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Chester County Press

Obituaries for March 22

03/21/2021 11:27PM ● By Steven Hoffman


Sybil Hillman Pike, of Kennett Square, passed away on March 9 at the Crosslands Retirement Community. She was 91.

Born in Atlantic City, NJ, she was the daughter of the late Julian Hillman and the late Madeleine Krauskopf Hillman.

Sybil was a retired research librarian at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. for over 15 years.

She, along with her partner Doris Grumbach, owned and operated Wayward Books, a very well know and respected book store in Washington, D.C.

She was an avid reader, an  avid gardener and enjoyed being with her family and friends. Her bookstore was her life.

Sybil is survived by one son, Christopher A. Pike and his wife Denise of Medina, OH; daughters, Susan M. Pike and her husband Robert Kopecky of Cathedral City, CA,  Carol Ann Pike Kostecki and her husband Robert of Hudson, NH, Mary E. Pike Azam of Three Bridges, NJ; eight grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and her partner, Doris Grumbach.

She was predeceased by one sister, Susan Hillman Becker and two brothers, James Hillman and Joel Hillman.

A Memorial service at Crosslands Retirement Community will be held at a later date.

To view her online tribute and to share a memory with her family, please visit

Ralph Lincoln Walls

Ralph L. Walls, 85, passed away peacefully and comfortably in his home while surrounded by his family and friends on March 12. 

He was retired from NVF, where he worked for more than 20 years.

Ralph, also known as Jack and Papaw, loved fishing, camping, western movies, wrestling, blue grass music and country music. He also loved family gatherings, especially with the grandkids. He also loved to cook out on his grill.

He is survived by his brother, Dean Walls (and his wife Jane) of Damascus, VA; two daughters, Geri Hicks (and her husband, Lary) of West Grove and Jackie Owens Weaver (and significant other  Shannon Arnold) of Oxford.

He is also survived by one granddaughter, Jamie Byrd (and significant other  Russell Williams); one grandson, Dennis Byrd (and wife Desiree) of TN; two great-granddaughters, Sabreena Byrd (and fiancé Alex Pollard) of MD, and Makenzi Byrd (and significant other Dustin); five great-grandsons, Anthony, Cody, Aidan, Colt, and Dennis, Jr.; one step great-granddaughter, Scarlett; two great-great granddaughters, Bella and Zoé;  and one great-great grandson, Bryson.

He is proceeded in death by his wife, Lettie Mae Walls, daughter, Phyllis Diane Walls and siblings.

He was loved by many and will be missed by all.

Services are private due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Ralph’s nephew, Rev. James Walls of Virginia, officiated the service.

Special thanks to Geri, his daughter, for continuously caring for him each and every day, his sister-in-law, Helena Icenhour for always being a call away, and to Anthony Byrd and Paige Sullins for taking such great care of papaw these past few months, along with family, friends, and Willow Tree Hospice.

In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to the funeral home to offset funeral expenses.

Arrangements are being handled by the Edward L. Collins, Jr. Funeral Home, Inc. in Oxford.

Online condolences may be made at

Grace Gorchinsky

Grace (Mease) Gorchinsky, 99, passed away on Feb. 24, just two months shy of her 100th birthday. 

She was born to Jacob and Matilda Mease on April 29, 1921 in Springfield Township, Pa.

Grace was one of 13 siblings. 

She was the wife of the late John Gorchinsky. They were married for 66 years. 

Grace was a member of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church. 

Prior to her retirement, Grace worked as a seamstress for Ship n Shore Blouse Factory in Richlandtown. 

Her great joy after retiring was mowing her lawn on her John Deere tractor, which she did until she sold her home and moved into the Village at Lifequest at the age of 98. 

Grace became a loved member at the Village of Lifequest, and she loved them the same. Surviving Grace is her sister, Alma Slotter, her son, Fred (Linda), daughter, Pat (Lou, deceased), grandsons, Eric, Mark (Sadie), and Douglas (Terri), and great-grandchildren, Holly, Daniel, Aaron, Ryan, and Nico. 

Grace will be missed by all who knew her and loved her. 

Services will be private.

Patrick James Fasano

Patrick James Fasano, a man who dedicated his life to showing his love of nature through activism and art, died on Feb. 26. He was 67.  

Pat was the husband of Maribeth Salvati Fasano, with whom he shared 45 years of marriage.

Born 1953 in New Brunswick, NJ, he was the son of the late Carmelo G. Fasano and the late Frieda Minore Fasano.

Pat earned his forestry and wildlife biology degree from West Virginia University. He went on to work at Skytop Lodge in Canadensis, Pa. as the resident naturalist and forester. 

In 1989, Pat became the watershed superintendent for the Chester Water Authority (CWA) plant in Nottingham and quickly began rebuilding grassroots support for preserving and protecting the natural and historic resources of the Octoraro. He also was responsible for reinvigorating the Octoraro Watershed Association and served on the board of directors for nearly 30 years as the recording secretary, writing grants to fund outreach and stream improvement.  

Pat worked for the CWA until 1998 when he opened his own business, Comprehensive Land Services, a holistic land management company integrating forestry, open space, wildlife, and agricultural management. His clients included private landowners, land trusts, municipalities, utility companies, and large corporations.

One of Pat’s most lasting legacies was his outreach to the Amish community. With farmer Henry Beiler as a liaison, he visited countless farms, learning about their concerns and working to encourage best farm management practices. He spoke about the program to other groups who wished to replicate its success, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 

He was an artist, photographer, fisherman, and wood carver. Also a gifted musician, Pat found great joy in getting together with friends in Maryland to play music. 

In addition to his wife, Pat is survived by his daughter, Angela Norman and her husband, Richard (Rick) of Manassas, VA; two grandsons, who lovingly referred to him as “Fuzz,” Everson and Stellan Norman; his aunt, Grace Adamski and her husband, Andy; his brothers and sisters-in-law, Eric Frantz, Laura and Bruce Coburn, Carol and Jim Spry, Doug and Jennifer Salvati, Roger and Krista Salvati, Robin and Patrick Boinest, Gigi and Rob Papazian; nieces, nephews, great-nephews and great-nieces; as well as many cousins and friends. 

Pat was predeceased by his sister-in-law, Barbara Frantz.

A celebration of Pat’s life will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 5 at Nottingham County Park, 150 Park Road, Nottingham, PA 19362.            

In lieu of flowers, Pat’s family kindly requests that donations be made to any organization that seeks to preserve and protect the environment.  

Ann Marie Muniz

Ann Marie Muniz passed away peacefully on March 10 at her home in Oxford after a courageous battle with cancer. 

She was born in Arizona on Oct. 23, 1960 to James (Jim) and Namie Davenport. 

Throughout her life, Ann changed the lives of everyone around her. She was a caregiver and role model for many, known for her generosity and compassion. 

She loved arts and crafts and music of all genres, but spending time with her family was what brought her the most joy. As a woman of many skills and vast wisdom, Ann was a mother figure for more than just her three children. She had a very warm, kindhearted personality and was very sociable. It seemed that she knew someone no matter where she went. 

Ann did a lot of hard work as a paralegal and held leadership positions in her community. She passionately stood up and fought for the rights of others and the environment. She won an award for her contributions in getting clean water for her community in Downers Grove, Illinois. 

She also regularly volunteered for many organizations and was a Girl Scout leader for both of her daughters’ troops. 

Ann was loved and respected by many and she lives on through the impact she made on all those who knew her. 

She is survived by her husband, Ed;  one son, Aaron;  and two daughters, Emily and Alicia. 

Arrangements are being handled by the Edward L. Collins, Jr. Funeral Home, Inc. in Oxford. Online condolences may be made at

George William Van Buskirk

George William Van Buskirk, 60, of Nottingham, passed away on March 17.

He was the husband of Bonnie A. Zubris Van Buskirk.

Born in Coatesville, he was the son of the late William O. and Margaret A. Beaver Van Buskirk. 

George retired in 2020 as an industrial arts teacher for the Coatesville School District after 36 years of service.

He enjoyed the outdoors, woodworking, landscaping and grilling. 

He is survived by his wife; two daughters, Nicole Ann Van Buskirk of Thorndale and Briana Marie Van Buskirk of San Jose, CA; three sisters, Noreen McLucas of Morgantown, Margaret Showalter of Gap and Dolly Anderson of Orangeville, Pa.; and one brother, Ernest Van Buskirk of HI. 

Friends and family may visit from 10  to 11 a.m. on Wednesday, March 24 at the Edward L. Collins, Jr. Funeral Home, Inc., 86 Pine St. in Oxford.

Services and interment will be private.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758516, Topeka, Kansas 66675-8516.

Arrangements are being handled by the Edward L. Collins, Jr. Funeral Home, Inc. in Oxford.

Online condolences may be made at

Meldora Ann Phipps

Meldora Ann Phipps, 72, of Newark, Del., passed away on March 10 at Christiana Hospital with her family by her side.

Born in West Chester, Pa., she was the daughter of the late Willie and Gency Phipps. She graduated from Kennett High School and received her associates degree from Wilmington University.

She was an electronics technician working for Agilent Technologies, formerly Hewlett-Packard instrumentation division, retiring after 38 years of service. She always looked forward to the retiree lunch get-togethers and cherished the friendships she made over the years.

She accepted Christ as a member of Faith Tabernacle Church in Oxford and was a remote member of Impact Church in Detroit, MI. 

She enjoyed travel, online shopping for the latest technology and gadgets and more importantly, she loved spoiling her grandsons. For the last 25 years, she never missed a year visiting her Michigan family and bringing the latest and greatest gifts in tow.

Survivors include one daughter, Kimberly Knox (and her husband Kurmmell) of Roseville MI; two grandsons, Kristian and Kameron Knox; one brother Clifton Phipps (and his wife Janice) of Newark Del.; niece, Tysha Hackett (husband Monte); niece, Candace Geipel (husband Rob); and a host of great-nieces, great-nephews, and cousins.

Services and interment at Union Hill Cemetery in Kennett Square will be held privately.  

In lieu of flowers, tribute gift contributions in honor of her memory may be made to the American Lung Association.

Arrangements are being handled by Grieco Funeral Home & Crematory, Inc. (1800-FUNERAL) and