Obituaries

 

Compiled by Robin Jovanovich 

 

Harvey M. Kelsey Jr.

 

obit harvey kelseyLongtime Rye resident Harvey Kelsey passed away at his home on July 30, 2014.

 

Born August 23, 1923 in Plattsburgh, New York, he spent his high school years, starting in 1938, at Phillips Andover Academy. While there he gained a valuable education and distinguished himself as a runner. In 1941, as a high school junior, he ran the 100-yard dash in 9.5 seconds. The world record was then 9.4. His school record times for the 100- and 220-yard dashes still stand at Phillips Academy.

 

He enrolled at Princeton in September 1941. For him and his friends, the world changed on December 7, 1941. Over the next five years, he underwent military training, followed by a procession of assignments. Following ROTC at Princeton, he was sent to Fort Bragg for basic training as an enlisted man. He then traveled to Fort Sill in Oklahoma for Artillery Officer Candidate School and received his officer’s commission. Sent overseas in a troop transport, he joined the 1st US Infantry Division in the European theater.

 

During his military service Mr. Kelsey was, on occasion, able to run competitively. He won competitions in the Penn Relay Sprints, the IC4A, and in Bordeaux, France at the mini-Olympics where he was charged with coaching the U.S. Third Army track team. His prize for sweeping the 100- and 200-yard dashes, and the 440-relay was a case of Bordeaux wine.

 

Following discharge from the military, he returned to complete a last year at Princeton. Shortly after graduation in 1947, the greatest event of his life occurred when he met and subsequently married Anne Talcott. They had five children: Harvey, Jim, Peter, Karen, and Peggy.

 

After a brief tour in his own business, he enrolled at Harvard Business School, class of 1949. Jobs were scarce, and he accepted a temporary offer from James Talcott, Inc. in New York. He retired 25 years later as company president. He then accepted a partnership position at Johnson & Higgins, working as their CFO until retiring in 1985.

 

He served on the boards of Burke Rehabilitation Hospital and the Burke Medical Research Institute, where, after 25 years of service, a research library was dedicated in his honor. He also served on the Miriam Osborn Home board, and on the boards of several conservation groups, including the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks.

 

He loved all out-of-doors activities. Sailing with Annie on the Sound, gearing up five small children every winter’s weekend to ski at Jiminy Peak, fly-fishing the Middle Fork Salmon River with Jimmy and Peter, trekking in the Aleutians with Harvey, hiking the Norwegian fiords with Karen and Peggy, shooting grouse over Ruff, and building campfires with his grandchildren at Tupper Lake were his most treasured experiences among thousands more. These were also treasured gifts to his children.

 

His adored his wife, Annie, and the five children she gave to him, and their fifteen grandchildren. His greatest sadness was his wife’s passing on October 31, 2008. They were married for 61 years. Renewed through his steadfast faith, and the loving support of the family, his last years were blessed and filled with true joy.

 

In addition to his five children and their spouses, Mr. Kelsey is survived by 14 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Tanner, his fifth grandson, predeceased him.

 

Donations in his memory may be made to the Burke Medical Research Institute.

 

Edward Baars

 

Edward (Ed) Dirk Johannes Baars, of Newnan, Georgia, passed away on August 8, 2014 at his home in Wesley Woods. He was 88.

 

He was born in Arnhem, the Netherlands on April 13, 1926. During the war, he learned to fix clocks, which helped the family survive. Following the war, he earned a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Delft University of Technology.

 

In September of 1955, after a long courtship, he married the love of his life, Wiepkje Danckaerts. In late 1963, the Baars immigrated to the United States, setting down roots in Rye. He and his wife moved to South Windsor, Connecticut in 1999 and to Newnan in 2012.

 

The most important thing in Mr. Baars’ life was providing for his family. He worked tirelessly for 40 years at Philips Electronics, starting as an engineer and rising to president of a key Philips subsidiary. His responsibilities ranged from setting up the first TV stations in Australia to introducing a platform that was a precursor to the personal computer.  

 

After retiring from Philips in 1991, he enjoyed traveling, which included a number of voyages aboard the Holland America Line cruise ships.

 

He is survived by his children, Carla, Dirk, and Robert and grandchildren Andrea, Kristen, Brian, and Connor.  

 

A private family service was held August 17, 2014 in Newnan, Georgia.

 

Memorial contributions may be made to the Zonne Fund at the Epilepsy Foundation Western/Central PA, 1501 Reedsdale Street, Suite 3002, Pittsburgh, PA 15233. Donations can also be made online at www.efwp.org.

 

obit rosemary corroonRosemary Corroon

 

Rosemary Bradley Corroon died August 8, 2014 after a long illness. She was 90.

 

Born on December 23, 1923, she grew up in Manhattan. After graduating from Convent of the Sacred Heart, she attended Manhattanville College.

 

Pursuing her avid interest in decorative arts, she studied and trained at the Isabel O’Neil School for Painted Finishes and Conservation. She did volunteer work at the Cooper Hewitt Museum, where she was an in-house decorative arts conservator. She was also a member of the Cooper Hewitt Advisory Council before the Museum became part of the Smithsonian.

 

She married John A. Corroon in May 1947. They lived in Rye from 1964 to 1975 and then moved to Vermont. In 2010, they moved to The Osborn.

 

She was a great reader, who enjoyed biographies and social histories of England and France in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

 

She leaves her husband of 67 years, John A. Corroon; daughters Rosemary Martin and Margaret Sheridan; sons John A. Jr., Richard A., and Thomas B., ten grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. Her sister, Jeanne Gerwig of Naples, Florida, also survives her.

 

A Mass of Christian Burial was held August 14 at the Church of the Resurrection.

 

Donations in Mrs. Corroon’s memory may be made to The Osborn.

Pat Iorillo

 

OBIT Pat IorilloPasquale Daniel Iorillo died July 23, 2014 at the age of 77.

 

The longtime Rye resident, a member of the Rye High School Class of 1955, was affectionately known as “Pat the Handyman” throughout the community and beyond. If he wasn’t out on a house call in his signature red van, repairing one thing or another, he was making music. He played bass guitar for sixty years.

 

Last fall, Mr. Iorillo was inducted into the Westchester Senior Citizens Hall of Fame. He was honored for over 40 years of volunteer service, performing at Rye Association for the Handicapped events and Westchester Chordsmen concerts.  

 

In addition to his wife Brenda, he is survived by his four children: Pat Jr., Maria, LuAnn, and Laura; and ten grandchildren.

 

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated July 29 at Church of the Resurrection. 

 

Donations in Mr. Iorillo’s memory may be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (stjude.org), 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.

 

Robert Jackson McKean Jr.

 

OBIT Robert McKeanRobert Jackson McKean Jr., of Lantana, Florida, died peacefully on August 9, 2014, at the age of 88. Mr. McKean was one of the lead banking attorneys in the financial rescues of New York City in 1974-75, and of the Chrysler Corporation in 1980-81.

 

Born on December 21, 1925 in the Bronx, to Isabel and Robert J. McKean Sr., he graduated from A.B. Davis High School in Mount Vernon, where he was valedictorian. Mr. McKean then served his country as a Technical Sergeant in the 286th Engineer Combat Battalion, serving in England, at the Battle of the Bulge in France, in Germany, and Austria.

 

He received his B.A. summa cum laude in 1950 from Amherst College, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. After receiving his L.L.B., cum laude in 1953 from Harvard Law School, he joined the New York City law firm of Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett, where he became a Senior Partner specializing in banking and finance law. He was a member of the Management Committee of the firm, the New York State Bar Association, the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, L’Union Internationale des Avocats, and the Commercial Panel of Arbitrators of the American Bar Association.

 

Devoted to Amherst College, of which he was a Life Trustee, he received the College’s Medal for Eminent Service in 1968. He was also a member of the Committee of the Amherst Board of Trustees, which recommended that the college become coeducational. He served on the Five College Cooperation Committee with trustees from Smith College, Mt. Holyoke College, Hampshire College, and University of Massachusetts.

 

Mr. McKean was also Co-Chairman of the first Parents Committee of Hampshire College and a member of its Advisory Board. For many years he served on the board of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. and was a Trustee Emeritus there.

 

While a Rye resident from the 1960s through the 1980s, Mr. McKean was active in the city’s community affairs, serving on the Board of Education, the Board of Architectural Review, the Board of Appeals, and as a trustee of the Rye Free Reading Room Board. He was also a Trustee and Elder at Rye Presbyterian Church, and a trustee of the Hudson River Presbytery.  

 

In his retirement, he loved traveling, singing double bass in the chorus, and drawing scenes from his travels. He was supportive, open-minded, and proud of his Irish heritage.

 

He is survived by his children, Katherine Rochefort and her husband Michael, Lauren French and her husband Larry, Douglas McRoberts McKean and his wife Pamela, and Andrew McMath McKean; three granddaughters, Julie C. Rochefort, Emily J. Rochefort, and Stephanie A. McKean. He is also survived by his second wife, Sally Ament McKean, and two stepdaughters, Debra Ament and Jennifer Ament; a stepson, Charles Ament, and two step-grandchildren, Leanne Sherwood and Christopher Fieldhouse. His first marriage to Jean McMath, who predeceased him in 2011, ended in divorce.

 

In the final years of his life, he very much appreciated his compassionate caregivers.

 

A funeral service was held August 15 at Tillman Funeral Home & Crematory in West Palm Beach, Florida. Interment with military honors will follow at South Florida National Cemetery in Lake Worth, Florida.

 

Betty Schneider

 

obit betty schneiderBetty Jean Renfro Schneider, a longtime resident of Rye, died July 11, 2014.  

 

Born on January 6, 1924 in Flora, Illinois, she was one of five children of Rolla and Lulu Renfro. After graduating from high school in 1940, she moved to Chicago where she served her country, working for the Bureau of Censorship.

 

She met Richard Schneider, her future husband, in 1943, only a few months before he was scheduled to leave for Europe as a soldier in World War II. He returned to the U.S. in the summer of 1945. He and Betty were married on December 30, 1945.

 

The Schneiders lived in the Chicago area until 1969. Richard was public relations director of the Walgreen drugstore company and Betty raised their two sons. In 1969, when Richard was offered a job as senior editor of Guideposts magazine, the family moved to Morristown, New Jersey.

 

After the Schneiders moved to Rye in 1980, Betty quickly became involved in the community. She was a member of the Woman’s Club of Rye, Ceres Garden Club, and the American Legion Women’s Auxiliary. She served as finance chair of the Rye Methodist Church. During her years as a docent at the Square House Museum, visitors gained a new perspective on Rye’s history. She was an active volunteer for Meals on Wheels, bringing a bright smile along with a hot meal to many local residents.

 

Mrs. Schneider loved to spend hours working in her gardens. She and her husband took great advantage of the cultural offerings in New York City, spending many evenings at the ballet, the symphony, and the theater. In 1994, she and Richard fulfilled a lifelong dream by sailing on the <Queen Elizabeth II> to the United Kingdom and spending several weeks touring England and Scotland.

 

In 2009, Richard and Betty moved from their home near Oakland Beach to The Osborn.

 

Besides her husband of 68 years, Mrs. Schneider is survived by her sons, Peter of Yorktown, New York, and Christopher of La Jolla, California; and granddaughters Sarah, Hilary, and Katrina.

 

A private family service was held July 16 at Graham Funeral Home. A Memorial Service celebrating her life will be held at The Osborn on Saturday, September 6 at 1 p.m.

 

Donations in her memory may be made to the Walter Hoving Home for Girls, 40 Walter Hoving Road, Garrison, NY 10524.

 

Peter Collins

 

Peter Timothy Collins, 18, of Rye passed away peacefully on July 26, 2014 at Greenwich Hospital surrounded by his family and friends.

 

He is survived by his loving parents, Timothy and Lauren Collins and his adoring brother Michael Collins; his grandmother, Shirley Wittner; his aunts and uncles: Brenda Aparicio, Fred Wittner, Patrick Collins, JoAnne and Steve Fairchild, and Dennis Collins; and his cousins: JP Fairchild, Alex, Dave, Gabe and Brandon Aparicio, and Casey Wittner.

 

Born on September 6, 1995, he attended Rye High School and Marist College.

 

Peter was dearly loved by his family and friends. “He was an extremely caring, funny, and sweet young man who will be deeply missed by all who knew him,” said his family.

 

A mass of Christian burial was celebrated at the Church of the Resurrection on July 30.

 

Donations in Peter's name can be made to St. Vincent's Hospital - Westchester, 275 North Street, Harrison, NY 10528.

 

Atra Baer Cavataro

 

obit atra baer cavataroGifted journalist, musician, and speechwriter Arthura “Atra” Baer Cavataro, formerly of Rye, died July 30, 2014 at St. Mary’s Hospice in Waterbury, Connecticut. The cause was a pulmonary disorder. She was 87.

 

Ms. Cavataro was a highly regarded columnist at the New York Journal-American, a leading afternoon daily newspaper, through the 1950s and 1960s. Starting as a copy girl, she worked her way up in the male-dominated newspaper industry.  During her nearly 30-year career with the Journal-American, and its successor the World Journal Tribune, she used the byline Atra Baer. 

 

Her reporting assignments included the city desk, national news, feature writing and television, music and film critic. During the many lengthy newspaper labor union strikes of the 1960s, she wrote for many magazines and newspapers, including the National Enquirer, Weight Watchers, and New York Magazine. She also penned screenplays, songs, and operas. On the Journal-American staff she worked closely with columnists Ed Sullivan, Dorothy Kilgallen, Jimmy Breslin, and Jack O’Brien, often collaborating. 

 

Born in January 25, 1927 in New York City to the noted Hearst syndicated columnist and humorist Arthur “Bugs” Baer and Marjorie Cassidy, she was the goddaughter of New York City Mayor James J. Walker. Cavataro was a graduate of Horace Mann School and attended Barnard College.   

 

Friend and retired New York Times writer Rita Reif recalls Atra as being “the most gifted writer at the Journal-American — and that’s saying a lot because her father also worked there.” Reif was introduced to her husband by Atra and recalls her showing her the ropes at the newspaper. “I was a ‘nobody’ and that was just so very nice of her!” Reif, who lives in New York City, was attending Fordham University and working part-time as a copy girl at the Journal-American when she mentioned to Atra that she was having trouble with her tuition and was in danger of having to quit the university. She took the train to Fordham, found Reif, and gave her the money to keep her on track for her dream career. “She was the most thoughtful and generous person you could know,” Reif said.

 

She also went on numerous feature assignments for the paper, including traveling with Bob Hope and his USO tours to Germany, England, and Korea. She interviewed many celebrities including Elvis Presley, Shirley Temple, Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, and Chubby Checker. In 1967, Cavataro was a two-day champion on the then nascent television program “Jeopardy.”

 

In 1970 Cavataro transitioned from newspaper work to public relations, initially for the giant J. Walter Thompson firm. She later pivoted to politics and government, joining the staff of Mayor Abe Beame, serving as a speechwriter from 1974 to 1977. Baer continued her speechwriting responsibilities both on the staff of Mayor Edward I. Koch from 1978-1989, and thereafter for Mayor David N. Dinkins from 1990 to 1993. 

 

She married a fellow journalist, Nicholas A. Cavataro, on January 21, 1955 in New York City, and honeymooned in Havana, Cuba. She raised her family in Rye, where she resided for over 50 years before moving to Wilton, Connecticut in 2012. Mr. Cavataro died on May 5, 1994.

 

She is survived by five children: Nicholas J. Cavataro and his wife Susan of Greenwich; Lisa Cavataro of Norwalk; Richard Cavataro and his wife Elissa of Rye; Arthur Baer Cavataro and his wife Carin of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.; and Mary Cavataro and her spouse Laura LaBosky of Wilton; 11 grandchildren; and her half-brother, Arthur “Bugs” Baer Jr. and his wife Joan of Madison, Conn.

 

A voracious reader of all topics, especially mysteries and biographies, she rarely missed completing The New York Times crossword puzzle in pen and got great joy when, on the many occasions, the clue “famous NY humorist” appeared (Bugs or Baer) or the clue “NY TV critic Baer” (Atra) appeared in the puzzles.

 

Mrs. Cavataro was passionate for chocolate desserts or a gin martini, when available. A lifelong fan of the Dodgers and Yankees, she also loved animals, especially her pet cat Marla.

 

She was always a journalist at heart, said her family, relishing the telling of a story. She will be missed for her sharp humor, wit, writings, and editing skills, as well as her generosity, guidance, and brilliance.

 

A private service was held. Donations in Mrs. Cavataro’s name may be made to the Rye Free Reading Room or the Westchester Humane Society.

 

Allen Striffler

 

obit strifflerAllen J. Striffler of Rye passed away peacefully on June 26, 2014 at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

 

Mr. Striffler was born and raised in New York City. In 1943, at the age of 17, he left Brooklyn Technical High School to enlist in the United States Marine Corps. 

 

After boot camp at Parris Island and radio schools at New River and Camp Pendleton, he was deployed into combat with the 4th Marine Division. He participated in four invasions with the 4th Marine Division: Roi Namur, Saipan, Tinian, and Iwo Jima. Wounded on Iwo Jima and while waiting to be evacuated on the beach, he witnessed the flag being raised on Mt. Suribachi. He returned two days later and remained in combat until the island was secured. It was on Iwo Jima that he earned a Purple Heart and the Bronze Star, awarded for bravery, heroism, and courage in combat.

  

Returning to civilian life, Mr. Striffler attended Columbia University and began his career in the shipping business at Standard Oil Company. He spent the bulk of his professional career as Executive Vice President of Transoceanic Marine Transportation, a company owned by the Greek shipping magnate, Stavros Niarchos.

 

In 1981 the Striffler family moved to Rye, and Mr. Striffler opened Greenwich Marine Transportation, a ship brokerage company, of which he remained as President and CEO until retiring.

 

Mr. Striffler is survived by his wife of forty years, Janet Striffler; his five children: Adam Striffler, Olivia Striffler Langston, Scott Striffler, Corinne Striffler Striepeke, and Eric Striffler; his five grandchildren: Alexandra Striffler, Charlotte Striffler, Worth Langston, Ian Striffler, and Leigh Striffler; and a brother, William. He was preceded in death by his brother Donald.

 

Donations in Allen Striffler’s memory may be made to The Fisher House Foundation or The Wounded Warrior Project.

 

 

 


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