Compiled by Robin Jovanovich 


OBITS-D'ANGELO 300Sis D'Angelo

Ellen C. D’Angelo, a lifelong and revered Rye resident, passed away August 3, 2015 following a brief illness. She was 86 years old.

Born on February 11, 1929, she was the daughter of James and Margaret Coughlin. She graduated from Rye High School.

Mrs. D’Angelo dedicated her life to her husband, her family, and the community she loved. After raising her family, she was employed as a communications administrative assistant by the IBM Corporation for over 16 years.

Throughout her lifetime, she generously gave of her time to her community. Her involvement in Girl Scouts, Resurrection Parish Council, St. Monica’s Mother’s Club, Rye High School Mother’s Club, the Rye Taxpayers Association, Rye Seniors, and Senior Advocacy of Rye, was extraordinary. One of her proudest contributions was her time spent on the Rye City Board of Education. She welcomed the opportunity to be an advocate for the children of Rye.

An indefatigable advocate for good, when an important issue came to the fore, whether it was proper street maintenance, the overflowing trash bins in downtown, ensuring that Rye’s charm endured for generations to come, or defending the rights of a fellow resident, Sis was never afraid to speak up. She was a fixture at City Council meetings until the City finally got the owners of two unsightly former gas stations on North Purchase Street to clean up the sites. When fellow resident Bob Schubert asked the City to restore the water to his pond, which dried up after a neighbor’s construction project, Sis was at every Council meeting, speaking on his behalf and finally holding up protest signs.

Her persistence was part of her charm, as was her enjoyment of a simple and well-lived life.

“Our mother was a wonderful role model for us,” said Mrs. D’Angelo’s daughter Carol. “She made a difference in this town, and she also made everyone laugh. The dinners she prepared were always three courses and phenomenal. Up to the day before she died, she read two newspapers a day.”

Sis and Orlando D’Angelo were married for 60 years. He died in December of 2014. She was predeceased by six brothers and sisters. In addition to her daughter Carol, who lives in Rye, Mrs. D’Angelo is survived by her daughter, Ginny (Joel) Johnson, and granddaughter Tracy of Charlotte, N.C.

A service celebrating Mrs. D’Angelo’s life was held August 8 at Church of the Resurrection. Donations in her memory may be made to Friends of Rye Town Park or Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York.


OBITS-Ted-Levine 300Ted Levine


Ted M. Levine, a resident of Rye for 45 years, passed away on August 6, 2015. He was 88 years old.   

Born on March 8, 1927 in New York City, he received his undergraduate degree from Cornell University and master’s degree from New York University.

While serving as director of public relations for the Government of Puerto Rico in 1960, Mr. Levine came up with the idea to launch Development Counsellors International (DCI), a unique firm that specializes in marketing places. Fifty-five years later, his son Andy manages the firm, but the vision of DCI remains the same.

In 2001, Mr. Levine was the recipient of the International Economic Development Council’s first lifetime achievement award.  

In the City of Rye, he served on the board of the Rye Historical Society. He created and hosted, with former Mayor John Carey, “What’s Your Rye-Q?” — a popular television show that ran on the city’s public access station in the 1990s.

Mr. Levine also taught courses on film and popular culture at Iona College, Palm Beach Community College, and the JCC of Boynton Beach.

“Ted loved teaching,” said his wife Pat. “The student might be a recent college graduate doing an internship at DCI or a senior citizen enrolled in one of his classes at Iona College. As Chaucer wrote of the Clerk of Oxenford, ‘Gladly would he learn and gladly would he teach.’”

Ted and Pat Levine, a former City Councilwoman, were married for 58 years. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his three sons: David, Andy, and Jeffrey; his brother, Bobby Levine; his sister, Mimi Rockmore; two grandsons, Terrell and Evan; and three godchildren Amy, Andrew, and Jeanette McDonald and their mother, Susan McDonald.

A memorial service was held August 8 at Graham Funeral Home and burial followed at Greenwood Union Cemetery.

Donations in Mr. Levine’s memory may be made to the Rye Free Reading Room or the Rye Historical Society.  



Nancy Whitten

Nancy Freck Whitten, formerly of Rye, died July 13, 2015, near her home in South Hadley, Mass., following a brief illness. She was 87.

Born in Perrysburg, Ohio, to Stanley and Josephine Freck, she grew up in Hastings, N.Y. She was a proud member of the Mt. Holyoke Class of ‘49.

She taught kindergarten in Madison, Conn., before marrying A.S. Peabody Jr. and moving to Rye, where she raised her children, Jeffrey and Melinda. She later returned to work in the field of child psychiatry, ultimately as Assistant Director of Sunny Hill Children’s Center in Greenwich, Conn., a day school for children with autism.

After many happy decades in Rye, she and her second husband, William W. Whitten, retired, dividing their time between Greensboro, Vermont and St. Croix, USVI, where she volunteered at a women and children’s shelter. In 2012, they settled in South Hadley, close to her alma mater.

Happiest among children, time spent with her grandsons was what she treasured most. “In generous measure, she shared a passion for play, a vivid imagination, and her lifelong love of reading. We will remember her best by living those ideals,” said her family.

She was pre-deceased by her son, Jeff, but leaves behind her husband, Bill, her daughter, Melinda, and her two grandsons, Grier and Tyler Blumenschine. Also surviving are her sister, Eve Switzer, and brother, Peter Freck; seven nephews; a daughter-in-law, Prapassorn Peabody; stepchildren Skip Whitten, Betsy Dennison, Kathy Cihi, and Anne Falk; and nine step-grandchildren.

A private memorial will be held at a later date.



OBITS-Eddie-Johnson02 300Eddie Johnson

Eddie Sven Albert Johnson, a longtime Rye resident, passed away peacefully at his home on July 22, 2015. He was 86.

He was born on October 1, 1928 in New Rochelle, to Signe and Noak Johnson, Swedish immigrants. Raised in the Bronx, he attended Christopher Columbus High School, where he met Emily Jessen in chemistry class. They were soon engaged, and were married in 1951.

Mr. and Mrs. Johnson lived in several communities in the New York metropolitan area before settling in Rye in 1965. It was in Rye that they raised their three children.

Mr. Johnson was a graduate of Fort Schuyler Maritime Academy, class of 1950), and Columbia University, where he ran track competitively.

As a midshipman, he honorably served his country, stateside, during the Korean conflict.

He went on to a career in marine and mechanical engineering. He worked throughout the shipping industry, including Gulf Oil, Combustion Engineering, Burmah Oil, and Esso International (now Exxon). It was a lifelong point of pride for him that these pioneering assignments were brought in “under budget and ahead of schedule.”

Among his professional achievements was expertly managing cutting-edge international LNG (liquid natural gas) projects initiated by Esso in the late 1960s, an assignment that brought him to Kobe, Japan for two years. He brought his family with him, affording his children a unique opportunity to experience life and schooling in the rich context of a foreign culture. Upon completion of that assignment, the Johnsons spent two months on the return trip traveling through Thailand, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Greece, Italy, England, and Denmark before arriving in Sweden, where they connected with relatives whose ancestry Mr. Johnson long celebrated.

Later on in his career, he did consulting work and served as an expert witness, providing testimony in cases pertaining to marine industry litigation.

Mr. Johnson was an active community volunteer, working on projects for the Rye public schools and serving as both a Deacon and member of the Session of Rye Presbyterian Church.

In the 1980s, he was a popular children’s storyteller. He shared his love of music, woodworking, painting, and photography with his children who carry on his artistic legacy.

Mr. Johnson was pre-deceased by his wife Emily, in 2004. He is survived by his three children: Eric Johnson (Meg) of Bridgeport, Conn., Lars Johnson (Leah) of St. Louis, Mo., and Lisa Johnson of Manhattan; and his five grandchildren: Kirsten, Karl, Colin, Will, and Rebecca.

A memorial service will be held Friday, October 2, at 11 a.m. in the Crawford Chapel of Rye Presbyterian Church.

Memorial donations may be made to The Emily Johnson Scholarship Fund, c/o Rye Historical Society, One Purchase Street, Rye, NY 10580. This living fund, started by Mr. Johnson, provides a scholarship annually to a Rye High School student who has demonstrated initiative and interest in community service.



OBITS-Alexander-BrainardAlex Brainard

Alexander N. Brainard of North Kingstown, Rhode Island, passed away July 14, 2015. He was 88.

Born in Pittsburgh, he was the son of Ira Fitch Brainard and Antoinette (Nash) Brainard.

During World War II, he served as a Navy seaman on the aircraft carrier Sidor. In 1951, he received a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Syracuse University.  

His first job was with Creole Petroleum Corp., a division of Standard Oil of New Jersey, in Venezuela. Three years later, he joined General Foods Corporation, where he worked his way up to president of the Birds Eye Frozen Food Division. He went on to serve as president of Consolidated Cigar Corporation, a subsidiary of Gulf and Western, for 13 years.

In 1952, he married Suzanne Alderman. They raised their four children in Rye. The marriage ended in divorce in 1975.

After his retirement, he moved to Newport, R.I., and with his sons started a boat manufacturing business in Bristol.

An avid and self-taught sailor, Mr. Brainard raced sailboats competitively and gradually learned to love cruising. He was a member of American Yacht Club and served on their executive committee for several years. A world traveler, he identified with the free-spirited Jonathan Livingston Seagull, after whom he named several of his boats. He also enjoyed golf and skiing.

In addition to his wife, June (Fritzinger) Brainard, he is survived by his children: Stephen, Jeffrey, L. Arlyne, and Lily; his daughter-in-law Laurey Smith Brainard; his sisters, Betty Reed of Rye and Ann Robbins of Wilmington, N.C.; and his grandchildren: Douglas, Abigail, Katherine, and Christina.

A private funeral was held. To send condolences, visit



OBITS-Henrietta-GrahamHenrietta Graham

Henrietta Graham, beloved wife of the late David Graham, devoted mother and grandmother, passed away on August 8, 2015, after a long illness. She was 90.

A longtime resident of Rye, she was born in Pennsylvania to Clotilde and Beniamino Andriella. Henrietta grew up in New York City with her three sisters Palma, Anna, and Jeanette. The daughter of hard-working immigrants, she was the first in her family to graduate from college.

She traveled to three continents during her life, including a two-year post-war position in Japan. She was a dedicated school secretary for nearly two decades at I.S. 162 in the South Bronx.

Her devotion to her family and loved ones, her work ethic and her curiosity about the world have been an inspiration to her family who will sorely miss her.

Mrs. Graham is survived by her children: Frank and his wife Laura, Ben and his wife Brenda, and Maria and her husband Sean; and her grandchildren Valerie, Sabrina, Matthew, Zilkia, and Christine.

A funeral mass was held August 13 at Resurrection Church. Donations in her memory may be made to Covenant House or Catholic Charities.



Add this to your website

Add comment

Security code