Dominic D'Addario, 87, Air Force colonel, Independent Party leader

Dominic A. “Dom” D’Addario of Ridgefield, a native son and retired Air Force officer who had been active in the community and headed Ridgefield’s Independent Party, died on Saturday, Dec. 15, at Danbury Hospital. He was 87 years old and the husband of Mary Hrabcsak D’Addario.

Mr. D’Addario, a native of Branchville, attended the one-room Branchville Schoolhouse and began working at the age of 11 — pumping gas at a filling station in Branchville.

He graduated from Ridgefield High School in 1943 and immediately entered the U.S. Army Air Force. He started out a bombardier, but was then sent to navigation school, and he eventually wound up training navigators who guided World War II bombers.

After the war he remained active in the U.S Air Force Reserves for many years, finally retiring as a lieutenant colonel.

He enrolled at the University of Connecticut on the GI Bill — “there was no way my parents could afford to send me to college,” he said in a 2004 interview. “They had enough to do to put food on the table.”

He studied engineering, and while still a student, met and married Mary Hrabcsak of Danbury.

He worked as an engineer at Barden Corp. in Danbury. He also designed kitchens for Rucon Custom Kitchens in Danbury, and headed a furniture company.

In Ridgefield, Mr. D’Addario became interested in town government many years ago. Nearly always in company with his wife Mary, he not only attended big town meetings and public hearings but was a regular in the audience of nearly all Police Commission, Board of Selectmen and Planning and Zoning Commission meetings — week in and week out, for years.

In the 1990s, he was a founder and for many years chairman of the Independent Party of Ridgefield, which ran and endorsed candidates for town offices.

For all his interest in public affairs, Mr. D’Addario was noted for not making politics personal, always couching his opinions respectfully, and remaining friendly with many people on both sides of different issues whether he agreed with them or not.

“He was always a gentleman,” First Selectman Rudy Marconi said.

He was a member of the town Ethics Committee for many years.

Both he and his wife were justices of the peace, and officiated at many marriages.

“He was one of the favorite JPs to do ceremonies, and he was always there, if they wanted to be married that afternoon, or the next day, or the next month,” said Town Clerk Barbara Serfilippi.

“Mary and I do that together,” Mr. D’Addario said. “The ceremony is only 15 minutes long, but we try to stretch it out with readings.”

He had also been active in the Laszig Fund, which provides grants that help the elderly, and the Ridgefield Historical Society.

In 2001, the D’Addarios were both honored as “Citizens of the Year” by the Ridgefield Police Benevolent Association and the Ridgefield Police Union. “Dom and Mary D’Addario are more involved and personally invested in our community than just about anyone else in Ridgefield, and have been for decades,” the police said at the time.

Besides his wife, Mr. D’Addario is survived by two children, Ross (Barbara) D’Addario and Reen D’Addario, and two grandchildren, David and Diane D’Addario.

Father John Cigan celebrated the Liturgy of Christian Burial on Tuesday, Dec.18, in St. Nicholas Byzantine Catholic Church, Danbury.

Burial was in St. Peter Cemetery, Danbury.

Contributions to St. Nicholas Church would be appreciated.

Jowdy-Kane Funeral Home in Danbury was in charge of arrangements.