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Compiled by Robin Jovanovich
Francoise (Carbonneau) LoPonte died April 11, 2015 at the age of 94. She lived a long and fulfilling life, the past 41 years of it in Rye, a community she deeply cherished.
She was born on December 7, 1920 in Ottawa, Canada, to Hector and Corinne Carbonneau. In the 1940s, she came to the United States to pursue a singing career in classical music. That journey included performances at Carnegie Hall, St. Paul’s Church, and St. Mark’s in The Bowery. She worked with composer Edgar Varese before nodules cut short her days of singing professionally.
In 1957 she married Felix LoPonte, and was just shy of 40 years old when she had her only child, Marc. She was a loving mother and a remarkable lady, learning to drive in her 40s, taking up tennis in her 50s, and becoming an accomplished artist in her 60s. She played tennis until age 83, and painted until her late 80s.
Gardening was another of her passions. Her spectacular garden at the Victory Gardens at Blind Brook Lodge, where she lived, was the subject of several articles in the local press.
Mrs. LoPonte had an amazing spirit and indomitable will to live. She endured and even thrived after multiple health crises. Friends, family, and neighbors will miss her smile and generosity.
In addition to her son Marc and his partner Mark Larsen of Rye, Mrs. LoPonte is survived by her brother, Gaston Carbonneau of Ottawa, Canada; a niece, Yseult Strazzeri of Rome, Italy; and a nephew, Paul Carbonneau of Nova Scotia.
A mass of Christian burial will be held April 17 at 10 a.m. at Resurrection Church. A memorial celebrating her life will take place at the Rye Arts Center, April 25 at 2:30 p.m.
Donations in her name may be made to one of her two favorite organizations: WQXR classical radio in New York, and Doctors Without Borders.
Doris Delfosse, a Rye native and teacher, passed away quietly on March 20, 2015 at the Bailey Hospice Center in Saint Augustine, Florida. She was 86.
Born Doris Emily Ferris into the extended Ferris family of Rye, she grew up living on Forest Avenue across from Rye Town Park. After her marriage to Joseph Delfosse and living in California for some thirteen years, the family moved back to Rye, settling in a house almost directly behind her childhood home, so it would be a quick walk “through the fence” to visit her aging parents. Her father, Henry, was born in Rye, attended elementary school in the little yellow one-room schoolhouse on Milton Road, and was a member of the first class to attend Milton School. Doris, and later her children, also attended Milton School, where she subsequently taught first grade. She proudly lived on the street named after her great-uncle, Henry Halsted.
She studied ballet with a master in Manhattan, but a broken ankle ended all dreams of dancing. She graduated from Rye High School and SUNY New Paltz with a degree in education and received her master’s degree in learning disabilities from Long Beach State Teachers College in California. She taught first grade in Rye for over 35 years at Milton, Osborn, and Midland elementary schools.
She served as president of the Rye Teachers Association and as a teacher was well known for her annual Thanksgiving feast. Each year the first-grade classes would make a pilgrimage to Disbrow Park for a reenactment of the Thanksgiving feast and visit the old Milton Road cemetery to create grave rubbings of Rye’s first settlers, while dressed in pilgrim attire. Every day, following the morning pledge of allegiance, she played patriotic and American folksongs on her classroom piano for the first grade classes.
She enjoyed learning about and sharing American history and proudly served as the Regent of the Ruth Lyon Bush chapter of the Rye – Port Chester DAR.
Active in the Rye Historical Society’s Square House summer programs, she taught early American homemaking skills, carding and spinning wool, knitting, music, sewing, and churning butter.
A lifelong member of Rye Presbyterian Church, she was a Deacon, sang in the choir, played in the bell choir, taught Sunday school, and served on the Christian Education committee.
During the summer, when not on one of the family’s many cross-country car trips, she would tutor privately with children displaying reading and developmental problems. An avid boater, she sailed the family’s Herreshoff ketch with her husband Joe from the Rye city marina.
She was the first working woman “allowed” to adopt a child in the state of California in 1966, after proving to the adoption agency and courts that a woman could indeed work and raise a family.
After retiring, she wrote a regular column, “Growing Up in Rye in the ‘30s and ‘40s,” for The Rye Record, recalling what life was like during the Depression and World War II. She also traveled through Europe with Elder Hostel, where on one trip she studied Belgian history in French by morning and toured by afternoon.
Mrs. Delfosse is survived by her children and their families: Rick of Norwalk; Duane and Betsy Hulit Delfosse of Windham N.H.; and Elizabeth (Tish) and Ademir Candido of St. Augustine, Fla. She is also survived by four grandchildren: Christine Delfosse, Steven Delfosse, Kevin Delfosse, and Dr. Natalie Delfosse Godfrey. She was predeceased by her loving husband Joseph, two sisters, and a brother.
A celebration of her life will be held at Rye Presbyterian Church on May 30 at 10 a.m. followed by interment at Greenwood Union Cemetery and reception at the family home.
Donations in her memory may be made to the Rye Historical Society, 1 Purchase Street, Rye, NY 10580.
Jordan J. Stavrides, a lifelong resident of Rye, died peacefully at home surrounded by his family on March 12, 2015. He was 87 years old.
Born on October 26, 1927 in Port Chester, to Demetrios and Katerina Stavrides, he grew up on Purchase Street, where his father had a restaurant in the 1920s. He attended the Annex Elementary School on School Street and graduated from Rye High School in 1945. Upon graduation he enlisted with the Marines at the end of World War II.
He was a volunteer fireman for Poningo Engine and Hose Co. in Rye for over 50 years, serving as captain for some years. He enjoyed being on the softball team with the firemen of Rye for many years and he loved attending the annual fireman’s family picnic.
He married Clemanthia (Cleo) Anastasoglou on August 19, 1962 in Kavala, Greece. Together, they raised four children in Rye.
In addition to his wife Cleo, Mr. Stavrides is survived by his daughters, Susan Venuto and her husband Greg of Norwalk, and Theresa DeLorenzo and her husband Larry of Rye; his sons, James Stavrides and Nicholas Stavrides of Rye; three grandchildren: Julietta, Jason, and Kristin. He is also survived by his twin brother, Jack of Rye, and his brother Tony of Patterson, N.Y. His brother Timothy passed away in 2004.
A funeral service was held at the Church of Our Saviour on March 16.
William J. Itzla, a longtime resident of Rye, passed away March 28, 2015. He was 83.
Born March 4, 1932 in the Bronx, he was the son of Herman and Margaret (Feiderlein) Itzla. He served in the U.S. Navy.
Bill had a big heart for all animals and loved to cook and bake.
He is survived by his beloved wife, Joan (nee Lapera); loving son Derek and his wife Sandra; two cherished granddaughters, Bethany and Samantha; dear brother Herbert Itzla, and many nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephews.
A funeral mass was held April 1 at Resurrection Church, followed by interment at Gate of Heaven Cemetery.