A Special Thank You For The Tremendous Outpouring Of Support We Received
   

 

 

William Ackerman, 51
Broad Brook

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William Ackerman was a boisterous, life-of-the party guy with a big laugh and "heart of gold," friend Scott Marek recalled. The 51-year-old warehouseman regularly bought his girlfriend gifts from Marek's jewelry store and was a father figure to her three children, Marek said.

Though he could appear gruff and no-nonsense at first glance, Marek said, Ackerman was always quick to ask him how his family was doing and was always prepared to put his friends before him.
"He was always so friendly. You don't want to cross Billy either, because he stands up for people. He always stands up for people," Marek said. Ackerman liked the Boston Red Sox and golfing, and his girlfriend, Stephanie Laurin, said the couple enjoyed hiking together.

"Bill was a very special guy," said Laurin, who said she had been with Ackerman for about 3 1/2 years. "He was special to everybody and the best thing to ever happen to me. I'm going to miss him and so are a lot of other people." An athlete as a child, Ackerman remained a physically imposing adult.
"I imagine Billy probably stood up to this guy," Marek said. "He doesn't take any crap. I'm sure he probably told the guy to calm down, put the gun down. Who knows?"


 

Francis Fazio, 57
Bristol

Francis Fazio was a steady, familiar presence at Hartford Distributors, a driver with about 30 years of experience who showed up for work day in and day out and bonded with the other veteran drivers at the company.
Fazio was "usually the first one in in the morning. He never missed a day. He was that type of guy, even after all those years, and this is a physical job," his friend and co-worker Michael Pletscher told The Hartford Courant.

Fazio lived with his wife and son, who works for Coca-Cola and is in the same union as his father, Pletscher said.
Pletscher said he had been told that Fazio was shot as he tried to warn co-workers to leave the building.
"He was a friend. I lost quite a few friends. It's hard to deal with. We were basically family,"

 

 
Bryan Cirigliano, 51
Newington

Bryan was president of Teamsters 1035. He helped out colleagues at work, but at home, he was something of a neighborhood handyman."He was my plumber, my electrician, cut my grass," said neighbor Josh Hoff, 83. "You couldn't ask for a nicer guy in the world, and everybody had the same feeling about him."

Hoff said Cirigliano would never accept cash for his services but would take magazines for his wife. Cirigliano was a doting father to his two adult daughters, Hoff recalled. One of Cirigliano's daughters, Meg, played softball in college, and Hoff recalled seeing Cirigliano playing catch in the yard. Hoff said the two routinely talked baseball – Cirigliano was a Yankees fan, Hoff a Red Sox fan – and occasionally about work and Cirigliano's role as a union representative. "He didn't really want the job, but he'd like to help all his fellow workers," Hoff said. John DiNardi, a longtime neighbor, said Cirigliano took an active interest in town business. They both served as union officials and occasionally talked about it. "His thing was always to look at the thing objectively, whatever the issue was, and treat people fairly," DiNardi said.

 

 
Louis Felder, 50
Stamford

Louis Felder's death devastated his friends and a family that includes a wife and three children, said Rabbi Elly Krimsky of Young Israel of Stamford, where he was a member. At his funeral, held one day after his death, in accordance with his beliefs as an Orthodox Jew, Felder was remembered as a generous and big personality with a competitive streak – and as a hero. Krimsky described how Felder's father, Marvin, once was fixing a car and it fell on him. "Louis lifted the front end off his father and saved his life," he said. "I have no doubt that Louis' final act for sure was one of heroism. There was no doubt that Louis stood up for his co-workers."

During the burial, two Metro North trains passing tracks alongside the cemetery stopped and blew their whistles.
"I've been coming here 30 years, and I've never seen that," funeral director Paul Deary said. "They stopped out of respect."

 

 
Victor James, 60
Windsor

Victor James told one of Hartford Distributors' customers that he was looking forward to retirement – and spending time with his four cherished grandchildren – after three decades working for the company.

"He said, `I'm just going to enjoy my life,'" said Dominic Alaimo, of Freshwater Package Store in Enfield. "I said, `You know, it's a good thing – don't miss out on retirement, a lot of people do.' Damn it, what more tragic could happen than this?"James' grandchildren, who called him G-Buddy, would run out to greet him whenever his car pulled into the drive, said his son-in-law, Anthony Napolitano of East Hampton. "All he cared about was his grandkids, that's it," Napolitano said. "If his lawn needed to be mowed, it waited". 

Napolitano said James loved his job as a truck driver, got along well with his co-workers and eagerly volunteered for overtime. He grew up in Providence, R.I., where he swam competitively in his youth. James lived with his elderly mother. "Not one person had a bad thing to say about him, nobody," Napolitano said.

 

 
Edwin Kinnison, 49
East Hartford

Eddie Kinnison adored the New York Yankees and wasn't afraid to show it. On his arms, he had tattoos of Derek Jeter and Thurman Munson and another marking all the years the Yankees had won the World Series. A stellar athlete in high school, Kinnison also played recreation league softball and refereed games for a Catholic youth organization.
He could be feisty and tough but was always a devoted friend, said Mark McCorrison, of East Hartford, who played softball with Kinnison and says he's been like a father to him for the roughly 10 years they've known each other.
McCorrison said Kinnison was there for him when his mother died. After Kinnison divorced his wife several months ago, he moved into an East Hartford apartment next door from McCorrison. The two would eat together at night and watch Yankees games, even though McCorrison is a Red Sox fan.

"He's gotten me through so many hard times in my life that I don't know what I'm going to do," McCorrison said.
He said Kinnison left behind a 13-year-old daughter. "This guy's been a father, big brother and best friend for a long time," McCorrison added. "I don't know how any of us are going to make it without him being around."

 

 

Craig Pepin, 60
South Windsor

Craig Pepin loved to stay active. The 60-year-old pitched on a recreational softball team with men who were in their 20s and worked as a soccer and basketball referee even though his boys had long since grown. As a driver for the beer distribution company, he hauled heavy cases to liquor stores and restaurants. He had planned to retire in May but decided to stay on for another year, said Ted Jenny, a neighbor in South Windsor and friend for about 25 years.

"If something broke in your basement, you'd call Craig and in five minutes, he'd get there and say, `What can I do to help?'" Jenny said.

Pepin, who had three sons and a daughter, also was a Little League coach. He cheered for the New York Mets and enjoyed taking his elderly father to the park, Jenny said. Pepin was a parishioner at St. Margaret Mary Church in South Windsor. The church's pastor, the Rev. Daniel Sullivan, said Pepin was a "deeply spiritual man" who'd attend Mass regularly, sometimes during a weekday morning. "He was, in my opinion, a saint, and people thought he was a hero too," Sullivan said.

 

 

Douglas Scruton, 56
Middleton, NH

Scruton moved with his wife, Mikel O'Brien, to a home in Middleton, N.H. in anticipation of his expected retirement soon. During the week, he stayed with a friend in Connecticut so that he could continue his job with Hartford Distributors, where he worked for nearly 30 years.

O'Brien described Scruton as a "gentle soul," an animal lover who liked hiking, sports and being outdoors.
The couple had met at a church get-together for singles. He was a dutiful worker, she said – never sick and always on time.He loved his visits to the White Mountains. "It was part of our plan for him to be able to retire in the place that he loved, but he's never going to be able to enjoy that now," O'Brien said. "He was just the sweetest, gentlest, kind soul, and I can't believe he's gone," she added.