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Chester County Press

Obituaries for the week of December 26

12/26/2022 02:15PM ● By Steven Hoffman

Ruth Ann Lathrop

Ruth Ann Lathrop (nee Kronenwetter) was born on Jan. 28, 1934, and passed away on Dec. 15, 2022, after a long battle with Multiple Sclerosis. She was 88.

Ruth is preceded in death by her husband, Dr. John B Lathrop, DDS. They shared 49 years of marriage. She is also preceded in death by her sister, Joan Tompkins and her parents, Margaret (Bloom) and Harold Kronenwetter.

Ruth is survived by her sons, John B. Lathrop Jr. (Stacy) of Nottingham, and James D. Lathrop (Dana) of Chesterfield, MO.  Ruth had three grandchildren, Zachary, Abby (Jacob Towler), and Nicholas.

Ruth was born in Emporium, Pa. and went to Emporium High School, where she met John. She attended Penn State University, was a member of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority, named Homecoming Queen in 1956 and graduated with an education degree. Ruth taught physical education, loved sports and was an advocate for women in sports and a trailblazer to get women involved in sports in the 1950s and 1960s. John and Ruth lived for many years in West Chester, where they raised their family, regularly boated on the Chesapeake Bay, and enjoyed traveling abroad.

Ruth had a number of careers throughout her life. She was a high school teacher, an executive for the American Red Cross and a successful realtor. She was fortunate to be the marketing manager for Stoltzfus Enterprises during the development of the Summerfield community in Elverson, Pa.  Ruth never met a stranger and loved meeting all of the new faces and families moving into Summerfield. She was named “Best Salesperson” in Chester and Delaware counties in 1993. She enjoyed planning activities for the neighborhood and getting the community involved in social events and fundraisers.

Ruth volunteered frequently. She worked on cruise ships doing crafts, loved teaching flower arranging and spent many years volunteering for the American Red Cross.

Ruth spent the last few years of her life at Tel Hai Retirement Center. The family is thankful for the nurses and caregivers that helped her through the challenging last years of her life.

A memorial service for Ruth will be held at Tel Hai Retirement Center in Honey Brook, Pa. on Friday, Jan. 6, 2023, at 3 p.m.  A celebration of life will be held at the Summerfield Community Center, Elverson, Pa.,  on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.  All are welcome.  

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society or to the Greenmoore Farm Animal Rescue, 246 Clonmell Upland Road, West Grove, PA 19390. 

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

Douglas W. McDowell

Douglas W. McDowell, of Oxford, passed away on Dec. 11, 2022 at Union Hospital in Elkton, Md. He was 57.

He was the husband of the late Lori Skelton McDowell, with whom he shared 25 years of marriage.

Born in West Grove, he was the son of Joyce Phillips McDowell of Oxford and the late Paul H. McDowell.

Douglas was employed as a supervisor at Chester County Prison for over 30 years.

He was a member of Bethany Presbyterian Church in Oxford.

Douglas was an avid hunter.  

He is survived by his mother and three children, Katherine Engelhardt (Matthew) of Elkton, Md., Kristine McDowell of West Chester and Paul McDowell of Newark, Del. He is also survived by two grandchildren, Kinsley Engelhardt and Benjamin Engelhardt and two sisters, Donna K. McDowell and Denise M. McDowell, both of Oxford.

Services are private.

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


Aida Rivera Agron passed away on Dec. 14, 2022 at her residence in Avondale. She was 91.

Born in Añasco, Puerto Rico, she was the daughter of the late Jose Rivera and the late Claudina Agron.

Aida was a homemaker and she enjoyed dancing, singing, and being with her family and friends. She was always happy and had a big smile on her face.

She loved the Lord and was a Catholic.

Aida is survived by her children, Luis Agron of Puerto Rico, Ruben Agron of Florida, Evelyn Agron (Daniel Valentin) of Kennett Square, Migdalia Agron of Puerto Rico, Nereida Agron of Puerto Rico,  Aida Agron of Avondale, Vilma Agron (Manuel Figueroa)  of Puerto Rico, and Ivan Agron (Lissette Valentin) of Puerto Rico. She is also survived by her brothers, Roberto Arroyo and William Arroyo, both of Puerto Rico, 15 grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren.

She was predeceased by four children Ivette, Orlando, Ovelia and Edemira; one brother, Miguel Agron, and four sisters, Naty Rivera, Maria Rivera, Monse Rivera and Amelia Rivera.

Her funeral mass was held on Dec. 20 at the St. Rocco Catholic Church. Burial will be in St. Patrick’s Cemetery, Route 82, in Kennett Square.

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

John T. O’Connell

John Thomas “Jack” O'Connell, of Harbeson, Del., passed away peacefully on Dec. 6 at his home surrounded by his loving family. He was 84.

Born in Pottsville, Pa., he was the son of the late John O'Connell and the late Gertrude (McLaughlin) O'Connell. He was the husband of the late Julia Theresa O'Connell, who died in 2017, and with whom he shared 51 years of marriage. 

Jack graduated from West Catholic High School in 1958 and earned his associates degree in accounting from Goldey-Beacom College.  

The family raised their four children in Unionville. Jack retired in 2006 after 30 years at Amtrak. Jack and Julie retired to Harbeson, Del. where they enjoyed many years. Jack came to be known as the “grill master” at all neighborhood parties, he was the go-to guy when needing something fixed, and was a great friend to many.

Jack was an avid Nascar, Phillies, Flyers, and Eagles fan.  He never missed a race or a game.  He enjoyed making “bets” with his son, John every Sunday, and going to the Dover races with his brother, Jimmy twice a year along with many other events.  He loved his family more than anything and it showed in all he did.

He is survived by two daughters, Terry O'Connell of Felton, Del. and Julie Anne Wentzel (John) of Oxford; two sons, Paul O'Connell (Tracy) of  Springfield, Pa., and John O'Connell of Pottstown, Pa.; five grandchildren, Brennan, Jack, Justin, Julia, and PJ; one great-grandson, Jace; and one great-grandson on the way, Bodie; his brother, James (Patty) and sister, Anne.  He leaves behind many nieces, nephews, cousins, and good friends.  He is predeceased by his sister, Maryellen Morrissey, along with his parents, John and Gertrude O’Connell, and his nephew, Tommy Morrissey.

A mass of Christian burial was held at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Kennett Square.  Interment will be in St. Patrick Cemetery.  

Contributions in his memory may be made to the American Cancer Society

Arrangements are being handled by Matthew Grieco of Grieco Funeral Home & Crematory, Inc. To view his online obituary, please visit

M. Ruth Kilby

M. Ruth Kilby, of Nottingham, passed away at the Maple Farms Nursing Facility while surrounded by her children on Dec. 13, 2022. She was 85.

Born in Oxford on July 29, 1937, she was the daughter of the late Charles Browning and Mabel Cregger Browning Keys.

Ruth was a dedicated mother, first and foremost. She treasured her children and embraced every moment with them, especially during family and holiday celebrations. She enjoyed reading, had a deep love for dogs, loved watching Hallmark movies and enjoyed watching her children and grandchildren participate in sports and school activities. She led a faith-filled life and was dedicated to her church. Ruth retired from Ware Presbyterian Village in 1999 after 23 years of service as a physical therapy aide. 

She is survived by her three sons, David Kilby (Donna), Daniel Kilby (Kathy) and Charles Kilby and her two daughters, Kimberly Kilby McCardell (Randy) and Beth Kilby Dolinger.

She is also survived by her 13 grandchildren, Derek Kilby, Laura Cheek, Hannah Linde, Daniel J. Kilby, Randi Warren, Noah McCardell, Kirstan Dolinger, Meredith Hostetter, Daniel Dolinger II, Camryn Kilby, Colin Kilby, Connor Kilby, Carson Coale, her 16 great-grandchildren, and nieces and nephews she loved dearly. She is also survived by her brother, Charles Browning, Jr. (Bobbie). 

She was preceded in death by her husband Wiley Kilby, Jr., her son, John Russell Kilby and her grandson, Jason D. Kilby.  She was also preceded in death by her sisters, Edith Griest and Charlotte McCardell, and a brother, James Browning.

A celebration of life service was held on Dec. 16 at Wesley Church in Quarryville. Burial will be a private gathering for immediate family.

The family would like to thank the staff at Lancaster General Hospital with a special thank you to the staff at Maple Farm Nursing Center for their attentive care. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Hospice and Community Care 685 Good Dr, Lancaster PA 17601.

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

Jennie G. Mount

Jennie G. Mount, of Kennett Square, passed away on Dec. 18, 2022, at her residence at Brandywine Living. She was 94.

Born in Long Branch, NJ, she was the daughter of the late Joseph Fornarotto and the late Antoinette Gammaro Fornarotto. After high school Jennie went to work at J.J. Newberry’s where she met her future husband Howard Mount.  After marriage, they lived in New York and Massachusetts before they settled in Kennett Square in 1967.

Jennie was a teachers’ assistant for the Kennett Consolidated School District for 24 years, retiring in 2001.

She was a member of St. Patrick Catholic Church.

Jennie enjoyed spending time with her family, watching her grandsons play baseball and soccer and watching the Phillies on TV.

She was predeceased by her husband Howard who passed in 2003.She is survived by one son, David N. Mount and his wife Antoinett of Landenberg; one daughter, Annmarie M. Stigale and her husband Richard of Landenberg; one brother, Nicholas Fornarotto and his wife Marie of West Lang Branch, NJ; four grandchildren, Brian Mount, Michael Mount, Matthew Mount and Kyle Stigale and four great-grandchildren, Brie Mount, Brylee Mount, Bevin Mount and Michael Mount.

She was predeceased by one sister, Josephine Guidetti.

You are invited to visit with her family and friends from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2022, at the Kuzo Funeral Home, 250 West State Street in Kennett Square. Her funeral mass will follow at 11 a.m. at St. Patrick Catholic Church, 212 Meredith Street in Kennett Square. Burial will be in St. Patrick’s Cemetery, Route 82, in Kennett Square.

In lieu of flowers, a contribution may be made to St. Patrick Catholic Church, 205 Lafayette Street, Kennett Square, PA 19348.

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

Lillian Marie Ankney

Lillian Ankney, a wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister and a friend to many, passed away on Dec. 17th 2022 at the age of 78. 

She was born in Philadelphia, raised in Clifton Heights, Pa., raised her family in Secane, Pa. and spent the remainder of he life in Oxford.  

Lillian is the daughter of the late Louis and Lillian Hartman (Lohn). She was married to the late Jerry P. Ankney. 

She is survived by her sister, Virginia Holt of Oxford and her children, Jerry Ankney and his wife Jennifer Ankney of Hermitage, Tenn., Kevin Ankney and his wife Roxanne Brown-Ankney of Annandale, VA and Dawn Poole (Ankney) and her husband Paul Poole of Lancaster, Pa. 

She is also survived by five grandchildren, Joshua, Miranda, Clark, Jerry and Jamie Ankney. 

Lillian met Jerry while they both worked at The Niemeyer Corporation. They married and she stopped working to raise their three children but was active in the Our Lady of Fatima school and church, where her children went to school. Later in life, Lillian worked in the school cafeteria at Cardinal O’Hara High School for 25 years. She loved working there with her co-workers and seeing the children everyday.  

Lillian was active in life and dedicated herself to helping others. If you needed help, someone to talk to or to be driven somewhere, she would drop everything to take care of you. 

She was a huge Phillies fan and was so happy to see them in the World Series this year.

She loved her children and grandchildren and she will be missed.  

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

Sara H. Blanton

Sara H. Blanton, of Chadds Ford, passed away on Dec. 19, 2022. She was 77.

She was the beloved wife of M. Stuart Blanton. 

Born in Shelby, NC in 1945, she was the daughter of Sarah and Harold Hamrick and grew up with her three brothers after her father passed during her youth. She graduated from Shelby High School in 1963 and Peace College in 1965, where she earned an associate degree and met her husband, Stuart, who was attending NC State. 

After Stuart and Sara’s marriage they moved to Greenville, NC where they had their first son, Kevin S. Blanton. Sara’s second son, W. Brendan Blanton, was born four years later in Kinston, NC.  The family moved frequently and had residences in Wilmington, Del., Kinston, NC, Wilmington, NC,  Unionville, Pa., Kingwood, Tex., and Chadds Ford, Pa. 

Sara was a devoted mother and wife, always taking delight in helping her sons with projects, family dinners, and attending her sons’ activities.  She had many hobbies including quilting, cross-stitching, fishing, and painting.  She was very creative and always had a talent for making beautiful paintings, quilts, and works of art.  She also enjoyed spending time with the many friends that she met through these hobbies. She looked forward to yearly vacations at the Outer Banks of North Carolina where she met many friends and loved spending time relaxing by the ocean.

Nothing brought her more joy than spending time with family. She was happiest catching up with her family and visiting with her grandchildren. In addition to her family, Sara always took joy in caring for and spoiling her three dogs, Pfeffer, Marley and Maisy.  Her warmth, kindness, and loving care will be missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing Sara.  

She is survived by her husband, M. Stuart Blanton of Chadds Ford; her brother, Larry Hamrick Sr. of Kings Mountain, NC; her son and his wife, Kevin S. and Mellissa Blanton of Collingswood, NJ; her son, W. Brendan Blanton of Wilmington, Del.; and five grandchildren,  Natalie, Erik, Meghan, Zane and Cassidy Blanton.

Her services will be held privately at a later date.

In her later years, Sara had ongoing struggles with several major illnesses.  Her courageous battles with mental health and cancer were truly an inspiration for many.  In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), PO Box 49104, Baltimore, MD 21297.

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