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Death notices and obituaries from the week of March 1

Duane Frank
Duane Frank


Duane F. Frank, 78, of Greenland, N.H., died Feb. 9, at the Portsmouth Hospital.

Born July 13, 1935, in West Valley, he was a 1953 graduate of West Valley Central School and joined the United States Marines, serving from 1954-1962. While assigned to the Naval Prison at the Portsmouth Shipyard, he met his future wife, Sandra (nee Ricker) Frank. They married in 1956 and made their home in Portsmouth. After being discharged, he became a letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service and ultimately obtained the position of assistant post master in Newmarket. Upon retirement in 1990, he became a bailiff with the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office, where he remained until 2009.

He was the public address announcer for Portsmouth High School sports, including boys and girls basketball, track and football as “The Voice of the Clippers,” for more than 30 years. He also announced numerous state basketball championships in both Class I and Class L, for the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association. He was a coach and umpire for the Portsmouth American Little League and the Portsmouth Babe Ruth. He held the position of Little League District 2 administrator for two terms. He was also the sports director for WBBX radio in Portsmouth, which included play-by-play of Clipper basketball and football games.

In 2009, he was the recipient of the Carl Lundholm Award, presented by the Manchester Union Leader, for his years of service to youth athletics in the state.

He is survived by his wife and his four children; Duane Jr. (Debra) of Portsmouth; Dee Dee (John) Symington of Dover, N.H.; Darryl (Kimberly) of South Berwick, Maine and Shelley (Chris) Vetter of Hampton, N.H. Also survived by nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Also survived by brothers Ivan, John, Larry, Doug, Gary and Dale and sisters Patricia and Carol. He was predeceased by his parents Ivan and Lora, and a sister, Phyllis.

A celebration of life was held at 2 p.m. on Feb. 15, at the Portsmouth High School Gymnasium, 50 Andrew Jarvis Drive, Portsmouth, N.H. Arrangements were made by the J. Verne Wood Funeral Home-Buckmister Chapel in Portsmouth, N.H.

Memorial contributions may be made to The Duane Frank Scholarship Fund, c/o Portsmouth High School, Attention: Marty Rahn, 50 Andrew Jarvis Drive, Portsmouth, N.H. 03801. Visit www.jvwoodfuneralhome.com to sign the guest book or to send a condolence.

David Ploetz

David Ploetz


David J. Ploetz, 67, of West Valley, died Feb. 24 at Bertrand Chaffee Hospital in Springville.

He was born in Warsaw, N.Y., on July 29, 1946, to the late Edgar and Eleanor (nee Felton) Ploetz.

He was a graduate of West Valley Central School, had been employed as an operator at the West Valley Nuclear Plant. He served in the United States Army from Jan. 22, 1969 until Oct. 21, 1970. He was a member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, located in Ellicottville, the West Valley American Legion, West Valley Senior Citizens and West Valley Historical Society.

He spent time with his grandchildren, read, played cards, did crossword and suduko puzzles and hunted rocks.

He was the husband of Ann (nee Faller) Ploetz; father of Timothy (Tracy) Ploetz, of West Valley; Jennifer (Robert) Williams, of Syracuse, N.Y. and Analise (Kenneth) Smith, of West Valley; brother of Larry (Cheryl) Ploetz of West Valley, Karen (Michael) Schiefer of East Otto and Christine Sinn of East Otto; grandfather of eight grandchildren; also survived by several nieces and nephews.

A funeral service was held Feb. 28 from St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Ellicottville. The Rev. Gerard Lefeber officiated. Burial was in St. Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery, in Ellicottville.

Arrangements were made by the Smith-Weismantel Funeral Home, located at 271 East Main St. in Springville. Online condolences may be made at www.smithweismantelfuneralhome.com.

Beverly Siminski

Beverly Siminski


Beverly J. Siminski (nee Proctor), 67, of Zionsville, Pa., formerly of West Valley, died Feb. 11, at her home.

She was born in Olean on Dec. 17, 1946 to the late Arnold and Rita Proctor.

She was a graduate of West Valley Central School and had been employed at the Cornell University Cooperative Extension in Ellicottville. She was a member of St. John the Baptist Church in West Valley.

She was the wife of Thomas Siminski; mother of Kristine (Mark) Paupini of Beacon Falls, Conn. and Russell (Lisa) Siminski of Zionsville, Pa.; grandmother of Isabella and Abbigail Paupini and Grace, Reid and Maggie Siminski; sister of Debra (Paul) Zerfas of West Valley and the late James Proctor.

A funeral service was held Feb. 22 from St. Aloysius Church in Springville. The Rev. Lawrence Cobel officiated. Burial was in Maplewood Cemetery in Springville.

Expressions of sympathy may be made to St. Luke’s Hospice, Attn: Development Office, Ostrum Street, Bethlehem, Pa. 18015 or at www.slhn.org.

Arrangements were made by the Smith-Weismantel Funeral Home, located at 271 East Main St. in Springville.

Online condolences may be made at www.smithweismantelfuneralhome.com.

Edward Siminski

Edward Siminski


Edward T. “Gramps” Siminski, 96, of Springville, died Feb. 13 at the Gowanda Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center, in Gowanda.

He was born in Angola, N.Y., on Feb. 20, 1917, to the late Anthony and Rose (nee Krugielka) Siminski.

He was a member of St. Aloysius Church in Springville, fished and shot a 16-point buck in 1947. At one time, he was the senior mechanic for the Erie County Highway Department, in East Concord.

He was the husband of the late Victoria Ann (nee Paul) Siminski; father of James (Betty) Siminski of Springville, Thomas (late Beverly) Siminski of Zionsville, Pa., David (Doreen) Siminski of Springville and Susan (Jeff) Kittle of New Tripoli, Pa. and the late Michael Siminski; brother of Virginia Fuller of Machias and the late Rose Doulis and the late Bernard and Steve Siminski; grandfather of 13 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren; also survived by several nieces and nephews.

A funeral service was held Feb. 22 from St. Aloysius Church in Springville. The Rev. Lawrence Cobel officiated. Burial was in St. Aloysius Cemetery in Springville.

Expressions of sympathy may be made to the Bertrand Chaffee Hospital Foundation.

Arrangements were made by the Smith-Weismantel Funeral Home, located at 271 East Main St. in Springville. Online condolences may be made at www.smithweismantelfuneralhome.com.

John Sixt

John Sixt


John E. Sixt Jr., 61, of Fukuoka, Japan, formerly of Springville, died Feb. 19.

He was born March 1, 1952, to Ina (nee Williams) and the late John Sixt.

He graduated from high school with a “Magna Cum Laude” in Latin and later received a Master’s Degree from the University of Maryland.

He was a linguist, utilizing several languages, and spent many years in Japan, teaching English to Japanese executives.

After serving in the United States Navy and also in the U.S. Navy Reserve for many years, he received an honorable discharge from the military.

He is survived by his daughter, Aina (Naomichi) Sawada of Seattle Wash.; his mother, Ina A. Sixt of Hickory Pa., formerly of Springville; two sisters, Regina (Richard) Schohn of Hickory, Jonna (John) Murphy of Washington, Pa. and a brother, Joseph (Lianne) Sixt of Huntersville, N.C, as well as many nieces and nephews and great-nieces and nephews; brother-in-law of Donald Blasdell.

He is predeceased by his father, John Sixt Sr. and sister, Mary Lu Blasdell.

A military burial will be held at The National Cemetery of the Alleghenies in Bridgeville, Pa., at the convenience of the family.


Mary Ellen Skillern

Mary Ellen Skillern, 88, (nee Westbrook) died Feb. 13, in Fiddler’s Green Manor in Springville.

She was born in England, Ark. on Sept. 17, 1925, to the late Vernon Roy and Elsie Marie (nee Shelton) Westbrook.

She was a master gardener.

She was the wife of the late C. Merle Skillern; mother of Karen Ann (Gary) Newquist of Maine, David (Jill) Skillern of Maine and Ariana Shelton of Massachusetts; grandmother of eight grandchildren; great-grandmother of 12 great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren; also survived by several nieces and nephews.

She and her husband will be buried together on May 30 at St. Ann’s Episcopal Church in North Windham, Maine.

Arrangements were made by the Smith-Weismantel Funeral Home, located at 271 East Main St. in Springville.

Online condolences may be made at www.smithweismantelfuneralhome.com.





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