Deaths of Local Interest – Reported March 26, 2015

By on March 25, 2015

Gary L. Balmer, 57, of Stevens, passed away March 19. Gary was a member of the Independent Christian Church. He loved the outdoors, camping, hiking, hunting, and going to Tioga County. Gary worked as a welder for many years. His brother, Russell L., husband of Kathy Balmer, lives in Lititz.

Anna F. Brubaker, 90, of Lancaster, died March 19 at Brethren Village. Anna was employed prior to her marriage by the Middletown Army Depot in the clerical department and later was a homemaker who enjoyed cooking, sewing, baking and gardening and taking care of her family. Anna and her late husband, J. Elwood, were longtime members of Redeemer Lutheran Church where they both were greeters on Sunday mornings.

Shirley A. (Myers) Butz, 78, of Lancaster, passed away peacefully March 16 at Lancaster General Hospital. She taught first and second grade at Landisville Elementary School in the Hempfield School District, until the birth of her only child, Susan. Two years later, she returned to teaching, as one of the original teachers at the then newly opened Centerville Elementary School in the Hempfield School District in 1970. She was a third grade teacher there for the duration of her teaching career until her retirement in 1992. Shirley enjoyed working as a hostess at Isaac’s at Greenfield for a few short years. She enjoyed reading, counted cross-stitch, gardening, vacationing at Stone Harbor, N.J., and most of all, spending time with her beloved grandchildren. Her sister, Naomi R. Myers, lives in Lititz.

Robert D. Eckert Sr., 84, of Lancaster, died March 16 at Magnolias of Lancaster. He was the former owner of RD Eckert, Inc., Lancaster. His daughter, Claudia, wife of David Heistand, lives in Manheim.

Margaret Mae Fasnacht, 88, Denver, died March 22 at her residence surrounded by family. A faithful member of Bible Baptist Church, Akron, she was a supporter of Fivepointville Bible Conference, founded by her father. Margaret worked at Dutchmaid, Inc., and Yorktowne Manufacturing. She enjoyed sewing and her embroidery won her many blue ribbons at the Denver Fair. Her sister, Linda Eshelman, resides in Lititz.

Edna Klaassen Miller Gambino, 96, of Lancaster, formerly of Terre Hill and Ephrata, died March 21 at Conestoga View. Edna worked 29 years at the former Warner Lambert, now Pfizer, in Lititz, retiring in 1987. She was a member of the Trinity Evangelical Congregational Church in Terre Hill and she enjoyed cooking, baking, polka dancing, and her nieces and nephews.

Burnetta L. Graham, 92, passed away March 18 at Brethren Village in Lititz. She worked at the Agronomy Department at Purdue University. Burnetta had many life-long interests. She and her husband traveled all over the world as well as throughout the United States. She was an excellent gardener, always growing both vegetables and flowers. She was an avid reader who enjoyed both fiction and non-fiction books and articles. Her husband of 66 years, Galen E. Graham, survives.

Alvin D. Haines, 98, a resident of StoneRidge Towne Centre in Myerstown, passed away March 23. Alvin was a U.S. Navy Veteran of World War II and worked as a production foreman at New Holland Machine in New Holland. His grandson, Bruce L. Haines, husband of Tami, lives in Manheim.

Sharon R. Heil, 64, of Lancaster, died March 17 at Golden Living Center. She was a graduate of Lock Haven University. Sharon was a member of Grace Community Church of Willow Street. Her mother, Margaret Perry Reinfried, resides at Brethren Village. A brother, Tom Reinfried, lives in Lititz.

Marian J. Hess, 85, of Harrisburg, formerly of Millersville, passed away March 20 at Hershey Medical Center. She worked at various nursing facilities and was a nurse’s aide at the former St. Joseph Hospital for 15 years retiring in 1993. Marian was a longtime member of Christ Lutheran Church in Lancaster. She had a difficult childhood, but made that a tool to be an extremely strong and independent woman. Marian is survived by a son: William G. “Bill” Hess, husband of Laurel of Lititz.

Betty L. Hughes, 73, of Ephrata, passed away March 16 at her home. Betty was a homemaker who raised four wonderful children. She enjoyed thrift shopping, Christmas decorations, and spending time with her family. Her son, Darrell S. Hughes Jr., and his wife Lori, live in Manheim.

Gerald L. Ide, 89, of Lancaster, passed away March 19 with his family by his side at Lancashire Hall where he had been a guest for a year. A truck driver, Gerald drove for many years with Georgia Pacific Lumber until he retired in 1991. He was past master of Lodge 43 F & AM, Lancaster and the Lititz Springs VFW Post #1463. He loved being in the outdoors and having time with his family and animals. Gerald will be fondly remembered by his son, Lyle Ide, husband of Kathi Ann, of Lititz.

Ruth Etta Nye, 88, of Ephrata, passed away March 20 at Fairmount Homes, Ephrata. Ruth was the founder of the Nye Family Singers. Her son, David, husband of Kiki Nye; and daughter, Jane, wife of Robert Glick; all reside in Lititz.

Irene M. Rinier, 86, of Lancaster, passed away March 20 at Mt. Joy Hospice Center. She attended Oregon Community U.M. Church of Lititz. Irene retired from the housekeeping department of Calvary Homes; prior to that she had worked at Bob & Mary’s Diner, Keystone Pretzel and Penn Dairies, Inc. She enjoyed listening to country western music, traveling, nature, wildlife and trips to the mountains.

Deoine E. Sauder, 90, formerly of Gordonville and Morgantown, died March 21 at Audubon Villa. Deoine worked as a seamstress at the form SLC Fashions, Blue Ball. She was a former member of Harmony United Methodist Church and served in the U. S. Navy during World War II. She had been a past member of the American Legion Joanna Post 537 Auxiliary. She loved playing cards and putting together puzzles, was a Phillies fan and a country music fan.

Bernice “Bee” C. Seavers, 98, of Lancaster and formerly of Landisville, passed away March 14 at Brethren Village, where she had resided for many years. She went on to work as a secretary at the Pentagon during WWII and later as secretary to the president of Educators Mutual Life Insurance Company. After 24 years of dedicated work at Educators, she retired in 1981.Bee was a founding member of the Hempfield United Methodist Church, where she served on the administrative board for 25 years.

John S. Umbrell, 87, formerly of Middletown and Elizabethtown, passed away March 16 at Masonic Village, Elizabethtown. John was a veteran of the U.S. Army, serving during WWII. He worked as a farmer and then as a truck driver along the East Coast for Davis Landscaping and then for the Middletown Press and Journal. John enjoyed spending time with his family and working in his yard. His daughter, Kimberly M. Spotts, wife of Timothy, lives in Lititz.

Diane Louise Walton, 58, of Ephrata, died March 18 at Lancaster General Hospital. A graduate of Manheim Township High School and Empire Beauty School, Diane worked as a beautician in Lancaster for a short period. She next served as the head cook at Cocalico Valley VFW Post #3376, Ephrata, and then as a cashier at the former Pharmhouse store in Ephrata. She was very caring, friendly and quick-witted. She loved spending time with her grandchildren and always found ways to do special things for her family. Diane enjoyed scrapbooking, country music, singing, reading, puzzle books and cooking. Her daughter, Melissa A., wife of Paul Clement, lives in Lititz.

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