Peter J.B. Vercelli
THOMPSON — Peter J.B. Vercelli, 90, an award-winning architect who combined historic restoration and new design in commercial and residential projects in Washington D.C. and Connecticut, died Feb. 18, 2019, at home. He fell into a coma on Feb. 14 and never regained consciousness.
Vercelli was the 1980 recipient of the First Design Award for Historic Restoration and Architectural Design given by the American Institute of Architects. The award was for the Flour Mill, a $36 million mixed-use project on the Georgetown waterfront in Washington D.C.
As the architect for the Embassy of Mexico at 1911 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., in the nation’s capital, Vercelli designed a new building that preserved the exterior of two 18th century buildings in a ground-breaking example of what has become known as Facadism.
Peter John Biagio Vercelli was born June 30, 1928, in London, England, the son of Clotilde Coletta Vercelli and Luigi Benedetto Vercelli, the director of the Savoy Grill at the Savoy Hotel in London for 50 years.
As a young child spending summers in his father’s village, Mombercelli, Italy, Vercelli learned Italian before English. He was also fluent in French.  
A turning point in Vercelli’s life came on the night of Dec. 29-30, 1940, when he stood on an apartment building roof in Holborn and saw St. Paul’s Cathedral reflecting the red glow of London in a sea of flames. He said this instilled in him a desire to rebuild, which led him to pursue a life in architecture.
After serving in the Royal Air Force, he graduated with honors from the University of London in 1954 with a bachelor’s in architecture. He was awarded a King George VI Memorial Fellowship and came to the U.S. to attend Harvard Graduate School of Design. He earned his master’s degree in architecture and urban design in 1956.
At Harvard, he met architect Walter Gropius who invited him to work at The Architects Collaborative in Cambridge, Mass. When Paul Rudolph asked him to become an assistant professor of design at Yale University’s new Architecture School, he moved in 1958 to New Haven and opened his own architectural office.
Among other projects in Connecticut, he designed the Paier College of Art, Hamden; St. Thomas Convent, Southington; and the Science Building at Western Connecticut State University, Danbury. While designing Nonnewaug Regional High School in Woodbury, Conn., he met his future wife, then a reporter for The Newtown Bee, at a Woodbury town meeting.
In 1969, he was a founding principal of the International Consortium of Architects (ICON) in Washington, D.C.  
In addition to residential work in the Washington D.C. area, ICON Architects designed projects in Brazil, Africa and the Middle East where Vercelli was the chief architect of a new city in Kuwait for the resettlement of 35,000 Bedouin nomads.
From 1982 to 1989, he served on the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts’ Old Georgetown Review Board.
In 1982, Vercelli established a solo practice in Washington D.C. until 1989 when he moved to Connecticut and opened a studio adjacent to the 1806 Federal style house in which he and his family lived in the Thompson Hill Historic District. In northeast Connecticut he designed new houses and renovated existing buildings to combine restoration and new construction. “On a personal level, residential work is the most rewarding for me,” he said.
A long-distance ocean swimmer, he bought a cottage on Block Island, R.I., in 1973 where he loved to spend time with his family. On Block Island, he provided architectural guidance for the 11 cottages in Minister’s Lot Homeowners Association.
He admired the village aspect of cluster housing and the saltbox style of the detached Minister’s Lot cottages. To him, the most important elements to maintain were the dominance of the saltbox shape and the directionality of the houses. Today, each house is unique but all of them share these critical architectural elements, creating a pleasing sense of order in the landscape.
“I think of them as a flock of sand pipers at the beach, all facing the same direction,” he said.
He was a longtime active member of the Village Improvement Society of Thompson and of the Thompson Historical Society, designing T-shirts, sweat shirts and notecards with pen-and-ink drawings of Thompson buildings for the Old Town Hall Museum Shop.
For many years he was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Thompson Congregational Church which owns Thompson Hill Common. When the church steeple was replaced after the 1987 fire, he worked behind the scenes to insure that the new steeple would be the same design as the steeple that burned.
A prodigious reader, Vercelli spent time alone almost every day with books, mostly history and science. Until a few days before he sank into a coma, he was reading David McCullough’s biography of Theodore Roosevelt, “Mornings on Horseback,” along with the daily print New York Times. He said his favorite book of all was “Wind in the Willows” because “the character of Toad of Toad Hall mirrors my own lifestyle.”
He leaves his wife of 46 years, Jane Anderson Vercelli, of Thompson, and Block Island, R.I.; two sons, Anders (and Lydia) Vercelli and Lars (and Laura) Vercelli, both of New York, N.Y.; three grandchildren, Kate, 3, Luke, 2, and Ivy, 1; two brothers-in-law, Rolf Anderson of Montgomery, Vt., and Kurt Anderson and his son Ivan of Roxbury, and cousins in England and Italy.
A memorial gathering will be held in the spring. Burial in the Leroy Anderson family plot in New North Cemetery, Woodbury, will be private. Donations: Thompson Historical Society, Peter Vercelli Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 47, Thompson, CT 06277. Gilman and Valade Funeral Homes & Crematory, 104 Church St. Putnam.
* Written by Jane Anderson Vercelli, former news reporter for the Associated Press, UPI, Waterbury (Conn.) Republican and the Block Island Times.

Paul D. Berk Jr.
WOODSTOCK — Paul Daniel Berk Jr., 82, died Feb. 7, 2019, at home after an extended illness.
Paul Jr. was born July 18, 1936, in Fullerton, Penn., and was the son of the late Paul and Alda (Meckes) Berk. In 1941, when Paul Jr. was 5 years old, the family moved to Connecticut when his father Paul D. Berk Sr. accepted a position as an experimental test pilot for Pratt and Whitney Aircraft. Paul Jr. went to school in W. Hartford and Wethersfield where he graduated from Wethersfield High School in 1954. He excelled in athletics in his student years and went on to letter in soccer for UConn. He received his bachelor’s degree from UConn in 1960 and was a lifelong Huskies fan.  
Paul Jr. also shared his father’s love for flying and enlisted in the U.S. Air Force officer candidate school program as a pilot candidate in 1958. Paul Jr. loved flying with his father, and he talked fondly about the times they would fly to Long Island to land and have a cup of coffee and then take off and navigate their way to any other New England spot they wanted to visit that day before returning to Brainard Field.
Paul Jr. went on to build a long and successful career as a human resource professional, working for several large corporations.
Mr. Berk enjoyed raising his family in the quiet corner of Woodstock and was very involved in his boys’ activities, including a youth basketball program he co-founded as well as the Woodstock Little League. He delighted in watching his boys and grandchildren build things and compete in the classroom, on the athletic field, and in life in general. He loved working on outdoor projects with his family. Paul was a longtime member of the Woodstock Lions Club and he also re-certified as a pilot and flew with the 43rd Flying Club. In his retirement years Paul enjoyed occasional cruise vacations with his wife Kathy and he especially treasured time shared with his loved ones at the family cottage in the Berkshires.  
He leaves his wife, Kathleen (Lannon) of Woodstock; three sons, Daniel Berk (Jennifer) of Woodstock, Brian Berk (Deborah) of Wake Forest, N.C., and William Berk (Andria) of Sherborn, Mass.; two sisters, Eileen Perry of Simsbury and Shirley Vallieres of E. Hampton; a brother, Gary Berk of Portland; six grandchildren: Patrick and Trisha Berk of Woodstock; Trevor and Dylan Berk of Wake Forest, and Eddie and Charlie Berk of Sherborn.  
The Funeral Service was Feb. 11 at Gilman Funeral Home, 104 Church St., Putnam, with burial at Elmvale Cemetery, Woodstock. Donations: St. Jude Children’s Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105; or the Shriners Hospital for Children, 110 Conn Ter., Lexington, KY 40508.

Hazel Edwards
PUTNAM — Hazel Edwards, 94, of Putnam, died Jan. 23, 2019, after a brief illness at Matulaitis Nursing in Putnam. Born Jan. 10, 1925, in Putnam, she was the daughter of Matthew and Mary Jane (Pennington) Edwards.
She lived in Putnam all her life, was a lifelong member of the Congregational Church of Putnam. She worked at Putnam Woolen, Belding and volunteered at Day Kimball Hospital. She loved traveling.
She leaves her nephew Robert Bernier (Sandy) of Paso Robles, Calif.; niece Janice Kennette (Allen) of Punta Gorda, Fla., great-nephew Jeff Bernier of Texas, great-nieces Allison Langevin (James), April Thomas (Chris), Madison, McKenzie, Taylor, Noah. She was predeceased by her parents and sister Hilda Bernier (Omer).
Services will be at a later date. Smith & Walker Funeral Home, 148 Grove St., Putnam.

Gloria Dery
DAYVILLE — Gloria (Boudreau) Dery, 93, formerly of N. Grosvenordale, died Feb. 27, 2019, at Westview Healthcare Center.  She was the wife of the late Maurice L. Dery.  Born in 1926 in Dudley, she was the daughter of the late Theodore and Dora (St. Marie) Boudreau.
Gloria worked as an office worker for Colts Plastics for 29 years.
She leaves her children, Adele G. Dery-LaPrey of Dayville and Ronald M. Dery of Bonita Spring, Fla.
The Funeral Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10 a.m. March 7 in St. Joseph Church, N. Grosvenordale, with burial in St. Joseph Cemetery. Gilman Funeral Home & Crematory, 104 Church St., Putnam.

Herbert P. Young
N. GROSVENORDALE — The Lord took Herbert Paul Young, 52, to be his angel on Feb. 7, 2019. Herbert’s death was sudden.
He was born in 1967 to the late Hebert Arthur Young and Margaret Mary (Trudell) Young. Herbert attended Worcester public schools and grew up in the Vernon Hill area.
Herbert loved hunting, fishing, R.C. cars, and fish tanks. He was an avid collector of vintage model cars.  
He leaves his wife, Laura (Perreault) Young; two brothers, Raymond Young of Spencer, Mass., and Rainell Young of Worcester; two sisters, Margaret Alvarado of Worcester and Carol Ann Young Manoli of Westboro, Mass.; three children, Paul Young of Norwich, Samantha Latham of Norwich and Thomas Millott; 11 grandchildren; nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his siblings, Alfred Roy Germain, Ella “Patsy” Germain, and Louise Sandra Young.  Gilman Funeral Home & Crematory, 104 Church St., Putnam.

Kenneth DesRosiers Sr.
PUTNAM — Kenneth R. DesRosiers Sr., 67, of Providence St., died Feb. 28, 2019, at Day Kimball Hospital.  He was the husband of 49 years to Cathy (Haley) DesRosiers.  Born in 1952 in Worcester, he was the son of the late Raymond and Pearl (Guerard) DesRosiers.
Kenneth was a self-employed handyman and also worked as a machinist.  He enjoyed old cars, attending car shows, and antiquing.
In addition to his wife, he leaves his son, Kenneth R. DesRosiers Jr. of Clearwater, Fla.; his daughters Michelle Stafford of Putnam and Kimberly Roach of Putnam; his sister, Charlene White of Oxford, Mass.; seven grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
Services are private. Gilman Funeral Home & Crematory, 104 Church St. Putnam.

Gloria Geissler Glenn
Gloria Margarita Geissler Glenn died Feb. 25, 2019, at home.
Gloria was born March 31, 1934, in the mining town of Chuquicamata, Chile, in the heart of the Atacama Desert, to Rupert C. Geissler and Leonor Muoz Marin. Her father, an American from Thompson, was an engineer at Anaconda Copper who married Leonor, from Copiapo, Chile.  
Gloria left Chile on her own when she was 15 to attend Putnam High School, where her nickname was “Chuqui.”  A few years later, her parents, with younger sister Nora Elena, settled in Putnam, and Gloria graduated from UConn School of Nursing, where she also later received her master’s degree.
She met and married her soulmate, Robert E. Glenn III in 1957, and they settled in Pomfret.  Gloria’s nursing career encompassed Yale New Haven Hospital, the Visiting Nurses Association, Day Kimball Hospital, and Pierce Memorial Baptist Home.
Her husband, Bob, died in 1992 from a long and devastating illness. Gloria selflessly cared for him, and after he died, she held the family together through their grief.
Gloria was a gourmet cook, talented photographer, and avid gardener who loved nature, Cape Cod, and Tanglewood. In her retirement, she spent her winters in Chile with her cousins and in Florida with her sister. The motto for her 8th grade graduation at the Chuquicamata Foreign School, where she was the sole class member, was “The brightest star shines alone.”
She leaves her children, Robert Glenn, wife Heidi Glenn, their children Robby, Charlie, and Kate; her daughter Mary Glenn, husband, Bert Yaeger, their son, Anton; her daughter Jane Glenn and her son Diego Briones (who cared for her during her final years); her sister Nora Lussier, husband, Richard, and children Mark and Christina; nieces Paulina and Francis Torres, and her large extended family and friends in Chile. She was predeceased by a cousin Gloria Francis Espinoza.
A Memorial Service and Reception will be held at 3 p.m. May 11 at the Connecticut Audubon Society Center in Pomfret. Smith and Walker Funeral Home, 148 School St., Putnam.

Helen Mongeau
BROOKLYN — Helen Mongeau, 96, of Brooklyn died Feb. 25, 2019, at Westview Nursing Home in Dayville.
Born July 13, 1922, in Webster, she was the daughter of John and Bronisla (Pogooa) Milas. She was the wife of Louis Mongeau who died in 1999.
Helen was a Communicant of St. James Church in Danielson. She was active with the Brooklyn Senior Center, helping out in the kitchen. She enjoyed sewing, gardening and bingo.
She leaves her sons Louis Mongeau (Doris) of Brooklyn, and Fred Mongeau (Gail) of Brooklyn; a sister Josephine Kulis of Webster; grandchildren Charlotte Mongeau of Willington, Scott Mongeau (wife) Amy of Woodstock, Beth Nunes (Paul) of New London, Randal Mongeau (Jen) of Brooklyn, Christopher Mongeau (Jessica) of Danielson, Heather Mongeau and her fiancé Kurt Terpe of Preston and Kyle and Bonnie Herindeen of Woodstock; great-grandchildren Jennifer Jacobi, Xavier and Luna Mongeau, Sawyer and Hazel Mongeau, Grace Herindeen. Helen was predeceased by her husband Louis; her sons Edward and Eugene; siblings Frances, Ann and Louie.
A Mass of Christian Burial was March 2 in St. James Church, Danielson, with burial in Holy Cross Cemetery. Donations: Friends of Assisi Food Pantry, 77 Water St. Danielson, CT 06239; or St. James School, 120 Water St. Danielson, CT 06239. Gagnon and Costello Funeral Home, 33 Reynolds St., Danielson.


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