scholarships the children need to enroll in public school. She helps them register for school and buy books and uniforms, while taking nothing for herself since she is supported along with Neel by the OMF.

The firetruck bearing the coffin travels down Lyme Street. Photo by Gerry Graves.

I will not try to summarize an active life of 98 years in 10 minutes. Mervin Francis Roberts, whom I will call Dad for convenience sake, wrote several memoirs for family and friends. If you have come to the funeral, you probably already have a copy or can borrow a copy from someone who has one or two.

The earliest known quote attributable to my dad was, “I’m not Mervin, I’m obnoxious.” When he got older he claimed, “I am all charm.” Strictly speaking both statements demanded some poetic license.

He, like most people was multifaceted. He memorized the periodic table when it only had about 100 elements. In his 90s he could look at a stone or piece of porcelain or a fuel additive or solvent for glue and describe its qualities based on the molecular structure of its parts. This was a man who could count fish and differentiate what species they were as they poured out of the water-cooling discharge pipes at the Connecticut Yankee power plant. As an engineer / naturalist / scientist he was a stickler for details. When it came to personal history, he was a bit of an un-licensed poet.

He was an only child, but he grew up surrounded by cousins whose families were a major part of his life until the very end. He lived on the outskirts of New York City and later spent a fair bit of time under the city when he was chief ceramic inspector for the Port of New York Authority while the Holland Tunnel was being dug.

Alfred University was the university of choice for him. His father’s choice. Evidently, his father made the right choice for him. He learned much about ceramics and the care of horses, and while there he found his future wife, Edith May Foster. It seems that she was not as certain as he was about whether he was Mr. Right but he staked his claim by buying an army surplus jeep for $50 and parking it in front of her parents’ house and thus persuaded the other suitor that she was already claimed.

Together they established a home where love and respect reigned for 60 happy years of marriage. In her old age he would often buy her chocolates. My dad did not spare the rod, but I only saw him fly off the handle once. I once made the mistake of using the words mom and dumb in the same sentence. Very big mistake. Lesson learned.

A smiling Mervin F. Roberts of Old Lyme is pictured here Oct. 31, 2020 at his home in Old Lyme.

Dad was the most unsentimental person I have ever known. Therefore, I hesitate to use the word love in sentences like, “He loved the ocean.” He very much enjoyed the ocean and was especially attracted to those places where the ocean met the land. He was very interested in all the life forms that were to be found along the shore and especially in the marshes. So it was natural that when career choices allowed him to choose a place to call home, Old Lyme became the place. He spent nearly 60 years here. Old Lyme was the perfect setting for him.

It was not only that it was surrounded by water. It was also full of people who had time for people. I almost started to write about his friends and neighbors but realized that would be redundant. He made neighbors into friends. On some occasions he helped them to deal with snapping turtles that were laying eggs in their back yards. On other occasions he blessed them with his home-made snapping turtle stew. The friendships were mutual. When the family that had received the stew moved away 2 years later, they returned the stew to him in its original container.

He placed a high value on volunteerism. At the start of World War II, he volunteered for the Navy and as a reward picked up some friends for life. Years later he became a volunteer fireman and again gained lifelong friends.

For over 50 years he was the chaplain in the Old Lyme Fire Department. For the first 20 or more of those years, he was often one of the first responders, driving one of the trucks and blowing the horn if he passed our house for the benefit of his son, our brother, Billy. If you want to know how to volunteer, you should go up and ask a fireman today. Dad would certainly appreciate that.

Dad was not a politician, nor did he have much interest in politics. He had a great interest in the well-being of the town and therefore gave much time to both appointed and elected roles.

Old Lyme Fire Department (OLFD) Chaplain Mervin Roberts pictured in his OLFD uniform at home in May 2020.

One of his big causes was sewer avoidance.

When he was 91, he was sounding a bit discouraged in his crusade to have each householder take responsibility for his own ground water. I told him that at his age he could pass the baton on to someone else. Seven years later, a few months before his death he was still fighting the good fight for sewer avoidance and Connecticut River oysters that would be safe to eat. So he didn’t take my advice but I am proud of him for the fact.

I should note here that he stuck with the various boards and committees in large part because he had friends who were equally concerned in the community. It was part of his core philosophy which I think he picked up from reading about Ancient Athens: that the well-being of a community is the responsibility of its citizens.

It is to be hoped that at this memorial service this sense of responsibility will not become a mere passing note but might be imparted in fuller measure to all who wish to honor his memory.

He wrote many books about pets and never grew attached to any particular snake, turtle, ferret, lovebird, gerbil or guppy. His key to success in writing and making the photographs for these books was that he showed respect for the experts. Those who knew more than he did would be given due credit in his books and therefore they not only freely shared their own hard-earned knowledge, but also made lasting relation with him as well.

As an author, whether of “The Tidemarsh Guide to Fishes” or of a letter to the editor of a local newspaper regarding some inane behavior of a bureaucrat in a corner office, he never shot from the hip. He thought, wrote a draft, corrected the draft and then always handed it to someone else to check the grammar, content and tone of voice. The final products showed his confidence in his statements precisely because he valued the input of others. On the other hand in a normal conversation where differences of opinion appeared, he might close with “bunkum”, or “you’re all wet” but he never said that until he had given the other party time to express their opinions.

Old Lyme Fire Department Chaplain Mervin Roberts reads what turned out to be his final Homily at the 2020 Memorial Day Service held in Duck River Cemetery.

While Dad was not sentimental, he did love people very intentionally. I never saw him shed a tear. He may have, but I never saw one. Love was a conscious decision and required much thought. And he was ever thoughtful.

In his later years he was involved in charitable activities in India and South America. Here he combined his scientific knowledge with his people skills. His background was aquaculture – the art of raising fish for food. But in some cases, he realized that the expressed need was not the real need. He would take time, days in reading the technical literature, days in contacting experts in other places, days in travel. He knew that a problem like hunger or poverty could not be solved by simply throwing money at it.

One of the last projects he was involved with began as a fish project but in the end, it was changed into a goat project because he as the fish expert, after careful study, came to realize that goats and not fish would help the people of that particular community in Southern India. Even here he did not simply recommend goats. He invested much time in learning how families in that community functioned, what laws existed about grazing animals, and how to address communal issues that delayed the original success of the project.

It was not enough that something had been done for the poor. He stuck with the people who were promoting the project until it became clear that the real people in need were the ones benefiting from it.

Dad had a sense of humor. Growing up in New England I never experienced an earthquake until one day in my teens the windows began to rattle. I rushed downstairs only to discover that my dad was watching a Peter Sellers Pink Panther movie on TV and was laughing so hard that the house shook. He didn’t tell jokes about in-laws but it was not infrequent that he would hear a good joke at the barber shop and come home to make a long-distance call to one of his brothers-in-law so that they could hear it too.

Dad was definitely an evolutionist. His ways of expressing his theology or views about God evolved too. We strongly suspect they have evolved considerably more over the past few days than in all his previous 98 years.

There were however a few core principles in his theology that went back to his college days when he joined the church in Alfred. One was that through prayer the peace of God would guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. I was on several occasions amazed when tragedies struck that he appeared unshaken. He was not unfeeling. He did feel pain but it did not cause him to forget that others needed his strength and clear headedness in the crisis. His heart was guarded. His actions proved that his mind was on how he might help others, be they family, neighbors or even strangers in their times of need.

The second principle which was merely another aspect of the first was expressed at our dinner table several thousand times in prayer. He would often end a mealtime prayer with this phrase, ‘help us to be mindful of the needs of others, around this table, around Old Lyme and around the world.’

It was a prayer that he saw answered in his own life on countless occasions and I believe we are all the beneficiaries of that prayer.

The Old Lyme Fire Department formed an honor guard at the head of the funeral cortege. Photo by A firetruck proudly flying the Stars and Stripes in Mr. Roberts’s honor stands at the entrance to Duck River Cemetery. Photo by Gregg Jacobson.

This is Mr. Roberts’s official obituary:

With his wife, the former Edith May Foster, Mervin Francis Roberts first came to Old Lyme in 1960. He and Edith May became active in church, government, fire department and town life.

Merv was born in New York City in 1922. He was a Naval Officer during WWII. He served in the Navy for four years, and then in the Reserve. He was awarded 4 campaign medals, two with Combat Stars. After his service, he returned to complete a degree in Ceramic Engineering at Alfred University.  He served as a Merchant Marine Officer, Scout Master and Commissioner, Town Shellfish Commissioner, Water Pollution Control Commissioner, Sunday School teacher, Counselor to the Governor of Connecticut for Marine Resources, Selectman of the Town of Old Lyme, Chaplain of the Fire Department and Justice of the Peace. He also was a Consultant of Aquaculture, worldwide, and a Counselor to two bishops in South India, concerning animal husbandry for women to alleviate poverty. For years he was the Tender of the Gate at the Old Lyme Cemetery. He was awarded Town of Old Lyme Citizen of the Year, and American Man of Science, American Legion’s Legionnaire of the Year, 2015-6. He was a teacher and lecturer, gunsmith, inventor, pioneer photographer of high-speed animal movement, waterman, duck hunter, and last but not least, he got his haircut at Seckla’s Old Lyme Barbershop.

Merv wrote 50 books and pamphlets on pets, natural history, and animal husbandry. 

He and Edith raised 6 children: Edith Ann Main, Robin Frances Roberts, Martha Delana McNair, Nancy Jean Briggs, Neel Foster Roberts, and William John Roberts. He is survived by a multitude of beloved nieces and nephews, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 

In his words, “Don’t mourn my death but rather celebrate my life for surely I’m glad to have been around.” 1997.

The firetruck bearing the coffin enters Duck River Cemetery. Photo by Gregg Jacobson.

Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold gave the following tribute to Mr. Roberts exclusively to LymeLine.com:

With the passing of Merv Roberts, Old Lyme has lost one of its most remarkable citizens. He was a Town Citizen of the Year, a Town Selectman, Chaplain of the Old Lyme Fire Department and active in so many other ways.

As his body became more frail, I think his mind became sharper. Just last September, Merv, as a Shellfish Commissioner, wrote a letter to the National Railroad Corp. asking whether any toxic ingredients would be used in the concrete, paint or steel used to build the new railroad bridge over the Connecticut River.  Not bad for a 98-year-old.”

We shall miss his interesting speeches at the Memorial Day Parade observances. I feel privileged to have known Merv and thank him for all he did for Old Lyme.

Mervin Roberts (first from right) attended the funerals of the children murdered Dec. 14, 2012, at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Conn.

Michele Dickey of Old Lyme, who was in the same grade as Mr. Roberts’s daughter Martha through their time together at Old Lyme Schools until they graduated together in the Lyme-Old Lyme High School Class of 1970, sent us these personal recollections of the graveside ceremony for Mr. Roberts:

I attended with my husband, Mike; we were joined first by our daughter, then my cousin-in-law, Dorie Smith, who is a friend of Edie’s, and her daughter, Meghan. We were joined for a while by friend Diane Losea Roeder, another classmate of Martha’s and mine, who came down from Northampton, Mass.

Mike noticed the wide range of people in attendance: lots of young people and lots of oldsters as well, many using  canes and walkers or requiring some assistance, even elderly fire fighters on the arms of friends. 

A firetruck proudly flying the Stars and Stripes in Mr. Roberts’s honor stands at the entrance to Duck River Cemetery. Photo by Gregg Jacobson.

 It was significant that a ladder truck with a huge American flag suspended from its raised ladder was outside the gate of Duck River Cemetery, where Merv acted as “gatekeeper” for many years and has since passed the torch to son-in-law, Ken Main. (Should you ever get locked in after dark, as we did just last week, don’t worry—the gate is held closed by a bungee cord, not a chain and padlock.)

Shortly after we gathered at the grave site, a color guard entered, followed by family members in front of the fire truck bearing Merv’s coffin. The rest of the Old Lyme Fire Department (OLFD) marched behind.

After the coffin had been taken off the truck and situated, contrary to the details in the program, military honors took place immediately by a Navy color guard: rifle shots, taps, the removal and folding of the flag draping the coffin and presenting it to the family.

Following this was a sweet young girl’s rendition of “The Sailor’s Hymn”; the program attributed this simply to Elle, of Duck River Lane.

Martha McNair read a long eulogy for her father written by brother Neel Roberts, a missionary in Thailand whom the pandemic prevented from attending. This eulogy was so complete! Informative, poignant, funny at times. Unless you were an immediate family member, you probably learned something about Merv when you heard this.

And when the fire whistle rang in the middle, Martha stopped reading to ask, with a little laugh,  “Does anyone have to leave?” No one did, which was surprising because the town’s whole force seemed to be there paying their respects.

We heard later that a truck each from Lyme and East Lyme took part as well.

Robin Ritze, Merv’s granddaughter and daughter of Edie Main, sang “Amazing Grace” and was joined by many present, whether we were supposed to sing along or not.

Skip Beebe of the OLFD next offered, “Reflections on a Life Well Lived.”

All present were asked to join next in the reciting of Psalm 23.

This moving, hour-long service concluded , as would the service of any firefighter, with the ringing of the bells. Skip explained that firefighters are called to a fire by the ringing of a bell, and when all is over, the bell is rung again to signify that the emergency is over.

Therefore, at the conclusion of Merv Roberts’ funeral, the OLFD bell was rung three times to indicate that a job well done [Mr. Roberts’s life] is now completed.

At the cemetery. Photo by Gerry Graves.

Olwen Logan, publisher of LymeLine.com, commented:

I feel so privileged to have known Mr. Roberts. Both “a scholar and a gentleman,” he was an extraordinary man and such a mine of information. He wrote several op-ed’s for LymeLine and was never hesitant to give his opinions on a wide range of topics. Mr. Roberts led a truly amazing life and wrote many books. He gave me an autographed copy of ‘The Tidemarsh Guide to Fishes’ and it is one of my most treasured possessions to this day.

Michele Dickey wrote a wonderful article about Mr. Roberts in May of last year in which he reflected on his 50 years service as Chaplain of the Old Lyme Fire Department. We also published an article including a video of Mr. Roberts reading his final Memorial Day Homily aloud.

Finally, through a recent fortuitous series of events, LymeLine.com helped connect a boat named the ‘Mervin F. Roberts’ with the Wood Island Life Saving Station Association (WILSSA) in Kittery Point, Maine. The President of the WILSSA, Sam Reid, came to Old Lyme to meet in person with Mr. Roberts. The boat has now been transported to Maine to be restored in the WILSSA Maritime Museum and we know Mr. Roberts was very happy with that outcome.

A fundraising campaign is underway locally to assist with the expense of moving the boat. Read our article covering the whole story of the boat, why it is so named, and why it is such an important find for the WILSSA at this link.

The flag flies at half-mast in Duck River Cemetery in honor of Mervin F. Roberts, a scholar and a gentleman. RIP, Mr. Roberts.

 

Death of Mervin Roberts Announced, “Old Lyme Has Lost One of its Most Remarkable Citizens” (T. Griswold)

A smiling Mervin F. Roberts is pictured here at his home in Old Lyme on Oct. 31 in Old Lyme. Mr. Roberts passed away Dec. 29, 2020. Photo by Sam Reid.

OLD LYME — It is with great sadness that we report the death in the early hours of Wednesday, Dec. 30, of Mervin F. Roberts, 98, of Old Lyme.

Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold commented exclusively to LymeLine.com on Mr. Roberts’s passing, saying, “With the passing of Merv Roberts, Old Lyme has lost one of its most remarkable citizens. He was a Town Citizen of the Year, a Town Selectman, Chaplain of the Old Lyme Fire Department and active in so many other ways.”

Old Lyme Fire Department (OLFD) Chaplain Mervin Roberts pictured in his OLFD uniform at his home in May 2020.

Griswold added, “As his body became more frail, I think his mind became sharper. Just last September, Merv, as a Shellfish Commissioner, wrote a letter to the National Railroad Corp. asking whether any toxic ingredients would be used in the concrete, paint or steel used to build the new railroad bridge over the Connecticut River.  Not bad for a 98-year-old.”

In conclusion, Griswold said, “We shall miss his interesting speeches at the Memorial Day Parade observances. I feel privileged to have known Merv and thank him for all he did for Old Lyme.”

Editor’s Note: I too am proud to have known Mr. Roberts. He was an extraordinary man and such a mine of information. He wrote several op-ed’s for LymeLine and was never hesitant to give his opinions on a wide range of topics. He led an amazing life and wrote several books. He gave me an autographed copy of one and it is one of my most treasured possessions to this day.

Michele Dickey wrote a wonderful article about Mr. Roberts in May of this year in which he reflected on his 50 years service as Chaplain of the Old Lyme Fire Department. We also published an article including a video of Mr. Roberts reading his final Memorial Day Homily aloud.

Finally, through a recent fortuitous series of events, LymeLine helped connect a boat named the ‘Mervin F. Roberts’ with the Wood Island Life Saving Station Association (WILSSA) in Kittery Point, Maine. The President of the WILSSA, Sam Reid, came to Old Lyme to meet in person with Mr. Roberts. The boat has now been transported to Maine to be restored in the WILSSA Maritime Museum and Mr. Roberts was very happy with that outcome.

A fundraising campaign is underway locally to assist with the expense of moving the boat. Read our article covering the whole story of the boat, why it is so named, and why it is such an important find for the WILSSA at this link.

Death of Patricia Ayers Chase Saltsman Announced, Long Time Volunteer at Old Lyme’s White Elephant Sale

Patricia Ayers Chase Saltsman

OLD LYME — Patricia Ayers Chase Saltsman, 83, died in Mystic CT on December 29, 2020. She was born November 29th 1937 in Grand Rapids, Michigan to Campbell B. and Caroline Ayers Chase.

Patricia graduated from East Grand Rapids HS in Michigan, at the age of 16 in 1953. She earned her degree at Ohio Wesleyan University. After graduation she moved to Hartford Connecticut to attend graduate school at the University of Connecticut. 

She married Joseph Lawes (deceased in 1969) in 1963. Her only child Wendy Chase Myers Logan was born in 1964. Following her divorce in 1968, she met and married Robert G. Myers (deceased in 2005) in 1969 and moved to Haddam Neck CT. She worked for Region 13 and went back to earn her Certificate in Special Education. She was Pupil Personnel Director for 15 years.

In 1981 she divorced Robert G. Myers and moved to Wallingford CT. In 1988 she joined the Connecticut State Dept. of Education as a compliance officer for Special Education statewide. 

In October 1999 she and Charles M. Saltsman were married, after 12 years together. She worked and consulted with the state until at the request of her husband Charlie she took early retirement in 1998, so that they could travel together. 

Their travels took them to Egypt, New Zealand, Fiji, Europe, Vieques Island and on their boat around the waters of New England. They were together for 18 years before his death in 2005. In 2006 she moved to Maine to be with Barrie Hackett, along time friend and the true love of her life. They had only 3 years together but they were very happy years, mostly spent in Gray Maine, with one winter together in Englewood Florida. He sadly predeceased her in 2009. 

Patricia was an active member of her church most of her life. She was a lifelong volunteer and on the board of various charities, including Fountain Street Church in Grand Rapids Michigan and Old Lyme Congregational Church as part of the white elephant committee and the LBS. She was an incredible flower arranger and avid gardener, which led her to be involved in the Garden Club in Old Lyme. Sailing was also a great joy and she was a member of both North Cove Yacht Club and Baldwin Yacht Club. She was closely connected with Camp Newaygo in Michigan, first as a camper then as a counselor. Several of her closest friends were from her early camp days. The skills, love of music and values she learned at Camp Newaygo were in integral part of who she was her whole life. 

She is survived by her daughter Wendy of Seattle WA and her son in law Sean Logan of Seattle WA, her grandsons Phillip Logan (Jillian) of Snoqualmie WA and Andrew Logan of Shoreline WA.

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made in Patricia’s name to the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, 2 Ferry Road, Old Lyme, CT 06371. To share a memory of Patricia or send a condolence to Wendy and her family please visit www.rwwfh.com . Arrangements are in the care of the Robinson, Wright & Weymer Funeral Home in Centerbrook.

Death of Kevin Conlon “KC” Mazer Announced, “His Love for Lyme” Shown by 30+ Years “Dedicated Service” to Town Committees, Organizations

LYME – Kevin Conlon “KC” Mazer passed away Friday, Nov. 20, 2020, at his home surrounded by his family. He was the son of Henry Mazer and Julia (McGrath) Mazer, both celebrated war veterans. KC was born February 12, 1949, and raised in Lyme where he had a magical and unique childhood which included a fawn (Bucky) and a crow (Hobo) …

… KC joined his dad and formed Mazer & Son Inc., a successful excavating company. His love for Lyme was demonstrated by his 30 plus years of dedicated service and involvement in town committees including Planning and Zoning, Republican Town Committee, Connecticut River Gateway Commission and Affordable Housing Commission as well as a trustee for Essex Savings Bank …

… public service … included donations of service to the Lyme Library, Lyme Park and Recreation, High Hopes, Child and Family Service and Hartman Park …

Visit this link to read the full obituary published Dec. 29, 2020 in The Day.

 

 

Death Announced of Theodore “Teddy,” “Ted” L. Ballachino Jr. of Old Lyme, Graveside Service This Morning

OLD LYME — Theodore “Teddy,” “Ted” L. Ballachino Jr., 61, of Old Lyme passed away Dec. 18, 2020, peacefully with his family by his side after a short illness. Ted was born Feb. 26, 1959, in New Britain, to Theodore and Annmarie (Marotto) Ballachino.

Ted could best be described as a gentle giant …

… Calling hours will be held from 4 until 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 28, in Fulton-Theroux Funeral Home, 13 Beckwith Lane, Old Lyme. Please wear a mask and follow our COVID guidelines. A graveside service will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 29, in Duck River Cemetery, Old Lyme …

Visit this link to read the full obituary published Dec. 24, in The Day.

Death of William “Bill” Maurice Grover Announced, Member of Old Lyme HS Class of 1958

William “Bill” Maurice Grover, 80, of Rocky Hill, CT (formerly of East Lyme), beloved husband for 57 years of Virginia “Ginger” (Heslin) Grover, passed away peacefully on Thursday, December 17, 2020 after a valiant struggle with Alzheimer’s Disease and finally a brief fight with COVID-19 …

… Bill was a graduate of Old Lyme High School, class of 1958, where he lettered in soccer, basketball and baseball and also served as student council president. His basketball scoring record, where he tallied 32 points in a single game in 1957, stood for many years …

… In July of 1959, while working at the White Sand Beach Store, Bill met Ginger, the love of his life, whose family spent their summers in Old Lyme. Their courtship progressed throughout their college years culminating with an engagement in 1962, and a beautiful summer wedding in August of 1963. They welcomed a baby boy (Roger) into the world in 1964 and a set of twin girls (Tracey and Trisha) …

Visit this link to read the full obituary published Dec. 20, in The Hartford Courant.

Death of George F. Rufo, Sr. Announced; Father of David Rufo, Owner of Bee & Thistle Inn in Old Lyme

George F. Rufo, Sr. 85, passed away peacefully on Sunday, December 13 at Deer Hill Farm, his beloved property in Richmond.

The son of Jerry and Anna Mae (Jenne) Rufo, he was born in Pittsfield on June 14, 1935. He attended Pittsfield public schools where he excelled in the classroom and as a star of the PHS football team …

… His life lived fully and well, he will be missed by all who knew him but especially his family. George was predeceased in February 2019 by his loving wife of 67 years, Dorothy Rufo. He leaves behind his children: George Rufo, Jr. and his wife Cecelia of Dalton, Michael Rufo of Pittsfield, David Rufo and his fiancee Sheila Blomquist of Old Lyme CT, Steven Rufo and his partner Daniel Dempsey of Richmond, and his daughter Deborah; …

Visit this link to read the full obituary published Dec. 19, in The Berkshire Eagle.

Death of David B. Nelson Announced, Old Lyme FD Volunteer for 21 Years

OLD LYME – David B. Nelson, 71, of Gamma Avenue, died Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2020, at his home surrounded by his loving wife and family. Mr. Nelson was born June 15, 1949, in Middletown, the son of Edward and Lucie (Hart) Nelson.

He honorably served in the U.S. Air Force from 1967 to 1971. He married the love of his life, Jody Begor in 1997, in Madison. He was employed for many years as a machinist at Lee Company, until his retirement in 2019. He also volunteered for the Old Lyme Fire Department for 21 years. …

Visit this link to read the full obituary published Nov. 23, in The Day.