Dennis Edward Varza
May 12, 1954 – December 29, 2013
Dennis Varza, age 59, of Fairfield, passed away on Sunday, December 29, 2013. Born in Bridgeport, son of the late Victor and Marie Broderick Varza. Dennis had been a Fairfield Town resident for most of his life. Dennis graduated from Shippensburg State College in Pa and did his graduate work at LSU where he earned a MS in Zoology and went on to the University of Oklahoma where he studied aquatic ecology. He had worked for many years as a contract biologist for the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection setting up programs to protect Piping Plovers and Least Terns plus many other projects.
Early on, he worked for the Connecticut Audubon Society revitalizing Fairfield’s Birdcraft Museum as its curator and initiating a bird banding field station that continues today. Dennis had a lifelong love of Ornithology and the research and historical documentation of the birds of Connecticut. He has several first state record bird sitings on his “life list”. In high school he started the Stratford-Milford Christmas Bird Count. Later he was a founding member of the Ct Ornithological Association (COA) and the first field editor for its publication, The Connecticut Warbler. He was acknowledged in the popular book by Zeranski and Baptist, “Birds of Connecticut”. Mr. Varza was very well respected in the birding community, receiving COA’s Mabel Osgood Wright Award in 2013 for his many contributions in research and conservation. Dennis also enjoyed photography, gardening and caring for the environment.
He is survived by his brother, Victor Varza of Maryland, a sister, Gail Santelle and her husband Michael of Trumbull, his uncles Thomas, Robert, Michael and Patrick Broderick, an aunt Catherine Broderick, a niece Ava Santelle as well as many cousins.
Calling hours will be held on Saturday, January 4, 2014 from 2-6pm in the Lesko & Polke Funeral Home, 1209 Post Rd., Fairfield Center with a prayer service at 5:30 pm. Memorial contributions may be made to the Swim Across the Sound, c/o 2800 Main St., Bridgeport, Ct 06606. To sign an online register, purchase flowers, get travel directions, or leave a comment (by scolling down once on page) please visit by clicking here directly onto Dennis Varza’s page at Lesko & Polke Funeral Home
“Dennis may you fly with the White-tailed Kite far and wide to those wonderful special places that feathered friends go.” ~ Mardi Welch Dickinson.
The Mabel Osgood Wright Award was established in 1991, to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to the study and conservation of birds in Connecticut. The award commemorates the achievements of Mabel Osgood Wright, a driving force in bird protection in Connecticut in the early 1900s. Wright, along with a handful of Connecticut women activists, helped change the fashion industry to promote one of the first bird conservation movements of our time. Her efforts led directly to the establishment of the Connecticut Audubon Society, and later to the creation of the National Audubon Society. The Connecticut Ornthological Association honors her efforts and success in bird conservation by giving an award in her name to someone who has made a significant impact on our knowledge, study, and conservation of birds and whos efforts have promoted avian conservation, education and research in Connecticut.