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Chester County Press

Obituaries for the week of March 14

03/12/2022 05:12PM ● By Steven Hoffman

Bertie Underwood

Bertie Underwood, of Cochranville, passed away on Feb. 28 at Chester County Hospital in West Chester. She was 92.

She was the wife of the late Luther Underwood, Jr.  

Born in West Grove, she was the daughter of the late Millard Willis and Mamie Johnson Willis Pate.  

She was employed with Southern Chester County Medical Center in West Grove in sterile processing for 44 years. She retired in 2012.

Bertie always had an open door for everyone and was very motherly.  She enjoyed feeding everyone and took care of many. 

She is survived by five children, Norman L. Underwood (Becky) of Bloomfield, NY, Catherine Buzalewski (Robert) of Reinholds, Pa., Joseph C. Underwood (Marie) of West Grove, Nancy Astheimer of Cochranville, and Robert P. Underwood (Catherine) of New Holland, Pa.; thirteen grandchildren; numerous great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild.

She was preceded in death by one son, David F. Underwood, Sr and five siblings, Elsie Onks, Bessie Barnett, Chester Willis, Richard, Pate and Kenneth Pate.  

Funeral services were held on March 5 at the Edward L. Collins, Jr. Funeral Home, Inc. in Oxford.

Interment will be in Oxford Cemetery. 

In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory may be made to the American Kidney Fund at or West Grove Ambulance, 102 Walnut Ave., West Grove, PA 19390.

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

John Franklin Evans

John Franklin Evans, 67, of Nottingham, died on Feb. 27 while at his home.

John was born December 23, 1954 in Havre de Grace, Md., the son of Jennie May McCoury Evans of Nottingham and the late Billy John Evans.

He attended Oxford Area High School and continued his education at Eastern Nazarene College, MA with a bachelor’s degree in business.  

His interests included selling cars, attending car shows, spending time at the park, hiking with his dogs, watching old tv shows, enjoying nature and spending time with his family. He was a member of the Oxford Church of the Nazarene.

He is survived by his mother, Jennie Evans; one brother, Daniel Evans; two sisters, Bobbi Townsend (Andrew) and Judy Evans; several nieces and nephews; and long-life partner, Jane Benditt. 

He was preceded in death by a sister, Donna Ham.

A graveside service was held on March 4 at Oxford Cemetery in Oxford.

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

Online condolences may be made at

Joseph Donald McHoul

Joseph Donald McHoul was called home by the Lord on March 1 while at his home in West Grove.  

He was born in Philadelphia on July 25, 1939, the son of Andrew Joseph and Josephine (Cieslak) McHoul. He was the older brother of Patricia (McHoul) Dougherty of Philadelphia.  

Joe attended John Paul Jones Junior High School, and Central High School in Philadelphia, graduating as part of Class 208 in 1957.  

After high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, with deployments including Lebanon in 1958. During his time in the military, he reached the rank of corporal, which was also his rank at the time of his honorable discharge.  Joe then attended Temple University, earning a degree in metallurgy.  

Joe married Charlotte Rizzo in 1960. They shared 61 years of marriage and they had four children: Cherylann (Damian) Harding; Jeffrey Andrew McHoul (Sara); Caryn Marie Wallis (Damon); and Heather Jo Smalley (Richard). They also had nine grandchildren:  Ian Michael Harding (Jamee),  Justin Nicholas Harding (Erin), Kelsey Lynne Harding; Zachary Joseph McHoul,  Joshua Dennis McHoul,  Emma Louise McHoul; Aiden Mitchell Wallis; Sophia Angelina Smalley, and Nicholas Mason Smalley; as well as numerous nieces and nephews.  

Joe was a long time member of the Delaware County Camera Club, the Clan MacDougall Society, and a dedicated member of the Saint Gabriel of the Sorrowful Mother Parish in Avondale, where served as head lector. He had the uncanny ability to fix or repair almost anything he put his hands on. 

He derived the most pleasure from spending time with his family and being "Dado" to his nine grandchildren, with whom he especially enjoyed family vacations at his favorite spot in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  

A Mass of Christian Burial was held at the Saint Gabriel's Church on March 8.

Interment will be private.  

As per his request, memorial contributions can be made to the Alzheimer's Disease Research

22512 Gateway Center Drive, PO Box 1950, Clarksburg, MD  20871-1950 or by visiting

Please visit Joe McHoul's online memorial at  

Nancy L. Herb

Nancy L. Herb,  of Oxford, passed away on March 5 at Twin Pines Health Care Center in West Grove. She was 82.

Born in Oxford, she was the daughter of the late Betty Herr Reburn. 

Nancy retired as a line inspector from Columbia Gas in Oxford.

She is survived by one daughter, Kathy Phillips (Brian Hall) of NC; two sons, Robert L. Herb, Jr. (Tracy) of Oxford and Alan Herb (Linda) of Ocean City, Md; seven grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren. 

Services will be held at a later date.

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

Daniel E. Gift

Daniel E. Gift, a resident of Landenberg, passed away on March 6 at Penn Hospice Rittenhouse in Philadelphia.  

He was the husband of Sonya Gift, with whom he shared 32 years of marriage.  

Born in Oceanside Calif., he was a son of the late Charles “Bubby” Gift and the late Charlotte Peirson Gift. 

Dan was a 1973 graduate of Avon Grove High School and Central Chester County Vo-Tech where he learned the machine shop trade.

Dan lived for most of his life in Landenberg, which played a major part in his being passionate about farming, fly fishing, and hunting. 

For most of his working life, he was an auto mechanic but his interest in mechanics extended far beyond that. Dan would work on anything from cars and trucks to tractors and lawn mowers to practically anything with a motor. Even if it wasn’t running, he would make it work, even if he had to make the parts himself.

Dan was a restless spirit, always needing to be doing something. Some of his other interests included wood working (especially lathe turning), fly tying, sketching, and air brush painting.  Dan truly enjoyed gathering with family and friends, good conversations, and he was always quick with a laugh and a joke.

In addition to his wife Sonya, he is survived by four children, Ruby Brison (and her husband Rj) of Landenberg, Daniel Gift of TX, Angela Dalton (and her husband Justin) of NC, and David Gift (and his wife Brittany) of NC.

He is also survived by two brothers, Chris Gift (and his wife Nancy) of New London and Jamie Gift (and his wife Terry) of Virginia, one sister, Cynthia Gift, and four grandchildren. 

His Life Celebration Service was held on March 11.  

Interment will be in the adjoining cemetery.  

In lieu of flowers,  go outside and appreciate nature, kiss a puppy, and tell someone a joke.

Arrangements are being handled by Grieco Funeral Home & Crematory Inc. of Kennett Square (484-734-8100).

To view his online tribute, please visit

Robert Eugene Walton

Robert Eugene Walton passed away on March 7 at his home in Oxford. He was 57.

Born in Narvon, Pa., he was the son of the late Thomas Earl and Virginia Walton. 

Robert was a retired truck driver. He enjoyed hunting and watching old western movies.

He is survived by his longtime companion, Peggy Patterson; one son, Robert E. Patterson of Oxford; one daughter, Peggy Sue Patterson-Arroyo (Carlos) of Nottingham; one step-son, Samuel Crawford Patterson (Angie) of NJ; six grandchildren; one great-granddaughter; one brother, Tom Walton; and three sisters, Shirley Walton, Virginia Walton and Judy Walton.

He was preceded in death by a daughter, Priscilla Patterson; one grandson, Sammy; and two brothers, Michael Walton and Toby Walton

Funeral services were held on March 11 at the Edward L. Collins, Jr. Funeral Home, Inc. in Oxford.

Interment will be private

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

Online condolences may be made at

Abraham Rodriguez Lopez

Abraham Rodriguez Lopez, 35, of Nottingham, PA passed away on March 7 while at home. 

He was the husband of Maria Clara N. Hernandez Perez.  

Born in Leon, Mexico, he was the son of Ismael Rodriguez and Rosa O. Lopez of Oxford. 

He was a member of St. Rocco Church in Avondale.

He is survived by his wife; parents; one son, Angel Rodriguez; two daughters, Gianna Rodriguez and Mia Rodriguez; three brothers, Ismael Rodriguez, Rodrigo Rodriguez and Jose A. Rodriguez; and two sisters, Norma Rodriguez and Irma Rodriguez. 

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on March 10 at St. Rocco’s Church in Avondale.

Interment will be private. 

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

Alice Rowe Delduco

Alice Rowe Delduco, a longtime resident of Kennett Square, passed away on Feb. 27 at Crosslands Retirement Community in Kennett Square, where she had lived since 2001. She was 92.

Alice was predeceased by her husband, A. Alfred “Fritz” Delduco after 52 years of marriage.

Born in Philadelphia, she was the daughter of the late Alice G. and James J. Rowe.

Alice was a graduate of Douglass Women’s College, now a part of Rutgers University. She raised five children, four boys, two of whom were twins, and a daughter. She has three grandchildren.

She was a lifelong birder and traveled the world for bird watching, visiting places like New Zealand, Hawaii, Costa Rica, Africa and the Caribbean Islands. She loved spending time with her family and friends in Cape May. She especially enjoyed bird watching in Cape May during the annual bird migrations. Alice was also an avid gardener.

Alice is survived by four sons, David (and wife Laure’), of Decatur, GA; Dennis (and his wife Anecia) of Oxford, Daniel (and wife Michele) of Cochranville and James (and his wife Traci) of Owens Cross Roads, AL;  her daughter, Patricia Ann Delduco of Coatesville; and three grandchildren, Melanie, Lilliana and Anthony John “Jack” Delduco.

A Mass of Christian Burial was held at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Kennett Square on March 9. Interment was held at St. Patrick Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, Alice’s family requests donations be made to the National Audubon Society, ATTN: Donations, 225 Varick Street, 7th floor, New York, NY 10014 or to the Special Olympics, ATTN: Gifts, 1133 19th Street NW, 12th Floor, Washington, DC 20036‐3604.

Arrangements are being handled by Kuzo Funeral Home of Kennett Square.

Rafaella J. Sestrich

Rafaella “Ella” J. Sestrich, 95, of Kennett Square died on March 1 at the Friends Home in Kennett Square.

Born in Brooklyn, NY in 1926, she was the daughter of the late Josephine Marchese and Joseph Castorina. She graduated from Lafayette High School in Brooklyn.

Ella and her late husband Francis J. Sestrich owned and operated Sestrich’s Country Market for 25 years in Unionville, where it became a cornerstone of the community and renowned for Ella’s delicious soup recipes.

In 2008, she co-wrote a book with her dear friend Mary Larkin Dugan called “East Linden Street, A History, Abolition, Industry, & Diversity in Kennett Square, PA,” a brief work on a street in Kennett Square that has been integrated for over 160 years, with emphasis on its abolitionist background.

At the age of 93, she was determined to stay alive in order to finish a book about their store and succeeded in self-publishing with the help of friends & family “The Story of Sestrich’s Country Market – Friendship, Food, Fox-Hunting & ‘Facts’.” Both books are currently out-of-print but they are available for lending at the Kennett Library in Kennett Square.

Before running the store, Ella was a paraprofessional in the Language and Business Department for three years at Unionville High School passing down her wisdom to the younger generations.

Ella and Fran created a beautiful family and had a large group of friends from many diverse ages and backgrounds. Her resilience was unmatched, even when faced with a cancer diagnosis that she ultimately survived. Her motto in life was to “always say yes to the world!” and was constantly willing to try new things. Her only regret was that she wished she had been more “naughty” in her earlier years. That being said, she enjoyed many social events and almost always ended up becoming the life of any party she was a part of. She had an ever-curious intellect and wonderfully positive attitude that had touched so many.

Ella adored riding on her favorite horse Lady Clairol when she was younger. She enjoyed reading, Frank Sinatra, opera music, and cooking selflessly for anyone who needed a meal. She was always willing to fill in to play bridge, her all-time favorite card game. Even at 80 years old, she would roller skate in her basement; articles were even written about her in local and Philadelphia newspapers due to her sprightly dexterity. She formed a local Shakespeare reading club and assisted in compiling numerous histories of houses in the area. Ella was a docent for the Underground Railroad Museum in Chester County. She also assisted with the making of the Unionville community quilt.

She regularly attended St. Malachi Chapel which is a part of the “Our Lady of Consolation Parish” in Parkesburg, Pa.

Ella was predeceased by her husband Francis, and her older brother Thomas Nestor. She is survived by her younger sister, Elaine Trincone of Valley Stream, NY; by her sons and their wives, Michael and Ann Sestrich of Johns Creek, GA, Daniel and Liisa Sestrich of Point Pleasant, NJ, Joseph Sestrich and his partner Camille Faust of West Chester, Pa.; grandchildren Brian Sestrich, Lauren Byrne, Matthew Sestrich, Kariina Rand, Timothy Sestrich, Andrew Sestrich, Dave Sestrich, and Kaila Rand; and six great-grandchildren.

Services were held on March 11 at St. Malachi Catholic Church in Cochranville. Interment followed at St. Malachi’s adjoining cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, please send a donation in her memory to “The Friends Home in Kennett, Residence Assistance Fund,” 147 State Street, Kennett Square, PA 19348.

Arrangements are being handled by Kuzo Funeral Home in Kennett Square.

Helen Nickle Thompson

Helen Nickle Thompson, a resident of Creston, NC and formerly of Oxford, passed away on March 2. She was 96.

She was the wife of the late Raymond C. Thompson, with whom she shared 55 years of marriage.

Helen was born in Zion, Md. to the late Ernest J. Nickle and Edna Harris Nickle. She lived in the Oxford  and West Grove area until the past 17 years, when she moved to Creston, NC to live with her daughter and son-in-law.

She was an active member of Chatham United Methodist Church, before moving to North Carolina. 

Helen enjoyed reading, needlework and crossword puzzles. In her younger years, she and Raymond grew a large garden which she canned her vegetables for the following winter.

She is survived by her daughter, Dorothy Thompson Lewis (Clyde) of Creston, NC; two grandchildren, Chad Anderson and Kristy Anderson Corona both of Creston, NC; one step-grandson, Joe Lewis of Elkton, Md.; one great-grandson, Nevon Corona of Creston, NC; four step-great-grandchildren, Molly Marchesani and Katie Marchesani both of Lancaster CO and Asia Lewis and Anthony Carlette both of Rising Sun, Md.; four brothers, Harold Nickle of Rising Sun, Md., Joe Nickle of Bear, Del., George Nickle (Sally) of Quarryville, Elmer Nickle (Faye) of Newark, Del.; two sisters, Viola Carter (Dave) of Oxford and Monica Naylor (Jack) of Willow Street; and several nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by three brothers, Sam Nickle, Dave Nickle and Howard Nickle; two sisters, Mary Hall and Doris Chapman; and step-granddaughter, Maryann Lewis Marchesani.

Funeral services will be held at noon on Friday, March 18 at the Edward L. Collins, Jr. Funeral Home, Inc., 86 Pine St. in Oxford, where friends and family may visit from 10 a.m. to noon.

Interment will be in Oxford Cemetery.

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