OBITUARIES

Obituaries — Elkton / Rockingham County


Caroline M. Kennedy


Caroline Marie Kennedy (nee, Fortner), 84, of Harrisonburg and formerly of McGaheysville and Deer Park, N.Y., passed away March 19, 2017, from complications associated with Parkinson’s Disease.

She was born May 2, 1932, in New York City.

She graduated from Julia Richman High School in 1950.

After graduation, she worked as a switchboard operator for Bell Telephone, located on the ground floor of the Empire State Building.

She married John James “Jack” Kennedy, who preceded her in death in 1990, on Dec. 4, 1954.

The couple lived in Maspeth, Queens, where they had four children.

In 1968, the family moved to the “suburbs” in Deer Park, N.Y., where Carol finally learned to drive at the age of 42.

They moved to Massanutten Resort in 1982.

She later spent several years at the Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community in Harrisonburg, more recently residing and being cared for at the home of her eldest daughter and son-in-law.

She is survived by her children, Patricia Kennedy Landis of Harrisonburg, John Kennedy of Philadelphia, Janice Kennedy Hays, of Colorado Springs, Colo. and Laura Kennedy-Kershner of McGaheysville; three grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and a sister, Sally Cass of Lynchburg.

Relatives and friends are invited to a celebration of her life at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 4, 2017, at the Harrisonburg Unitarian Universalist Church, 4101 Rawley Pike, Harrisonburg.

In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate that donations be made to Generations Crossing, 3765 Taylor Spring Lane, Harrisonburg, VA 22801 (generationscrossing. com); or the National Parkinson’s Foundation, 200 S.E. First St., Suite 800, Miami, FL 33131 (www. parkinsons.org).

Condolences may be shared online at www.kygers.com.



Laura B. Zirkle


Laura Belle Zirkle, 72, of Elkton, passed away Friday, March 24, 2017, at her home with her family by her side.

She was born March 26, 1944, in Page County, and was a daughter of the late Virgil and Elizabeth Carrier Kite.

She had a love for sewing and quilting.

She worked at Wrangler in Elkton, State Farm Insurance Company and was a homemaker.

She was an active member of the Saint Paul Lutheran Church in Shenandoah, where she taught Sunday school for many years. She was the previous church secretary and wrote the newsletter for the church.

On Sept. 2, 1968, she married John David Zirkle, who survives.

She is also survived by a son, David Zirkle of Elkton; brothers, Vincent Kite of Shenandoah and Dwight Kite of Elkton; and a sister, Janet Hudson of Shenandoah.

A funeral service was held Sunday, March 26, 2017, at Saint Paul Lutheran Church near Grove Hill with Pastor Phyllis Diamond officiating.

Burial was at Saint Paul Lutheran Church Cemetery in Page County.

Memorial donations can be made to St. Paul Lutheran Church Cemetery Fund, 6355 U.S. Highway 340 North, Shenandoah, VA 22849, and St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.

Online condolences can be made to the family by visiting www.kygers.com.



Maggie V. Merica


Maggie Virginia Merica, 94, of Elkton, passed away Sunday, March 26, 2017, in Harrisonburg.

She was born April 10, 1922, in Greene County, and was a daughter of the late John Wesley (Boss) and Mary Elizabeth Hansbrough Morris.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, James Merica.

She attended the Elkton Pentecostal Church and enjoyed making clothes and fixing up her dolls.

She loved going to yard sales and planting flowers in her garden.

She was a welder at Crouse Hinds before retiring.

She is survived by her son, Ronnie Morris; a daughter, Sandy Meadows; three grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and a special niece, Patsy Kelly.

The family received friends 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 29, 2017, at Kyger Funeral Home in Elkton.

The funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, March 30, 2017, at Kyger Funeral Home in Elkton with Pastor Carter Dean officiating.

Burial will follow at Elk Run Cemetery in Elkton.

The family requests gifts be made to the Kyger Funeral Home in Elkton for burial expenses.

Online condolences may be sent to the Merica family by visiting www.kygers.com.



Garold W. Hopkins


Garold Wayne “Popcorn” and “Hoppy” Hopkins, 75, passed away Friday, March 24, 2017, at Brookdale Senior Living in Harrisonburg.

He was born on May 8, 1941, in Rockingham County, and was a son of the late William H. Hopkins and Vivian B. Hopkins.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Edith Ferguson Hopkins.

He graduated from Turner Ashby High School in 1959. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1960 and served four years, including a tour in Spain.

He worked as a driver for Smith’s Transfer for 20 years and drove for other trucking companies for a short time. He then went to work for Coors in Elkton, where he spent 15 years.

He enjoyed softball, bowling, bike rides and other activities with his coworkers.

He was a member of West Side Baptist Church for more than 30 years and was faithful in attendance until his illness made that impossible.

He enjoyed traveling — whether it was trekking around Europe and tropical islands or riding the West Virginia mountains on his Harley. His favorite biking destination was Canaan Valley. He also loved to hike on Skyline Drive.

Surviving is his fiancé and caregiver of many years, Bonnie Reed; three stepchildren, W.D. Ferguson, Thomas Ferguson and Ouida Ferguson Phillips; four stepgrandchildren; and a brother, Delaney Hopkins.

The family received friends Tuesday, March 28, 2017, at Kyger Funeral Home in Elkton.

A funeral service was set to be conducted by Pastor Dan Bassett and Evangelist Doug Gochenour at 1 p.m. Wednesday, March 29, 2017, at the Kyger Funeral Home in Elkton. Burial will be at the Stanley Advent Cemetery.

Immediately following the burial, refreshments will be served at the Stanley Adventist Church on Church Lane.

Flowers are welcome. Memorial contributions may be made to the Harrisonburg SPCA.

Condolences may be shared online at www.kygers.com.



Kenneth M. Downey


Kenneth M. Downey, 81, of Mount Crawford, passed away peacefully at home on Saturday, March 25, 2017.

He was born in Elkton, on Aug. 18, 1935, and was a son of the late Millard M. and Beatrice V. (Breeden) Downey.

He retired from teaching and coaching after 43 years of service in the Augusta County School System at Riverheads High School and Valley Career and Technical Center.

In his lifetime, he mentored and encouraged many young people that he encountered. He graduated from Dayton High School and then went on to receive his bachelor’s degree from Shepherd College and his master’s degree from the University of Virginia.

He was an active member of Bridgewater United Methodist Church.

He served in the U.S. Marines and the 29th Division National Guard.

He enjoyed being amongst friends and his coffee group at the Bridgewater McDonald’s. He had a wonderful sense of humor.

He was united in marriage, on June 21, 1981, to Rebecca Luellen (Sale) Downey, who survives.

A memorial service was slated to be held at Bridgewater United Methodist Church on Wednesday, March 29, 2017, at 11 a.m. with the Rev. Stephen Creech and the Rev. Jim Harris officiating.

Friends were received Tuesday, March 28, at Johnson Funeral Service in Bridgewater.

Memorial contributions may be sent to the Bridgewater United Methodist Church, 219 N. Main St., Bridgewater, VA 22812, or the Harrisonburg Rockingham SPCA, P.O. Box 413, Harrisonburg, VA 22803.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at www. johnsonfs.com.



Chellie P. Polonitza


Chellie P. Polonitza of Charlottesville, passed away March 22, 2017.

She was born in Rockingham County, to the late George Harvey and Nelie Florence Shifflett.

She began her career as a hairstylist and eventually became part owner of The Beauty Center, located in downtown Charlottesville.

Following her marriage, she settled in Richmond. She relocated to Charlottesville three years ago to be closer to her family.

She is survived by her husband, Edmund Polonitza; her daughters, Nancy Polonitza of Harrisonburg and Neely Slocum of Tokyo, Japan; a granddaughter; her sisters, Ruby Scruggs, Thelma Widener, Nancy Thomas and Linda Shifflett; and her brothers, Ed Shifflett, Ralph Shiflett, Randel Shiflett and Sherman Shifflett.

A funeral was held Sunday, March 26, at Teague Funeral Home in Charlottesville. Interment will be at a later date at Arlington National Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Hospice of the Piedmont.

Condolences may be sent at www.teaguefuneralhome.com.



Betty J. Karnes


Betty Jean Hammer Karnes, 82, of Louisville, Ky., passed away Wednesday, March 1, 2017, at Baptist East Hospital of Louisville.

Originally from Elkton, she had lived in Charlottesville and Ellenboro, N.C.

She was born June 15, 1934, and was a daughter of the late Elmer Warren and Mary M. Turner Hammer.

Along with her parents, she was preceded in death by her longtime companion of 30-plus years, Louis E. Blanton of Ellenboro, N.C.

She is survived by three children, Debbie Riggan of Norfolk, Daryle Karnes of Louisville, Ky. and Irene Blackburn of Virginia Beach; and two grandchildren.

A graveside service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 1, 2017, at Elk Run Cemetery in Elkton.

Any inquiries can be made to Daryle or Karen Karnes at 502-718-9218 or 502-254-7547.

Condolences may be shared online at www.kygers.com.



Connie F. Knowles


Connie Faye Guyer Knowles, 74, a lifelong resident of Harrisonburg, passed away Saturday, March 25, 2017, at Sentara RMH Medical Center.

She was born Jan. 22, 1943, in Harrisonburg, and was a daughter of the late Marion and Dorothy Deviers Guyer.

She was a member of Ridgeway Mennonite Church.

She enjoyed watching “Golden Girls,” crocheting and babysitting her nieces and nephews and loved Elvis.

On Sept. 29, 2000, she married Richard Knowles, who survives.

She is also survived by two brothers, Ed Guyer of Mount Crawford and Wayne Guyer of Dayton; two sisters, Linda Thomas of Shenandoah and Nancy Connellee of Grottoes; and numerous nieces and nephews.

The family received friends 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 29, 2017, at Lindsey Funeral Home in Harrisonburg.

A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, March 30, 2017, at the Chapel of the funeral home with Pastor Jim Harrison officiating.

Burial will be at Rest Haven Memorial Gardens.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Heart Association, 4217 Park Place Court, Glen Allen, VA 23060.

Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.lindseyharrisonburg.com.



Lillian B. Runion


Lillian Belle Price Knight Runion, 78, of Orkney Springs, passed away Saturday, March 25, 2017, at her home following an illness of several months.

She was born Oct. 23, 1938, in Page County, and was a daughter of the late Edward Leo and Daisy Florence Price Price.

She was a homemaker and a member of the Shenandoah Valley Banjo and Fiddle Club and was coordinator of the club dinners for many years.

She is survived by her husband, Gary; five sons, Bobby, Gary and Jeffrey Knight, all of Luray, Randall Knight of Orkney Springs and Jason Knight of New Market; a daughter, Theresa Perrell of Gardners, Pa.; a sister, DeAnn Comer of Stanley; 19 grandchildren; and 28 great-grandchildren.

She was a devoted and faithful member of the Newport Church of the Brethren near Shenandoah, where a funeral service was slated to be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, March 29.

The Revs. Duane Painter and Kent Bennett officiated.

The family received friends at the church on Tuesday.

Memorial contributions may be made to Newport Church of the Brethren, 408 Newport Rd., Shenandoah, VA 22849.

Theis Funeral Chapel in New Market handled arrangements.




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