Major General Frank H. Smoker Jr., USAF (Retired), 85, Lebanon, passed away

Major General Frank H. Smoker Jr., USAF (Retired), 85, Lebanon, passed away on July 16, 2010, following a lengthy illness.

Born in Columbia, Lancaster County, he was a son of the late F. Harold and Catherine Smoker.
He was a graduate of Columbia High School in 1943, Franklin and Marshall College, Auburn University and the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.
He was the husband of Kathleen Farrow Smoker, formerly of Wellingborough, England, with whom he would have celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary in December.
Also surviving are a sister, Sarah Boice (The Rev. James), Chambersburg; a brother, Richard Smoker (Marion), Sun City, Fla.; a daughter, Barbara Harvey, North Wales; a son, Col. David Smoker, PAANG, (Brenda), New Cumberland; a son and daughter, Dung and Loi Phung, Lebanon; grandchildren: Amanda Swarr, Seattle, Wash.; Jessica Stout, Quakertown; Manh Phung, Ashburn, Va.; Thao Wessler (Jared), Royersford; and Capt. Tien Phung, USAF, (fiancee, Elizabeth Johnson), Scott AFB, Missouri; and five great-grandchildren.
Gen. Smoker was a veteran of World War II. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps in February 1943, and served in the 8th Air Force, where he was assigned to the 325th Bomb Squadron, 92nd Bomb Group, Podington Air Force Base, England.
He flew 26 combat missions over Germany as a B-17 navigator, totaling 222 combat hours. He met his wife, Kathleen, while serving in England.
He joined the Pennsylvania Air National Guard in 1946, and graduated from the United States Air Force Pilot Training in 1952. During the 1950s, he flew numerous worldwide transport missions in C-121 aircraft, including five combat missions into Vietnam. He flew a total of over 5,000 hours.
During his 42-year military career, he had numerous assignments, including Commander of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard for seven years prior to his retirement in 1985. Upon retirement, he was promoted to the honorary rank of Lieutenant General, Pennsylvania National Guard Retired List.
He received numerous awards and decorations, foremost of which was the Air Force’s highest peacetime decoration presented upon retirement, the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal.

He was awarded the Distinguished Eagle Scout by the Boy Scouts of America in 1989, and the Dept. of Military and Veterans Hall of Fame in 1998.
In 1994, Gen. Smoker was honored as one of six generals who were born and raised in Columbia. He was the recipient of the Thirty-Third Degree, the highest honor of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, conferred by the Supreme Council, AASR, September 1998.
Gen. Smoker was instrumental in founding the Pennsylvania National Guard Museum at Fort Indiantown Gap. He served as museum president of the board of directors. He also served in volunteer capacity on various community organizations, including chairman of the board in the Lebanon County Chapter of the American Red Cross and the board of directors of the United Way of Lebanon County.

He was a member of numerous organizations, including the Air Force Association; the National Guard Associations of the United States and of Pennsylvania; Columbia Lodge 276, F&AM; the National Sojourners Harrisburg Chapter 76; and the National Eagle Scout Association. The General and Mrs. Smoker were actively involved with the Vietnamese refugees at Fort Indiantown Gap in 1975. The Smoker family resided at the Gap from 1953 to 1985.

Gen. Smoker is the author of “Back at the Gap, The History of Fort Indiantown Gap,” published in 2009. His column, entitled “Back at the Gap,” appeared in the Lebanon Daily News from 2003 to 2005.

There will be no viewing. A memorial service will be held on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. at the Post Chapel, Fort Indiantown Gap. Seating in the chapel is limited. Interment at Fort Indiantown Gap National Cemetery with full military honors.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the PA National Guard Military Museum, Fort Indiantown Gap, Bldg. T-8-57, Annville, PA 17003-5002, would be appreciated.

Kreamer Funeral Home and Crematory, Annville, is in charge of arrangements.

LTC James O. Beamesderfer Jr Dies

James O. Beamesderfer, Jr., 71, Elizabethtown, died Thursday June 24, 2010 at home.
He was born in Dayton, OH on February 5, 1939 a son of Amelia Millovich Beamesderfer, Elizabethtown, and the late Rev. James O. Beamesderfer. He was a retired Lt. Col. having served in the U. S. Air Force during Vietnam and later with the 193rd ANG as a Deputy Squadron Commander and Air Maintenance Officer. Private interment services will be held at the National Cemetery at Ft. Indiantown Gap at a later date. The Rohland Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.

Shawn Michael Kovach

It is with great sadness that we post this obituary. Our best to Mike Kovach and his family.

MSgt Shawn Michael Kovach, 34, died Wednesday, February 3 at his home in Harrisburg after an illness. Kovach served in the U.S. Air Force from 1993 – 1999 and has been a member of the Air National Guard 193rd Special Operations Wing, Middletown, PA, from 1999 to-date. Most recently, he served as a Loadmaster Instructor. Kovach was a decorated veteran, having been deployed in Haiti, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, England, and elsewhere worldwide.
A 1993 graduate of Central Dauphin East High School and a 2003 graduate of the Pennsylvania State University, Kovach’s military achievements included: Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters; Aerial Achievement Medal; Joint Meritorious Unit Award with one oak leaf cluster; Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with valor device with three oak leaf clusters; the Combat Readiness Medal; Air Force Good Conduct Medal with two oak leaf clusters; Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service Medal; the National Defense Service Medal with one service star; Kosovo Campaign Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Armed Forces Service Medal with one service star; Humanitarian Service Medal with two service stars; Air Force Longevity Service with one oak leaf cluster; Armed Forces Reserve Medal with one “M” device; Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon with one service star; Air Force Training Ribbon; and NATO Medal.
He is survived by his wife, Lori Rissmiller Kovach; his father and his wife, SMSgt Michael S. and Kristie L. Kovach of Grantville; his mother, Sandra K. Witmer of Harrisburg; his paternal grandparents, Edward and Rose Kovach of Harrisburg; maternal grandparents Donald and Arlene Witmer of Harrisburg; brothers Michael S. Kovach, Jr. and Kurtis B. Kovach; sisters Stephanie Bilonick and her husband Timothy; Michelle French, Kaitlynn Kovach; his father-in-law and his wife, Barry and Carla Rissmiller of Elizabethtown; his mother-in-law, Teresa Rissmiller of Elizabethtown; his sister-in-law, Jami Zimmerman and husband, Mark; and his grandparents through marriage, Ralph and Virginia Rissmiller of Elizabethtown, and Robert and Kathryn Bowers, deceased; many aunts, uncles, and cousins who dearly loved, respected, and adored him. Most important to Shawn were his wife and family, duty and country.
Kovach will be buried with full military honors at the National Cemetery at Fort Indiantown Gap on Monday, February 8. Services will be held at the Gap’s Building 880 and will include: viewing/visitation from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.; service from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.; and interment at 2:00 p.m.
Trefz & Bowser Funeral Home, Inc., 114 West Main Street, Hummelstown, is handling the arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made in Kovach’s honor to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, P.O. Box 13483, Tampa, FL 33681-3483, or at
Online condolences may be shared at

Leonard Cataldo Jr., 85, West Wyomissing, died Dec. 12, 2009, in Reading Hospital.

Leonard Cataldo Jr., 85, West Wyomissing, died Dec. 12, 2009, in Reading Hospital.
His wife, Angeline S. (Catania) Cataldo, died Jan. 8, 2003.
Leonard was a son of the late Leonard Sr. and Winifred (Wolf) Cataldo.
He was employed for 20 years by DuPont, Wilmington, Del., retiring in 1984.
Leonard was a member of Holy Rosary Roman Catholic Church.
He was a veteran of the U.S. Army, serving during World War II.
Leonard was a master sergeant in the Air National Guard.
He is survived by two daughters, Donna L., wife of Roland A. Almonti, Allentown; and Diane N., wife of Daniel T. Seier, Bethlehem; his brother, Paul Cataldo, Reading; and three grandchildren: Joseph Almonti, Daniel J. Seier and Matthew Seier.
Leonard was predeceased by his brother, Wallace Cataldo.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Thursday at 9:30 a.m. in Holy Rosary Church, 237 Franklin St., Reading, PA 19601. Burial will be in Gethsemane Cemetery.
Contributions may be made to Holy Rosary Church at the above address.
Edward J. Kuhn Funeral Home Inc., West Reading, is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be recorded at