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Chester County Press

Obituaries for the week of Jan. 29

01/30/2018 08:24AM ● By J. Chambless


Raymond “Ray” G. Natale, Sr., 91, of West Grove, passed away on Jan. 30 at his home.

He was the husband of Catherine “Renie” Boyd Natale, who passed away in 2014, and with whom he shared 57 years of marriage. Born in Darby, Pa., he was the ninth of 13 children born to Frank and Susan (Della Vecchia) Natale. Ray was drafted in the Army in June 1944, making him the fifth Natale son serving simultaneously in World War II. He was first sent to Camp Hood in Texas for basic training on a tank destroyer, after which he was sent to Fort Jackson, S.C., where he was part of the 659th Field Artillery Battalion, as a truck driver. He traveled to England, then France, being assigned to drive a weapons carrier to Germany, and then to the Battle of the Ruhr Pocket, for which he received a battle star. After returning home in June of 1946, he went on to complete his education and then enlisted with the Pennsylvania State Police in 1950. He proudly first served in Lancaster and then the Avondale barracks until his retirement as a Corporal in 1979.

Ray is survived by one son, Raymond Natale, Jr., and his girlfriend Dee Oliffe of West Grove; one daughter, Catherine Abernethy and her husband Jim of Landenberg; two grandchildren, Taylor and Austin Abernethy; one sister, Anne Cripe of Chadds Ford; and one brother, Donald Natale of Oxford.

In addition to his wife, Ray was predeceased by ten siblings.

A visitation will be held from 9 to 10:45 a.m. Feb. 7 at Assumption BVM Church (300 State Rd., West Grove). His funeral service will follow at 11 a.m. Burial will be held at 11 a.m. Feb. 8 at the Indiantown Gap National Cemetery in Annville, Pa. In memory of Ray, a contribution may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105; or to the American Cancer Society, 1626 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103. To view his online tribute and to share a memory with his family, visit


Elizabeth M. Herr, 94, of Nottingham, passed away on Jan. 19 at Twin Pines Health Care Center in West Grove.

She was the wife of the late Charles W. Herr, Sr., with whom she shared 68 years of marriage. Born in Oxford, she was the daughter of the late Frank and Lillian Dutton Hannum. Elizabeth was a member of the Oxford Church of the Nazarene. She loved her grandchildren and enjoyed doing crossword puzzles.

She is survived by three daughters, Jane Johnson and her husband Alvin of Oxford, Judy Shields and her husband William of Newark, Del., and Joan Martin and her husband Wendell of Drumore; daughter-in-law Jane Herr of New Holland; nine grandchildren; five step-grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren; and two brothers, Charles Hannum and Richard Hannum, both of Oxford. She was preceded in death by her son, Charles W. Herr, Jr.; and one brother, Alfred Hannum.

A funeral was held Jan. 29. Interment was in the Oxford Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to Holisticare Hospice LLC, 685 Kromer Ave., Berwyn, PA 19312. Online condolences may be made at


Doris J. Ward Lauver, 94, of Pleasant Gap, Pa., formerly of New London, died on Jan. 17 at The Oaks retirement community in Pleasant Gap.

She was the wife of the late Wilbur James Lauver, who died in 2005, and with whom she shared 59 years of marriage. Born in Burnham, Pa., she was the daughter of the late John and the late Gladys (Smith) Ward. Doris was a bookkeeper for many years for Danks Department Store in Lewistown, Pa., and Marvel & Smith Hardware in West Grove. She enjoyed playing the organ, doing needlework and was known for her impeccable sense of style. Doris never shied away from hard work – she had even helped her late husband, Wilbur, build their first home. Doris was a faithful member of New London United Methodist Church, where she had served as church treasurer and UMW president.

Survivors include four sons, Kirk Lauver and his wife Elizabeth of State College, Lynn Lauver and his wife Ann of Spring Mills, Pa., Mark Lauver and his wife Debra of Jarretsville, Md., and Dale Lauver and his wife Beverley of New London; one brother, John Ward and his wife Juliette of Carlisle, Pa.; seven grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by a great-grandchild, Evan Ruff; and a sister, Vivian Ward Becker.

A funeral was held Jan. 27. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Allegheny Lutheran Social Ministries, The Oaks, 200 Rachel Drive Pleasant Gap, PA 16823; or to Macular Degeneration Research, 22512 Gateway Center Dr., P.O. Box 1952, Clarksburg, MD 20871-1952 ( To view her online tribute and to share a memory with her family, visit


Avis Cleo Stevens, 91, of Lincoln University, passed away on Jan. 19 at Jennersville Regional Hospital in West Grove.

She was the wife of the late Benjamin Stevens, and first husband, Asa J. Smith. Born in Ashe County, N.C., she was the daughter of the late John and Stella Sluder Osborne. Avis was a member of Full Gospel Church in Kennett Square. She loved quilting, gardening, cooking, and selling Avon products.

She is survived by three daughters, Connie Troupe, Mary Hughes and Nancy Taylor; three sons, Eugene Smith, Jimmy “AJ” Smith and Virgil Smith; three brothers; five sisters; seven grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and special friend, Dewey Jennings and family.

A funeral was held Jan. 24. Interment was in the Oxford Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to Full Gospel Church, 430 E. South St., Kennett Square, PA 19348. Online condolences may be made at


Myrtle M. Najmola, 91, of Boothwyn, passed away on Jan. 22 at her residence.

She was the wife of Francis S. Najmola, who passed away in 1987, and with whom she shared 40 years of marriage. Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., she was the daughter of the late William A. Pfeiffer and the late Laura Amelia Van Houthen Pfeiffer. She was a homemaker. She enjoyed gardening, going to the casinos, playing bingo, and being with her family and friends.

She is survived by two daughters, Lorraine C. Santiago and her fiancé Hector Cartagena of Kennett Square, and Irene Melton and her husband Richard of Newport Richey, Fla.; six grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren. Myrtle was predeceased by three sisters, Dorothy Spencer, Virginia Peak and Lorraine Daltrui; and one brother, William A. Pfeiffer, Jr.

A funeral was held Jan. 29. Burial was in Immaculate Heart of Mary Cemetery in Marcus Hook. To view her online tribute and to share a memory with the family, visit


Christine Crowell Trostle, 90, of West Grove, died on Jan. 23 at Jenners Pond Retirement Community in West Grove.

She was the wife of the late Robert S. Trostle, who died in 2011, and with whom she shared 62 years of marriage. Born in West Chester, she was the daughter of the late Arthur and the late Edna (Howland) Crowell. She lived in Chester County her entire life. She was a longtime member and Sunday school teacher at Avondale Presbyterian Church. She was a proud Chester County 4H leader, and volunteered at the Food Cupboard in Avondale and Kennett Square. She was an avid cyclist and enjoyed cycling tours in the U.S. and abroad, and especially enjoyed a trip to the French Alps. She enjoyed visits to Longwood Gardens and listening to the Kennett Symphony. She was an English as a second language tutor. She was an accomplished seamstress and performed alterations for many years at the 410 Shoppe in Avondale.

Survivors include one daughter, Carol Shortlidge of West Grove; one son, Dr. David Trostle and his wife JoEllen of Quentin, Pa.; five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

A service was held Jan. 26. Interment was in New Garden Friends Cemetery. Contributions in her memory are encouraged to Avondale Presbyterian Church, P.O. Box 446, Avondale, PA 19311; or to Willow Tree Hospice, 616 East Cypress Street, Kennett Square, PA 19348. To view her online tribute and to share a memory with her family, visit


Fred P. Pratola, Sr., 92, of Avondale, passed away on Jan. 25, surrounded by his loving family.

Born to Michael and Grace Pratola in 1925 in Madison, N.J., he was the husband to the love of his life, the late Angeline Pratola, who died in 2007, and with whom he shared 58 years of marriage. A World War II veteran, Fred worked side by side with his father and brothers, first at Michael Pratola and Sons and later at Pratola Brothers. He was a talented gardener, supplying his family and friends with vegetables and lettuce all season. He was an avid fisherman and gifted woodcarver who was generous in sharing his beautiful carvings with his loved ones. He will be remembered as a kind and patient father, a fun and loving grandfather, and a loyal husband, son, brother and friend.

Fred is survived by his children, Angela and Tom Mattoscio, Donna Pratola, and Fred Pratola Jr.; his grandchildren; and his great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister, Anna Kelleher; his twin brother and best friend, Michael Pratola; and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by two brothers, Pat and Ralph; and a sister, Angeline.

A mass of Christian burial was held Jan. 30. Burial was in St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Kennett Square.

Memorial donations may be made to St. Gabriel of the Sorrowful Mother Church, PO Box 709, Avondale, PA 19311; or to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, 600 Reed Road, Suite 104, Broomall, PA 19008. To view his online tribute and to share a memory with his family, visit


Hazel Irene Howery, 89, of Oxford, formerly of Cecil County, Md., passed away on Jan. 25 at Jennersville Regional Hospital in West Grove.

She was the wife of the late Robert L. Howery and was preceded in death by her first husband, Fred Rother. Born in Farmington, Md., she was the daughter of the late Edward and Emma Sherron Eklund. Hazel was a past member of Bethel Methodist Church in North East. She was employed as a school bus driver for Jacob Tome School in North East. She enjoyed antique collecting and riding on motorcycles.

She is survived by one son, Fred R. Howery (Vanessa) of Oxford; two daughters, Nancy Settle (William) of Ocean View, Del., and Sandra Gonzalez of North East, Md.; 11 grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren; and three sisters, Dorothy Rother of Elkton, Md., Anne Biddle of North East, Md., and Pete Thompson of Lewes, Del. She was preceded in death by her oldest daughter, Wanda Rivera.

A funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Jan. 31 at the Edward L. Collins Funeral Home, Inc. (86 Pine St., Oxford), where friends and family may visit from 10 to 11 a.m. Interment will be in the Oxford Cemetery. Online condolences may be made at


Dawn Michelle Smiley, 50, of Newark, Del., passed away on Jan. 27 at Christiana Hospital.

She was born in Wilmington, Del., to Carl and Joan Robinson on Jan. 1, 1968. She graduated from Christiana High School in 1986. Dawn worked as a computer technician for MBNA for 17 years, followed by several years in the retail industry. Dawn loved nothing more than spending time with her family. She especially enjoyed going to Disney World, trips to the beach, and the park. Dawn cherished time playing cards and board games with her children, nieces and nephews.

She is survived by her husband, William McKay Smiley of Newark; her children, William McKay, Wayne Ephraime and wife Rachael Pentecost Smiley, and Anna Louise; her parents, Carl Wayne Robinson and Joan Louise Webb Robinson; brothers Carl Wayne Robinson, and Dennis Fount Robinson, Sr., and wife Robin Burgess Robinson; nephews and niece Dennis Fount Robinson, Jr., Jake Taylor Robinson and Isabella Rose Robinson; sister-in-law Barbara Ann Dale; nieces Desarie and Shantell Dale. She is also survived by her grandmother, Virginia Pearl Campbell Webb; and aunts and ungles Gail Webb Lowe, Diane Webb Howe, Denise Webb, Charlotte Webb Cain, John D. Webb and Drs. Faye Robinson and Russell Gordon Doyle.

Funeral services will be held at Collins Funeral Home in Oxford on Feb. 2. Visitation will be from 10 to 11 a.m., followed by a service at 11 a.m. Interment will follow at Oxford Cemetery. The family invites friends and relatives to share lunch at the Oxford Masonic Lodge (245 N. 3rd St., Oxford) immediately following the interment. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Cancer Society. Online condolences may be made at  

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