In Memory: Nov. 29

From Thomas S. Lowther Funeral Home & Crematory

Mildred Faye McMullen, 91, Vero Beach

June 21, 1931 – November 06, 2022

Mildred Faye McMullen, age 91, passed away November 6, 2022 in Vero Beach, Florida.

She was born June 21, 1931 in Lawrenceburg, Indiana to the late James and Mary McAllister. She moved to Vero beach in 2003.

Mildred retired from Seagram’s Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Indiana after 44 plus years of service. She was a member of Beecher Presbyterian Church of Lawrenceburg, Indiana.

Survivors include her son, Kenny; two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

She was predeceased by her husband of 55 years, Russell and her son, Garry.

Burial will be held Monday, November 14, 2022 in Greendale Cemetery in Greendale, Indiana. Arrangements are by Fitch-Denny Funeral Home.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Beecher Presbyterian Church, 229 Short Street, Lawrenceburg, Indiana 47025.

Arrangements are by Thomas S. Lowther Funeral Home & Crematory, Vero Beach.

From Thomas S. Lowther Funeral Home & Crematory

Caleb H. Smith, Jr., 84, Vero Beach

May 27, 1938 – November 02, 2022

Caleb H. Smith, Jr. passed away at his home in Vero Beach, Florida on November 2, 2022.  Cal was born in Rochester, MN on May 27, 1938.  He graduated from Tower Hill School in Wilmington, DE and graduated University of Virginia with a degree in English.  He was a member of the Chi Psi fraternity Cal was a stock broker for over 40 years, starting with Laird & Company and opening two local offices for Wheat First Securities which later became Wells Fargo.  He was also a self-published author of several novels.

Cal lived in Wilmington, DE and Landenberg, PA before moving to Vero Beach.  Cal loved dogs, especially his Dobermans and Westies. He was a charter season ticket member and life-long fan of the Philadelphia Flyers and he played for the Wilmington Wheels.  An avid sailor, he sailed his boat, Triage, everywhere between Maine and the West Indies and competed in the Bermuda Race twice.  He had a special love for the British Virgins Islands and spent many winters there on Triage with friends and family.

Cal was predeceased by his parents, Margaret Gallagher Smith and Dr. Caleb H. Smith, his sisters, Harriett Smith and Priscilla S. Irwin, DVM, and his second wife, Sandra Genier Smith.  Cal is survived by his children, Tracey Kirby (John), Melinda P. Smith and Stephanie Mooney (Ted), as well as his beloved grandsons Eddie and Zack Mooney.  He is also survived by the mother of his children and best friend, Penny Smith.  His canine buddy and loyal friend, Yeats, has a new forever home in Vero Beach.

Funeral services and burial will be private in Pennsylvania.

Arrangements are by Thomas S. Lowther Funeral Home and Crematory, Vero Beach.

From Thomas S. Lowther Funeral Home & Crematory

Keith F. Liotta, 53, Vero Beach

December 14, 1968 – November 08, 2022

Keith F. Liotta, age 53, departed this life Nov 8, 2022. He was born on Long Island, NY and moved to Vero Beach, FL during his middle school years. He graduated from Vero Beach High School in 1988. He worked for Clements Pest Control for several years after high school. He reached his goal of being hired by the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office in 1995. He aspired to  be a law enforcements officer like his father was. Keith would go on to have a very successful career in varied positions within the Department. His proudest role was that of Sergeant of the Civil and Warrants Unit. He was well respected as an expert in this role. One of his proudest moments came when he received a Lifesaving Award from Vero Police Department for pulling a man from a burning house. He also received a Tactical Award in 2000, Going the Extra Mile Award in 2006, and the Exceptional Duty Award in 2010. Even after his retirement, he would receive phone calls from employees and even lawyers asking for Keith’s advice in legal service matters.

No matter how he felt, or what he had going on at the time, he always made time to encourage and support his children. He never missed an honor roll assembly, a baseball, softball, football, and volleyball game, or a graduation. His support and dedication to watch his children achieve their goals was truly unmatched. Most recently, he was joyous to attend his son’s graduation from the University of Florida and he had the honor of walking his daughter down the aisle.

Survivors include his Wife, Angela; Children, Keith “Kal”, Lyndsey (Jad); Mother, Jeanette; Sister, Lauren (Sam); Dogs, Bo, Copper, and Romeo.

He was predeceased by his father, Anthony and brother, Tony.

The family will greet friends 10:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m. on Thursday, November 17, 2022 at Thomas S. Lowther Funeral Home & Crematory, Vero Beach. A Funeral Service will be held 11:00 a.m., Thursday, November 17, 2022 at Thomas S. Lowther Funeral Home & Crematory, Vero Beach. Burial, with police escort immediately following to Crestlawn Cemetery, Vero Beach.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Sheriffs Traumatic Advocate Response Team “S.T.A.R.” Team, 4055 41st Avenue, Vero Beach, FL 32967.

Arrangements are by Thomas S. Lowther Funeral Home & Crematory, Vero Beach.

From Thomas S. Lowther Funeral Home & Crematory

James Mattes Ploucha, 72, Florida

November 23, 1949 – November 10, 2022

James Mattes Ploucha, 72, died after a sudden cardiac arrest, on 11/10/2022 in Hospice at St. Francis Reflections, Melbourne Regional Medical Center.

Jim was born in San Francisco, California and lived in Michigan before moving to Florida.

He was semi-retired from Apollo Surgery Center, Melbourne Florida as an Anesthesiologist. Previously he was employed at AIR (Anesthesia of Indian River) at Indian River Medical Center for 13 years.

Jim took great joy in belonging to the Flying Eagles Radio Control Club where he engaged in his second love (the first being his wife) flying remote control airplanes. He was an avid chess player, enjoyed playing guitar (especially the blues), shooting pool, star gazing, and working on his planes. He would regal his friends with recitations of poetry, plays, and famous speeches. He especially enjoyed telling his patients the history of anesthesia. During surgeries, Jim would often text loved ones to keep them informed. He was known as a child and dog whisperer to everyone who knew him.

Jim was an academic and earned multiple degrees. He was a board certified/pediatric fellowship trained anesthesiologist. He received his PhD in physiology from Michigan State University college of Human Medicine prior to completing his medical degree from MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1986. He completed his residency at Botsford General Hospital in 1989 and a fellowship at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan in 1990. He worked 15 years at EW Sparrow Hospital, a large Level 1 trauma center in Lansing, MI.  Jim also completed a PHD in animal physiology and attended commercial flight training from Ferris State University.

Survivors include his loving wife Phoebe Ploucha, his children Courtney (Zak Ducker), his step granddaughter Evie, his son Tyler Ploucha and his grandsons Jameson and Beckham Ploucha. Additionally, he leaves behind his stepson Matthew Magenheim (Jessica), his step granddaughter Maris, his stepdaughter Alexis Montgomery and her significant other Jake Murphy. Other loving family include David Brandt (Beth) and Jack and Liam. He also leaves behind his brother Larry Ploucha (Janet); sister Sharon Light (Ralph), niece Tracey Howard (Jon), grand-nephew Scott Howard, nephew Robert Light and stepbrother Greg Conant.

He is pre-deceased by his adoring mother Leotta Conant (Alfred), biological father William Nicholas Mattes and his adoptive father Thomas Ploucha.

A Celebration of Jim’s life will be held at a future date.

Arrangements are by Thomas S. Lowther Funeral Home and Crematory, Vero Beach.

From Thomas S. Lowther Funeral Home & Crematory

Joan M. Tasillo, 90, Vero Beach

March 07, 1932 – November 13, 2022

Joan M. Tasillo, 90, of Vero Beach, went to be with the Lord on Sunday, November 13, 2022.

Joan was born in Hartford, Connecticut and lived most of her life in Manchester, CT before relocating to Vero Beach.

Joan was an active member of her church and community.

Joan is survived by her husband of 72 years James Tasillo, her sons Steven of Vero Beach, and John and his wife Brenda Tasillo of Holy Springs, NC.  She is also survived by grandsons Michael and his wife Leigh Ann Tasillo and David and his wife Katie Tasillo, and great grandchildren Cooper and Kennedy. Joan also has several nieces and nephews that were dear to her heart.

Joan was predeceased by her parents, John and Mary, and her sister, Jean.

A Memorial Service will be held 1 p.m., Saturday, November 19th, 2022, at St. John of the Cross Catholic Church, Vero Beach. A reception will follow at the clubhouse of Vero Palm Estates, 1405 82nd Ave., Vero Beach.

Arrangements are by Thomas S. Lowther Funeral Home & Crematory, Vero Beach.

From Thomas S. Lowther Funeral Home & Crematory

Richard (Dick) Garland Winger, 84, Vero Beach

January 12, 1938 – November 12, 2022

The family of Richard (Dick) Garland Winger, of Vero Beach, FL is saddened to announce his passing at age 84 after a valiant bout with cancer. He will be dearly missed by his beloved wife Bobbie, his four sons Doug, John, Chris, Scott McMichael, his sister Holly, seven grandchildren and numerous family members and friends.

Dick was born in Oak Park, Illinois to Herman Francis and Elizabeth Julia Winger. His upbringing included inner city PA; Lake Geneva, WI; River Forest, IL; and farm life in Leesport, PA.

He left home to join U.S. Army Intelligence at the Pentagon, and then went on to Ohio Wesleyan University where he graduated Cum Laude with a BA in Economics. Later Dick would get an MA in English, but his real calling was business.

Like his father and grandfather, he started in Sales at Glidden Paint Co. and later positions included VP Sales and Marketing for Glidden Durkee-Foods Division; VP Sales at Unilever; VP Sales and Marketing for Van den Berg Foods; VP Sales at C.F. Sauer, VP Sales at Olympic Foods and National Account Manager for Continental Business Development Co.

In 1994, Dick married Bobbie McMichael of Atlanta, GA.  They lived in Richmond, VA for 10 years and in 2004 moved to Vero Beach, where his parents had lived.  Later, Dick and Bobbie joined St. Mark’s Anglican Church in Vero Beach.  Dick became very interested in the City and served 6 years on VB City Council, including two terms as Mayor.  His motto was “Keep Vero Vero.”  His main interest was protecting the citizens and the importance of a healthy lagoon.

Memorial donations may be made in Dick Winger’s name for the Indian River Lagoon to the Marine Resource Council at 3275 Dixie Hwy NE, Palm Bay, FL 32905.

In his honor, a memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, November 26, 2022, at St. Mark’s Anglican Church, 1795 45th Street, Vero Beach, FL, followed by a reception in the Parish Hall.

Arrangements are by Thomas S. Lowther Funeral Home & Crematory, Vero Beach.

From Thomas S. Lowther Funeral Home & Crematory

Hugh James Van Veen, 68, Florida

July 23, 1954 – November 16, 2022

Hugh James Van Veen passed away on November 16, 2022 in Melbourne, FL at the age of 68. He was born in Dearborn, Michigan to George and Ann Van Veen and was the youngest of his 3 siblings.

Hugh graduated cum laude from Michigan State University with a bachelor’s degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management and went on to lead a very successful career spanning several decades of managing private clubs; Cleveland Skating Club (OH) for 3 years, Marietta Country Club (GA) for 8 years where he oversaw the construction of a brand new clubhouse and golf course and Eau Gallie Yacht Club (FL) for 20 years before retiring in 2011. Hugh was very proud of his accomplishments and enjoyed the opportunity to train several colleagues and apprentices who would go on to become very successful General Managers for their own clubs. Hugh also organized an annual charity golf tournament to raise funds for the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Women and Children. Over the years this event raised over $1 million and helped to establish a children’s only emergency room at APCH in downtown Orlando.

Hugh is survived by his sister, Gretchen, his two brothers, Peter and Mark, two children, James and Jessica, and his adoring wife and caregiver, Barbara, who provided for his every need through his long battle with Parkinson’s Disease. Hugh appreciated her support and comfort through the endless challenges that they faced together. She still resides in Vero Beach, FL.

In lieu of flowers the family asks that a donation be made in his memory to the Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital at

A Funeral Service will be held at Thomas S. Lowther Funeral Home and Crematory on Tuesday, November 22, 2022 at 11am. The visitation begins at 10am and is open to anyone who wishes to attend. Internment will follow at Crestlawn Cemetery located at 1216 14th Street, Vero Beach Fl. 32960.

From Thomas S. Lowther Funeral Home & Crematory

Renee E. Cole, 70, Vero Beach

August 24, 1952 – November 13, 2022

Renee was born in Silver Springs MD and grew up overseas as a State Department brat. She lived in Egypt (her favorite) Jordan, Turkey, Pakistan, and the Philippines. She met her future husband in Amman, Jordan when she was in the 8th grade, and he was in the 7th grade, a younger man!

She attended Stetson University and got her Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration. Her parents, and her future husband’s parents, retired in Florida and the two families got reacquainted. She was married to Kenneth Monroe in Ormond Beach in 1976 and accompanied him on a wild, decades long ride to Colorado, North Carolina and back to Florida.

After settling in Vero Beach with Ken and their two daughters, Renee worked for the Indian River County School District for nearly 15 years. During that time, she managed the Extended Day Program at Osceola Magnet School, where she was fondly called “Mrs. Renee”. She was passionate about her job and deeply cherished all of the relationships she made with the students, families, and co-workers throughout the years.  She would have parents and students from years past stop her while out in public to relive fond memories, “Mrs. Renee, is that you?!”

Renee was an amazing mother to her two biological daughters, but she was also a remarkable “secondary mother” to a large cast of characters who affectionately referred to her as “Mom”. This comes as no surprise as she had a huge heart full of love and showered all those close to her with it. Renee was effortlessly kind and compassionate; she always had an open ear that truly listened and, most of the time, had sage advice to offer. She was well known for her vivacious and loving personality, her razor sharp wit and sarcasm, and of course, her boundless sense of humor. She was an incredible friend, an outstanding mother, and a loving wife.

Though her family is absolutely devastated by her loss, they take comfort in knowing that she is no longer suffering and that her legacy of love and compassion will leave a lasting impact on all those who have had the pleasure of knowing her.

Renee was predeceased by her brother Jim of Daytona Beach and her parents James Robert Cole and Dorothy Cole of Ormond Beach.

She is survived by her husband Ken, and daughters, Jordan and Katie.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and dedicated to the name of Renee Cole.

Arrangements are by Thomas S. Lowther Funeral Home & Crematory, Vero Beach.

From Thomas S. Lowther Funeral Home & Crematory

William J. Charlton, Jr., 91, Vero Beach

September 19, 1931 – November 18, 2022

William J. Charlton, Jr. of Vero Beach, Florida and Nantucket, Massachusetts died November 18, 2022. He was 91 years old.

Mr. Charlton was born on Staten Island, New York to Agnes Keating Charlton and William J. Charlton Sr., managing partner of John Muir & Co. Mr. Charlton Sr. had traced his ancestry to the Rev. Richard Charlton DD, rector of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church on Staten Island from 1740 until 1774. The Reverend was the grandfather of Elizabeth Bayley Seton, the first American saint.

Mr. Charlton enlisted in the Air Force as a teenager at the beginning of the Korean War. He served 4 years, two of them with a long-range bomber wing on Guam and Japan, earning the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, and the National Defense Service Metal.

In 1955 he met Barbara Hillick, the love of his life. They were married in 1957.

After the war, Mr. Charlton utilized the G.I. Bill to pursue a finance degree by taking night classes at Pace University and NYU Graduate School. He worked as a clerk on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange during the day. In 1959 he took a job at Cowen & Company as an analyst/broker. He became a partner in 1966, working as a floor broker on the American Stock Exchange and eventually as a broker in the bond room of the New York Stock Exchange. He was running the firm’s high yield and convertible bond desk when listed option trading started on the American Stock Exchange in 1976. He went back to the AMEX floor to run the firm’s fledgling options specialist book. Cowen subsequently decided to exit the business giving Mr. Charlton the option to take it over which he did; founding Charlton Specialist Partners in 1976, one of the largest options specialists books on the floor. Firm growth was accomplished through acquisition and by the ability to handle large, unruly trading crowds which led to further product allocation. The firm prospered during the crash of 1987, enabling it to expand by acquiring an options specialist book on the New York Stock Exchange. It also set up trading operations on option exchanges in Philadelphia, Chicago and San Francisco.

Mr. Charlton believed that our political system, flawed by a lack of term limits and the socialism that was introduced in the early 1930’s would lead to political corruption and eventually result inunmanageable debt and currency debasement. With that in mind, he co-founded a COMEX member firm to trade gold and silver. In addition, he was a founding member of C&C Trading,LLC, a proprietary trading firm focused on ETF market making.

He was a summer resident of Nantucket and lived in Vero Beach in the winter. On Nantucket he was a Trustee of the Nantucket Atheneum, Treasurer/Trustee of the Sconset Beach PreservationFund and Treasurer/Trustee of the Sconset Trust. During his tenure at the Sconset Trust he wasable to guide it to positive returns during the financial crisis of 2008. He was also a lead fundraiser for the Sankaty Head Lighthouse relocation.

An avid golfer, he shot a 76 at age 84 beating his age by eight strokes. He was a member of Nantucket Golf Club, Sankaty Head Golf Club, Plainfield Country Club, Quail Valley and Orchid Island golf clubs. At Plainfield he scored a rare double, winning the mixed-doubles tennis championship with his wife, Barbara, and the member-guest golf tournament with one of his sons.

His wife, Barbara, of 55 years died in 2012. He leaves two sons; William III (Donna) of New Vernon, NJ, Matthew (Donna Rinaldo) of Bridgewater, NJ, two daughters; Elizabeth Whitworth and Amanda Charlton Cilo (Jason) both of Manhattan, six grandchildren; William IV (Stephanie), Vanessa, Matthew, Maria, Michael, and Elodie, one great-grandson William V, and a sister Roberta Smith of Scotch Plains, NJ.

Donations can be made in his name to the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, NY.

Arrangements are by Thomas S. Lowther Funeral Home & Crematory, Vero Beach.

From Thomas S. Lowther Funeral Home & Crematory

Nancy T. Reeves, 80, Vero Beach

October 03, 1942 – November 16, 2022

Nancy T. Reeves, age 80, of Vero Beach, passed away on Wednesday, November 16, 2022 at her home.

She was born in Washington, D.C. on October 3, 1942, to parents, Frank R.  and Janet Pearson Tiller, Jr.

A Celebration of Life service will be held 10 a.m., Saturday, December 3rd, 2022, at Christ Church Vero Beach, 667 20th St., Vero Beach, FL 32960.

***Additional information is forthcoming, please check back for update.

Arrangements are by Thomas S. Lowther Funeral Home & Crematory, Vero Beach.

From Thomas S. Lowther Funeral Home & Crematory

Melanie Jean Chesser, 53, Vero Beach

August 22, 1969 – November 18, 2022

Melanie Jean Chesser, age 53, of Vero Beach, passed away on Friday, November 18, 2022, at her home.

She was born in West Palm Beach, Florida on August 22, 1969, to parents, William Eugene and Barbara Jean Moyer Chesser.

Melanie worked in the medical field as an emergency room technician.

She is survived by her father, William Eugene Chesser and her brother, James A. Chesser.

Her mother, Barbara Jean Chesser predeceased Melanie in June of this year.

A Celebration of Life service will be held 4 p.m., Tuesday, November 29th, 2022, at Thomas S. Lowther Funeral Home & Crematory, Vero Beach.

Arrangements are by Thomas S. Lowther Funeral Home & Crematory, Vero Beach.

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