Thursday, August 19, 2021

Skook News Obituaries: August 19th, 2021


Skook News Obituaries:  August 19th, 2021

Obituaries published from the Schuylkill County area.


Marian J. Stephens
, 88, of Tamaqua, PA died on Wednesday, August 18, 2021 in West Penn Township, PA. She was the wife of the late Thomas Stephens. 

Born in Tamaqua on January 6, 1933, Marian was the daughter of the late James and Marion (Fox) Rowan. A 1951 graduate of Tamaqua High School, she worked as a seamstress at the former Morgan Knitting Mills, Hometown and was later employed by Koch’s Farm Store in the Lewistown Valley. Marian was a member of The Parish of St. John XXIII, Tamaqua; the New England Fire Company Women’s Auxiliary; and the Tamaqua American Legion Women’s Auxiliary. 

She is survived by sons, Joseph K. Kotch of West Penn Township and Robert Rowan and his wife Jean of Tamaqua; granddaughters, Nicole Kotch of Phoenixville, PA, Briana Kotch of Tamaqua, and Ashley Caputo of Florida; and a sister-in-law, Lydia Rowan. 

Marian was predeceased by two husbands, Joseph Kotch and Thomas Stephens and a brother, James Rowan.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 AM on Saturday, August 28, 2021 in St. John XXIII Catholic Church, 307 Pine Street, Tamaqua with The Rev. Robert T. Finlan officiating. 

Interment in St. Jerome Cemetery, Lombard Street, Tamaqua will follow the mass. 

Memorials in her name may be made to the American Cancer Society, 712 South Keyser Avenue, Taylor, PA 18517. 

Online condolences may be made at Arrangements are being handled by the Zizelmann-Gulla Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Inc., Tamaqua.


Joseph P. Gelches
, 53, of Pottsville, passed away Tuesday, August 17th, at Lehigh Valley Health Network Schuylkill-East. Joe was born in Pottsville, on July 25, 1968, a son of Carmen “Sis” L. (Heinbach) Gelches, of Orwigsburg, and the late Peter Francis Gelches.Joe was a 1986 Blue Mountain High School Graduate.

He had worked for Cartech, in Reading, for 27 years. He had been working for Lowe's Distribution Center for the past 7 years. Joe enjoyed Jeep riding, fast cars, hunting, fishing, shooting, ATV riding, the beach & the Sun. He was always a jokester, loving to laugh. He was such a genuine good hearted person with a charming personality.In addition to his Mother, Sis, Joe is also survived by the love of his life, Brenda Eckert, with whom he resided, his sister, Michele (Shelly) Gelches, fiancĂ© of Kevin Connors; nephews Carter & Kaden Gelches ; uncle Clark “Jerry” Heinbach, husband of Rose, Oklahoma City, OK He is also survived by his faithful dog Gunner.

He is also survived by Brenda’s family, which Joe considered his own. They are in laws, Butch & MaryJo Eckert, step-son Joseph Brennan, Jr, husband of Kamryn; step daughter Jessica Delaney, wife of Matt. grandchildren Kaley & Kelsie Brennan. brother in law Adam Eckert husband of Mandy. niece Madison Eckert, nephew Adam “Wormie” Eckert. Other fur babies include Checkers, Willow & Daisy Mae.

A Celebration of Life Service for Joe, will be held at 12:00 PM on Tuesday, August 24th at Hamilton - Breiner Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Inc. in Orwigsburg. Please share your stories about Joe during the service. The visitation will begin at 10:00 in the funeral home. Interment will be in St. Johns UCC Cemetery, Orwigsburg.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Ruth Steinert Memorial SPCA PO Box 332 Schuylkill Haven, PA 17972.


Gerald S. Seary, age 75, of Pottsville, PA passed away Wednesday, August 18th, 2021 at his companion Eileen's home in Tuscarora.

Born in Pottsville, PA on September 24, 1945, he was the son of the late Steve and Margaret (Percala) Seary.

Jerry served in the U.S. Navy on the USS Perry as a Fireman during the Vietnam War from 1965 till 1968.

He worked for the Cadillac Cable Company in Pottsville.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by daughters: Lisa and Pamela.

Jerry is survived by a son Jerry Miller; a sister Shirley Lowe and her husband Jim; his partner Eileen Tallick; nephew Ryan Lowe; niece Heather Lowe, great-nephew Finnegan Lowe, and great-niece Gillian Lowe; extended children: Christine Kostecky and her husband Michael; James Purin and his wife Angela; grandchildren: Melaine, Michael, Steven, Adam Kostecky and Katelyn and James Purin and cousins.

Interment will be held private at the Indiantown Gap National Cemetery in Annville.

The Robert A Evans Jr Funeral Home in Port Carbon is in charge of arrangements. Please send condolences to


Margaret Helen Eckert, 95 years of age, formerly of New Ringgold, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, August 17, 2021, as a guest of Orwigsburg Center in Orwigsburg, Pennsylvania.

Born Sunday, November 8, 1925 in West Penn Twp., the daughter of the late Daniel and Mary (Zettlemoyer) Kemner. She was also predeceased by; her husband, Richard R. Eckert on November 8, 2008; sisters, Kathryn Wertman, Grace Frable; brother, David Kemner.

Surviving are; sons, Robert R. Eckert, M.D and his wife Nancy of Mohnton, John D. Eckert and his wife Kimberly of Auburn; daughters, Carol A. Scheider of Williamsport, Marilyn L. Fregiato wife of Sam of St. Clairsville, OH,; 8 grandchildren; 10 great grandchildren.

A member of Friedens Lutheran Church of New Ringgold, Margaret had worked for the former Fesslers Textile Mill of Orwigsburg, and for the former J.H. Rohrer's of New Ringgold. A 1943 graduate of Tamaqua High School, Margaret was a member of the New Ringgold Fire Co. Auxiliary. An accomplished baker, Margaret made delicious soups, and enjoyed tending to her gardens.

Private Funeral arrangements entrusted to the Robert S. Nester Funeral Home Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Inc. of 2066 West Penn Pike New Ringgold, Pennsylvania 17960. (570) 386-5884

Interment will be in Zions Stone Church Cemetery, New Ringgold, Pennsylvania.

Online condolences may be expressed by visiting


James W. Schaffer, 63, of Ashland, passed away on Wednesday, August 18th at his residence.

Born in Hagerstown, Md, on May 28th, 1958, he was the son of the late Paul and Helen Schaffer.

James was preceded by 1 infant son, James Jr. in 1983.

He leaves behind his wife, Cynthia (Guers) Schaffer , 3 sons, Brian Schaffer with his wife Janine – Watsontown, Pa, Christopher Schaffer -Shenandoah, and Daniel Schaffer – Shenandoah. 1 daughter, Jennifer Schaffer – Addison, Tx, and 2 grandchildren, Brian and Jack.

Private graveside services will be conducted at the convenience of the family.

Oravitz Home for Funerals Inc, Shenandoah are entrusted with the arrangements.

To offer condolences, please visit:


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