Obituaries — Shenandoah County

Joan R. Bickle

Joan "Jo" Spangler Richard Bickle, 89, of Strasburg, Va., passed away Monday, Sept. 18, 2017 at her home, Delray Farm in Strasburg.

She was born March 31, 1928 in Strasburg, Va., the daughter of the late Harry "Jake" and Mabel Clark Richard.

She was preceded in death by her husband, J.C. "Bud" Bickle; a son, Rhett Clark Bickle; a sister, Gene Richard Hupp; and two brothers, Benjamin Clark Richard Sr. and Jack Harold Richard.

Surviving are two daughters, Ginny Bickle Hamrick of Strasburg and Teri Bickle Garrard of Nokesville; four grandchildren, Jeff Garrard, Heather Garrard Hawkins, Gene Hamrick and David Hamrick; six great grandchildren, Rhett Michael Hawkins, Rylan Hawkins, Austin Hamrick, Dylan Hamrick, Deanna Hamrick and Gracie Hamrick; plus numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

She was a graduate of Strasburg High School.
 She learned to plow with a team of horses and to drive a tractor at the age of nine. Summers were spent in Nebraska exercising and racing horses for the Pringle Ranch. She still had her Nebraska jockey's license.

In 1945 she was a guest of Clay Hockman (rodeo announcer from Clary) at the Roy Rogers Rodeo in Washington, D.C. when one of the performers was hospitalized with appendicitis. Clay knew she could ride, called her to the box office and she rode the Rangeland Quadrille, a square dance on horseback. Roy told everyone "Little Jo" was his sister and she finished the tour through Canada and ended in Madison Square Gardens. Roy took Trigger into children's wards in every city they performed and Jo guarded Trigger's tail from anyone snipping off some as a souvenir.

She tooled leather, was secretary of Strasburg Christian Church from 1956 until 1967 when the family moved to The Plains, where she was secretary for Kinloch Farms. 
After returning to Strasburg she worked for Shenandoah Publishing House typesetting and layout of books, etc., retiring from the Northern Virginia Daily as a typesetter ad make-up. Then she worked at Lear, in the kitchen, until she was 80.

She played guitar, drew and painted pictures (mostly horses).
 She loved having her many nieces and nephews stop by every day to tell them family history: Pony Express rider, Mountain Man, Gold Rush miner, Chief Winnemucca, Paiute, eating tumbleweed greens, life in Brush, Colorado during the Depression and Dust Bowl.

But mostly she loved her church and church family. She was an Elder, Sunday school teacher, youth leader, president of CWF, Financial Secretary, and attended District, Region and General Assemblies; as well as CWF Quadrennials, and retreats at Craig Springs Camp.

A gathering of friends was held Saturday, Sept. 23 at Strasburg Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) on High Street at 12 p.m. The funeral service followed at 1 p.m. with a committal in Riverview Cemetery. A meal was held in the Fellowship Hall.

Pallbearers were Warren Hamrick, David Hamrick, Carl Hamrick, Cliff Hupp, Martin Haley and Luke Pfister.

Memorials may be made to the Strasburg Christian Church (DOC), 165 High St. or Strasburg Volunteer Rescue Squad, P.O. Box 620, Strasburg, Va. 22657.

Online condolences may be made at

Stover Funeral Home and Crematory, Inc., Strasburg, VA is serving the family of Mrs. Bickle.

John C. Brown Jr.

John Carroll "J.C." Brown Jr., 69, of Strasburg, Va., passed away Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017 at Greenfield Senior Living in Strasburg, Va.

A memorial service for J.C. will be conducted at 3 p.m. Saturday, September 30, 2017 at the Stover Memorial Chapel with Mitchell Ball officiating.

J.C. was born in Front Royal, VA on Sept. 17, 1948, a son of the late John Carroll and Geraldine Johnson Brown Sr.

He was a graduate of Thomas Edison High School and worked as a mechanical engineer with Mercury Paper.

J.C. had a passion for surf fishing, was a Mason and a member of the Strasburg Moose Lodge.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his maternal grandparents, Pete and Mae Johnson; and his paternal grandparents, Henry C. and Frances Freeman Brown.

Survivors include his loving companion and mother of his children, Lana; his beloved children, Toni C Miller (David) of Mineral, Va. and John C. "Butch" Brown III (Nancy) of Fredericksburg, Va.; his grandchildren, Michael Miller and Kyleen Brown; and two sisters, Brenda Styles (Perry) and Penny Rales (Ben), all of Florida.

Honorary pallbearers will be Hoyt Bott, Conly Crabill and Benjamin Burkhart.

The family will receive friends at the funeral on Saturday one hour prior to the service.

Memorials may be made to Blue Ridge Hospice, 333 W. Cork St., Winchester, VA 22601.

You may submit condolences online to the family at

Stover Funeral Home and Crematory, Inc., Strasburg, VA is serving the family of Mr. Brown.

Matthew J. Donahue

Matthew James Donahue, 69, of Star Tannery, passed away Aug. 8, 2017 at the Va. Medical Center in Martinsburg, WV.

A Celebration of Life will be held 12-4 p.m. Saturday Sept. 30 at the shelter at the Straburg Moose.

Friends are invited to attend and reminisce. 

Robert L. Drummond Sr.

Robert Lee Drummond Sr., 87, of Strasburg, Va., passed away Monday, Sept. 25, 2017 at the Winchester Medical Center.

A graveside service for Mr. Drummond will be conducted at 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29, 2017 in the Lebanon Church Cemetery with the Rev. Kathleen Haynes and the Rev. John Fogle officiating.

Mr. Drummond was born in Strasburg, Va. on May 12, 1930, a son of the late Jesse James and Pearl Nickols Drummond.

Mr. Drummond loved baseball. He was a former employee of the Shenandoah Valley Press and retired from Thermo Fisher Scientific in Middletown where he worked as a security guard.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by five siblings, James Christian "JC" Drummond, Harry Edward Drummond, Roy Samuel Drummond, Donald Wayne Drummond and Anna Mae Silvious.

Survivors include his loving wife, Kay Elizabeth Hockman Drummond of Clary; his beloved children, Linda Earhart (Guy) of Stephens City, Va., Robert "Bobby" Drummond Jr. (Kimberly) of Clary, and Teresa Bromley (Todd) of Strasburg, Va.; his grandchildren, Trevor Strosnider, Amber Hill, Brooke Dobbs, Laura Drummond, Jennifer Drummond, Holly Drummond and Heather Earhart; his great-grandchildren, Jada Strosnider, Deuce Strosnider, Victoria Hill, Nathaniel Hill, Beau Hill, Jordon Hill, Hannah Harris, Sofia Harris and Eleanor Lavoie; and his siblings, Ray Drummond of Winchester, Va. and Sally Collette of Strasburg, Va..

Friends and relatives may visit at the home of Mrs. Drummond at any time.

You may submit condolences online at

Stover Funeral Home and Crematory, Inc., Strasburg, Va. is serving the family of Mr. Drummond.

Gary L. Foltz

Gary Lee Foltz, 79, of Baltimore, Md. and formerly of Edinburg, passed away on Sept. 14, 2017.

Gary was the beloved husband of the late Susan K. Foltz.

He is the loving father of Brenda Payne, Allen Foltz and his wife Paula and Dean Foltz and his wife Jennifer; cherished grandfather of five grandchildren; dear great grandfather of four great grandchildren; and devoted brother of Zane Foltz.

A private cremation was held.

Charitable donations may be made to Baltimore Humane Society, 1601 Nicodemus Road Reisterstown, Md 21136 or Gilchrist Hospice Care, 11311 McCormick Road, Suite 350, Hunt Valley MD 21030. or

Dr. Jacob Haun, Jr.

Dr. Jacob “Jake” Haun, Jr., 85, of Woodstock died at his home on Sept. 22, 2017.

Jake was born on March 15, 1932 to the late Jacob Haun and Eleanor Hollingsworth Grabill Haun of Woodstock.

After attending Woodstock Grade School, Jake graduated from Massanutten Military Academy in 1949, then from the University of Virginia in 1953 with a degree in Electrical Engineering. He earned his MBA from Harvard University in 1955. He served four years as an Officer with the US Navy, two of which were on the USS Maddox, Destroyer, Pacific Fleet.

After a short stint running the family insurance business and several years working as an engineer and researcher, Jake earned his M.D. degree from the Medical College of Virginia in 1972. He worked several years as an Emergency Room physician in Richmond and Woodstock.

Jake immersed himself in civic and nonprofit activities. He was a founding board member of the Shenandoah Community Foundation, on whose board he served with energy and dedication until the end of his life. Very special to Jake were his years of work at both the local and national level with the Unitarian Universalist Church.

He had a love for the outdoors and was accomplished in diving, caving, rock climbing, and white water canoeing and kayaking. He was a licensed pilot and had great interest and talent in photography.

He is survived by his wife of 19 years Diane Gardner and their children Rosalie and Henry. Also surviving are his adult sons and their families: Jacob III of Asheville, North Carolina, Harvie of Washington DC, and Frank of Woodstock. Jake was also a father figure to Noah and Joshua Walker both of California. A cousin William Grabill and his family also survive.

Jake had many wonderful and diverse friends including Walter Pirie of Blacksburg, the late Jeanne and Lauck Walton of Woodstock, James Shepherd of Woodstock, and the French family.

The family would like to thank Blue Ridge Hospice and all those who helped care for Jake in his final year.

An outdoor celebration of Jake’s life will be held at 2pm, Saturday Oct. 14, 2017 in the field across from 1141 Alonzaville Rd., Woodstock. A potluck reception will follow. Please bring memories of Jake to share. In case of inclement weather, the celebration will be held at St. Luke Brethren Church at 3250 Back Rd., Woodstock.

A man of exceptional intellect, Jake lived an impressively full, interesting, and wholehearted life.

In lieu of flowers, the greatest tribute Jake would have us pay him is to emulate his values of caring, generosity, and problem-solving.

“A man has made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when he plants shade trees under which he knows full well he will never sit.”
― Elton Trueblood

Online condolences may be sent to

Arrangements are in the care of Heishman Funeral Home, Inc., Valley Funeral Service Branch in Bowmans Crossing.

A. Irene Heishman

A. Irene Heishman, 86, of Baker, W.Va., passed away Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, at E.A. Hawse Nursing and Rehab Center in Baker, W.Va. Born on June 30, 1931, in Wardensville, W.Va., she was a daughter of the late Walter I. Combs and Lena Tharp Combs.

Irene was a homemaker, loving mother and grandmother. She was a member of the Lost River United Methodist Church. She loved gardening, working in flowers, baking and spending time with family.

Irene was preceded in death by her husband, Ray Price Heishman, on Jan. 24, 2003, also preceded by three brothers, Gene, Bennie and Garmen Combs.

Surviving are three daughters, Sandra Nesselrodt and husband, Vernon, of Mathias, W.Va., Judy Combs and husband, Leon, of Capon Bridge, W.Va., and Libby Heishman and husband, John Fox, of Star Tannery, Va.; two sons, Timmy Heishman and wife, Stacy, of Mathias, W.Va., and Kelly Heishman and wife, Meredith, of Baker, W.Va.; two sisters, Nadine Strawderman of Gore, Va., and Marie Hahn of Wardensville, W.Va.; eight grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.

The funeral service was held Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017, at 11 a.m. in Mathias Brethren Church with Pastor Jonathan Hedrick and Pastor Debbie Shreve officiating. Interment followed in Greenwood Cemetery at Lost River, W.Va.

The family will receive friends Monday from 6 to 8 p.m. at McKee Funeral Home, Baker, W.Va.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Greenwood Cemetery, 192 Big Ridge Road, Baker, WV 26801.

All arrangements are being handled by McKee Funeral Home, Baker, W.Va.

Robert F. Parker Jr.

Robert “Rob” Frances Parker Jr., 65, of Grottoes, passed away Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, at his home.

Rob was born in Keene, N.H., on April 17, 1952, and was a son of the late Pauline (Pinkham) and Robert Frances Parker Sr.

He worked for Super 8 in New Market and was a member of Life Harvest Church in Verona.

On Sept. 24, 1989, he was united in marriage to Michele (Lavoie) Parker, who survives.

Rob is also survived by three daughters, Alison Myers of Englewood, Fla., Heidi Sedler and husband, Edward, of Montana, and Robin Johnson and husband, Brandon, of Grottoes; a son, Michael Parker of Grottoes; three sisters, Sharon Perry and husband, Ernest, Ellen Rhodes and husband, Alan, and Coralee Tessier and husband, Lou, all of New Hampshire; two brothers, Roy Parker of Manassas and Dale Parker of Vermont; and eight grandchildren, Alicia, DeWayne, Shamus, Christopher, Winter, Angel, Forest and Austin.

He is also preceded in death by a brother, Mark Parker.

The family received friends from 6 until 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017, at Johnson Funeral Service in Grottoes. A memorial service will take place at a later date.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at

Arthur B. Ritenour Jr.

Arthur Bill “Poke” Ritenour Jr., 72, of Harrisonburg, passed away Sept. 22, 2017, at Sentara RMH Medical Center.

Mr. Ritenour was born Sept. 1, 1945, in Winchester to the late Arthur B. and Helen Kibler Ritenour.

He was a 1965 graduate of Strasburg High School and served our country in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War from July 1963 to July 1966, and was stationed in Korea. He loved taking photographs and spending time with his family; especially his grandchildren and attended many of their sporting events. He was a member of Muhlenberg Lutheran Church in Harrisonburg and had worked 48 years for Moseley Architects in Harrisonburg.

On July 15, 1967, he married the love of his life, Linda (Clinedinst) Ritenour, who survives. Also surviving are his daughters, Kimberly Shifflett of Harrisonburg and Carla Griffin and husband, Jason, of Dayton; a brother, Jeff Ritenour of Strasburg; and three grandchildren, Cole Shifflett, Addison Griffin and Carson Griffin. Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by a son, Steven Kiley Ritenour.

A Celebration of Life service was held 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017, at the Kyger Funeral Home Chapel in Harrisonburg. Pastor Wayne Wright conducted the service.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the American Cancer Society, 420 Neff Ave., Harrisonburg, VA 22801, or the Virginia Paws for Pits, 151 Old White Hill Road, Staunton, VA 24401.

Online condolences may be shared by visiting

Mary E. Romick

Mary Ellen Romick, 81, of Edinburg, went to be with her Lord on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017.

Mary was born in Frederick County, Virginia on June 29, 1936 to the late Thomas L. Ritenour and Janie Hopewell.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Roy F. Romick, whom she married on March 9, 1955; and a son, Roy E. "Junior" Romick.

Mary is survived by two sons, Kenneth Romick of Woodstock and Timothy Romick and his wife Cheryl of Mt. Jackson; a daughter, Tammie Sherfey and her husband Ronnie of Edinburg; a brother, Frankie Ritenour of Woodstock; Alice Compton of Middletown; daughter-in-law, Beth Pfohl of Haymarket; grandsons, Thomas Peacemaker and Michael Pfohl; step grandchildren, Lisa Hockensmith, Ronnie Sherfey Jr., Amy Branch, and Bryan Sherfey; and numerous great grandchildren.

Mary loved playing cards with family and friends, bowling, and she enjoyed spending time at the senior center.

The family received friends on Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Valley Funeral Service, Bowmans Crossing.

Services will be held at the funeral home on Friday, Sept. 29, 2017 at 11 a.m. with the Rev. Freddie Helsley officiating. Burial will follow in Massanutten Cemetery, Woodstock.

Pallbearers will be Lonnie Sherfey Sr., Amos Silvious, Thomas Peacemaker, Michael Pfohl, Lonnie Sherfey Jr., Bryan Sherfey, Rick McClain, and Tyrone Epard.
 Honorary pallbearers will be Justin Ruckman, Jason Ruckman, Michael Hockensmith, Ryan Branch, Ronnie Sherfey Jr. and Billy Romick.  

The family requests that donations be made to the Shenandoah County Senior Center, 116 Lakeview Dr., Woodstock, VA 22664.

Arrangements are in the care of Heishman Funeral Home, Inc., Valley Funeral Service Branch, Bowmans Crossing.

James M. Sipe

James Michael "Mike" Sipe, 57, of Strasburg, Virginia, passed away on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017 in Front Royal, Virginia.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017 at 1 p.m. at Maddox Funeral Home, 105 West Main St., Front Royal with the Rev. Terry Clark officiating. Burial will follow in Green Hill Cemetery, Berryville, Virginia.

Mike was born on Oct. 1, 1959 in Winchester, Virginia to Nancy Estep Simpson and the late James E. Sipe of Boyce, Virginia.

He was a dedicated American veteran of the US Army from 1976 to 1979.

Mike was an accomplished professional freelance musician starting at the age of two, mastering drums, guitar and mandolin. He formerly performed at the age of 12 with Joe Maphis. He also performed with Hobbs and Partners and Katz Eye. He sat in on many bluegrass sessions with his peers.

He was a member of the Eagle's Club and the Sons of the Confederacy.

Surviving along with his mother is his step father, Gerald Simpson; partner, Kim Lee; two sons, Michael Joseph Mennella and John Thomas Sipe and John's partner Regina Tronti; daughter, Christina Mennella; step sister, Scarlet Simpson and her son Michael; grandson, Dustin J. Basye; three step grandchildren, Zachary, Gavin and Bryce; uncle and aunt, Joe and Denise Sipe of White Post, Virginia; aunt, Carol Ann Rowzie of Chantilly, Virginia; numerous cousins; and a long extension of friends and musicians.

The family will receive friends on Friday, Oct. 6, 2017 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Music for Relief at

The family is also seeking contributions for burial costs on Go Fund Me at

David Whitmer

David Whitmer was born on June 25, 1949 and went to be with the Lord on Sept. 18, 2017.

He grew up in Basye, Va. and was the son of Hannah Barb Whitmer Estep and Jesse Whitmer Sr. and the step-son of Willie Estep.

He is survived by his brother, Jesse Whitmer Jr and sister-in-law Edna Whitmer; his sister Helen Jones; step-sister-in-law, Mary Estep Keller; and many nieces and nephews.

His niece, Vicky (Whitmer) Manning served as his guardian while he lived at his wonderful home, The Brambles, in Mathews County, Va.

Family would like to extend their love and thanks to Dave's Brambles family and Lanell Jarvis who loved, cared for, and adored him.

A memorial service was held at Valley Baptist Church in Edinburg, Va. on Sept. 22. Family received friends at 3:30 p.m. with service beginning at 4 p.m. A graveside service followed in Trinity-Powder Springs UCC in Basye, Va.

A future service is also being planned at his home in Mathews.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Dave's memory to the Down Syndrome Assoc of Hampton Rds., 6300 East Virginia Beach Blvd, Norfolk, VA 23502 or online at

Arrangements are by Dellinger Funeral Home in Mt. Jackson.
Condolences may be sent to

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