Deaths of Local Interest – Feb. 4, 2015

By on February 4, 2015

Clinton Lee Crockett, 80, of Centerville, passed away Jan. 30 at Fairmount Homes. He had a wonderful sense of humor and was a great storyteller. He was also a backyard innovator. Among his designs were an automobile engine, a lawnmower-motor-powered bicycle, an ill-fated machine to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen, which fortunately waited until he hid behind an upended mattress to explode. He was a one-of-a-kind man who made his children believe that all things were possible. His sister, Norma Enck, lives in Denver.

Phares G. Harting, 86, of Lancaster passed away Feb. 1. Born in Adamstown, he was married to Ann (Byars) Harting for more than 63 years. Phares loved music and played the tuba for the Reading Symphony Orchestra for more than 25 years. He also played with the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra and the Ringgold Band of Reading. He proudly served in the US Air Force during the Korean Conflict where he played in the 769th Air Force band. He was known to play his string bass for many local nursing facilities and their residents. A brother, Rev. Robert F. Harting, lives in Denver; a brother, Philip H. Harting, resides in Adamstown.

Rhoda Erb Hoffer, 98, died peacefully Jan. 31 at the United Zion Retirement Community. She was employed at the Cinderella Dress Factory in Ephrata and the family business, Wilbur R. Hoffer Furniture Refinishing and Restoring. She was honored by the Salem United Methodist Church in Rothsville for 60 years of volunteer service. She loved sharing her musical talents as choir director, pianist and church organist.

Earl W. Kautz, 71, died at Mt. Hope Nazarene Retirement Community in Manheim Jan. 28. Born in Lancaster, he was the son of Harold L. and the late Edna G. Walters Kautz and was the stepson of Esther Kautz. He was the husband of Barbara Kautz. A son, E. Michael, husband of Kathy Kautz, lives in Ephrata.

John L. Martin, 49, of Leola, formerly of Blue Ball, died Jan. 29 at Hospice & Community Care in Mt. Joy after a lengthy illness. John worked as a fabricator at Blue Ball Machine Company. He enjoyed drag racing, his 1968 Pontiac Firebird, and wrestling in high school. His sister, Claresse K., married to Dale Gehman, lives in Ephrata.

Maryann (Dieffenbach) Phillips, 74, of Lancaster, died Jan. 31 at Senior Living, Lancaster. Maryann managed a Burger King restaurant for 22 years until her retirement. She enjoyed life to its fullest and especially loved her church, Highville United Methodist Church, Conestoga. Maryann loved butterflies and even enjoyed raising them. More than anything, Maryann loved her family. Her son, Douglas C. Phillips, husband of Kathleen; and her brother, Robert Dieffenbach, husband of Kathryn, all reside in Ephrata.

Velma J. Quigley, 91, of Lancaster, died Jan. 30 at Hospice and Community Care, Mount Joy. Velma was a homemaker and had also worked at Hamilton Watch during World War II. She was a member of the Son Light Bible Church who spent 21 years as a Red Cross Volunteer at Lancaster General Hospital and eight years as a volunteer at the Landis Valley Museum. Her son, Fred E., husband of Elaine Quigley, lives in Brownstown.

Richard Lee Randler Sr., 79, of Richland, died Jan. 29 in Coventry Manor, Pottstown. Born in Lancaster, Richard was a retired 40-year employee of Wilbur Chocolate, Lititz. His sisters, Mary Ann Shober; and Sandra Trimble, husband of Calvin and husband Calvin; and brother, Paul Randler and wife Kathy, all reside in Ephrata.

David P. Singleton Jr., (Big Dave, Dad, Pappy, Pop), 75, passed away Jan. 28. Dave served in the Army and worked for many years at the Union Camp Corporation. He was an avid Washington Redskins fan, even though they broke his heart more times than he could count. Dave was a tough old Irishman, and we always said that if there was ever a nuclear holocaust there would be cockroaches and our Dad left. We may have been wrong about that, but he lived his life the way he wanted to and fought a good fight. His daughter, Anita Kelly, wife of Mike, lives in Denver.

Loretta J. Witman, 87, of New Holland, died Jan. 29 at her home. Loretta was a seamstress, working at Hackman’s Factory and the former SLC Fashions, Blue Ball. During World War II, she worked making pins for grenades. She was a member of Mt. Airy E. C. Church. She enjoyed reading, her horses and her dogs before she developed macular degeneration. Her son, Michael Witman, lives in Ephrata.

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