Hamburg area obituaries

Robert Lauser

Robert “Bob” Lauser, 73, of Leesport, passed away early Saturday morning, July 19, 2014 at the Reading Hospital.

He was the husband of (Mary) Jane (Holland) Lauser. Bob and Jane were married on June 13, 1964.

Born February 13, 1941 in Ormrod, Lehigh County, he was the son of the late Peter Klapko and Catherine (Lauser).

Bob attended Whitehall High School through grade 11 and was graduated from Allentown High School in 1959. At Whitehall he was on the football, basketball, and track teams and at Allentown he was on the football team. He attended Kutztown State Teachers College where he was a member of the football team and was graduated in 1963 with a BS in Education. He later earned his Masters equivalent from Kutztown.


In the fall of 1963 Bob began his 33 year teaching career at Muhlenberg High School, Laureldale. During his last 12 years he held the position of Athletic Director. His coaching career consisted of 9 years as assistant football coach; 18 years as assistant winter and spring track coach; and 6 years as head winter and spring track coach. After retiring in 1996 he maintained relations with the school district by serving on the district Hall of Fame committee as well as emcee at the induction dinners. He was inducted into the Muhlenberg School District Hall of Fame in 2003.

Over the years Bob was involved in numerous civic and service organizations. He was Past President of the Leesport Civic Club, Past President of the Leesport Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and Past President of the Muhlenberg Association of School Retirees. He was also a member of the Berks County Association of School Retirees as well as the Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees. A member of the Rotary Club of Shoemakersville-Leesport since 1984, he served as president twice.

Bob was of the Catholic faith and was a member of Holy Guardian Angels Roman Catholic Church, Hyde Park.

Bob enjoyed being with his loving grandchildren and often spoke of the loving care provided for him by his wife Jane.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by sons: Michael, husband of Esther of Wilmington, DE and Steven, husband of Diana of Naperville, IL.

There are three wonderful grandchildren: Peter, Max, and Julia.

Also surviving are his sisters: Patti Kuti Kratzer of Allentown and Sandi Ellithorp of Ninnekah, OK.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Friday, July 25 at 11 a.m. at Holy Guardian Angels Roman Catholic Church, 3121 Kutztown Rd., Reading, with Father Dan Kravatz officiating. There will be a viewing at Milkins Giles Funeral Home, Inc., 4914 Kutztown Rd., Temple, from 9 until 10:30 a.m. Friday, preceding a procession to the church. Interment will be private at Fairview Cemetery, Pen Argyl.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in Bob’s memory may be made to the American Diabetes Association, P.O. Box 1130, Fairfax, VA 22038.

Ellen S. Zerbe

Ellen S. Zerbe, 98, passed away Thursday, July 17 in the Laurel Living Center, Hamburg, Tilden Twp., where she had been a resident for four years.

Born in Penn Twp., she was the daughter of the late Raymond D. Schlappich and Carrie S. (Ohlinger) Schlappich.

She was formerly employed by the Berkshire Knitting Mill in Wyomissing, Camp Industries in Reading, and Sparkle Wash in Laureldale.

She was a member of Bern Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bern Twp. where she was a member of the Bern Church Senior Citizens.

She enjoyed playing bingo.

Surviving is one son, Irwin Zerbe, husband of Dorothy “Dottie” Zerbe of Leesport.

There are three grandchildren, Karen L., wife of David Weidner and Randie I. Zerbe, husband of Barbara both of Hamburg, and Michael A. Zerbe, husband of Veronica of Reading. Also, five great grandchildren, Christine and Jeremy Weidner, Rebecca Zerbe, and Alexa and Michael, Jr. Zerbe.

There is one brother, George Schlappich and one sister, Elsie Bare both of Bernville.

She is predeceased by a daughter, Mae Zerbe, five sisters and five brothers.

A funeral service was held on Tuesday, July 22 at 10:30 a.m. in Bern Evangelical Lutheran Church, 820 West Leesport Rd., Leesport, PA 19533 with Rev. David Roper officiating. Interment followed in Forest Hills Memorial Park. A viewing was held Tuesday morning from 9:30 a.m. until time of service in the church. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Bern Evangelical Lutheran Church at the above address.

The Kirkhoff Funeral Home, Bernville is entrusted with the funeral arrangements.

Virginia J. Ragas

Virginia J. Ragas, 87, formerly of Reading, passed away on Monday, July 14, 2014 in ManorCare, Laureldale.

Born in Reading, she was the daughter of the late John and Elizabeth (Fetterolf) Scheffler. She worked as a home health aide and nurse’s aide for Berks Heim.

Virginia is survived by one son: George J. Lengle, and his wife Gloria L. (Mervine) Lengle, Upper Tulpehocken Twp.; two daughters: June M. (Lengle), wife of Hector Santiago, Bozeman, Montana; and Virginia L. (Lengle) Sheetz, Berwick; ten grandchildren; twenty-three great-grandchildren; and ten great-great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by a granddaughter: Chantel M. Lengle; and two grandsons: Clint G. Lengle and Hedermiro D. Santiago.

Memorial services were held on Tuesday, July 22, at 1 p.m. from the Chapel at Charles Evans Cemetery, Reading. Burial followed in Charles Evans Cemetery. Leibensperger Funeral Homes, Inc., Leesport is in charge of arrangements. For online condolences, please visit,