Evelyn Heithaus Westfall passed away peacefully July 28 after a brief illness. She was 82 years old.
The daughter of Walter and Jean Mordo Heithaus, she grew up in Mamaroneck. She had the distinction of being the first woman lifeguard at the Stephen E. Johnston Beach in Mamaroneck.
She graduated from the College of New Rochelle in 1973 and earned a master’s degree in 1974.
For 17 years, she worked at Metromedia Company, where she was the Corporate Assistant Vice President and Assistant to the President and Chairman, John W. Kluge. She retired in 1993.
She was married to Harry Joseph Westfall for 22 years. They were divorced.
For the last 36 years, Mrs. Westfall lived in Rye. She was a member of the Milton Harbor House Board of Directors for many years. She was also a member of SPRYE. A woman of many interests, she enjoyed spending time with her family, tennis, swimming, home decorating, traveling, and reading.
She was the proud matriarch of her family and was a loving and supportive mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and aunt. Her family said she was “a beautiful, bright, courageous, and caring woman who gave so much of herself to family and friends alike, and will be greatly missed.”
Mrs. Westfall is survived by her three children: Laura Westfall Miller and her husband Robert of Stamford, Diane W. Murphy and her husband Christopher of Rye, and Stephen Charles Westfall, also of Rye; eleven grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her sister, Carol Farrell, and her brother, Walter Heithaus.
A mass was held at Church of the Resurrection August 1.
Alice Frances Sullivan Phelps, a Rye resident for over 85 years, died July 22, one month short of her 91st birthday.
She was born August 27, 1921 in Boston, the daughter of Charles Francis Sullivan and Johanna Sullivan. Her mother died in 1928.
Raised in Rye by her father and his second wife, Cecile Cote Sullivan, she attended Milton Elementary School and Resurrection School. She graduated from Rye High School in 1940 and then from Berkeley School in New York City.
She met her future husband at Playland Ice Casino, recalled her daughter, Robin Phelps Latimer.
“At age 14, young Charlie Phelps was skating around the rink and saw Alice Sullivan doing the same. (They were both good skaters. My father later became a Playland Skate Guard.) Charlie caught up to Alice and stole her hat. The chase was on. Alice did catch him on the ice, and got her hat back. That was their first meeting. They started dating in high school.
“When World War II broke out, without telling one another, they each enlisted in the Navy. Needless to say, my mother’s parents were not pleased when she returned from the city having joined the military without their permission,” said Ms. Latimer.
Alice Sullivan was one of only a few picked out of 300 women to qualify. She became a Storekeeper 1st Class in the U.S. Navy WAVES unit, and was stationed at St. Louis Air Force Base at Lambert Field.
In 1945, she was honorably discharged and returned home to Rye. Mr. Phelps returned from the Pacific around the same time; they reconnected and they were married on October 22, 1946. Mr. Phelps, a Rye firefighter, passed away in 1978.
Mrs. Phelps was a communicant at Church of the Resurrection, and was active in many local organizations, including the Midland PTO, the Resurrection Family Mass
Folk Group, the Rye Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary, and the American Legion Post 128, where she served as adjutant, the first female Legion officer of that Post.
For 20 years, Mrs. Phelps worked for Dr. John Finnegan, DDS as a receptionist in his offices in Blind Brook Lodge, and was well known by the many patients who
lived throughout the area.
She was a regular presence each year at the patriotic services held on Memorial Day and Veterans Day on the Village Green, selling poppies to benefit the Legion Auxiliary programs.
“My mother was very proud to serve God and her country and did both very well,” said Ms. Latimer. “She never judged people and loved being with her family and friends. She cared deeply about those she loved and never said a bad word about anyone.”
In addition to her daughter, Robin, and son-in-law, Assemblyman George Latimer, Mrs. Phelps is survived by her granddaughter, Meagan Sullivan Latimer.
A funeral mass was held July 26 at Church of the Resurrection.
Donations in Mrs. Phelps’ name may be made to the American Cancer Society and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.
Nicholas Szczerba Sr.
Nicholas Szczerba Sr. passed away August 1. The longtime Rye resident was 88.
Born in Poland on October 15, 1923, the son of Basil and Efruzyna Szczerba, he came to the United States in 1949.
He and his wife Sophia moved to Rye in 1966. She passed away December 12, 1997.
Mr. Szczerba worked as a group leader for Arnold Bakery in Greenwich, retiring in 1986 after 25 years of service.
“In his spare time, our dad loved to garden, and he kept in shape by walking everywhere,” said his son Nicholas, who was his caretaker in recent years. “He also enjoyed traveling to visit his children all over the United States — Virginia, Arizona, Rhode Island, and Florida.”
Mr. Szczerba was the proud father of eleven children, ten of whom survive him: Yoli Broglio, George Szczerba, Irene Swanson, Donna Briganti, Eddie Szczerba, Nicholas Szczerba Jr., Michelle Topolosky, Laura Waurishuk, Regina Wortmann, Doreen Perella. His son, Richard Szczerba, predeceased him, as did his two of his brothers, John and Gregory Szczerba. His sister Helena and brother Walter, both of Belarus, survive him, as do sixteen grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
A mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at Church of the Resurrection August 7. Internment followed at Greenwood Union Cemetery.
Donations in Mr. Szczerba’s memory may be made to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, 322 Eighth Avenue, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10001.
Marie E. (Moore) Scinto passed away July 16, at her home in Spring Hill, Florida. The former Rye resident was 73.
Born in the Bronx, she went through the New York Public School System, graduating from T. Roosevelt High School. She entered Fordham Hospital School of Nursing, graduating with the honor of being the “Best Bedside Nurse” of her class, September 1960. She became a registered nurse, and, with further study, became an electrologist.
She married Victor J. Scinto Sr. on June 16, 1962. They moved to Rye that year and lived in the area until 1995, when they moved to Florida.
Mrs. Scinto was an active member of United Methodist Church, teaching Sunday school and serving as secretary of the church nursery school.
For several years, she taught at the Ecumenical Vacation Bible School, later becoming director.
In the community, she was chairperson of the March of Dimes Mothers March, organizing and supervising fundraisers in the Rye Brook area. She was driven to volunteer for the Mothers March because of the death of a close friend from bulbar polio in early childhood, and she saw the advancements made leading toward a cure for polio.
She also volunteered for the Westchester Diabetes Association, and continued fundraising in Spring Hill. A type 1 Brittle Diabetic, Mrs. Scinto was known to have said: “I was fortunate enough to celebrate my 50th anniversary as a diabetic, which at one time was known as the ‘unspoken disease.’ I have seen many strides but still no cure.”
Her daughter, Karen Conway, said, “Volunteerism was a big focus of our mother’s life. She kept to herself but she was a very generous individual. When she wasn’t helping others, she enjoyed bowling and card games.”
The Scintos celebrated 41 years of marriage before his passing in 2003.
In addition to her daughter, Mrs. Scinto is survived by her son, Victor Joseph Scinto Jr., and five grandchildren.
A funeral was held July 24. She was buried at Greenwood Union Cemetery.
Memorial contributions in Mrs. Scinto’s memory may be made to: The Joslin Diabetes Center, 1 Joslin Place, Development Office, Boston, MA 02215.
Dr. James Nitschke
James Phelps Nitschke, DDS, died August 5 in Leesburg, Florida. The former Rye resident was 84.
He was born March 17, 1928 in Utica, New York. He served in the US Navy during the Korean War.
In Rye, Dr. Nitschke ran a successful dental practice until 2004 when he retired. His Locust Avenue office cottage with the multi-colored tile roof still stands, but the grass has grown up around it. Dr. Nitschke used to feed the many ducks that made their way down Blind Brook to his property, but they stopped coming soon after he moved south.
Dr. Nitschke loved the outdoors and all the nature it held, and he enjoyed hiking, skiing, and figure skating. He was a member of Christ’s Church.