Obituaries for the week of January 3001/30/2023 02:29PM ● By Steven Hoffman
Donald F. Lytle
Donald F. Lytle, age 90, of New London, passed away at the Christiana Hospital on Jan. 4, 2023. He was the son of the late William Bradford and Ida (Younger) and brother of the late Griffith, Lillian (Guthrie), and Bernice (Keehn). He was the beloved husband of the late Margaret Emma (Reburn) and loving father of Donna Triboletti (deceased Doc), William Lytle (Maryellen), and David Lytle (Barb) and is also survived by nine grandchildren, Andy, Julie, Kaitlin, Michelle, Brad, Megan, Justin, Alyssa, and Emily, and six great-grandchildren, Luke, Jake, Emma, RJ, Lily, and Leo.
From egg routes to the Air Force to a pumpkin business, Donald Lytle leaves a storied legacy.
If Donald Lytle was telling this story, he’d start by leaning back in his chair and offering his smile—you know the one, that type of grin that never seemed to completely disappear from his face.
The tale would probably take some unexpected twists and turns with some obvious embellishments and eyebrow-raising details. He’d then throw in a cheeky joke with a characteristic wink at the end.
Everyone who met him, whether they knew him as Farmer Don or Mr. Lytle or Pop Pop, knew one thing for certain: That man was a storyteller.
From racing down the curving farmhouse steps as a kid to performing in senior plays at Avon Grove High School to entertaining grandchildren on his rocking chair swing, he always knew how to bring people together.
That was especially true as he invited his neighbors to Lytle’s Farm many decades ago in one of the area’s first pick-your-own produce businesses. Even today, parents and grandparents bring their kids to pick pumpkins, and some still remember how Farmer Don would routinely call out, “Tail on the bale, feet on the floor,” over a rumbling tractor ride.
At 90 years old, Donald Lytle passed away on Jan. 4. And all these stories that Lytle spent his life stringing together are only part of why this New London man’s legacy will continue to shine bright in his local community and beyond.
Not too long ago, Lytle told his grandchildren, “I was at the right time and place my whole life.”
And there was something in the way that he said it…you had to believe him.
He was at the right time and place when he joined his father delivering eggs throughout Wilmington, Del. And when his high school agriculture teacher recommended he try growing strawberries at 16 years old – a venture that later led to a lasting pick-your-own pumpkin business when a late frost threatened his strawberry crop.
Of course, he showed up at the right square dance where he’d meet his future bride Peggy, too.
It was timing and luck that brought him into the Air Force during the Korean War. He remembered a conversation with his young wife: If Eisenhower won the presidential election, he’d join the Air Force rather than the Army. That decision led the couple to Texas and – when Lytle joked that he got tired of the heat – Alaska.
Working as an Air Force carpenter at the base’s hobby shop, he learned to craft intricately designed leather purses and bags, as well as wooden coffee tables, ceramics and more. No doubt, his self-proclaimed “gift of gab,” and instant connection with people gave him a leg up there, too.
When he returned to the farm, starting his own egg routes in Newark and Wilmington, he ran into a customer who said her husband was in charge of hiring at the new Chrysler plant nearby. Did he want a job?
Again, he found himself right where he needed to be. As Lytle told it, he walked to the front of the line, told the hiring manager that the man’s wife promised him a job. Many years later, it was not just the job and the tales of hardworking union men, but the friendships and the stories they tossed back and forth that stuck with him.
The story of Donald Lytle is much more than dots on a map or dates on a calendar, though.
His family will tell you that he had a laugh that was unlike any other, big and hearty and infectious. He had a mischievous way about him that started in the small New London schoolhouse and continued into high school where his classmates named him most likely to be a school principal …because he spent so much time in that office.
He was proud that he could outwit just about anybody. Except maybe that one time in the Air Force. Knowing that the dreaded kitchen chore of cleaning pots and pans went to the last man to arrive at KP or “kitchen police” duty, Lytle devised a plan to stake out his spot in line overnight. When he fell asleep in the doorway, though, each of his buddies stepped over his sleeping body, and when he opened his eyes? You bet there was a grimy pile of pots and pans waiting to be scrubbed.
These were the kinds of stories that he loved to tell, accompanied by lots of laughter. He often told a joke at his own expense or a lesson-learned from a lost fingertip or other farm injury.
Whether Lytle was sharing stories around the living room, at the produce auction, on the farm or even at McDonald’s, it was how he connected with people. And these moments bought him palpable joy. It also gave him a unique friendship with so many people in the community.
Over time, he generated a sense of local celebrity, and his grandchildren puffed up with pride when they could say, “Yes, my grandfather is that Donald Lytle.”
He probably cherished those moments with his grandchildren, and later his great grandchildren, most of all. Together with Peggy, he showed his love in a familiar grandparent way, with shared meals and T-shirts brought back from trips, and in not-so-typical ways – have you ever heard about the birthday gift involving billy goats?
Donald and Peggy were partners on the dance floor, on the egg routes and for nearly 70 years of marriage – and Lytle stood by his wife and cared for her in the most difficult days near the end of her life.
While Mom Mom would always call to let you know how beautiful the moon looks one night, Pop Pop would call and make sure you were (or weren’t) watching the Phillies or Eagles games, depending if he believed your viewing would bring Philadelphia good luck.
And he’d daydream about the good ole days when Google didn’t take all the fun out of guessing the answers to silly questions.
Donald Lytle was one-of-a-kind. A man with a big heart who worked hard and loved his community and his family. He told countless stories over his 90 years, and he planted the seeds for many more stories yet to be told.
A memorial service was held on Jan. 14 at the Christian Life Center.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in his name may be made to the Christian Life Center at the aforementioned address.
Arrangements are being handled by Matthew Grieco of Grieco Funeral Home & Crematory, Inc. (484-734-8100).
To view his online obituary and leave a tribute for the family, please go to www.griecofunerals.com.
Cort Raynor DeVoe
Cort Raynor DeVoe, 95, died peacefully on Jan. 20, 2023. He was married for 72 wonderful years to his beloved wife Nancy (nee Whitney) DeVoe, who survives him.
Cort was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. on Nov. 23, 1927. He attended Brooklyn Technical High School until he entered the U.S. Coast Guard as an enlisted man in 1945. After attending the Coast Guard Academy prep school in Groton, Conn. he entered the Coast Guard Academy in 1946. Cort graduated in 1950 with a degree in engineering. During June week, he became engaged to Nancy. His initial service station was on a Coast Guard ice breaker home ported in Juneau, Alaska. He returned (on leave) to marry Nancy on April 21, 1951. They lived in Alaska where he continued to serve on the Coast Guard Cutter Stories. He transferred to a buoy tender working the Aleutian Islands chain from its home port in Kodiak, Alaska. Nancy was able to join him in Kodiak. Next, they were relocated to San Francisco, where they were stationed until 1953. He then transferred to the Coast Guard Reserve and returned to civilian life in Groton.
After a few short years they built a house in Mystic, Conn. in 1955. They lived there for 45 years, expanding the house as the family grew. As the boys grew up, Cort served as a coach in Little League, as a Cub Scoutmaster and in various positions in the Boy Scouts. As each of the boys graduated from high school, the family chartered sailboats in the British Virgin Islands.
Nancy and Cort were active in St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, teaching Sunday School together and Cort serving on the vestry as treasurer of the church. He was a member of the Ram Island Yacht Club and served a term on the Representative Town Meeting. He obtained an MS degree in electrical engineering from the University of Connecticut in the early 1960s and he specialized in stochastic signal processing.
Over the years, Cort and Nancy traveled extensively, managing to visit all seven continents. Cort went to work for the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation in Connecticut in 1956. During this period he formed a new R&D department with a group of engineers and analysts who developed a new combat control system for submarines built around a central digital computer and multiple CRT displays. He also formed a group with analysts who worked for the Navy in the area of technology, tactics and new U.S. submarine capabilities required against the cold war Russian submarine threat. He continued this work at the Naval Underwater Systems Laboratory from 1973 to 1992 where he served on several high level study groups, receiving two Department of the Navy Meritorious Civil Service awards for Submarine Platform and Combat Systems Requirements Analysis. He also received an award for conceptual development of a battle group multi-static sonar system. When he retired from the laboratory he received the coveted Decibel Award. After retirement from the civil service he completed his career with Sonalysts in 1997.
In the year 2000, they moved to the Kendal-Crosslands Continuing Care Retirement community in Kennett Square, living first in the Cartmel community then moving to the Crosslands community in 2009. While at Cartmel, Cort served as chairman of the property committee and on the landscape committee.
They attended the Episcopal Church of the Advent in Kennett Square.
He is survived by his three sons, Cort (Christine), David (Joyce) and Bruce (Karen), seven grandchildren, Brad (Jenise), Jason (Julie), Bill (Traci), Courtney (Ron), Whitney (Andy), Taylor and Haley, and eight great-grandchildren.
A memorial service was held at Crosslands, in the William Penn Room, on Jan. 28. Interment will be at a later date in the Elm Grove Cemetery in Mystic, Conn.
Donations in his memory may be made to the Episcopal Church of the Advent in Kennett Square or to a charity of the donor's choice.
To view his online tribute and to share a memory with his family, please visit www.kuzoandfoulkfh.com.
Arrangements are being handled by the Kuzo Funeral Home in Kennett Square.
James Darrell Lephew
James Darrell Lephew, of Avondale, passed away on Jan. 23, 2023 at the Chester County Hospital. He was 65.
He was the husband of Janet Masten Lephew, with whom he shared 26 years of marriage.
Born in West Grove, he was the son of Stella Mae Taylor Lephew of Landenberg and the late Darrell Lephew.
He was a mechanic at Kennetex in Kennett Square, retiring in 2015 after 18 years of service.
He enjoyed pet-sitting, being with his dogs and cats, playing horseshoes, deer hunting and being with his family.
In addition to his wife and mother, he is survived by three sons, Steven Miller and his wife Laurie of West Grove, Jonathon Miller of Avondale and James Lephew, Jr. of Avondale; one brother, Harold Lephew and his wife Judy of Oxford; one sister Sheila Garrison and her husband Robert of Landenberg and four grandchildren, Alexis, Briana, Christopher and Josie.
Services were held on Jan. 28 at the Foulk Funeral Homes of West Grove. Burial will be in the New London Presbyterian Cemetery.
To view his online tribute and to share a memory with his family, please visit www.kuzoandfoulkfh.com.
Arthur R. Caldwell
Arthur R. Caldwell, of Nottingham, passed away peacefully at home on Jan. 20, 2023 after a brief illness. He was 87.
His greatest love was his late wife, Rosa Lee Tedder Caldwell, with whom he shared 56 years of marriage. Now they are together again and he is once again happy and smiling.
Born in Christiansburg, VA he was the son of the late Raymond A. and Adaline Roop Caldwell.
Arthur retired in 2018 from Shelton’s Pallets where he worked for 20 years as a truck driver.
He enjoyed fishing with his son, Wayne and watching Nascar and Westerns with his son, Jimmy.
He loved being ornery with his grandkids and great grandkids. He was always up for a “Doodle” or a “Krickette” or funny filter pictures.
He is survived by two sons, Wayne A. Caldwell (Dot) of Colora, Md. and Jimmy A. Caldwell of Nottingham; four grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and two cats that all love him and will miss him dearly.
He was preceded in death by one step-daughter, Joan Eldridge.
Funeral services were held on Jan. 27 at the Edward L. Collins, Jr. Funeral Home, Inc. in Oxford.
Interment will be in Oxford Cemetery.
Online condolences may be made at www.elcollinsfuneralhome.com.
Kenneth Joseph Stingel
Kenneth J "Casey" Stingel, 79, of Doylestown, Pa., passed away suddenly on Jan. 24, 2023, at Abington Hospital.
Born in Philadelphia, he was the son of the late John Stingel and the late Dolores (Konrad) Stingel. He is survived by his children, Christopher Stingel and Meredith Lewis (Robert); grandchildren Rachel and Joshua Stingel, Reagan and Marin Lewis and his sisters, Susan Argeros (Leo), Joanne Dunch (David) and Elizabeth Stingel.
Kenneth was a graduate of St. Joseph University and held an MBA in finance. He was a veteran of Vietnam, piloted a B-52, served three tours of duty with over 300 missions and received over 20 awards and citations.
Ken was a caring father, grandfather, and friend. He was an active member of St. Patrick Church in Kennett Square, and a proud and dedicated member of The Knights of Columbus, Council #15346.
Kenneth’s memorial mass of Christian burial was held on Jan. 28 at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Kennett Square. Interment will be held privately.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the PTSD Foundation of America at https://ptsdusa.org/give-help/ or St. Patrick Church.
Arrangements are by Matthew Grieco of Grieco Funeral Home & Crematory, Inc. (484-734-8100). To view his online obituary, please visit www.griecofunerals.com.