Manuela “Mellie” Buerkle, 80, passed away at her home in Sun City Center, surrounded by family and caregivers from Life Path Hospice. After battling cancer for a year, she moved on to her heavenly home.
She was born in Silver City, NM, the daughter of Manuel and Simona Parra. She spent her formative years in Fierro, NM, and Deming, NM, before moving to Bagdad, AZ, as a teenager. She graduated from Bagdad High School as class salutatorian and then went on to attend Arizona State University where she earned her Baccalaureate degree in Elementary Education.
After teaching in southern California for several years, Mellie accepted a position with the Department of Defense Dependent Schools, teaching the children of US service members in Germany. Her first assignment was in Mannheim, followed by Heidelberg and, finally, Landstuhl. While at Landstuhl, she earned her Master’s degree in Education from National-Louis University.
After over 30 years of government service, she retired and moved to Sun City Center where she became an avid reader and jig-saw puzzler and enjoyed reconnecting with old friends and family members. She was also active in Chapter 1074 of NARFE and in the German-American Club of Sun City Center, serving on the board of directors.
She is survived by her husband of 52 years, Paul; her son, Paul Buerkle Jr. (June); her daughter, Monica (Brett) Bender; and her six grandchildren, Mandy, Caleigh, Ava, Annelise, Skylar and Timothy. Surviving siblings include brothers, Anthony (Debbie) Parra and Samuel Parra and sister, Esperanza “Hope” Parra. Other survivors include an aunt, a niece, nephews and cousins.
A memorial service for Mellie will be held on Friday, June 2, 2023, at 11 a.m. at the National Cremation & Burial Society Home, 308 E. College Ave. (SR 674), Ruskin, FL 33570. Donations in her honor can be made to Life Path Hospice c/o Chapters Health Foundation, 12470 Telecom Drive, Suite 301, Tampa, FL 33637, or to the German-American Club of Sun City Center, 1009 N. Pebble Beach Blvd., Sun City Center, FL 33573.
Robert Daws Jr.
Robert (Bob) Daws Jr. passed away on April 19, 2023, at his home in Sun City Center, FL. Bob was born in Norfolk, VA, May 4th, 1938, to Robert N. Daws Sr. and Leonor (Conner) Daws. He is survived by his wife, Gloria J. Daws; sister, Sylvia Diana Daws Preston; son, Robert (Becky) N Daws III; grandson, Brice Nathan Daws; step-daughter, Christine (Ted) Borris; grandchildren, Sydney and Jake Sweigart; step-son, William (Elizabeth) E. Chitty Jr.; grandchildren, Zachery and Ryan Chitty. Bob was preceded in death by brother, Joseph Ronald Daws; step-brothers, James Conner Williams, Ralph Leon Williams; and granddaughter, Breanne Noel Daws.
Bob received a Masters Degree from the University of Tennessee. He retired as a lieutenant colonel from the Army after serving 26 years, flying UH-1 Helicopters most of his career. His hobbies included wood working, rebuilding cars for his children, crossword puzzles and building intricate 3D wooden puzzles. Even though Bob was a big guy, he was commonly known as being a gentle and quiet man.
Interment services will be held at Arlington National Cemetery, where he will be laid to rest with full military honors. Bob will be deeply missed by his family and friends, but his memory will live on in their hearts forever.
Ralph E. Bush
Ralph Edward “Scott” Bush was born on Nov. 12, 1923, in Bloomington, IN, and passed away peacefully in his sleep on April 25, 2023 in Sun City Center, FL. He was 99.
Scott was the last surviving member of the World War II elite First Ranger Special Forces Battalion and part of the World War II Spearhead Units called Pathfinders. He served in southern France, Germany, Italy and Northern Africa. He survived the Anzio beach invasion and was a POW in Auschwitz. Scott earned a Silver Star, a Purple Heart with two clusters, a Presidential Citation Unit Award, a Meritorious Service Ribbon, the Soldier’s Medal, the French Croix de Guerre, the Europe Africa Mideast Campaign Ribbon with four stars, an Army Commendation medal, an Army Overseas Ribbon, a Victory medal, along with multiple other citations. Scott served in Korea before settling into civilian life in Indiana.
In 1991 Scott retired as an Inspection Engineer from the State of Indiana. He and his beautiful wife, Kathleen “Katie” M. Bush (McKale), moved to Sun City Center, FL, where Scott worked for many years as a volunteer at the hospital and the Sun City Center Security Patrol. He worked for many years at the Community Association’s Fitness Center. He met and established lasting friendships with the entire community through his work and volunteer time. Scott finally fully retired in 2016 at the young age of 93.
Scott is survived by his wife, Katie of 41, years; his daughter, Erin (Rusty) Byrne; grandsons, Shane, Dylan, Aidan; and granddaughter, Bridget, his granddaughter, Jennifer “Jenny” Hallgarth (Cami); and great-grandson, James Theodore “Teddy” Hallgarth.
Scott was preceded in death by his sons, Alan Lee and James Ivan “JI” Bush.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Life Path Hospice here in Sun City Center.
Scott will be laid to rest at the Sarasota National Cemetery with full military honors. A gathering will take place at Sun City Center Funeral Home on May 30 from 3 to 5 p.m.