Obituary: Rocco Orlando, 94, A Life Dedicated To Education

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Jan 092022

Rocco Orlando, 94, passed away peacefully at home in Hamden of Alzheimer’s disease, with his family by his side, on January 6, 2022. Beloved husband of the late Rae Rose Coppola Orlando, he was born in New Haven on March 29, 1927, the son of the late Rocco and Palmina (Riccardi) Orlando.
Rocco was educated in New Haven and left Hillhouse High School when he turned 18 during his graduation year to join the Navy and train as a naval aviator in torpedo bombers. When WWII ended at the time he was about to be sent overseas, he returned to Connecticut following a year of service to begin his studies at the Fort Trumbull branch of the University of Connecticut along with many others the under the GI bill.
His UConn bachelor’s degree was the first of many degrees for Rocco was a lifelong student as well as a distinguished educator. Following his graduation from UConn, he received a second bachelor’s degree from New Haven State Teacher’s College (now Southern Connecticut State University) and began his career as a teacher in a 4 room schoolhouse in Salem, Connecticut.
He went on to get a master’s degree from Fairfield University, studied at Bennington College as a John Hay Fellow, began doctoral studies at Columbia University, but changed to UConn where he received a Ph.D. in 1969. Widely recognized for his expertise in educational law, he also attended the UConn School of Law stopping his studies just short of attaining a law degree to spend time with his wife.
Rocco’s career was dedicated to education — he had a long association with the Amity Regional Schools – serving as a teacher, assistant principal, principal of the Orange Junior High School, Amity High School and Assistant Superintendent.
Rocco then moved to higher education joining the faculty of Southern Connecticut State College – spending 16 years as a professor, Dean of Professional Studies and Dean of the School of Education.
During his time as Southern, he oversaw the creation of many graduate programs that would contribute to Southern’s recognition as a University. Following Rocco’s retirement from Southern, he continued to be active in his second career as a labor mediator and arbitrator until he was eighty.
His Ph.D. dissertation was on the topic of teacher-board of education negotiations and he used this expertise to guide many teachers unions and boards of education to fair and amicable resolution – often in all night marathon negotiating sessions.
Rocco was dedicated to the Greater New Haven community and demonstrated this with his leadership and participation in many community organizations including the Italian American Historical Society of Connecticut, the New Haven Scholarship Foundation and the Community Foundation of Greater New Haven.
His interest in the contributions of immigrants to New Haven resulted in his being instrumental in the creation of the Ethnic Heritage Center of Connecticut at Southern Connecticut State University. Most important, Rocco was the anchor for his extended family.
With his partner and soulmate Rae, they advised and cared for many. Central to his core was his total devotion to Rae and his commitment to caring for her when she developed M. S. They were always together, always sharing their lives and love.
He passed his love of learning on to his children and grandchildren. He and Rae had a deep love of travel – beginning with lengthy family road trips across the United States and Mexico. On a trip to Italy in the 1960’s, Rocco re-connected with Italian family members leading to long lasting relationships with family in Italy and Australia – traveling often to remain in touch.
In 1969, he led the family on a non-stop drive to Florida to witness the take-off of the Saturn V rocket that carried Apollo 11 to the moon. In their later years, Rocco and Rae were avid cruise ship devotees – including a multigenerational cruise to Alaska with children and grandchildren.
Rocco is survived by his son and daughter-in-law Dr. Rocco Orlando, III and Joanne Papanek Orlando of South Glastonbury, his daughter and son-in-law Lisa Orlando Parisi and Michael J. Parisi of Cheshire as well as his grandchildren Rocco Orlando, IV (Katie Moran), Alexander Orlando and Laura Parisi and great granddaughters Brooke and Willow Orlando, his brother-in law and his wife Dr. Paul J. and Eileen Coppola of Madison and numerous nieces and nephews.
The family would like to thank the staff and nurses of the Memory Support Unit at Whitney Center, the BrightStar caregivers and Connecticut Hospice for their outstanding care.
Funeral Services will be private with a memorial celebration of his life to come in the Spring. The Celentano Funeral Home, New Haven is caring for the family.
To leave a condolence please visit www.celentanofuneralhome.com. Memorial donations may be sent to The Orlando Family Scholarship in Memory of Rae Orlando, at The New Haven Scholarship Fund, PO Box 8936, New Haven CT 06532 or the Orlando Family Endowed Scholarship Fund at Southern Connecticut State University Foundation, Inc., 501 Crescent Street, New Haven, CT 06515-1355 or online at SouthernCT.edu

Orange Board of Ed Appoints New Principal

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Jul 172014

Michele Aterbury

Denise Arterbery

Following is an announcement from the Orange Board of Education:

On Monday night, July 14, the Orange Board of Education appointed Denise Arterbery Principal of Turkey Hill School.

Arterbery was a sixth-grade teacher at Turkey Hill and the chair of both the PBIS Team and the school Success Team.

She has conducted multiple professional development sessions for staff and school-wide assemblies for students.

Arterbery developed the school’s schedule for the past ice years, including the addition of the intervention or QUEST block.

She was the coördinator of the Words of Wisdom program, which is part of Turkey Hill’s morning announcements and she served as the liaison for to the PTO.

She also piloted two of the Language Arts programs in her classroom, including the Journeys program, which was adopted in June.

She served as a First LEGO League Coach, giving her a strong STEM (Science-Technology-engineering-Math) connection; and over the summer she has served with People-to-People as an Ambassador Leader for student youth groups touring abroad.

Arterbery attended Southern Connecticut State University for her undergraduate and graduate degrees, Currently she is enrolled in their Doctorate program.

Her dissertation will be on “Professional Development sans its impact on Teacher self Efficacy for Educating students with Special Needs.”

Throughout the two interviews, Arterbery impressed the committee with her educational expertise, her extraordinary work ethic and thoughtful and common sense approach to so many of the real-life issues presented.

After the committee’s recommendation and the Board’s appointment, her excitement was obvious. She asked, “When can I start?”

Obituary: Rita Palermo, 66, Teacher, Real Estate Agent, Beloved Wife, Mother, Grandmother

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Oct 172013

Screen shot 2013-10-17 at 9.54.18 PMRita Palermo, 66, became an angel on October 16, 2013.

She was born in the Bronx, New York, to the late Leonard and Muriel Kleinman of Stamford, CT. She was the wife of 48 years, best friend, and high school sweetheart of George Palermo.

Rita graduated from Southern Connecticut State University with a degree in elementary education. Soon after her graduation she became a first grade teacher at St. Theresa’s School in Trumbull, CT, and later at Hebrew Day School in Orange, CT.

As Rita began to think about having a family, she met a young real estate broker who convinced her that real estate was a profession that would allow her to accomplish being a stay-at-home mother and utilize her incredible gift, which was that she loved people and people loved her, while being employed.

During her 40 plus years working only for Arnold Peck Realty she became one of the most successful real estate agents in the State. She won many prestigious awards at the local, state, and national level. With her incredible success and loyal clients, Rita enjoyed going to work and helping others.

One of her favorite memories was when she was honored for scoring a perfect 100% for customer satisfaction during a year that she sold over 70 homes. This award confirmed her core values which were integrity, loyalty, knowledge of practice and kindness.

When Rita was diagnosed 17 months ago with a Glioblastoma Multiforme, she promised to fight this adversary with courage and focused on others rather than herself. After being informed that she had no surgical options on the east coast, Rita was blessed to find Dr. Raymond Sawaya at the MD Anderson Hospital in Houston, Texas. Dr. Sawaya informed the family “that he could help.” The Palermo family will be eternally grateful to Dr. Sawaya; the premiere neuro-surgeon in the world, a man with incredible hands, a man with a kind heart, and a man that never gave up.

We also give our gratitude to our wonderful nurse from Connecticut Hospice, Virginia “Gin” Hill. Never during her illness did Rita complain, and always focused on living in the moment. As Rita became more ill, she never stopped working. She found herself greeting old and new friends at open houses weeks prior to her passing. She wanted to live and live she did.

Rita’s two most important joys in her life were her sons, Jeff (Maura) Palermo and Gary (AJ) Palermo and her five grandchildren, Alex, Becca, Jesse, Cami and Jamie Palermo. She showered them with unconditional love and saw them almost daily. They were so fortunate to have her.

Rita also enjoyed traveling to her home she and her husband, George, built just outside of Orlando. Her residence in Florida was truly a “home” away from home with a wing dedicated to her kids and grandkids. Rita and George loved to travel together. Rita loved when George would take her away on their boat, and most importantly for the past 53 years since they met, you would never see Rita or George apart.

Rita also leaves a brother, Gerald (Marcia) Kleinman, brother-in-law, Robert Palermo, and her nephew, Mark (Lisa) Kleinman and niece, Leah (Patrick Connick). Rita also leaves many lifelong friends that were as family to her. Lastly, Rita taught everyone close to her that it felt better to give than to get, to love rather than to be loved, and to always live everyday as if it could be your last. Rita had a tremendous life, filled with love, filled with family, and filled with joy. She will be dearly missed and never forgotten.

The family will have calling hours on Sunday evening from 4:00pm to 8:00pm at The Robert E. Shure Funeral Home, 543 George St., New Haven.


Funeral services at Congregation Or Shalom, 505 Old Grassy Hill Rd., Orange, Monday at 12:00 o’clock noon with interment services to follow at The Beth Israel Cemetery, Derby/Milford Rd, Orange.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to either: The Family Resource Center c/o Jean Vitale, Director, 50 Park Street, West Haven, CT 06516 or Connecticut Hospice, 2 Trap Falls Road, Suite 408, Shelton, CT 06484. A strictly private period will be observed.


Obituary: Allene Robinson Small, 84, Teacher, Mother Of Richard Small

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Sep 042013

ObituaryAllene Robinson Small, 84, of Orange, passed away at home surrounded by her loving family on August 22, 2013.

She was the wife of the late Odie Small and beloved mother of Charles Small of Bethany, Richard Small and his wife, Pat of Orange; and Scott Small and his wife, Diane of North Branford; and sister of Jack Robinson of Pennsylvania.

Allene was blessed with eight grandchildren, Erik (Sarah) Small, Jason (Anna-Maria) Small, Scott Small, Jennifer (Sean) McCulloch, Tiffany (Adam) Arsenault, Stephanie (Dean) Alderman, Christopher (Maria) Small and Sharon Small; and 13 great-grandchildren, Luna, Carter, Noelle, Eliza, Liam, Harlen, Silas, Scarlet, Oakleigh, Cooper, Mason, Quentin and Topher.

Allene also leaves her longtime friend, companion and love, Ed Connolly, who is greatly appreciated by her family for always taking such good care of her.

Allene was born on Oct. 1, 1928, attending Garfield High School (Ohio), Akron University and Southern Connecticut State University, earning two master’s degrees in education. She enjoyed her job at Martin Luther King Jr. School in New Haven where she taught for more than 40 years. She loved her family and traveling, especially to her favorite places – the Cape and Vermont.

In addition to her late husband, Allene was predeceased by her mother, Mabel D. Robinson; her father, Clarence W. Robinson and her sister, Suella R. Prentice.

A Celebration of Allene’s life will be held on Saturday, Sept. 7 at 10:30 a.m. at 9 Hoadley Rd., Branford. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the 2013 Closer to Free Ride for Smilow Cancer Hospital (https://rideclosertofree.org). Maureen Raucci will honor Allene by displaying her name on her team’s banner.

Arrangements are being handled by the Cody-White Funeral Home, 107 Broad St., Milford, CT 06460.To leave on line condolences please visit our website at www.codywhitefuneralservice.com.