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Chester County Press

Obituaries for the week of Dec. 19

12/19/2016 02:31PM ● By J. Chambless


Anthony “Skip” J. Pannell, Jr., 76, of Kennett Square, died on Dec. 11 at his home in Kennett Square.

Born in West Grove, he was a son of the late Anthony J. and the late Millie (Ruggieri) Pannell Sr. He graduated from Kennett High School in 1958. Skip worked in the mushroom industry his entire life, working with his father and brother, and for the past 20 years with his son as co-owner of Hillcrest Farms in Toughkenamon. He was past president of the American Mushroom Institute. He enjoyed skiing, swimming and driving his Corvette. He was a private pilot and black belt in karate. Most of all, he loved spending time with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Survivors include one son, Anthony Pannell III (Kim) of Kennett; two daughters, Robyn Welsh (Scottie) of West Grove and Anita Snow (John) of Kennett; one brother, Tommy Pannell (Mary) of Avondale; two sisters, Dorothy Mehl of Avondale and Sally Stier (Kenny) of Landenberg; 14 grandchildren, Andria, Joey, Jackie, Sean, Nicci, Johnny, Dallas, Kati, Jake, Michayla, Cheyenne, Colton, Rebecca and Caileen; and three great-grandchildren, Logan, Emmi and Elaina.

A funeral was held Dec. 16. Contributions in his memory may be made to the Ronald McDonald House of Delaware, 1901 Rockland Rd., Wilmington, DE 19803. To view his online tribute and to share a memory with his family, visit


Melba Viola Butler, 80, of Oxford, went home to the Lord, and with her brother and sisters, on Dec. 5.

Born in Gary, W.Va., she was the eighth of 10 children of the late Goldie and Rachel Bowers Gunn. After graduating high school, she joined the U.S. Army in 1958. While serving four years in the Army, she married Robert Butler and traveled to many different places. During the 1970s and 1980s, Melba was employed as a personal secretary for President Nixon, President Carter, President Reagan and President Bush. She retired from Coatesville VA Hospital. She was a strong proud woman and would always make sure her children and grandchildren always had everything they needed.

She is survived by her three sons, Xavier Butler, Jeffery Butler and Paul Butler; five grandchildren; and two sisters, Lanora Edwards and Revella Banks. She was preceded in death by seven siblings.

A Home Going Service will be held at noon on Dec. 17 at the Edward L. Collins, Jr. Funeral Home, Inc. (86 Pine St., Oxford), where friends and family may visit from 11 a.m. to noon. Interment will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to Shiloh Presbyterian Church, 42 S. Fifth St., Oxford PA, 19363. Online condolences may be made at


Michael Angelo Tuscano, 68, of Kennett Square, died peacefully at home on Dec. 11.

Born in Newark, N.J., he was a son of the late Angelo and Grace (Ferraro) Tuscano. Michael served in the United States Marine Corps during the Vietnam War, and was recently awarded the Purple Heart by Vice President Joe Biden for injuries sustained during that time. He was very proud of his service and was grateful to finally receive his Purple Heart so many years later. He was a vice president of Sharp Electronics Corporation for 38 years, retiring in 2007. He loved the game of golf and was a member of Kennett Square Golf and Country Club, where he enjoyed many close friendships. Formerly, he was a member of Stonebridge Country Club in Aurora, Ill.

He is survived by his loving wife, Gayle Spencer; his beloved daughter, Leah Tuscano of Los Angeles Calif.; his “French daughter” Celine Benevelli (Matthieu Buchet) and her sons Julien and Paul; three brothers, Robert Tuscano (Marian) of Arizona, Frank Tuscano (Carol) of New Jersey, and Thomas Tuscano of New Jersey; one sister, Angela Antonio (Pat) of New Jersey; and many loving cousins, nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his sister-in-law, Cleo Tuscano.

A celebration of life ceremony was held Dec. 19. Interment will be held at a later date at Arlington National Cemetery. Contributions in his memory may be made to Kennett Area Community Service or KACS, PO Box 1025, Kennett Square PA 19348; or donations in honor of Michael Tuscano can be made to support the cancer research of Dr. Emmanuel Antonarakis at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. Gifts can be made out to the Johns Hopkins University and sent to: The Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, 750 East Pratt Street, 17th Floor, Baltimore, MD 21202, or at To view his online tribute and to share a memory with his family, visit


Jill Ann Kauffman, 39, of Oxford, passed away on Dec. 13 at home.

Born in West Chester, she was the daughter of Dwight and Judy Shumake Kauffman of Oxford. She was a graduate of Oxford Area High School class of 1996. She loved spending time with her niece and nephew.

Jill is survived by her parents; sister, Jodi Phouthavongsa (Dok) of Oxford; one paternal grandmother, Audrey Kauffman of Oxford; one niece, Kaelyn Phouthavongsa; one nephew, Cameron Phouthavongsa; two aunts, Joyce Dauch and Penny Weitzel; and uncle, Robert Kauffman.

Services were private. In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to D.A.R.E. America, P.O. Box 512090, Los Angeles, CA 90051-0090. Online condolences may be made at


Sylvia Velia Pizzini Perna, beloved mother of four children and grandmother of six, passed away peacefully on Dec. 11 at Neighborhood Hospice in West Chester.

Born in 1925 in New Kensington, Pa., she was the daughter of the late Bortolo and Domenica Pizzini. As an infant, she returned to Italy, where she was raised and eventually became a school teacher. She returned to America in 1947. She married Frank M. Perna in 1951. They celebrated 40 years together until his death in 1992. In addition to raising her family, Mrs. Perna worked as a paralegal in her husband's law firm, was fluent in three languages, loved classical literature, and enjoyed Greek mythology. Appreciating the tranquility of nature, she spent time hiking near her mountain home and tending her gardens. She is remembered for her hospitality and welcoming nature, her wonderful Italian cooking, her apple pies, and especially her holiday celebrations with family and friends. She also volunteered for a short time with the After the Bell program at Kennett Middle School.

She is survived by her four children, Sylvia P. Kuritzky and husband Howard K. Kuritzky of Allentown, Pa., Michael R. Perna and wife Loretta V. Perna of Kennett Square, Algerina C. Perna of Baltimore, Md., Frank M. Perna and wife Courtney L. Perna of Bethesda, Md.; and six grandchildren.

Her funeral mass was held Dec. 16. Burial was private.

Memorial donations may be made to St. Patrick Church, 212 Meredith St., Kennett Square, PA 19348; St. Malachi Church, 76 St. Malachi Rd., Cochranville, PA 19330. Condolences may be offered at


Ethel Mae (nee Billings) Holbrook, 95, of Oxford, pased away on Dec. 14.

She was the beloved wife of the late Walter "Claude" Holbrook, who passed away in 1991. Together they shared 53 years of marriage. Ethel was a housewife who enjoyed gardening, flowers, birds, puzzles and her pets. She loved having her family around and spending time with them.

Ethel is survived by her children, Eva (the late Bill) Thomas of West Grove, Arlene (Bob) Kellett of Cochranville, Helen (the late Gwyn) Patrick, Clarence (Debbie), Eddie (Vicki), Ralph (Debbie), all of Oxford, and Linda Sue (Steve) of Nottingham; 23 grandchildren; 35 great-grandchildren; 15 great-great-grandchildren; and one great-great-great-grandchild.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Ethel's memory can be made to Willow Tree Hospice, 616 E. Cypress Street, Kennett Square, PA 19348. Online condolences may be offered at


Sally E. Christensen, 87, died on Dec. 14 at Kendal-Crosslands in Kennett Square.

She was a wife, a daughter, a mother, and a homemaker – and in between, she was dedicated to her church and community throughout her life. Born in Philadelphia to Kathryn and A.C.P. Quimby in 1929, she grew up in St. Louis, Mo., and Drexel Hill, Pa. She enjoyed summers at the family shore house in Ocean City, N.J., a tradition she passed on to her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She attended Upper Darby High School, class of ’47, where she was a cheerleader. She remained lifelong friends with her fellow cheerleaders.

She enrolled at Syracuse University, where she joined Kappa Alpha Theta and met the man who would become her husband, Ivar Christensen, newly arrived from Norway. They married in 1949. Ivar’s work took the couple to Australia, where they lived for three years in Melbourne and Sydney. They returned to the U.S. and settled back in the Philadelphia area. They had four children, and apart from a brief move to Ohio, they spent the rest of their lives as Pennsylvania residents.

Sally had many passions in life: She was a council member of Grace Lutheran Church in Broomall, and a proud founder of the Grace Lutheran Nursery School. As the school grew, a VW bus was purchased for use as a school bus, and Sally stepped in as the school’s first bus driver. She was a Boy Scout den leader and a Girl Scout troop leader. She was a longtime volunteer at the Helen Kate Furness Library in Wallingford, and a board member of the League of Women Voters. She was a firm Democrat.

Sally embraced her husband’s Norwegian heritage and became active in the Sons of Norway, as well as the Leif Ericson Society, founded by Ivar. She learned to speak Norwegian and became an expert at making any number of Norwegian dishes and desserts. She and the family traveled back to Norway many times over the years to visit relatives and enjoy the beauty of Ivar’s homeland.

She was a great lover of books and libraries – many of her books from childhood include homemade check-out cards. She was an avid knitter, both for her family members and for charity. She was a warm and eloquent letter-writer. Family was everything to her, cherished across the generations.

Sally is survived by her children, Kathryn Clement (William), Melanie Hohag (Kenneth), Linda Rasmussen (Mikael), and H. Andrew Christensen; grandchildren Benjamin (Teresa), Emily, Miriam (Jacob), Gabriel (Sara), Rebecca, Christina, and Drew; and great-grandchildren Nicolina and Thomas.

A memorial service was held Dec. 19. Memorial gifts may be made to The Girl Scouts of Delaware County, marked for camperships; or the American Red Cross. Online condolences may be made by visiting


Alice K. Regester, 84, of Toughkenamon, passed away on Dec. 16 at the Chester County Hospital.

She was the wife of George E. Regester III, who passed away in 1996, and with whom she shared 45 years of marriage. Born in West Chester, she was the daughter of the late Marion and Marian Baldwin Kershaw. She was a cafeteria aide for many years of the Kennett Consolidated School District. She was a member of St. Patrick’s Church in Kennett Square. She enjoyed baking, watching her family play sports, and especially being with her family and friends.

She was a loving mother to three sons, George E. Regester IV and his wife Joanne of Toughkenamon, Gary W. Regester of Kennett Square, and Steven H. Regester and his wife Kristi of Hockessin, Del.; three daughters, Dolores M. Regester of Avondale, Mary Kay R. Piergalline and her husband Michael of Kennett Square, and Patricia J. Regester of Toughkenamon; and loving grandmother to 12 grandchildren and 26 great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by two brothers, three sisters, and nieces and nephews.

A visitation with family and friends will be held from 8 to 10:30 a.m. Dec. 23 at the Kuzo & Grieco Funeral Home (250 W. State St., Kennett Square). Her funeral mass will follow at 11 a.m. at St. Patrick Church (212 Meredith St., Kennett Square). Burial will be in St. Patrick’s Cemetery.

In memory of Alice, a contribution may be made to St. Patrick Church, 205 Lafayette Street, Kennett Square, PA. Online condolences may be made by visiting


Fred J. Daddario, 90, of West Grove, passed away on Dec. 15 at his residence.

He was the husband of Dorothy Connor Daddario, with whom he shared 68 years of marriage. Born in West Grove, he was the son of the late Donato and Carmella DiBenedetto Daddario. Fred was a supervisor of the loading depot at Giorgio Foods in Avondale for 10 years, retiring in 1990. Prior to that, he was a self-employed mushroom grower. He was a member of Assumption BVM Church in West Grove. He was a lifetime member of the Avondale Fire Company, a founding member of the American Mushroom Institute, a former Boy Scout leader, and a Little League manager. He enjoyed boating, fishing, traveling, and being with his family and friends.

In addition to his wife, Fred is survived by five sons, Fred Daddario and his wife Shirley of Avondale, Michael Daddario and his wife Cathy of Cochranville, Steve Daddario and his wife Gail of Bowmansville, Bill Daddario and his wife Pat of West Grove, and Tim Daddario and his wife Carina of Kennett Square; three daughters, Susie Love and her husband Norman of Kemblesville, Marlene Wilson of West Grove, and Carmella Smith and her husband Randy of West Grove; two sisters, Mildred Ferraro of Kennett Square, and Mary Zunino of Kennett Square; 19 grandchildren; and 20 great-grandchildren. He is predeceased by one brother, Daniel Daddario; two sisters, Clara McMinn and Helen Kautz; and one grandson, Tim Daddario, Jr.

The family would like to extend a very special thank-you to the girls from Willow Tree Hospice. A visitation with family and friends will be held from 10 to 11:45 a.m. Dec. 22 at the Assumption BVM Church (300 State Rd., West Grove). His funeral mass will follow at noon. Burial will be in Longwood Cemetery. In memory of Fred, a contribution may be made to Assumption BVM Church, 300 State Rd., West Grove, PA 19390. Online condolences can be made by visiting


Stephen Wilson, 23, of West Grove, died on Dec. 15 at his home in West Grove.

Born in West Chester, he was the son of the late William Wilson of Chadds Ford and Stacy (Taggart) Keenan of West Grove. Stephen was a 2013 graduate of Avon Grove High School. Recently, he worked for Sycamore International in West Grove. He enjoyed target shooting with his brother Chris and uncle Don. He also enjoyed dirt bike riding, basketball, football and being with his many friends. Steven had a wonderful sense of humor, he was kind and he loved his brothers dearly. Stephen will be sadly missed by all how knew and loved him.

In addition to his mother, Stephen is survived by his stepfather, AJ; his maternal grandmother, Molly T. Pearse of Branchport N.Y.; his paternal grandfather, John C. Taggart of Hilton Head S.C.; his two brothers, Matthew Reeves and Christopher Wilson of West Grove; and many aunts, uncles and cousins. In addition to his father, he was predeceased by one brother, Michael Reeves, in 2002; and his cousin, Karlie Hall, in 2015.

A visitation with family and friends will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 21 at Willowdale Chapel (675 Unionville Rd., Kennett Square). A memorial service will follow at 7 p.m. Interment will be held privately. Contributions in Stephen’s memory may be made to Kacie’s Cause, 232 Longwood Road, Kennett Square, PA. 19348. To view Stephen’s online tribute and to share a memory with his family, visit