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Chester County Press

Obituaries for the week of March 20

03/19/2023 08:12PM ● By Steven Hoffman

Thomas D. Jones

Thomas D. Jones, who was affectionately known as “Pudge,” passed away on Feb. 18, 2023. He was 51.

Born in 1971 in West Chester, Tommy was the son of Brenda J. Jones and the late Thomas Darlington Rainey, Sr.

Tommy graduated from East High School in West Chester and began a career as a truck driver. He enjoyed his years of truck driving and loved being out on the open road.

In his free time, he enjoyed traveling and fishing.

Tommy had a warm soul and was adored by everyone he met. It didn’t matter if he was gone from the area for years at a time – when Tommy was back in his hometown, everyone knew him and it was as if he never left. All who had the pleasure to know Tommy will miss the warmth and kindness he brought to the world.

Tommy is survived by his mother, Brenda J. Jones; his brother, Jeffrey A. Christie; two sisters, Tracy L. Jones and Jill V. Jones; along with a host of other relatives and friends.

Services were held on March 11 at Kuzo Funeral Home in Kennett Square. 

Interment will be private.

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

Philip J. Raymond, Jr.

Philip J. Raymond, Jr., passed away suddenly at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital from complications of a stroke. Phil went to be with the Lord peacefully on February 23, 2023, at 76 years of age. He was surrounded by his family. 

Phil was full of life and love, was a selfless friend, and deeply committed to his family. He was a devoted husband of Janet, and loving father of son Chris (Denna), and daughter, Jennifer Devine (Ned), and his grandchildren, Maddie Raymond, and Evelyn, Lily, and Josie Devine.

He is also survived by his brother, Bruce (Mary) and their daughter Shelley Reinemann (Keith) and their daughter June and many cousins. 

Phil is preceded in death by his father, Philip J. Raymond, Sr., and his mother, Germaine Gariepy Raymond. 

Phil was born in Springfield, Mass., and received a liberal arts degree from Providence College and then served the country in Vietnam as an Army Lieutenant in the 597th Transportation Company, earning a Bronze Star. 

After returning from the war, Phil continued his education by earning his MBA at Western New England College while supporting his family and continuing to serve in the Army Reserves, retiring honorably at the rank of Captain. His long professional career in the insurance and finance industry is filled with achievements, goals attained, and peers uplifted. 

He was recognized as an “Industry Legend,” leader and mentor by many colleagues and friends.  

Phil proudly served in a multitude of professional, charitable and familial capacities throughout his life, including Rotary Club, Jaycees, soccer and basketball coach, Boy Scout leader, and many others. He pursued all his hobbies with great vigor and detail. His positive attitude, perseverance, engaging sense of humor, intelligence, eagerness to serve others, and desire to succeed in all aspects of his life served him well through all his 76 years. Phil was a pillar of strength in many lives. He will be greatly missed. 

The family will hold a small private service in North Carolina. Phil desired to be cremated and wanted to be where the beaches are soft, the mountains are strong, and the golf season is long. 

Memorial donations may be made to the charities or

Shirley L. Stoneback

Shirley L. Stoneback, of Nottingham, passed away on March 11, 2023, at her daughter’s residence. She was 85.

Born in Ashe Co., NC, she was the daughter of the late Charlie Smiley and the late Nora Davis Smiley.

Shirley worked at the MGA CO-OP for 25 years. She retired in 1999.

She enjoyed flower gardening, trips to Longwood Gardens, traveling and being with her family and friends.

Shirley is survived by four daughters, Linda DaBundo (and her husband Dominic) of Landenberg, Debra Johnston (and her husband Duke) of Landenberg, Catherine Antes (late husband Eddie) of Landenberg, and Patricia Kelly (and late husband Billy) of Phoenixville.

She is also survived by one sister, Joyce Jones of Creston, NC; ten grandchildren and thirteen great-grandchildren and her companion, Charles Tuggle of Nottingham.

She was predeceased by one granddaughter, Hailey, one brother, Delmar Smiley, and three sisters, Velva Lewis, Minnie Welch and Ruby Pennington.

Services were held on March 18 at the Kuzo Funeral Home in Kennett Square.

Burial will be in the Kemblesville United Methodist Church Cemetery.

In memory of Shirley, a contribution may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research  Hospital, 501  St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.

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

Velma F. Bailey

Velma F. (Evans) Bailey was born on Jan. 25, 1931 and went home to be with the Lord on March 13, 2023. 

She was a 92-year-old resident of West Grove.

Velma left a legacy of generous love for her family and faith in Jesus Christ. 

A 72-year resident of West Grove, Velma served her family and community in doing small, good things. She was in the first graduating class of the new Avon Grove High School (now the Charter School), matriculating from New London Academy, where three signers of the Declaration of Independence attended school some 200 years prior. 

She was a baker, serving Avon Grove School students with a smile for 25 years as a “cafeteria lady.” She helped with Girl Scouts and her basement was filled with cases of cookies the year she was Cookie Chairman.

Church and family were the center of her life. An active member of Avondale Presbyterian Church for nearly six decades, she saw to it that her children attended church and Sunday School each week, and as they got older, they took part in youth groups. She served as a church trustee and sang in the choir, and in her later years she traveled with the pastor to serve communion to shut-ins.

“Family was all that mattered” was one of her mantras. Summers included an annual family beach vacation, family reunions, and picnics. Christmas and Thanksgiving were festive family meals with her beloved brother John Evans and family. Many summers included a vegetable garden and the kids picking green beans and helping with canning. Mom and kids spent many happy afternoons playing Rook and pinochle in the hot summer days. Later in life she enjoyed watching the Phillies games and talking sports with the family.

She and her beloved late husband Harold were married for 62 years  and began their family in West Grove with their first daughter born in the old West Grove hospital. 

Left to cherish her memory are daughters, Judith Napieralski and Ginger Kielarowski (Ray); a son, Bruce Bailey (Julia), and five grandchildren, Bailey, Meredith (Ryan Little), DJ, Caroline, and Wyatt. 

She was preceded in death by her parents, Myrl (Bowers) and William Evans, a brother, John Evans, and grandchildren, Mason and Rachel Bailey.

Donations in her memory can be made to Avondale Presbyterian Church, 420 Pennsylvania Ave, Avondale, PA 19311. 

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

Eva M. Lessig

Eva M. Lessig, 84, of Kennett Square, passed away peacefully on March 12, 2023, at Accent Care Hospice at Christiana Hospital in Newark, Del.  

Born January 25, 1939 in Wilmington, Del., she was the daughter of the late James B. and Dorothy (Brown) Wilson.  Eva graduated from Wilmington High School and The Memorial Hospital School of Nursing before becoming a registered nurse.  She married Raymond H. Lessig in 1965 and they were married for 36 years until his death in 2002.  

Family, friends and faith were all important parts of Eva’s life.  She was a supportive wife and mother to her two children and participated in their activities.  She remained brave when managing the health issues of family members and maintained her cheerfulness when dealing with many years of her own health issues.  She liked spending time with friends and making people smile.  She was a longtime member of Dilworthtown Presbyterian Church and Grace Fellowship Church and enjoyed organized Bible study. 

She is survived by her son, Steven R. Lessig, his wife Wendy and her two grandchildren, Sarah and Allison of Ambler, Pa., as well as many brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, and nephews and nieces in both Delaware and Nebraska. 

In addition to her husband and parents, she was predeceased by her son, Michael Lessig, her brother, Robert Wilson, and her niece, Ashle Wilson Bailey.

The family would like to thank the staff of Brandywine Living at Longwood for the love, friendship, and helpfulness that they provided to Eva during her years of living there.

In memory of Eva, a contribution may be made to the Muscular Dystrophy Association 161 N. Clark, Suite 3550, Chicago, IL 60601.

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

George T.  Holland, Jr. 

George T. Holland, Jr. passed away on March 13, 2023 while at his home in Nottingham. He was 90.

He was the husband of the late Alma Louise Atwood Holland, with whom he shared 54 years of marriage.

Born in Nottingham, he was the son of the late George T., Sr. and Bertha Freese Holland.

He was a member of the Nottingham Missionary Baptist Church.

George farmed in West Nottingham Township and Fulton Township and he was also employed with Oxford Agway on the spraying truck.

He loved his family and enjoyed his yard and garden.

He is survived by two sons, Jerry Holland (and his wife, Stacy) of Nottingham and Daniel Holland (and his wife, Jamie) of Colora, Md. and four daughters, Margaret Holland of West Chester, Brenda Zimmerman (and her husband, Ivan) of Nottingham, Connie Grinestaff (and her husband, Dan) of Nottingham and Vicky Hazelwood (and her husband, Larry) of Oxford.

He is also survived by seven grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, and one sister, Mary Smith of Quarryville.

Funeral services were held on March 18 at the Nottingham Missionary Baptist Church in Nottingham. Interment will be in the adjoining church cemetery.

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

Online condolences may be made at

Noel Hernandez Ortiz

Noel Hernandez Ortiz, a resident of Oxford, died peacefully at home while surrounded by his loved ones, in his 98th year on March 12, 2023.

Born in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico on April 4,1924, he was the youngest son of the late Adolfo Hernandez and Milagros Ortiz.

Noel was a special and much beloved uncle who is survived by many nieces and nephews, including Patricia J. Looby and John J. Cummings, whom he resided with.

Services are private.

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

Kayden Anthony Hoang

Kayden Anthony Hoang, 17, of Oxford, passed away on March 13, 2023 at home.

Born in West Chester, he was the son of Michael Tuan and Tina Smith Hoang of Oxford.

Kayden was in the senior class of the Oxford Area High School.

He worked at McDonald’s in Oxford and was awarded employee of the month before his illness.  Kayden was a hard worker and was saving his money for college.

He enjoyed airsoft, video games, and spending time with many of his friends, including his best friend, Ian Torrens.

He is survived by his parents; seven siblings, Charisa Power (Kyle) of Phoenixville, Cherrise Wilson (Richard) of Nottingham, Kolbie Hoang (Ashley) of Oxford, Kyle Hoang and his fiancé Paola Navedo of Melbourne, FL, Kameron Hoang of Carlisle, Cailee Hoang of Oxford, and Derek Riley (Lindsay) of Smyrna, Del.; paternal grandmother, Kim Hoang of Renton, WA; maternal grandparents, Lee and Jim Riggs of Graham, WA; six nieces and nephews; and girlfriend Yuly Lopez.

He was preceded in death by his paternal grandfather, Nguyen Thai Hoang.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 25, 2023 at the Edward L. Collins, Jr. Funeral Home, Inc., 86 Pine St., in Oxford, where friends and family may visit from noon to 2 p.m.

Interment will be private.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Kayden’s name to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.

If you wish to contribute towards funeral expenses, donations can be made at Kayden’s GoFundMe

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

Lynn Wickers Shirey

Lynn Wickers Shirey, of New London, Pa., passed away at home on March 12, 2023. She was 74.

She was the wife of David R. Shirey.

Born in Norfolk, VA, she was the daughter of the late Linwood and Elma Wickers.

Lynn received her bachelor’s degree from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA.

She was employed as a real estate broker and was previously employed as a school teacher.

She enjoyed flowers, gardening, her dog Emma, driving her mini cooper, decorating and steamed crabs and lobster.

She is survived by her husband and a niece, Tracy Coughlin of Watertown, MA.

A private celebration of life service will be held April 22.

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