Obituaries

Dayton P. Baker, 83, Kline’s Resort, died April 3 at Borgess Medical Center. He was born in Lawton on Aug. 30, 1934, the son of Donald J. and Vera E. (Pierson) Baker. He was a graduate of Kalamazoo Central High School. Dayton started his employment at Eckrich Meats. Later he joined the Upjohn company as a chemical operator, retiring after 27 years of service. After retirement, he went to work for his son, Jerry, at the Canopeum. Dayton was married to Betty Jane Allen on Aug. 27, 1955 in Oshtemo. Betty died in 1997. He married Maxine (Romer) Philbrick on July 25, 1998 in Englewood, Fla. They attended the Englewood Methodist Church, and Dayton enjoyed many rounds of golf in the winter months. He was a former member of the Mendon Kiwanis Club. Dayton is survived by his wife, Maxine; sons Gerald (Karen) Baker of Lawton, Michael Baker of Kalamazoo, and Randall Baker of Colon; step-children Russell (Melissa) Philbrick of Venice, Fla., Phillip (Melanie) Philbrick of Syracuse, N.Y., and Janet (Heath) Hedden of Kalamazoo; 13 grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; a son, Craig Baker; and by siblings Eunice Baker, Pierson “Bud” Baker, Bonnabelle “Bonnie” Grate, Lura Vining, Donnadene “Donna” Bonnell, Donald J. Baker, Jr., Jack Baker, and Jacqueline “Jackie” Laymon. A memorial service was held on Saturday, April 14 in the West Mendon Community Church. A private interment of ashes will take place in Mendon Cemetery. Memorial donations may be directed to the family, or to the Englewood United Methodist Church. Condolences may be expressed at eickhofffuneralhome.com.

Elmer L. Baker, 89, Vicksburg, passed away February 26. He was born to Benton and Carrie (Orr) Baker on February 7, 1929. Like many young men, Elmer was drafted, where he fibbed on his birth-date and began serving in the U.S. Army. He served as a heavy-equipment operator in the years between World War II and Korea. Elmer worked as a machine tender for Simpson Paper for 36 years prior to retiring. Whether at work or within his community, Elmer was a man who could be counted on and trusted. At home with his family, he enjoyed all different kinds of animals including cows, ducks, geese, chickens, and even a pair of raccoons. He also enjoyed tending to his huge garden and had a love for hummingbirds and various wildlife. Elmer spent time tinkering here and there and could literally fix anything broken. When his wife, Marie fell ill and developed dementia, Elmer lovingly cared for her for 10 years until she sadly passed away in 2004. He is survived by his children, Tim (Carol) Baker, of Colon; Larry (Virginia) Baker, of Florida; Beverly (Jim) Currier, of Sturgis; Lana Koole, of Portage; Janet (Daniel) Reitz-Galo, of Portage; Donald Ely, of Portage; Susan (Dann) Louis, of Three Rivers; 13 grandchildren and 36 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by siblings Larry (Dorma) Baker, of West Virginia; Marjorie (Floyd) McMinn; Mary Ann (Henry) Richards; Nancy (Brad) Crouse; Barbara (Phil) Tracy; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife, Marie; siblings James Baker, Robert Baker, Wayne Baker; and Doris Jean Talkington; and an infant grandchild, Samantha. A memorial service was held Saturday, March 3 at the McCowen & Secord Family Funeral Home. Visit his page at lifestorynet.com. Donations may go to Generous Hands.

John R. Bonnema, Schoolcraft, passed away Friday morning, March 30. John was born December 16, 1927 in Kalamazoo to the late William and Anna (Kiel) Bonnema. John was owner and operator of Bonnema Masonry Construction until his retirement in 1993. He was a charter member of Prairie Edge Christian Reformed Church, where he served as elder, deacon and Sunday School superintendent. He was also one of the founding members of the Singing Crusaders and served on the Board at both the Gospel Mission and South Christian School. John enjoyed the outdoors, especially hunting and fishing with his grandchildren. On August 26, 1949, he was united in marriage to his loving wife of 68 years, Katherine “Kay” (Ritsema), who survives. Also surviving are his children, Robert (Beth) Bonnema, Don (Toni) Bonnema, Laurie (Dennis) Mulder, Joan (Tom) Brussee; 14 grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren. John was preceded in death by his three brothers and two sisters. Services were held on Wednesday, April 11 at Prairie Edge Christian Reformed Church. Private family interment will be in Schoolcraft Cemetery. Memorials may be directed to Prairie Edge Christian Reformed Church or the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission. Visit his page at langelands.com.

Rex William Bragg, 88, Vicksburg, passed away April 12. He was born to John and Jenny (Weber) Bragg on February 6, 1930 in Greentown, Ind. Rex served in the military and was deployed to Korea during the Korean War. He worked as a tool and die maker for almost 32 years at General Motors. Rex began working at the Marion, Ind. Fisher Body Plant in 1954, and the Delco-Remy prior to that. In 1966, Fisher Body transferred him to the Kalamazoo area. There, he and his wife, Glory, set up roots and raised their family in a loving, close-knit home. He began a Boy Scout Troop in Fulton where he served as scoutmaster from 1967 to 1972, followed by a year in Vicksburg. In the late 1980s, Rex and Glory became members of Vicksburg United Methodist Church where they both grew in their faith. In 1985 they moved to Kline’s Resort. They were members of the Michigan Motor Home Club as well as the Happy Traveler’s Club. In addition, Rex was a member of the Vicksburg Lions Club, UAW Local 488, the DAV and a Masonic Lodge member. He also served his community as a Wakeshma Township firefighter. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Glory; children Gary (Kathy) Bragg of Three Rivers, Paula (Randy) Lee of Kalamazoo, Tonya (Robert) Weiandt of Portage; grandchildren Trisha (Joseph) Howard of Greenville, Dawn (Kyle) Rice of Three Rivers, Kristen (Calvin) Klinger of Vicksburg, Jeremy Lee of Kalamazoo, Nicholas (Kelsey) Lee of Parchment; Elizabeth Lee of Kalamazoo, Karl (Elysia) Armstrong of Three Rivers, Katherine (Khanh) Dang of Caledonia; great-grandchildren Emily, Riley, Addison, Nathan, Colton, Collin, Karlie, Izzabella, Caden, Ryan, and Micah. He was preceded in death by two great-grand angel babies and his seven siblings. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to South County Help A Vet Fund and Wreaths Across America at wreathsacrossamerica-braggfamily on Facebook. Arrangements by McCowen & Secord Family Life Story Funeral Home.

Anna Elizabeth Brown, 103, Vicksburg, passed away April 21. She was born Elizabeth Anna Multhaupt on December 8, 1914, in Kalamazoo, the daughter of Frederick and Elizabeth (Banziger) Multhaupt. Her early education was in Oshtemo before she continued on to graduate from the Kalamazoo Central High School class of 1931. Anna attended the Oshtemo Methodist Church, where she met a young violinist named Ralph David Brown. They eventually married, settled in Vicksburg in 1941 and made a home there for 77 years. Anna was one of the founding members of the Vicksburg Ambulance Service along with her husband, Ralph, and several other community members. She was an EMT, and loved it until she retired at 76. She was always sewing and repairing clothes. However, her greatest love was gardening. Anna was very patriotic and always flew the American flag, even on her car. She loved parades. She served on the Village Council. She was a member of the Scotts Elmwood Chapter 88 of the Pythian Sisters, serving as Grand Chief of the State of Michigan in 1972-73. In 1976, as part of the bicentennial celebration, she was chosen as one of 150 outstanding women of Michigan. At the age of 100, she was recognized by the South County Emergency Medical Service when it named the classroom in her honor. Surviving are six loving children: Nancy (Otto) Decker, Vicksburg; Patricia (Paul) Weber, Kalamazoo; Ralph David (Wendy) Brown Jr., Bay City; Elizabeth (William) Bushouse, Helen (David) Horn, and John (Laurie) Brown, all of Kalamazoo; 19 grandchildren, several great and great-great grandchildren, a sister, Wilma Cooper, Kalamazoo; many nieces, nephews and cousins, as well as many relatives in Germany and Switzerland. She was preceded in death by her husband, Ralph; a son, Robert; her parents; brother Arthur Multhaupt; sisters Cora Miller, Emilie Smith, and Mary Barnes; and grandchildren Sara Brown, Paul Decker and Diane (Bushouse) Evans. Donations may go to Hospice of Southwest Michigan or a charity of your choice. Visit her page at joldersma-klein.com.

Lyle R Davis (“Rube”), 91, Schoolcraft, passed away peacefully in his home on March 20. He was born on July 12, 1926 to the late Charles and Verle (Dooley) Davis. Lyle lived his entire life in the Schoolcraft area and graduated from Schoolcraft High School. Following in his father’s footsteps, he became a union carpenter, building area schools and apartments. He eventually went into residential building for himself. Lyle is a WWII Navy veteran. Until his mid-eighties, he marched in Schoolcraft’s annual 4th of July and Memorial Day Parades with the Drill Team or Color Guard. Lyle was preceded in death by his wife of 66 years, Geneva (Lance) Davis. They were married on April 27, 1946. He was also preceded in death by his brothers, David and Roy Davis; a brother-in-law, Donald Patnoude; sisters-in-law Pat Davis and Helen Lance; great grandchildren Garrick Roemer and Onika, Talon, and Landon Kessler. Lyle is survived by his children, Kay (Lou) Scohy, Wanda (Walter) Scott, Rod (Cynthia) Davis, and Logan (Craig) Roe. He was the beloved grandpa of 12 grandchildren, and 20-plus great grandchildren. Also surviving are his sister-in-law, Charline (Lance) Patnoude; brother-in-law Lyle Lance; and several nieces and nephews. A graveside service for Lyle was held on April 21 in the Schoolcraft cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan, Schoolcraft American Legion or the American Red Cross of Southwest Michigan.

Virginia “Ginny” (Bent) Davis, 93, Schoolcraft, passed away peacefully at home April 9. Ginny was born on January 13, 1925, the daughter of the late Albert V. Kimball, Sr. and Isabelle Ann (Stevens) Kimball. She was preceded in death by her first husband, Gerald Bent, whom she married in 1945, and her second husband, Ralph Davis, whom she married in 1972. She was also preceded by her brother, Albert V. Kimball, Jr. Ginny worked at the Upjohn Company for 15 years. Ginny is survived by a daughter, Cindy (Richard) Shattuck, and a granddaughter, Marcy (Michael) Charvat. Also surviving are great-grandchildren Carson, Gavin and Gabrielle Charvat; a sister, Mary Purdham; nephew Albert (Debbie) Kimball III; niece Deborah Linden; and a sister-in-law, Mary Lou Kimball. In accordance with Ginny’s wishes, cremation has taken place. Donations may go to the Animal Rescue Project.

Alan Grauman, Vicksburg, passed away peacefully at his home April 16. He was born on August 24, 1948 to the late Allen and Mara (Morescalchi) Grauman. His parents met in Italy while his father was a young U.S. soldier following World War II. Alan attended school in Portage, Venezuela and Italy. He and his new wife Cecilia’s first home was on Main Street in Vicksburg, a home they purchased with another couple. A big old house, the other couple lived upstairs and they lived downstairs. In 1976 they moved into the rural area of Vicksburg making the country roads their forever home. Alan worked at Consumers Energy in engineering before transferring to the company’s IT department. Alan’s interests were far and wide, and after retiring in 2015, it gave him just the time he needed to enjoy them. He couldn’t resist anything that needed to be put together and programmed. He liked computers, and was good at working on them. Over the years he acquired quite a collection of used computer and electronic parts because he might have needed them someday. Alan’s family includes his wife, Cecilia (Reisterer); daughter Jaime (Chris) Payne; son Jesse Grauman; grandchildren Madeline, Linus, India, Amaya and Jesse; siblings Judy Grauman and Mila (Jim) Beck, and several nieces and nephews. Funeral services were held on Friday, April 20 at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Home. Please visit Alan’s personal web page at http://www.BetzlerFuneralHome.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign his online guestbook. Memorial donations may be made to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.

Gracie Harber, 93, Vicksburg, went to be with the Lord on March 24, at her home with her family at her side. Gracie was born on February 19, 1925 to James & Josie (McCullah) Stokes. Services were held on Monday, April 2 at the McCowen & Secord Family Funeral Home. Gracie’s family includes her daughters, Sharon (Frank) Burr, Donna Cartwright and Vickie (Brian) Klassen; grandchildren Angela (Kristopher) Wilson, Joseph Cartwright, Wendy (Darin Frederickson) Burr, Tracy (Mark) Thomas, Scott (Nicole) Klassen, Lisa (Adam) Brewer; great grandchildren Stephen, Josh, Hannah, Sydney, William, Stevine and a baby on the way, as well as several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband of 50 years, George, and six siblings. Visit her page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to Community Baptist Church of Vicksburg or Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.

Andrew H. Lewis, Kalamazoo, formerly of Vicksburg, passed away at his home April 9. He was born on June 15, 1933 in Kalamazoo, a son of Gilbert and Bertha (Dykehouse) Lewis. He was a life-long area resident. Andrew entered the US Army just before his 20th birthday and served in the Korean War before being honorably discharged in 1955. He returned home and worked for the Upjohn Company until his retirement in 1990. Andrew was a member of Saint Martin of Tours Catholic Church, a life member of VFW Post 5855 and a member of American Legion Post 207, Eagles Aerie 3531 and Moose International. Andrew was preceded in death by his parents; a brother, Albert Lewis; a sister, Adeline Lewis; and a brother-in-law, Marvin “Luke” Lukomski. In 1962, Andrew married the former Marlene Lukomski, who survives. Also surviving are five children and their spouses: David (Candy) Lewis of Portage, Carolyn (Brian) Kitzmiller of Vicksburg, Diann (Jeff) Roodbergen of Vicksburg, Gary (Karin) Lewis of Wake Forest, N.C. and Daniel (Lynette) Lewis of Kalamazoo; 13 grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; a brother, Lawrence (Beverly) Lewis of Vicksburg; sister-in-law, Patricia Lewis; many nieces and nephews; and his beloved dog, Princess. Cremation has taken place. Internment with military honors was held at Ft. Custer National Cemetery. Donations may go to VFW Post 5855, Paralyzed Veterans of America or to the American Heart Association.

A memorial dinner will be held in honor of Marilyn Lindley at the
Scotts Community Center on May 6th from 1-4:30.

Ann Linton of Vicksburg will be honored with a memorial service to be held at Lakeland Reformed Church, 10442 Sprinkle Rd., Vicksburg, on May 19. Visitation with the family begins at 10 a.m. and the service is at 11 a.m. She turned 107 on February 14 and passed away on February 24.

Marcia C. Meyer, Schoolcraft, passed away April 18. She was born to Wendell Millard and Roberta “Bert” Arndt on July 22, 1975. Marcia attended school in Luther, Mich., where she played volleyball, and was also a member of the National Honor Society. After graduating from Pine River High School in 1993, she attended college in the Kalamazoo area. Throughout her life, Marcia was always busy. Marcia worked for 14 years at Summit Polymers, the last six years as a purchasing coordinator. Marcia absolutely loved taking pictures, and she also enjoyed traveling and snowmobiling. Marcia Meyer was one of the funniest people around. She loved making others laugh, and she was outgoing, giving, and friendly. Marcia’s family includes her husband, Terry; daughter Andrea; parents Wendell and Bert Millard, of Wisconsin; siblings Sondra Smith, of Schoolcraft, Beth (Mike) Dennison, of Indiana, and Denny Millard, also of Indiana. Services were held Monday, April 30 at the McCowen & Secord Family Funeral Homes, Rupert-Durham Chapel, Vicksburg. Burial followed at Schoolcraft Cemetery. Visit her page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to the West Michigan Cancer Center or Schoolcraft Schools.

Barbara Northam, 65, Scotts, died April 2. Barbara was born June 9, 1952 in Berwyn, Ill., the daughter of Michael and Betty Piotrowski. Services were held at on Wednesday, April 4 at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Home. Visitation in Darien, Ill. took place on Friday, April 6 at the Modell Funeral Home. Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Saturday, April 7 at Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church, Darien, with interment in Clarendon Hills Cemetery. Barbara is survived by her husband, Jim; children Matthew (Laura) Northam and Angeline (Matthew) Anderton. Other members of her family include grandchildren, Ella, Julia, Claire and Andrew; and sisters Sandra Chereshkoff and Debra (Randy) Kieras. Visit her page at BetzlerFuneralHome.com. Donations may go to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.

Robin M. Shearer, Grand Rapids, died April 19. Robin was born on June 28, 1952 to Victor and Marjorie Girolami in Hamilton, OH. She was pre-deceased by her husband, Andrew F. Shearer, her son, Owen K. Shearer, and her parents. Robin spent her early childhood in Hamilton, Ohio and moved with her family to Michigan in 1965. She graduated from Vicksburg High School and attended Kalamazoo Valley Community College. She married the love of her life, Andy Shearer, on June 23, 1973. Robin and Andy helped run the Vicksburg Tastee Freeze for many years. Robin was very active in the Grand Rapids International Fellowship Church of the Nazarene. She is survived by seven siblings: Vicki Smith(Dan), Andrew Girolami (Rhonda), Chuck Girolami (Diana), Cathy Holden (Chris), Rick Girolami (Sandy), Lynn Baragar (Todd), and David Girolami. She is also survived by many nieces, nephews, great nieces, great nephews and great-greats. There will be a memorial service May 15, at the Grand Rapids International Fellowship Church of the Nazarene at 6:30 p.m. Her cremains will be interred with her husband, Andy Shearer, and next to her son, Owen.

Norma Jean Suess (Switzer), 81, passed away unexpectedly but peacefully in her sleep at her Fort Myers, FL, home April 8. Born May 16, 1936, to Alva and Helen (Hall) Switzer at their home in Kalamazoo, she was a 1954 graduate of Vicksburg High School and married Alan Suess of Plainwell on December 29, 1956. Her husband’s academic career took them around the Midwest, from the University of Illinois, to Ohio State University and finally to Purdue University in Indiana, where they raised their family.  It also took Norma around the world, living in India for a short stint and in Turkey for a few years, visiting a dozen countries in Europe and Asia in between. She owned her own interior design boutique for 30 years and was a lifelong painter in pastels, oil, and acrylics. She continued taking seminars at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts in her retirement as she summered in Portage on West Lake. She formed several groups for golfing, going to movies, book clubs and an art guild. She was active to the end, golfing to the last day. Norma is survived by her children, Theresa, Matthew (Bonnie), and Eric (Kimberly) and grandchildren Deric and Derin, and by her sisters Judy Lewis (Eli), Fran Rigney (Carl), and Patricia Bittenbender (Milan). She was preceded in death by her brother, Alvin (Sonny), and her parents. A celebration of life service will be held July 14 at 11 a.m. at Chapman Memorial Church of the Nazarene. The family will begin receiving friends at the church one hour prior to the service. Donations may go to the Alan Suess Scholarship at the Purdue Polytechnic Institute online at giving.purdue.edu.

Norma June Vargo, 79, Portage, passed away April 6. Norma was born on February 27, 1939 in Mishawaka, Ind. She was the daughter of Frederick and Irene (Landcraft) Boldt. On July 20, 1957, she married James Vargo at St. Ann’s Catholic Church. She owned and operated the Sale Barn in Schoolcraft. She is survived by her children, Mark (Mary) Vargo, of Three Rivers and Julie Shaffer, of Portage; granddaughter Jenna Courtney; siblings Fred (Marj) Boldt, John Boldt and MaryAnn (Art) Webber. She was preceded in death by her husband, Jim Vargo, in 2005. A private entombment for Norma will be held at the Mount Ever-Rest Memorial Park. Visit her page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan. The family is being assisted by the McCowen & Secord Family Funeral Home.

Lynn D. Whyle, Vicksburg, passed away April 16, at home. Lynn was born August 10, 1946 in Kalamazoo, the daughter of the late Charles and Evelyn (Swan) Senne and a lifelong resident in the Kalamazoo area. She was employed for 30 years with the Upjohn Company and enjoyed doing crafts which involved quilting and needlework. She also enjoyed spending time on the computer and doing volunteer work in Lake Placid, Fla. for five years, just after her retirement. On October 25, 1985 she was united in marriage to her loving husband, Robert “Bob” Whyle III, who survives. Also surviving are her children, Julie (Ben) Glazebrook, Stephen (Sarah) Bauserman; grandchildren Kelsey Emery, Carly and Alexander Glazebrook; step-children Deborah Waite, Carla Harrington, and Robert Whyle IV; brother, Richard Senne; and several nieces and nephews. Lynn was preceded in death by a sister, Patricia “Patti” Capman. Services were held on April 21 at the Langeland Family Funeral Home. Interment was at Riverside Cemetery. Memorials may be directed to Grace Hospice.

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