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Chester County Press

Obituaries for the week of February 7th

Ronald Eugene Masters
Ronald Eugene Masters, of Oxford, passed away on Jan. 29, 2024 at Ware Presbyterian Village in Oxford. He was 89.

He was the husband of the late Deborah Chamberlain Masters, with whom he shared 60 years of marriage.

Born in Chicago, Il, he was the son of the late Eugene and Alice Zimmerman Masters.

Ronald was employed as an orthopedic surgeon for over 50 years. He received his doctorate degree from Northwestern University Medical School and worked at Lutheran General Hospital, Chicago, IL. He also volunteered at Rainbow Hospice, Chicago, IL.

Ronald was a member of the Oxford Presbyterian Church where he sang in the choir.

He enjoyed sailing, kayaking, photography and especially spending time with his friends and grandchildren.

He is survived by his three sons, Bradley (Mindy) Masters of Sunrise, Fla., Gregory (Renee) Masters of Kennett Square and Eric Masters of Chicago, IL, and eight grandchildren, Brendon, Ryan, Hunter, Gabriel (Samantha), Aiden, Nolan, Cody and Clayton. 

He was preceded in death by his brother, Robert Masters.

The family would like to thank the Ware Community and Willow Tree Hospice for their support and care.

Services will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Rainbow Hospice, 1000 Remington Blvd., Suite 100, Bolingbrook, IL 60440. 

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

Janet Rash Suter
Janet Rash Suter, 84, of Kennett Square, passed peacefully into eternal life with Christ on January 25, 2024, at her home, surrounded by family and friends.

Born on March 15, 1939 in Lancaster, Janet was the beloved daughter of Herbert and Catherine Rash and sister to Herbert “Gene” Rash. 

Janet grew up on a farm in West Grove. She spoke fondly of frequent family gatherings with her aunts and uncles and particularly loved growing up side-by-side with her many cousins. Many of Janet’s lifelong friendships were established during her childhood in West Grove. She was an active member of New London United Methodist Church throughout her childhood and was a 1957 graduate of Avon Grove High School.

Janet was a devoted mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Janet is survived by two children, Sandra Bahel (husband Tom) and William Kavanaugh, five grandchildren, Jaclyn Cummings (husband Jason), Deanna Bahel, Jenna Bahel, Olivia Kavanaugh and Michael Kavanaugh, three great-grandchildren, Charlotte Cummings, Jacob Cummings and Matthew Cummings, and two nephews, John Rash and Michael Rash. 

Janet was predeceased by her parents, brother, husband Holland Suter, and daughter Catherine Massey.

Janet cherished time spent with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She had a wonderful gift of hospitality. Janet enjoyed cooking for her loved ones and decorating her beautiful home. In recent years, she enjoyed summer trips to Waterledge Cottage in Orr’s Island, Maine with four generations of her family.

Janet’s tremendous work ethic served her throughout her life. While raising her three children, Janet graduated with a bachelor of science degree in education from West Chester State College and a master of education degree from Widener University. She was proud to be the first in her family to have pursued higher education. In 1999, Janet retired from the Red Clay School District after over 20 years as a dedicated special education teacher.

Janet was known throughout her life as a wonderful friend. She added to her long list of friends in all seasons of her life. Janet’s friends — affectionately referred to as simply “the girls” — were a source of great joy for her throughout her life. She loved playing cards, attending water aerobics and traveling the world with “the girls.”

In her retirement, Janet enjoyed volunteering in the Kennett Square community. Some of her favorite volunteer positions were at Longwood Gardens and the Encore Shop. In 2005, Janet moved to Victoria Gardens in Kennett Square, where she made many wonderful friends and enjoyed an active social life. Throughout her adult life, Janet was a faithful member of The Presbyterian Church of Kennett Square, where she served as a deacon.

Donations in Janet’s memory can be made to Meals on Wheels of Chester County or Penn Medicine Hospice.

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

Carol Wallace Edwards
Carol Wallace Edwards, of Quarryville, passed away on Jan. 30, 2024 at Ware Presbyterian Village in Oxford. She was 68.

She was the wife of Stephen B. Edwards, with whom she shared 31 years of marriage.

Born in Lancaster, she was the daughter of the late Arthur and Betty Kauffman Wallace. 

She had a deep love for animals and her dogs. Carol enjoyed dancing and especially loved spending time with her grandchildren, gardening and enjoying the outdoors. She was also an immaculate housekeeper and she was thrifty. 

She is survived by her husband; two children, Victoria Elaine Galloway (Kevin) and Daniel B. Proffitt; five grandchildren, Derek, Dagan, Brandon, Caileigh and Cameron; one great-grandchild, Rhiley Ray Stetler; and two brothers, John Wallace (Connie) and Donald Wallace (Penny).

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 9 at Little Britain Presbyterian Church, 255 Little Britain Church Road in Peach Bottom, Pa., where friends and family may visit from 10 to 11 a.m. 

Interment will be in Little Britain Presbyterian Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Humane League of Lancaster County, 2195 Lincoln Highway E, Lancaster, PA 17602.

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

Online condolences may be made at

Ruth Smedley Thompson
Ruth Smedley Thompson, 104, of the Unionville area, passed away on Jan. 29, 2024 at Ruston at Jenner’s Pond in West Grove. 

Ruth was the farmer’s daughter of the late Byron T. Smedley and Elizabeth Sharpless of Lamborntown Road in West Grove. The late Frances McMullen (Rick) of Chula Vista, Calif. was her younger sister.  

Ruth and her late husband Harold E. Thompson were longtime farmers. Ruth, with their son Byron and his wife Dawn, continued to operate their family’s Century Farm located at Green Valley crossroads, in Newlin Township. In addition to Angus cattle, the farm is known for the great sledding hills and the ice skating pond.  

After graduation from Goldey-Beacom College, Ruth was secretary at Avondale Canning Company and later for the principal at the original Avon Grove School. 

She was a longtime Newlin Township tax collector and Republican Committeeperson. Ruth loved to volunteer and served as a boys 4-H club leader, 4-H department chairman at Unionville Community Fair, a member and past President of Evergreens Garden Club, even helping with a club display at the Philadelphia Flower Show.  

A Birthright Quaker and longtime member of London Grove Friends Meeting, Ruth was a very active member. She served a term as Meeting Clerk in the 1970s, served as chairman of the annual Plant Sale Herb Department and on many other committees, and recently she served on the Library Committee. 

She enjoyed many hobbies, including flower arranging, needlework, genealogy, knitting sweaters and hats for the family and her Plein-Air Artist Group.

Ruth was always supportive of her children’s activities. She is survived by her daughter, Leona Provinski (John), her  sons, Byron Thompson (Dawn) and Larry Thompson of Unionville, and John Thompson (Janet) of Constableville, New York. 

Also surviving are 5 grandchildren, Heidi Thompson, Amy Hoffman (Jeremy), Kevin Thompson (Vanessa), Karen Conlan (James), and Matthew Provinski (Jessica) and 10 great-grandchildren.

The memorial service will be held at noon on Saturday, Feb. 10 at London Grove Friends Meeting at 500 West Street Road in Kennett Square.  Visitation is from 11 a.m. to noon before the service. At 1 p.m., lunch will be served in the meeting social room. Friends and family are all welcome.

In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests donations be made to London Grove Monthly Meeting, attention Doug Myers, 483 West Street Road, Kennett Square, PA 19348. Your kind donations will be allocated for “Upkeep of the Caretakers House Fund.”      

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

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

Dawn D. Hough
Dawn D. Hough, a resident of Peach Bottom, departed this life on Jan. 30, 2024 at Lancaster General Hospital due to a recent illness. She was 70.

She was the beloved wife of Neal W. Hough, with whom she shared 43 years of marriage.

Born in Newark, NJ, she was the daughter of the late Kenneth and Jane (Washer) Johnson.

Dawn was a graduate of North Hunterdon High School in Clinton, NJ, class of 1971. Known for her creative skills, she enjoyed crafting and decorating her home. Dawn loved the ocean and enjoyed spending time at the beach, especially the Outer Banks. She also loved to sing and she sang with several local bands over the years. A people person, Dawn was exceptional at working with people and could easily strike up a conversation with anyone she met.

In addition to her husband, she is survived by a brother, Clifford Johnson, of Port Saint Lucie, Fla. and many nieces and nephews.

A gathering to celebrate Dawn’s life will be announced at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Dawn’s memory to the American Cancer Society online at

Arrangements have been entrusted to Dewald Funeral & Cremation Services, Inc., Quarryville. To leave an online condolence, please visit

Samuel J. Ganow
Samuel J. Ganow, 65, of Cochranville, went to be with the Lord after an airplane accident on  Feb. 1, 2024. He was the beloved husband of Kendelyn Cadman Ganow, with whom he shared 43 years of marriage. 

Sam was born in Mississippi, and raised in Grand Island, Nebraska. He was the son of the late Glen and Ruth Lillard Ganow, and he was then adopted by the late Ed and Norma Lillard after the passing of his parents. 

Sam was a 1976 graduate of the Skyview Baptist Academy in Memphis, Tenn. He went on to further his education at LeTourneau University, where he found faith and community while earning a bachelor’s degree.

Sam was involved in the Construction Equipment Rental business for over 30 years. 

Sam loved to immerse himself in his faith, family, hobbies and volunteerism. He was a member and elder of Faith Bible Chapel in Cochranville, Pa. He was a dedicated volunteer and advocate for alpine ski races for over 20 years. He faithfully served on the Octorara School Board for 26 years, and his most recent role on the school board was President. 

Sam loved flying. He received his pilot’s license in college, and flew recreationally for many years. 

He recently got back in to aviation with his friends at Rebuild Rescue, where he was a YouTube personality rebuilding and rehabbing airplanes. He also enjoyed testing his limits by running marathons with his Run Disney community. He was very proud of his Run Disney marathon accomplishment of being a “Perfect Dopey.” 

In addition to his wife, he is survived by three children, Steven G. Ganow and wife Abby of Nottingham, Shawn J. Ganow and wife Nora of Landenberg, and Kelinda C. Heckert and husband Matthew of Parkesburg. Also surviving are eight grandchildren and four sisters, Rosemary Pullen of Idaho, Suzanne Sanders of Nashville, Tenn., Amy Connor of Bartlett, Tenn. and Laura Schafer of Colorado Springs, CO. He was preceded in death by three brothers, Glen Craig Ganow, Charles Ganow and Michael Lillard.

Memorial services will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 18 at the Octorara High School Auditorium at 226 Highland Road in Atglen, Pa. Interment will be private at the Glen Run Cemetery in Atglen, Pa.

Arrangements have been entrusted to the Wilde Funeral Home in Parkesburg.  

Online condolences can be posted at

James Bradley Paxson
James “Jay” Bradley Paxson died unexpectedly while at his home on Jan. 14, 2024. He was 53.

He was born in West Chester on Dec. 11, 1970, the son of Timothy and Dyann (Blittersdorf) Paxson.

Jay grew up in West Grove and was a graduate of Avon Grove High School, Class of 1990. He resided in Maryland for most of his adult life and at the time of his passing lived in Massey, Md.

He is survived by Holly Dawson; a son, James Bradley Paxson Jr., two daughters, Kaytlin Dawson (John) and Elizabeth Slack (Gavin), and one grandson, Dean Slack.

Jay is also survived by two brothers, Paul Paxson and Gregory Paxson (Winter) and a sister, Jennifer Paxson (Danny).

He enjoyed spending time with his family and his beloved dogs, Ezekiel and Massey. Jay had a lifelong passion for the Philadelphia Eagles and the Philadelphia Phillies. In his earlier years, he enjoyed snowmobiling in Potter County with family.

A Celebration of Life and luncheon will be held on Sunday, Feb. 18 from noon to 3 p.m. at the Robert Fulton Fire Company, 2271 Robert Fulton Highway in Peach Bottom, Pa.  

Arrangements are being entrusted to Wards Funeral Home in Linwood, Pa.

James Howard Whitesel, Jr.
James Howard Whitesel, Jr., affectionately known as Jim, Jimmy, Dad, Poppop, and PPop, passed away peacefully on Feb. 4, 2024 while surrounded by his loving family. He was 81.

Born in Petersburg, Pa., he was the cherished son of James Howard Whitesel Sr. and Emma-Jean (Longenecker) Whitesel.

Jim's life was a rich tapestry woven from devotion to his family, a passion for automobiles, and a distinguished career as an electrician. He leaves behind his beloved wife of 60 years, Donna L. (Sharpe) Whitesel; his brother, Dennis L. Whitesel (Patti); his sister, Nancy R. Hunziker; his daughter, Kimberly A. Gennusa (Anthony); his son, James H. Whitesel III (Ellen); four grandchildren, Erika L. (Gennusa) Christie (Ben), Jessica L. (Gennusa) Davis (Robert), Hunter Whitesel, and Logan Whitesel; along with five great-grandchildren, Easton, Memphis, Blakely Christie, and Cooper and Carter Davis.

Jim moved with his family to Delaware at the age of 13, where he became the local paperboy in Ogeltown, Del. After graduating from Newark High School in 1960, he embarked on a career as an electrician, contributing his skills at Avison, American Mirexx, American Hoechst, M. Davis, and concluded his career at the Middle Department Inspection Agency (MDIA). He retired at the age of 72.

He was a longtime resident of Elk Township. Jim was a proud 52-year member of the Hiram Lodge #25 in Newark, Del. and a member of the Oxford Masonic Lodge #353 as well as a member of the Valley of Wilmington Scottish Rite, reflecting his commitment to the principles of Freemasonry and its community.

Jim's unparalleled love for travel and cars led to memorable adventures, notably the cross-country trip in his 1951 Mercury with his wife. This remained a fondly recounted story. His passion for cars extended to local car shows, where he was a regular presence, showcasing his classic cars.

In his youth, Jim delighted in hunting, fishing, and camping, cherishing the times he packed up the camper for weekend family getaways, creating lasting memories.

A celebration of life is being planned to honor Jim's memory on Feb. 23 at 11:30 a.m. at Deerfield Golf Club, 507 Thompson Station Road in Newark, Del.

The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Jim's name to Leeds Church, 1579 Blue Ball Road, Elkton, MD 21921, to the attention of Edith Racine.

Jim's legacy is one of strong character, deep love for his family, and a zest for life. He will be profoundly missed by all who knew him.

The family extends its heartfelt thanks to the doctors and nursing staff in the ICU at Chester County Hospital for their dedicated around-the-clock care during the final days of Jim’s life.

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