November 3, 1948 ~ October 20, 2008
Pengue, Orten L. Jr. Of Hamden, CT, born in Bridgeport, the son of Orten Pengue Sr. and the late Marie Hogan Pengue of Stratford. Ort is survived by his life partner of twenty-eight years, Julian Schlusberg of Hamden, their daughter, Jennifer Gelzinis and grandson, Kyle Jeffrey. Ort also leaves siblings Sandra Askue of Oakdale, CT, Denise (John) Duddie of Lisbon, Kevin Pengue of Jupiter, FL, Marie (Fred) Sheets of Hobe Sound, FL and Pamela (Terry) Maher of Naugatuck, CT and Ort Sr's wife, Betty Dobensky. Ort's fourteen loving nieces and nephews will miss him - John Jr, Amy, Eric, Carri, Nathaniel, Jessica, Ashley, Kevin, Rachel, Sarah, Nicholas, Samantha, Stefanie and Deirdrah - as will so many friends, family members, students and colleagues. Ort received both his Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in Communication; the former from the University of Miami and the latter from Fairfield University. His colorful and diverse employment history includes teaching in Coral Gables, FL and Danbury, CT serving as a chef on a private yacht out of Key West, managing a ski shop in Aspen Highlands, CO and working in the food industry as a restaurant manager in Westport, CT. He also was a head waiter at the Sanford Barn Restaurant in Hamden, pastry chef at the Halcyon Restaurant in Hamden, and Head Chef at Elegant Edibles Gourmet Restaurant in West Haven. In addition, Ort was an accomplished carpenter, plumber and electrician. But the major part of Ort's career was devoted to the Costume Bazaar, Inc., of New Haven where he worked for twenty-four years. There he established himself as a leading costume, make-up and hairstyle artist in the New England region. His caring and giving nature and his rare ability to make every individual feel special won him a host of friends as he costumed, advised and led workshops for many local schools, companies and corporations, as well as creating strong bonds with an overwhelming number of individual clients. Ort was also an award winning theater set designer. He was particularly devoted to educational theater and was a mentor and friend to hundreds upon hundreds of teachers and students throughout the region. For his outstanding work with children, he earned the prestigious Distinguished Service Award from the Connecticut High School Drama Association. He also designed costumes and make-up for professional and community theater and opera companies. Much of Ort's work centered around the theater programs at Hamden High School where he taught theatrical set building courses, as well as other aspects of technical theater, and for the past nine years, at the Foote School in New Haven where he was instrumental in the growth of the theater program. In June of 2008, Ort was the recipient of the Hannah Lee Honorary Diploma awarded by the graduating class of the Foote School for the individual who best exemplifies 'an enjoyment of and excitement about learning, enthusiasm, determination, compassion, perseverance and humility.' A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Our Lady of Peace Church in the Lordship section of Stratford, 651 Stratford Rd, on Saturday, October 25th at 10 AM. In Ort's memory, contributions may be made to the Orten Louis Pengue, Jr. Scholarship Fund, c/o Foote School, 50 Loomis Place, New Haven, CT 06511. Arrangements are under the direction of BEECHER & BENNETT, 2300 WHITNEY AVE, HAMDEN.