Obituaries — Shenandoah County

Evelyn M. Bowers

Evelyn Marlene Bowers, 82, of Toms Brook, passed away Tuesday, March 1, 2016 at Consulate Health Care in Woodstock.

Services will be private.

Mrs. Bowers was born Oct. 10, 1933 in Shenandoah County, daughter of the late Homer Drummonds Sr. and Lula Click Drummonds.

She formerly worked at Strasburg Manufacturing, Woodstock Manufacturing, Edinburg Aileen and retired from Strasburg Aileen.

She was a member of Christian Newcomer United Methodist Church in Toms Brook.

She was preceded in death by her first husband, Millard L. Ritenour; daughter, Diane Atchison; son, Marvin (Charlie) Ritenour; and siblings, Richard Drummonds, Maxine Crabill, Bessie Trump, Mae Drummonds, Roy Drummonds, and Homer Drummonds Jr.

She is survived by her husband, Ernest (P'nut) Bowers Jr.; son, Millard (Luke) Ritenour and wife Linda of Mt. Jackson; two daughters, Kathy Miller of Woodstock and Darlene Ritenour and husband Bill Hartman of Roanoke; siblings, Charles (John) Drummonds of Interlachen, FL, Earl Drummonds and wife Janet of Strasburg, Dale (Bill) Drummonds and wife Jane of Stephen City, Dolly Golliday and husband Richard of Maurertown, Joy Williams and husband Earl of Lebanon Church, Judy Kowalski of Rosella Park, NJ, Polly Rush and husband Randy of Maurertown, and Tiny Higgins and husband Dave of Fishers Hill; a large number of grandchildren, and great grandchildren; one great great granddaughter; and nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Christian Newcomer Church.

Online condolences may be left at

Charles L. Burwell

Charles Lee Burwell, 98, of Millwood, Virginia, passed away peacefully on Feb. 26, 2016 at Westminster Canterbury, surrounded by his family.

He was born Sept. 24, 1917 at Carter Hall in Millwood, the son of John Townsend Burwell and Rosalie Leslie Wheat Burwell.

Mr. Burwell earned a B.A. in History and Literature at Harvard College in 1939, and later, in 1975, an M.A. in Education at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut.

Upon graduation from Harvard, he moved to Paris, France to begin graduate studies at the Sorbonne in the autumn of 1939. However, World War II broke out that September and Burwell proceeded to drive an ambulance for the Comite Americain de Secours Civil in the area of the Maginot Line. He subsequently left Marseilles in March of 1940 and traveled to Shanghai by way of Suez.

Burwell found life in the International Settlement of Shanghai so inviting that he took a marketing job promoting the sale of oil products in China. Because he was at that time relatively fluent in French, Burwell was sent to head up an office in the Indo-Chinese port of Haiphong. After the Japanese military occupied the region in September of 1940, he returned home.

In November of 1941, less than a month before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Burwell was commissioned an Ensign in U.S. Naval Intelligence. His initial assignments were as Boarding Officer in Norfolk, Virginia, and in Aruba, the Dutch West Indies.

In 1943, he was ordered back to Washington for assignment to the 8th Amphibious Force in Plymouth, England to help land the VII Army Corps on the coast of France. There, as a 26-year-old member of General Eisenhower's staff, he helped plan the amphibious assault on Utah Beach in Normandy. 
He subsequently helped plan the landings on the beach at St. Raphael in Southern France, on the shore of the Lingayen Gulf in the Philippines, and on Okinawa, Japan. To read more about Mr. Burwell's involvement in D-Day, see

Mr. Burwell retired in January 1946 as a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve.
 That same year, he opened offices in Shanghai as the founding president of Burwell, Allen & Co., an import-export firm. When the Communists took over, he moved the offices to Hong Kong. Later, with Jim Thompson of The Thai Silk Co., of Bangkok, Thailand, he formed a new company, Thaibok Fabrics, Ltd., to import Thai silks to the United States.

Returning to New York, he helped arrange distribution of Thai silks, along with other cottage industry fabrics from East and South Asia, through nine showrooms across the country. His company became famous when his Thaibok silks were used to create the costumes for the 1956 film "The King and I", which won an Oscar for costume design. During this time, Burwell also served as a director of the American Craft Council, based in New York.

In 1953, Mr. Burwell married his best friend, Natalie Benedict, a member of the editorial staff of Mademoiselle Magazine.
 They acquired a home in Darien, Connecticut, where he was elected to the Board of Selectmen. Later, when they moved nearby to New Canaan, he was appointed Police Commissioner.

They were blessed with two wonderful children, a son, Carter Benedict Burwell, an award-winning composer of musical scores for dozens of movies, and a daughter, Belinda Lee Burwell, a veterinarian and a founder of the Valley Emergency Veterinary Clinic in Winchester, and Wildlife Veterinary Care in Clarke County.

In the 1960s, Burwell became increasingly concerned with the effects of unrestricted development he saw in the suburbs of New York, which he feared would eventually impact his native Clarke County, Virginia. So he began working on this issue with his cousin, Belle van Lennep, who was also residing in Connecticut, and together they formed the Burwell-van Lennep Foundation in 1968, a charitable land trust of approximately 1,000 acres near the Shenandoah River in Clarke County, Virginia.

After Thaibok Fabrics, Ltd. was sold in 1972, Burwell taught U.S. History, Government, and Asian Studies at Darien High School.

In 1978, he and Natalie retired to The Vineyard, the Burwell home in Clarke County, Virginia.

He was co-founder of the Clarke County Library, and president of its Advisory Council. He was a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Shenandoah Valley, the Shenandoah University Community History Fellows, and the Winchester Torch Club. He also served on the Boards of the Clarke County Historical Association, the Lord Fairfax Community College, and Historic Long Branch.

He is survived by his son, Carter Burwell with his wife Christine Sciulli of New York City; his daughter, Belinda Burwell, DVM, with her husband James Klenkar of Millwood, Virginia; and five grandchildren, Anna Klenkar, Stephen Klenkar, Tycho Burwell, Tor Burwell, and Greta Rose Burwell.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Natalie, and his brother, John Townsend Burwell Jr.

Arrangements for a memorial service are to follow.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Wildlife Veterinary Care, a 501c3 charity, at P.O. Box 288, Millwood, Va. 22646 or

Online condolences may be left at

Terry Hall

Terry "Tweet" Hall, 66, of Mt. Jackson, passed away Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016 at the Veterans Medical Center in Martinsburg, WV.

He was born on May 17, 1949 in Woodstock and was the son of the late William E. and Virginia (Burner) Hall.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brothers, William Price Hall and Thomas Allan Hall.

Mr. Hall was a Veteran of the U.S. Army and a member of the Mt. Jackson Moose Lodge #979 and New Market Eagles #4264.

He is survived by his nephew, William Hall of Edinburg.

A graveside service was held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, March 2, 2016 in Mt Jackson Cemetery with Pastor Steve Wood who officiated.

Arrangements are in the care of Valley Funeral & Cremation Service.

Thoughts, Concerns and Remembrances to .

Leonard E. Hepner

Leonard Eugene Hepner passed peacefully at Greenfield of Woodstock on Feb. 26, 2016.

He was born to Charles Luther Hepner and Ruth Geneva Mumaw on July 30, 1921 in Conicville, Virginia.

Mr. Hepner is survived by his beloved wife of almost 56 years, Ora Lee Hotinger; four children, Sandra Lee Mann, Larry Link Hepner, Donna Lynne Hepner and Michael Leonard Hepner; sister-in-law, Pollyanna Hepner; eight grandchildren; and seven nieces and nephews.

Mr. Hepner is preceded in death by two sisters, Reba G. Dellinger and Frances Benson; brother, William Brown Hepner; and first wife, Anna Lee Link.

Mr. Hepner worked for the U.S. Government for 37 years, retiring from the National Security Agency in 1978. A machinist by trade, he constructed the prototype of the Norton Bomb Sight for targeted B52 bombing during World War II.

After retirement he returned to the Shenandoah Valley, where he spent his time hunting, farming with his best friend, Warren F. Dellinger, and pursuing his other interests.

He served in the US Army during World War II in Germany and the Philippines, and was both a Mason and member of the American Legion for over 60 years.

A member of Emanuel Lutheran Church in Woodstock, Virginia, Mr. Hepner was a prior member of St. James Lutheran Church in Silver Spring, Maryland and Zion Lutheran Church in Takoma Park, Maryland.

Funeral services was conducted by the Reverend Nathan Robinson at Emanuel Lutheran Church, 127 E. High Street, Woodstock on Tuesday, March 1, 2016 at 11 a.m. Interment was in Sunset View Memorial Gardens immediately following the service.
,The family received guests at the church prior to the service at 10 a.m.

Memorial donations may be made to Emanuel Lutheran Church.

Flowers are provided by the Valley Flower Shop, Woodstock, Virginia.

Online condolences can be left at

Willetta H. Himelright

Willetta Holliday "Muggie" Himelright, 89, of Winchester, Va., died on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016 at the Blue Ridge Hospice Inpatient Care Center in Winchester, Va.

Muggie was born on Feb. 8, 1927 in Gore, Va., a daughter of the late Irvin D. and Rosie Spaid Holliday.

She was a press operator for Carpers Woodwork in Winchester, Va.

She was a member of the Shenandoah Valley Baptist Church in Winchester, Va.

She was an avid lover of animals and loved being with her family.

Surviving are her sisters, Helen Spitler of Strasburg, Va. and Charlotte Funk of Winchester, Va..

She was preceded in death by two brothers, Jack and Elwood Holliday; and a sister, Georgie Holliday.

A Celebration of Life will be held at the Knights of Columbus, 519 S. Cameron St. in Winchester, Va. on Saturday March 5th from 4 to 6 p.m.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Blue Ridge Hospice, 333 W. Cork St., Winchester, Va. 22601 or the Winchester SPCA, 115 Featherbed Ln., Winchester, Va. 22601.

To sign an online guest book, please visit

Sharon T. Lohman

Sharon Leigh Thomas Lohman, 65, of Woodstock, passed away Feb. 26, 2016 at Life Care Center, New Market.
A memorial service will be held at a later date.
Arrangements are being handled by Valley Funeral & Cremation Service, Bowman's Crossing.

Douglas B. O’Connell

Douglas Boyer O’Connell, 87, of Winchester, Va. died on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016 at his home surrounded by his family.

He was born on Nov. 10, 1928 in a farmhouse in Clear Brook, Va; the son of Douglas Jessie and Lucille Boyer O’Connell.

He attended Brucetown High School and graduated from Stonewall High School in Clear Brook, Va. He attended Philadelphia Textile Institute in Philadelphia, PA and worked at Clear Brook Woolen Mill for several years.

His real passion was writing. He was in the newspaper business for thirty-seven years. After a brief stint with Northern Virginia Daily he held a job at the Winchester Star for thirty-six years until his retirement in 1993. He had every job in the newsroom at one time or another. He won two first place awards from the Virginia Press Association and won a first place award for Editorial Page Excellence. High lights from his news career include; flying overseas with West Virginia Air National Guard, becoming a major in the Virginia Defense Force, commander of the public affairs unit, serving as a battalion staff officer and meeting with President Gerald Ford in the Oval Office.

Doug was also a musician. He played in an orchestra known as the “Royalaires”, a dance band located in Winchester and led by Lester D. Arnold, Jr. He also played the piano for many years at many private events across the Blue Ridge and for two years he played at the Village Square Restaurant.

After his retirement he also served on the committee for the Star Leadership Award and was a member of the Winchester Frederick County Historical Society and wrote a twenty-seven part series on what the future might bring in the wake of Winchester’s annexation with Frederick County.

Surviving him are his wife, Patricia Way O’Connell; daughter, Kathryn O’Connell Mowery; grandchildren, Emily T. Aikens, James L. Cherry and wife, Allison and Matthew DeHaven and wife, Natalie and great grandchildren, Lacy Rose Aikens, Wesley Aikens, Finley DeHaven, Charli DeHaven, Evan Denson and Olivia Denson.

He was preceded in death by his parents and his daughter, Wendy Way O’Connell DeHaven.

The family received friends on Thursday evening, March 3, 2016 from 6-8 p.m. at Jones Funeral Home.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday, March 4, 2016 at Brucetown United Methodist Church with Rev. Yun Chol Kim officiating. A reception will follow at the church.

Memorial contributions may be made to Brucetown United Methodist Church or to Blue Ridge Hospice

Melba Jo Rice

Melba Jo Rice, 78, of Woodstock, passed away Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016.

Services will be at a later date in Arlington National Cemetery.

Mrs. Rice was born Sep. 27, 1937 in Wichita Falls, Texas. She was the daughter of the late Horace and Mary Ruoff Wood.

She was a member of NARFE and the Red Hat Society. She attended St. John Bosco Roman Catholic Church.

She was preceded in death by her husband, William Rice; a daughter, Joy Lewis; and a brother, Roger Ruoff.

She is survived by two sons, Jim and Michael Rice; a daughter, Jeanine Thorson; a sister, Beverly Stetten; two brothers, Dick and Bill Wood; five grandchildren; three great grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

Online condolences can be left at

Victoria C. Roberts

Victoria Cook Roberts, 60, of Rocky Mount NC, passed away Wednesday Feb. 3, 2016. A memorial service will be held on Saturday March 12, 2016 at 11 a.m. at Hawkinstown United Methodist church cemetery in Mt. Jackson. Pastor Brett Davis will officiate.

Ms. Roberts was born Aug. 10, 1955 in Charlottesville, Va., daughter of and survived by parents Edwin and Audrey Cook of Harrisonburg, Va. She graduated from T. Wingate Andrews High School in High Point, NC and attended UNC-Greensboro. Victoria held several service oriented positions throughout her working career.

Victoria is survived by her husband Emmo Roberts, daughter Jessica and Dennis Eason, granddaughter Giselle Roberts, all of Rocky Mount, N.C., two brothers, Gary and wife Rosemary Cook of Falls Church and Todd and wife Wanda Cook of Mint Spring, Va., nieces Amy Cook of Roanoke and Ashley Cook of Harrisonburg, Cousin Cindy Armentrout of Greensboro, N.C.

The family will receive friends immediately following the service.

Edna Savastone

Edna Savastone, 90, of Woodstock, Va, passed away on Feb. 21, 2016 in Charlottesville, Va.

Edna was born in Steubenville, Oh. to Florence McDevitt Ellis and John Roy Duncan, and raised in Washington, D.C.

Edna was a member of the Order of the Eastern Star.

She was preceded in death by her two husbands, Jack Rogers and Jack Savastone.

Her survivors include Kathleen L. (Roderick) Hayslett, Michael D. (Johanna) Rogers, James F. Rogers (his wife Charlene who passed away in 2013), John P. (Vickie) Rogers, and Judith G. (Alan) Lambert. She also leaves her grandchildren, Cory, Kelly, Justin, Matthew, Thomas, Taylor, Jason, Jeff, LeAnn, Lauren, and Katherine; many great grandchildren; her sister, Lee Mangene; two half brothers; and her cousin, Connie (Ronald) Shillingburg.

Edna was laid to rest on February 26, 2016 at Palm Beach Memorial Park, Lantana, FL.

A memorial service celebrating her life will be held at a later date in Woodstock, Va.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Palm Beach Memorial Park Funeral Home, Seacrest Blvd., Lantana, FL.

Christopher J. Saville

Christopher Jordon Saville, age 18, of Strasburg, Virginia went to be with the Lord on Thursday evening, Feb. 25, 2016.

He was born Oct. 30, 1997, to Steve and Laura Saville. Surviving with his parents are his siblings, two sisters, Siarua Saville and Kelly Honaker (Larry) of Strasburg and his brother, Kevin Saville (Scarlett) of Stephens City; an aunt, Patricia Griese of Surfside Beach, South Carolina; and several wonderful cousins and many friends he truly loved.

He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Robert and Dorothy Saville and Iva and Roger Sager; and two uncles, Larry and Kevin Kearnes.

He was a senior at Mountain View Christian Academy in Winchester and had planned on attending college in the fall. Christopher loved hunting, fishing, golf, shooting guns and most recently farming thanks to his good friends Gordon and Ray who taught him so much in a short time. Christopher never met a stranger and would do anything he could for you. He loved pranks and was always clowning around and even received the class clown award in the 8th grade. He was a great athlete participating in basketball, medaling in his first year of track, the long jump and relay in 2015, but truly loved baseball. He received player of the year in regionals and second honors in state in 2015.

Truly the best trait about Christopher was the love he had for Jesus even recently tweeting he was ready to meet Him the night before he was baptized “as an adult”. He cared so deeply for others he had decided to be an organ donor and through the gift of his eyes it is hoped that two more people can see the love of God as Chris did.

Friends and family night was at the Church of Christ at Mountain View Christian Academy from 5 to 8 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 29. A celebration of Christopher’s life was held at the Church of Christ at Mountain View Christian Academy, Winchester, on Tuesday, March 1 at 11 a.m. with Evangelist Doug Hardman and Rev. Sonya WilliamsGiersch who officiated.

Christopher was blessed to have two wonderful church families, so in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Christopher Saville Scholarship Fund at Mountain View Christian Academy at 153 Narrow Lane, Winchester, Va. 22602 or the scholarship fund at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 3623 Back Mountain Road, Winchester, Va. 22602.

Please read Joshua 1:9. Bless you all for your love and support during this most difficult time.

Mae E. Weatherholtz

Mae Ella “Ella Mae” Weatherholtz, 73, of Quicksburg, passed away Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016, at her home. She was born Sept. 11, 1942, in Wilmington, Del., and was the daughter of William and Virginia (Lloyd) Powers.

Ella Mae was a member of Liberty Brethren Church and attended Brighter Days Bible Church in Mount Jackson.

She was a graduate of the first class of Stonewall Jackson High School, Quicksburg. Ella Mae worked for Shenandoah County Public Schools as a bus driver, special education driver and behind-the-wheel instructor. She retired after 45 years of service.

In the early years, Ella Mae worked as a beautician for Ruth Moyer and later in her home. She kept busy with crocheting, sewing and quilting blankets for friends and family, reading her Bible and spending time with her family. In the last six months, she could be found every morning working with students in her daughter’s preschool classroom.

She is survived by her daughter, Kimberly Dawn Burner and husband, Darren Burner, of Quicksburg; her son, Kevin Dail Weatherholtz and wife, Krysta, of Strasburg; two sisters, Elizabeth Stover of Marion, Iowa, and Elaine Powers of Mount Jackson; and four grandchildren, Matthew (Rafe) Burner, Caitlin Burner, Mason Weatherholtz, and Brady Weatherholtz.

A Celebration of Life service was held 2 p.m. Thursday, March 3, 2016, at the Valley Funeral & Cremation Service’s Chapel with Pastor Larry Rinard who officiated. Burial followed in Rest Haven Cemetery in Harrisonburg.

The family received friends Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Valley Funeral & Cremation Service, Bowmans Crossing.

Arrangements are in the care of Valley Funeral & Cremation Service.

Thoughts, concerns and remembrances to

Margaret F. Wilkins

Margaret Fravel Wilkins, 97, of Woodstock, died Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016 at Consulate Health Care.

The funeral will be held at St. Paul's United Church of Christ, 235 S. Main St., Woodstock.

The family will receive friends in St. Paul's Fellowship Hall Sunday, March 6 beginning at 12:30 p.m., followed by the funeral service at 2 p.m. conducted Rev. Clara Young. Burial in Sunset View Memorial Gardens in Woodstock will follow the service.

Mrs. Wilkins was born Feb. 19, 1919 in Woodstock, daughter of Nevin Kline and Lula Mae Wisman Fravel.

She retired from Shenandoah Telephone Company after 28 years.

She was an active member of St. Paul's United Church of Christ in Woodstock serving in a number of positions at the church, as well as the DAR, and OES #93.

She was preceded in death by her husband, John Robert Wilkins.

Surviving are two sons, John Robert "Bob" and wife Karen Wilkins of Lynchburg and Kline Monroe "KM" and wife Gail Wilkins of Washington, DC; grandchildren, Matthew Wilkins, Dana Wilkins, and Erica Wilkins; and great grandchildren Heather Wilkins, Benjamin Wilkins, Courtney Wilkins, and Shannon Wilkins.
Pallbearers will be Matt Wilkins, Mark Getz, Ben Wilkins, Joe Wilkins, Len Catron, Paul Catron, and Joe Lehnen.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Paul's United Church of Christ, 235 S. Main St., Woodstock Va. 22664.

Online condolences may be left at

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