Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Schuylkill County Obituaries for May 2, 2023


Skook News Obituaries: May 2, 2023

Obituaries published from the Schuylkill County area. 


Commander James J. Haffey Jr., USNR (Ret.)
died unexpectedly Saturday, April 29, 2023 at home at the age of 74.

Born in Hazleton, he was a son of James J. and Mary A. (Boyle) Haffey. He was raised in Schuylkill Haven and graduated from St. Francis Preparatory School, Spring Grove.

He earned his bachelor’s degree from Kings College and his master’s degree in social restoration from Lehigh University. He did additional course work at Penn State, Temple
and Widener Universities.

For most of his adult life, Jim pursued a dual career path, working both in education and in the US Navy Reserve. He worked for Schuylkill Intermediate Unit, establishing the Operation P.L.U.S. program of alternative education for at-risk students. Later, he created another IU program, Counsel House, which served as a day-treatment and counseling service. He worked as its supervisor, as well as co-principal of the Maple Avenue School.

As a member of the US Navy Reserve, he was deeply committed to that second career. He entered the reserves as an enlistee, but then graduated from Officer Candidate School. He served in the Naval Investigative Service (NIS), which later became Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS). Jim worked in force protection and criminal investigations. He trained at Hazleton, Willow Grove, and Warminster in Pennsylvania, as well as at Pensacola FL, Lakehurst NJ, Washington DC and Newport RI. He served in Germany, England, Iceland, Italy and Australia, then retired as a commander after 28 years.

Early in his career as an educator, Jim worked with a team of other teachers, counselors, and law enforcement workers to create Volunteers for Youth in Schuylkill County, serving as its first board president. That group later became Big brothers/Big Sisters of Schuylkill County and is now Big Impact Group of Schuylkill. Jim remained an active board member for more than four decades.

He also served the community as president of the Citizens’ Water Company of Deer Lake, as a member of Deer Lake Borough Council, and as a member of the Schuylkill County Scholar Athlete Committee. A lifelong member of St. Ambrose Roman Catholic Church in Schuylkill Haven, he served as an altar server, lector, president of the men’s club, and a member of the parish financial advisory committee. He also served as chairman of the parish buildings and grounds committee.

Even with all these other commitments, Jim was primarily devoted to his family. He was a loving and supportive husband, father, grandfather, son and brother. He is survived by his loving wife of 47 years, Kathleen T. (Casey), daughter Bridget M. Haffey, and granddaughter Abby E. McGlinchey. Survivors also include two brothers Dr. Thomas A. Haffey (wife Marilyn Michelcavage) of Westminster, CO., and Charles J. Haffey (wife Marilyn Herr) of Albrightsville, and nieces and nephews. A skilled problem-solver, Jim enjoyed helping worthy causes. He also liked traveling, learning, attending plays, reading, hunting, and fishing.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Ambrose Church, Schuylkill Haven at 10:30 Thursday, May 4. Calling hours will be at Geschwindt-Stabingas-Ebling Funeral Home, 25 E. Main St., Schuylkill Haven, from 4 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 3, and at St. Ambrose Church 9:15 to 10:15 on May 4. Interment will be in the parish cemetery. Those wishing to donate in his memory are asked to consider Helping Harvest or the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.


Martin R. Pranscavage, 67, of Minersville, passed away on Friday after a lengthy illness.

Born on May 21, 1955, in Pottsville, he was a son of the late Victor and Mary Lou (nee Nolan) Pranscavage. He was a 1973 graduate of Nativity B.V.M. High School and a 1977 graduate of Lasalle University. He was an Army veteran, having served in Germany. He worked as a carpenter before accepting a position as a Corrections Officer at Mahanoy State Correctional Institution. He retired as a captain.

He was a member of the former St. Francis Of Assisi Church, Minersville. He was a coin collector and enjoyed assembling models of military equipment. He also loved to read.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a brother, Michael Pranscavage, in 2018.

Martin is survived by three siblings, Linda Kauffman, Saint Clair, Mary Ann Monderewicz (spouse, Keith), Minersville, and Victor Pranscavage, Minersville. He is also survived by his maternal uncle, James Nolan, Alexandria, Virginia; his maternal aunt, Nancy Machita, Phoenix Park, Branch Township; two nieces, Taylor Pranscavage and Mia Bowers; several cousins.

The family will accept visitors at Dutcavich Funeral Home, 200 Sunbury Street, Minersville, on Thursday from 6:00 P.M. Interment with military honors will be at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery, Annville, on a date to be announced. The family prefers donations to the Minersville Library, 220 S. Fourth St., Minersville, PA 17954 or the Disabled American Veterans, 1300 Seneca St., Pottsville, PA 17901.


Bernard “Butch” Gontarchick, Jr., 78, of Mar-Lin, Norwegian Township, died on Friday at home surrounded by his loving family.

Born on February 24, 1945, in Forestville, he was a son of the late Bernard Gontarchick, Sr. and the late Sophie (nee Kostek) Gontarchick. He was a 1962 graduate of Cass Township High School. Bernie was an Air Force veteran of the Vietnam Conflict, his occupation was special radio operations. He had worked for Lisbon Construction before taking employment as a municipal worker and zoning officer for Norwegian Township.

He was a member of St Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church, Minersville. Bernie was also a life member and past financial secretary of the Mar-Lin Citizens Hose Company. He was also a life member of the Forestville Citizens Fire Company. Bernie loved to play baseball in his youth, and later in life taking trips to see the Phillies with his friends and family.

Bernie was preceded in death by his younger brother, Ronald Gontarchick, in 2022.

Bernie is survived by his wife of 50 years, the former Maureen Gleason; two daughters, Christine Costello (spouse, David), Johnson City, New York, and Laura Bolkovich (spouse, Clint), Schuylkill Haven; two grandchildren, Joseph and Sara Costello; two step-granddaughters, Kaleigh and Kiera Bolkovich; nieces, nephews and cousins.

The entire Gontarchick family would like to thank Advantage Hospice, especially Heather and Lisa, for their compassion and excellent care of Bernie.

The family will accept visitors at Dutcavich Funeral Home, 200 Sunbury Street, Minersville on Tuesday, May 9, from 6:00 A.M. until 9:45 A.M. when procession will form. Requiem Divine Liturgy will be in St. Nicholas Church, 415 N. Front Street, Minersville, at 10:30 A.M. Interment with military honors will follow at 1:30 P.M. in Indiantown Gap National Cemetery, Annville. Those traveling independently to the cemetery should plan their arrival for 1:15 P.M. The family appreciates donations to St. Nicholas Church Memorial Fund.


Suzanne Mary Strohl, beloved wife, mother, sister, grandmother, 61 years of age of Coaldale, Pennsylvania passed away on Sunday, April 30, 2023, at home surrounded by her family.

Born Monday, November 20, 1961 in Allentown, the daughter of the late James, and Mary (Faust) Wehr. Suzanne was also predeceased by; infant daughter, Lydia Strohl.

Surviving are; her husband, Drew Strohl; son, Michael Strohl, daughters, Rachel Strohl, Rebecca Weiss wife of Trevor; sister, Tracey Grace wife of Rob; grandchildren, Hannah, Trevor, Noah, Jayden, and Amanda; niece, Amanda Grace; nephew, Robbie Grace.

A graduate of Slatington High School, Suzanne had worked in the Textile Industry. She enjoyed diamond painting, fishing, and trips to Animal Adventure in Binghamton, New York where she was mesmerized by the Giraffes. An animal lover, Suzanne enjoyed the companionship of her black lab Silas, and her 4 cats, Chunk, Casey, Alex, and Goober.

Private arrangements entrusted to the E. Franklin Griffiths Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Inc. of 655 East Broad Street Tamaqua, Pennsylvania 18252. (570) 668-2550


Joseph M. Probition, Jr., 73 of Shenandoah Heights passed away on Sunday, April 30, 2023 at his residence.

Born in Pottsville on June 17, 1949, he was a son of the late Joseph M. Probition, Sr. and the late Elizabeth “Betty” (Shemansik) Probition.

He was a 1967 graduate of the former Frackville High School and the McCann School of Business, Mahanoy City.

Joe retired as the maintenance supervisor at the Schuylkill Vocational Technical School, North Campus, Frackville. He was also a welder.

He was 3rd degree member of the Knights of Columbus, Frackville. Joe was also an Eagle Scout.

Preceding him in death in addition to his parents was his brother Edward M. Probition.

Surviving are his wife, the former Susan F. “Sue” Wyluda to whom he was married forty-four years; his son, Joseph M. Probition, III and his wife Geneva of Catasauqua; one niece, cousins and friends.

Private services will be held at the convenience of the family.

Walukiewicz-Oravitz Fell Funeral Home, 132 S. Jardin St., Shenandoah is in care of the arrangements.


Robert A. "Screech" Hoffman
, 71, of Williamstown (Dayton) passed away Sunday, April 30, 2023.

Born in Lykens, December 16, 1951, a son of the late Arthur and Catherine Shiley Hoffman. He was a 1970 graduate of Williams Valley High School. He was a United States Army Veteran.

Robert was retired from the former Alfa Laval, Lykens with over 40 years of service.

He was a member of the Williamstown United Methodist Church.

Robert was a self described "motorhead." He was an avid car enthusiast and talented mechanic. In his younger years, he could often be found racing cars. He also belonged to numerous car clubs.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his sister, Joan Hoffman.

Surviving are his wife, Kathy Strohecker Hoffman, to whom they would have celebrated 35 years of marriage June 25th; two daughters, Sarah Hammaker and her husband Josh, Williamstown, and Jessica Ruch and her husband Broc, Lykens; one grandson whom he deeply loved, Parker Hammaker; numerous nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be held Sunday, May 7, 2023 at 2:00 PM from the Williamstown United Methodist Church with Pastor Amanda Bressler officiating. Visitation will be held from 1-2 at the church. Following the services, a luncheon and time of fellowship will be held in the church social hall. Robert will be laid to rest privately in the Calvary United Methodist Cemetery, Wiconisco.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Williamstown United Methodist Church, 203 N East Street, Williamstown, PA 17098.

The Dimon Funeral Home & Cremation Services Inc., is honored to serve the Hoffman family.


Mildred (Millie) B. Magic
, 94, of Minersville, passed away on Saturday, April 29, 2023, at The Laurels Senior Living Community in Hazleton, surrounded by her loving family. 

Born in Shenandoah in 1929, she was the daughter of the late Alexander Rakowski and Anna Lankut, and the widow of John (Jiggers) Magic. She was a graduate of Minersville High School and was a retired food service supervisor at York Terrace Nursing Home in Pottsville. Prior to this she was a waitress at many Schuylkill County restaurants, including the famous Rokosz Hotel in Minersville. She and her late husband also owned and operated Magic’s Bar in New Minersville in the 1960s. Mildred was an active member of the former St. Stanislaus Kostka Catholic Church in Minersville, where she was a member of the BVM Sodality and was an avid volunteer cook at Polish Day picnics for many years. She was president of the Minersville Area Senior Citizens Organization in the 1990s and was Judge of Elections for several years for the Borough of Minersville. She enjoyed crocheting as well as playing bingo and slots at the casinos. Her favorite pastime, however, was spending time with her family, especially her beloved seven great-grandchildren (Maegan, Matthew, Zayn, River, Ava, Forest and Brynn). 

She is survived by her loving daughters, Barbara Sincavage, widow of the late David Sincavage, Minersville; Nancy Washinsky and her husband Michael, Drums; and Pauline Zaharis and fiancĂ© Lee Grigalonis, Minersville; grandchildren Krista Stewart and husband Tom, Malta, NY; John Sincavage and wife Megan, Minersville; Michael Washinsky, Jr. and wife Gillian, Durango, CO; Jodi Lenko and husband Jason, Sugarloaf; and Krissy Zaharis-Sullivan and husband Mike, St. Clair; special niece, Marlene Doyle and her husband Jerry, Minersville. 

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 10:30 am Saturday, May 6, at St. Matthew the Evangelist Church of the Holy Family Parish, Minersville, with Reverend Leo J. Maletz celebrant. 

All are respectfully invited to attend a visitation Saturday morning with calling hours from 8:30 to 10:00 am at the Mahal-Ritzel Funeral Home Inc., Minersville. 

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to a charity of your choice in Mildred’s honor. 

Mahal-Ritzel Funeral Home Inc., Minersville entrusted with the arrangements.


On Sunday, March 12, 2023, John Michael Chalkan, passed away unexpectedly at his home in Bumpass, VA. John, 71, was a loving son, father, brother, uncle, grandfather and friend who was known as “Papa John”. John was a son of the late John and Margaret Chalkan (Stinsky) who was born and raised in the coal regions in Mahanoy City, PA.

He spent his childhood growing up alongside his brother Mike and sister Carol and graduated from Mahanoy Area High School in 1969. He married his first love, the late Maxine Doris Yeager, on May 6th, 1972, and they raised two children together. Upon his graduation, he attended McCann School of Business, became a butcher by apprenticeship and retired from ACME Market in Doylestown, PA. Three years ago he moved to Bumpass, VA to live near his daughter and family.

Papa John is survived by his son, John George Chalkan, his daughter, Heather Anne (Chalkan) Noland, her husband Michael Dean, and step-daughter, Kimberly Welliver. Additionally, is survived by three incredible grandchildren Brady, Morgan & Madison Noland, many amazing nieces, nephews, brothers & sisters in-law and friends.

John was predeceased by his parents, John and Margaret Chalkan, his wife Maxine and second wife, Rhonda (Pickering), his sister Carol (Chalkan) Schott, brother Michael S. Chalkan, sister-in-law, Charlene (Yeager) Bloom, brother-in-law, Brian Yeager. We celebrate the reunion that has occurred of our beloved family members.

Papa John will be missed by all that knew him as he was kind, loving, dedicated to all, especially his grandpuppies, Cooper & Jackson. He enjoyed visiting family and friends, spending days outside, igniting bonfires with his son-in-law, never forgetting special birthdays, holidays or anniversaries and spending time with his family for Sunday suppers and games. John enjoyed cruising with Tommy and Gayle, the Donnas, Roger, Dave & Holly, spending time with family in New Orleans watching the Saints, playing the lotto, trying his luck at the slots, making his famous baked beans, or watching the Yankees.

A memorial viewing service honoring his life on earth will be held on May 6th, 2023 from 10 to 12 AM at Louis D. Truskowsky Funeral Home in Mahanoy City. The family encourages donations in support of the Good Hope Church Christian School Building Fund (https://goodhopelive.com/give) in lieu of flowers.

Louis D. Truskowsky Funeral Home & Crematory Inc. Mahanoy City is in charge of arrangements. Visit www.truskowskyfuneralhome.com to sign the guest book, view Tribute Video and send sympathy cards.


Grace S. Johnson, 87, of Ashland passed away Tuesday morning at her home surrounded by her family.

She was born on September 24, 1935 in Barry Township and was the daughter of the late Anna and Russell Dengler.

Grace attended Hegins Township High School.

She was the wife of the late Ralph S. “Cappy” Johnson who passed away in 2016.

Grace was a member of Christ’s United Lutheran Church-Ashland. She was also a member of Tri-Valley Senior Citizens.

She last worked for Tri-Valley School District in the cafeteria.

Grace enjoyed spending time with family, reading, playing games, traveling and going out to eat.

In addition to her husband she is preceded in death by her brother Richard Dengler.

She is survived by; son Ralph R. (Eileen), Ashland; son Allen Sr. (Kathy), Ashland; 2 grandchildren Ralph and Allen Jr.; 4 great grandchildren Ralph, Virginia, Amy & Cole; nieces & nephews.

Funeral Services will be held Friday, May 5th at 11:00 AM from Christ's United Lutheran Church, 437 Airport Road, Ashland PA with Pastor Dana Beil officiating. A viewing for family and friends will be held Friday, May 5th from 9:30-11:00 AM in the church. Burial will follow services in Kimmels Cemetery, Barry Township. Memorials can be made to Christ's United Lutheran Church, Airport Road, Ashland, PA 17921.

For more information or to extend online condolences visit www.kullfuneral.com. Kull-Heizenroth Funeral Home Inc, 901 Centre St, Ashland PA 17921 has been entrusted with arrangements.


These obituaries are being brought to by Anthony Urban Law Offices. P.C.