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Classmate Obituaries

In Memoriam

Raymond K. Ward '50

Raymond “Ray” Keith Ward, 91, passed away peacefully on Saturday, September 30, 2023, just shy of his 92nd birthday. He passed comfortably with Hospice services at Brightview Baldwin Park Assisted Living Staunton. 

Mr. Ward was born October 8, 1931, to the late Lewis Franklin and Irma Geraldine Ward. He grew up in Blairstown, NJ. He is survived by his daughter, Marion Anne Ward and his son, Warren Keith Ward along with his spouse, Ernesto Gregorio. In addition to his parents and his loving wife, Dorothy “Dottie” Anne Ward, he is preceded in death by a son, Peter Franklin Ward; a brother, Robert Lee Ward; and sisters, June Elizabeth Ward Cooper and Nancy Jane Ward Blumhagen. 

Raymond graduated from Blairstown High School in Blairstown NJ, in 1950, and Rutgers University in 1954. He worked throughout childhood and high school on farms, raising animals, mowing lawns, delivering papers, hauling milk, and as a teenager lent his parents money for their down payment for their first house. Ray served in the US military then worked with Rutgers University and the State of NJ as an Agricultural Agent for 3 years. He then purchased his first farm in Southern NJ and built a cutting-edge Dairy operation using knowledge he gained both at university and in the field. He grew the herd and operation and over time purchased more land and two more farms. After two decades Ray was invited to develop and teach the industrial arts program for Salem County Schools. He gradually moved on from running the Dairy farm and taught until he “retired.” 

Ray was very active in the First Baptist Church of Woodstown for over six decades. He served on: Board of Deacons, Board of Missions, Board of Trustees, was church Treasurer for many of his later years until he moved to Virginia, and was a founding member of N and M’s (“Newly Married, Nicely Married and Never Married”). Ray and Dottie taught Sunday School and taught in the Migrant Ministry program and Vacation Bible School. He went on and sometimes organized many mission trips. If there were a need, he’d be there to help fill it. All the while, Ray, was also very active in civic engagement: He started the first Ruritan club in NJ (Wistarburg Ruritan club), served on and was President of Alloway Township School Board, and with a Christian reformed drug addict, founded a Drug Rehabilitation Center on one of this Farms called “Faith Farm”.


Retirement from teaching brought more volunteer work. For decades Ray built houses with Habitat for Humanity and served as a Hospice volunteer for many years. He and Dottie also were Hospital Chaplains/patient advocates for Salem County Hospital for over 20 years. They gave generously to the church and missions and many causes and have provided for ongoing giving through several foundations. 

Ray was remarkably social and confident and interested in people and their stories as well as telling his own. He loved reading on many topics and often read aloud to share what he was learning. Though dearly missing his friends and church from Woodstown NJ, he quickly adapted to living in a community with plenty of activities at Brightview Baldwin Park, Staunton VA, where he moved with Dottie in November 2021. He enjoyed the companionship of residents and staff. Wherever he was, Ray Ward was at the center of things. He was highly regarded and well loved.


Norma J. Cowell '50


Walter Ramond Vass '41


Walter Raymond Vass, 99, of Hollister, peacefully went to be with the Lord on Thursday, August 24, 2023, at home.
Walter was born in Blairstown, New Jersey, on December 2, 1923, to Raymond M. and Ethel W. Vass. He graduated from Blairstown High School in 1941 and entered the U.S. Navy on July 24, 1941, serving during WW II. He was discharged with the rank of Aviation Machinist's Mate First Class in December 1947.?Walter always worked. He worked for H.E. (Pete) Bray for 16 years. From 1967-1968, he served on a construction crew in Vietnam building Tuy Hoa Air Base. He then worked for H.R. Buckles and Thompson Contracting for 17 years. He went on to work for Leon Buckles clearing land for 12 years and Star Environmental Services for 7 years. During that time, he also serviced trucks for Rozier's Oil Co. for 20 years. Walter loved hard work and took pride in getting a job done. Walter was of the Baptist faith, attending First Baptist Church of Interlachen for many years. He enjoyed gardening and listening to bluegrass music.?Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by five brothers and one sister.?He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Sarah Vass of Hollister; one daughter, Nancy (Dan) Darcey of Hollister; one grandson, Joel Darcey of Altamonte Springs; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be 2 p.m. Saturday, September 2, 2023, at First Baptist Church of Interlachen with Pastor Larry Litzell and Pastor Chris White officiating. The family will receive friends at the church one hour prior to the start of the service. Burial will follow at Hollister Sweetwater Cemetery. For those that cannot attend, the service will be live-streamed and may be viewed at
Messages of sympathy may be shared on Walter's online tribute page at Memorial donations may be made to Vitas Healthcare, 511 W. Towels Ave., Suite 101, Palatka, FL 32177.
Masters Funeral Home of Palatka is in charge of arrangements.

Published by Palatka Daily News on Aug. 28, 2023.


               Elizabeth May Beagle '43

Elizabeth "Betty" May Beegle, 98.5, a longtime resident of Blairstown, passed away peacefully with her loving family by her side on Friday, November 3rd.


She was born to the late William and Frances (Snyder) Latteman at home in Belvidere, NJ on April 24, 1925. Elizabeth spent her elementary years in Belvidere until the age of seven when the family moved to Blairstown. She graduated from Blairstown High School in 1943 with her classmate and future husband, William "Bill" Beegle. They were engaged at the Blairstown Footbridge and married at the Presbyterian Manse on March 18, 1945, becoming a quintessential couple of the World War II era. In 1949, they moved to Washington, NJ where they raised their four children. After living briefly in Colorado, they moved back to their beloved Blairstown in 1972 and have made their home here ever since. Elizabeth and William were recognized as the Longest Known Married Couple in Warren County, having been married for 78 years this past March.


Betty had several jobs in her life, but none more important than as a loving wife, mother and grandmother. She cherished her family and passed on to them her traits of kindness and a gentle demeanor. In her youth she was a newspaper delivery girl and later a telephone operator in Blairstown. In the 1980s and 90s she was an assistant to the director at Newbaker Funeral Home.


She was a member with the Order of the Eastern Star Chapter 107 and volunteered as a den mother with the Cub Scout Pack of Washington, NJ. Betty was a communicant for the First Presbyterian Church of both Washington and Blairstown. Singing in the choir was a favorite part of her involvement with the church.


Betty bowled on leagues at Oakwood Lanes and during retirement at Bel-Pike Lanes with Bill and her in-laws Paul and Elinor Lowman; and Marion and Gilbert VanSyckle. She loved nature and all animals - especially birds and cats. She would always provide homes for stray kitties and other animals in need. Betty was a tea lover, she loved outings to tea houses and would have little tea parties with her grandchildren. Betty and Bill traveled the United States in their RV enjoying the American countryside with their dear friends Abbie and Albert Schmidt. She entertained her family by singing her old-time favorite songs that included "Happy Days Are Here Again," "Singing in the Rain," and "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'." She made every effort to be involved in her children's and grandchildren's interests and was very proud of all their accomplishments.


Betty is survived by her loving husband of 78.5 years, William J. Beegle; her four children: William D. and wife Kathe, Jeffrey and wife Jeanne, Donna Melnyczenko, and Christine Beegle; nine grandchildren: Kevin (Dana) Beegle, Eric (Jeanine) Beegle, Jason (partner Kelly) Beegle, Kim (Chris) Ply, Christie (Jeff) Karrels, Tara (Emmett) Kluxen, Michael (Jennifer) Bryan, Christine (partner Jason) Westrich, and Alyson (Nate) Barrall; great grandchildren: Kaden, Sadi, Ethan, Ally, Mackenzie, Kyllie, Tyler, Brenna Emily Rose, Colin, Alexa, Megan, Joey, Olivia and Hazel; her sisters-in-law: Ellen Costa and Audrey Beegle; and many nieces and nephews. In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by her son-in-law Gene Melnyczenko, her sister Frances and brothers Richard, William and Robert Latteman.


Mom was well-known for her warmth and gentle personality, making friends wherever she went. She will be dearly missed by all her friends and family. Simply stated, we just adored her. Toot-a-loo dear mom. We love you❤️.


In lieu of flowers, please consider donating in Betty’s honor to the Alzheimer's Foundation, Blairstown Ambulance Corps Blairstown Ambulance Corp » Donate (, or the Humane Society of the United States [http:///]/


To plant a beautiful memorial tree in memory of Elizabeth, please visit our Tree Store.

Ross Marshall '55- 8/18/2023

M. Maria Woodruff '46

Maria Woodruff, aged 90 of Pinehurst gently passed away on Wednesday, January 27, 2021 at the FirstHealth Hospice House.

Born on October 17, 1930 in Ridgewood, NJ, Maria was the eldest of four children of George Newton and Mabel Cisco Woodruff.

Maria grew up in NJ. During high school, she lived on the grounds of the No-Be-Bo-Sco camp, leading to a life-long love of nature and the outdoors. At 16, Maria enrolled in Montclair State Teachers College (now Montclair State University), completing a BA in history and minor in biology. Upon graduation, she taught history at Hackensack High School, but moved from the classroom to administration after completing a MA plus 60 credits in guidance and administration. During her working years, Maria enjoyed many memorable vacations, including national and international trips, especially to southern climates and the beach.

Upon retirement, she and her dear friend Margaret Colledge (Aunt Peg) moved to Pinehurst, NC, a location with a vibrant community, warm climate, and an easy drive to the beach. In Pinehurst, Maria remained busy, teaching at O’Neal School for several years. Maria was a loving and caring person, who put others first. She was especially committed to the Community Presbyterian Church where she held the position of church clerk for 18 years, using her humor and wisdom to guide eight incoming and interim pastors and associates. Her remarkable dedication as “the best clerk in the Coastal Carolina Presbytery” was recognized when the Presbytery of Coastal Carolina named Maria as a Faithful Saint for her work on Session. In 2015, she was honored with a Life Membership in Presbyterian Women.

Maria was an avid walker, bird watcher and animal lover, and was especially proud of her registered and rescued dogs. She was an voracious reader, partial to mystery novels. Embroidery, jigsaw and crossword puzzles were favorites, and of course, chocolate was a major food group.

Maria will be greatly missed by her goddaughter Pamela Geyer, her adopted Geyer and Mehegan families, her devoted nephew Bradley Woodruff and her many wonderful Pinehurst friends.

Charles "Charlie" Cowell '68


Charles Edward Cowell, 72, of Blairstown, passed away on his birthday, after a brief illness at Newton Medical Center on May 22, 2023. 


Charlie was born on May 22, 1950 to Norma (Plett) Cowell in Newton NJ, and was a lifelong resident of Blairstown.


He had many talents and worked as a farmer, mechanic, service manager and cook. Charlie’s real love was his dogs. He rescued several dogs over the years and always had room for more. Charlie was always willing to lend a hand to anyone that needed some help.


Charlie was predeceased by his wife Lauren in July of 2021. They would have celebrated 39 years of marriage on May 27th 2023.


He is survived by his mother Norma Cowell of Blairstown, Sisters Girlene of Easton PA, Evelyn of Blairstown NJ, Michele of Bridgewater NJ, his brothers Chris of Wantage NJ, Ted of Easton PA, and John of Blairstown NJ and several nieces and nephews.


Family and friends may visit from 6-8 PM on Friday May 26th at the Newbaker Funeral Home, 200 Route 94 Blairstown, NJ, a Funeral Service will be held at 11 AM on Saturday May 27th at Newbaker Funeral Home, with interment to follow at Cedar Ridge Cemetery. 


The family requests in lieu of Flowers to make a donation to an animal rescue in Charlie’s Name.

Carolyn Biles Simonetti, '53


Carolyn A. Simonetti, 87, a life-long resident of Blairstown, NJ, passed away on April 7, 2023 in Newton, NJ.


She was born on May 11, 1935 in Stroudsburg, PA, to Rolland and Martha (Maring) Biles. She graduated from the Cosmetology School in Newark, NJ and was owner of Carolyn’s Beauty Shop in Blairstown, NJ for over 35 years.Like her father, Carolyn was a friend to everyone, and was known as “Jug” to her old pals, a nod to her sense of humor and fun-loving good nature.


In her spare time, Carolyn was an avid reader and enjoyed a good romance novel. She was very creative and loved antiquing, refinishing furniture, and needlepoint. She also loved the time she spent at her second home in Florida.


In addition to her salon, Carolyn volunteered for countless school and community activities revolving around her children and served on the Warren County Tax Board for 12 years.She received her greatest joy however from being a loving wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.


She is survived by her husband of 68 years, Salvatore “Sal”; three daughters, Valerie England (Peter), Sally Smigel (Chris), Lori Sorrentino (Angelo); four grandchildren, Tara Trammell (Mac), Lindsay Stewart (Mike), Josh Stewart (Emma), and Kellie Smigel (Joe); and great-grandchildren Connor Trammell, and Myla and Maura Stewart.


She was predeceased by her daughter Darlene Stewart, and sister Marie Treible.


Family and friends may visit from 2-4 & 6-8 PM, Friday, April 14, 2023, at Newbaker Funeral Home, 200 Route 94, Blairstown, NJ 07825.


Another period of visitation will be held from 12-1PM on Saturday, April 15, with a memorial service to follow at 1:00 PM. Interment will follow at Cedar Ridge Cemetery, Blairstown, NJ.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Carolyn’s name to the Blairstown Ambulance Corps, PO Box 389, Blairstown, NJ 07825.

To plant a beautiful memorial tree in memory of Carolyn, please visit our Tree Store


Irene M. Litz '53

Irene M. Litz, 85, formerly of Columbia, NJ, passed away on January 16, 2021 in Lower Mount Bethel, PA.

Born October 4, 1935, in Jersey City, NJ, she was the daughter of the late Joseph Gaus and May Englert Gaus. She was also predeceased by her husband, the late Carl “Cub” Litz.

She was employed at Ingersoll Rand in Phillipsburg, NJ and also worked in the floral department at the Giant supermarket in Forks Township, PA. Irene was a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, Starlight Chapter #107, and the Knowlton United Methodist Church in Knowlton Township, NJ, where at one time, she was active in the choir as a soprano, and a Sunday school teacher as well. She was an avid reader & a volunteer at Mary Meuser Library in Easton. She loved flowers, her favorite being yellow roses, peonies & lilacs, and she enjoyed the beach & swimming.

Most of all, she loved spending time with her 4 children & 3 grandchildren whom she adored.

Survivors are her children: Jeff Litz and wife Inga, of Lower Mount Bethel, PA, Joseph of Belvidere, NJ, David and wife Dania, of Hernando, Florida, and Jennifer Litz of Williams Township, PA. Grandchildren are Justin Litz and wife Mindy, of Forks Township, PA, Jordan of Ewing Township, NJ, and Rebecca Millen and husband Zach, of New Holland, PA. Also surviving is a sister, Audrey Pagano, residing in Forks Township, PA.

Calling hours will be held on Wednesday, January 20, 2021, at the Finegan Funeral Home at 302 Heckman Street in Phillipsburg, NJ, from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon with the Funeral Service beginning at 12:00 noon at the funeral home. The interment will follow at the Fairview Cemetery in Columbia, NJ.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to the Ascend Hospice, 108 Cowpath Road, #3, Lansdale, PA 19446.


( Note: Deceased classmate records were compiled as of 2017.

If you would like to share other names, please contact us)

Blairstown High School



Doris Hill Osterberg '35

Helen Gaisler Earl '36

Florence Savacool Gouger ’38 

Jennie Uhorchak Black ‘38

Frances M. Newcamp '38 

Clarice Bertholf Bobin '39

Frank Squeri ‘39

Pauline Thomas Cebulka ’39 

Ernest Billow ‘40

Freda M. Cook '40

Howard Mott ‘41 

Olena Jadick '41

Walter Ramond Vass '41

Earle Jones ‘42 

Verna VanSyckle Shuster ‘42 

Elizabeth Hezel Johnson ‘42

Vida Trapani Burdge ’42

Elizabeth Crisman Zenock ’42

Elmer T. Stoffels '42

Frederick Belet ’43  

Sophia Szalobryt Silva ’43 

Elizabeth May Beagle '43

Robert Beegle ‘43

Jean Chamberlain Zanetti ‘43 

Jane Szalobryt ’44 
Victoria Kozimor Perini ‘44

Grace Rich Range ‘44

Doris Chamberlain Bair ‘45 

Alice May Erd '45

Joseph Smolha '45

Doris Burham Weber '45

Dorothy J. Winters '45

Mildred Cowell Kise ‘46 

Gertrude Walker Polhemus ‘46 

Shirley Newbaker McCracken ‘46

Gordon Beegle ’46 

Olga Bailey Guiler ’46

Norma Pennell Hill ’46

M. Maria Woodruff '46

Lawrence Vass ‘47

Anne Duimstra Beegle ’47

Virginia Wester Cooke '47

Thelma “Tilly” McPeek,'47

Anna Mae Robertson Raesly ’47 

Mildred Sipley Shaftic '47
Greta Hezel Crisman ‘48

Henry Kozimor ‘48 

Nancy Malon Hickey '48

Blanche Titman Kelly

Anna Mae Cowell Eber 49'

Lorraine Skow Everett '49

George D. Hall '49

M. William Berry '50

Josephine Drake '50

Leon Kot ‘50

Joan Pilewski Cook ‘50

Norma J. Cowell '50

Raymond K. Ward '50

Rhonda Westervelt '50

Mary Burham Hayes '51

Teresa J. Heines '51

Melita Stickle Hurd ‘51 

Lyman Lawson '51

Louise Sprague Lambert ‘52

Donald Meshach ‘52

Shirley Huff Moore ‘52

Michael Joseph Bufis '52

George Fee ‘53 

Irene M. Litz '53

Gayle Lambert Salamone '53

Carolyn Biles Simonetti '53

Allen Zanetti '53

Margaret Henderson Kernan ‘54 

Bennett Van Der Wal ‘54 

Charles Rowe ‘54

Marcus Drake ’54

Carolyn Litts Elston '54

George William Transue '54

Walter Jones ’55 

Ross Marshall '55

Helen Gramberg Winters '55

Joan Roof Clark '56

Howard Cowell ‘56

Jessica Huttick Gately '56

Elaine Bozzuffi Hoover '56 

Robert Walters ’56

Charles Catalano ‘57

Barbara Chammings '57

Cedric Rhinesmith ’57

Ann Noordenbos Smith '57

Nancy J. (Brown), (Torok), Psyhojos

Eloise Cecile Gebhart Foreman '58

Mary Jane Katzenstein Nemeth '58

Duane A. Nolder, Jr. '58

Robert J. Sandberg'58

Diana Shipps Demund '59

Barbara Semken Rydell ’59

Lena Meshach Keyser ‘60

Joseph Murphy '60

Harry K. Rush '60

Carl Darst ‘61 

Della Mae Gulick Darst '61

Frederick Grandin '61

Andrew C. Foley '61

Joan Helen Ostrowski '61

Elizabeth Ann Shotwell '61

Bruce Woodruff ‘61 

Frank "Hank" Cook '62

 Phillip H. Zabowski '62   

Catherine A. Bacon, '63

Fred Brown '63

Michael Pryslak '63

Rebecca Meagher Bender '63

Ronald Cook ‘63

Edmund Hagopian ’63

Kathleen Murphy '63

Richard Skow ’63

Wieka DeBoer Dykstra ‘64

Barry W. Rusweiler '64 

Kenneth R. Tims '64

John Klaver ‘65

Raymond Edgar Schwind '65

William Andrew "Andy" Tims '65

Thomas A. Sawyer '65

Marilyn Heitmann Grandin ‘66 

Brenda G. Lenkey Maxman '66

Delmar A. Paul '66

Howard Schwarz ‘67
G. Richard Cook ‘67

Linda Eckrode Tigner ’67

Glenn Barry ’68,

Sara L. Budd '68

Charles Cowell '68

Robert Volpe ’68 
Jon Thomas Cramer ‘68

William Hashagen'68

(died in Vietnam in 1971)
Gary Barker ‘69

Thomas Bennett '69
Nancy Burdge Drake ‘69

Marlene Bennett Lothian '69

Henry Natyzak '69

Lauren Chianese Cowell ’70 

Elaine Hellwege Hawes '70

Paul Meagher (Marr) 

Mayme Vivian Nemeth, '70

Gary Neil Sandberg '70

Warren Keith DePuy '71 (NWR)

William M. Reay '71 (NWR)

Robert Karl Andres '72 (NWR)

Carole Chrusz '72 (NWR)

Drexel Simonson '72 (NWR)

Becky Jennings Erd ’73 (NWR)

Linda Schwarz Bisbing’73 (NWR)

Arthur Haney '73 (NWR)

Robert Stout ‘74 (NWR)

Kenneth J. Bertholf, Jr. '74 (NWR)

Onalee Cramer '74 (NWR)

Deborah Louise Wittschiebe '74 (NWR)

Sharon VanAuken Steen, 1975 (NWR)

Thomas Gross, Former Teacher



Please consider a bequest in your Will to

the Blairstown High School Alumni Association to help us continue our scholarship program which currently awards a $2000 scholarship each year to a graduating senior who is a direct descendant of an alumni.

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