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Chester County Press

Obituaries January 2

01/03/2023 12:03PM ● By Steven Hoffman

Joan Scarlett Winebrenner

Joan Scarlett Winebrenner passed away at the age of 82 on Dec. 15, 2022 while in the home of her son and his family in McLean, VA.  With her family close by, she peacefully succumbed to the pancreatic cancer that she had been fighting for the past three months.

Joan was born in Chester County on Nov. 20, 1940 to Anne Exton Stone and William Joseph Scarlett.  The eldest of four children, Joan was a loving and generous older sister who was revered by her younger siblings, Elsie, George, and Elizabeth. The family home was Rockinghorn, a beautiful farm that the family adored.

Joan attended Kennett Consolidated schools through ninth grade and then attended the George School in Bucks County until her graduation in 1958.  

An ardent Phillies fan, she would go into Philadelphia to cheer on Richie Ashburn in person as often as she could.  Also a passionate Nittany Lions fan, Joan fostered dedication to these two teams with her own children and grandchildren. Oh, how the family hoped for a World Series Championship for her this fall! 

With her extended family and many Kennett friends, Joan spent part of each summer “down the shore” in Ocean City, NJ.  The summer of her George School graduation, she met the love of her life, Wirt Shriver Winebrenner Jr. of Hanover, Pa. The two continued their courtship in the Boston area while Joan attended Endicott Junior College in Waverly, Mass, and Wirt attended law school.  She graduated in 1960 with a degree in early-childhood education. Joan and Wirt were married that June and began their married life in Boston, where Joan enjoyed her work as a librarian in the Harvard Law Library.

During Wirt’s early law career in Hanover, Pa., Joan began her lifelong calling to be the best mother in the world with the birth of her first two children, Anne and Wirt III (Peter). In 1965 the family embarked on a new career and life at Mercersburg Academy in Mercersburg, Pa., and Joan and Wirt welcomed their third child, Jonathan.

During their 30-plus year affiliation with Mercersburg Academy, while Wirt worked as an administrator, English teacher and college counselor, Joan fostered a strong sense of community with everything she did. She was a role model for other faculty wives and a nurturing guide to generations of teenagers. It was second nature to her to be a listening ear and an affirming presence no matter what joys or challenges the youth were going through. She cooked countless meals for student clubs and birthdays, opened her home to colleagues, students, and their families from near and far, took charge of decorating the school Chapel each December for the Christmas Candlelight Service, sang in the Chapel Choir, and was a proud member of the Mercersburg Area Community Chorus.  

It was also at Mercersburg that Joan pursued a career that was dear to her heart, serving as a teacher and ultimately director of the Mercersburg Area Preschool in Lemasters, Pa.  During her 17 years with the school, she was instrumental in moving it to a new location, growing the enrollment and staff, and transforming the institution into a beacon of early childhood education. Working from before sun-up until long after sundown, Joan brought vision, dedication, and love to more than 600 Mercersburg area preschoolers and their families, giving the children an incredible foundation to their subsequent education.

In 1994 Joan’s first grandchildren arrived, and thus Joan became Nana. In the following years, Shriver, Mary Kate, Madeleine, Maxwell and, finally, Annie would cherish the many occasions they spent assisting her with cooking and baking, especially around Thanksgiving; going for walks, playing on the beach, trying to beat her at games, and doing jigsaw puzzles. Most of all, beyond all other things, the advice, counsel, and unqualified support that Nana gave each of them will be sorely missed but always honored.  

In 1996 Joan and Wirt moved to Lewisburg, West Virginia.  They bought their first house on Highland Circle in Lewisburg, where Joan became a center of neighborhood life and enjoyed wonderful camaraderie with a group of friends who provided her constant love and joy. She took great pride in the care of their home, particularly the yard and gardens, where she waged an endless war against the moles in the summer and the fallen leaves every autumn. 

Joan was an avid reader, an incredible cook and (surprisingly) a wickedly competitive ping pong player. She was a great lover of dogs throughout her entire life and enjoyed nothing more than long dog walks in the beautiful places she lived. Later in her life, she picked up watercolor painting and brightened spirits of many friends and loved ones with her painted greeting cards, landscapes, and portraits. 

Most of all, Joan’s passionate and enduring pastime was keeping in touch with family and a wide circle of friends. She had the knack for establishing trusted friendships wherever she moved or worked; she excelled at maintaining old bonds even as she constantly added new ones. Quiet and unassuming, with her cheery, ready humor; sharp, dry wit, and unfailingly compassionate insights, Joan was a bright spirit in the lives of so many.

Joan is survived by her husband of 62 years, Wirt, her daughter Anne (Dale), her sons Peter and Jonathan (Rebecca), her grandchildren Shriver, Mary Katherine, Madeleine, Maxwell and Annie, her sister Elsie Anne Scarlett Gerard, and many other family and extended family including Lisa Winebrenner, Dorothy Scarlett and Carol Smith. She is preceded in death by her parents, her sister Elizabeth and brother George.

The family looks forward to celebrating her life at a memorial service at a later date. 

Margaret Ann Osborne

Margaret “Peggy” Ann (Campbell), Osborne, of Avondale, passed away peacefully on Dec. 25, 2022 while surrounded by her family at home. She was 79.

She is survived by her husband, Odell Osborne Sr., with whom she shared 62 years of marriage and children Odell “Jack” Osborne Jr. (Donna), Timothy Osborne (Michael McGrath), and Glenna Jordan (Scott Speer).  Peggy leaves behind five grandchildren: Daniel Osborne (Kim), Eric Osborne, Jessica Casello (Matthew), Cody Jordan (Cynthia), and Rebecca Jordan and six great-grandchildren.  

She was born in West Chester, Pa. on Jan. 6, 1943 to the late Forrest and Esther Campbell.  

She is survived by her sister, Mary Osborne and four brothers, Robert Campbell, Forrest Campbell Jr., Walter Campbell, and Howard Campbell.  

She is preceded in death by her siblings, Eva Lake, Judith Campbell, and John Campbell.

She retired from Kennett Consolidated School District after 32 years as a librarian technician.  Afterwards, she spent another ten years and retired from QVC.  

She was known for her infectious smile and love of her family. She was devoted to her family and making memories on family vacations to the Outer Banks. She loved bird watching and visiting lighthouses. Cape Hatteras Lighthouse was her favorite and it will always remind her loved ones of her.

Funeral services were held on Jan. 3 at Kuzo Funeral Home Inc. in Kennett Square and interment was held at New Garden Friends’ Cemetery.  

Her memory will live on with her family and friends.

Online condolences may be made at

Ivan H. Witt, Jr. 

Ivan H. Witt Jr., a resident of Oxford who formerly lived in Havertown, Pa., died on Dec. 22, 2022 at Christiana Care Hospital following a lengthy illness. He was 74.

He was preceded in death by his father, Ivan H. Witt Sr., who died when Ivan was an infant, and his beloved mother, Enis (Monterastelli) W. Best and her husband Frederick J. Best. 

Van graduated in 1966 from Havertown High School where he excelled in wrestling.  He was drafted into the U.S. Army in June of 1968. He served until he was medically discharged in May of 1970.  Upon his return home, Van enjoyed listening to Phillies games on the front porch, taking and developing photographs, and listening to classic 1970s music. 

Van remained in his family home until 2016 when he suffered a stroke and moved to Oxford to be near his mother at Ware Presbyterian Village. While at Ware, he continued to enjoy listening to Phillies games and watching classic black-and-white movies.

He is survived by an aunt, Sally Witt of Buffalo Grove, IL.  Additionally, he is survived by his family, Tim and Dale Kerns of Rising Sun, Md. and their children, his lifelong friend, Brian Quinn, as well as several cousins living throughout the midwest. 

He was buried at Indiantown Gap Veterans Cemetery with full military honors on January 3, 2023.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a donation to a veterans program in your community. 

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

Diana Williams

Diana Williams, 76, of Oxford, passed away on Dec. 30, 2022 at Twin Pines Health Care Center in West Grove.

She was the wife of the late Ralph M. Williams, Sr., with whom she shared 50 years of marriage.

Born in Chester, Pa., she was the daughter of the late Winfield C. and Anna M. Booth Toy. 

She was employed with Oxford Area School District as a cafeteria worker.

Diana enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren and collecting turtles. 

She is survived by one son, Ralph M. Williams, Jr. (Victoria) of Oxford; one daughter, Maureen Williams-Hughes (Jeffrey) of Quarryville; three grandchildren, Kyle Williams (Chelsea), Kelsey Lam (Steven) and Cameron Williams (Kaitlyn); six great-grandchildren, Carter Williams, Kaylee Williams, Kenzie Williams, Madeline Lam, Oliver Lam and Parker Lam; nine siblings, Jean Demetratos, Donald Toy, Louise Howarth, William Toy, Joanne Hedger, Marjorie Mairarono, Michael Connors, Sheron Panarello and Patrick Connors.

She was preceded in death by five siblings, Joyce Lovelace, Annette Cowan, Jack Connors, Joseph Connors and Winfield C. Toy.

Services will be private.

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

Frances "Fran" V.  DeMillion

Frances "Fran" (Giannetti) DeMillion, age 85, passed away on Dec. 24, 2022, in Paoli, Pa.

Fran was born on Nov. 29, 1937 in Monessen, Pa. 

She is survived by her daughters Marcy DeMillion and Joan DeMillion, and sons John DeMillion and Barry DeMillion, as well as sisters Kathy Breakwell, Patty Fishman, and brother Jim Giannetti.
Fran is preceded in death by her husband John Louis "Corky" DeMillion, mother Angela Giannetti, and father Frank Giannetti.

Fran was known for her passion for conservation and preservation of open spaces, wildlife, nature, and historical areas. Always active in outdoor activities such as birding, hiking, bicycling, and cross-country skiing, she also loved museums, theater, reading, and traveling. Fran was a dedicated and valued volunteer at Longwood Gardens and the Winterthur Museum, and often inspired family and friends to share in her numerous and varied interests. A lifelong bibliophile and professional librarian, she treasured her hometown and local libraries in Monessen and Kennett.

A Catholic Requiem Mass for Frances DeMillion was held at Saint Patrick Catholic Church on Jan. 2.

A Celebration of Life took place at the Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library, one of her favorite spots where she regularly volunteered.

Interment will be private.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made in Frances's name to the following, which represent some of her most passionate interests:

 * The Kennett and Monessen Public Libraries:    or

 * American Bird Conservancy:

 * Natural Lands Trust:

 * Open Land Conservancy of Chester County:

 * Tyler Arboretum:

 * WHYY TV/Radio:

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

To view the online obituary, please visit

Howard G. Minckler

Howard G. Minckler, of West Grove, went to be with the Lord on Dec. 5, 2022 at the Chester County Hospital. He was 69.

He was the husband of Linda Mains Minckler, with whom he shared 22 years of marriage.

He was born in Burlington, VT and eventually settled in West Grove.

He was a printer for various employers.

Howard was a member of the New London Baptist Church, and was the director of Manna Ministries, and he also volunteered at the Luther House.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by one son, Jonathan Minckler, one stepson, Rodney Blevins, three sisters, eight grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

He was predeceased by three brothers and one stepson.

Services will be held at a later date.

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

Arrangements are being handled by the Foulk Funeral Home of West Grove.

In Lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to New London Baptist Church Manna Ministries, 226 Pennock Bridge Road, West Grove, PA 19390.

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