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Chester County Press

Obituaries for the week of Sept. 11

09/12/2017 12:03PM ● By J. Chambless


Andres Guzman-Canongo, 20, of New Castle, Del., passed away on Sept. 1 at his residence.

Born in Wilmington, Del., he was the son of Felix Guzman and Teresa Canongo Acateco of New Castle, Del. He was a cook at Spare Rib Express in New Castle, Del. He enjoyed going to the beach, walking, working out, and being with his family and friends. He was a member of St. Rocco’s Church.

In addition to his father and mother, he is survived by one brother, Gilberto Guzman-Canongo of New Castle, Del.; one sister, Araceli Guzman-Canongo of New Castle, Del.; and many aunts and uncles.

A funeral was held Sept. 8. Burial was in St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Kennett Square. To view his online tribute and to share a memory with his family, visit


Elizabeth “Cisy” Cohen Behrend, 76, of Quarryville, passed away on Aug. 30 after a long and courageous battle with Alzheimers Disease.

She had an exciting and colorful career serving the United States government that spanned 40 years. She served proudly in the Gaza Strip between Egypt and Israel with the Multinational Forces and Observers. She retired from the Pentagon in 1997 having served the Army Chief of Staff. In 1984, Elizabeth was awarded the Commanders Medal for Civil Service. Elizabeth loved to travel with her husband, Ron, to all corners of the globe. She loved her family, country, and all creatures great and small.
She is survived by her husband of 46 years, Ron; one daughter, Catherine Saunders (Alan) of Little Britain; three grandchildren, Christopher Reeder (Mandy) of Kirkwood, Sarah DiFilippo (Kyle) of Quarryville, and Rachel Saunders (Zach) of New Providence; and five great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents, Sydney and Catherine Detwiler Cohen; and one brother, Sydney B. Cohen.
A funeral was held Sept. 8. Online condolences may be made at


H. Valeria “Buckie” Pratt, 99, of Kennett Square, went home to be with the Lord peacefully on Sept. 2 at The Friends Home.

She was the wife of Gilbert MacFarland Pratt, Sr., who predeceased her in 2006. The two shared 68 years of loving marriage. Born at Scarlet Thicket Farm in Willowdale, she was the daughter of the late William and the late Gertrude Augusta (Reyner) McCombs. Valeria was a 1937 graduate of Unionville High School. She is predeceased by a brother, William McCombs, and sisters Gertrude Peterson, Mary Walton, and Dorothy Cloud.

Valeria was a very dedicated wife, mother, grandmother and homemaker; her family always came first and she never missed remembering birthdays of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She loved cooking for and serving her family. Sunday dinners were always big enough to cover the whole kitchen table and she always made room for guests. Valeria was a very active member of Willowdale Chapel for a large majority of her life; she taught Sunday school, participated in volunteer work, was a member of the small missions society group, and played the piano for the church choir for a period of time. Over the years, Valeria enjoyed weekend trips to Port Herman or Ocean City, N.J., with her sister and other family members. She loved gardening, bird watching, and observing the deer and other wildlife in her back yard.

Valeria is survived by her sons, Gilbert M. Pratt, Jr., and his wife Kathleen of Strasburg, Pa., and Richard D. Pratt and his wife Kathy of Willowdale; her daughters, Virginia Pitts and her husband Joseph of Unionville, and Jean L. Edwards and her husband Kemp of Greenwood, Iowa; her nine grandchildren; her 14 great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

A Life Celebration was held Sept. 8. Memorial contributions may be made in Valeria’s name to Samaritan’s Purse (Hurricane Harvey Relief), P.O. Box 3000, Boone, NC, 28607. To view her online tribute and to share memories with her family, visit


Elizabeth Jane (Plankinton) Degler, 84, of Oxford, formerly of Media, died on Sept. 1 at Ware Presbyterian Village.

Born in 1933 in Media, she was the daughter of the late Earl and Jane Plankinton. She was a graduate of Media High School. Mrs. Degler ("Betsy") was married to the late Roy Bryan Degler, Sr., for 55 years. She is survived by her two sons, Roy Bryan Degler, Jr., of Stockbridge, Ga., and Keith Earl Degler of Lincoln University; seven grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. Services were private.


Francis Joseph Wunderlich, 79, of Narberth, Pa., passed on Sept. 5 at Ware Presbyterian Village in Oxford.
Born in Philadelphia, he was the son of the late Francis and Anne Kelleher Wunderlich. Francis received a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Georgetown University. He was a prolific author in various sciences. He retired in 2012 as a physics professor from Villanova University. He was a devout Catholic and member of St. Margaret’s Church in Narberth. A philanthropist, Francis enjoyed fishing, camping, astronomy, Egyptian math and history.
He is survived by five children, Marie Evans of Nottingham, Francis (Tammy) Wunderlich of Nottingham, Leo (Cecilia) Wunderlich of Houston, Texas, James (Kimberly) Wunderlich of Coatesville, and Cecilia (Barry) Davidson of Chadds Ford; and 13 grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Sept. 11. Interment was in Calvary Cemetery in Conshohocken. Online condolences may be made at


Johnny Ray Rominger, 38, of West Grove, passed away on Aug. 27.

Born in West Chester, he was the son of Eva Sue Dickens Rominger of West Grove and the late John Henry Rominger. In his youth, Johnny had a passion for Little League, whether it was pitching or hitting home runs. He loved the sport and his skills were outstanding. He enjoyed being with his family and friends, especially his daughter and granddaughter. He also enjoyed surfing the net, and had the nickname of Craigman.

In addition to his mother, he is survived by one daughter, Adrian Rominger of Drunmore, Pa.; one granddaughter, Abriell; and his grandmother, Rose L. Dickens of West Grove. He was predeceased by his grandfather, Billy R. Dickens. His service and burial were held privately. To view his online tribute and to share a memory with his family, visit


Carolyn J. Vergara, 96, of Avondale, formerly of Syracuse, N.Y., passed away on Sept. 5 at Twin Pines Health Care Center.

She was the wife of Vincent Vergara, with whom she shared 57 years of marriage. Born in Syracuse, N.Y., she was the daughter of the late Albert Hemming and the late Ethel Pike Hemming. She was a former doctor’s assistant in Syracuse. Carolyn enjoyed golfing and playing bridge. She liked all kinds of music that would lift her spirit and make her want to dance.

In addition to her husband, she is survived by many nieces and nephews; and a niece, Donna DiUbaldo and her husband Domenic of Avondale, who cared for her. She was predeceased by two brothers and two sisters.

A visitation with family and friends will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. Sept. 16 at St. Gabriel of the Sorrowful Mother Church (8910 Gap Newport Pike, Avondale). Her funeral Mass will follow at 11 a.m. Burial will be private. In lieu of flowers, a contribution may be made to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, 1359 Broadway, Suite 1509, New York, NY 10018; or to the Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, KS 66675. To view her online tribute and to share a memory with her family, visit


Kelly Elizabeth Coy, 26, of Cochranville, passed away on Sept. 6.

Born in West Chester, she was the daughter of Richard Ianieri of Oxford, and the late Lisa Griffith Coy. She was an inspector at AmCom in Atglen. Kelly was a member of Calvary Baptist Church in Avondale. She enjoyed doing hair, any form of nail art work, loved adventures, trips to the beach and anything that made her niece happy.

In addition to her father, Kelly is survived by four brothers, Michael D. Coy of Cochranville, Richard Ianieri, Jr., of Coatesville, Nick Ianieri and Mark Rich, both of Oxford; two sisters, Amber D. Coy and Rachel Coy, both of Cochranville; stepmother Michele Rich-Ianieri of Oxford; stepfather David Coy of Cochranville; maternal grandparents, Marvin and Linda Griffith of Cochranville; paternal grandmother Barbara Robinson of Oviedo, Fla.; paternal step-grandmother Jane Ianieri of Orlando, Fla.; and her niece Charish Navaeh of Cochranville, who she raised.

A visitation will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 14 at the Foulk & Grieco Funeral Home (200 Rose Hill Rd., West Grove). Her funeral will follow at 1 p.m. Burial will be in Union Hill Cemetery in Kennett Square. To view her tribute and to leave a message of condolence for her family, visit


Helen Margaret Stewart, 79, of Oxford, passed away on Sept. 7 at Ware Presbyterian Village in Oxford.

Born in West Grove, she was the daughter of the late John Everett and Emily Louise Berell Donache. She was a member of the Oxford Presbyterian Church, Ocklokonee Council No. 212 Degree of Pocahontas, and Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie No. 2666 Auxiliary, Oxford. Helen retired from Hyponex in 2002 as a bookkeeper. She enjoyed spoiling her grandchildren, and gardening.

She is survived by her son, Robert M. Stewart, Jr. (Regina) of Oxford; daughter, Sandra Poole of Oxford; three grandchildren, Megan Elizabeth Stewart, Amanda Lee Poole and Jessica Lynn Stewart; and brother, John Everett Donache, II (Donna) of Nottingham.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Sept. 14 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. A Pocahontas service will be held at 10:55 a.m. Interment will be in Oxford Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to Ocklokonee Council No., 212 Degree of Pocahontas, 114 Brick Road, Oxford, PA 19363. Online condolences may be made at


John R. “Bob” Merhar passed away peacefully at his home with his family by his side on Sept. 11.

Bob was born in Springfield, Mass., in 1937. He graduated from Classical High in Springfield. In 1959, he received his B.S. in chemistry from St. Lawrence University and later received his master's in metallurgical engineering from RPI in Troy, N.Y. After resigning from the U.S. Army with the rank of Captain, he worked as a metallurgist for a small company in Worcester, Mass. He then worked for DuPont as part of Remington Arms in Ilion, N.Y. He finished his career with DuPont in Wilmington, Del.

A member of Westminster Presbyterian Church, Bob was an active volunteer, serving as a garden volunteer with Winterthur Museum, Case Trading Post in the Wheelwright Museum in New Mexico, and the Pecos National Historical Park in New Mexico. He was a member of the Kennett Township Historical Commission, the Kennett Area Senior Center, the Chester County Community Foundation and the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce. Bob was a past Mayor of Newport, N.Y., a past president of the Shrewsbury Jaycees in Shrewsbury, Mass., and a pastpPresident of the Metal Injection Molding Association (MIMA). He also served on Eagle Scout Committees and Boards of Review with the Mohegan Boy Scout Council in Worcester, Mass., the General Herkimer Boy Scout Council in Herkimer, N.Y., and the Chester County Council Boy Scouts in West Cheste. Bob also enjoyed traveling, his home in New Mexico, tinkering with antique clocks and walking.

He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Judith M. Merhar; his sons Thomas (Cori) and Steven; his grandchildren Michael (Brie), Joshua, Courtney and Justin; and his great-granddaughter Mia. Bob is also survived by his sister, Carole J. Martino; and his cousins. He was predeceased by his parents, John H. Merhar and Janet Cummings Merhar; his son, Robert L. Merhar; and other relatives.

Friends and family are invited to his visitation on Sept. 15 from 10 to 11 a.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church (10 W. Pleasant Grove Rd., West Chester), where his memorial service will begin at 11 a.m. A reception will follow in Spellman Hall immediately after the service. Interment will be private. In lieu of flowers, consider contributions to the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, c/o Development office, 3535 Market Street, Suite 750, Philadelphia, PA 19104, or online at To view his online tribute and to share a memory with his family, visit


Michael Robert Brabson passed away in his sleep on Sept. 9, two days before his 64th birthday.

He lived on a farm at Chrome, Oxford, with his wife of 26 years, Gayle (Pierce). He was born in West Grove to the late Robert R Brabson and the late Norma (Prange) Brabson and grew up in Chrome. He leaves behind his wife, Gayle; his son, Michael of Ephrata; his stepson, Joseph Beavers of Allentown; brother, Thomas and his wife Kathy of Cinnaminson, N.J.; sister, Terri and her husband Ken Elliott of College Station, Texas; and four nieces and nephews. His brother Randall died in 1988.

Michael loved farming and his collection of John Deere tractors. He milked cows for a neighbor from the age of 14 and had earned enough to have a brand new 1969 Plymouth Sports Satellite waiting for him by the time he could get his driver’s license at 16. He played guitar in a local band and loved 70s rock music. Besides farming, he loved Harley-Davidson motorcycles and anything Mopar. He enjoyed cattle, his cats and dogs, especially Penny, burgers and fries.

He drove tractor trailers for a number of years for P. Kramme and H.R. Ewell, and then milk trucks for local companies, picking up milk at night in five counties. At the same time, he farmed with his wife, raising beef cattle, corn and hay, and did custom round baling. He had a quick wit and sometimes irreverent sense of humor, and many friends far and wide. He worked hard and played hard. He was truly one of a kind, gone way too soon.

A memorial service will be held at Media Mennonite Church in October. The date will be announced later. Online condolences may be made at

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