banner1gif.gif

 

Gail Stevenson, girls’ sports advocate and Westchester Hall of Fame high school coach, passed away on January 25, 2018 in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Born July 9, 1937 in Hingham, Mass., she distinguished herself early as a school athlete and drill team member. She attended Springfield College, where she earned a Bachelor of Science, and Seton Hall University, from which she received a Master’s in Guidance.

She taught Physical Education at Wayne and Manchester Regional High Schools before beginning a 30-year career at Rye Neck School as a Physical Education teacher and coach.

A pioneering advocate of girls’ athletics long before Title IX was passed by Congress in 1972 Ms. Stevenson’s field hockey teams participated in private school leagues before there were public school leagues. When Title IX took effect, she was the first woman chair of a girls’ sport, field hockey.

Her Westchester Hall of Fame career included a 327-25-26 national coaching record. She was named Section I Coach of the Year in 1982, 1985, and 1989, and Conference Coach of the Year 14 times. She won 17 League championships, nine Sectional championships, and five Regional championships. She coached the Eastern State and New York State Championship teams, as well as four All Americans. She also coached an undefeated Section I basketball team to a title.

Her former student-athletes and fellow coaches said the secret of her success was: “Dedication, loyalty, honesty, and most of all, heart. Ms. Stevenson was passionate in support of her beliefs and standards, and was a level-headed mentor and friend to many over her lifetime.”

In addition to coaching and athletics, she enjoyed a good read, music, dogs, and her “little corner of the world” in Truro, Mass., on Cape Cod.

 

Carol Littlejohn Norton, a longtime resident of Rye, passed away peacefully on January 31, 2018.

Born and raised in Atlanta, she attended the Westminster Schools, where she had the honor of being President of the Student Council, an AFS Exchange Student to Norway the summer of 1957, and a recipient of the Atlanta Journal Cup as “Most Outstanding Senior: in 1958. She went on to Emory University, where she was a Stipes Scholar and a member of Kappa Alpha Theta and Phi Beta Kappa.

After graduation in 1962 with a B.A. in History, her career path took her to Foreign Service Officers School in Washington. D. C. and a posting at the American Embassy in Brussels, Belgium, with assignments in the offices of the Press Attache and the Cultural Affairs Attache. Subsequently, she worked as a Program Officer for students and teachers from Southeast Asia and South America in the International Education section of the U.S. Office of Education in Washington. It was in Washington that she met Peter Norton; they were married in the Georgetown Presbyterian Church on August 8, 1970.

The Nortons moved to Rye in the summer of 1972 and Mrs. Norton soon became an active community volunteer. She was a longtime member of the 26th Twig, serving as Fair Chair and President; later, she was the Editor of the Twig Topics newsletter and President of the Twig Organization.

Mrs. Norton joined the Westchester and New York City boards of the Youth Counseling League, acting as Benefit Chair and President of the Westchester group. As a member of the Rye Garden Club, she developed a strong interest in environmental conservation and headed the Conservation Committee for four years.

Her endeavors at the Rye Presbyterian Church included a multi-year membership in the Mission and Outreach Committee, which offers grants from the church to worthwhile causes and organizations and in which she participated as benefit coordinator and committee chair. In addition, she served as a Deacon and a member of the Session and, in 2013, a delighted recipient of the Richard Murdoch Award.

With her husband, she enjoyed membership at Apawamis Club for 45 years. Spending time with her family and friends, reading, traveling, trying to speak French, and walking her various dogs with friends were among her most treasured activities.

In addition to her devoted husband of 47 years, Mrs. Norton is survived by her nephew, Richard Littlejohn and his wife Kathleen; and many cherished friends, all of whom gave thoughtful care and restorative hopes during her time with cancer.

A Memorial Service was held February 10 at Rye Presbyterian Church. Donations in her name may be made to The Mission Fund, Rye Presbyterian Church, 882 Boston Post Road, Rye, NY 10580; the GCA Scholarship Fund, Garden Club of America, 14 E. 60thStreet 3rd Floor, NY, NY 10022; or Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, 1275 York Avenue, NY, NY 10021-6007.

 

Mark Francis Warga, a lifelong resident of Rye and Port Chester, passed away on January 20, 2018. 

Born on March 24, 1957, he was the son of John and Lillian Warga. After graduating from Stepinac High School in 1975, he attended SUNY New Paltz from which he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1979. 

Mr. Warga worked as a security guard for Atlas Security in Greenwich, Conn. He was a longtime usher and head usher at Resurrection Church in Rye.

He was predeceased by his parents. Mr. Warga is survived by his brothers: Jay (Denise) Warga, of Pawling, N.Y. and Gary Warga of Marlton, N.J; a sister, Mary (Gerry) Wegner of Randolph, N.J.; and many nephews and nieces.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at Resurrection Church on January 25.

Donations in Mr. Warga’s memory may be made to Cancer Support Team, 2900 Westchester Avenue #103, Purchase, NY 10577.

 

Chester Thomas Williams died at his home on February 6,2018. He was 97.

Born on January 15, 1921, Bud, as he was known, attended Milton School and was a graduate of Rye High School, class of 1941. He married his school sweetheart, Marion O’Hara.

He served with distinction in World War II. Over the course of his four-year tour of duty in the U.S. Navy from 1941 to 1945, he served on PT boats 108 and 106 during the Solomon Islands campaign. There, he was involved in nighttime encounters between his unarmored boat and armored, troop-carrying Japanese barges, shore batteries, and aircraft. He was Quartermaster on PT 106 and in the immediate vicinity the night John F. Kennedy and his PT 109 crew were rescued.

After the war, he returned to pursue his education at Ohio Wesleyan from which he received his undergraduate degree, and at Columbia University, where he received his Master’s in Social Work in 1952.

In the course of his long career, he held a number of social service positions, notably, as Associate Director of International Social Service in New York City and Health Consultant for the Westchester Council of Social Agencies.

He was a member of the Westchester County Board of Health, the Westchester Council for the Disabled, and the New York State Recreation and Parks Association, and a consultant for several nursing homes in the area. At the end of his career he was Director of the Westchester Lighthouse for the Blind.

Mr. Williams loved his community and was a presence in Rye. He served as founding president of The Friends of Rye Town Park and could often be found playing tennis on the Rye Recreation courts, at the Rye Free Reading Room, and with his wife at Oakland Beach or on Playland Boardwalk.

“His vibrant, engaging nature and friendly demeanor endeared him to all,” said his family.

Bud and Marion Williams were married for close to 70 years. She predeceased him. He is survived by his sons, Chester of Sherman, Conn. and Robert of Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; his daughter, Victoria Beaver of Brooklyn, N.Y.; six grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; and his beloved and longtime caregiver, Georgina.

 

Anne Sohmer, age 95, a longtime Rye resident, passed away on February 10, 2018 at Newfield House in Plymouth, Mass.

Born on September 27, 1922 in Oneida, N.Y., she was the daughter of John and Helen (Convertino) Tauro.

She married her one true love, Harry J. Sohmer Jr., in 1946, and they moved to Rye in 1950. She was a lifelong member and past president of the Little Garden Club of Rye. She was also a member of American Yacht Club for more than 50 years.

Happiest when she was in the garden, she never met a plant she didn’t like and felt very close to God when she was in the garden. A close friend and fellow gardener described Anne Sohmer as “a woman who acted like a lady, looked like a little girl, and worked like a dog.”

She spent time volunteering at the New York Botanical Garden and Wave Hill Public Gardens and Cultural Center. She enjoyed playing bridge, reading, and doing the daily crossword puzzles.

Mrs. Sohmer was predeceased by her husband, Harry and her sister, Carmela Sterpe. She is survived by her children, Harry J. Sohmer III of Port Chester, Annina Sohmer-Knight and her husband Jeffery Knight of Little Britain, Ontario, and John R.H. Sohmer and his wife Jesse of Duxbury, Mass.; and her cherished grandchildren: Harry, Ellen, Lila, and Adam Sohmer, all of Duxbury. 

A memorial service in her honor will be held Saturday, February 17 at 10 a.m. at Resurrection Church in Rye. A reception will follow at American Yacht Club. All are welcome.

Donations in Anne Sohmer’s memory may be made to Resurrection Church, 910 Boston Post Road, Rye, NY.

 

Eleanor Jean Simpson, a resident of Dennisport, Mass., formerly of Rye, passed away peacefully on December 27, 2017.

Born in Port Chester, N.Y. on April 16, 1937, she was the daughter of Frank and Nellie Wood.

She worked for Bass River Optometrics in Orleans, Mass., for over 34 years. In 1955, she married Richard D. Simpson.

Mrs. Simpson was predeceased by her husband of 55 years, and is survived by her children, Jeffrey (Christie) Simpson and Tammy Simpson; five grandchildren: Sara Rohinsky, Brian and Jayden Simpson, and Kasey and Gillian Cuddy; and a great-granddaughter, Kate Rohinsky.

The family received friends at Graham Funeral Home in Rye on December 30.

A memorial service in Cape Cod will be held at a future date.