Obituaries for the week of Jan. 7, 2021

Published on: January 6, 2021

Rebecca Armstrong

Rebecca (Becky) Rose Armstrong, age 43, of Apollo Beach, passed away on Sunday, December 27, 2020. Born on September 14, 1977, Becky was the daughter of Carman Flattley and Jackie Church.

Becky was a loving mother, daughter, sister and friend. Left behind to remember Becky are her children, Destinee (Blake) Fisher and James Pratt Jr.; her father; her stepfather, Bill Church; her siblings: Carman Flattley, Brandi Flattley and Lisa Patterson; her loving aunts and uncles, along with many others.

At this time, the family wishes to have a celebration of Becky’s life at a later date. The family would like to thank those who have offered their prayers and condolences.

Naomi Arnold

Naomi Arnold, formerly of London, England, and Vineland, New Jersey, passed away peacefully on December 29, 2020, in Sun City Center, Fla. An avid bridge and tennis player, Naomi also enjoyed a good game of poker and the casinos in Atlantic City. After moving to Florida in the late 1990s, she and her husband Bruce became ardent supporters of the Tamp Bay Rays. Naomi was a lover of the symphony and independent movies as well as an active member of the Beth Israel Synagogue in Sun City, Center.

Born on April 15, 1929, she is the daughter of the late Benjamin and Hetty Waller of London, England; is pre-deceased by her beloved son, Jonathan Cooklin; and, much more recently, by her husband, Bruce Arnold, who was truly the love of her life. She leaves behind her daughter, Hilary Cooklin, of Bethel Conn.; two sisters, Cynthia Tisman, of Horsham, England, and Jean Rose, of Beckenham, England. Naomi also leaves behind her two stepchildren, Sherilyn (Mark) Frey of King of Prussia, Pa., and Jeff (Carol) Arnold of Andover, Mass.; several nieces, nephews, step-grandchildren; and her devoted caregiver, Rena Hunt, of Tampa, Fla. For the last five years of her life, Naomi resided at the Bridges Retirement Community in Riverview, Fla., where the love and care showered upon her were constant and unconditional. A private celebration of Naomi and Bruce’s life will be held later this year. There will be much laughter, many shared memories and some tears.


James Day Hunt

James (Jim) Day Hunt passed away peacefully surrounded by family on December 24, 2020, after a long and courageous battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He was born on November 10, 1939, the second oldest of six children born to Ruth and Thomas Hunt of Fairfield, Iowa.

Jim graduated from the University of Iowa in 1960 and Naval Officer Candidate School in 1961. In 1964, Jim married the love of his life, Sandra (Sandy) Bush, in Rome, Italy. It was a marriage that lasted 56 years until his death and gave them five children and seven grandchildren.

In 1973, Jim started Southern Aluminum Casting Company and, later, Southern Aluminum Machining Company in Bay Minette, Alabama. Eventually, both businesses employed over 500 people and supplied engine parts to Ford Motor Company. Jim often said that the harder he worked, the luckier he got. Jim and Sandy lived and raised their children in Point Clear, Alabama, for nearly 40 years and savored walks by the bay, swimming and brunch at the Grand Hotel and evenings with wonderful friends.

He will be remembered as a man of the highest integrity and loyalty to those around him. Jim was always the first at the table to pick up the check, and he never put himself first. He loved his wife and children most of all. He also had a passion and joy for his work, the companies he started and all the people he was privileged to work with. In return, they loved and respected him.

In his spare time he liked to ballroom dance, travel, walk and play golf with his wife. He also enjoyed spending time with his best friend since kindergarten, Lou Thoma.

In 1990, Jim and Sandy built a summer home on Lake Okoboji, Iowa, where they loved spending summers boating and visiting with his brothers, sisters and childhood friends.

Because of worsening Alzheimer’s, Jim and Sandy moved to Sun City Center, Fla., in 2014, and they were embraced by a lovely circle of friends and caretakers. He lived through those years with bravery, dignity and grace. Jim was a member of Prince of Peace Catholic Church.

Jim is the loving dad and grandpa of Christine Hunt; Kelly Hunt (Steve File); Madison; Kimberly Hunt (Allen Foster); Jake, Will and James Patrick Hunt (Jenny Bacon); J.J., Stryker and Scarlett.

He is predeceased by his parents; son, Brian Patrick Hunt; and grandson, Kendall Sailler, Jr. In addition, he leaves siblings Patti Hunt (Merle Haney); Bob (Maureen) Hunt; Dick (Debbie) Hunt; Joe (Jane) Hunt; Nancy Hunt (John Fleming); plus nieces and nephews and friend, Lou (Barb) Thoma.

He will be greatly missed as a husband, dad, grandfather and friend. A celebration of life will be held this summer in Fairfield, Iowa.


Nanetta “Nan” Kirk

Nanetta “Nan” Kirk, 71, passed away December 29, 2020, at her residence in Columbia, TN, surrounded by family.

Nan was well known in the South Shore area as an ad sales associate and sales manager for The Observer News until her retirement in late 2018. She was born in Frenchburg, KY, and lived in Bradenton for many years.

Nan represented The Observer well and always had a smile for her clients who said she always made them feel like family. She believed in treating her customers with the utmost personal service, which is what made her career so successful.

Nan is survived by her husband, Pete Kirk; sons, Barry (Billie) Profitt, Eric Profitt and Danny Kirk; daughter, Christy Garrett; grandchildren, Courtney (Daniel) Mathews and Shane Profitt; sisters, Kay Kash and Kim Murphy.


Rev. Dr. Ronald B. Mayers

Rev. Dr. Ronald Burton Mayers, age 80, of Sun City Center, Fla., formerly of Lowell, passed away December 27, 2020, in Grand Rapids, Mich.

He was born July 26,1940, to James and Rachel (Ludwick) Mayers in Herminie, Pa. He married Charlotte Ann Cassell on August 24,1963, in Euclid, Ohio. She preceded him in death on November 4, 2017.

Dr. Mayers was professor of philosophy and religion at Cornerstone University, formerly known as Grand Rapids Baptist Bible College. He was also pastor of Upper Lisle Baptist Church in Whitney Point, New York. Dr. Mayers was a member of First Baptist Church in Ruskin, Fla., and a former member of West Cannon Baptist Church. Dr. Mayers held degrees in Bible/Theology from Baptist Bible College Pennsylvania, Social Science and American History from SUNY Binghamton, Theology and New Testament from Western Theological Seminary and Religion and Humanities from Syracuse University.

Dr. Mayers is survived by his daughter, Charissa (Jason) Wood; his son, Stephen Mayers; five grandchildren: Cassandra, Zachary, Kameron, Caleb and Bethany; one great grandson, Harrison.

He was preceded in death by his parents; wife Charlotte Ann; two sisters, Laura Mae Camp and Rose Gongaware.

Funeral services were held Saturday, January 2, 2021, 11 a.m. at West Cannon Baptist Church, 5760 Cannonsburg Rd., Belmont, Michigan, with Pastor Tim Anderson officiating. Visitation was one hour prior to the service at the church. Interment will be in the Georgetown Township Cemetery.

Memorials are suggested to Cornerstone University, 1001 East Beltline Avenue, NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525.

Please share your memories of Dr. Mayers online at


Richard T. McGovern

Richard T. “Terry” McGovern passed away peacefully on Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020, at LifePath Hospice House, after a long illness.

He was a resident, along with his wife Ellen, of Sun City Center since 2004. Terry was quite involved in Sun City Center Lions Club, serving on the board in numerous offices, enjoyed organizing the Meals on Wheels program and other Lions fund raising activities. He drove for Samaritan Services and was involved with the SCC Security Patrol for a number of years.

Terry is survived by his wife, Ellen S.; daughters, Jennifer and Kristen; grandchildren: Hannah, Alayna, John and Nathan. Additional survivors are second family children, Connie and Ken; second family grandchildren, Kaitlyn, Steven, William, Andrew; and two great-grandsons, Owen and Henry. Additionally, he is survived by sisters, Mary W. and Sarah E., and brother, Thomas K., all of Lancaster, Pa.  He was predeceased by brother, Walter H. (Mike), and sisters, Patricia and Virginia.

Terry, son of the late Walter Hager McGovern and Erna Virginia Roach McGovern, was born August 26, 1944, and graduated from J. P. McCaskey High School, Lancaster, Pa., class of 1962. After graduation he enlisted in the Army, serving four years of active duty, and retired from the PA Army National Guard. He was employed by PPL Company of Lancaster, Pa., for 30 years, retiring in August of 2003.

There will be no service at the request of Terry. His cremains will be interred at the Sarasota National Cemetery at the convenience of the family. Donations may be made in his memory to the Sun City Center Lions Foundation, P.O. Box 5684, Sun City Center, FL 33571-5684, or LifePath Hospice, 3725 Upper Creek Drive, Ruskin, FL 33573.

The family wishes to thank the staff at LifePath Hospice for treating Terry with care and dignity during his illness. We appreciate everything they did to help us in our time of need! Arrangements by Sun City Center Funeral Home, 813-634-9900.


Ofelia Muñoz

Ofelia Muñoz Hurtado was born on March 15, 1952. Ofelia was traveling in Morelia, Mexico, visiting family with her son Juan when she developed a severe case of pneumonia. Ofelia went to be with our Lord on December 7, 2020, at the age of 68. She is survived by her son, Noe Muñoz of Columbus, Ohio; son, Juan Carlos Garcia of Ruskin, Fla.; daughter, Dora Alicia Salgado of Winter Haven, Fla.; six grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

Ofelia always greeted everyone with a friendly smile and was a diligent care associate at Homewood Assisted Living in Sun City Center, a loving mother and excellent grandmother. Ofelia was an active member of the Southshore Crossing Church and with her great love of children, she frequently volunteered to serve in the children’s ministry. She loved God, her family and her fellow man. Ofelia was loved dearly and will be deeply missed by the many people she touched and cared for.

Ofelia’s Celebration of Life/Memorial Service will be held at Southshore Crossing Church, 2409 E College Ave., Ruskin, FL, 33570. The service will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 9.


Claudette Rankie

Claudette Mae “Jane” Sidney Rankie, previously of Sun City Center, Fla., and more recently of Amsterdam, N.Y., passed away after a long and successful life on Dec. 27, 2020, at St. Mary’s Hospital due to complications from COVID-19.

Jane was the daughter of Claude G. Sidney and Mae Dietz Sidney. She was born in Amsterdam, N.Y., on Aug. 16, 1930. She attended Wilbur H. Lynch High School and Russell Sage College.
Jane married the love of her life, Charles L. Rankie, on Feb. 12, 1949, in Amsterdam, N.Y. They were married for over 66 years until Charles’s death in 2015. They lived in upstate New York where they raised their five children. Jane worked as a homemaker, was a switchboard operator at St. Mary’s Hospital before rising to the position of Executive Assistant to Sr. Mary Kevin, director of St Mary’s Hospital School of Nursing. After leaving her position at St. Mary’s, Jane had a very successful career in real estate. She started in residential real estate in Schenectady, N.Y., where she was a member of the Five Million Dollar Club (when five million was still a lot of money). It was Jane’s dream to sell commercial real estate, and when she and Charles relocated to Tampa, Fla., she opened her own Commercial Real Estate office. Jane continued to work there until her retirement at age 70.

Besides her family and her work, Jane was involved in her community and her church. She was a respected board member of Catholic Charities for several years in both New York and Florida, was very active in The Republican Party in New York and Florida and was a member of her neighborhood community patrol.

Jane is survived by her children: Jeanne So, Charles Rankie, John Rankie and wife Eileen, Carol Waller and husband William, and Nancy Shelton. She is also survived by 13 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, Charles Rankie; her twin, who died at birth; her loving son-in-law, John C. Shelton Jr.; and her sister-in-law, Marilyn Rankie.

The family would like to thank and acknowledge the compassionate care Jane received the last few days of her life from the staff at St. Mary’s Hospital in Amsterdam and from all of the employees, who lovingly cared for her over the past two years, at The Sarah Jane Sanford Home in Amsterdam.

There will be a funeral mass at St. Anne Catholic Church in Ruskin, Fla., on Jan. 7, at 10:30 a.m., followed by a burial at the National Cemetery in Sarasota, Fla., where she will be laid to rest with her husband, Charles, a World War II veteran. The dates and specifics are yet to be determined due to restrictions related to COVID.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Sarah Jane Sanford Home, 69 Guy Park Avenue, Amsterdam, NY 12010, or to the St. Anne Catholic Church, 106 11th Ave NE, Ruskin, FL 33570.

Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the care of the Betz, Rossi & Bellinger Family Funeral Home, 171 Guy Park Avenue, Amsterdam, NY 12010. Online condolences may be made at or to Sun City Center Funeral Home, 813-634-9900.


Jerry M. Rippel

Jerry Mosshart Rippel died on Tuesday, December 29, 2020, at home, surrounded by his family. He was born in Dover, Ohio, on February 3, 1931, to George Victor Rippel and Katharine Elizabeth Mosshart. Jerry attended Ohio State University, where he served in the US Naval ROTC and graduated in 1954 as a Metallurgical Engineer. Jerry went to work for Westinghouse in Blairsville, Pa., where he met his future wife. In 1958 he married Patricia Louise Black, who survives him. Jerry worked at Latrobe Steel Company for over 30 years and was Manager of Quality Control when he retired.

After living in Blairsville, Pa., for 38 years, Jerry and Pat relocated to Sun City Center, Fla., where he pursued his passions for golf and bridge and spending time with his children and grandchildren. Until three years ago, Jerry enjoyed golfing several times a week with his golf buddies. He was a member of the Duplicate Bridge Association of Sun City Center, where he achieved the rank of Ruby Life Master and served as a director. Jerry and Pat were avid travelers and saw much of the world while teaching and directing bridge on cruise ships, which they did for 12 years. He was a devoted volunteer for Samaritan Services and Sun City Center Security Patrol for many years.

In addition to his wife of 62 years, Jerry is survived by son, Dan Rippel, of Chicago, Ill., and daughter, Laura Maxwell and her husband Mace, of Panama City Beach, Fla.; along with his grandchildren: Kaitlin Rippel; Ben Rippel and his wife Gabrielle; and Tyler Rippel. He was preceded in death by his siblings: Margaret, George Jr. and Josephine.

If desired, memorial donations may be made to the Moffitt Cancer Center Foundation, PO MBC-FOUND, 12902 Magnolia Drive, Tampa, FL 33612, or Sun City Emergency Squad, 720 Ray Watson Drive, Sun City Center, FL 33573.

A memorial service will be held at a later date.


Elizabeth A. Wicklund

Elizabeth Ann Wicklund, 87, of Sun City Center, Fla., passed away on December 11, 2020, after a short illness. Elizabeth was originally from Plainville, Mass., and the daughter of Leonard Rowe and Mary Melanson. Elizabeth is survived by her sister, Sheila Krowel of SCC, Fla.; her four children: Robert (Cathy) Cooper of Prescott, Arizona; Marcia Claro, SCC, Fla.; Nancy (Ron) Sparwell; and Cindy Hubbard of Weeki Wachee, Fla. Elizabeth is also survived by her 10 grandchildren: Brendon and David Cooper; James, Chris and Timothy Claro; Russell and Steven Wilhelmy; and Jennifer, Sarah and David Hubbard; and eight great-grandchildren. Her brother, James Rowe; her first husband and father of her four children, Robert Cooper; and husband, Knute Wicklund, preceded Elizabeth in death.

At the beckoning of her sister, Sheila Krowel, Elizabeth moved to Sun City Center in 2001 from Bayshore, New York, after the death of her second spouse, Edgar Wilson. Betty, as many of us know her, lived her life to the fullest once she settled into the Florida lifestyle. Her devotion to Prince of Peace Catholic Church choir and women’s club filled her hours with much compassion and enthusiasm.

Betty loved playing sports and excelled particularly at basketball while in school. Off the court she loved ballroom dancing and was led to her third husband, Knute Wicklund, in 2005.

A mass will be held for Elizabeth Wicklund on Friday, Jan. 8, at Prince of Peace Church in Sun City Center, Fla. Please join us.


Miriam Zimmerman

Miriam G. Zimmerman, 86, of Sun City Center, Fla., passed away on December 30, 2020. She came to Tampa from Houston, Texas, in 2017 after previously residing in Cleveland, Ohio, and Vero Beach, Fla.

Miriam is survived by her three sons, Marty Clayman (Kathy) of Fresno, Calif.; Lawrence Clayman of Seattle, Wash.; Gary Clayman (Miky) of Tampa, Fla.; and eight grandchildren. Private services are being held. To express condolences online, visit