Distiguished Norwalkers honored; a holiday fair and humanist’s ‘death cafe’

NORWALK, Conn. — A roundup of news items:

  • Prominent NHS alumni honored
  • ‘Thanks For Giving’ fair announced
  • ‘Death Café’ will promote life




New names on the wall

These Norwalkers were feted at the annual Norwalk High School Alumni Association Wall Of Honor Celebration, held Oct. 6:

Frank J. Esposito, Class of 1946, posthumously awarded

A Korean War veteran, highly successful businessman, and member of numerous community organizations,  Frank Esposito began his political career in 1970 as a Norwalk Housing Authority Commissioner. He then served on the Common Council, the Connecticut General Assembly, and ultimately as Norwalk Mayor (with his First Lady Louise) from 1987-2001. Esposito passed away in 2013 and was recognized last year when the road behind City Hall was named “Honorable Frank J. Esposito Way.”

Andrew Fraser, Class of 1985

A talented NHS gridiron star, Drew Fraserbwent on to captain the 1988 Cornell University Ivy League Championship football team, and was then named captain of the 1989 Japan Bowl All-Stars.  After hanging up the cleats, he coached youth sports and volunteered for the Special Olympics.  He held executive leadership positions at Whirlpool, Clorox, and Procter & Gamble, and he recently retired from his role as CEO of Method Products in San Francisco, the world’s largest eco-friendly cleaning and personal care company.

William Gardella, Class of 1956

The longest active member of the Exchange Club of Norwalk, Bill Gardella served multiple terms as Secretary, Treasurer, and President, and has been instrumental in the Club’s fundraising. A volunteer and former Chair of the Norwalk YMCA, he served on the Y’s Board of Trustees until it was shuttered, and he also managed Ascension Beach Club for many years, until Superstorm Sandy forced its closing.  A Navy veteran, he returned to the U.S in 1959 and worked in the family business, Rex Marine Center of which he has been president since 1986.

Kimberly J Burgo, Class of 1981

Kim Burgo is vice president of the national disaster operations office for Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) based in Alexandria, Va.  With 35 years of non-profit experience, she has participated in, and/or led, social service-based disaster response and recovery programming in 25 countries, as well as in the United States and U.S. Territories.  Her knowledge and experience in the areas of humanitarian assistance, disaster response operations and emergency services led Kim to her current work; addressing the many aspects of human vulnerability, suffering, and poverty while seeking and implementing long term sustainable solutions at the national, regional, community and individual level.

Come to the fair

The “Thanks For Giving”  holiday fair will be held held from noon to 5 p.m on Sat. Nov. 2 at 208 East Ave.  Featuring vendors, food, music by Paul Green Academy and much more, this family-friendly event will support St. Thomas the Apostle Church’s RISE youth group.  Non-perishable food donations for the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry will be accepted and appreciated.


‘Death Café’ discussion promises to affirm life

Death will be the topic for informal, intimate group conversations at 6 p.m. Mon. Nov. 18 at the Silver Star Diner, located at 210 Connecticut Ave. Norwalk.  Touted as a “Death Café”, the event is part of the Humanists and Freethinkers of Fairfield County (HFFC) month-long theme of “Carpe Diem (Seize the Day) – Living with Death.”  There will be a social hour, followed by small-group discussions.  Facilitators will be Sandi Sacks, LCSW, and Humanist Funeral Celebrant Anita Peters, who has led four HFFC Death Cafes since 2016.  Admission is free, and RSVP is recommended either by email to [email protected] (subject: Nov 18) or www.meeetup.com/hffcct.
Death Cafés are part of an international movement believing that increased death awareness can help us make the most of our lives, and that people benefit from frank conversations in social settings about death.  Pondering issues of preparedness, loss, pain easement, and confident living. HFFC states that death is the only certainty of life, and that according to the Centers for Disease Control, six out of ten people will have lived with the cause of death for years before dying.

Other upcoming HFFC events will be “Day of the Dead” on Fri. Nov 1, and “Living with Death: Panel on Choices” on Monday Nov 11.  See meetup.com/hffcct for details.

The HFFC espouses reason and compassion, promoting humanism and free thought in our community. It holds general meetings, film events, book discussions, solstice celebrations, and science roundtables.  Learn more at meetup.com/HFFCCT.




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