Category Archives: Obituaries

Rest in Peace: Otto Frederick Warmbier

UPDATE: Thousands Attend Funeral for Otto Warmbier

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4628846/Hundreds-gather-funeral-Otto-Warmbier.html

 

“Apparently under President Obama’s administration, Warmbier wasn’t even worth a Twitter hashtag tweet: “Bring Back Our Otto,” for example.”

Written by Juliana Simone

June 21, 2017

American Otto Warmbier (December 12, 1994 -June 19, 2017), taken by the North Koreans and subjected to the severity of their labor camps, died two days ago after being sent home to the U.S. from this communist country in a coma.

Apparently under President Obama’s administration, Warmbier wasn’t even worth a Twitter hashtag tweet – “BringBackOurOtto,” for example. Obama’s First Lady Michelle, made such an effort on the social media site when learning 276 young school girls were taken by an extremist Nigerian group “Boko Haram.” Days later she said her husband was doing “everything possible” to help Nigeria bring the girls back.

A New York Times report, for whatever this is worth these days, reported the U.S. Air Force had now sent dozens of personnel to the area to use drones to help find the kidnapped girls. Officials did follow up and said the girls had been found but they could not be saved because too many people could have been killed, perhaps even the innocent girls themselves. The White House moved on.

Otto Warmbier, made the naïve mistake of visiting North Korea in January of 2016. A University of Virginia college student from Ohio, he apparently was being watched by the North Korean government, during a five-day tour in January of 2016 which he had seen advertised while he was touring China. Maybe five days seemed to be a safe entry and exit time for a curious twenty-one year old who as class salutatorian gave his fellow high school seniors their graduation speech.

OttoWarmbierportraitWikipedia
Otto Frederick Warmbier

North Korea alleges he stole a sign from a wall in the hotel where he was staying promoting the leadership of Kim Jong-il. A couple of months later, they produced a video of low quality as proof to their claim, but there is no clear image of Warmbier and its arguable whether it was him at all.

For this, Warmbier was picked up at the airport while standing in line the last of his five day tour to leave North Korea for theft, and sentenced to fifteen years of hard labor. Warmbier is seen on video in North Korean court in February of 2016 confessing to stealing the banner but no one knows whether he did this under intimidation or some false promise that if he admitted to doing this he would be released. A U.S. envoy was sent on his behalf once, in March, but he met with no success.

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Photo released by the North Korean Central News Agency via Yonhap News Agency of Warmbier in Pyongyang Court March 16 2016

OttoWarmbierintearsincourtwithNorthKoreanguard

OttowWarmbierbowsandasksforforgivenessforhostileactNKcourt

OttoWarmbierbeingledoutofcourtKoreansoldierDailyMail

A month after his trial, it’s reported Warmbeir somehow experienced a medical incident that left him with severe brain trauma, information not produced by North Korea and only learned after his release. Otto’s parents desperately wanted to get their son out of the labor camp and bring him home to America, but Mr. Warmbeir says he and his wife were told by the Obama administration they could not participate in any negotiations between the U.S. and North Korea and to keep quiet.

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Otto Warmbier’s Parents

 

On June 12, 2017, Rex Tillerson, the United States Secretary of State, announced that North Korea had released Warmbier, and that the U.S. State Department secured Warmbier’s release at the direction of President Donald Trump.

Otto Warmbier was flown home on June 13, 2017. Unable to walk or talk, carried off of the transport to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, doctors were unable to bring him out of his coma. Physicians claim his condition came from a severe heart attack and that no signs of abuse were found on his body. Even though he was able to breath on his own and blink his eyes, he failed to recover and died on June 19th, 2017. Otto’s father has stated he does not believe anything the North Korean’s have said in terms of what happened to his son.

Twenty-two years old, gifted, loved and wanting to explore the world at its best and its worst, what happened to Otto Warmbier, is an alarming and sad reminder to what happens to American’s abroad, as well as other  civilians,  more and more today in both free and communist countries. Shame on our governments that allow this to continue to happen. It’s much more serious than a hashtag. Rest in peace, Otto.

 

Memorial Service for Andrew J. Pape

 

Andrew J. Pape - Vice President, Republican American newspaper
Andrew J. Pape – Vice President, Republican American newspaper

Written by Juliana Simone

November 12th, 2012

Waterbury, CT – At eleven this morning at the St. John’s Episcopal Church, a memorial service was held to honor the memory of Andrew J. Pape, 46, for family, friends, colleagues and those wishing to show their respect to the Pape family. There was such an enormous turnout there was standing room only in both the back areas of the church as well as in the balconies.

Andrew’s father William J. Pape II is well known throughout the state and the world of journalism as the publisher of the renowned newspaper “The Republican-American.” Connecticut locals call the paper ‘The Waterbury Republican.’

The name “Republican-American” came from merging two newspapers in the 1990’s, “the American” and “the Republican” by their owner, William J. Pape. Founded and still run by the Pape family and a holding company, “American-Republican, Inc.” William J. Pape II now serves as the paper’s CEO.

Andrew Pape was born in Waterbury in 1966 on February 13th to his father William and mother Patricia Moran Pape. He was raised in the scenic town of Middlebury in Litchfield County along with his brother, William B. Pape. Andrew graduated from Connecticut’s Suffield Academy before choosing to attend college in New Orleans, where he earned a degree from Tulane University. He returned to Connecticut for both his family business and to be with his future wife, Christine Pattillo, whom he met while attending Suffield.

Within the Pape’s American-Republican, Incorporated, Andrew was happy to serve as both Vice President and assistant treasurer. At the “Republican-American” Andrew was the Director of Operations.

Besides being energetic at his work, Andrew Pape was an avid sailor and participated in leadership positions at many community clubs such as the Madison Beach Club, The Mattituck Museum, the former Waterbury Club, the Anderson Boys Club, as well as the National Rifle Association.

The lovely Memorial Service included the King James Version of Psalms 23; The Apostle’s Creed; Hymn 208 “Alleluia! The strife is o’er”; Hymn 597 “O day of peace”; Hymn 671 “Amazing Grace” and Gospel Lesson John 14:1-6. First Lesson Isaiah 25.6-9 was read by Richard Pape.

Remembrances were given by Andrew’s brother Will Pape, daughter Alexandra Pape and friends Dick Grant and Peter Gersky. Will Pape remembered the things that made his brother special; Alexandra recited a poem she created for her father that placed him in Italy; Dick and Peter reminisced about how kind Andrew was and quick to assist those in need as well as point out how much he loved his wife and children. There were also some amusing antidotes for levity that were shared with worshipers and gatherers. All speakers agreed Andrew was already missed.

Homily was delivered by a female minister who was once the Chaplin at Suffield Academy. Communion was offered to those in attendance who wished to receive it which was the majority. Because of the amount of people who came to pay tribute to Andrew and the Pape and Pattillo families, the Holy Eucharist was given from a few stations.

At the end of the Memorial Service, the Pape’s stood outside to receive guests. Waterbury’s State Representative Selim Noujaim was in attendance as well as Senator Rob Kane. A reception was held at the Mattituck Museum held by Andrew’s wife Chrissie and the Pape family. Donations in memory of Andrew Jamieson Pape can be made at the family’s request to Suffield Academy.

Roxane Page Ruhl Simmons

 

Roxane Page Ruhl Simmons
Roxane Page Ruhl Simmons

Written by Juliana Simone

April 28, 2012

Stonington, CT – At the Episcopalian Calvary Church on a sunny spring Saturday morning, Roxane Page Ruhl Simmons was remembered by an exceptional family, their acquaintances and many friends. The program handed out to those who came from near and far to pay their respect to Mrs. Simmons read “In Celebration of the Life of Roxane Page Ruhl Simmons.” The story of her life brought forward by three sons and others close to her exemplified why her life was indeed celebrated.

A program of music, prayer, and remembrance moved the congregation on hand with many emotional moments. Using time as a means to reflect on Roxane Simmons special life, her sons each took a turn remembering their mother’s unique ways.

Chuck Simmons told everyone about her early years, and how she eventually came to marry their father while attending Vassar College in New York, and needing a place to stay for the summer rather than having to travel all the way back to her native Oregon, ended up in Stonington.

Former Congressman Rob Simmons (CT-2) told how his mother was a life long Democrat, and though he was Republican, she would still attend his important public appearances and sit in the back row with a big hat on, so Rob could see from the stage if she vigorously shook her head up and down when in approval, or right and left when in disagreement.

Tom Simmons spoke lovingly about her waning years as they saw her slipping away but how their mother still kept her feisty character to the end, bagging her two Siamese cats to take with her when once again trying to walk away from the convalescent home she believed she did not need.

Heidi Simmons also presented a reading “What is dying?” at the beginning of the memorial and granddaughter Jane Simmons read Epistle Lesson: Romans 8:14-19, 34-35, 37-39. Gospel John 14: 1-3, 27 was read by Lisa Kennedy. A meditation was given by Rev. Dr. W. Alfred Tisdale, Jr. There was also a moving handbell solo that left few dry eyes within the cathedral.

After the service, the immediate family left for a private burial ceremony in the magnificent cemetery nearby.  Guests were invited to a reception at the Simmons’ home. In good spirits, the Simmons’ welcomed everyone from political colleagues to dear friends of Roxane’s, and thanked them for coming as some traveled a good distance to be there for this occasion. Former Lt. Governor Mike Fedele and veteran State Rep. Pam Sawyer were among those who attended the service.

Rob, always able to tell a fascinating story at a moment’s notice, told us about the antique clock against the wall. Rob said his mother found the clock and had it restored after some time and research in 1969 to working condition. When she moved out of state from Stonington she naturally wanted to take it with her but realized her new home did not have high enough ceilings to house it. She asked Rob, what should I do? Quick on his feet, he said, mother, leave it here! He mused how this was how they were able to keep this lovely antique.

Simmons' Family antique clock
Simmons’ Family antique clock