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Frank Benson Sr.,
THOMPSON — Frank E. Benson Sr., 73, of East Thompson Road, died March 5, 2017, at Davis Place in Danielson. He was the husband of Patricia M. (Rogers) Benson who died in 1992.
Born Jan. 2, 1944, in Webster, he was the son of the late Frank M. and Dorothy L. (Cordray) Benson.
He served in the U.S. Army from 1965 to 1971 with the 250th Combat Engineers. He worked and retired from the Providence Worcester Railroad as an assistant Division Engineer in the Track Department. He was an avid candlepin bowler with the Tri-Town Bowling League in Webster for many years. He loved boating, fishing, his projects, fixing things and being outside working on the yard on his tractor.
He leaves his children, Frank Benson Jr. of Thompson, Brenda Benson of Quinebaug, Jennifer Piechocki and her fiancé Michael Kiley of Thompson; sisters Vera Keene and Dorothy Hetherington; grandchildren Jacqueline Bonengel, Laura Bonengel, Kate Bonengel, Kylie, Nygard, Isabella Sarette, Robbie Piechocki Jr., Patricia Benson, Cheyenne Benson, Patrick Benson, Travis Benson, Christian Kiley, Lillian Kiley and Lucy Kiley, great-grandchildren, Tyrone, Brianna, Louis, Blake, Jonathan and a baby boy due in 2017; his dog Bella. He was predeceased by his son Timothy in 2015; and sisters Elizabeth Sharpe and Shirley Caswell.
Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. March 9 at Smith and Walker Funeral Home, 148 Grove St., Putnam.
Robert L. Melanson,
Coast Guard vet
DANIELSON — Robert Louis Melanson, of Danielson, formerly of Blounts Town, Fla., died March 1, 2017. He was born July 19, 1929, in Moosup, son of Wilfred and Donalda (Ravenelle) Melanson.
Robert graduated from Marianapolis Preparatory School in Thompson in 1946, and joined the U.S. Coast Guard in 1948 serving four years in the Alaskan territory Aleutian Islands, and three years in the Gulf of Mexico in New Orleans. There he met and married the love of his life Carol Rita Haug in 1953. They recently celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary.
Robert was a member of the VFW Post 10284 of Moosup and was a Boy Scout leader. He worked for Dow Chemical in Groton, Posi Seal International in Pawcatuck, and the Plainfield Public Schools transportation department as a school bus driver. He was an avid fisherman, camper, and loved traveling with his family.
He leaves his wife Carol of Plainfield; six children; David Melanson of Lakeland, Fla., Donna Zito (Michael) of Beacon Falls, Roberta Melanson of Danielson, Carolyn Jennings (Homer) of Kent, George Melanson (Loretta) of Clewiston, Fla., and Paula Goyette (Jeffrey) of Plainfield; 10 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren. Robert was predeceased by his parents, sister Jeanette LaPierre, and granddaughter Jamie Lynn Melanson.
The Mass of Christian Burial was March 6 in St. Mary Church of the Visitation, Putnam, with burial in Holy Cross Cemetery, Danielson. Smith and Walker Funeral Home, 148 Grove St., Putnam.
PUTNAM — Georgiana Gammardella, 86, of Putnam, died March 4, 2017, at home. She was the wife of Ralph for the last 66 years. Born April 28, 1930, in Putnam, she was the daughter of the late Arthur and Florence (Smith) Proulx.
She was a lifelong member of the Putnam Baptist Church and loved the Lord. She worked for Chase Graphics and then she worked for H.H. Ellis Technical School until she retired.
In addition to her husband Ralph, she leaves her children Ralph Gammardella, Susan Lucey (Rick), Sandra Huth (Mike), Sally Donovan (Mike); 16 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren.
The Funeral was March 8 in the Putnam Baptist Church, with burial in Grove Street Cemetery. Donations: Putnam Baptist Church, P.O. Box 85, Putnam, CT 06260. Smith and Walker Funeral Home, 148 Grove St., Putnam.
Jeanne D. Merrill
DANIELSON — Jeanne Demoranville Merrill died Feb. 20, 2017.
Jeanne was born Dec. 12, 1932, in New Bedford, Mass. After graduating from Killingly High School, she attended the executive secretary program at Fisher Junior College in Boston where she graduated with Honors. Jeanne then applied those skills as secretary to the comptroller at UConn.
There she met Kenneth T. Merrill; they married in 1952.
Jeanne and Ken owned Uncle Ken’s Tastee Freeze in Willimantic for 17 years, while starting their family in Chaplin.
While living in Chaplin Jeanne organized many community programs and activities.
These included hosting the local Republican town committee meetings in their home, establishing 4-H groups for the local youth, she was also active with the PTA and Chaplin Congregational Church.
In 1969 Jeanne and family moved to Killingly. Jeanne was a very active member at Westfield Congregational Church in Danielson. She sang in the choir and helped host many church suppers and events.
Jeanne was an avid fisherwoman, frequently going deep-sea fishing with family and friends.
She loved to travel and was very efficient, often organizing trips with friends and family.
She spent many happy hours with her grandchildren at Alexander’s Lake, where she had been a senior lifesaver in her youth. She was lively and had an infectious energy.
Jeanne is predeceased by her husband Kenneth and two sisters Gail Greene and Fay Logee. She leaves her brother Bruce Demoranville of Swansea, Mass.; three children: Deborah Merrill, Wendy Merrill-Mason (Roger) and Jeffrey Merrill (Jayne); five grandchildren: Sarah Roers and her husband Jason Williams, Jocelyn Magalis, Seth Merrill, Stephanie Roers, and Paul Michael Gignac.
A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. March 19 at Westfield Congregational Church, Danielson. Donations: Westfield Church, 210 Main St., Danielson, CT 06239. Smith and Walker Funeral Home, 148 Grove St., Putnam.
D. ‘Duck’ Pellerin,
BROOKLYN — Donald “Duck” Pellerin, 75 of Brooklyn died March 4, 2017, at home. He was born on July 19, 1941, in Wauregan, son of the late Eldege and Andrea (Hamel) Pellerin. He married the love of his life Jacqueline (Kendzierski) Pellerin on Sept. 11, 1965.
Donald was a communicant of Our Lady of LaSalette in Brooklyn and was a member of the National Guard. He worked at Berris Restaurant as a cook and later at American Standard as a caster for more than 28 years. He also worked as an aide for DMR at group homes and the Dempsey Center for 15 years. Donald was a season ticket holder of the New England Patriots for more than 40 years and he was a lifetime fan of the Atlanta Braves.
Besides his wife Jacqueline he leaves his children: Brian Pellerin of Dayville, Steven (Lori) Pellerin of Dayville, Brenda (Gregory) Despathy of Moosup; three brothers Roger (Lorraine) Pellerin, Donald (Bernice) Grenier and Keith (Geodi) Pellerin; two sisters Estelle Raye and Connie (Edward) Boucher; four grandchildren Tyler Pellerin, Heather (Shane) Merson, Evan Despathy, Zachary Despathy; and his cats Blotchy and Alvin. He was predeceased by his parents and his step-mother Beatrice Pellerin.
The Mass of Christian Burial was March 7 at Our Lady of LaSalette in Brooklyn, with burial with military honors at Holy Cross Cemetery, Danielson. Donations: National Stroke Association, 9707 E Easter Lane, Suite B, Centennial, CO 80112. Gagnon and Costello Funeral Home, 33 Reynolds St., Danielson.
Richard A. Auger
WOODSTOCK — Richard A. Auger, 61, of Route 171, died March 3, 2017, at home. He was the husband of Linda (Varjabedian) Auger of 42 years. Born in 1955 in Putnam, he is the son of Gerald Auger of Wauregan and the late Margaret T. (Cusson) Auger.
Richard (Dick) was a Certified Facilities Manager (CFM) and was employed by JLL as Sr. Vice President of GXP Engineering. Dick and his wife Linda are the owners and operators of Taylor Brooke Winery in Woodstock.
He studied masonry at Ellis Tech High School and received a degree in Facilities Management from UMass Amherst. He was a member of the Woodstock Agricultural Society, a former Boy Scout Leader for Troop 27 in Woodstock, the former president of the Pharmaceutical Maintenance and Operations Network (PMON), and LEED certified, and Winemaker at Taylor Brooke Winery. He enjoyed cooking, spending time with his dogs, and was a proud Eagle Scout.
He leaves his wife Linda Auger of Woodstock; his father Gerald Auger of Wauregan; a son Corey A. Auger and his partner Fraser Davis of Providence; a daughter Nicole L. Auger (Ralph Fiegel) of Grafton, Mass.; four brothers Steven Auger (Polly) of Moosup, Ronald Auger of Brooklyn, Robert Auger of Moosup, and Kenneth Auger (Susan) of Sterling; three sisters Sandra LaBelle and her companion Mario Palumbo of Brooklyn, Jeanne Wintrow (Phillip) of Dayville, and Laurie Ducat (Peter) of Sterling.
The Mass of Christian Burial is at 11 a.m. March 18 in St. Mary Church of the Visitation, Putnam. Donations: ALS Assoc. CT Chapter, 4 Oxford Road, Unit E4, Milford, CT 06460 or online at www.alsact.org; or to the Woodstock Boy Scouts of America Troop 27, c/o Roger Underwood, P.O. Box 154, Woodstock, CT 06281 or online at www.ctrivers.org. Gilman Funeral Home & Crematory, 104 Church St., Putnam.
PUTNAM — Doris (Viens) Deslongchamps, 93, of Underwood Road, died March 1, 2017, in Day Kimball Hospital. She was the wife of the late William J. Deslongchamps. Born in 1923 in Putnam, she was the daughter of the late Joseph and Alphonsine (Bibeault) Viens. Doris was a homemaker.
She leaves her son, Paul Deslongchamps of Putnam; and seven grandchildren. She was predeceased by her son, Robert Deslongchamps; her daughter, Irene Nadeau; her brothers, Raymond Viens, and Norman Viens; her sisters, Anita Dumas and Evelyn Mitchell.
A Graveside Service was March 6 in St. Mary Cemetery, Putnam. Gilman and Valade Funeral Homes and Crematory, 104 Church St., Putnam.
Madeline L. Wells
PUTNAM — Madeline L. Wells, a practical, independent woman, died Feb. 27, 2017, at Matulaitis Nursing Home. She was born Sept. 4, 1920, in Putnam, daughter of the late Arthur and Lillian (Bousquet) Wells. Madeline dwelled nearly her entire life at the Valley Road home in E. Killingly that also served as her father’s village store, and graduated with the Killingly High School Class of 1938.
During WWII, Madeline showed considerable welding skill while working as a ship builder’s assistant at the Walsh-Kaiser Shipyard in Providence. On Thursday evenings, she rode her bicycle up North Road to take her weekly shift as a plane spotter. Soon after, she started her career as a telephone operator, earning accolades for quick thinking in the days before 9-1-1.
As a little girl, Madeline learned to harmonize at her mother’s side. She served as organist for Our Lady of Peace in E. Killingly, and was more recently a communicant at St. James Church in Danielson. She sang with The Happy Singers and was a member of the Concert Choir of Northeastern Connecticut for more than 50 years. Madeline loved dogs, especially Airedales, and was active throughout her life with swimming, badminton, cross-country skiing and, well into her 90s, league bowling with Bowl O’ Nuts at Friendly Bowl. She donated more than 15 gallons of blood through the Red Cross and was a regular at Zip’s Diner. She spent several comfortable years at Westcott Wilcox Retirement Home in Danielson.
Predeceased by her brother Richard and his wife Stephanie, Madeline leaves her helpful pal Phyllis Emigh and the many friends she accumulated from her various activities. Her family treasures are archived with the Killingly Historical Society.
The Mass of Christian Burial was March 3 at St. James Church, Danielson, with burial in St. Joseph Cemetery, Dayville. Gagnon and Costello Funeral Home, 33 Reynolds St., Danielson.
Irene W. Dryl
PUTNAM — Irene W. Dryl, 97, of Putnam, died Feb. 24, 2017, in Putnam. She was the wife of 59 ½ years to Chester Dryl. They were married Oct. 21, 1944. He died April 14, 2004.
She was born Oct. 21, 1919, in Putnam, daughter of the late George and Mary (Shippee) Whittemore. Irene was a graduate of Putnam High School, Class of 1937, and a member of the Congregational Church of Putnam.
Irene was a supervisor of data processing at the American Optical in Putnam, Safety Division. She retired in 1979 after 34 years of employment. She enjoyed feeding and watching birds in her backyard, and tending her plants and flowers.
She is the last member of her immediate family. She was predeceased by her cousin Ruth Flagg. She leaves her very special friend and neighbor Patricia Levesque.
A Private Graveside Service was Feb. 28 at Grove Street Cemetery, Putnam. Smith and Walker Funeral Home, 148 Grove St., Putnam.
THOMPSON — Margaret Mary Elizabeth Ann (Sweeney) Payne, 80, of Thompson, died March 3, 2017. She was the wife of the late William T. Payne.
For more than 40 years Margaret managed Thornfield Hall in Thompson, a unique home for special needs women, known throughout the state as a truly wonderful residence for all those who lived or worked there. Margaret’s concern was always for others, family, friends, employees or total strangers in other countries to whom she contributed so generously. Margaret will be greatly missed by all her family and friends.
She leaves her son William T. Payne Jr. (Marcia) of Simsbury; her daughter, Florence Payne of Southbridge; her son-in-law, Steven Stang (Macil) of Canton; grandchildren: Andrew of E. Lyme, Christina and her wife Alyssa of Providence, Melissa of Worcester, and Thomas of Brooklyn, N.Y. She was predeceased by her parents Daniel and Beatrice (King) Sweeney; her daughter, Norma E. Stang; and granddaughter Rachel E. Payne.
The Funeral Service was March 6 at the Putnam Baptist Church with burial in the family plot in Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Mass. Donations: Charity of one’s choice. Smith and Walker Funeral Home, 148 Grove St., Putnam.
Joyce A. Smith
PUTNAM — Joyce A. Smith, 79, of Putnam, died March 5, 2017, at home.
She was born in Mobile, Ala., daughter of Hugh Craig and Minnie Lee Bailey, Joyce was the 5th child of 11 children. She lived in Putnam with her family. She moved here recently from Pittsburgh.
Joyce retired from Budweiser bottling company in Van Nuys, Calif.
She leaves her son Myles Smith (Rachel); grandchildren: Darneshia, Xzavier, Javané, Monet, Earl, Mia.
The Funeral and burial will be in Pittsburgh March 11. Smith & Walker Funeral Home, 148 Grove St., Putnam.