Obituaries for the week of Nov. 30
● By J. Chambless
Edward J. O'Donnell, 77, of West Grove, passed away on Nov. 20 at his residence.
He was the husband of Stella Siedzikowski O’Donnell, with whom he shared 50 years of marriage. Born in Philadelphia, he was the son of the late Edward J. and Carmelita Browne O’Donnell. He was a shop planner at the Philadelphia Naval Ship Yard for 28 years, retiring in 1995. Prior to that, he was a policeman on the Philadelphia Police Department for 13 years. After his retirement, he worked for the DuVall Bus Company, driving a bus for handicapped children. Ed enjoyed hunting, fly tying and salmon fishing. He was an avid beekeeper, bird carver, pet lover, and a great storyteller. He especially enjoyed being with his family and friends. He was a member of Assumption BVM Catholic Church in West Grove, the Knights of Columbus Council No. 7585; the Fraternal Order of Police, American Legion in Kennett Square, and the White Clay Creek Fisherman’s Club.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by one son, Edward J. O’Donnell, III and his wife Flávia of Boston, Mass.; three daughters, Kelly Ann O’Donnell Clampitt and her husband Corey of Smyrna, Del., Carmelita O’Donnell Senatz and her husband Jonathan of Downingtown, and Erin O’Donnell Shindle and her husband William of Kennett Square; one sister, Kathleen Booth of West Chester; eight grandchildren; and four step-grandchildren.
A funeral was held Nov. 28. Burial was in St. Malachi Cemetery in Londonderry Township. In memory of Ed, a contribution may be made to Neighborhood Hospice, 795 East Marshall Street, West Chester, PA 19380. Online condolences may be made by visiting www.griecocares.com.
BETTY A. HOOD
Betty A. Hood, 85, of West Grove, passed away on Nov. 23 at Jenner’s Pond retirement community in West Grove.
She was the wife of the late Lawrence P. Hood, who died in 1987, and with whom she shared 34 years of marriage. Born in Coatesville, she was the daughter of the late Elmer L. and the late Catherine Marie (Moyer) Armentrout. Betty enjoyed sewing, cooking, gardening and reading. In recent years, she particularly enjoyed playing bridge with her friends at Jenner’s Pond. In early years, she worked on the family poultry farm and had her own egg delivery route.
Survivors include Susan Burnett (Jimmy) of West Grove, Lawrence P. Hood Jr. of Unionville, and Bev Laws (Pete) of New London; and three grandchildren, Jenny Burnett, Larry Hood III and Morgan Hood.
Betty’s family would like to offer special thanks to Willow Tree Hospice for all their care and support, and the nursing staff at Jenner's Pond during her time at Jenner's Pond. A funeral was held Nov. 30. To view her online obituary and to share a memory with her family, visit www.griecocares.com.
JOSEPH C. HARPER
Joseph C. Harper, 41, of Avondale, passed away on Nov. 20.
Born in West Chester, he was the son of the late James and Betty Johnson Harper. Joseph was employed with Snow Ball Mushroom in Avondale as a truck driver. He enjoyed his motorcycle, working on cars, fishing, and spending time with his family. He loved helping people just out of the kindness of his heart.
He is survived by his sister, Jeannie Potter and husband Don of Oxford; two brothers, Michael Harper and wife Lynn of Kennett Square, and Jeffery Harper of Oxford; nieces and nephews Tim Martone, Shelby Martone, Donny Potter, Michael Harper, Joshua Harper, Nicole Harper, Brittany Harper and Jessica Harper; fiancee Carmen Torres of Avondale; and three stepchildren, Ryan Peticca, Gabrielle Peticca and Jamie Russell, all at home.
Funeral services were held Nov. 30. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to Edward L. Collins, Jr. Funeral Home, Inc., to offset the funeral cost. Online condolences may be made at www.elcollinsfuneralhome.com.
DORIS A. STEWART
Doris A. Stewart (Sebastian), a resident of Calvert Manor Healthcare Center in Rising Sun, Md., passed away on Nov. 23. She was 89.
Born in 1926 in Wewoka, Okla., she worked for many years as an operator for Western Union. Doris was a very active member of several Southern Baptist churches across the United States through her lifetime. She was a member of the choir and was a Sunday School teacher, and was always ready to help anyone in need. She loved the Lord.
She was married from 1947 to 1974 to the late Glen D. Stewart. She was the mother of the late Kathryn L. Kane. She is survived by daughters Cynthia A. Herrin (Robert) of Inkster, Mich., Karen G. Christine (Robert) of Lincoln University, and Glenna S. Lewis of Frederick, Md.; son-in-law Palmer Kane; grandchildren Kristin N. Kittle (David), Brian R. Herrin, Dawn M. Slaby (Matt), Wendy L. Lorenzo (Steven), April J. Campbell, Sara S. Lewis (Thomas), Matthew S. Lewis; and nine great-grandchildren, Kaitlyn, Zoe, Kevyn, Brendon, Samantha and Sydney, Dominic, Theo and Lars.
Funeral service were held Nov. 27 in Oxford. Interment was in West Nottingham Cemetery in Colora, Md. Online condolences may be made at www.elcollinsfuneralhome.com.
BOB R. GENTRY
Bob R. Gentry, 81, of West Grove, passed away on Nov. 25 at the Jennersville Regional Hospital.
He was the husband of Constance McDonald Gentry, with whom he shared 62 years of marriage. Born in Virginia, he was the son of the late Isaac Gentry, Sr., and Grace Lovins Gentry. Bob was a laborer for many years at Kavanaugh Excavating in West Grove. He served his country in the U.S. Army. He enjoyed fishing and was an avid reader. He was a member of the Italian American Club and a lifetime member of the Kennett Square VFW.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by two sons, Terry Gentry (Judy) of West Grove, and Barry Gentry of Coatesville; four brothers, John Gentry, his twin brother, Bill Gentry, Isaac Gentry, Jr., and Roy Gentry; three sisters, Annie Harp, Beulah Johnson and Josephine Meade; one grandchild; and three great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by one brother, George Gentry; and two sisters, Lois Roark and Dottie Billings.
A funeral was held Dec. 1. Burial was in the Oxford Cemetery. Online condolences may be made by visiting www.griecocares.com.
FRANKLIN H. KURR
Franklin H. Kurr, 89, of West Grove, died on Nov. 24 at the Jennersville Regional Hospital.
He was the husband of Nancy J. Kurr, with whom he shared 69 years of marriage. Born in Philadelphia, he was the son of the late Franklin H. and Mamie Reinert Kurr. He served our country in the Marine Corps during World War II. Frank was an accountant for Wilson of Wallingford Oil Company for many years, retiring in 1994. He enjoyed stamp collecting.
He was predeceased by a sister, Dorothy Decker. Contributions in his memory may be made to Bethany Presbyterian Church, PO Box 17, Mendenhall, PA 19357. To share a memory with his family, visit www.griecocares.com.
FRANCES BROWN WISDOM
Frances Brown Wisdom, 76, of Media, died on Nov. 4 at Wesley Enhanced Living Retirement Home in Media.
She was the wife of the late Dr. William A. Wisdom, who died in 2013, and with whom she shared 30 years of marriage. She was preceded in death by her son Timothy Brown; stepson Robert Wisdom; and her siblings Horace Lanan, Esther Lanan, Fred Lanan, Kenneth Lanan, and Charles Lanan.
Born in 1939 in Norristown, she was the daughter of the late Horace Heysham Lanan and the late Frances Mayberry Lanan. Frances graduated from Norristown High School in 1957, and graduated from the Philadelphia General Hospital nursing program in 1962. She worked as a psychiatric nurse, and lived in Merion, eventually marrying the late William Wisdom in 1984. She and William lived in Bryn Mawr until 2007. Fritzi enjoyed performing Appalachian-style folk music, and frequently hosted “music nights” on Friday evenings, where many of her friends would gather to play. Both Fritzi and William founded the musical group Wissahickon Drive, and performed often. Fritzi also enjoyed traveling, and spending time with her friends and grandchildren.
Frizi’s children are from a former marriage to Robert C. Brown. Survivors include two sons, Steven Brown and his wife Melissa of Landenberg, and Craig Brown of Phoenixville; one daughter, Esther L. Brown and her husband Josh Nims of Boulder, Colo.; and four beloved grandchildren, Madison and Ashley Brown, and Luke and Tessa Nims.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, 399 Market Street, Suite 102, Philadelphia, PA. Memorial Service and burial were held privately in Eagleville, Pa. To share a memory or online condolence, visit www.griecocares.com.
RALPH A. OLIVIER
Ralph Adrien Olivier, 62, of Landenberg, died on Nov. 25 at his home.
He was the husband of Carol Blevins Olivier, with whom he shared 25 years of marriage. Born in Fall River, Mass., he was a son of Adrian Olivier of Newark, Del., and the late Ruth Hoehn Olivier. Ralph graduated high school from the American School of Paris, and was a graduate of Cornell University, where he earned a BA in architectural design. He was also a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity, to which he was deeply committed. A self-employed architect and a member of the American Institute of Architects, he had a passion for historic preservation. His professional career included designing custom homes and additions, professional and public buildings, and even a control room for an oil refinery in Abu Dhabi. He was a board member of the Franklin Township Planning Commission, HARB (Historical Architectural Review Board), and the Historical Commission. He was an avid reader, a photographer, a history buff who greatly enjoyed comedic old movies, a skilled pianist, and a dedicated member of the German Club in Newark, Del. He enjoyed woodworking, going to auctions, traveling, spending time at his family beach home, and together with his wife, Carol, he took pleasure in bird watching, especially on their visits to Arizona and Utah.
In addition to his wife, Ralph is survived by his father, Andy; two brothers, Keith and his wife Christine, and Terry and his wife Peggy; and two nieces, Bethany and Brooke Olivier.
A funeral was held Dec. 1. Interment will be held privately. To view his online tribute and to share a memory with his family, visit www.griecocares.com.
GRACE BEVERLY NEIDLEIN DiFILIPPO
Grace Beverly Neidlein DiFilippo, 86, of Kennett Square, passed away on Nov. 28 at the Friends Home in Kennett Square.
She was the wife of Michael Joseph DiFilippo, Jr., who passed away in 2011, and with whom she shared 64 years of marriage. Born in Wilmington, Del., she was the daughter of the late Albert F. and Catherine Shane Neidlein. She was a homemaker. She enjoyed going to Delaware Park, shopping, and being with her family and friends, especially her grandchildren. She was a member of St. Patrick’s Church in Kennett Square.
She is survived by one son, Albert M. DiFilippo and his wife Ruth of Baywood Greens, Millsboro, Del.; three daughters, Kathy M. Corby and her husband Nick of Kennett Square, Michele K. DiFilippo and her fiancé Ron Simpson of Avondale, and Joanne K. Tigue of Kennett Square; one brother, Albert Neidlein, Jr., of Wilmington, Del.; five sisters, Shirley Oddo of Laurel, Del., Mary Zickefoose, Ruth Gagnon, Darlene Fraim and Linda Simonds, all of Wilmington, Del.; eight grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by one son, Thomas Patrick DiFilippo.
A visitation with family and friends will be held from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Dec. 3 at the Kuzo & Grieco Funeral Home (250 W. State St., Kennett Square). Her funeral mass will follow at 11 a.m. at St. Patrick’s Church (212 Meredith St., Kennett Square). Burial will be in St. Patrick’s Cemetery. In memory of Mrs. DiFilippo, a contribution may be made to the Friends Home, 147 West State Street, Kennett Square, PA 19348. Online condolences may be made by visiting www.griecocares.com.
PEARL IRENE BLADEN
Pearl Irene Bladen, 98, of Avondale, passed away on Nov. 29 at Twin Pines Nursing Health Care Center.
Her first husband, Richard “Joseph” J. Bladen, with whom she shared 52 years of marriage, passed away in 1990. Her second husband, Donald William Brown, passed away in 2006. Born in Ijamsville, Md., she was the daughter of the late James E Foreman and Irene Bowman Foreman. Pearl was a building supervisor at the West Chester University for 19 years, retiring in 1982. She was a member of the Supreme Council of the House of Jacob, USA, Inc., the Kennett Area Senior Center, Stitch and Time Club of Delaware, and the Kennett Square Auxiliary No. 2 of the Chester County Hospital. She enjoyed cooking, traveling, helping other people, and being with her family and friends.
Pearl is survived by one son, Dennis E. Bladen and his wife Joyce of Newark, Del.; one stepdaughter, Donna Cotto and her husband Angel of Melbourne, Fla.; one sister, Betty Ann Gwynn of Wilmington, Del.; five grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; and four Godchildren. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews, many of whom she raised. She was predeceased by three sisters, Dorothy Foreman, Annie Foeman, and Margaret Hill.
A visitation with family and friends will be held from 9 to 10:30 a.m. on Dec. 5 at the Avon Grove Church of the Nazarene (240 E. State Rd., West Grove). Her funeral service will follow at 10:30. Burial will be in Rolling Green Memorial Park in West Chester. In lieu of flowers, contribution may be made to the Supreme Council of the House of Jacob, USA, Inc., PO Box 310, Coshocton, OH 43812. Online condolences may be made by visiting www.griecocares.com.
BARBARA LUCAS COCKS
Barbara “Babs” Lucas Cocks, 96, of Kennett Square, died peacefully in the company of her family on Nov. 26 at Linden Hall of the Kennett Friends Home, after a full and vibrant life.
She was the wife of the late Racing Hall of Fame trainer W. Burling “Burley” Cocks of Old Westbury, Long Island, who died in 1998, and with whom she shared 58 years of marriage. Babs was born in Philadelphia in 1919 to Gerald Brinton Lucas and Adelaide Loughead Lucas. She spent her youth at Midstream Farm in Paoli, where she cultivated her love of country pursuits – particularly a love of horses. She studied at Agnes Irwin School, where she demonstrated athletic prowess in lacrosse and field hockey. In the summers, she could be found enjoying time with family and friends on the rocks of Maine, with many treasured memories created at “Spouting Horn” in Cape Neddick. Immediately following their wedding, Babs and Burley moved to a homestead at Fay Ingalls’ farm in Hot Springs, Va., to pursue Burley’s career as s trainer of Steeplechase race horses. They returned to Chester County in 1945 and made their permanent home at Hermitage Farm in 1947.
Under the Cocks racing colors of maroon and gold, Babs and Burley established an impressive training facility at Hermitage Farm with a mile track and 30 stalls. While Burley was regarded as a master of horsemanship and a mentor to many in his field, Babs was an integral part of the operation's success. In addition to her roles as the bookkeeper and business manager, Babs could often be found out galloping the "fussy horses" or preparing a feast on any given night for every hungry mouth on the farm – the six in the family, numerous jockeys and trainers-in-training that lived at the farm, and anyone else who dropped in.
A gardening enthusiast, devoted parishioner and choir alto at the Episcopal Church of the Advent, life-long volunteer at the American Red Cross, and a professional tennis enthusiast, Babs left no time on this earth wasted.
Babs was predeceased by one brother, two sisters, her husband and her daughter, Susan Cocks Small Jones. She is survived by three children, Barbara Cocks Vannote and her life partner, Hall Snyder, of Kennett Square; Jessie Cocks of Kennett Square; and William “Winky” and Candi Cocks of Camden, S.C.; eight grandchildren, Susannah Small, Michaela Small Raine, Jessica Moutenot-Small, Alexandria Cocks Arnold, Sarah Cocks, E. Burling Cocks, R. Lewis Vannote and Burling C. Vannote; and 11 great-grandchildren. All will remember her with great affection.
Her last year of life was spent in the exceptional care of the staff at Linden Hall of the Friends Home in Kennett – many of whom she considered to be her dear friends.
Babs’ life will be celebrated at a memorial service on Dec. 4 at 3 p.m. at the Episcopal Church of the Advent (401 N. Union St., Kennett Square). Interment will be held privately at London Grove Friends Cemetery before the service. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Friends Home in Kennett (147 W. State St., Kennett Square, www.fhkennett.org); National Steeplechase Foundation (400 Fair Hill Drive, Elkton, Md., www.nationalsteeplechasefoundation.org/cms); or the American Red Cross (www.redcross.org). To view her online tribute and to share a memory with her family, visit www.griecocares.com.
BRENDA P. SWINEHART
Brenda P. Swinehart, 69, passed away at her home on Nov. 26.
Brenda was the loving wife of Paul L. Swinehart, Jr., for 48 years. They were married in 1967 at the Middle Octorara Presbyterian Church. Brenda was born in West Grove in 1945, a daughter of the late William C. and Anna Brown Pugh. She enjoyed life on the Pugh farm, cooking, planting, canning, gardening and sewing, along with a full house of family and friends.
Brenda is lovingly remembered by her daughters Melissa Swinehart of Virginia Beach, Va., Christine Smithson of Quarryville, and son Paul L Swinehart III of Quarryville; her three grandsons, Tyler and Taylor Smithson, Paul L Swinehart IV, and granddaughter Elizabeth Swinehart; her sister, Sharon Dutton, and brother Alan Pugh. A private celebration of her life will take place at her home in Quarryville. In Lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to The Alzheimer's Association (www.alz.org). Arrangements are by Reynolds Funeral and Cremation Services, Inc. (www.reynoldsfuneralhome.net).
CHARLOTTE WHITESIDE ADAMS
Charlotte Whiteside Adams, 88, of Kirkwood, passed away on Nov. 28.
She was the widow of the late William F. Adams, Jr., who passed away in 1978. She was born in Kirkwood, a daughter of the late Norman E. and Beatrice I. Montgomery Whiteside. Charlotte was a 75-year active member of Union Presbyterian Church. She loved her family and was loved by all. She doted on her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was known as an excellent cook and baker, and her house was always filled with cakes, puddings, and pies. She hosted countless family dinners, and was always the first to welcome any guest with food or drink.
She is survived by two children, Cheryl Whiteside Fuller of Kirkwood, and Randy Adams (Sharon) of Kirkwood; grandchildren Kristin Welcome, Matthew Adams, Bradley Fuller, Megan A. Overly; great-grandchildren Brooke Adams, and Thomas Welcome; and her sister, Janet (Rodger) Cline, of Kirkwood. She was predeceased by three brothers, Vernon E., Robert N., and William G. Whiteside.
A funeral service will be at Union Presbyterian Church (5637 Street Road, Kirkwood) on Dec. 2 at 11 a.m. Visitation will be held at the church from 10 to 11 a.m. Burial will be in the Union Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the Union Presbyterian Church. Arrangements are by Reynolds Funeral and Cremation Services, Inc. (www.reynoldsfuneralhome.net).
JACK R. JOHNSON
Jack R. Johnson, 83, of Kennett Square, passed away on Nov. 26 at the Christiana Hospital.
He was the husband of Michale Barwell Johnson, with whom he shared 58 years of marriage. Born in Rosedale, Pa., he was the son of the late S. Frank and Mabel McMillan Johnson. He was an electrical motor repairman at Robert S. Swanson and Son in Kennett Square for 40 years, retiring in 1993. He served his country in the US Army. He was a former member of the VFW in Kennett Square. He enjoyed bowling, the Flyers and Eagles, and being with his family and friends.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by one daughter, Karen Mento (Benjamin) of Coatesville; two sons, John Johnson of Kennett Square, and Steven Johnson of Oxford; three brothers, Bill Johnson of Jennersville, Bernard Johnson of West Chester, and David Johnson of Landenberg; 14 grandchildren; and 15 great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by three sons, Michael Johnson, Thomas Johnson and Kenneth Johnson; and one sister, Alexa Riale.
A visitation with family and friends will be held from 11 a.m. to noon on Dec. 5 at the Kuzo & Grieco Funeral Home (250 W. State St., Kennett Square). His memorial service will follow at noon. Burial will be private. In lieu of flowers, a contribution may be made to Michale Johnson, c/o 514 D Street, Kennett Square, PA 19348. Online condolences may be made by visiting www.griecocares.com.
ROBERT L. GILBERT
(Bob) L. Gilbert, 83, of West Grove, died peacefully at his home
on Nov. 30.
He was the husband of the late Margaret Irene Gilbert. Born in Oxford, he was the son of the late Roy and Helen Jeffers Gilbert. Bob lived in West Grove all his life. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army and served as Corporal in the Korean War from 1952 to 1954. He was a retired truck driver for Penn Supreme. Bob was also employed with Abernathy Trash Removal, BFI Waste Management, and owned and operated Chatham Lunch. He was a member of the Four Square Gospel Church in Oxford, and the Western Clinton County Sportsman Association. He enjoyed his time hunting and fishing at his family cabin in Clinton County. He also enjoyed watching NASCAR and was an avid Philadelphia Eagles fan.
He is survived by his six children, Stanley Doss (Donna) of Kelton, Sheila Marrone (Albert) of Oxford, Rodger Gilbert (Debra) of Rising Sun, Md., Ronald Gilbert (Ruth Ann) of West Grove, Kenneth Gilbert (Christine) of Lincoln University, and Timothy Gilbert (Kimberly) of West Grove;16 grandchildren;26 great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren; one brother, Fred W. Gilbert (Ester) of Newark Valley, N.Y.; numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by a sister, Elizabeth G. Mace; and a great-granddaughter, Kierra N. Gilbert.
Funeral services will be held 11 a.m. Dec. 5 at the Edward L. Collins, Jr. Funeral Home, Inc. (86 Pine St., Oxford), where friends and family may visit from 10 to 11 a.m. Interment will be in New London Presbyterian Cemetery. Online condolences may be made at www.elcollinsfuneralhome.com.