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Chester County Press

Obituaries for the week of June 29

06/30/2015 08:30AM ● By J. Chambless


John A. Caligiuri, Sr., 92, of West Grove, passed away on June 20 in the Coatesville VA Medical Center Hospice.

He was the husband of Theresa Biondi Caligiuri, with whom he shared 66 years of marriage. Born in Philadelphia, he was the son of the late Anthony and Antionette Mascara Caligiuri. John was a self-employed mushroom grower for 50 years, retiring in 1985. He was a member of Assumption BVM Church in West Grove, a fourth degree Knight in the Knights of Columbus and the VFW Post No. 5467 in Kennett Square. He was a member of the American Mushroom Institute for many years, and had served as past president. John served his country as a Corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II. He served in Iwo Jima, where he was severely wounded and received a Purple Heart. He enjoyed gardening, growing fruit trees, was an avid golfer, and enjoyed being with his family and friends.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by two sons, John A. Caligiuri, Jr., of West Grove, and Perry Caligiuri and his wife Mary of Jensen Beach, Fla.; one daughter, Angeline Baughman and her husband Tom of West Grove; one brother, Anthony Caligiuri of Nottingham; four grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by one brother, Joseph Caligiuri, Sr.; and two sisters, Angeline Caligiuri and Mary Saganich.

A funeral was held June 26. Burial was in St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Kennett Square. In memory of John, a contribution may be made to the Coatesville VA Medical Center Hospice, 1400 Black Horse Pike, Coatesville, PA 19320. Online condolences may be made by visiting


Connie L. Gates, 70, of Oxford, passed away on June 15 at Jennersville Regional Hospital in West Grove.

She was the wife of the late Gordon E. Gates, Sr. Born in Havre de Grace, Md., she was the daughter of Pauline Prewitt Baker of Oxford and the late Leonard Baker.

She is survived by three sons, Kenneth Gates, Kevin Gates, and George M. Gates, all of Oxford; four daughters, Kristina Towner of Nottingham, Christine Gates of Conover, N.C., Karen Jennings of Rising Sun, Md., and Kelly Ragosta of Coudersport; 18 grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by a son, Gordon E. Gates, Jr.; brother, Steve Baker; sister, Dawn Baker; and infant brother, Ronald.

A memorial service was held June 19. Online condolences may be made at


Edward Eugene Johnson, 92, of Galax, Va., passed away on June 25.

Born in 1922 in Galax, Va., the son of Claude Swanson and Mary Matthews Johnson, he was raised in Kennett Square. While attending Kennett Consolidated Schools, Gene excelled at academics, drama, and music, as well as football, basketball, and track, and attended Washington College on full scholarship. After early graduation, he attended the University of Pennsylvania Jefferson School of Medicine, leaving to enlist as an officer in the Navy during World War II. During the war he received advanced training for the Navy’s Underwater Demolition Teams, a precursor of today’s SEALs. He served as a Naval Gunnery Liaison Officer on the battleship USS Idaho in the Pacific campaign, including the battles for Iwo Jima and Okinawa, eventually reaching the rank of Lieutenant. In late 1945, Gene returned to California to continue this training in preparation for Operation Olympic, the planned first stage of the invasion of Japan, and concluded his service aboard the USS New Jersey.

On Sept. 28, 1945, Gene married Joan McCormick in Yuma, Ariz. He took a position as a chemist at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, living in Kennett Square, and later West Chester, with his family. As an administrator at Wyeth, Gene traveled extensively in Asia, Europe, and South and Central America, establishing pharmaceutical factories for Wyeth Laboratories before taking a position as Vice President of International Development for Bristol-Myers Squibb. During the 1950s, '60s, and '70s, Gene traveled to 28 countries on six continents, returning with tales and reminders of his work and travels. Gene and his wife, Joan, lived in New Hope, but memories of life in Virginia drew them to Galax after Gene’s retirement.

Gene is survived by his loving wife of 11 years, Mary Elizabeth “Libby” Smith Johnson; and by children Barbara Rice of Hagerstown, Md.; Patricia Johnson Plyler and husband Hardy of Ocracoke, N.C., Mary Johnson Ramsey of Albuquerque, N.M.; and Edward Eugene Johnson, Jr. and wife Rona, of Little Egg Harbor, N.J.; stepchildren Lisa Fiero Adams and husband Jim of Galax, Katri Fiero of Sarasota, Fla., Charles Fiero and wife Sarah of Fuquay Varina, N.C.; and sister Mildred Loughhead of Oxford, Pa. Gene was predeceased by his first wife, Joan.

Gene was very proud of his grandchildren: Josh Rosenstock and partner Daniel McCarthy of London, England; Zachary Rosenstock and wife Patricia, of Chicago, Ill.; Marisa Trinka and husband Jeremy, of Barnegat, N.J.; Robert, Matthew, and Jenna Johnson of Little Egg Harbor, N.J.; Kelsey Adams of Galax; Charles Adams of Denver, Colo.; and Tom and Sam Fiero of Fuquay Varina, N.C.; and one great-granddaughter, Lola Rosenstock of Chicago. A celebration of his life will be held for family and friends on July 4. Memorial donations may be made to The Ocracoke Working Watermen’s Association (, PO Box 1689, Ocracoke, NC 27960. A guestbook is available online at


Phillippina “Lena” A. Corkadel, 71, of West Grove, passed away on June 26 at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

She was the wife of William E. Corkadel, Sr., with whom she shared 52 years of marriage. Born in Boston, Mass., she was the daughter of the late Diego and Nancy Miscioscia Scimemi. She was a court administration assistant in the court system of Chester County in West Chester, retiring in 2009 after 13 years of service. Lena was a highly active member at Assumption BVM Church in West Grove, where she was a member of the Columbianettes. She was also a member of the West Grove Senior Center.

 She enjoyed reading, going on cruises and being with her grandchildren.

In addition to her husband, she is survived by one son, William E. Corkadel, Jr. (Laura) of Quarryville; two daughters, Roseanne Ruoff (Jesse Yip) of Cherry Hill, N.J., and Suzanne Niemkiewicz (Ian Hawke) of Avondale; two sisters, Rosie Termine of Boston, and Josephine Medal of Franklin, Mass.; and four grandchildren, Jacqueline, Brandon, Brianna and Trevor. She was predeceased by one son, Anthony Corkadel; one brother, Anthony Scimemi; and two sisters, Grace Ianno and Mary Scimemi

A visitation with family and friends will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. on July 2 at the Assumption BVM Church (300 State Rd., West Grove). Her funeral mass will follow at 11 a.m. Burial will be private. In lieu of flowers, a contribution may be made to the Assumption BVM Church, 300 State Road, West Grove, PA 19390. Online condolences may be made by visiting


Walter N. Harris, 96, a lifetime resident of Lincoln University, passed away on June 28 at Twin Pines Health Care Center in West Grove.

He was the husband of the late Virginia D. Jones Harris. Born in Lincoln University, he was the son of the late Charles Norman and Elena Susana Martin Harris. Walter was a member of the Oxford United Methodist Church. He was also a lifetime member of the Rough and Tumble Historical Association in Kinzers, Pa. Walter built his own tractors and entered them in tractor shows. He also piloted his own BT 13 plane and enjoyed collecting antiques.

He is survived by one daughter, Gay Harris of Lincoln University; one son, Kenneth C. Harris and his wife Jackie of Oxford; seven grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and two sisters, Mildred Fisher of Strasburg and Elizabeth Brubaker of Christiana. He was preceded in death by a son, Mark N. Harris; and brother, John Harris.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on July 3 at the Edward L. Collins, Jr. Funeral Home, Inc. (86 Pine St., Oxford). Friends and family may visit on July 2 from 6 to 8 p.m., and July 3 from 10 to 11 a.m. Interment will be in Oxford Cemetery. Online condolences may be made at

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