Philamay Theresa (nee Wadzinki) Swiderski, our beloved mother, grandmother and great grandmother passed away May 7, 2019. Born in Nanticoke, Luzerne County, PA on July 25, 1921, Philamay was the youngest child of John and Katherine “Katie”(nee Olshefski) Wadzinski. She graduated from Nanticoke High School in 1939, attended Wilkes College and graduated from Wilkes Barre Business School where she received The Palmer Method of Business Writing Certificate (Advanced Course) for Superior Ability in Rapid Legible Commercial Penmanship. Her handwriting was beautiful.
Philamay married John S. Swiderski Sr. on May 8, 1948 in St. Stanislaus R.C. Church, Nanticoke. The newlyweds moved to Allentown and then Bethlehem. In November 1956, Philamay and John purchased a house on Stonington Road, Bethlehem where they resided for 54 years. After John’s death on July 25, 2010 Philamay lived here for another 7 years. 61 years in the same house. It was and still is a wonderful neighborhood.
During World War II, Philamay worked as a riveter at the US Navy Yard, Philadelphia. After the war she worked in the business office at Retreat State Hospital, Hunlock Creek, Luzerne County, PA. Early in her marriage she was employed by A.C. Kendall Co., Bethlehem. In 1960, after ten years as a stay at home mom, she went to work at Hess Brothers Department Store as an accounts payable clerk. She retired from Hess’s in 1985.
In retirement Philamay and John traveled extensively in the United States and Canada. They enjoyed beach vacations with their grandchildren, visiting her sister Beatrice in New York and Florida, attending Penn State football games and Army Fifth Engineer Combat Battalion reunions. For their golden wedding anniversary, she and John traveled to England, Scotland and Wales. Philamay also enjoyed solo trips to Italy, Ireland and Israel. For many years, she and John were members at the Bethlehem YMCA where they participated in coed hydro dynamic classes and made many new friends. In September 2011, she was inducted into the Pennsylvania Voter Hall of Fame in recognition of outstanding citizenship demonstrated by her participation in every November election for 50 consecutive years. Philamay was an avid reader—a trait she passed on to her daughter and granddaughter.
She was a member of Notre Dame of Bethlehem R. C. Church for 63 years and an active member of the parish’s 55+ Club for many years.
Philamay was predeceased by her husband, her parents, and siblings Frank, Sophie Pleskash and Beatrice McKenzie. She is survived by her daughter Catherine and her husband Greg Csencsitz, Northampton, PA, son John and his wife Jane (nee Harris), Bethlehem, PA and Shawnee, KS, grandson Samuel Swiderski and his wife Suzie Weng, Los Alamitos, CA, granddaughter Samantha Swiderski Higley and her husband Robert, Lenexa, KS, great-grandchildren Kate and Ben Higley, nephews John Wadzinski, Myrtle Beach, SC and Charles Arnone, Glendale, AZ, goddaughter and niece Ann Marie Swiderski Harris, Mt. Pocono, PA, godson Roger Day, Horsham, PA and cousin Norman Krauser, Nanticoke, PA.
Services will be at Notre Dame of Bethlehem Church, 1861 Catasauqua Rd., Bethlehem, PA 18018 on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 with visitation from 9:30 am to 10:30 am and a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:30. Burial will be in Holy Savior Cemetery, Linden St., Bethlehem immediately following the Mass. Arrangements entrusted to Downing Funeral Home Inc.
Contributions may be made to Notre Dame Church or Northampton Area Public Library, 1615 Laubach Avenue, Northampton, PA 18067.
Rachel R. (Ernst) Skoutelas, 65, of Bethlehem, passed away March 29, 2019. She was the loving wife of the late Nicholas Skoutelas. Born in Allentown, she was the daughter of the late Gustave and Mamie (Crist) Ernst. Rachel had worked previously for Moravian College in their food court and helped her husband in Vallos Bakery for many years. She will be deeply missed.
Survivors: siblings- Barbara Dederick (Charles), Loretta Ernst, Kenneth Ernst, Rosemary Washburn (Ronald), Roberta Bader (Willard), Rebecca Ernst, Teresa Roncolato, Joseph Ernst, David Ernst (Elizabeth), Brenda Lapeta and Amanda Rutkowski (Richard); 26 nieces and nephews, 28 great nieces and nephews and 1 great great niece. She was predeceased by siblings- Joan Miller and Margaret Ernst.
A viewing will be held Thursday, April 4th 10-11AM with a Service to follow at 11AM in Downing Funeral Home, Inc. 1002 W Broad St Bethlehem, PA 18018. Burial to follow in Cedar Hill Memorial Park.
Doris L. (Gwilliam) Shemanski, 95, of Bethlehem, passed away January 4, 2019 peacefully in her home. Born in Plymouth, England, she was the daughter of the late Robert and Edith (Mewhort) Gwilliam. Doris served in the English Navy where she met and married her “Timo” Chester Shemanski. They were married for 64 years before his passing in 2009. Doris was a dedicated member of Saints Simon and Jude Catholic Church, where she volunteered and participated in many activities and fundraisers. She was a member of the SS Simon and Jude Seniors, the choir and their Sodality. Doris enjoyed gardening, sewing, wallpapering, baking and having afternoon tea with her best friend Eileen.
Survivors: daughter- Kathleen Wiesner spouse of the late Alan; son- Chester Shemanski Jr. and spouse Susan; daughter- Carla Mojica and spouse Roberto; son- Richard Shemanski and spouse Judy; grandchildren- Sean, Kelly, Michael, Cassie, Jason and Heather; great grandchildren- Madalyn, Grace and Miley; step-grandchildren- Betty Jo, AJ and Sean; step- great grandchildren- Brianna, Elise, Colette, Molly and Audrey. She was predeceased by her sister- Kathleen Rowe and brother- Robert Gwilliam of England.
A viewing will be held on Wednesday, January 9th 9:45-10:45AM in church with a Mass of Christian Burial to follow at 11AM all in Saints Simon and Jude Catholic Church 730 W. Broad St Bethlehem, PA 18018. Entombment to follow in Holy Saviour Cemetery, Bethlehem.
Contributions can be made in Doris’s memory to Lehigh Valley Hospice care of Downing Funeral Home, Inc.
Laurel Marie Sickler
Laurel Marie (Houda) Sickler, 87, formerly of National Park, passed away October 10, 2018 in Holy Family Manor, Bethlehem, PA. She was the daughter of the late Frederick F. and Irene (Hyller) Houda. Laurel was a magical, spiritual person, a lifelong learner who loved her family and all children. She served her community as a beloved teacher and reading specialist for 30-years, and in retirement on the National Park Land Use Board, and the Gloucester Co. Juvenile Court Youth Services. She graduated with honors from Union Co. College, Western College for Women, and with her M.A. in Reading from Rowan University. Laurel was an avid naturalist, talented artist and storyteller.
She will be deeply missed by her children: Mary Sharp-Ross and husband John Ross, Thomas Sharp, Frederick Sharp, and Christopher Sharp, Laureen Griffin and husband Joe Griffin, Judith Iacovelli, and 10 grandchildren. She was predeceased by her daughter Jere Sickler.
A calling time will be held on Saturday, October 13th 11AM-12PM with a Memorial Service at 12PM in Downing Funeral Home, Inc. 1002 W. Broad St. Bethlehem, PA 18018.
Contributions can be made in Laurel’s memory to Holy Family Manor’s Resident Activities Fund 1200 Spring St. Bethlehem, PA 18018.
William J. Siska, 93, of Bethlehem, passed away August 12, 2018. Born in DePue, IL he was the son of the late Frances and Aton Siska. He was the husband of the late M. Jean Siska. William served in the U.S. Coast Guard during WWII and retired from Durkee Foods in 1988.
Surviving is his son- Scott Siska of Bethlehem. He was predeceased by his son- Robert, brother- Frank and sister- Julia Baley.
Services will be Private care of Downing Funeral Home, Inc.
Joseph S. Seier, of Slatington, PA passed away Wednesday, May 2, 2018. He was husband of the late Sharon (Marsteller) Seier and son of the late Joseph and Maria (Gasper) Seier of Bethlehem, PA. Joe attended Notre Dame High School and Lehigh University. After college he served in the Army and Army Reserve rising to the rank of Captain and was stationed in Germany before returning home to Pennsylvania. He earned the National Defense Service Medal, and jump wings. Throughout his life Joe was a man of many interests, including Kung-Fu, fishing, target shooting, reading, collecting, and cooking. He was compassionate and had empathy for those in need. Through much of his later years he was a devoted caregiver to his mother, father and wife. Those who entered his home were welcomed as a part of the family not just guests. He was a loving husband, father and friend to everyone who knew him.
Survivors: Son Brandon, his wife Jessica and children Charles and Ella of Richmond, VA.
Services: A viewing will be held on Friday, May 18, 2018 10AM-11AM, followed by an 11AM service at Downing Funeral Home, Inc. 1002 W. Broad St. Bethlehem, PA 18018. Burial in Bethlehem Memorial Park, Bethlehem. www.downingfuneralhome.com
Contributions: Friends and family may send flowers or contributions to the Children’s Home of Easton in memory of Joseph S. and Sharon L. Seier.
David P. Smith, 30, of Bethlehem, passed away March 26, 2018. Born in Allentown, he was the loving son of Catherine “Ann” (Gottwald) Smith and Milton Smith. He attended Liberty High School and worked as a mechanic. David enjoyed working on cars, fishing, getting tattoos and cared for all animals, especially his snake and dog “Boomer.”
Survivors: mother- Catherine Smith; father- Milton Smith husband of Stephanie Smith; siblings- Robert Cavey husband of Kristen Zambo- Cavey, Craig Smith husband of Gloria Smith, Russell Cavey husband of Brenda Cavey, Bradley Smith, M.D., Gretchen Devers wife of Michael Devers, Garrett Smith husband of Chrissy Smith, Cameron Smith, Owen Smith, Ava Smith and Lucas Smith; 7 nieces and nephews.
A calling time will be held on Saturday, March 31st 9-11AM with a Service at 11AM in Downing Funeral Home, Inc. 1002 W. Broad St. Bethlehem, PA 18018. Burial to follow in Holy Saviour Cemetery.
Contributions can be made in David’s memory to Peaceable Kingdom PO Box 424 Whitehall, PA 18052.
Margaret (Gaspar) M. Stefanik, 92, of Bethlehem, passed away December 6, 2017. She was the loving wife of the late Joseph R. Stefanik Jr. Born in Hellertown, she was the daughter of the late John and Elizabeth Ann (Petko) Gaspar. Margaret was a member of Notre Dame of Bethlehem Catholic Church. She was a member of the former Bethlehem Steel Club and enjoyed watching football, baseball and reality tv shows. She was an excellent cook and baker.
Survivors: daughter- Denise wife of Eugene Shearer of Macungie, PA; the love of her life, her granddaughter- Ashley wife of Brian Unfried of Manheim, PA; many nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her daughter- Deborah J. Stefanik, 5 brothers and 4 sisters.
Services: Services were held privately for the family care of Downing Funeral Home, Inc.