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Chester County Press

Obituaries for the week of Sept. 23

09/23/2019 01:31PM ● By J. Chambless


Earl Lawrence Melrath, Jr., 58, of New Castle, Del., formerly of Oxford, passed away on Sept. 17 at home.

Born in Lancaster, he was the son of the late Earl Lawrence, Sr., and Mona Scott Melrath.  Earl retired from Tastykake in Oxford. He was an outdoorsman who enjoyed fishing, and was an avid Philadelphia Eagles fan.

He is survived by one sister, Patricia J. Sarver (David) of New Castle, Del.; one stepdaughter, Jennifer Hemric of Oxford; and one step-granddaughter, Bryana.  He was preceded in death by two sisters, Teresa Compton and Jodi Melrath.

A funeral will be held at 7 p.m. Sept. 19 at the Edward L. Collins, Jr. Funeral Home, Inc. (86 Pine St., Oxford), where family and friends may visit from 6 to 7 p.m.  A Celebration Of  Life will be held for Earl on Sept. 22 at the Newark Elks Lodge (42 Elks Trail, New Castle, Del.) from 2 to 5 p.m. Online condolences may be made at


John R. Hillegass (Jack), 84, of Jenners Pond in West Grove, passed away peacefully at Preston Skilled Nursing Facility on Sept. 14, under the care of Willow Tree Hospice.

Born in Sellersville, Pa., Jack was the son of the late Russell M. Hillegass and Anna Rebecca Hillegass (née Fegley).  He is survived by his wife, Jean Ann Hillegass (née Hunsberger) with whom he shared 62-plus years of marriage. Also surviving are his daughter, Joan E. Buck and her husband Robert, and a son, Jeffrey M. Hillegass and his wife Lisa, along with eight grandchildren. He was predeceased by a son, John D. Hillegass.

Jack attended Souderton High School and Lehigh University, where he majored in chemical engineering, graduating with highest honors and becoming a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He started his working career at Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., in Allentown, then moved into computer analysis and publishing at Auerbach Corporation in Philadelphia. He was a cofounder of Datapro Research Corporation, which later became a division of McGraw-Hill, Inc. He retired from McGraw-Hill Corporation as a publishing executive.

Jack loved his family and enjoyed watching his grandchildren grow and mature. He loved travel and summers at the Jersey shore. He especially loved his church and served faithfully on many committees and in the church choir in whatever community he lived. He was an avid Eagles and Phillies fan, hoping and believing that each season would be "the winning year."

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Sept. 28 at St. Michael Lutheran Church (109 E. Doe Run Rd., Unionville). Family and friends are invited to a light luncheon which will be served after the service. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in his memory to: Fisher Center for Alzheimer's Research Foundation, 110 East 42nd St., New York, NY 10017,; or to the Lutheran World Relief, PO Box 17061, Baltimore, MD 21297-1061,;  or to St Michael Lutheran Church Memorial Fund, PO Box 178, Unionville, PA  19375. To view his online tribute or to share a memory with his family, visit


Raymond Edward Paisley, Sr., 79, of Landenberg, passed away on Sept. 16.

Ray shared a beautiful marriage with his wife, Nancy (Cottrell) Paisley. They just celebrated their 58th anniversary. Born in Chester County Hospital, he was the son of the late James Herchell Paisley and the late Jessie Williams. Raymond is survived by his wife, Nancy; two daughters, Wendy (Steve) Reynolds, and Cathy (Ray) Broadwater; his sisters Lillian Robins and Margaret Hopkins; four  grandchildren; as well as one great-granddaughter. He was predeceased by his son, Raymond Paisley, Jr.; sister, Faye Paisley; and brothers, Donald, James, Joseph and Vernon Paisley.

Raymond started his career at Hewlett Packard before moving to Holitron and then retiring from DuPont in 1997. Ray enjoyed hunting, fishing, archery, and shooting his muzzleloader. He was an avid amateur radio operator and helped at the hospitals with emergency services. He also enjoyed doing woodworking projects, gardening, and spending time at the beach with his family. Ray was loveable and kindhearted and was always available to help family and friends.

A funeral was held Sept. 23. Interment was in Union Hill Cemetery in Kennett Square. Contributions in Ray’s memory may be made to the American Cancer Society, 1818 Market Street, Suite 2820, Philadelphia, PA 19103. To view his online tribute and to share a memory with his family, visit


Bonita “Bonnie” Eller, 71, of West Grove, passed away on Sept. 18 at her  residence.

Born in West Chester, she was the daughter of the late George E. Davis and the late Avalon Hutchinson Davis. She was a horticulturist for Pratt’s Greenhouse in Avondale before her retirement. Bonnie enjoyed writing poems, gardening, was an avid reader, and loved being with her family and friends.

She is survived by one daughter, Rita “Cathy” Claycomb and her significant other, Charles Gardner; one granddaughter; one sister, Rita Hughes and her husband David; four nieces, Kimberly Seldombridge; Kristen Smith and her son Cooper, Tabitha King and her husband Robert and son Alex, and Rebecca Best and her husband Bill. Bonnie was predeceased by one sister, Catherine Best.

A gathering of family and friends will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Sept. 28 at the Kennett Square VFW Post 5467 (704 West Baltimore Pike, Kennett Square). In lieu of flowers, a contribution may be made to the American Diabetes Association, 150 Monument Road, Suite 100, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004. To view her online tribute and to share a memory with her family, visit


James H. Lindsey, Jr. 89, of Lincoln University, passed away on Sept. 19 at home.

He was the husband of Patricia Mintmier Lindsey. Born in 1930 in Boothwyn, he was the son of the late James Hayes, Sr., and Violet McGarvey Lindsey.  James was a member of the First Baptist Church of Oxford. He retired from the Oxford Area School District maintenance department in 2000. He graduated from Oxford Area High School class of 1947. He enjoyed woodworking, reading and spending time with his family.

He is survived by his wife; one stepson, Edward Pfeil; one stepdaughter, Cheryl Ann Danzl, both of Johnstown; two grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by three brothers, John, Robert and Richard; and two sisters, Margaret and Ella Jean.

A funeral was held Sept. 23. Interment will be in Benshoff Hill Cemetery in Johnstown, Pa. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to Brandywine River Valley Home Health & Hospice, 121 Bell Tower Lane, Oxford, PA 19363. Online condolences may be made at