Obituaries for the week of Dec. 3
● By J. Chambless
Christopher Michael (Mike) Bailey, 43, of Oxford, was called home to heaven on Nov. 24.
He was the fiancé of Dr. Elysia Schaefer. Born in 1975 in Orlando, Fla., he was the son of Kathleen Bailey Kronquist of North Carolina and the late Christopher Pariscoff. Mike was a certified journeyman farrier who owned and operated Chesapeake Forge, servicing the tri-state area. He was active in the American Farriers Association and Pennsylvania Professional Farriers Association. He was a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Oxford. Mike enjoyed bladesmithing, working on cars and spending time with family. He built many strong friendships over the years and will be deeply missed by all.
He is survived by his fiancé; mother; stepfather, James Kronquist of North Carolina; two sons, Kalman Bailey of North Carolina and Tyler Bailey of Oxford; one daughter, Hope Bailey of Oxford; a half-sister, Brittani Waldrip and her husband Jacob of North Carolina; and maternal grandparents, Kalman and Voner Bailey of Florida.
Interment was private.
FRANCIS C. WOERNER
Francis C. Woerner, Sr., 73, of Bear, Del., passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family, on Nov. 20 at Christiana Hospital in Newark, Del.
He was the husband of Barbara Grimes Woerner, with whom he shared 53 years of marriage. Born in Wilmington, Del., he was the son of the late Joseph and Elizabeth Kiefer Woerner. Francis was employed with Amtrak as a car repairman for 30 years. He enjoyed watching the Phillies and Philadelphia Eagles. He loved spending time with his family and helping others.
He is survived by his wife; two daughters, Elizabeth (Derrick) Aliff of Georgetown, Del., and Debbie (Frank) Armstrong of New Castle, Del.; one son, Francis, Jr. (Kimberly) Woerner of Kennett Square; eight grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by one daughter, Barbara Ann Jones.
A memorial service was held Nov. 20. Interment was in Grace Lawn Memorial Park, New Castle, Del. Online condolences may be made at www.elcollinsfuneralhome.com.
RAY W. MELRATH, SR.
Ray W. Melrath, Sr., 83, of Colora, Md., formerly of Oxford, passed away on Nov. 21 at his home.
Born in Oxford, he was the son of the late Lawrence Kirk and Alice Gertrude Jackson Melrath. Ray was a member of the American Legion Mason Dixon Post No. 194, Rising Sun, Md. He retired from Robinson’s Furniture in Oxford. Ray was an avid sports fan.
He is survived by his longtime companion, Dorothy Adams; two sons, Dale Melrath of Oxford and Richard Melrath (Cindy) of Rising Sun, Md.; one brother, Jack E. Melrath (Brenda) of Nottingham; five grandchildren; and great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by a son, Ray W. Melrath, Jr.
Services were private. Online condolences may be made at www.elcollinsfuneralhome.com.
Gibbs Stanley, 81, of Kirkwood, Pa., was called home on Nov. 23 by his Lord and Savior.
He was the husband of Audrey J. Porter Stanley, with whom he shared 55 years of marriage. Born in Bakersville, N.C., he was the son of the late Dewey Wesley and Esta Gouge Stanley. Gibbs was a veteran of the U.S. Army. He was employed with the Coatesville VA Hospital as the boiler plant supervisor for 12 years, and later as a barber for 10 years, retiring in 1995. He attended Nottingham Presbyterian Church. Gibbs was a generous man who loved his family and enjoyed spending time with his children, grandchildren and friends.
He is survived by his wife; one son, Timothy C. Stanley of Nottingham; one daughter, Cheryl A. Thompson of Oxford; six grandchildren; three brothers, Herman Stanley of Rising Sun, Md., Bill Stanley of Bakersville, N.C., and Earl Stanley of Kirkwood; and three sisters, Lola Morales of Hopkins, S.C., Evelyn Bennett of Bakersville, N.C., and Shirley Pittman of Spruce Pine, N.C. He was preceded in death by a son, Gibbs Stanley, Jr.; a daughter, Krista E. Longenecker; three brothers, Lee Stanley, Donald Stanley and Charles Stanley; and two sisters, Gertrude Agnoli and Helen Stanley.
Funeral services and interment were private. Online condolences may be made at www.elcollinsfuneralhome.com.
VICTOR C. VELAZQUEZ
Victor Castaneda Velazquez, 54, of Avondale, passed away on Nov. 26 at Christiana Hospital.
He was the husband of Irene Ayllon Mendiola. Born in Almoloya De Alquisiras, Mexico, he was the son of Elpidia Velaquez of Mexico and the late Rafael Castaneda. He was a maintenance worker at South Mill Mushrooms in Kennett Square.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by one son, Miguel Castaneda of Avondale; three daughters, Yulissa Castaneda, Veronico Castaneda and Esmeralda Castaneda; two brothers; seven sisters; and one grandson.
A visitation will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. Dec. 5 at St. Rocco Catholic Church (313 Sunny Dell Rd., Avondale). His funeral mass will follow at 5 p.m. Burial will be in Mexico. To view his online tribute and to share a memory with his family, visit www.griecocares.com.
Grace DeFeo, 87, of Glen Mills, formerly of Ocean City, N.J., passed away on Nov. 27 at Neighborhood Hospice in West Chester.
She was the wife of Frank DeFeo, who passed away in 2013, and with whom she shared 57 years of marriage. Born in Philadelphia, she was the daughter of the late Camillo Verratti and the late Anna Bianchi Verratti. She was an underwriter at the Aetna Insurance Company in Philadelphia, retiring after 34 years of service. She was a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. She was a member of St. Damien Catholic Church in Ocean City, N.J., and the Italian American Club in Ocean City, N.J. Grace enjoyed reading, the beach, family get-togethers, sports and watching game shows on TV.
She is survived by one sister, Rose Less of Glen Mills; seven nieces and nephews and their families. She was was predeceased by two sisters, Connie Falco and Esther Koziel.
A visitation will be held from 9 to 10 a.m. Dec. 6 at St. Cornelius Catholic Church (160 Ridge Rd., Chadds Ford). Her funeral mass will follow at 10 a.m. Burial will be in St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Kennett Square. In lieu of flowers, a contribution may be made to St. Cornelius Church at the above address. To view her online tribute and to share a memory with her family, visit www.griecocares.com.
LIVONA SMITH, SR.
Livona Smith, Sr., 94, of Toughkenamon, passed away on Nov. 30 at his residence.
He was the husband of Marian Stafford Smith, who passed away in 2015, and with whom he shared 69 years of marriage. Born in Philadelphia, he was the son of the late John Harrison Smith and the late Dora Woolfork Smith. He was a crane operator at NVF in Yorklyn, Del., retiring in 1989 after 48 years of service. Livona enjoyed working on cars, bowling, and being with his family and friends.
He is survived by two sons, Livona Smith, Jr. of Toughkenamon, and William R. Smith and his wife Yvonne of Toughkenamon; one brother, James Smith of Toughkenamon; three grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by three brothers and three sisters.
His burial at Philadelphia Memorial Park will be held privately. To view his online tribute and to share a memory with his family, visit www.griecocares.com.
JAMES C. KIRBY
James C. (Jim) Kirby, 57, of East Pennsbury Township, passed away unexpectedly on Nov. 25 at his residence.
He was the husband of Sangela McAllister Kirby, with whom he shared 17 years of marriage. He was born in Philadelphia to the late Harry J., Jr., and Rita Pitts Kirby. In addition to his wife, he is survived by two sisters, Marianne Kirby Rhodes and Joan R. Kirby. He is also survived by nephews, nieces, cousins, and great-nieces and great-nephews. He was predeceased by a brother, Harry III.
He worked for many years in his own construction business. He attended Unionville High School and Delaware County Community College.
Family and friends are invited to his memorial service on Dec. 29 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., with a memorial remembrance service at 11:30 a.m. Burial will be held privately. To view his online tribute and to share a memory with his family, visit www.griecocares.com.
SHIRLEY J. THOMAS
Shirley J. Thomas, 81, of Okeechobee, Fla., formerly of Kemblesville, passed away on Nov. 29.
She was the wife of the late Charles Thomas, who passed away in 2003. Born in Arkansas, she was the daughter of the late Eliza and Elmer Heath. For many years, Shirley and her husband worked in the mushroom growing industry in Pennsylvania. After moving to Florida, they established a sod planting and nursery business and they worked there until retirement.
Shirley is survived by her son, Brian Thomas, husband of Karen Sue of Okeechobee; brother and sister-in-law, Donald and Rose Heath, of Santa Fe, Texas; three grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. In addition to her parents and husband, she was preceded in death by a daughter, Debbie; and a son, Randy Thomas.
A viewing will be held from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Dec. 6 at Dewald Funeral & Cremation Services (227 West 4th Street, Quarryville). A graveside service and interment will follow at 3 p.m. in Fremont Cemetery (Union Cemetery), Nottingham. To leave an online condolence, visit www.dewalds.com.
Catherine Schilling, 96, of Kennett Square, formerly of Wilmington, Del., and Naples, Fla., passed away on Nov. 30 at Kendal-Crosslands Communities in Kennett Square.
She was the wife of William Schilling, who passed away in 2000, and with whom she shared 53 years of marriage. Born in Plainfield, N.J., she was the daughter of the late Jane Mackenzie Rothery and the late Claude Rothery. She was a graduate of Skidmore College and Columbia University. Catherine enjoyed and performed music throughout her life. She was a member of numerous bands, orchestras and ensembles, including the Kennett Symphony and the Naples Concert Band, through which she made many lasting friendships. Catherine will be remembered for her infectious laugh, her sweet and cheerful disposition and her love of the Chester County countryside, dogs, old movies, coffee ice cream and the British royal family.
She is survived by her three children, Christine (Eric) Siegel of Ann Arbor, Mich., William Schilling of Philadelphia, and Catherine Schilling of Chicago, Ill.; two grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter. She was predeceased by her daughter, Jane Catherine and her husband, William.1 One South Broad St., 14th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19107; or Kendal-Crosslands Communities, Staff Support Fund, PO Box 100, Kennett Square, PA 19348. To view her online tribute and to share a memory with her family, visit www.griecocares.com.
Rosemary S. Kinsey of Kennett Square, 79, went to be with her King, Lord and Savior on Dec. 3 after a courageous battle with cancer.
Rosemary was a very active member of The Presbyterian Church of Kennett Square. She was a choir member and taught Sunday school. She was beloved by all that she served, and many children called her Grandma, as she treated and loved them like they were her own. She was an active member of the Longwood Garden Club and was a volunteer as well. Prior to her retirement, she was an administrative assistant at the Chester County Courthouse. Post-retirement, Rosemary worked for Willowdale Chapel as a teacher in their Celebrate Recovery and MOPs programs. She also worked part-time for Mrs. Robinson’s Tea Shop in Kennett Square, where she enjoyed learning about specialty teas and sharing her beautiful spirit with everyone who walked in the door.
Rosemary was born in Logan, W. Va. in 1939 to Kenneth Scragg and Elizabeth Scragg (Estepp). She later moved to Washington, D.C., where she met the love of her life, Lewis P. H. Kinsey. They were married in 1959.
She is survived by her husband, Lewis P. H. Kinsey of Kennett Square; her daughter, Tish Copeland (Jason); her son, Stockton Kinsey (Tina); and four grandchildren. She is also survived by one sister, Edra Grieser of Parrott, Ga.; and two brothers, Kenneth Scragg of Oak Hill, Fla., and Randall Scragg of Mimms, Fla. She was predeceased by her brother, Keith Scragg; and her sister, Wilma DiGillio.
Services will be held Dec. 8 at 9 a.m. at the Christian Life Center (125 Saginaw Rd., Lincoln University), and will be followed by interment at Union Hill Cemetery (424 N. Union St., Kennett Square). A reception will immediately follow the interment. All are invited to fellowship at the Christian Life Center for lunch, a time of visiting, and sharing our favorite Rosemary memories and stories. In lieu of flowers, send a donation to a foundation that Rosemary found great joy in supporting. Water For Life https://my.lifetoday.org/give is an organization that digs clean water wells in third-world countries. Online condolences may be made at www.elcollinsfuneralhome.com.