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Chester County Press

Obituaries for the week of Feb. 5

02/05/2018 02:14PM ● 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


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 was held Jan. 31. Interment was 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.

A funeral was held Feb. 2. Interment was in Oxford Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Cancer Society. Online condolences may be made at


John W. Wren, 96, of Duncannon, Pa., passed away on Jan. 25 at the Stonebridge Health and Rehab Center in Duncannon.

Born in 1921 in Philadelphia, John was the son of the late John W. and Laura (Hamilton) Wren. He was married to Virginia (Ginnie) C. Wren. They were happily married for 69 years. John and Virginia had two children – a daughter, Deborah Townley with husband Phil of Duncannon, and a son John, also of Duncannon. John and Virginia have four grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. John has a sister Margaret Michener of Oxford. He will be remembered with love as a wonderful husband, father, brother and grandfather.

John was a Sargeant in the U.S. Army, where he served from 1945-1947 in Frankfurt, Germany. He was a Quaker and member of the West Grove Religious Society of Friends. He was a member of the New London Masonic Lodge 545. He recently received his 70-year pin and was a 32nd degree Mason. He also served on the Avon Grove School Board for 12 years. John owned and operated J.W. Wren Signs in West Grove for over 50 years. His signs covered many parts of the tri-state area. John loved tennis, which he taught and played until he was 85. He also enjoyed traveling.

Services will be held at a later date.


Dotorhy Eleanor Hall Cromwell, 93, of West Grove, fell asleep in death on Jan. 29 after several years of suffering with dementia.

She was born in Monkton, Md., and met and married Ed Cromwell in 1940. Ed preceded her in death in 2004, after 64 years of happy togetherness. The two moved to the Avon Grove/West Grove area, where together they raised their family. Dorothy had so many happy memories with her marriage, her children and her faith in Jehovah at the top of the list.

They have eight children, four sons-in-law, two daughters-in-law, 19 grandchildren, 38 great-grandchildren, nine great-great-grandchildren, and a whole host of nieces, nephews, and spiritual brothers and sisters.

In 1956, Dorothy was baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. She spent 61 years sharing with others the Good News of God’s Kingdom. As a result, she had many letters of recommendation.

A visitation will be held from noon to 1 p.m. Feb. 10 at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses (3470 Gap Newport Pike, Chatham). Her memorial service will follow at 1 p.m. Burial will be private.

In lieu of flowers, a contribution may be made to Jehovah’s Witnesses ( or to Neighborhood Hospice, 795 East Marshall Street, Suite 204, West Chester, PA 19380. To view her online tribute or to share a memory with family, visit


Suzanne "Sue" Howard, daughter of the late Gus and Anna Vansice Hornberger, was born in Philadelphia in 1936. She entered eternal life on Jan. 30 at the Greg & Noreen Wells Hospice Center in Hazard, Ky., at the age of 81.

She married the late Robert "Bob" Howard, Sr., in 1953 in Prospect Park, Pa. They were the Letcher County representatives as missionaries at Camp Nathanael for many years. She was a member of the Mayking Baptist Church and an associate member of the Happy Bible Church in Happy, Ky. She was also a member of the Victorious Women Group. Suzanne enjoyed many things in life, such as traveling, cooking and baking, playing piano, crafts, shopping, teaching Bible lessons, and especially being the dining room hostess at Camp Nathanael. She was a loving mother, grandmother and friend to all who knew her.
She is survived by two sons, Phillip (Barbie) Howard of West Grove, and Robert (Donna) Howard Jr. of Whitesburg, Ky.; one daughter, Elizabeth "Betty" Haupt (Richard) of Hagerstown, Md.; nine grandchildren; three step-grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; and seven step-great-grandchildren.
Also surviving are a host of other relatives and friends to mourn her passing. She was preceded in death by two sons, David Howard and Matthew Howard; one brother, Charles Hornberger; and two sisters, Kay Jacobs and Margaret Humphreys.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Greg & Noreen Wells Hospice Center in Hazard, Ky., or Camp Nathanel in Emmalena, Ky. Visit