John F. Toner, 95

John F. Toner passed away surrounded by family and friends on December 14, 2021 in New Canaan, CT after a brief illness following a hip fracture.  

Jack was born September 25, 1926 in Providence, Rhode Island to Edward and Florence Toner.  He grew up in Elmhurst, NY and attended Brooklyn Prep where he formed lifelong friendships with James and Neill McAllister.  They set him up on blind date in 9th grade with their cousin Marjorie and 60 years later she became his second wife. He served with the US Navy during WWII in the South Pacific attached to the Seabees where they recognized that his talents lay in connecting with people and put him in charge of morale rather than construction. When discharged in July 1946, he enrolled at Mount St Mary’s in Emmittsburg, MD.  Upon graduation in 1950 with a BA in Economics, he worked in sales for Dan River Manufacturing in St Louis, MO. He then joined the Cleveland office of Avondale Mills where he formed lifelong friendships with his Shaker Heights roommates.

‘How Honored and Privileged I Was’: After 47 Years, Tom Cicalese Retires from Hoyt Funeral Home

Tom Cicalese was 18 years old when he moved to New Canaan to work at Hoyt Funeral Home. A Hartford native, Cicalese had an uncle and cousins who owned funeral homes upstate. Since age 13, he’d done odd jobs during the summer in the nursing home where his mother worked as an administrator. “It allowed me to see life through a different lens,” Cicalese recalled one afternoon this week from the sitting room of Hoyt Funeral Home on Main Street. He graduated from high school at age 16 and went on to “embalming school” in Boston for two years before sending out applications around Connecticut for a job in a funeral home.

Local Businesses and COVID-19: Hoyt Funeral Home

For today’s Q&A with a local business owner, we hear from Tom Cicalese of Hoyt Funeral Home. He has owned the Main Street business for 46 years. 

Here’s our exchange. New Canaanite: The state categorized funeral homes as an “essential business,” so Hoyt Funeral Home along with grocery stores, pharmacies and some others has been able to operate through the COVID-19 public health emergency. What has this been like for you? Tom Cicalese: The pandemic has been especially challenging for us here at Hoyt Funeral Home.

Jean DiPanni, 90, Longtime New Canaan Resident

Jean DiPanni, age 90, of New Canaan, died peacefully Saturday evening April 28, 2018 with her loving sons by her side. She was born in Panni, Italy on August 7, 1927. She was the daughter of the late Giuseppe and Maria DeCotiis. She was predeceased by her husband Michael DiPanni who died in 1994. Jean met her husband (Michael) in Panni, Italy while he was on military leave from Germany.

Kiwanis Club’s Annual St. Patrick’s Day Dinner & Social To Be Held Sunday

The New Canaan Kiwanis Club’s popular St. Patrick’s Day Dinner & Social is around the corner, scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, March 11 in St. Aloysius School’s dining hall. A community staple for years, the event features Irish dancing and is sponsored by New Canaan’s Hoyt Funeral Home, First County Bank, Bankwell, Kiwanis Division 20, Karl Chevrolet, Sperry DeCew, Nurenu Brand Marketing, Baskin-Robbins, Walter Stewart’s Market, Stewarts Spirits,, Hawthorne Ackerly & Dorrance, Anam Cara School of Irish Dance and Harney Pender Keady School of Irish Dance. Tickets are $10 for children, those under age two are free, $15 for adults ($20 at the door) and are available at the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce, 91 Elm St.; Walter Stewart’s Market, 229 Elm St.; Baskin- Robbins 103 Main St.