Obituaries for week of July 4, 2019

Published on: July 3, 2019

Frances Lane Gustafson

Frances Lane Gustafson, age 103, of Grand Rapids, passed away June 19, 2019. She was preceded in death by her husband, Ernest E. Gustafson; father and mother, Ralph and Frances Lane; sister, Margaret E. Lane; and brother, James A. Lane. Frances is survived by her children: Peter L. (Ginny) Gustafson, Andrew L. (Pam) Gustafson, Jeffrey L. (Andrea) Gustafson; grandchildren: Tanya Gustafson, Lindsay Bathie, Kristen Frank, Michael Gustafson, Erik Gustafson, Anna Gustafson; great-grandchildren: Addyson Frank, Griffin Bathie, Lochlan Bathie, Greta Gustafson and Isla Bathie. All her grandkids had Lane for middle names except Anna, who had Elane, E. for her two granddads. Now, Fran has a great-granddaughter, Isla Frances Lane Bathie, born the same day she died. She was born 103 years ago on June 5, 1916, in Worchester, Ma.

Frances graduated with a degree in education from Wheelock College in Worchester, taught kindergarten and was married to her husband of 54 years, Ernie Gustafson, on November 29, 1941. They honeymooned in Puerto Rico, returning to New York in early December 1941 on the last cruise ship operating in the Atlantic following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. Fran was a loving homemaker and mother to three boys, who were raised in Clarence, N.Y., and Plymouth, Mich.

The family enjoyed vacations with good friends for many years at Kirk Kove Resort in Ontario, Canada. She was active in her church and school affairs; she was an accomplished artist and a lifelong birder, nature lover and a member of the Audubon Society and other conservation organizations. She always encouraged her children and grandchildren in their many interests and activities. Fran was also a loving and supportive mother-in-law to her three daughters by marriage, Ginny, Pam and Andrea.

She and Ernie retired to Sun City Center, Fla., in 1978 and Fran lived there 38 years, where she was active in lawn bowling, square and ballroom dancing and synchronized swimming well into her 90s with the Sun City Center Swim Dancers. She told her grandchildren that her secret to a long life was to stay active and have some chocolate each day.

The family plans to arrange a memorial service at a later date. Memorial contributions may be made to The National Audubon Society, 225 Varick St., New York, N Y 10014 or Faith Hospice at Trillium Woods, 8214 Pfeiffer Farms Dr. SW, Byron Center, MI 49315.


Herbert J. McKittrick, Jr.

Herbert John McKittrick Jr. died peacefully on June 26, 2019, after declining health following a stroke on Feb. 1, 2019. He was born June 11, 1926, in Darby, Pa., to Herbert John McKittrick Sr. and Isabelle Peoples McKittrick, who had immigrated from Ireland in the early 1900s.

He was a graduate of Upper Darby High School in Upper Darby, Pa., and became part of the Naval Air Corps., serving on the USS Bennington during World War II. After the war, he returned to Philadelphia and later moved to Maryland. Over the years he worked as a salesman for Central Soya Feed and Koester Bakery and was a distributor for the Washington Post for 30 years.

After he retired in 1996, he moved to Sun City Center, where he joined the SCC Emergency Squad, became an EMT, and served as chief from 2000-2001. He also worked part time at Prince of Peace Catholic Church and was an EMT at Freedom Plaza.

He enjoyed playing softball and golf. He loved to learn, especially about history, and participate in philosophical discussions. He enjoyed music and dancing and was president of the Big Band Club. He was a member of the Redeemer Lutheran Church.

He is survived by his wife, Mary Lou Drake; former wife, Flavia S. Robertson; daughters: Ruth Ann Henry (William) of Oxford, Pa., Jan DiSantostefano (Anthony) of Apex, NC, and Jill M. Jones of Alexandria, Va.; son Herbert J. McKittrick III (Sandy) of Fernandina Beach, Fla.; step-daughters and two step great-grandchildren; brother, William Jones, and siblings: Alexander Joseph, Maray Isabelle and Steven Lenox. He was the oldest member of his family.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Sun City Center Rescue Squad at A Celebration of Life service will be held at Redeemer Lutheran Church on Saturday, July 13, at 1 p.m.


Patricia Ann Whitner Rothwell

Patricia Ann Whitner Rothwell, OCDS, was born on April 18, 1933, in Reading, Pennsylvania, and passed away peacefully after a brief time in hospice near her home in Apollo Beach, Florida, on June 23, 2019. She was the last surviving child of Mary Deck and Harry Davis Whitner, having been predeceased by her two older sisters, Dorothy (Dot) and Mary Jane, and two older brothers, Harry Davis (Dave) and Calvin Klein (CK). She also survived two husbands, David Michael Norris and Bernard J. Rothwell, II. As a widow, and a person of deep spiritual connection, she was called to associate herself with the Discalced Carmelites Secular Order and became a member in order to live a life of fraternal communion and contemplative prayer, following the examples of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross.

During her lifetime she faced and overcame many challenges, including the death of her father when she was just 12 years old. She graduated from high school at 16 and enrolled at Sweet Briar College, where she studied for two years before leaving at 18 years of age to assist her mother, who was working as a supervisor of a boarding house for students in Boston. She worked for United Airlines in Boston when they first began transcontinental flights, and then relocated to the Oakland Bay Area of California where she had five daughters and then immersed herself in taking care of her growing family.

After many moves across the country and back, including living in Cincinnati, Ohio; Weston, Massachusetts; Wentworth, New Hampshire; and on the east coast of Florida, she finally settled in Apollo Beach, where she could be close to her growing number of grandchildren and enjoy the warm climate. She became well known around her wider community as she provided Eucharist and home visitation to countless members of her parish community, tirelessly serving those in need no matter where they were and generously supporting St. Anne’s Parish, as well as other organizations dedicated to supporting children in need.

She is survived by all five of her daughters: Kathleen Norris of Wentworth, N.H.; Patricia Ann Randolph of Cincinnati, Ohio; Ann Elizabeth Alderman of Riverview, Fla.; Kristin Marie Shannon of Cincinnati, Ohio, and Jeannette Marie Gibbons of Apollo Beach, Fla. She loved being the grand and great-grandmother to her 11 grandchildren and their children, and she never wavered in her Catholic faith.

If anyone would like to make a contribution in her honor, please consider Boys Town, through, where, “Regardless of a person’s background, race or religion, Boys Town believes that everyone deserves the chance to reach their full potential.”


Jewel I. Smith

Jewel I. Smith, 89, of Sun City Center and Ruskin, passed away June 23, 2019. She will be interred in Portland, Mich.

She is survived by seven children, including Brenda Edwards of Ruskin, and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.


William E. Watson

William (Bill) Edgar Watson, 85, passed away peacefully on Saturday, June 22, 2019. Bill is survived by his loving wife of 57 years, Mary (Faler) Watson.

Born in Hillsboro, Ohio, on October 25, 1933, Bill was raised during the Great Depression, surrounded by the love of his hard-working parents, William and Irma Watson, and his sister, Sara Stewart, who all preceded him in death. Bill was a U.S. Army veteran before moving to Cincinnati and starting a 30-year career with Graybar Electric.

He met the love of his life, Mary, on a blind date in 1959, and they were married in 1961 in Sidney, Ohio. They raised their family in Beavercreek, Ohio, and after retirement, relocated to Sun City Center, Florida, where they have resided for 23 years.

Bill enjoyed traveling, especially to Gatlinburg and the Galapagos Islands, golfing at Caloosa Country Club, motorsport, square dancing, reading, working his daily crossword puzzles, latch-hook, weaving crafts and receiving bad jokes from his close friend, George Bates. Dogs always brought a smile to Bill’s face – and he is no doubt now playing with his furry family in a green meadow just the other side of the rainbow bridge.

He is also survived by his two devoted daughters and loved sons-in-law: Carolyn and Scott Neubauer of Pittsburgh, Pa., Kay and Alan King of Apollo Beach, Fla.; three grand-daughters: Michelle (Eric) Snyder of Grove City, Ohio, Chelsea (Andrew) Lammert, Taylor Neubauer; two great-grand-daughters: Paisley and Everly Lammert ,all of St. Louis, MO; and nieces, nephews and cousins.

A small family memorial service will be held at the United Methodist Church of Sun City Center where Bill was a member. His ashes will be interred at the Hillsboro Cemetery in Hillsboro, Ohio. Memorials may be made to a charity of the donor’s choice.