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Otto “Skip” dePierne:
Organist, Scientist, Historian
Otto S. dePierne died peacefully at his home on May 4, 2018. He was born in Norwalk, CT,
on June 16,1948. He is survived by step brothers George and Charles Wibben, and stepsister
Sharon Wibben; also by his “adopted” Reilly family. He was predeceased by his first wife,
Barbara R. Tidridge, and his second wife, Elizabeth A. Fralinger, his father, Armand dePierne,
and mother, Barbara Sohni; and his stepfather, Ernest Wibben.
Skip truly was a Renaissance Man, an eccentric genius. He was reading at the age of three.
He was a musical prodigy; at age six he played organ at the Empress Theater in South Norwalk.
His love of music and sharing this talent spanned his lifetime, culminating as a volunteer
organist at St. Philip Church in Norwalk, CT. He mastered piano, clavichord, harpsichord, as
well as playing accordion, mandolin, violin, tin whistle and harmonica. He had a vibrant base
voice and sang with many Rock & Roll revival groups.
Skip was a chemical engineer with more than a dozen patents to his name, specifically
regarding the paper industry. He was offered a PhD from Cornell University based on
successes to date, but declined the honor. Skip was a world-class historian, focusing primarily
on 18th Century America. He and his wife Barbara participated with various reenactment
groups throughout the area - she as a cook and he as a surgeon. He continued teaching in the
first person, dressed in authentic garb, at Williamsburg Village, Sturbridge Village, Pillipsburgh
Manor and numerous historic venues. He mastered the art of blacksmithing and was the
blacksmith of residence at the Wilton Heritage Museum. He and his wife Barbara were cofounders
of the 5th Connecticut Regiment. He was proprietor and publisher of the Connecticut
Gazette, a bi-weekly account of 18th century news.
Skip was of French-Canadian decent. In later life his mother conveyed that he had a Native
American heritage. He embraced this discovery and delved into the Lakota Sioux culture and
was active on the reservations as well as in the local community. Skip already knew Russian
and French, but now he learned to speak the Lakota language as well.
Skip was a bookmaker, mechanic, automobile builder, oil burner repairman, an ice man, a
stonemason. He was an avid horseman and played semi-pro hockey in the Canadian League.
He piloted airplanes through the Civil Air Patrol and the Air Force Reserve. He was a railroad
man, working in every capacity on the Essex steam train and also employed by ConRail.
Skip was a farmer; his tiny 30 foot wide property was listed as the smallest farm in CT. His crop
was maple syrup, which he collected from his own tree and adjoining neighborhood trees. He
grew flax and hand processed it, spun it on 18th century wheels. He was an author and kept a
daily journal - in quill pen. He was a calligrapher and taught the art of making and using a quill
pen. He was a cabinet maker, creating reproductions made with 18th century tools.
A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at St. Philip Church in Norwalk, CT
On Wednesday, May 16, 2018, at 10 AM. Friends will gather at the church at that time. No
visiting hours are planned at the funeral home. Burial will follow the Mass at Riverside
Cemetery. Magner Funeral Home is in charge of services. Donations to St. Philip Church
Music Ministry will be appreciated.