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Anna Belle (Van Dyke) Breegle


Anna Belle (Van Dyke) Breegle was born on April 11, 1903 in Udell, a coal mining town in Westmoreland County, PA, the daughter of Samuel Aaron and Bertha Mae (Minerd) Van Dyke. As a young girl, she moved with her parents and family to the town of Strickler and then, in abouit 1909, into a home that the parents built in Foxtown.

On Sept. 1, 1920, when she was 17 years old, Anna Belle married 17-year-old John Wilkinson Breegle Jr. (Feb. 15, 1903-1962), the son of John Wilkinson and Mary Melissa (Berg) Wilkinson Sr. He was the youngest of eight children from three different marriages.

Anna Belle and John produced a family of seven children -- Samuel John Breegle, Doris Lee VanArsdale Hodgkiss, Mary Lou DeArmint Katic, Bertha Mae Hodgkiss Robich Lane, John William "Skip" Breegle Sr., Audrey JoAnn Shaffer and Barbara Ellen Green, born over a sweep of 24 years.

For the first two years of their marriage, the Breegles dwelled under the roof of Anna Belle's parents, where their eldest two offspring were born. They built their own house circa 1923, where the balance of the five children were born.


Anna Belle's family tree

Said the Tribune Review, Anna Belle "was a charter member of the Christian Missionary Alliance Church of Youngwood (now in New Stanton)." She occasionally traveled to Ohio to visit her elderly grand-uncle, George Henry Minerd.

The Breegles moved in 1957 to Niles, Trumbull County, OH, where John obtained employment with Copperweld Steel. They attended the Northmar Christian Missionary Alliance Church in Warren, Trumbull County.

Sadly, after five years in Niles, the 59-year-old John Sr. suffered a massive heart attack and died on Oct. 10, 1962.

Anna Belle remained in Niles for the balance of her life.

In 1988, when she was in her 85th year, Anna Belle published a booklet, The Breegle Family Tree, which has been an important source of information. In the preface, she wrote:

I have written this book because I am certain that next to faith and belief in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, family is the most important thing that we have in this world. It is my prayer that the family John and I began will continue to be a family, in fellowship and love until the Lord returns.


Greensburg Tribune-Review

The founder of this website spoke with Anna Belle twice by telephone on Dec. 28, 1993 and Feb. 13, 1994, and then again later in 1994 in preparation for the national Minerd-Miner Reunion honoring Civil War soldiers in the clan, including Anna Belle's grandfather.

While a patient in Austinwood Rehabilitation Center in Austintown, OH, Anna Belle passed into eternity at the age of 95 on Aug. 14, 1998. An obituary in her old hometown newspaper, the Greensburg Tribune-Review, noted that her survivors included 19 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren and "a number of" great-great grandchildren. Her remains were transported to Greensburg for burial in Westmoreland County Memorial Park, with Rev. Harold Grimm officiating.

~ Son Samuel John Breegle ~

Son Samuel John Breegle (1921-2015) was born on June 16, 1921 in Foxtown. 

At the age of 20, on July 22, 1941, he married Ruth Magill (Sept. 3, 1923-1992), daughter of John K. and Emma (Sauer) McGill of Hempfield Township, Westmoreland County. Her maiden name at times also has been spelled as "Magill." 

He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and as a helmsman for LST 40 craft was involved with the Marianna, Phillippine and Okinawa Island campaigns. 

After his return from military service, they dwelled in Hunker near Foxtown, Westmoreland County, and produced three children -- Judy Ann Oplinger, Scott Wilkinson Breegle Sr. and Mark Alan Breegle. 

For 41 years, Samuel was employed as a shipper with Robertshaw Controls in Youngwood.He enjoyed hunting and was a charter member of the Greensburg Antler Club. The family attended the Armbrust Wesleyan Church. After retirement, Samuel volunteered his time for 19 years with Excela Westmoreland Hospital. 

Ruth died at home at the age of 68 on June 11, 1992. Burial was in Youngwood Cemetery, with Rev. Dr. Daniel A. Berry officiating, and an obituary appearing in the Greensburg Tribune-Review

Samuel outlived his wife by 23 years. He succumbed as a resident of Hempfield Manor on May 26, 2015. His Tribune-Review obituary noted that Rev. Dan Barchert preached the funeral sermon with burial in Youngwood Cemetery with military rites provided by the Armbrust Veterans Association.

Daughter Judy Ann Breegle married James "Jim" Oplinger on Dec. 1, 1962. Their daughter is Wendy Sue Rounds. Circa 1992, they lived in Mount Pleasant, Westmoreland County. When her aunt Jo Ann Shaffer died in 2023, Judy was named in the obituary as a "very special niece that was like a sister to her."

Son Scott Wilkinson Breegle Sr. was wedded to Donna Angelicchio on Sept. 2, 1972. They reside in Greensburg and are the parents of three children -- Jada Dawn Brennan, Jola Danielle Foley and Scott Wilkinson Breegle Jr.

Son Mark Alan Breegle was united in holy matrimony with Jeanie Miller in 1980. They produced two daughters -- Heather Dawn Echard and Ashley Nicole Breegle. His home in 1992 was in Hunker. Later, he was joined in wedlock with LeAnn and relocated to Erie, PA

~ Daughter Doris Lee (Breegle) VanArsdale Hodgkiss ~

Daughter Doris Lee Breegle (1923-1988) was born on July 1, 1923. 

On her 18th birthday, in 1941, she was joined in wedlock with Robert Newton VanArsdale (1919-1967). 

They produced four children -- Robert Lee VanArsdale, Bonnie Lou Cernuto Kauffman Hover, Keith VanArsdale and Susan Sponseller. 

Sadness enveloped the family when Robert passed away in 1967, at the age of 48. 

Later, on June 1, 1974, Doris married her divorced former brother-in-law, William "Bill" Hodgkiss (Sept. 22, 1923-2011). 

William was a World War II veteran of the Army. In his working career, he was a mechanic for Penn Transit Bus Company in Pittsburgh followed by three decades as a millwright for Copperweld Steel. 

Doris died on May 14, 1988, at the age of 65. 

Son  Robert Lee VanArsdale (1943- ? ) was born on Feb. 5, 1943. On May 30, 1964, when he was 21 years of age, he married Judith "Judy" Sladky ( ? - ? ), daughter of Andrew J. and Mary E. (Balchik) Sladky. Their two daughters are Diana Lynn VanArsdale and Bobbi Lee VanArsdale. circa 2014, their home was on the Armbrust-Hecla Road.

Daughter Bonnie Lou VanArsdale (1949- ? ) was born on Aug. 18, 1949. She was wedded thrice. Her first spouse was Donald M. "Don" Cernuto Sr. ( ? - ? ). Their only son was Don Michael "Buck" Cernuto. Bonnie married a second time to James L. "Jim" Kauffman Jr. and produced a son, Robert Brady Kauffman. By 2007, Bonnie had been joined in wedlock with Steven Hover and lived in Warren, Trumbull County, OH. Sadness enveloped the family when son Robert passed away at age 34 on Dec. 14, 2004 -- and again when son Don Jr., age 37, died in Warren on Feb. 21, 2007, less than two months after his marriage to Heidi E. Givens. Don Jr.'s remains were placed into repose in Champion Township Cemetery in Warren.

Son Charles "Keith" VanArsdale (1951-2008) was born on Feb. 11, 1951 in Greensburg. His nickname was "C Van." He was married thrice. On July 1, 1969, Keith was joined in matrimony with his first bride, Kathy Tedro. Their two offspring are Jason Keith VanArsdale and Keely Sue Alcorn. His second wife was Joyce Payne ( ? - ? ), and his third was Dianne Norman, who brought a son Jonathan to the union. Keith and Dianne produced a daughter, Brianna VanArsdale. Over the years, he was employed by Detroit Mold Engineering (DME) in Youngwood, a position from which he retired. Circa 2008, his home was in Aliquippa, Beaver County, PA. Sadly, at the age of 57, Keith died at home on July 18, 2008. His remains were brought to Delmont for burial in Twin Valley Memorial Park, with Rev. Robert Allison officiating at the funeral service. An obituary appeared in the Greensburg Tribune-Review.

Daughter Susan VanArsdale (1956-2011) was born on April 7, 1956 in Greensburg. An April 11, 1981, at the age of 25, Susan was united in wedlock with Dennis R. Sponseller ( ? - ? ). They are the parents of Bonnie Brooke Sponseller and Brittany Marie Sponseller. Over the years, they dwelled in Champion, Trumbull County, OH. Reported a newspaper, Susan "worked as a housekeeper for Shepherd of the Valley in Howland. She enjoyed garage and rummage sales, flowers, swimming, and going to Cedar Point, Put-in-Bay, and the ocean." Sadly, Susan contracted cancer and died at the age of 55 in Hospice House in Poland, OH on May 2, 2011. Rev. Rick Oaks of the First United Methodist Church officiated at the funeral, follwed by burial in Champion Township Cemetery.

~ Daughter Mary Lou (Breegle) DeArmint Katic ~

Daughter Mary Lou Breegle (1927-1991) was born on April 2, 1927 in Foxtown, Westmoreland County. 

She first married Arthur DeArmint (June 6, 1926-2003), son of Samuel J. and Ida Mae (Altman) DeArmint of Youngwood. 

Their two children were Sammy Lee DeArmint and Mary Ellen Herrle Pageant Colorusso. 

Arthur served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He earned a living over the years working for Nabisco. 

After a divorce, Mary Lou wedded her second spouse, Daniel "Dan" Katic ( ? - ? ) on Christmas Eve 1959

Their children are believed to have been Mary Ellen Katic, Danny Ray Katic and Samuel Katic. 

Mary Lou attended the Christian Missionary and Alliance Church in New Stanton. 

Sadly, Mary Lou passed into eternity while a patient in Westmoreland Hospital in Greensburg on Nov. 28, 1991. Burial was in Youngwood Cemetery, with Rev. James E. Haddon leading the service. 

Former husband Arthur DeArmint died at the age of 76 in Greensburg on Feb. 10, 2003.

Son Sammy Lee DeArmint Sr. (1946-2008) was born on Nov. 19, 1946 in Mount Pleasant, Westmoreland County. He was wedded twice. His first wife was Carol Detor ( ? - ? ), and their daughters are Reva DeArmint and Kelly DeArmint. His second wife was Jacci Shoemaker ( ? - ? ). They are the parents of Renee DeArmint and Sammy Lee DeArmint Jr. Sammy Lee and Jacci divorced, and he became a companion of Janet Fackiner. Sammy worked for Jeannette Glass and in his free time enjoyed membership in the Young Voters Club, 49ers Club and playing bingo. His home in 1991 was in Hunker and in 2008 in Grapeville in Hempfield Township. At the age of 61, as a patient in Mercy Jeannette Hospital, Sammy succumbed on Feb. 10, 2008. A memorial service led by Pastor Kevin Hercula was held at New Stanton Alliance Church, and burial was private. His obituary was printed in the Greensburg Tribune-Review.

Daughter Mary Ellen DeArmint (1948- ? ) was born on Leap Day 1948. She was married three times. Wayne Herrle ( ? - ? ) was her first spouse. Their three offspring are Kimberly Anna Herrle, Timothy Wayne Herrle and Cindy Lou Parfitt. Heartache blanketed the family with the death of son Timothy in infancy in 1967. Mary Ellen went on to marry Ralph Pageant and Charles "Chuck" Colarusso ( ? - ? ), son of Anthony and Leola Mae (Smeltzer) Colarusso. The Colarussos' home in 1991-2008 was in Greensburg.

Son Daniel Ray Katic (1961- ? ) was born on Jan. 30, 1961. He was united in wedlock with Kari Sekora on July 3, 1982. Their only daughter is Amanda Marie Katic. The family lived in Greensburg in 1991. Later, Daniel wedded Jacqueline and moved to Hunker.

~ Daughter Bertha Mae (Breegle) Hodgkiss Robich Lane ~

Daughter Bertha Mae Breegle (1929- ? ) was born on Oct. 10, 1929. She was born without hands but learned to paint, cook and drive. 

On Oct. 27, 1948, when she was 19 years of age, she was joined in matrimony with her first husband, William "Bill" Hodgkiss (Sept. 22, 1923-2011), the son of Raymond and Sibbit (Baird) Hodgkiss of Tarrs, Westmoreland County. 

They were the parents of three -- Cynthia Lynn Hartzell Joseph Mix Pozega, William Russell "Rusty" Hodgkiss Sr. and Michael John "Mike" Hodgkiss. 

Then at the age of 45, on June 30, 1974, she wedded her second spouse John Robich ( ? - ? ). 

Her third husband was Lawrence "Larry" Lane ( ? - ? ), with their nuptials taking place on June 28, 1980, when she was age 61. In the early 1990s, the Lanes lived in Southington, Trumbull County, OH and spent their winters in Ocean City, FL.

She was still living in 2023 when named in the obituary of her sister Barbara Ellen Green. 

Daughter Cynthia Lynn Hodgkiss (1949- ? ) was born on Aug. 3, 1949. She was married four times. Her first husband was John Hartzell ( ? - ? ), whom she wed in June 1967. They produced two children, Timothy Robert Hartzell and Barbara Lynn Lydic. Within a few years, she married again to Ronald "Ron" Joseph ( ? - ? ). Their only son was Leo Lawrence Joseph. Cynthia Lynn went on to wed Gary Mix ( ? - ? ) and Robert "Bob" Pozega ( ? - ? ). Her home in 2011 was in Bradenton, FL.

Son William Russell "Rusty" Hodgkiss Sr. (1955- ? ) was born on July 7, 1955. His wife was Sarah Pyle ( ? - ? ). Their two sons are William Russell Hodgkiss Jr. and Walter Jacob Hodgkiss. Circa 2011, they resided in Southington, OH.

Son Michael John "Mike" Hodgkiss (1957- ? ) was born on May 14, 1957. He was joined in matrimony with Susan Barnes ( ? - ? ) in February 1984. The couple had a daughter, Elizabeth Marie Hodgkiss. He dwelled in 2011 in Warren, Trumbull County, OH. 

~ Son John William "Skip" Breegle Sr. ~

Son John William "Skip" Breegle Sr. (1935- ? ) was born on Feb. 15, 1935. 

He married Eleanor Rosky ( ? - ? ). 

They produced two sons -- John William "Skippy" Breegle Jr. and Timothy Jay Breegle. 

Their residence in 1994 was in Niles, Trumbull County, OH.

Son John William "Skippy" Breegle Jr. (1954- ? ) was born on Aug. 13, 1954. In 1972, at the age of 18, he married Pamela Widlocker ( ? - ? ). Within a few years, on Sept. 9, 1977, John wedded again, to Gaye Lewis ( ? - ? ). They are the parents of daughters Nanci Marie Breegle and Kristen Dawn Breegle.

Son Timothy Jay Breegle (1962- ? ) was born on Sept. 24, 1962. On May 11, 1985, when he was 22 years of age, he was united in holy wedlock with Kim Shamblin ( ? - ? ). They produced one son, Daniel Allen Breegle.

~ Daughter Audrey "JoAnn" (Breegle) Shaffer ~

Daughter Audrey "JoAnn" Breegle (1936- ? ) was born on Sept. 30, 1936 in Foxtown, Westmoreland County. 

At the age of 20, on June 8, 1957, she was joined in marital union with Gerald Raymond "Jerry" Shaffer ( ? - ? ). They met each other in Hempfield at Lucky Jack's grocery store, and their union held fast over more than six decades.

They are the parents of three children -- Gerald Allan Shaffer, John W. Shaffer and Luanne B. Esbenshade. 

The Shaffers moved to Niles, Trumbull County, OH and dwelled there for the balance of their years together. Gerald was employed for 38 years with Copperweld Steel, retiring in 1994. Jo Ann worked as a cook for the Niles City Schools, where she made many good friends, and retired in 1997.

In her free time, Jo Ann was an active volunteer with the North Mar Church as a deaconness, vacation Bible school leader and Sunday School teacher. She liked to visit shut-ins, praying for them and sending them greeting cards. She also enjoyed playing games with her family, listened to Christian and country music and enjoyed sermons by evangelists David Jeremiah, Charles Stanley and Michael Youssef. As a longstanding fan of the Cleveland Indians baseball team, later renamed the Guardians, she attended games and last saw the team in person on May 28, 2023, just a few months before her death. Said an obituary, "Jo Ann was a woman of great and deep faith in Jesus as her Master, Lord and Savior. She raised her children, and inspired her family to honor God, read His Word, obey His commandments, and to share the Gospel."

She was still living when named in the July 2023 obituary of her sister Barbara Ellen Green, but sadly died three weeks later, on July 30, 2023. She was survived by nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Son Gerald Allan "Jerry" Shaffer (1958- ? ) was born on April 20, 1958. He married Lee Ann Morrison ( ? - ? ) on Oct. 16, 1982. Their two sons are Ryan Matthew Shaffer and Kenneth Adam Shaffer. He and his brother John worked as engineers with Packard Electric in Ohio circa 1994

Son John W. Shaffer (1963- ? ) was born on March 7, 1963. On Aug. 31, 1985, he married Marci L. Tedesco ( ? - ? ). They have these known offspring -- Lauren Ashley Shaffer, Lindsey Shaffer, Hannah Shaffer and Dillon Shaffer. John helped his grandmother Anna Belle (Van Dyke) Breegle compile her Breegle Family Tree booklet, when she was in her 85th year. Circa 1994, he was employed as an engineer with Packard Electric in Warren, OH. John later wed again to Valerie ( ? - ? ).

Daughter Luanne B. Shaffer ( ? - ? ) entered into marriage with Rich Esbenshade.

~ Daughter Barbara Ellen (Breegle) Green ~

Daughter Barbara Ellen Breegle (1945- ? ) was born on April 26, 1945 in Greensburg. 

Barbara relocated with her parents and siblings to Niles, OH. She was a 1963 graduate of Niles High School. Then as a young woman, she earned a living with Packard Electric.

On Sept. 3, 1966, when she was 21 years old, she wedded Raymond Allen Green ( ? - ? ), serving at the time with the U.S. Air Force. 

Their only daughter is Stephanie Marie "Sunshine" Green. 

The newlyweds relocated to Wichita, KS, where Raymond was stationed with the Air Force during the Vietnam War.

Later, Greens migrated back to Niles, where Barbara was trained as a cosmetologist and went on to a hair styling career "using her outgoing personality and sassy style to build a loyal clientele," said an obituary in the Warren Tribune-Chronicle. She also was employed over the years with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Northwest Airlines, Hilton Hotels and as a cafeteria worker at a local elementary school.

"Some would say Barb was born to entertain," said the Tribune-Chronicle. "She loved hosting holiday meals for her family, summer bbqs with friends, and she baked the most delicious cookies at Christmas time that she delighted in sharing with loved ones. She loved music, namely Elvis and Conway Twitty, and imparted her love of good tunes on her daughter. Barbara was witty and funny. Stubborn and fiery. Loving and thoughtful."  

Their residence in 1991 was in McDonald, OH.

Barbara Ellen passed away on July 9, 2023. 

Daughter  Stephanie Marie "Sunshine" Green (1974- ? ) was born in 1974. She was the mother of Charlie Green and the spouse of Andrea Cipriani.


Copyright © 2000, 2003-2006, 2018, 2023 Mark A. Miner
Minerd.com extends its gratitude to Jada Dawn Breegle and the late Anna Belle (Van Dyke) Breegle for sharing material for this biography.