Obituaries for the week of Oct. 29, 2020

Published on: October 29, 2020

Robert J. “Pete” Coleman

Robert J. “Pete” Coleman, 79, passed away on Oct. 10, 2020, at home in Sun City Center. Fla., after a period of declining health. He was born in Kansas City, Missouri, April 17, 1941, and lived there until moving to Sun City Center in 2005. Pete spent his working career as a pharmaceutical representative. He was an avid canoeist and enjoyed woodworking.

Pete is survived by his wife, Gerry; son Brian (Peter); stepson, Christopher (Kristy) Crissler; stepdaughter, Katrina (Jerald) Prater; and grandson, Colin Crissler. He is also survived by his sisters, Julie Coleman and Sally (Steve) Saks.

A memorial service will be scheduled at a later date. Memorial donations may be made to LifePath Hospice.


Keith Connes

Keith Connes, 94, died of cancer on October 5, 2020, in his home in Sun City Center. Keith was born in Manhattan, New York City, on January 24, 1926. He is survived by Fely, his lovely and tender, caring wife. He is also survived by his son, Lee Connes; and grandchildren, Brandon and Nicole, in North Carolina.

Keith Connes attended Ithaca College studying drama and music. He was an ad man in New York City, quit the corporate world to become a freelancer and migrated to California. He also performed in and wrote plays over his lifetime. He experienced life from the heights of piloting small aircraft, including hot air balloons, as well as the depths of the ocean by scuba diving. Keith has written several books, most recently via voice to text, and has written a book and taught classes about this. When cancer recurred, he was trying to complete publishing his latest book about our vice-presidents who became president. Keith has been active in Toastmasters, the computer club, several writing groups and the History Society of Kings Point where he’s given presentations. Keith embraced his life with vigor and enthusiasm.

His family and friends miss his intelligence and wit and cherish the legacy of his published works. Memories of him bring smiles. Keith Connes was a talented performer and storyteller, a dynamic and interesting person. What a life!

Per his wishes, there has been no funeral service.


Evelyn Kimball Gates

Evelyn Kimball Gates died peacefully at the age of 99 on Oct. 14, in Sun City Center, Florida, where she and her husband Harold have lived in recent years. Her long and full life was filled with loving family, a broad circle of friends, a dedicated teaching career and participation and leadership in her community.

Born in Natick, Massachusetts, on March 26, 1921, the daughter of Hosmer and Florence (Felt) Kimball, she lived most of her life in Ashland, where she attended the public schools and went on to graduate with a degree in economics, class of 1943, from Mt.Holyoke College, South Hadley, Mass. After an early graduation because of WWII wartime needs, Evelyn worked for Lever Brothers in Boston. She soon married her husband Harold, a returning Air Force WWII pilot, and they began a happy marriage of 76 years together filled with activities of four children, work and travels.

Forever interested in education, Evelyn taught first grade in the Ashland public schools for 24 years. “She typified what a teacher should be: patient, fair, empathetic, consistent and firm. All children can learn.” During these years she and her husband enjoyed traveling and would often take off together with Harold piloting his private plane to explore new places and join friends around the United States.

After retiring from teaching, she began a new career with Ashland Directions, a community newsletter, where she served as its editor. Her warmth and respect for others encouraged them to join her in these public endeavors. Because of her successful teaching career and service to the community, Evelyn was honored to be chosen for Ashland’s “Wall of Fame” where graduates of Ashland High School are distinguished for making an exceptional contribution to the American way of life.

Above all, Evelyn had great love for family and friends. She was warm and engaging and truly delighted in connecting with people. Her 10 grandchildren and great-grandchildren cherished time spent with her splashing in the family pool or visiting the family camp in Maine. She was treasured by all who have had the pleasure of knowing her.

She is survived by her husband Harold; and her four children and their families: Beverly and Joseph Gracia of Mattapoisett and their children: Caroline, Glynnis and Joseph; Wendell and Mary Elise of Mashpee and their children, Jeffrey and Kimberly; Carol and Michael Rice of Plymouth and their daughters, Gretchen and Rebecca; Emily and Richard Brown of Dartmouth and their daughters: Carrie, Alison and Deborah. She is also survived by her brother, Russell Kimball (Beverly Heaton)of Eastham; 10 grandchildren; 24 great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews. Evelyn’s family offers their heartfelt thanks to all those who were so kind and caring during her last years, especially Teresa Rowe-Wilson, her friend and caregiver, who has given her loving and respectful attention for many months.

Due to COVID-19, a family graveside service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to: Ashland Public Library, Attn. Paula Bonetti, director, 66 Front St., Ashland, MA 01721.

John A. Matarese Funeral Home, 325 Main St., Ashland, MA 01721, phone 508-881-1444.


Lois E. Hawbaker

Lois Elisabeth (‘Libby’) Hawbaker, 99, of Sun City Center, Fla., passed peacefully into eternal life on October 6, 2020. Libby was born on July 23, 1921, in New Brighton, Pa., to William Frederick Rotzler and Mary Elizabeth Miller Rotzler. Libby and George, her husband of over 73 years, made Sun City Center their home in 1981 and moved to Sun Towers in 2010.

Libby loved her Lord, her family, and had a smile and a kind word for everyone. She was elected May Queen in college and graduated from Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pa., as valedictorian of her class with a major in English and a minor in music. After graduation, Libby taught English and music. When World War II ended, she married her college sweetheart, George, and they settled in Hagerstown, Md. Libby was very involved with the schools and her family and in many organizations that helped better the community. She and George hosted multiple visitors from foreign countries through local programs. When George made a career change, working for the U.S. State Department, Libby was George’s best asset. She dove into learning Portuguese and the culture before being posted to their first country in South America, Brazil. Libby also supported George in his later posts in the African countries of Nigeria, Zambia and Mauritania. She got involved in the communities, often teaching English in one of the local high schools or as a second language. She also entertained to support her husband’s responsibilities. Libby was also dedicated to helping the local ladies learn how to make healthy, nutritious meals for their families and care for their babies and young children.

Libby is survived by her daughter, Ruth Rowe of Winter Springs, Fla.; son, Lynn Hawbaker (Maryellen) of Bettendorf, Iowa; brother-in-law, David S. Hawbaker of Allison Park, Pa.; six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren; and many dear relatives and friends. She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, George D. Hawbaker, of Sun City Center in 2019; as well as her three siblings: William Rotzler of Marshall, Texas; Ruth Rotzler of Sun City Center, Fla.; and Paul Rotzler of Greensburg, Pa.

A celebration of life will held at a later date in Pennsylvania where both Libby and George will be buried. The family asks that anyone wanting to make a donation in memory of Libby can do so to the church that Libby and George loved and attended, Friendship Baptist Church, 1511 El Rancho Drive, Sun City Center, FL 33573. Please include your name and address with any donations so that the family can thank you personally.