Kenny was an unusual person with many flaws, yet also many wonderful characteristics: He
Kenny was a veteran of the Vietnam War , in which he reached the rank of Lieutenant. During combat, he was hit by shrapnel which lodged in his tailbone, disabling him. He suffered great pain from then on, and drank, partially to dull the pain.
Kenny had a really interesting story: His grandmother owned a large property in Keksburg, PA.
When he was about 13 years old, on December 9, 1965, he and a friend witnessed a bell-shaped UFO crash either on his grandmother’s land, or close to it. Naturally, this caused a huge stir, and in no time, NASA and Federal troops were on the scene. Kenny and his friend had been able to go right up to the UFO and noticed strange symbols on it.
Later, we would learn how Viktor Schauberger, who had pioneered work on Bell-shaped UFO’s during the Nazi Reich; was brought to America under Operation Paperclip. The UFO Kenny saw was a dead ringer for Schauberger’s craft. To this day, Keksburg has a UFO festival to commemorate the event.
When they heard and saw the troops coming, Kenny and his friend concealed themselves, and were not seen, as the troops removed the UFO and it was never again, officially, mentioned in public.
Years later, when he enlisted in the army, the army confronted him with the fact that he had been trespassing on “public” land when he witnessed the UFO crash, and they even threatened him with imprisonment because of it. Not surprisingly, Kenny was quite unnerved by this.
Later the army grilled him about Keksburg, and had a lengthy interview with Army officials on the matter – basically they debriefed him, and he became a “person of interest” in the army. He never liked to discuss the matter.
Shane Matthew-Baker Whipkey
Shane Matthew-Baker Whipkey, 39, of Butler, passed away Monday, May 25, 2020, at Butler Memorial Hospital.
He was born Jan. 15, 1981, in Butler, and was the son of Dale H. Whipkey Jr., of Butler, and the late Bonnie (Sheftic) Whipkey.
Shane had an earnest desire to enjoy each day, and to help everyone around him enjoy theirs as well. He had deep passion for his “Coz,” (cause) a utopian world where people could live happily and enjoy the moments the day would offer. His focus on utopia came from a clear vision, and understanding for, the real world in which he lived. Though he had seen much of the ugliest this world harbors, he never allowed the negative to impede his desire as he sheltered everyone he loved, from his own personal tribulations.
Surviving are his father; three brothers, Vincent Whipkey of North Las Vegas, Nev., Christopher (Alisha) Whipkey of Butler, and Dylan Whipkey of Butler; a sister, Amanda Whipkey of Butler; and three children, Allison, Alex, and Aubree.
Shane Matthew-Baker Whipkey
Mark A. Watt
Mark A. Watt, 46, of Butler passed away on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, in Butler.
Born May 24, 1973, in McCandless Township, he was the son of Constance Helm Watt and the late Willis C. Watt.
Mark was a very hard worker, working as a landscaper. He loved his kids, and had a very good heart, helping anyone with whatever he could. He enjoyed music and art.
He was the son of Connie Watt of Mars; the father of Arlo Reedy, Lalena Wednesday and Milo Sebastian, and is also survived by the mother of his children, Sara Reedy.
He was the brother of Michelle Kotlinski of Cranberry Township, Michael (Sherry) Watt of Wexford, and Matthew Watt of Mars.
Steven enjoyed outings in the community, especially concerts at Alameda Park. He liked sitting on the porch at home, listening or singing to rock music from the 70s and 80s. He loved chocolate milk shakes and had a real sweet tooth.
He was employed for several years at Out of Sight Shredding and was very proud of his work there. He had a great sense of humor and one of his favorite sayings when the staff would say, “See you later,” was “Not if I see you first!” and he would laugh.
He loved his family and always would stop to purchase some small treat for his great nieces when he went home for visits. After his retirement from Out of Sight Shredding, he attended a day program twice a week which he enjoyed and looked forward to.
Steven is truly missed at the Butler House, and at the Grapevine.
Charles H. Walters
Charles (Chuck) Walters 83, of Butler passed away Wednesday, August 26, 2020 at Butler Memorial Hospital.
Born October 12, 1936, in Brackenridge, he was a son of the late Homer and Louise (Anke) Walters. He was a retired park ranger from Moraine State Park.
Chuck enjoyed gambling, casinos, horse and dog races; and good food.
He is survived by his son, Robert (Pam) Walters of Harrisville; daughters Tamara (Joseph) Hart of Butler, and Pamela (Jacob) Drum of Tarentum; 16 grandchildren; sisters, Carole (Ronald) Haught of Deer Lakes; Marie (Fred) Hwostow of Tarentum; and Chris (Jim) Walling; brothers, Walter (Barb) Walters of Harmarville; and Mark (Kathy) Walter of Tarentum; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Chuck accompanied his partner, Debra Christy to many Grapevine Center events.
Douglas B. Spink b. 1971 passed away in 2020. He was the son of the late Jack Spink and Clair Spink of Harmony, PA.
He had a penchant for leaping from bridges, cliffs and radio towers, considering this “the absolute extreme self-reliance in my mind,” he once wrote. “There’s nobody there but you, and if you don’t do everything right you will die. No second chances.” Douglas had cancer, but ran a thirty mile marathon only months before died. He would not let his body limit him.
Spink grew up in Pennsylvania, attended a private academy, went fox hunting, played squash and rode in international horse-jumping competitions. He earned an MBA from the University of Chicago, and became a mergers-and-acquisitions man, buying and selling companies. He also bred German Holsteiner show-jumping horses. Spink was fundamentally opposed to hunting: “a long time vegetarian and activist in support of nonhuman animal well-being, [Spink] does not kill other beings for fun and considers the concept itself to be fundamentally repellent.” Spink had Asperbers, according to a newspaper report and his life devolved.
Spink is survived by his mother, Clair Spink, and his ex-wife, Judy Spink Slayton.
John “Jack” Thomas McKenna passed away June 7, 2020, at his home, after a long and courageous battle with cancer.
Born on Nov. 11, 1955, in New Castle, he was the son of the late James and Dorothy Martin McKenna.
Jack was a graduate of Shenango High School. Jack was the owner of Providence Painting He was a former iron worker with Local 207.
Jack was a graduate of Shenango High School. Jack was the owner of Providence Painting He was a former iron worker with Local 207.
As a member of the United States Navy, Jack served his country; he loved his friends, his family and his faith and always had a smile and warm welcome for everyone.
He was an avid Pittsburgh Pirates fan, and enjoyed going to baseball games to cheer on his team. Jack will surely be missed by many.
Grapevine Center is grateful for the dedicated service he provided as Board President for four years. He will be missed.
Jack is survived by his brother, Fred (Nancy) McKenna of New Castle; his sister, Barb (Richard) Pursell of New Castle; his nephew, Brad (Courtney) McKenna of Bessemer; and great niece, Olivia McKenna of Bessemer.
Pamela Verner Grabe, 78, of Butler, passed away on Monday, May 11, 2020, at Butler Memorial Hospital.
She was born May 1, 1942, and was the daughter of the late Clarence and Winifred Verner.
Pamela was the executive director for the Mental Health Association of Butler County, and graduated from Davis & Elkins College in 1964.
She enjoyed reading about history.
Pam was a great friend of Grapevine Center and did a great deal to help make it and independent non-profit; and continued to allow Grapevine to profit from her prodigious experience and knowledge.
She is survived y her son, Charles Malcolm Grabe and his wife Nilam of Fort Lauderdale, Fla; two daughters, Katerine Grabe Belton and her husband, Ricardo of Blytherwood, S.C; and Jamie Grabe of Braddock, PA; nine grandchildren; four great grandchildren and one sister, Lynne Byers of Canonsburg.
Her husband, Charles Edwin Grabe, whom she married in Jan 29, 1966, preceded her in death, as did her son, Timothy Laird Grabe; and her sister, Winifred Laughlin.
Becky A. Seyler
Becky Seyler, 60, of Beaver County passed away on Saturday, May 9, 2020.
She was born in Pittsburgh in 1959, and was the daughter of the late Richard and Rebecca (Harvey) Dematty.
While living in Butler, she was a resident of Sunnyview Nursing Home for numerous years; she had also been a valued member of the Board of Grapevine Center.
Becky loved to talk and socialize. She always had a positive attitude and sunny outlook. She was loved and will be greatly missed.
She is survived by Cheryl Shuler of Care Gardian Services LLC, and a host of friends.
Michael Edward Paffrath 45, of Butler, died Tuesday, Jan 28, 2020.
Michael was born February 10, 1974 in Butler, and was the son of Edward Joseph and Betty Lou Keyser Paffrath.
He was a Catholic by faith and he will be sadly missed by his daughter.
Survivors include his mother, one daughter, Elisha Marie Flick of Butler; and one sister, Michelle (Darren) Osche of Butler.
Mike’s mother Betty, worked at the Grapevine Center for many years and he was a favorite at the Grapevine. He will be much missed.
Thomas Edgar Gilfillan, 65, died Nov.17th, 2019 at Butler Memorial Hospital surrounded by his loved ones. He was born on April 6, 1954.
When faced with a fast-moving illness, Tom took comfort in his Christian faith..
Tom was a rock and roller who loved concerts. He discovered the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix at age 15, and idolized them, even declaring a day of morning when Hendrix died, and took off from school.
The oldest of James and Norma Gilfillan’s four children, Tom was an active and exuberant child, who frequently found himself in sticky situations. He loved to tell the tale of the day he fell on a railroad spike and had to e patched up by the local veterinarian — the only person available.
One of the things Tom’s loved ones will miss most about him are his stories. which were often interupted by his own laughter. His creativity was not confined to storytelling, though. Tom was a prolific artist who loved cartooning, painting and drawing. Many people’s Christmas and birthday gifts were accompanied by a card of Tom’s own design. His artwork reflected his life, it was bold, colorful and ever evolving.
Michael L. Vrabel
Michael L. Vrabel, 71 of Slippery Rock, formerly of Sarver, son of John L. Vrabel and Jennie Jones Vrabel, passed away Saturday at Butler Memorial Hospital. He was born Born Sept. 16. 1947, in Natrona Heights.
Mike was a 1965 graduate of HarBrack High School. He was a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Guard. He attended Indiana State University and Butler County Community College, whee he graduated with an associates degree in business management. He worked as quality control inspector for Braeburn Alloy Steel in Lower Burrell. He attended Zion United Methodist Church. He was an avid chess player.
Mike is survived by his sisters, Bobbi (Allen) Stasiak of Mount Joy, Becki (Douglas) Brownlee of Dover, Del, and Gina (Danny) Johnson of Angola, Ind.; his nieces, great-niece and great-nephews.
Mike regularly attended Grapevine’s veterans’ program.
Nikole Tarr, 49, passed away on August 5 at her home in Butler. She was born on April 9, 1970.
She is survived by her mother, Stephanie H. Workman (Morgantown, N.C.) and her father Eddie L. Brown (St. Louis, MO); her four children Stephanie A. Brown (Butler); Cynthia N. Brown (Morgantown, W. VA); and Bobbie B.L. Brown andJohnnie M. Williams-Brown, both of Butler; and nine grandchildren.
Muriel Bess Dietrich
Muriel Bess Dietrich, 71 of Beaver Township, passed away on Sunday, March 10, 2019.
She was born on Dec. 20, 1947, the middle child of Cyril W. and Muriel Wicks Dietrich.
Raised in historic Troy Hill overlooking downtown Pittsburgh, Bess reveled in the close-knit, urban community until her family relocated to the more arcadian outlier of Prospect, where her father fulfilled his dream of owning a farm.
With meadows to roam, trails to hike and wild animals to domesticate, Bess flourished in her country life, replete with a mile long walk each way to the idyllic, one-room Bunker Hill schoolhouse, where she received her education until junior high school, subsequent transferring to the nearby Slippery Rock school system.
The daughter of artists, Bess nurtured her creativity through oil and acrylic painting with an emphasis in land and seascapes. Her dreams of expanding her artistry were cast adrift when she began developing symptoms of mental illness, serious enough to require institutionalization throughout most of her adult life.
Bess’ life serves as a testament to human endurance. She set an indelible standard for one’s ability to suffer, cope, thrive and transcend the cascading losses of good health, freedom and dignity. Bess eclipsed these crushing challenges with the heart and strength of a truly noble woman. She was defined by her loving nature, generous heart, incomparable wit, creative eyes, and a fierce countenance to hold onto herself through life’s cruelest unmerciful tests.
Left to uphold the memory of her courageous and remarkable life are her siblings, Bill Dietrich, and his wife Lynne, Dorothy and her husband Joe Lanzalotto; her nephews, Gregory Fultz and Grant Lanzalotto; and her niece, Leslie Schorno and her husband Kevin.
Vickie Sue Beachem, 68, of Butler passed away Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018 at the VNA Inpatient Hospice.
Born Oct. 7, 1950, in Butler, she was the daughter of the late Leslie and Betty Domney Andre.
Vickie worked at the Center for Community Resources and Grapevine Center, helping those in the community. She was a longtime member of the First United Methodist Church. Vickie was very strong in her faith and loved God. She also loved to travel and spend time with her family, especially her grandchildren. Without any doubt, Vickie fiercely loved her family.
She leaves behind her husband, David K. Beachem; her children, Michael Dowell of Butler, Michelle Winters of Butler, Melissa (Steven) Fisher of Butler, Tammy (Doug Boda) Beachem of Parker and Chad (Jennifer) Beachem of Butler, her siblings, Valerie Grandy of Mercer, Jillian (Robert) Double of Boyers and Jack Andre of Mercer; her nine grandchildren.
Ginny L. Glatz
Ginny L. Glatz, 56, of Mars, formerly of Valencia passed away on morning of Tuesday, October 23, 2018 at the VNA Inpatient Hospice in Butler after a long battle with cancer.
Born Sept. 28, 1962, in Pittsburgh, she was the daughter of the late Edward J. and Margaret Orenish Glatz.
Ginny had been a ceramic tile installer for Glatz Tile and had also worked at Paul’s Chrome Plating and Quality Gardens.
She was a member of the Valencia Presbyterian Church.
Ginny had served in the U.S. Army and was a member of Mars VFW Post 7505.
She loved cats and was a lovely, generous person. She supported Grapevine Center as much as she could, remembering Grapevine even when she was very ill.
She is survived by a brother, James (Laura) Glatz of Mars; a sister, Lori (Richard) Trosky of Valencia; her nephews, Adam, Joey, Justin an Josh.
Charles “Chuck” Leroy Holmes
Charles Leroy Holmes, 53, passed away peacefully on Thursday, October 11, 2018, in his home in downtown Butler.
He was born Nov. 17, 1964, in Bradock, and was the son of the late Hazel and Joseph Holmes.
Chuck had a passion for Pink Floyd and was an avid reader in legal and religious studies, and was extremely proud of his children. He once served as a board member on Grapevine Center’s board.
He is survived by his wife, Hannah (Meislik) Holmes and their two children, Kelly Marina Holmes and Charles David Holmes; his daughter, Karen (Danny) Brewer and their four children. He is also survived by his brothers, David and Joseph Holmes; his sisters, Marlene Fulcomer, Sandy Rae, Martha Kradel and Karen Holmes, as well as a number of nieces and nephews.
Barbara A. Steinmetz, 63, of Butler passed away Tuesday, July 24, 2018 at the YWCA-Under Our Wing in Butler.
She was born April 15, 1955, in Pittsburgh, the daughter of the late William John and Alice Mahler Steinmetz.Barb was a member of St. Paul’s Catholic Church. She was serving on Grapevine Center’s Board when she died, and had worked on the IM4Q team before her first bout with cancer. She enjoyed bowling. In her earlier years, she helped with Special Olympics.
Surviving are her three brothers, Michael Steinmetz of Ellwood City, William J. (Barbara) Steinmetz of Sour Lake, Texas, and Robert J. (Jennifer) Steinmetz of Ross Township; and several nieces and nephews.
Joseph Bassinger, 39, of Butler, passed away on Monday July 16, 2018 in his home in Butler. He was born on December 7, 1979.
Joey was adopted and spent several years in a group home in Butler. He was quite a loner, but had a big heart. He would help anybody who asked and put up many a person who was in need of a place to stay. An all-round good person, he was very focused on God and church in his final years, and was a member of North Church,
Joey loved playing Transformers; and played with Magic Cards. He loved listening to music. He was a long-time member of the Grapevine where he enjoyed hanging out, socializing with his friends and playing cards. He will be missed.
Walter “Buddy” Turner
Walter Turner (68) , of Butler passed away on May 23, 2018 from complications arising from a spinal injury. He was born on June 13, 1950.
Buddy spent 6 years in the navy, and graduated from Slippery Rock University with a Business degree. He worked as a life insurance salesman; and was also the Path Director at Catholic Charities.
Buddy was a very friendly, personable, honest and open person. Running was his passion and he regularly ran 5K and up to half marathons. He also loved training others to run marathons.
He is survived by his wife, Vickie Turner, whom he married in 2008, his step daughter Robyn and step son, Scott.
Donald J. Stewart
Donald Jeffry “Donny” Stewart, 36, of Chicora, passed away on the afternoon of Tuesday, May 22, 2018, as a result of an automobile accident.
Donny was born Sept. 17, 1981 in Butler, to Babette (Fleeger) and Thomas D. “Stew” Stewart.
He was a 2000 graduate of Butler High School, and always enjoyed sports, fishing and spending time with his family and friends. He was a fiercely loyal friend, and loved to make people laugh. Most recently, he found peace and tranquility in writing poetry, crafting and gardening.
He was active with the Suicide Prevention Awareness Committee of Butler County and recently founded the non-profit organization Reachout831 to promote the message that you are never alone. His message was simple: Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a battle that you know nothing about. It costs nothing to be kind to one another, but what kindness does for others is priceless, especially in a world where you can be anything but kind.
Donny recently graduated from Drug Court in Butler County and was employed as a peer specialist with Community Resource Center in Butler, and most recently in the same position with Grapevine Center. We were glad to know and work with him, even for this short time.
He is survived by his mother, four siblings, Debra (Bill) Girvin of Richmond, VA, Tom (Michelle) Stewart of Butler, Jim (Kristin) Stewart of Cowansville, and Chrissy (Ryan) Ritzert of Chicora; plus three nephews; three nieces; his maternal grandparents, Jim and Pat Fleeger of Chicora; his special friend, Kara Kerschbaumer of Chicora; as well as a number of aunts, uncles, cousins and many friends.
Michael Eugene Vose, born Aug 29, 1961, passed away on Saturday, February 3, 2018. He is survived by his two children, Kala and Mike Vose; his parents, Effie and Richard Patten; his brothers, Richard A. (Kimberly) Vose and Jeffrey L. Vose; his sisters, Linda S. (Jerry) Roberson and Lisa L (Timothy) Perricana; his step brothers Lonnie, Rodney (Rebekah) and Scott Patten; and many nieces and nephews.
Mike was well-known in the Butler area and had spent the last 25 years of his life as a friend of Bill W. He was a gifted speaker in the program and his story was inspiring to all who had the opportunity to hear it. He touched the lives of many people during that time.
He was also very active with AA, and was always willing to lend a hand or ear to those who needed him. He was a most generous and kind man, always willing to take people in and help them get back on his feet. He also visited people in the prisons and tried to help them change their lives. He was a true friend to so many.
Mike loved camping at Cooks Forest and at his camp.
He had a wonderful spirit and was always optimistic and cheery, regardless of his physical problems or trials in life. Mike was very well-loved in all his different circles. He was a much loved friend and co-worker at the Grapevine. We will miss him greatly.
Rest in Peace, Mike, We miss you!
Mildred D. “Millie” Redick, 69, of Butler, passed away Sunday, Jan, 28, 2018 at Butler Memorial Hospital. She was born Oct 19, 1948 in Butler, and was the daughter of the late Nicholas and Lilian (Bowers) Redick.
Millie was a soldier for the Salvation Army and loved spending time with her grandchildren.
She is survived by her daughter, Jennie Redick of Erie, four grandchildren; two sisters and one brother.
Janet Cavellero was a feisty little lady who loved cats. She had very strong will power, and without any other help, she managed to beat alcoholism. She had been clean for ten years when she died.
She was the best friend of Eloise Woodward who wrote the following poem to her. They were a wonderful example of what friends should be, always there for each other, and they always had each others’ backs. True friends like that, make life worthwhile:
Today, she went away, far, far away
Heaven’s gates opened up to an angel like her
What you are is the best part of what I had
My heart broke in two, like a vase when I lost you
A hundred million pieces
I know you are with the angels
I know you are in heaven
I am looking at you
And you are looking at me from Heaven’s door
Steven Robert Beistel
Steve Beistel, 56, of Butler, died on Saturday, September 30, 2017. He was born on November 20, 1960 in Pittsburgh to the late David Beistel and the late Bette Anne Greenlee.
He was a veteran and married recently. He and his wife, Raeann, who married on December 31, 2016, were very happy together. In fact, he was happier than anyone ever remembered him. He attended the AA meetings, and was very well liked by everyone at the Grapevine.
He is survived by his wife, Raeann, son Josh (Maria) Beistel of West Sunbury; daughter, Alicia Beistel of Florida; brothers Andrew and Gary and many other family members.
Seaman Kenneth Norris
Kenny Norris was born in Eerie on January 23, 1963. He died at Pinehaven in March, 2017. He was on the autism scale, yet he served in the navy. He was a very quiet person, but he had a wonderful sense of humor and loved people to joke with him.
Initially, he was in the Soldiers & Sailors home in Eerie, but moved to Pine haven where he lived for approximately 13 years. During that time he got on well with everyone and never caused a problem. He was always a gentleman, and was especially respectful towards women.
Apart from enjoying the Grapevine Center, Kenny participated in the Compeer Program and was helpful in the recovery of his compeer.
His family was very present in his life, and would visit him regularly. They were very supportive of him and they were very important to him.
Vincent J. Nielsen
Vincent J. Nielsen, 69, of Butler, formerly of West Deer Township, died Thursday 28th September, 2017.
He was born Feb. 5th, 1948, in Pittsburgh, to the late victor C. and Genevieve Janis Nielsen.
Vince grew up in West Deer High School. He worked for American Brige in Lawrenceville. He enjoyed trivia, listening to the oldies and reading. While he was a resident at Sunnyview, Vince enjoyed arts and crafts and attending church services.
Vincent loved playing the piano and a keyboard.
He is survived by two brothers, Victor Nielsen jr. of Mercer and Derrick Chapman of England; two sisters: Jennie (Kenny) Carr and Mary Troyan, both of Butler; a niece and nephews.
Born May 11th, 1954, Linda Schreck died after battling a long illness on June 19th, 2017. She was well-known and liked at the Grapevine. She will be missed.
Nick Pantaleo, born February 25th, 1983, passed away on June 25th, 2017, aged 34.
He will be missed by all his Grapevine friends. God speed.
Janie Reynolds 65, of Butler, passed away on June 1, 2017.
She was born in W. Kittanning, PA on May 16, 1952. Janie was an LPN for many years and a member of St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Church.
She is survived by her son, Cody Reynolds; her sister, Jan Hartman; her brothers, Tom Kropinak of Columbus, OH; and Paul Kropinak of Kittanning; and her nieces, Sarah and Katey Hartman of Butler.
Laura Irene Miller
Laura Irene Oesterling Miller, 64, of Butler passed away peacefully Monday, Feb 20, 2017 at the Good Samaritan Hospital at heritage Valley hospital, Beaver, after a long series of health issues.
She was born Feb. 18, 1958, in Butler, the daughter of the late Keith Oesterling and Edith Protzman Oesterling of Butler in Port Richey, Fla.
Laura was a member of St. Luke Lutheran Church in Cabot, where she sang in the choir. She loved art, coloring, painting and collecting dolls. laura had a love of children. She was able to teach for a few years and volunteer at Butler Hospital as well as at churches and schools and others.
She is survived by her mother, husband, Walter J. miller (Butler); sisters, Lida (Greg) Hess of Valancia and Nancy (John) Atwell (Butler); brother, Bruce (Cheryl) Oesterlng (Economy, IND);