Words of Remembrance
William “Chip” Essick Jr., of East Earl, Pa., who was a resident of Rose Valley, Pa. for more than 60 years, passed away peacefully on February 16, 2021, at the age of 82.
The son of the late Grier Essick & Mary (née Blounts) Essick, Chip was preceded in death by his son Christopher.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 45 years, Susan (née Bair) Essick, his adoring children and step-children and their spouses Grier Essick of Sea Isle City, N.J., James Essick of Wilmington, Del., Debra Smith of Wilmington, Del., Kelly Caulfield (Bob) of Rose Valley, Pa. and Douglas Wilmerton of San Jose, Cal. Chip was also a devoted grandfather to ten grandchildren: Ethan, Mariel, Elene, Melat, Chandler, Alison, Maxwell, Harrison, Rori and Ian, all of whom affectionately referred to him as “Papa”. Additionally, he is survived by his sister Dorothy “Dottie” Schantz (Denny) of Salisbury, Md., a niece Andrea Bullock (Stephen) and Andrea’s two children.
Chip graduated from Nether Providence High School in Wallingford, Pa. After obtaining his Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree from Drexel University and his Pennsylvania licenses as a Certified Public Accountant and Nursing Home Administrator, Chip served as a trusted advisor to a diverse group of businesses, entrepreneurial endeavors, not-for-profit organizations, and civic associations for more than 50 years. Chip was proficient in business, finance and legal matters, and reveled in volunteering his expertise to those in need.
Chip and his family moved to Rose Valley in 1949, beginning a long and proud history with the community. His parents – especially his mother, were instrumental in reviving the Rose Valley Folk Variety Show after World War II. Mary choreographed all the dance routines, and made all the costumes for many years, and Chip participated in the Variety Show until a few years ago.
After moving away for a period, Chip returned to Rose Valley in 1976 with his wife Susan and her children Kelly and Doug. The family lived in the Shay house on the Saul Estate. They left in 2017 for an open road adventure, traveling the country in their RV.
Chip was a most generous and giving person, especially to Rose Valley community organizations. He joined the Rose Valley Borough Council in 1977 as Controller. He held this position until 1989, when he became a Councilman until 1994. In 1985, after Hedgerow Theater burned down, Chip helped form the Hedgerow Foundation, and with Susan became part of the Hedgerow Guild, raising funds and giving financial advice. In 1988, when the Rose Valley Swim Club was in need of major repairs to survive, Chip devised a financial plan that helped save the pool. In 2012, Chip was one of the founding members of the Rose Valley Centennial Foundation, which ultimately accepted ownership of Thunderbird Lodge, now home to the Rose Valley Museum.
After his family, Chip’s big love was cars. His particular passion was restoring antique Cadillacs and owning recreational vehicles. A longtime member of the Cadillac LaSalle Club, he loved to go to car shows at the fairgrounds of Carlisle and Hershey, Pa. Later in his retirement Chip enjoyed collecting toy trains and model cars.
Chip was a true gentleman and wore the warmest smile in the room. He was goodness, kindness, wisdom, and wit, combined in a person who was both easygoing and full of life.
Chip’s family intends to hold a celebration of his life on June 6, 2021, at the Old Mill, 9 Old Mill Lane, Rose Valley, Pa. Relatives and friends are invited to a visitation beginning at 11 a.m., with words of remembrance beginning at noon. Interment of ashes will be held privately.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Chip’s memory to the Rose Valley Centennial Foundation, 41 Rose Valley Rd., Rose Valley, PA 19063. https://www.rosevalley100.org/