Obituaries 3-22-19

Jerald E. “Jerry” Irvin
Jerald E. “Jerry” Irvin died Tuesday, March 12, 2019, following a brief illness.
He was the son of the late Franklin M. and Evelyn S. (Visokey) Irvin; brother of Jeffrey F. Irvin, Linda S. (Dr. Jonathan) Stewart and Joyce (Kenneth) Wills; uncle of Jacob Stewart (Laraine Szczerbaty), Aaron Stewart (Arielle Collier) and Madison Irvin; nephew of Marlene Unrath.
Jerry worked for the state of Pennsylvania as a nursing assistant at the state hospitals for many years and was a manager at Bellevue Beer and Boulevard Beer. He loved fishing and golfing and was a member of the Valley Vets and Rox Bottom Hunting and Fishing Club.
Memorial donations are suggested to UPMC Hillman Cancer Center.
Arrangements by the Lawrence T. Miller Funeral Home, Inc.

Kathleen Donnelly
Kathleen Donnelly, 82, of Avalon, died Wednesday, March 13, 2019.
She was the mother of Patrick (Tracy) Donnelly, Kathleen Donnelly, Geoffrey (Jean) Donnelly and Debra (Philip Buchan) Donnelly; grandmother of Ryan, Megan, Lauren and Patrick. Kathleen was a retired nurse. She was an avid bingo player at the North Boros YMCA Senior Center, she loved John Wayne movies and breakfast from McDonald's.
Memorial donations are suggested to North Boros YMCA, 629 Lincoln Avenue, Bellevue, PA 15202.
Arrangements by the Lawrence T. Miller Funeral Home, Inc.

Janice R. Henderson
Janice R. Henderson, 79, of Avalon, died Tuesday, March 12, 2019.
She was the mother of Jim Henderson (Jacki), Cindy Soller (Bob), Diane Henderson and the late Steve Henderson; mother-in-law of Lynn Henderson; sister of Joan Baird and Jean Jack; nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Arrangements by Rex T. Smith Funeral Home.

Nancy France Cairns
Nancy France Cairns, formerly of Ben Avon Heights, died Saturday, March 2, 2019.
She was the wife of Patrick; mother of Joe (Jarica), and Tony; sister of Jane France Allison (Chris); daughter of the late William and Virginia France.
Nancy was defined by her loving spirit, respect for others and the ability to make people happy. She loved finding old treasures, recreating her finds and giving them new life.
Memorial contributions can be made by acts of kindness, contributions to your local food bank or other charities that help those in need. A celebration of life will be held in Pittsburgh at a later date.

Virginia Gene Bennati Niemela
Virginia Gene Bennati Niemela, 92, of Newtown Square, award-winning educator, avid traveler, and fashionista, died March 15, 2019 of natural causes at her White Horse Village home.
Born in Monessen, Pennsylvania to Italian immigrants, Mrs. Niemela was the oldest of three children. Growing up, she worked in her parents’ grocery store, both preparing foods to be sold and honing the mental math skills that would later serve her well as an educator. Mrs. Niemela graduated from Monessen High School in 1944. She then received her B.S. in Education from California University of Pennsylvania, graduating in only three years, in 1947.
While in college, she met her husband, Everett Arthur Niemela, on a class field trip. When one of the transport cars overheated, students were forced to squeeze into the remaining autos. Mrs. Niemela ended up sitting in the lap of her future spouse. They married in 1950.
Mrs. Niemela was a well-loved teacher with expertise in many subjects, from math to music, literacy, and history. She taught students from grades 1 through 12 throughout her four decade-long career. Before retiring in 1986, she spent many years teaching fifth grade at Avalon Elementary School, part of the Northgate School District. Her adaptive teaching style helped shape generations of Pittsburgh-area youth. Years later, whether through heartfelt letters or chance encounters, countless of her former students expressed gratitude to Mrs. Niemela for being such a compassionate and stalwart mentor.
Mrs. Niemela was honored with numerous teaching awards, including the IPI Mathematics Creativity Award and Scott Foresman Language Arts Curriculum Development Award. The national and regional press featured stories about her Writing for Peace (disarmament history), Colonial Quilt (bicentennial celebration), and ‘Round the World (ancestry research) projects.
Residing for nearly 50 years in Ben Avon, Pennsylvania, Mrs. Niemela traveled the world with her husband, conducting family research while exploring and collecting material culture. Among her favorite collections were colorful weavings and embroidery from across the globe, glass and jewelry in modernist Nordic design, and any accessory in the shape of a butterfly. Known for her striking beauty and tasteful wardrobe, Mrs. Niemela modeled in her youth. She belonged to the Pennsylvania State Education Association, the Scandinavian Society of Western Pennsylvania and, with her husband, was a founding member of the Finnish Nationality Committee at the University of Pittsburgh.
Mrs. Niemela served as a Sunday school teacher, calligrapher-scribe, and soprano soloist at the Community Presbyterian Church of Ben Avon. She later was a member of the Newtown Square Presbyterian Church. She also sang for many years with the White Horse Village Singers.
Mrs. Niemela is survived by her daughter, Kimberly Niemela Tang; her granddaughter, Grace Tang; two step-grandchildren, Yuefung and Gregory Tang, and her brother John Bennati, Sr. She is preceded in death by her husband of 62 years, Everett; her brother Paul Bennati; and he son-in-law, Philip Tang.
A celebration of her life will be held at White Horse Village in Newtown Square on Saturday, May 11, at 7 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Art and Education program of COSACOSA art at large, Inc., 4427 Main Street, Philadelphia PA 19127 at
Arrangements by Donohue Funeral Home, Upper Darby, PA.

John Grubbs
John Grubbs, 90, of Pittsburgh, died Friday, March 15, 2019.
He was the son of the late John and Betty Grubbs; longtime companion of Shirley Milliern; brother of David Grubbs and the late Tom and Bill Grubbs; also survived by nieces and nephews, including Timothy Grubbs.
John was a veteran of the US Navy, a saxophone player and member of the Ringold Band. A member of Incarnation of the Lord Parish choir, he also volunteered by playing music at local nursing homes.
Memorial donations are suggested to Disabled American Veterans (
Arrangements by the Lawrence T. Miller Funeral Home., Inc.

Robert J. Berry Jr.
Robert J. Berry Jr., 78, of Avalon, died on Saturday, March 16, 2019, after a long illness, .
He was the husband of Maxine for 53 years; father of Robert (Michelle), Patrick, and Tracey Shanko (Douglas); grandfather of Charles and Isabella Berry, Daniel and Hannah Shanko; brother of Dawn and Richard.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Robert Sr. and Gladys.
Mr. Berry was a proud veteran who served in the US Army during the Vietnam War.
Arrangements by the Lawrence T. Miller Funeral Home, Inc.

Marion E. (Jacobs) Mosberger
Marion E. (Jacobs) Mosberger, 88, of Ross Township, died Wednesday, March 13, 2019.
She was the wife of the late William B. Mosberger; mother of Joseph (Kathy) Mosberger, Carol (Glenn) Bohn and the late William Mosberger; sister of the late Roy E. Jacobs, Jr. and Jean Honsaker; daughter of the late Roy E. and Sarah E. (Cole) Jacobs, Sr.
Celebration of Marion's life will be held at a later date.
Arrangements by McDonald-Linn Funeral & Cremation Services, LLC.