Obituaries 6/14/18


Christopher Cory ‘Turtle’ Cates
Christopher Cory “Turtle” Cates, 28, of Middleburg passed away unexpectedly Sunday, June 3, 2018 at his residence. Christopher was born in Gainesville and had for most of his life in Green Cove Springs. He was a 2008 graduate of Clay High School and had worked as an over-the-road truck driver. He enjoyed fishing, hunting, and playing in the mud with his vehicles, including at Hog Waller in Palatka.
Surviving are his parents, Chris and Tena Cates of Middleburg; a sister, Tiffany Cates of Orange Park; and a nephew, Brantley Cates of Orange Park. No services are scheduled at this time. Friends may sign the online register at Memorial gifts in Chris’ memory may be sent to Masters Funeral Home, 3015 Crill Ave., Palatka, FL 32177.

Michael Frederick ‘Mike’ Ward

Michael Frederick “Mike” Ward was born on April 30, 1938 in Cincinnati, OH. He was raised by his loving mother, Dorothy Louise and his father, Joseph Ward. Both his parents were in show business, and Mike was born into humor and the love of theater.
Michael was joined at the age of 2 by his sister Rayleen Fair. The two grew up humbly in Detroit and had a bond that remained tight until his passing. Those that knew them have heard the countless stories of fun and mischief the two of them found together. They shared a great love of the Detroit Tigers, and even recently, Mike and Rayleen would spend time on the phone watching their beloved Tigers play.
Michael attended John J. Pershing High School in Detroit and graduated in 1956. His senior year he was voted Class Clown, which came as no surprise to those who knew him best. His repeated jokes and antics sometimes saw him kicked out of class. Numerous classmates have shared stories about how Mike was ready to have fun at the drop of a hat, and he would often bring the hat!
After high school, Michael joined the Air Force in 1957. He absolutely loved playing sports and seeing the world, all while serving his country. Many were the stories that were told of his time in England and in Aviano, Italy. Each story revolved around football, baseball, basketball, and enjoying life to the fullest.
After leaving the Air Force in 1969, Michael worked as a DJ for KHAT radio where his love for music deepened. He had a large collection of records and passed the love of the Everly Brothers, Bill Haley, and Frankie Valli on to his daughters. He also sold real estate, a passion that would stay with him for the rest of his life. Michael joined the Navy after the birth of his first daughter in 1971. He was stationed in Bremerton, WA and was the leading journalist aboard the USS Constellation and was involved in many community relations efforts in various ports of call. After being transferred to Hawaii, he was the Senior Journalist on the staff of the Commander in Chief Pacific. He had the opportunity to meet or interview notable political figures, including Admiral Stockdale and President Jimmy Carter. During this time he received the Joint Service Commendation Medal. He also received his AA degree from Chaminade University and became a member of the Toastmasters while stationed at Barber’s Point. Finally he was sent to NAS Jacksonville where he worked for the Public Affairs Officer for the Navy Recruiting District - Jacksonville. He fell in love with northeast Florida and decided to make it his permanent home.
After retiring from the Navy in 1985, Michael became a real estate appraiser working for Miller, Hollis Wilson, and Brad Long and Associates, before finally joining Steve Vockell and Associates as a contractor before becoming an owner. Michael absolutely loved his work and loved going to work every day. Although he “retired” last month, he was seen at the office until June 1st, and he’d have had it no other way. Throughout his life, Michael had many interests and talents that brought so much fulfillment and joy to his life. He was an avid sports fan; there wasn’t a sport he wouldn’t watch on TV. Those who know him well know that golf was at the top of his list, although one could argue the Detroit Tigers occasionally took over that top spot! He loved watching football, baseball, golf, dancing, bowling, dog racing, and horse racing… just to name a few. Throughout his life he played countless sports as well, and while baseball was his first love, golfing was his last. He excelled at every sport he tried.
Michael had the theater in his blood and this was evidenced by his involvement in both the Big Orange Barbershop Chorus and the Orange Park Community Theater (OPCT). He loved to sing and act and be in the spotlight. He never learned to read music, but had a deep love for the harmonies of barbershop music. He made countless lifelong friends through the Big O and even after he left the chorus, he never stopped singing. He also performed numerous plays and musicals at OPCT. In the 80’s it wasn’t uncommon to see him in a lead role on stage. When he wasn’t acting he was directing, and when he wasn’t directing he was producing. The theater brought him so much happiness and he thoroughly enjoyed sharing his gift with so many. Michael had three daughters: Angela Rae, Dortheanne Joy, and Jeanette Kay. All three of his daughters remember growing up with a Daddy who took them bowling, who introduced them to Jerry Lewis movies, and who demonstrated a deep love for animals. They remember trips to Epcot and seeing the “geodesic dome,” summer vacations in Daytona Beach, and road trips to St. Louis where he tried to teach them how to harmonize. Angela will carry on his love of language and writing. Dortheanne carries forward his analytical mind and love of math, and Jeanette will continue to share his sharp wit, sarcasm, humor, and ability to make us all laugh until we cry.
For the last 27 years, Michael shared his life with his wife Cindy. Michael and Cindy met as children and even went to prom together. They reconnected later in life, and were married April 19, 1991. Mike and Cindy loved to do so much together. Cindy could be found at his side in the theater, on the golf course, attending performances, at the dog track, traveling, cheering on their grandchildren, and just enjoying life together. The two of them made countless loving memories and truly lived to the fullest.
Michael died suddenly in his home with his wife by his side on June 4, 2018. He is preceded in death by his father, Joseph Ward, mother, Dorothy Ward, step sons; Ken & Richard Olson. He is survived by his wife Cynthia Olson-Ward, his sister Rayleen Fair, daughters; Angela Anderson (Todd), Dortheanne Bone (Shawn), and Jeanette Scott (Brian), step-sons; Bill & Charles Olson, grandchildren; Autumn Anderson, Holly Anderson, Desirae Sanderson (Austin), Kaylin Roberts, J. Reagan Roberts, Avarie Roberts, Anthony Andrescavage, Michael Andrescavage, Lea Olson, and Callen Bone, great-granddaughter Hailey Roberts, his wonderful nieces; Chelly, Becky, Bonnie, and Kelly, many grandnieces and nephews, great grandnieces and nephews, and countless friends and loved ones who will each miss him dearly.
Funeral Services were held at 11 a.m. on Monday, June 11, 2018 with visitation one hour prior to service in Hardage-Giddens Funeral Home of Mandarin with John Meeks as Officiant, followed by interment in Jacksonville National Cemetery, 4083 Lannie Rd, Jacksonville, FL 32218 at 2:00 p.m.
Arrangements are under the care and direction of Hardage Giddens Funeral Home of Mandarin 11801 San Jose Blvd. Jacksonville, FL 32223. (904) 288-0025.

Zachary Dahl Ferguso
It is with much anguish and of great love, we bid farewell to our oldest son, Zachary Dahl Ferguson, age 32, lost to us during a MH episode on the afternoon of Tues., June 5, 2018. Zach attended St. Patrick’s(Jax), Sacred Heart(Jax), Annunciation(Mbrg), and Middleburg High; all caring and welcoming to our family.
He is survived by his father, Carlton Ferguson, 60yr., his mom, Cathleen, 59yr., his brother Shane William, 30yr., and his brother, Kevin Montgomery, 19yr.
His very inquisitive mind, gigantic smile and giving heart is sorely missed from this day forward.
Services are yet to be determined. In lieu of flowers, the family believe Zach would appreciate monies be given to either the Sulzbacher Center of Jacksonville 611 east Adams St. 32202 or The St. Francis House of Gainesville 413 So. Main 32601 As these are the people in which Zach was often opening his heart to maybe brighten.

Wernert Frederick “Bud” Witte
Wernert Frederick “Bud” Witte, 97, passed peacefully in his sleep on Saturday, May 26, 2018 in Orange Park, Florida. He graduated from Tri-State Engineering College at Angola, Indiana in 1941 with a B.S. Degree in Electrical Engineering. During World War II, he served three years in the military in B-29’s as a Captain. He received his commission in the Army Air Corps in September 1943 at Yale University. He married his high school sweetheart, Henrietta Evelyn Mientkiewicz, that same year. In November 1948, he accepted God’s claims on his life and headed to Bob Jones University where in August 1950, he received a B.A. Degree in English Bible. He then founded Toledo Youth for Christ and directed it for the next 12 years. He taught a large adult Bible study class for the next 25 years while operating his own manufacturing business from which he retired in 1990. His soul mate passed that same year. He moved to Florida in 1991. He was an active member of Fellowship Bible Church in Middleburg, Florida. He loved to watch and play sports and at the age of 83 he began his writing career. He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, and both brothers. He is survived by a son, Larry D. Witte (Wanda); a daughter, Connie M. Bryan (Jon); seven grandchildren: Mark (Stephanie), Erica (Scott), Johanna (Jerry), Hilary (Randy), Hannah, Jonathan (Allie), and Rebecca (John); fifteen great-grandchildren: Emma, Benjamin, Alexa, Isabelle, Abigail, Noah, Jackson, Sarah, Lara, Jack, Cooper, Libby, Wesley, Samuel and soon-to-be-born baby girl Bryan.
A memorial service and military honors are scheduled for June 16, 2018 at 10:30 AM at Fellowship Bible Church on 2827 CR220 Middleburg, FL 32068 with Pastor Gary Shilling officiating. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Fellowship Bible Church. Please sign the family’s online guestbook at
Arrangements are under the care of Broadus-Raines Funeral Home, 501 Spring St., Green Cove Springs, FL 32043. (904) 284-4000

Jeffrey L Whitson

Jeffrey L Whitson, 59, passed away on Friday afternoon, June 8, 2018 at his home in Jacksonville, Florida. Jeff was born July 21, 1958 in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.
With gusto, Jeff pursued his passions of politics, political strategy, campaign management, government affairs, policy initiatives, and economic development. But his greatest accomplishment was his love and dedication to his family. And if you were a friend of his, you were family, too. He encouraged everyone to live up to their full potential and he would often express his genuine concern if he saw that you needed a swift kick in the butt to get back on track. Jeff was full of wise anecdotes, witty nicknames for his peeps and the weakest dad jokes...ever! He always enjoyed spending time with his family and friends for fellowship, colorful conversation or political strategery over a “damn good” cigar. And he was also well-known, if not overzealous-bordering-obnoxious, for being a proud supporter of The Ohio State Buckeyes. Preceded in death by his father, James L Whitson, Jeff is survived by his mother Carolyn Whitson of Grand Island Florida: brother, John Whitson and wife (Sharon): loving wife of 29 years, Kathy: son, Jeremiah (JJ) Whitson and wife, Heather: Zachary Whitson and wife, Marisa: stepdaughter Ibrey Hudgens and husband, Ryan: daughter, Caroline Marie Whitson-Portlock and husband, Justin: son, Jordan Whitson, mother-in-law, Helen Mayer, brother-in-law, George Mayer , sister-in-law, Karla Powers, niece, Jessica, nephew, Chad, and six grandchildren.
Family will receive friends at a Celebration of Life which will be held at the San Jose Country Club, Friday June 15th at 7529 San Jose Boulevard in Jacksonville, FL 32217 between the hours of 3:00 PM and 6:00PM. A private service with full Military Honors will be held at the Jacksonville National Cemetery for family. Jeff served in the Armed Forces of the United States Navy on the USS Sea Devil and was honorably discharged in July 1982. In lieu of flowers, please support the Northeast Florida Red Cross with a donation in memory of Jeff at and click on Donate Funds or 1-800-435-7669 or mail to the American Red Cross at 751 Riverside Avenue, Jacksonville, Fl. 32204. You may also support The Ohio State University in his memory at . Arrangements are under the care of Russell Haven of Rest Cemetery, Funeral Home and Cremation Center, 2335 Sandridge Road, Green Cove Springs, FL 32043. Family and friends may share their condolences at: 904-284-7720

Joseph A. 'Jody' Herwig lll

Joseph A. Herwig, III, “Jody” to all who knew him died suddenly on May 17, 2018.
Jody was born in Orlando, FL on December 19, 1957. He attended Buchholz (Gainesville) and Orange Park High Schools. Jody was a talented pen and ink artist with many interests: scuba diving, ship-model building, auto racing to name a few. Jody was a good man with a big heart. Jody is survived by his parents Joseph A. Herwig, Jr. (Janice) and Edee Herwig; siblings, Mark E. Herwig and Jennie Lyn Herwig Steeg (David); niece/nephew Vanessa and Marco Herwig as well as aunts/uncles and cousins.He was a loving brother and uncle and will be missed by many. Family and friends will gather to celebrate his life from noon - 4:00 PM, Saturday, June 23, 2018, at his brother Mark’s home located at 26052 Foam Flower Blvd., Wesley Chapel, FL 33544. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Alachua Conservation Trust – Springs Eternal Project at

Gerardo Valdehueza Achas
Gerardo Valdehueza Achas passed away on Saturday, June 2, 2018. Aaron and Burney Bivens Funeral Home, 529 Kingsley Avenue, Orange Park, Florida 32073 (904) 264-1233.

John S. Blair
John S. Blair passed away on Tuesday, June 5, 2018. Aaron and Burney Bivens Funeral Home, 529 Kingsley Avenue, Orange Park, Florida 32073 (904) 264-1233.

Joy Smith Park
Joy Smith Park, 67 of Green Cove Springs, FL passed away June 6, 2018
Russell Haven of Rest Cemetery, Funeral Home and Cremation Center 2335 Sandridge Road Green Cove Springs, FL  32043 904-284-7720

Irene M. Little
Irene M. Little, 94, passed away on May 21, 2018.  Aaron and Burney Bivens Funeral Home, 529 Kingsley Avenue, Orange Park, FL 32073, (904) 264-1233.

George O. Zavakos
George O. Zavakos, 79, of Jacksonville, FL, passed away June 6, 2018
Broadus Raines Funeral Home, 501 Spring St., Green Cove Springs, FL (904) 284-4000
Doris Boyd Woodcock Fortner
Doris Boyd Woodcock Fortner, 69, of Anderson, SC, passed away June 6, 2018.
Broadus Raines Funeral Home, 501 Spring St., Green Cove Springs, FL (904) 284-4000

Emma Jean Smith
Emma Jean Smith, 75, of Orange Park, FL, passed away June 6, 2018
Broadus Raines Funeral Home, 501 Spring St., Green Cove Springs, FL (904) 284-4000

Ruth Viola Sheaffer Shively

Ruth Viola Sheaffer Shively, 80, of Middleburg, FL, passed away June 7, 2018.
Broadus Raines Funeral Home, 501 Spring St., Green Cove Springs, FL (904) 284-4000

SCPO Richard Calloway
SCPO Richard Calloway, USN, Ret., 74, of Fleming Island, FL, passed away June 11, 2018
Broadus Raines Funeral Home, 501 Spring St., Green Cove Springs, FL (904) 284-4000

Staff Sergeant Anthony Musico
Staff Sergeant Anthony Musico, USA, Ret., 82, of Fleming Island, FL, passed away June 9, 2018.
Broadus Raines Funeral Home, 501 Spring St., Green Cove Springs, FL (904) 284-4000

Christopher D. Schenkel
Christopher D. Schenkel, 42, of Orange Park, FL, passed away June 6, 2018
Broadus Raines Funeral Home, 501 Spring St., Green Cove Springs, FL (904) 284-4000


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