Beacon Obituaries

John Ashburn Sr. (1940-2023)

John R. Ashburn Sr., 82, died June 16 at Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie.

He was born at Highland Hospital in Beacon on Aug. 3, 1940, the son of Harry and Evelyn (Kimble) Ashburn.

John attended Beacon and Wappinger schools. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1957 and served as a radar man second class aboard the USS Talbot County (LST 1153), followed by reserve duty from 1961 to 1963.

On Jan. 2, 1958, in Kissimmee, Florida, he married Cynthia Jane Peck.

John worked as a long-distance tractor-trailer driver for a firm in Poughkeepsie, then as a construction equipment operator with the New York State Thruway Authority in East Fishkill. He also worked for Pepsi Co. in Pine Bush as a water truck driver.

Along with his wife of 65 years, John is survived by his sons, Mark Ashburn (Rebecca) of Las Vegas and Dr. John Ashburn Jr. (Tara) of East Fishkill; his grandchildren, Zachary Ashburn, Alexander Ashburn and Courtney Ashburn; and his sister-in-law, Cherry Ashburn. His siblings William, Nancy and Barbara died before him.

Interment will take place with military honors at Wappingers Falls Rural Cemetery.

Virginia Bechard

Virginia Bechard

Virginia Bechard (1934-2023)

Virginia J. Bechard, 89, died June 16.

She was born May 30, 1934, in Florida, New York. On July 29, 1967, she married Gary Bechard, who died in 2014. Virginia retired from Paraflex Lighting in Beacon.

She is survived by her children, Richard Fotheringham (Tam), Charlene Van Tassel (Joseph), Michelle Bechard (John Guarneri) and Gary Bechard, Jr., as well as her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Her children John Jefferson, Stephen Jefferson and Edward Wilsie, died before her.

A funeral service was held June 21 at Riverview Funeral Home by Halvey in Beacon.

Gail Groza

Gail Groza

Gail Groza (1949-2023)

Gail Groza, 73, died June 4 in Brooksville, Florida.

She was born in Beacon on Nov. 12, 1949, the daughter of Earl “Sonny” and Frances (Thomaselli) Groza. She attended St. John’s, Beacon High School and the Fashion Institute of Technology. She worked at The Town Shoppe and Foxmoor Casuals and opened a store, The Aftermath, with Jerry DeMarco in Beacon.

Gail loved antiques and real estate, and she incorporated both of those passions into her career after she relocated to Florida. She was a member of the Barn Chicks Club and loved all animals, especially her dogs and horses.

She is survived by her brothers, Gary Groza (Anne) and Guy Groza (Linda); and her nephews and nieces and their children. She is also survived by her former husband, Jerry DeMarco, and her longtime companions, Lanny Rouse and Debra Dooley.

Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver (1934-2023)

Mary Elizabeth Oliver, 88, died June 11 at her home.

She was born July 13, 1934, in Raeford, North Carolina, the daughter of Rufus and Rosa (McArn) Monroe.

After graduating from Upchurch High School in Raeford in 1953, she moved north to Stamford, Connecticut. There she met William Oliver; they were wed June 26, 1954, and married 45 years until his death.

Mary worked in quality control at IBM in East Fishkill for 26 years, until her retirement. She played softball and was an avid bowler. She gave her life to the Lord in 1971, becoming a member of Faith Temple C.O.G.I.C. and Mount Calvary FBH. At the time of her death, she had membership at two churches, Upper Room Pentecostal Ministries in Beacon and Agape Love Christian Fellowship in Poughkeepsie, pastored by two sons.

She was active in ministry as a church mother, missionary, teacher and a trustee. She loved the Lord with all of her being, and would not hesitate to be His witness nor give Him praise, her family said.

Mary is survived by her sons, William Oliver Jr., the Rev. Michael Oliver (Dorcus) and Bishop Kerry Oliver; her daughter, Doretha Oliver; and five granddaughters, 11 great-grandchildren, three great-great-granddaughters and four goddaughters. She is also survived by her daughter-in-law, Rhonda Oliver. Her children Ronald, Gregory and Lisa died before her.

She will repose at 7 p.m. on Friday (June 23) at Rhodes Funeral Chapel, 18 Lake St., in Newburgh. A Home Going Celebration will be held on Saturday (June 24) at 10 a.m. at Springfield Baptist Church in Beacon, officiated by her son Michael, followed by interment at Fishkill Rural Cemetery.

Nancy Powell

Nancy Powell

Nancy Powell (1930-2023)

Nancy A. Powell, 92, of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, and formerly of Fishkill, died June 19 at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.

She was born in Beacon on Nov. 7, 1930, the daughter of John and Catherine (Morris) Mara. Nancy worked for the Texaco Research Center in Glenham for more than 30 years. She enjoyed several hobbies, especially gardening.

On Nov. 11, 1951, in Beacon, she married George Powell. He died in 2012.

Nancy is survived by  her son, George Powell (Tara); her granddaughter, Kathleen Cooper (Gage); her grandson, Jon Powell; and two great-grandchildren.

Calling hours will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. on Sunday (June 25) at McHoul Funeral Home, 1089 Main St. in Fishkill. A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. on Monday (June 26) at St. Mary, Mother of the Church, 106 Jackson St. in Fishkill, followed by interment at Fishkill Rural Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to the American Cancer Society (

Jerry Sullivan

Jerry Sullivan

Jerry Sullivan (1956-2023)

Gerald T. “Jerry” Sullivan, 66, died June 17 at his home.

He was born July 31, 1956, in Beacon, the son of Gerald and Margaret (Keenan) Sullivan. After graduating from Beacon High School, Jerry began work for Metro-North. He retired in 2016 after 42 years of service.

Jerry was a life member of St. Rocco’s Society and a member of the Southern Dutchess Country Club. He enjoyed golf and fishing and was a lifelong Giants fan. He was also a cat lover.

He is survived by his son, Brian Sullivan; his brothers, Tim Sullivan (Liz) and Pat Sullivan; his sister-in-law, Helen Sullivan; his former sister-in-law, Janice Sullivan; and his nieces and nephews, Kiana DelBianco (Chris), Kelsey Sullivan (Bobby), Tara Kosloski (Matt), Conner Sullivan (Lauren) and Kyle Sullivan.

A funeral service was held June 23 at Riverview Funeral Home by Halvey in Beacon. Memorial donations may be made to the Animal Rescue Foundation (, or any animal shelter.

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