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Goia Petruzzo, a longtime Rye resident, passed away peacefully on March 6, 2017, after a courageous battle with Alzheimer’s disease. She was 85.

Born to Mary and Thomas D’Ambrosio, she was raised in the Bronx and Pelham. She worked in New York City before marrying Joseph Petruzzo. After raising their five daughters, Goia enjoyed a fulfilling career at Lillian Vernon Corporation. She worked her way up to a sales position, for which she traveled throughout the United States, including a trip to the White House to pitch the then popular “Twinkle” ornament line.

An active member of the Rye Seniors, she enjoyed traveling, attending classes, and socializing. Goia was a devoted mother, grandmother, and great friend to many. She will be remembered for her famous “Peegee-Podgee” meals, belly laughs, sense of humor, and impeccable sense of style. 

Mrs. Petruzzo was predeceased by her husband, Joseph in 1993. She leaves behind her daughters: Joanne O’Malley (Kevin), Lisa Vita (Pete), Cara Barnhardt (Steve), Julie Petruzzo, Gina Numme (Chris); eleven grandchildren: Luke, Nick, Ian, and Shane O’Malley, Leslie and Kelly Barnhardt, Nina and Trevor Blanc, Christopher, Vanessa, and Jordan Numme; her sister Rita Petraglia of Tennessee; her sister-in-law, Emma DeEsso of Larchmont; and many cherished nieces and nephews.

A private celebration of her life is planned for the spring.

Donations in her memory may be made to St. Jude Children’s Hospital (www.stjude.org).

Ann Prosswimmer Pratt, 83, of Essex, Connecticut, passed away on March 8, 2017 after a valiant struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. She is survived by her loving husband Robert; her sister, Nancy Conroy; her brother, R. Alan Prosswimmer;

her daughters, Cynthia and Carrie; her grandchildren, Kwena and Tumi; and several nieces and nephews.

Born to Rudolph and Emma Prosswimmer, she was raised in Rockville Center, N.Y. and attended high school at the Ashley Hall School in Charleston, S.C. In 1955, she graduated from Mount Holyoke College, where she majored in art history and was a member of the water ballet team. She later studied occupational therapy at Northeastern University.

Ann and Bob Pratt started their married life in Providence, R.I. and lived for extended periods in Ann Arbor, Mich., Greenwich, Conn., Louisville, Ky., Simsbury, Conn., and Rye, before they settled in Essex. In each location, Mrs. Pratt was an active supporter of the arts, including The Louisville School of Art and The Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts. Always generous with her time, she volunteered formally at a number of organizations, including the McLean Home in Simsbury, and, for several years, the 30th Twig” of United Hospital in Port Chester.

A giving and generous spirit, her greatest happiness was supporting and serving others. Her passion for life was expressed in a playful sense of humor, a deep appreciation of art and literature, a love of travel, and a good glass of wine. Her husband and family were the center of her life.

She raised two adventurous daughters whose lives led them overseas, doted on her grandchildren, and was a loving daughter, sister, and aunt. For her extended family, she hosted holiday dinners, graduation parties, wedding showers, as well as benefits and dinner parties, all with a seemingly effortless grace and ease.

“Ann’s joy for life was contagious,” said her family, “and she planted seeds of love wherever she went.”

Interment will be held Saturday, May 6 at 10:30 a.m. at the Swan Point Cemetery in Providence, Rhode Island, followed by a memorial service to celebrate her life.

Donations in her memory may be sent to the Alzheimer’s Association of Connecticut, 200 Executive Blvd., Suite 4B, Southington, CT 06489. To share a memory of Ann Pratt or send a condolence to her family, visit www.rwwfh.com.

Robert F. Slater Sr., a longtime Rye resident, passed away on February 12, 2017. He was 85.

 

One of eight children of George and Irene Burns Slater, he was born in Port Chester, on June 28, 1931. From the time he moved to Rye, he was an active member of the community. He had an over 30-year career with the Rye Fire Department, which included serving as Captain of the Engine & Hose Company. 

 

In the words of his daughter, Diane Johansson, “Our father was a part of Rye. Everyone knew him because of the many jobs he did and volunteer hours he gave.”

 

Mr. Slater was owner of Bob’s Delivery Service, Over the Bridge Tavern, and Rye Refuse Service with partner Robert Billington. He was also an active member of the Rye Hunters Club.  

 

He is survived by his wife of 67 years, the former Lee Neilson, and their three children, Diane Johansson, Robert (Debra) Slater, and Richard (Paula) Slater; as well as six grandchildren: Jessica, Jamie, Robert, Emma, Amber, and Hannah, four great-grandchildren: Ali, Courtney, Morgan, and Riely, and four siblings: Mary, Vincent, Harold, and Mickey.  He was predeceased by his sister, Winifred, and his brothers, Jimmy and George.  

 

 

A mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at Church of the Resurrection on February 16. Donations in his memory may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

 

Elizabeth Ward Haynes died on February 24, 2017, at the age of 19. Lizzie, as she was affectionately known, was the daughter of Ann Renzi Haynes and the late W. Ward Haynes of Rye. Her father Ward died on September 11, 2001.  

In addition to her mother, Ann, Lizzie is survived by her siblings: Terence (TJ), her twin, William (Billy), Michael, and Katie; her paternal grandmother, Barbara B. Haynes of Rye; and her maternal grandparents, Eugene and Joyce Renzi of Sarasota, Florida and Sackets Harbor, N.Y. She also leaves many adoring aunts, Katie Haynes Pepe (Bill), Laurie Renzi Gadsden (Philip), Jennifer Renzi Kelly (Philip), uncles, TJ Haynes, Eugene Renzi (Kristin), and David Renzi (Jessica), and cousins. 

She battled daily seizures from the time she was six months old. These devastating seizures took their toll, causing her to be both physically and mentally handicapped.

“Although unable to speak and confined to a wheelchair, Lizzie inspired us daily and showed us what is truly important in life,” said her family. “She reminded us to appreciate how precious life is and gave us the opportunity to make us all better people. Her smiles and laughter lit up a room and gave us pure joy and gratitude.”  

Giving to the very end, Lizzie Haynes was able to help so many others and their families with the gift of organ transplants. 

The Haynes family would like to say a special thank-you to all of Elizabeth’s loving and generous support team. “Her teachers, aides, doctors, nurses, school administrators, caretakers, and friends gave her such amazing care, compassion and support, and for this we are forever grateful. We are comforted knowing that Lizzie is at peace and with her dad and others who were waiting for her with open arms.” 

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated March 6 at Church of the Resurrection. Donations can be made in Elizabeth’s memory to Center For Discovery, C/O Angela Tokas, P.O. Box 840, Harris, New York 12742, or to The W. Ward Haynes Scholarship Fund, 278 Rye Beach Avenue, Rye, New York 10580.

Compiled by Robin Jovanovich

Rose M. Sprague died at her residence in Sarasota, Fla., on January 27, 2017. She was 91 years old.

Born in Mt. Vernon, on August 1, 1925, she was the daughter of George and Rose Mathews. After graduating from A.B. Davis High School in Mt. Vernon, she received an Associate’s degree from the Woods School of Business in New York.  

She met her future husband, Edmund “Cap” Sprague, while vacationing in Nantucket. They were married in 1953, and moved to Rye soon thereafter. While raising three sons, Mrs. Sprague worked at the Rye High School library and also at Wainwright House. Both she and her husband were very involved in their children’s activities and very active at Resurrection Church. They loved living in Rye.

After her husband’s death in 1978, Mrs. Sprague moved to Sarasota, where they had planned to retire. Her volunteer work there included the local library, the American Red Cross, and the Ringling Museum of Art. Her favorite activities in Sarasota were visits by her sons and families, “bobbling” in the Gulf waters, and “slurping” oysters.

She is survived by her sons: Paul and his wife Carol of Sarasota, Peter, also of Sarasota, and Tom and his wife Laurie of Boston; five grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. She was pre-deceased by her two sisters, Irene and Barbara.  

A memorial service was held in Sarasota.  Mrs. Sprague was buried at Greenwood Union Cemetery in Rye next to her beloved husband.

Wishes and memories can be emailed to her son Tom at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

David Wheeler Thurston, 93, died peacefully January 31, 2017 in Tucson, Arizona, surrounded by his four children.

 

Born on April 25, 1923, in Portland, Maine, to Theodore and Kathryn Thurston, he was a ninth-generation American, whose ancestors arrived from Kent, England, in 1635. 

 

A graduate of Phillips Academy Andover, and Williams College (1944, cum laude), Dave was a member of Chi Psi and the Gargoyle Honor Society, editor of the college paper, and captain of the Varsity Soccer team.

 

After Pearl Harbor in 1941, he volunteered for the U.S. Army Air Corps as a flight navigator. After the war, Mr. Thurston worked as an advertising executive in New York City for over forty years, helping found Broadcast Advertisers Reports, from which he retired, as Executive Vice-President, in 1987.

 

On November 27, 1954, he married Frances Davis, and they raised their family in Rye. During their four decades in the community, he served as a tireless advocate for his local community, including a dozen years at the non-profit charity Rye United Fund, Inc. (including as president), ten years on the Rye School Board (1970-80, also as president), and, after retiring, nine years as a volunteer recruiter for the International Executive Services Corps, placing 272 executives on projects in 60 different countries.

 

Leaving work early or giving up his weekends, Dave actively participated in the lives of his four children: whether serving as class parent at Midland Elementary School; cheering them on at a Rye High School activity or sporting event; navigating them down the slopes of a Vermont ski resort; driving them in a Winnebago on family vacations; or handing them their diploma as a Rye School Board member.

 

Always very active and fit, he loved baseball, skiing, and tennis. He was also a voracious reader who possessed a keen intellect and sharp wit. Not only did he always finish New York Times crossword puzzles, but usually did so in pen. 

 

With close family friends, the Thurstons hosted many celebratory weekend and holiday parties at their Forest Avenue home, where the laughter was infectious, and Dave often regaled the guest of honor with a handcrafted limerick on a pull-down shade.

 

In 1998, the couple retired to Tucson, where Fran Thurston died in 2004.

 

Mr. Thurston is survived by his four children: Ted of San Jose, Calif., Charlie and his wife Kimberly of Rye, Nancy of Bigfork, Mont., and Jim of Glenview, Ill.; his sister Joan Spear of Ashland, Ore.; and by six grandchildren: Taylor, Kyle, Isabel, David II, Natalie, and Ellie.

 

A memorial service will be held this spring at Rye Presbyterian Church, where his remains will join those of his late wife, Fran. Donations in Mr. Thurston’s memory may be made to the Rye Presbyterian Church Memorial Garden, Boston Post Road, Rye, NY 10580.

 

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