November 2019 Issue Obituaries

EMERICH — Kenneth A. Emerich “Ken” died peacefully surrounded by family in his home in Mantua at the age of 84.

Ken is survived by his wife Marge (nee Carson); daughters, Nancy, Kimberly and Kelli; grandchildren, Randy, Falen, Katie, Kenny and Lowell; great-grandchildren, RJ, Jace, Michael and Anastasia; his sister, Bernice and several nieces, nephews. Ken is predeceased by his parents Hillis and Mary Dersch, (formerly of Harmony Road Farm, Mickleton) brothers James and Lewis Emerich.

His children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren remember him as a loving, caring and hard-working father, grandfather and great-grandfather that always put them first.  Ken will be laid to rest in a private ceremony with immediate family.

Memorial contributions in memory of Ken can be made to St. Paul’s Methodist Church – Feed My Sheep Fund, 16 E Broad St., Paulsboro, NJ 08066.

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DeFRANK — Samuel DeFrank, 87, of Woolwich Twp., passed away peacefully at Friends Village, Woodstown NJ. Born in Penns Grove, NJ, he graduated from Penns Grove High School, Class of 1949 and received a Bachelor of Science Degree at Rutgers University.

Sam worked as a Human Resource Manager for Dupont, Chambersburg for 41 and a half years. He was a member of St. Clare of Assisi Parish, was Chairman of Salem County Utility Authority for 8 years and a Penns Grove Councilman, serving two terms, 1972 – 1978.

He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Helen (nee Capizzi), Daughter, Patricia Handley and Michael, Sons, Samuel (Kimberly) and Thomas (Eileen) DeFrank, eight grandchildren and one great-grandson, his siblings, Julie Hogan, Carmela Sickler, Lucy Connor, Dominic DeFrank. He was predeceased by his siblings, Nancy Shaw, Stephen, Joseph and Gene DeFrank.

Arrangements by the CHEEGA FUNERAL HOME, Swedesboro. Contributions in his memory to the Lankenau Med Ctr Foundation, in Honor of Dr Gerald and John H Marks and in memory of Samuel DeFrank, 100 E. Lancaster Ave., Wynnwood, Pa. 19096 would be appreciated.

DeSIMONE — Judge Samuel G. DeSimone was born March 31, 1931 in Paulsboro, NJ.

He is the son of Sam DeSimone who migrated from Italy when he was 17 from his village in Abruzzo, Italy named Penne in Pescara. His mother was born in the United States. Her name was Mary and Mary was the daughter of Antonio and Candida Giammarino, who were also immigrants migrating from Penne, Italy.

He attended the Paulsboro School System and was a 1948 graduate of Paulsboro High School. He is a member of the Paulsboro High School Sports Hall of Fame. Judge DeSimone attended Gettysburg College and their R.O.T.C. Program.

He graduated in 1952 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Infantry and after graduation he entered the military service. He served as a rifle platoon leader in the latter part of 1953 in Korea and in March of 1952 was appointed Commanding Officer of Company A, 23rd Infantry, 2nd Infantry Division, a rifle company, which was stationed along the volatile, demilitarized zone in Korea in or around the Chowon Valley. Judge DeSimone was awarded the Army’s Commendation Medal Pendant for Meritorious Service during that period.

Upon his discharge from the U.S. Army, he attended Georgetown University School of Law in Washington, D.C., where he was awarded a Doctor of Jurisprudence Degree in 1958. He served his legal clerkship with the Law Firm of Blakely, Stockwell and Zink in Camden and was associated with that firm until 1962. In 1962 he returned to Woodbury and became associated with the legendary attorney Fred A. Gravino and remained in the general practice of law in the Woodbury area until 1975, when he was appointed to the Superior Court Bench by Governor Brendan Byrne.

He served in every division of the Superior Court of New Jersey and in 1982 was appointed the first Assignment Judge of Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem Counties, known as Vicinage XV, where he served in that capacity until his retirement in the year 2000.

Judge DeSimone was married to Elizabeth “Eileen” Heilman and they had 7 children; Elizabeth Ann Costill (Kenneth), John G. DeSimone, Thomas A. DeSimone (Victoria), David M. DeSimone (Vanessa), Margaret Eileen Brace (William), Mary Katherine Woodland (Edward) and Sara Jane Taylor (William). They have 21 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren with 2 on the way.

Before being appointed to the Bench, Judge DeSimone served as an Assistant Prosecutor in Gloucester County, Solicitor of National Park, Solicitor of Greenwich Township, Solicitor for the West Deptford Planning Board, Paulsboro and Logan Zoning Boards of Adjustment, as well as the East Greenwich Township Board of Education.

After being appointed to the Bench, he was extremely active in judicial education worldwide. He was a faculty member of The National Judicial College located at the University of Nevada in Reno, where he served as a faculty member from 1986 ~to~ 2011; and also served as Chair of the Faculty Counsel at that institution. He was the recipient of the V. Robert Payant Award for Excellence in Judicial Teaching.

Judge DeSimone traveled to the Republic of Georgia on four occasions where he taught their first class of democratic Judges and also set up their judicial district and judicial system. He taught Judges in Australia and Argentina and spent time in Bosnia teaching the Bosnian Judges judicial procedure and judicial subjects. He was asked by the U.S. Department of State to travel to Italy to consult with the Italian Judges on judicial efficiency and judicial education.

He is the author of several judicial articles published in Court Review, a national magazine published by the National Center for State Courts. He was the former President of the American Society of Justinian Jurists and was the recipient of many awards during his career.

In 1996 he was awarded the New Jersey State Bar Association Medal of Honor for his contributions to the Administration of Justice. He received the St. Thomas More Award from the Diocese of Camden for his contributions to the Administration of Justice and the Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Service Award in the year 2000.

Judge DeSimone was very active in the Gloucester County Boys and Girls Club being a founding member of that organization. He was a member of the American, Gloucester and New Jersey State Bar Associations and was a Fellow in the American Bar Foundation. He was a member of the Korean War Veterans Association; the Second Infantry Division Association; the Veterans of Foreign Wars; the VFW Anthony T. Calista Post in Gibbstown, NJ; a Commissioner for the New Jersey Commission for the Blind and a member of the Retired Judges Association of New Jersey.

Sam DeSimone and his wife visited Italy at least 20 times during their 64 year marriage. They also took all seven of their children to Italy in 1973 to show them their roots. Sam and Eileen are thoroughly knowledgeable of every province in Italy. They also are encouraging their children and grandchildren to visit and meet their Italian cousins. The object of taking the children to visit Italy was to introduce them to their generation, which has created not only the need, but the desire and accomplishment of the grandchildren visiting Italy and meeting with their cousins and relatives to the extent that the Sam DeSimone family has managed to stay in close communication in visiting Sam’s homeland throughout generations.

Contributions can be made to: New Jersey Commission for the Blind & Vision Impaired, 153 Halsey Street, 6th Floor, P.O. Box 47017, Newark, NJ 07101-8004.

SIMMERMAN — Annette Simmerman, age 67, of Logan Township, lost her three-year battle with cancer on Oct. 3. She was born to Marjorie and Ernest Patton (both deceased) on May 16, 1962. Annette was married to Frederick Simmerman and had just celebrated their 47th wedding anniversary last month.

She had one sister Rita Louise Derwa (deceased) and two brothers Ernest (deceased) and Michael Patton. She is survived by her husband Fred, her brother Michael and his wife Audrey. Also nieces Lisa Norman, Sheila Patton, Jennifer Malone and nephews Shawn, Rickie and David Patton, as well as a number of great nieces and nephews who she dearly loved.

Annette was a graduate of Penns Grove High School. She worked for more than 30 years in the administrative staff of Salem County Vocational School where she enjoyed watching several generations of families grow up. She retired in June of 2018.

Annette enjoyed various crafts, volunteering, yard sales, reading and spending time with her dog Maddie who she lost last year. Annette was a long-standing member of the Wesleyan church in Carneys Point. She volunteered for a number of organizations including the church, Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels, A to Z Thrift Shop and others.

She was a loyal friend and mentor to many, always with a smile and encouraging word. She will be deeply missed by all who knew her. The family requests that you donate to the CrossPoint Wesleyan Church, 333 Georgetown Road, Carneys Point, NJ 08069.

SHANNON — Eloise S. Shannon, age 77, died on Oct. 13 at her son’s home in Mullica Hill where she lived for the past year. Eloise lived in Upper Pittsgrove Twp. over 40 years. She worked for CBS in Pitman and was a homemaker most of her life. The family would like to thank Ennoble Care Hospice for the wonderful care they gave Eloise.

She was predeceased by her husband Joseph and her son Joseph. Survived by her son Michael P. (Pam) Shannon, daughter Sandy Gledhill, daughter by choice Cheryl (Barry) Newkirk and many grandchildren.

Contributions may be made to Friendship United Methodist Church Memorial Fund, 149 Friendship Rd, Monroeville, NJ 08343. Memories may be shared at

HOLDCRAFT — Grace Hebb Holdcraft, 91, died peacefully at home in Mickleton on Oct. 15.

Her loving spirit lives on in her husband of 69 years, Bill Holdcraft, son David Holdcraft and his wife Greta Schoonover, of Breckenridge, CO, daughter Suzanne Sherrard and her husband Alexander “Sandy” Sherrard, of Hopewell, NJ., and granddaughters, Emily Sherrard and her husband Billy Watkins, and Tricia Sherrard, and her fiance’ Mike Farrell.

Grace was born on Dec. 28, 1927, in Cleveland, Ohio to Helen Nevals Hebb and Loman Jasper Hebb. She grew up in Uniontown, PA, and graduated from Uniontown High School in 1945. Grace attended Waynesburg College, in Waynesburg, PA, earning a B.S in Business Administration in 1949.

John Willard Holdcraft (Bill) also attended Waynesburg after serving as an airplane mechanic overseas in WWII. He and Grace met there and married on September 2, 1950 at the Presbyterian Church in Waynesburg.

After their marriage, Grace and Bill moved to Woodbury, NJ. Grace taught grade school in National Park for one year and Logan Township for six years. She earned her New Jersey Teacher’s Certificate from Glassboro State College, now Rowan University. Bill graduated from Jefferson Medical College in 1956 and practiced with Doctors Puff, Shoemaker, and Sygalsky until 1991 and in Mullica Hill until 2006.

Grace helped others see the world as a travel agent with Travel With Us, Eastern Travel, and Beckett Travel. They moved to Mickleton in 1999 where Grace served on the Board of Directors of the Brookhollow 55+ community. Above all, volunteerism characterized Grace’s life. She devoted years of compassion and energy to service efforts, becoming a pillar of the community. Organizations fortunate to receive her goodwill include The Boy and Girl Scouts, United Way, Underwood Memorial Hospital, and the Waynesburg College Delaware Valley Alumni Association.

Grace was a charter member of the Visiting Homemakers of Gloucester County. She also founded Serv-a-Tray of Gloucester County. Grace assumed several elected positions including Officer of the County Council and Executive Board for the Comprehensive Health Planning Board, State President of the Medical Society of NJ Auxiliary (1987), and member of the Woodbury District Board of Education (1970 – 1980).

Throughout the years, Grace received many awards and commendations for her volunteerism and in 2014 Grace received The Presidents Volunteer Service Award. Kemble Memorial Church functioned as an invaluable faith community for Grace and Bill. Grace served on numerous committees including the Florence Circle and 100th Anniversary and Bicentennial Committees. She volunteered weekly in the church office and attended church every Sunday with Bill.

Grace, Bill, their children, and grandchildren frequently traveled to the family’s vacation home on Loon Lake in Chestertown, NY for winter skiing and summer days on the lake. Grace taught dry-land waterskiing lessons to beginners at the beach. Many will also remember Grace for her love of cooking and baking. Her pound cake, especially, reliably satisfied crowds on special occasions.

In the days nearing her death, Grace shared her unwavering faith that “the Lord is in charge.” Grace’s love, laughter, and generosity touched hundreds of people who will miss her deeply and seek to carry on her legacy.

Memories may be shared at

MATTHEWS — Emmett Allen Matthews age 76 years of Mickleton died Oct. 18 in his home. Allen was born in Durham, North Carolina and was raised in Columbia, South Carolina. He, with his two partners, Harvey and Harry, owned and operated American Monorail for 20 years.

Allen was a member of East Greenwich Parks and Recreation, East Greenwich Little League where he enjoyed maintaining the fields and also East Greenwich Basketball. In his free time, Allen was a certified pilot and enjoyed flying around the South Jersey area.

He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Eleanor Matthews (nee Lis) of Mickleton; his sons, Edward Matthews and his wife, Jen Avazian of Landenberg, PA, Scott and Kelly Matthews of Collingswood, NJ; his grandchildren, Evan, Layne and Braden and his sister, Betty.

Funeral services were held at the McBride – Foley Funeral Home, Paulsboro. Contributions can be made in his memory to Homeward Bound Pet Center, 125 County House Rd., Blackwood, NJ 08012. Memories can be shared at

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Swedesboro NJ
October 2, 2022, 12:58 pm
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