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Basta, Deanna

[Click any image to enlarge. Deanna passed away in 2017. ]

[Yearbook] Deanna Basta

Deanna Basta

“Dee” … Small spark plug … active in all school functions … polished terpsichorean … “Decor by Deanna … college ahead.”
Born 1937
Died 13-Apr-2017
Age 79

[Here is a brief obit appearing in the online Villages News. Gail Armitage was kind enough to do a search for us. She found several hits from funeral homes and newspapers in the Ocala/Summerfield area, but none appear to be written by a family member to date. See obit and remembrances toward end of page.]

From Deanna’s 50th reunion greeting to classmates…

After Staples I attended Centenary College for Women in Hackettstown, NJ, and Mills College in Oakland, CA, graduating with a degree in Sociology/Economics and a minor in dance. I spent many summers during and after my school years working for Gardella Enterprises in Norwalk and traveling or taking classes in the winter. I finally settled into a real job as assistant treasurer for the Medical Society of the State of NY. Since my marriage in 1969 I have been busy with community/ volunteer activities and enjoying my special interests: golf, swimming, bridge, gardening, cooking and friends.

So where am I 50 years after graduation? I am happy in my own skin. I’ve had some tough battles…, but—all-in-all—the good and bad experiences have made me who I am today and that ain’t all that bad…

I am very fortunate to have been a graduate of the Class of ’55. We are a group of very unique people. I am looking forward to renewing our friendships and “the good ol’ days”. I will be bringing a box of tissues with me as some things in life don’t change–I am still very sentimental.

Summerfield, FL

50th Reunion Photos


Haven’t been playing with “the monster” [Ed. Quotes mine] lately. Some of these are different. Best to both of you.

Take care,


Deanna’s husband, Ken Bugan, took these shots during our 50th reunion, all previously posted here. Love how Dee refers to her computer as “the monster…”. Then again, maybe it’s not her computer she’s referring to. Maybe it’s this website.

Not sure…

Armitage and Speidel 2005 Visits

[Note: Click any image below to enlarge.]


Maybe you will hear from Gail (Armitage) Heath now. Thanks for the new (Class Contacts) list. I didn’t remember that “Beans” (Gene Dooling) didn’t graduate with us. Surprised at Richard Masiello [Ed. also]. Do you know why they didn’t [Ed. I actually don’t, except for Richie who went to trade school]? What about Caddy Swanson? He was in the bonfire picture. Wasn’t he a non-grad [Ed. Yes]?

Gail, Deanna, Jack

Gail, Deanna, Jack with friends

The photos are yours. Do not send back. Crop them if you like… The ones with Gail and Jack [Heath] were before we unpacked boxes—we didn’t even have a fridge. They came with their friends and brought breakfast—a neat visit.

Deanna with Linda

Linda and Tom Hanley were here in March. Mike and Shirley are from the reunion in 1990 [see Basta 35th Reunion photos].

Ken with Tom

In a rush. Hope all is well. We are off to visit our neighbors in South Carolina and then to Maggie Valley in the North Carolina mountains. Will email when I get home.

Best to both of you,

2nd Time Around

Deanna with Bob

Here are excerpts from Dee’s email to me:

Hi Cliff –

At exactly 10:30 on Tuesday October 30, 2012 while on a cruise through the Panama Canal, Deanna M. Bugan and Robert J. Warren were married on board the Holland America ship, Zuiderdam. Mrs. Barbara Plunkitt, daughter of the groom from Summerfield, FL, was Mrs. Bugan’s matron of honor and Frederick Warren of Port Jefferson, NY, was his father’s best man. Mrs. Carol Warren and Robert Plunkitt also attended the joyous affair.

Yes, I did it… I married my next door neighbor! Bob and I have been friends for years sharing many holidays, etc., together. In fact when he proposed [Ed. three or four months before the wedding] I exclaimed: “Bob, I have never thought of you that way (romantically)!” And [so] after a four-month courtship, I was convinced that the marriage was the right move…

Next door… :-)!.

Gail and Jack and Linda and Tom attended our reception when we returned. I think they both approve of my choice in a husband. I know they approve of how happy I am! We have a very special relationship.

I feel guilty that I didn’t write months ago but I better not bore you now with more idle chatter so I will end with sending my love to you and Ronnie.

I understand that a combined-year reunion is being planned. Can I help in any way?

Much love,

The cryptic part of the email was the first line: “I couldn’t wait any longer for you to become available sooo…” I realized I was missing something: Had she been trying to get in touch with me by phone? Did I overlook an email? Maybe just an unfinished sentence on her part…?. I let it go. Turns out her actual (playful) statement went right over my head and I didn’t get it until I spoke to her a week later.

You see, I’ve known Deanna since 3rd grade back at Greens Farms Elementary School. Irrespective of distance, we’ve remained good friends all these years—nearly 70 years!

Wait, there’s more…

You see, Deanna was my first sweetheart… :-) Ever! And I—as she just confirmed in last week’s phone call—I was her first boyfriend. Her very first True Love! And so, when she said: “I can’t wait for you any longer…”, she meant… well, you get it now.

(She was just kidding, of course, dutifully apologizing to Ronnie who never took it seriously to begin with.)

Dee: I cannot tell you how happy I am for you and Bob… :-).

And, yes, we will pursue this proposed reunion in Westport next year, see what develops, and perhaps—Lord willing and the crick don’t rise—I, along with a whole gaggle of your fellow classmates, will raise a glass or two to celebrate this wonderful occasion however belatedly…


[Courtesy of Villages-News.com ]

Courtesy of Villages-News.com

By Staff Report, April 17, 2017

Deanna M. Warren, 79, of Summerfield, FL, passed from this life Thursday, April 13, 2017.

Born in Westport, CT, she was the daughter of the late Adolph and Doris (Carr) Basta.
Deanna was an accountant in the healthcare industry.

Besides her parents she was predeceased by her first husband, Kenneth Bugan in 2010.
She leaves her husband Robert J. Warren; her children, Barbara M. Plunkitt, (Robert),

Summerfield; Frederick R. Warren (Carol), Port Jefferson, NY; Kevin F. Warren, Ocala; Peter J. Warren (Kathy), Westfield, NJ; Patricia Warren, Newport Beach, CA; 12 grandchildren and 21 great grandchildren.

Visitation will be held at the Hiers-Baxley Funeral Services, The Villages on Thursday, April 20, 2017 from 6 to 8 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Friday, April 21, 2017 at St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church, Summerfield at 10 a.m. Following the service a gathering will be held in the “Card Room” at Spruce Creek Golf & Country Club.

Classmate Email Thread

Replies re Dee’s passing to date:

Kouns—April 24, 2017

Thanks for passing on this news of Deanna, Cliff. Not many memories to share, but I do remember Deanna as a very nice girl, always upbeat and full of life – lots of fun. And she knew everyone!

—Judy Kouns Goldberg

Kent—April 24, 2017

How many of us are left? Percentage wise?

Clifford—April 25, 2017

About two-thirds, Bruce. Pretty sure we don’t know everybody who’s passed.

P.S. Btw, did you know that you can comment on any post right on the site?


Kent—April 25, 2017

Good! We are still in the plus column.


Castiglia—April 24, 2017


Thanks for the update and I also left a comment. FYI… Judy Gault Sterling’s husband George passed away last week in Westport.


Weiss—April 24, 2017

I’m sorry to learn this, but don;t have a contact for her husband to express condolences. Have you sent this to Heather? I can forward it if not.

Best to you, your wife and dogs if you still have them. I’m in Mexico until May 1, San Miguel, my winter snowbird residence.


Saviano—April 27, 2017

Cliff, Sad to hear of Deanna’s passing, I remember she was always fun to be around. John Nazzaro, George Sterling, Judy Gault Sterling’s husband & Tony Saponare also passed about the same time! You may not have known Tony, he was a year behind us but he was well known to many of us Westport guys and a really friendly and nice guy!

It’s getting rough now; so many of us are leaving in such a short time span. I remember when my mom and dad experienced this kind of thing and remember how rough it was for them. Certainly depressing! On the cup is half full side, obviously, I’m still here and Teddy Giannitti, Betty Palmer, Peter Mullen, Judy Sterling and you are as well; something to be thankful for… Can’t personally vouch for anyone else but hopefully there are still many of us left.

Thanks for the word on Deanna,


Green—April 28, 2017

Dear Cliff,

I am saddened to learn of Deanna Basta’s passing. Deanna was a very nice person—friendly and a bit reserved. As I recall she grew up in a home on Greens Farms road about a mile west of Nyala Farm and went to Greens Farms School as you and I did.

Thank you for passing on the sad tidings.

All the best,


Macon—April 30, 2017

Thanks for the news, sad as it is. Been thinking about high school a bit lately, why? Who knows? I am one of the youngest in our class and I turn 80 in September. Wonder how many are still with us? In you next e-mail say hello to all for me.



P.S. Btw, I’m working on a best News Feed plugin for our site; when there’s a new post, an email will be sent to your inbox automatically. We won’t have to rely on me initiating email contact. In the meantime there were 16 “bounces” to my email notice—incorrect email addresses. If you see your name below, maybe you’d be good enough to update the list. Get in touch by using the form on the Contact page. Thanks:

  • Bannon
  • Barnett
  • Dow
  • Ellis
  • Finneran
  • Fitzgerald
  • Helferich
  • Keene
  • Kline
  • Leopold
  • McAlarney
  • McCluckie
  • Speidel
  • Studwell
  • Wardell
  • Whitehead

Remembering Dee… by George Clifford

Greens Farms gals
(Maybe 3rd Grade…?)

Dee and I go way back to third grade at Greens Farms Elementary School. We Cliffords—a young, post-war family of six—had just arrived in the fall of 1945 from a small town outside of Providence, RI. Dad was recently home from the Aleutian Islands where he had been constructing See Bees hangars for our WW II bombers. He had found a job teaching English and History at Bullard Havens Technical High School in Bridgeport. In those days Bullard Havens was the place you went as a youth to learn a trade if you weren’t well suited for a more academic education.

So there was I, newly arrived in third grade—a skinny kid with eyeglasses, not knowing (or caring about) much of anything except the adventures of Roy Rogers and his trusty horse, “Trigger”. Ms. Leary was our principal. Ms. Whaley and Ms. Allard were two other wonderful teachers (and surrogate moms) that I recall. Well, as I had discovered a couple of years earlier, eight years of age is decidedly not too young for a young lad to fall in love! And so I did with Dee that very same fall.

I can remember my first kiss (I so wish Dee were here to read this…). I believe it might have been during a game of Spin the Bottle at one of the girl’s houses—most, if not all, local Greens Farms kids: Shirley Rice for sure, and then maybe Shirley Dexter, Audrey Duffy, Gloria DeMattia, Barb Hartley, Lynn Harding, Gail Armitage, Janet McKenna, Carol Rainey… Maybe others. (I don’t remember any other guys there. Typical, right…?) When it was my turn I remember hoping the empty milk bottle would stop at Dee, but I don’t recall if it did at first. (Did you have the option of declining or was the kiss required? I don’t recall…) I think we were in a bedroom of sorts and that we could slink off to the closet—cheeks bright red, ears burning—in order to try out our pre-pubescent smooching skills.

During one of those years at GF Elementary, Deanna went to Florida with her family on vacation. Maybe around Valentine’s Day. It was at this time that a new and pretty face joined our class from somewhere, a certain Penn Anne Boone, if any of you GF-ers happen to recall…? And so—establishing once and for all either a rare openness of character or sheer nitwittery, take your pick—I mentioned in my valentine(!) how fair this young maiden happened to be…!

Predictably my Valentine’s Day card was returned with a few unkind but well-deserved “margin notes” bringing our youthful romance to an abrupt end. Nevertheless we somehow got through elementary school and went on to junior and senior high remaining friends…

Mary Field and Deanna

In senior year the a capella choir and orchestra put on a production of the famed Rodgers and Hammerstein Oklahoma! musical. What was needed was a boy-girl pair to do the dance number. Now, in those days, there were two star dancers as I recall: Deanna and Mary Field Sadtler. Deanna was picked for the role and she needed a male counterpart. Instead of picking a really good, smooth dancer like Stan Zweckbronner, she picked me! I don’t recall her reason why. As reluctant as I was to take the part, she (and probably O’Hanion) persevered. I’m pretty sure Deanna choreographed the number. We rehearsed at Deanna’s and, amazingly, pulled it off without falling on our faces.

[Yearbook] Mike Sutton

One Friday or Saturday night, Deanna, Mike Sutton and I wound up at the Westnor Diner. The two of them began dating in senior year. As we made our way to an empty booth we happened to pass some underclassmen, one of whom offered an unflattering remark about Deanna. Or so I thought. Being the big-mouth Irish kid I always have been, I took offense on Dee’s behalf. Confronting the offender we made arrangements to have it out later that evening behind Behind Junior High. (Yes, it was a guy who uttered the offensive remark…)

8 Wake Robin Road

After coffee we took Deanna home. Anyone remember her house on Wake Robin Road in Greens Farms? From Google maps the house in this 2015 photo looks the most familiar—the garage in any case. And the siting with respect to the road looks right, but the house has otherwise undergone radical updating since the Fifties (whose hasn’t?). The driveway wasn’t circular back then, just straight into the garage.

In any case Mike and I proceeded to BJH after dropping Dee off. Long story short, it was that very encounter that decided me against a career in boxing…

But here’s the more memorable turn of events of that evening. After the fight (I actually did get some licks in but not enough to claim victory), Mike drove me back to Deanna’s. Surprised at our return, Deanna and her mom waltzed us into the kitchen where I sat on a stool while Deanna played nurse on my face with some gauze in one hand and a bottle of iodine in the other… :-)

In later years Dee told me how much that evening meant to her…

Mike and Deanna

In the summer of 1956—one year after graduation from Staples, Mike and I set off to retrieve Deanna from her freshman year at Centenary College in Hackettstown, NJ. At the time I think Mike and I both were giving weighty thought about the viability of our respective college careers: Mike at UNC at Chapel Hill, NC, and I at the University of Bridgeport. Anyway we jumped into Mike’s old Forties-something convertible coupe and were off to collect Deanna somewhere in “Joisey“.

We found Dee on the Centenary campus but, by the time we were ready for the ride home, it had gotten cooler. When Mike tried to close the top, it wouldn’t! So there we were, the three of us huddled together in the front seat, Dee in the middle, shivering down the highway. Fortunately Mike had thought to bring a blanket along; at least Dee and I were able to snuggle underneath for most of the trip home.

Shortly after that trip I declared to the world that I’d had enough of college for the time being since I couldn’t decide what direction to take. I was interested in Philosophy but—in true philosopher style—I had no idea what to actually do with my life… And so, since the French Foreign Legion had stopped accepting American volunteers, I went off and enlisted in the USAF. Before I went, however, Deanna gave me a sendoff at her house. Mike was there and a few others.

Saying goodbye to Dee has been hard for me. Life now somehow diminished. I always assumed Dee would be there, an easy car ride to the south, waiting for Cliff and Ronnie to visit as promised. And we were planning to do so, for sure, next year…

Farewell, Dee. Yours, a life well lived. It sure brightened mine…

Hendersonville, NC
April 15, 2017