PENNSYLVANIA'S #1 WEEKLY NEWSPAPER • locally owned since 1854

Ethel Tonkin


Ethel Shearer Tonkin, 91, of Middletown, passed away Sunday, March 30, at Frey Village.


Born in Reading on May 2, 1922, she was the daughter of the late William and Lizzie Steeley Shearer.  


Ethel retired as a teacher from South Hanover Elementary School, where she taught 3rd, 4th , and 5th grades; was a 1940 graduate of Muhlenberg High School and a 1943 graduate of the former West Chester State Teachers College; was a member of the former VFW Auxiliary Unit 1687, Hummelstown; she was a former member of the Quentin Riding Club, Lebanon; and loved to travel with the former Reading Railroad Retirees.  


In addition to her parents, Ethel was preceded in death by her beloved husband Robert Tonkin on November 1, 1996.


She is survived by her four sons Robert J. Tonkin Jr., husband of Rose of Highspire, William J. Tonkin, husband of Donna of Easton, Richard J. “Butch” Tonkin, husband of Diane of Newville, and Barry J. Tonkin, husband of Rae Lynne of Hummelstown; her sister Marion Withers of Riverview Park; nine grandchildren Dustin Tonkin, husband of Anne, Dylan Tonkin, Dalton Tonkin, Devin Tonkin, Matthew Tonkin, Timothy Tonkin, Carrie Mullarkey, wife of Shawn, Angela Tonkin, and Elizabeth Tonkin; five great-grandchildren Ian, Patrick, Colin, Allison, and Addison; and several nephews.  


A Funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 5, in Trefz & Bowser Funeral Home, Inc., 114 West Main St., Hummelstown, with the Rev. Kirk C. Kerns, pastor of St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church, Hoernerstown, officiating.


Interment will be in Stoverdale Cemetery.  


Friends are invited to a viewing from 10 a.m. until time of the service on Saturday, at the funeral home. 


In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Disease & Related Disorders Association, South Central PA Chapter, 3544 North Progress Ave., Suite 205, Harrisburg, PA 17110.


Online condolences may be shared at