In Memory: Feb. 27

From Thomas S. Lowther Funeral Home & Crematory

Michael Gary Hoffer, 84, Vero Beach

January 05, 1939 – February 20, 2023

Michael Gary Hoffer, age 84, of Vero Beach, passed away on February 20, 2023.

He was born in Brooklyn, New York on January 5, 1939.

Michael was a veteran of the United States Marine Corp.

He was a graduate of the University of Rhode Island and had worked as a Purchasing Executive.

Michael is survived by his wife, Donna; his children, Mark, David, Jason, and Jill; and eight grandchildren.

His pastimes included fast walking, reading, golfing, and traveling.

Burial will be in Rhode Island at a later date.

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

From Thomas S. Lowther Funeral Home & Crematory

Jane Baker Holland, 103, Vero Beach

September 11, 1919 – February 20, 2023

Jane Baker Holland passed away peacefully February 20, 2023, surrounded by love, at the VNA Hospice of Indian River County in Vero Beach, Florida. Jane lived a wonderful 103 years of life. Her daughters, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and dear friends will miss her dazzling smile, her wisdom, her compassion, and her all-enveloping love. Her amazing caregiver and dear friend, Linda Penny, brought much joy into her life in her later years.

Jane was born September 11, 1919, in Greenville, Pa., to Bertha Davis Baker and William Artemus Baker. She was a graduate of Penn High School and Thiel College, both in Greenville. She married John William (“Bill”) Holland in 1947. He was the love of her life. Together, they built a wonderful life in Slippery Rock, Pa. In their later years, they spent part of each year in Grove City, Pa., and part in Clearwater, Florida. After Bill’s death, Jane lived full-time in Vero Beach, Florida.

She loved to read – especially English literature – and to teach. As a young woman, she taught English at Grove City High School. After raising her four children, she returned to the classroom, first at Slippery Rock State College and then at Moniteau High School. She expected a lot of her children and her students, which was much to their advantage in life.

She was a leader in the community, serving as president of the Slippery Rock Women’s Club and as an elder in her beloved Highland United Presbyterian Church in Slippery Rock, where she taught Sunday School.

Jane enjoyed being with people and had an active social life. She and Bill played bridge nearly every week. They square danced, golfed and often entertained their wide circle of friends.  She was fun – a great companion with a rollicking sense of humor.

She is survived by her daughters: Mimi Holland Limbach (Fred), Ann Holland Baglier (Dennis), and Ellen Holland Walker; her beloved grandchildren: Jane Walker Blake (Tommy), W. Camp Walker (Michelle) and Holland Walker Josephs (Steven); her adored great grandchildren: Hollis, Henry and Webster Blake and William and Davis Walker; her cherished nephews Bill Baker (Cheri), John Baker (Karen) and many great nieces and nephews.

Jane was predeceased by her husband; their son, Michael Andrew Holland; their son-in-law, H. Webster Walker; her parents;  her brothers, William A. Baker and Andrew Davis Baker; and her sisters-in-law, Betsy Baker and Eileen Baker.

A celebration of life will be held at the Highland United Presbyterian Church in Slippery Rock, Pa., at a later date. In lieu of flowers, Jane’s family would welcome donations in her honor to the Highland United Presbyterian Church, 310 Franklin St, Slippery Rock, PA 16057;  the Humane Society of Butler County, and the VNA & Hospice Foundation  or 1110 35th Lane, Vero Beach, FL 32960.

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

From Thomas S. Lowther Funeral Home & Crematory

Valerie “Val” Vitek, 79, Vero Beach

May 31, 1943 – February 22, 2023

Valerie “Val” Vitek, age 79, of Vero Beach, died February 22, 2023 in Okeechobee, FL. She was born in Chicago, Illinois and later moved from Chicago to Vero Beach, in 1984.

Val was an insurance agent and later a devoted homemaker. She was a long-time member St. Helen Catholic Church and recent member of St. John of the Cross Catholic Church.

Val was a loving wife and mother. She was known for her caring and patient nature, and she helped raise many children and grandchildren, and well as babysitting many children over the years in her Vero Beach community. Val enjoyed cooking, listening to music, laughing with her loving husband, going to lunch with her friends, and she was a long-time member of the Carmelite community of St. John of the Cross.

Survivors include sons Wally (Valerie) Sokolewicz, Johnny Sokolewicz, Richard (Margaret) Vitek Jr., Andy (Jackie) Vitek; daughters Vicky (Gary) Gossett, Michelle Vitek (John) Devine, Julie Vitek (Michael) Riddle; sister, Maureen Kilheeney; brother, Frank (Ana) Vitek, III; 7 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.

She was predeceased by husband Richard Vitek; mother, Susan Kessler; father, Martin John Kilheeney; brothers, Marty Kilheeney and Danny Kilheeney; and grandson, Sean Sokolewicz.

A Visitation will be held 4:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m., Sunday, March 5, 2023 at Thomas S. Lowther Funeral Home & Crematory, 1655 27th St., Vero Beach, 32960.

A Funeral Mass will be 10:00 a.m., Monday, March 6, 2023 at St. John of the Cross Catholic Church, 7550 26th St, Vero Beach, FL 32966.

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

From Strunk Funeral Homes & Crematory

Francine Delescluse Reed, 99

June 10, 1923 – February 2, 2023

Dr. Francine Delescluse Reed beloved wife of 42 years of Pendennis White Reed, died Wednesday February 2, 2023, at the age of 99.

Francine was born June 10, 1923, in Roubaix, France. She was the daughter of the late Albert Delescluse who was also born in Robaix, France and Marthe’ Toen who was born in Antwerp Belgium.

While growing up in France during World War II was hard and not to mention dangerous, Francine had a fascinating childhood. In September 1939 all schools were evacuated because of the war D’HULSD for 1 year. In June 1940, the Germans invaded Paris, just a small example of the times that Francine grew up in, she was able to persevere completing her education and follow her dreams.

In 1941 Francine graduated from the European equivalent of High School. In 1941, Francine came to the United States where she attended Dental School at Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts. She graduated in June 1946 as the first of two female dentists in the Universities history. In February of 1948 she became an American citizen.

Francine became an associate with Dr. Howard Reith in Boston in 1946. She opened her own practice on Beacon Street in 1955 with Dr. Glickman and subsequently selling the practice in 1965 when she married the love of her life, Pendennis White Reed in Boston, Massachusetts.

Francine’s Interests mirrored that of her husband, Pendennis, and included worldwide travel (6 out of 7 continents excluding Antarctica), President of the Alliance Frances, Princeton Alumni, Tuft Alumni, Hildene, McKee Botanical, watercolor painting, swimming, and puzzles. One of Francine’s greatest retirement interests was golf and included active memberships in the following: Pine Valley (New Jersey), The Country Club (Massachusetts), Baltusrol (New Jersey), Riomar (Florida), Ekwanok (Vermont), and the Moorings (Florida).

In addition to her parents, Francine is preceded in death by her husband, Pendennis White Reed, and her sister Marthe Delescluse.

She is survived by her four grandchildren, Pendennis Reed III and wife Margie, Kent Reed and wife Tracey, Carolee Hazard and husband Jonathan, Reed Levick and wife Marisol; seven great grandchildren, Stockton Reed, Knox Reed, Ryan Reed, Makenzie Hazard, Jessica Hazard, Elisabeth Levick, Andrew Levick and Reed Levick Jr.

Words on a page cannot adequately describe the life and person that Francine was. She will be missed.

A graveside memorial service will take place 10:00 a.m. Saturday June 10, 2023 at Dellwood Cemetery 2950 Vermont Rte 7a Manchester, Vermont 05254

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made in Francine’s memory to: Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home. 1005 Hildene Rd. Manchester, Vermont 05255

To plant Memorial Trees in memory of FRANCINE REED, please click here to visit our Sympathy Store.

From Strunk Funeral Homes & Crematory

David William Patterson, 78, Vero Beach

February 8, 1945 – February 14, 2023

David William Patterson 78 of Vero Beach, beloved husband of Jane (Zajac) Patterson, formerly of Greenfield, MA and Wells, ME passed away on February 14, 2023 at Rockledge Regional Medical Center in Rockledge, FL.

He was married for 57 years to his loving wife, Jane, and together they had three sons, William, John,  and Douglas.  David was born on February 8, 1945 in Greenfield, MA to William and Elizabeth (Allis) Patterson.  He graduated from Turners Falls, High School and attended GCC.  He served in the Army National Guard Co. B2DBN 104th INF and was honorably discharged as SSGE6.  He was employed by Northeast Utilities for over 35 years first as a lineman and then in a supervisory capacity.  He loved spending time with family and friends and was particularly proud of watching his three sons grow up and enjoying all of their sports activities.  He was a devoted NY Giants fan.

Upon retirement he and Jane moved to Wells, ME and enjoyed seven years of coastal living before moving to Florida.  David joined the CSU at the Indian River County Sheriff’s Department volunteering in the patrol unit for over six years.  He and Jane enjoyed cruising and particularly enjoyed visiting Italy, Alaska and the Panama Canal.  He loved walking, swimming, taking care of his yard and always helping out when needed.

He was a communicant of St. John of the Cross Church.

He leaves behind his wife, Jane; sons John and his wife Nicole of Princeton, MA and Douglas of Greenfield, MA; a daughter-in law Pamela of North Port, FL; a sister Donna Richard and her husband Maurice of Rancho Cordova, CA.   A son William pre-deceased him on Sept. 19, 2012.  David leaves seven grandchildren; David, Kathryn, Ashley Christopher, Cole, Lucy and Sam and one great-grandchild Oliver as well as several nieces and nephews.

A memorial mass is planned at St. John of the Cross Church on Saturday March 4, 2023 at 11:00 AM.

Memorial contributions can be made to St. John of the Cross Building Fund, 7550 26th St., Vero Beach, FL  32966.

To plant Memorial Trees in memory of DAVID WILLIAM PATTERSON, please click here to visit our Sympathy Store.

From Strunk Funeral Homes & Crematory

John Dennis Frazier, 79, Grant

September 23, 1943 – February 3, 2023

“So other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?”John Dennis Frazier, of Grant, FL, passed away at the age of 79, which is much longer than anyone thought he would make it.He was born in Chattanooga, TN and made his way down to South Florida shortly after.While John made waves and friends no matter where he went, he made interesting life choices everywhere he would go.In a bold move that no one anticipated he joined the Army in 1960 when he was 17. He was a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne division at Fort Bragg, NC. His fellow patriots would often remark, “John may have been small, but he was scrappy”. He was honorably discharged as a specialist Fourth Class in 1964.Not long after he would meet the mother of his children and would space out bringing his 4 daughters into the world over a period of 12 years.Those 4 girls would make him the proud grandfather of 5 boys and 3 girls, who truly embody his spirit as well.He would often put his daughters’ minds at ease reminding them, “You can’t hurt Superman”.While he had many colorful job titles throughout his life, the one he held the longest would be an Insulator with the National Asbestos Union.

John lived many lives in his time on this Earth, and each one of them would have been plenty for anyone else. He was a Father, Veteran, Democrat, Cat enthusiast (save one “Dixie Bell”), and the most loyal friend that ever graced this Earth.

No doubt when he takes over the job as greeter at the pearly gates, he will only answer the phone with, “Hollywood Kennels, Lassie speaking,” and if not met with a jovial retort will not hesitate to give you, “Five across your lips”.

His legend will live on with his daughters Denise, Coco (June), Amber, and Christina. His partner Joan Miller will be regaling everyone with tall tales until she joins him and his brother Tony Wilson (their sister Susan has been saving a place in Heaven for John since 1993) will continue to spread the wisdom of his older brother.

He will be the model for hard work, standard for inappropriate humor, and a guiding light that is always pointed true north so that those who need his direction will always have a place to go for his help.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 AM on Thursday, February 16, 2023 at St. Sebastian Catholic Church, 13075 U.S. Highway 1, Sebastian, Florida 32958 with Father John Morrissey, celebrant.

Arrangements are entrusted to Strunk Funeral Homes & Crematory, Sebastian, Florida.

To plant Memorial Trees in memory of JOHN DENNIS FRAZIER, please click here to visit our Sympathy Store.

From Strunk Funeral Homes & Crematory
Elaine M. diFrancesca, 70, Barefoot Bay
June 2, 1952 – February 9, 2023
We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Elaine M. diFrancesca of Barefoot Bay, FL, on February 9, 2023, at Health First – William Childs Hospice House in Palm Bay, FL after a brief battle with cancer. She was 70 years old. Elaine was born on June 2, 1952, and is predeceased by her parents, Anthony and Mary (Matarazzo) Sabatino. Elaine is survived by her son, Anthony (Sarah) diFrancesca; grandchildren Conner and Evelyn diFrancesca; sisters Jeannette (Allan) VanBlarcom and Toni Marie (Joseph) Curci; brothers Anthony (Kathy) and Michael (Denese) Sabatino; numerous nieces, nephews, cousins; and countless friends.

Elaine was born in Brooklyn, NY, and lived in Piermont, NY for many years before moving to Barefoot Bay. She graduated from Clarkstown High School in New City, NY.

Elaine loved everything Disney, crafts, sewing, bedazzling, but most of all, her beloved grandchildren. She’s remembered as a wonderful mother, a loving sister, and a kind friend.

Visitation will be held 10:00 AM on Friday, February 17, 2023 at Strunk Funeral Home, 1623 N. Central Ave., Sebastian, FL 32958 followed by a Prayer service being held at 11 AM with Father Marcos Zamora, celebrant. Elaine will subsequently be interred in the Magnolia Cremation Garden at Fred Hunter’s Cemetery on Taft St. in Hollywood, FL near the final resting place of her parents.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests making donations to the Health First – William Childs Hospice House, 381 Medplex Pkwy, Palm Bay, FL, 32907.

Arrangements are entrusted to Strunk Funeral Homes & Crematory, Sebastian, Florida.

To plant Memorial Trees in memory of ELAINE M. DIFRANCESCA, please click here to visit our Sympathy Store.

From Strunk Funeral Homes & Crematory

William “Bill” Adams, 75

April 12, 1947 – February 11, 2023

William “Bill” Adams died peacefully on February 11, 2023 at the age of 75.

He was born to William Adams and Marion Hurt Adams in Richmond, VA. He grew up in Williamsburg, VA, and graduated from York High School in 1965. His fondest early memories were of summers spent at his beloved grandparents’ home in Keysville, VA, where he worked on their tobacco farm and memorized the words to every Elvis Presley song.

After high school, Bill served his country in the United States Air Force. As the first member of his family to go to college, he graduated from the College of William & Mary in 1972, and then earned a Master’s degree in Healthcare Administration from the Medical College of Virginia.

He had a long and distinguished career as a hospital CEO with Hospital Corporation of America, and he was proud of his distinction as a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. As a leader, he was dearly loved by his colleagues and was known for being exceptionally compassionate towards patients and family members.

Bill loved music, singing karaoke, and Elvis Presley. He loved the state of Virginia, bluebirds, and peanut butter. Bill was a die-hard Washington Redskins fan, and he thought the movie “Peggy Sue Got Married” was the best movie ever made. Bill was the life of the party and told the best stories, jokes, and riddles. Bill’s greatest love, however, was his family.

His legacy of love endures in those who cherished him the most: his wife of 36 years, Rebecca Adams; his daughter Jennifer Adams Cashwell (and fiancé David Scheiderer); his grandchildren William Grey Cashwell, Jackson Cashwell, and Sidney Cashwell; his sister Bonnie Adams Rote and her husband William Rote; his nephews Christopher Rote (and wife Sarah) and Michael Rote (and wife Lauren); his great-nephew Desi; and former wife and lifelong friend, Marylee Dawson.

A memorial service will be held at Amory Funeral Home in Yorktown, VA, on Wednesday February 22, 2023 at 10:00 am.A burial will follow at Washington Memorial Cemetery in Sandston, VA, at 1:00 pm.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the American Diabetes Association in Bill’s name.

To plant Memorial Trees in memory of WILLIAM “BILL” ADAMS, please click here to visit our Sympathy Store.

From Strunk Funeral Homes & Crematory

Kenneth Riviezzo, 39, Vero Beach

January 2, 1984 – February 16, 2023

We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Kenneth Riviezzo of Vero Beach Florida, on February 16th, 2023, at Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital at the age of 39. He was greeted by Jesus and his loved ones in Heaven.

He was married for 5 years to his loving wife Jenipher Riviezzo and together they had 2 children. Leonardo, a 3-year-old boy and Valentina, a 7 month old baby girl. Ken was born on January 2nd, 1984, in White Plains, New York to Patrick and Loretta Riviezzo. He has two siblings Sean and Edward Riviezzo. At a young age the family moved to Sebastian Florida where he spent most of his life. He attended Sebastian River High School class of 2002 and obtained his Bachelor of Science in Sports and Exercise Science from the University of Central Florida class of 2019.

Ken was very dedicated to Sebastian Soccer. He started his soccer career at age 7 and played recreational and competitive soccer until high school. At a young age he even wanted to become a professional soccer player. In high school Ken played on the varsity team for 3 years. Ken’s coaches and teammates will always remember his positive attitude even in defeat, he was the best at cheering them on. His soccer career was over when he fell in love with bodybuilding. Ken went on in that sport to win several titles in the state.

Ken was a man of many traits; he held many different positions throughout his life. However, the last two years he dedicated his career to Stark Arrow Enterprises where he focused on learning and growing as much as possible. He was quickly cross trained and became a great asset to the company. Everyone knew that they could count on Ken to get the job done. He never complained but he delivered unbelievable results; his work ethic was truly unmatched.

Ken’s love for food, people, and culture led him to live every day to its fullest potential. There wasn’t a day wasted without a fun activity or an outdoor adventure. In the short time that Ken was with his wife they travelled and explored tirelessly. Together they visited 8 countries, 10 islands, and 10 different states. He loved immersing himself in different cultures, exploring a new country/city and taking short naps on any form of transportation. He was never materialistic, instead he always focused on creating memories together as a family. His latest trip was only 2 months ago where he road tripped for 10 hours with a 3 years old and a 5 month old; it may sound like an impossible challenge but he enjoyed every second filling every hour with love and laughter.

Ken as we all know him, is a gentle giant; having a heart so full of love, he was always willing to give to anyone in need. His selfless dedication to his family was unparalleled. He was a father whose true devotion was to his children. It never mattered how tired he was or what kind of day he had; he was always eager to get home to his family and play with his children. Whether it was playing in the “cave” to read stories to the kids, playing soccer with Leo, or dancing with Valentina. He was the most loving, patient, and caring father to his kids.

Ken’s generous heart could not only be seen but it was also felt on February 16th at Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital where he donated his organs. All the nurses, doctors, and the closest family members lined up the hallway as he was wheeled into the operating room to fulfill what we believe was his mission in this world. His devotions to helping others truly showed by giving the biggest gift anyone could give. The gift of life. He gave the gift of life to three recipients who will move forward with his legacy.

Visitation will be 4:00-7:00 p.m. Friday, February 24, 2023, at Strunk Funeral Home 916 17th St. Vero Beach, 32960. A prayer service will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Mass of Christian Burial will take place 2:00 p.m. Saturday, February 25, 2023, at St. Helen Catholic Church 2000 20th St. Vero Beach, Florida 32960. There will be a reception following the service at Rock City Gardens from 3:30pm -5:00pm.

From Strunk Funeral Homes & Crematory

Nancy Jane Knapp (nee: Gift), 79, Orchid Island

May 21, 1943 – January 18, 2023

Mrs. Nancy Jane Knapp (nee: Gift), 79, died peacefully and unafraid in the company of her husband Paul on January 18, 2023 in Vero Beach, FL.

She was born in Marion, Indiana, the oldest child of mother Martha Jane (Paxton) Gift and father, Morris Edward Gift, and grew up in Chagrin Falls, Ohio along with her sister, Barbara, and brother, Richard.

Nancy was a 1961 graduate of Chagrin Falls High School. She earned an Associate’s degree from Stephens College, Columbia, Missouri in 1963 and, later in life, she pursued her passion for art and in 1991 earned a Bachelor’s degree in Fine and Performing Arts from Northwestern University.

Nancy spent most of her adult life in suburban and downtown Chicago, Illinois. She had a successful career in commercial real estate in Chicago while she raised her two children, 10 years of that time as a single mom.

Nancy and Paul Knapp were married in 1988 and spent the next 34 years together as partners in a beautiful love affair with life and each other.

Upon Paul’s retirement in 2014 Nancy and Paul moved their primary home from Chicago to Orchid Island Golf & Beach Club, Orchid Island, Florida and split their time between there and one of Nancy’s favorite places in the world, a summer home on Lake Michigan in Bay Harbor, Michigan where they were active Great Lakes boaters.

Nancy, a natural beauty with a love for life and people, was devoted to her extended family – which includes her two children and Paul’s three children – and friends. She greatly enjoyed retirement which allowed her to pursue the things that she loved – art, painting, bridge, gardening, reading, theatre, film, boating, and travel.  She cultivated and enjoyed caring and sharing relationships with her many friends.  She was known for her engaging conversations and giving of her talents to the community and to the organizations she loved.

Survivors include her husband, Paul Knapp of Orchid, FL; son Kendall Nettles; daughter Jennifer Nettles Jones; stepdaughters Michele Knapp and Erica Knapp Morris; stepson Matthew Knapp; sister Barbara Gift Pepper, brother Richard Gift, half-sister Marthene Phend, half-sister Myrna Wolfe and eight grandchildren: Sydney, Morgan, Calloway, Charles, Wilson, Luke, Abram, and Judah.

Tax deductible charitable gifts in memory of Nancy can be made to:

Great Lakes Center for the Arts
800 Bay Harbor Drive
Bay Harbor, MI 49770

Gifford Youth Achievement Center
4875 43rd Avenue
Vero Beach, FL 32967

A reception in celebration of Nancy’s life will be held from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM, Monday, February 20, 2023 at Orchid Island Golf & Beach Club, Beach Club Dining Room, One Beachside Drive, Orchid, FL 32963.

Arrangements are entrusted to Strunk Funeral Homes & Crematory, Vero Beach, Florida.

To plant Memorial Trees in memory of NANCY JANE KNAPP, please click here to visit our Sympathy Store.

From Strunk Funeral Homes & Crematory

Joseph Coleman Fry, 75, Vero Beach

July 24, 1947 – January 6, 2023

Colonel Joseph Coleman Fry, United States Air Force Retired, of Vero Beach, FL, passed away peacefully on Friday January 6, 2023.

He was predeceased by his parents, John Glendy Fry and Zella Fields Fry.

Joe is survived and missed by his loving wife of fifty-two years, Virginia; his beloved children, John (Leigh), Michael, and Barbara (Philip) Pinette; and his cherished grandchildren, Jack, Jane, and Michael Jr.

Joe was raised in Los Angeles, CA. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1969 with a degree in Civil Engineering and was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Air Force. After marrying his high school sweetheart, Virginia, he began a twenty-seven year Air Force career, during which he held critical positions in missile defense, intelligence, and surveillance and reconnaissance.

During his assignment with the Strategic Air Command in Grand Forks, North Dakota, Joe earned an MBA from the University of North Dakota. Later, he served as part of the Minuteman crew overseeing the nation’s intercontinental ballistic missiles, and he was one of the few to test-fire a Minuteman II missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Joe spent most of his later career working for the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Space. He was Director of the Office of Research for the National Reconnaissance Office before its existence was made public. Joe’s expertise made him a frequent guest at The White House between 1989 and 1998, although his name never appeared in visitor logs.

His final assignment was in Washington, DC, as the Director of the Air Force Special Projects Office of Research. He retired from the Air Force with the rank of colonel and then went to work for Raytheon. When asked about many aspects of his career, Joe often responded with the phrase “that’s classified”, and in most cases, it was true.

To honor veterans, Joe started and led an annual wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery on behalf of the Notre Dame Club of Washington DC, a tradition that continues to this day.

After retiring, Joe and Virginia enjoyed traveling together. They visited six of the seven continents, and their final trip took them to Joe’s fiftieth reunion at Notre Dame. Throughout his life, Joe remained proud of his association with Notre Dame and with the Air Force. He saw these as connections to his identity and believed they provided him with comfort, camaraderie, and a sense of earned respect.

Joe was a devoted husband and a loving father, with a deep affection for his family, including his four-legged family members. He will be remembered by his colleagues, co-workers, former staff, friends, and loved ones for his remarkable humility, humanity, and sense of humor. His steady guidance, strong values, and willingness to share his knowledge and experience inspired love and respect from many who will be forever grateful.

He will be buried with military honors at Arlington National Cemetery on May 5, 2023, at 12:45 pm. Immediately following the graveside service, please join the family at a reception in Patton Hall. Follow the family back through the cemetery and return the pass to the guard.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to The Joseph C. Fry Memorial Fund at the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration ( or The Joseph C. and Virginia F. Fry Endowed Scholarship at the University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame Department of Development, 574-631-5150).

To plant Memorial Trees in memory of JOSEPH COLEMAN FRY, please click here to visit our Sympathy Store.

From Strunk Funeral Homes & Crematory

Barbara Haack Sexton, 75, Vero Beach

August 15, 1947 – February 17, 2023

Barbara Haack Sexton died in Vero Beach Florida on February 17, 2023 at the age of 75 years.  The cause of death was complications from kidney failure.

Born August 15, 1947 in Milwaukee, WI, Barbara was the daughter of Robert and Catharine Haack.    Her childhood was spent in Wauwatosa, WI, but when she was 17 years old her family moved to Potomac, MD where she spent her senior year in high school.  Then it was off to college at Denison University in Granville, OH where she graduated in 1969.  She worked for four years at McKinsey and Co. in the San Francisco Bay area and then attended Stanford Business School from which she graduated with an MBA in 1975.

In 1975 she married O.G. Sexton, moved to New York City, and started a career in finance, first at Citibank and then Bankers Trust.  The couple had a two year tour in London, but were back in New York in 1980.  In 1983 they adopted their first child, after which Barbara left Wall Street and became a full time Mom.  In 1985 they adopted a second child.  The family spent holidays and summers at their home in Lawrence, NY where they were members of the Rockaway Hunting Club and the Lawrence Beach Club.

In 1990 the family moved from New York City to Greenwich, CT where they lived for the next 25 years.  Child raising took first priority for most of these years, but Barbara also enjoyed bridge with friends, tennis at the Belle Haven Club, and golf at the Stanwich Club or The Golf Club of Purchase.

In retirement and with children out of the house and on their own, the couple moved full time to Vero Beach, FL in 2015 where Barbara enjoyed many activities with friends at the John’s Island Club.

In her later years, Barbara was plagued by declining health due to lupus nephritis.  She loved to travel, especially to see the animals of Africa, however this activity ended when the progress of her disease forced her to commence peritoneal dialysis in 2020.  Despite her increasingly challenging health issues, her love for her family motivated her to persevere and to endure her situation with grace and good will.

Barbara was a respected businesswoman, a clever and engaging conversationalist, a trusted friend and a devoted wife and mother.  She loved her life and fought her disease with strength and determination.  She is survived by her husband of 47 years, Ormond Griffith Sexton, daughter Laura Catharine Sexton, son Matthew Griffith Sexton, grandsons Augustus Griffith Sexton and Ormond Palmer Sexton, her brother Thomas R. Haack, and her sisters Elizabeth Haack Barr and Linda Haack Brooks.

A Celebration of Life is planned for Sunday March 5, 2023 at the Sexton residence in Vero Beach.  The family intends her interment at Arlington National Cemetery at a date to be determined.  In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Lupus Research Alliance at, dedicated to the memory of Barbara Sexton.

To plant Memorial Trees in memory of BARBARA HAACK SEXTON, please click here to visit our Sympathy Store.

From Strunk Funeral Homes & Crematory

Michael J. Kelly, 71, Vero Beach

January 30, 1952 – February 3, 2023

Michael J. Kelly of Vero Beach Florida, died peacefully at his home overlooking the ocean on February 3, 2023 after a brief battle with cancer. He was born on January 30, 1952, and is predeceased by his parents, Michael and Mary (McDonald) Kelly, his sister, Mary Ellen Kelly, and his partner of many years, Linda Clasen.  Michael is survived by his wife, Ruth Ann (Bryant) Kelly, his step-daughter, Nicole (John) Winterbottom and his siblings, Barbara (Vince E.) DeTurris, Nancy (Walter) Bromley and Ryan (Dawn) Kelly. Michael was a favorite uncle to Vincent (Megan) DeTurris, Christen (Scott) Spencer, Michael (Christa) DeTurris, Theresa (William) Hoogerwerf, Michael (Chartier) Lukacs, Matthew, Shannon and Grace Kelly.  He is also survived by thirteen grand nephews and nieces and countless friends he made and retained throughout his life.

Born in Manhattan, New York, Michael was raised in Bethpage, New York. Michael graduated from St. Dominic High School in Oyster Bay, New York and attended Hofstra University where he earned his bachelor’s degree and a MBA in finance.

Michael was the proprietor of Kelly’s Catch 22 in Oyster Bay through 1984.  He then moved to Manhattan and began his career with the United Nations. Michael spent a year on special assignment for the United Nations Mission in Soviet Georgia. He directed the financing of the United Nations multinational peacekeeping troops, traveling extensively throughout the area. Upon the completion of his duties in Russia he returned to New York and retired from the UN in 2013 as a Finance Director for the United Nations Pension Fund.

Subsequent to his retirement, Michael moved to Vero Beach, married Ruth Ann and enjoyed playing golf and socializing at the Moorings Yacht and Country Club.  An avid reader and music lover, he also enjoyed his time at the beach.  He was a lifelong New York Giants fan to which he attributed his unending patience and sense of humor. Michael was kind, generous, and eager to strike up a conversation on a wide variety of topics.  Those conversations will be missed.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Holy Cross Catholic Church, 500 Iris Lane, Vero Beach, Fl. 32963 on Thursday, February 23, 2023 at 10:00 am. Michael will be interred at Calvary Cemetery, Queens, New York at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, consider making a donation in Michael’s memory to Wheels and Keels of Vero Beach, P.O Box 643158, Vero Beach, Fl. 32964 or to a charity of your choice.  Please go to

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From Strunk Funeral Homes & Crematory

Connie M. Helm Lopin, 92, Vero Beach

February 22, 1931 – February 8, 2023

Connie M. Helm Lopin, born February 22, 1931 in Mason City, Iowa, passed away peacefully in Vero Beach, FL at the VNA Hospice House of Indian River County.

She was the daughter of Melvin and Pearl Helm.

Connie graduated from Rockford West Senior High School in 1948.

She was a resident of Rockford, Illinois for 53 years.

Connie was preceded in death by her husband Vito and her son Kerry.

She is survived by her 5 children and their spouses, 8 grandchildren, 10 great grandchildren, 2 great great grandchildren and her sister.

Connie was an incredibly strong amazing and interesting woman. During her lifetime, she was a waitress and a licensed private investigator.  She worked for the Sheriff’s Department, the DMV and Chrysler. In 1981, she graduated from The Rockford School of Practical Nursing and was a licensed LPN.

Connie volunteered and participated in numerous organizations including: The Girl Scouts, Brownies, The Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts. She was the Commander of the DAV Woman’s Auxiliary 1977-1978, a coordinator for the ARC Learn to Swim program and a swimming instructor. She worked out with the Rockford Peaches during the summer of 1947 and was a member of Sweet Adolines.

“The lives of so many people were made better by her presence”.

In 1986 Connie moved to Arizona, where she lived and worked until she moved to Vero Beach, FL in 2018. She led a very full and active life.

Mom, thank you for giving us life, roots and wings. We will always be grateful for all you have done for us.

A Celebration of her Christian Life and her final resting place will be in Rockford, Illinois in the spring of this year.

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Mildred Gummerson, 94, Vero Beach

April 15, 1928 – February 22, 2023

Mildred Gummerson, 94, of Vero Beach passed away February 22, 2023 at her home.

She was born on April 15, 1928, in Wausau, Wisconsin to the late Fred and Dorothy Boening.

On September 25, 1948, she married the love of her life, James M. Gummerson.

In 1960, Milly and Jim together started their business, Mid-States Equipment, a hydraulic distribution company. Beginning in the late 70s, Jim and Milly lived seasonally in the Vero Beach area. The business was later sold to their son James, and they truly began to enjoy retirement.

In retirement, Milly and Jim loved traveling the world, sailing, cruises and many RV trips. Milly also enjoyed knitting and playing Bridge where she hosted many games at the Country Club. She hosted all the family holidays. Her homemade bread and baked goods are something she will be remembered for. Milly was a devout Catholic. She was a faithful member of Holy Cross Catholic Church for many years, where she was a member of the Women’s Guild. She was also a long-standing member of Vero Beach Country Club.

In addition to her parents and husband, Mildred was preceded in death by her daughter, Mary Melbinger; brother, Robert Boening; sisters, Mary Schmidt and Caroline Kincaid.

She is survived by two children, James Gummerson and Judy Mathewson; seven grandchildren; eight great grandchildren; brother Jim Boening.

During the final stages of her illness, Milly realized that she would likely not be in attendance at the 95th birthday party that was planned for her at the Country Club, however, the party must go on. That being said, the family will be turning that day into a celebration of her life. Due to scheduling and personnel conflicts and because this date and event are so important to her family, we are unable to hold her funeral mass at Holy Cross Catholic Church.

Funeral Mass will be 11:00 a.m.  Saturday April 15, 2023, at St. John of the Cross Catholic Church.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Holy Rosary Catholic School, PO Box 503, Medford, WI 54451.

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From Strunk Funeral Homes & Crematory

Christopher Lonnie Guin, 70, Vero Beach

November 8, 1952 – February 23, 2023

Christopher Lonnie Guin (Crazy Chris) passed away month/day/year at the age of 70 after a long struggle with the side effects of diabetes.  Chris was born November 8th, 1952, in Raiford, North Carolina.

He traveled the country as a young boy before becoming a long-time resident of Vero Beach, Florida where he settled back in the 60s.

Likely inspired by proud Indian blood, Chris was an avid outdoorsman who was drawn to the waters of Indian River, Blue Cypress, and the Stick Marsh along with just about any place you could take a boat (air boats were a favorite).  When not on the water you would find Chris in his workshop fixing just about anything (usually for someone else and for free) or he would be telling stories that seemed to always end with shared laughter.

Stories that were derived from adventures with nature, school days at VBHS, years as a wrecker driver, or his close calls with the afterlife.  Chris, along with his generous spirit will be missed greatly, but rest assured his stories will be remembered.  One favorite story involved Chris going someplace to get his “eyes” checked; and upon arriving for his appointment, he simply would hand over his glass eye and ask them to let him know when they were done checking it over.

Chris is survived by his side-by-side soulmate of 11 years Bea (a true country girl from Yeehaw Juction by way of Indiana and Kentucky), his younger brother Mark Guin, and many, many friends.

Chris requested that his worn-out body be cremated and the good people at Strunk Funeral Home, Vero Beach, carried out his request.

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Hilda Thompson (Wall) Powell, 91, Sebastian

September 28, 1931 – February 15, 2023

Hilda Thompson (Wall) Powell, 91, of Sebastian, Florida was greeted by Jesus and the Angels on February 15, 2023 with her family by her side.

Hilda was born to Edgar and Ella (Bare) Wall on September 29, 1931 in Thomasville, North Carolina. One Saturday night while roller skating, she met the love of her life, Howard Powell. They were married on May 22, 1949 in Conway, South Carolina.

In 1953 they moved from Thomasville to Flint, Michigan with their first-born daughter Shearon. In the years following, they were blessed with three more children, Deborah, Linda and Michael. In 1981, they moved to Sebastian, Florida after Howard retired from General Motors.

Hilda enjoyed working with her family making crafts and attending craft shows. She was very active in her church. She served as chairman of the Missions Committee at Grace Baptist Church in Vero Beach, Florida for numerous years. She was always there when needed and especially enjoyed opening up her home to visiting missionaries. Hilda and Howard loved to have their friends over for game nights, fellowship, fun and food. She loved raising roses and orchids. She worked 36 years with the voting polls in Florida. As her health started restricting her activities, she enjoyed doing word-find puzzles and playing board games with her family.

Hilda is survived by her loving husband of 73 years, Howard; Four children – Shearon (Diane) Pontious, Deborah Powell, Linda McCarthy and Michael Powell; Sister – Aurilla (Cookie) Dennings; Four grandchildren – Jon, Paul, and Chadd Bradberry and Dawn Pontious; Eight great-grandchildren; Multiple nieces and nephews, cousins and loving friends.

Hilda was welcomed into Heaven by her parents; Brother Knolon; Brothers-in-Law – Gordon Dennings and Darrell Powell; Sisters-in-Law – Joyetta Wall and Peggy Washam; Nieces – Sonya Wall and Terri Powell.

Visitation will begin at 1:00 PM on Saturday, February 25, 2023 at Strunk Funeral Home Chapel, 1623 North Central Avenue, Sebastian, Florida 32958. A Funeral Service will be held at 2:00 PM in the funeral home chapel with Pastor Chris Drinnon, Grace Baptist Church, celebrant. Interment will follow immediately after the service at Fountainhead Memorial Park, Palm Bay, Florida.

In lieu of flowers monetary contributions may be made to Missionary Flights International at 3170 Airmans Drive, Ft. Pierce, FL 34946; 772-462-2395;

To plant Memorial Trees in memory of HILDA T. POWELL, please click here to visit our Sympathy Store.

From Strunk Funeral Homes & Crematory

John J. (Jay) McNamara, 88

March 7, 1934 – February 25, 2023

John J. (Jay) McNamara was born in Yonkers, NY on March 7, 1934. He was the third son of James E. McNamara and Marie G. Brennan, both of New Haven, CT. He went to public schools, graduating from Gorton High School in 1952. He received a B.S. from Yale University in 1956. Later, while working in New York, he attended New York University at night, obtaining an MBA in 1962.

Upon graduating from Yale, Jay was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps. After completing the officer training course at the Basic School, Quantico, VA he served as an infantry officer in East Asia, first as a Platoon Leader, and subsequently as a Company Executive Officer. He was selected as Aide de Camp to General August Larson in 1957 and served in that capacity until his honorable discharge in 1958 as a First Lieutenant.

Jay spent twenty-five years in advertising in New York, becoming President of Young & Rubicam, Inc. in 1981. At the time Y&R was the largest advertising agency in America. In 1985, he became President of McCann-Erickson Worldwide as well as Chairman of McCann-Erickson North America. He was responsible for the operations of 140 offices in 70 countries. In addition to his management duties, Jay had overall stewardship of a variety of advertising accounts during his career, including General Foods, Proctor & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Merrill Lynch, Hallmark, Frito Lay, Metropolitan Life, Exxon and Coca Cola.

Jay’s book, Advertising Agency Management, was published by Dow Jones-Irwin in 1990. At the time, John O’Toole, President of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, Inc., said of it, “Advertising Agency Management is the most thorough, direct and knowledgeable book ever on the subject. Any agency that follows McNamara’s guidelines will do well indeed.” Later, and for fifteen years, Jay wrote monthly humorous essays for Gold Coast Magazines, Ft. Lauderdale, FL. A collection of those essays, entitled “Scribblings” was published in 2006, along with a novel entitled “Agency.” His three books are available on

After leaving the Advertising business in 1990, Jay became Managing Director of Brand Licensing, Inc. and later Chairman of National Brand Licensing. He was creator of several national licensing partnerships, including those between Better Homes & Gardens magazine and Walmart; Car & Driver magazine and Target Stores; and Road & Track Magazine and Walmart.

Jay was active in civic matters, serving more than one hundred board-years, first in Pelham Manor, NY and later in Vero Beach FL. In Pelham Manor, he held seven public offices, five of them elected, culminating in becoming Mayor in 1989. He was Chairman of the Pelham United Way for two years and President of the Pelham Country Club for a similar period of time.

In Vero Beach, he served on the Boards of the Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice, as well as the U.S. board of the VNA, the Education Foundation and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Palm Beach. With land provided by the Archdiocese, Jay led the fund-raising effort to create the Samaritan Center, a building for the homeless, and acted as its first Executive Director.

He was Vice President of the John’s Island Foundation, a charity he helped found within the John’s Island community, where he resided for forty years. He was President of the John’s Island Property Owners Association from 2000 to 2002 and served on the board of the John’s Island Club from 2002 to 2005.

In 2000, Jay became a charter member of the Indian River County Boys & Girls Clubs and served as its Board Chairman for ten years, beginning in 2000. The Jay McNamara Boys & Girls Club was opened in Vero Beach, FL in 2010.  He became the founding Board Chairman of the Boys & Girls Clubs Foundation in 2013.

His former wife, Patricia Widmann of Lock Haven, PA passed away in 2004. He is survived by a daughter, Mimi Fredericks of Vero Beach, a son, Tony and his wife Amy of Wilton, CT and five grandchildren, Nicole, Justin and Allie Fredericks of Vero Beach, FL and Ryan and Megan McNamara of Wilton, CT.

The family will hold private services. A celebration of life reception will be held at the Strunk Funeral Home, 916 17th Street, Vero Beach, FL, Saturday March 4, 2023 from 2-4pm. In lieu of flowers, a donation can be made in honor of Jay McNamara, Indian River County Boys & Girls Club, 1729 17th Ave. Vero Beach, FL 32960 (772) 299-7449.

Arrangements by Strunk Funeral Homes & Crematory, Vero Beach, FL.

A guestbook is available at

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From Strunk Funeral Homes & Crematory

Jamie Taggart Clark, 81

January 7, 1942 – February 5, 2023

Mr. Jamie Taggart Clark, 81, died February 5, 2023 at Sebastian River Medical Center in Sebastian, Florida.

He was born in Woodbury, New Jersey.  He attended Rutgers University where he studied as a Chemistry major, continuing his studies for many years with other colleges; Newark College of Engineering, taking numerous Engineering courses; Indian River State College, working on business management courses, Water Treatment specialist certificate, and obtaining his electrician’s license.

Jamie was a manager for Hercules Incorporated for 17 years before his retirement.  During his career he was associated with Chevron, Mobile Oil, Gulton Electronics and Princeton Electronics in New Jersey.

He was a charter member of First Presbyterian Church, Sebastian, Florida.  He loved to keep busy and took pride in cultivating and becoming an expert Orchid Grower, including cross-breeding; talented Mechanic restoring Corvettes and other specialty cars; loved to take nature photos where he felt like the protector of All Living Things; he was an avid Tennis, Racquetball and Pool Player and was a Scrabble Champion.

Jamie had a legendary sense of humor and was known to have captivating, sparkling blue eyes.

Survivors include his loving wife of 60 years, Sarah Louise Clark of Sebastian, FL; daughter, Dawn Elizabeth Clark Taggblom of Deland, FL; brother; Keith Clark of Dandridge, TN; nephews, Glenn Clark and Michael Clark; grand nieces, Kyler Clark and Savannah Clark; grand nephew, Trevor Clark.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Samuel Clark and Ruth Clark; brother, Kerry Clark and nephew, David Clark.

The family suggests that memorial contributions may be made to First Presbyterian Church, 1405 Louisiana Avenue, Sebastian Florida 32958 or The Nature Conservancy, 4245 North Fairfax Drive, Suite 100, Arlington, Virginia 22203-1606 or; in loving memory of Jamie Taggart Clark.

A Memorial service will be held 2:00 PM on Saturday, March 11, 2023 at First Presbyterian Church, 1405 Louisiana Avenue, Sebastian, Florida 32958 with Pastor Jeff Wood, officiating.

Arrangements are by Strunk Funeral Homes & Crematory, 1623 North Central Avenue, Sebastian, Florida 32958.

To plant Memorial Trees in memory of JAMIE TAGGART CLARK, please click here to visit our Sympathy Store.

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