Janet L. Brinkert, 83, Schoolcraft, passed away peacefully Jan. 15 surrounded by her family. Janet was born Oct., 19, 1935 to Walter Jennings and Ruth Sandell. After graduating from high school, she worked for the Schoolcraft school system in her younger years before moving on to Kalamazoo County State Bank where she retired after 23 years of service in 2001. She was a member of the Jolly Doers Ladies Club as well as a member of the Schoolcraft Ladies Library. She was also active with the Schoolcraft Ambulance Service and a board member of the Schoolcraft Library. Janet will always be remembered for being independent, caring, and always being active in the Schoolcraft community. Janet’s family includes her children, Steven (Peggy) Brinkert, Chris (Susan) Brinkert, Deborah (Alan) Sorenson, Mark (Tiffany) Brinkert; nine grandchildren and five great grandchildren; sisters Alice Jennings and Mary Padilla. Janet was preceded in death by her parents as well as brothers Walter Jennings and Kenneth Jennings. Visit her page at mccowensecord.com.
James A. Dent, Vicksburg, passed away Jan. 21. He was born to Porter and Eloise Dent on September 4, 1940. Throughout his life, Jim was someone who was always doing something. He has been called the galloping gourmet as his cooking skills were remarkable. For a time, he had worked as a short order cook at a little restaurant in Leonidas. Everything Jim made was pretty fantastic, but his specialties were his bean soup and chili. His fishing buddies always looked forward to his chili as he made it for them every year. Jim especially loved cookouts. He was an avid fisherman who loved going up north fishing. Jim also got into woodworking and made many birdhouses and feeders. He also enjoyed working on stock cars with Joe Brockway. To support his family, Jim worked in a variety of jobs as a delivery driver. Jim is survived by his loving wife, Ardith Dent; children Terri (Jeff) Stuck, Louann (Andy) Coon, and Carol Dent; grandchildren Justin, Danielle, Chelsea, Morgan and Zach; and several great-grandchildren. Jim was preceded in death by his parents, daughter Sueann Howes; siblings Gerald Dent, Marie Baker and Bill Dent. Visit Jim’s page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to Rose Arbor Hospice in Kalamazoo.
Dr. Arvid L. Erlandson, Portage, passed away Dec. 31. He was born on Sept. 26, 1929 in Norway, Mich. He was Director of Microbiology and Virology at Bronson Hospital. He also did some work for Upjohn Company out of the country setting up medical labs and taught at KVCC as an adjunct professor. Arvid’s family includes his wife, Grace; children Paul (Jan) Erlandson, Kathy (Peter Sternisha) Chuhran, Terri (Kerry Getman) Negri who is a teacher in the Vicksburg school system, Mark (Alice) Erlandson, and Susan (Bryan) Duff; grandchildren Erin Warnez and Chris Erlandson, Brandon, Jesse and Megan Chuhran, Tyler and Melyssa Negri, Maddie, Emma and Claire Erlandson, and Andrew, Austin and Allie Duff; and many great-grandchildren. Donations may go to Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes or Kalamazoo Gospel Mission.
Gerald Howard Flach, Scotts, died Jan. 7, at Borgess Hospital, surrounded by his family. He was born to Clarence and Anne (Filey) Flach on Jan. 12, 1930 in Kalamazoo. He grew up on the family farm in Scotts. He served in the United States Army, becoming a veteran of the Korean Conflict. He was on active duty from Jan. 5, 1951, through December 19, 1952, working on testing the atomic bomb in Nevada. He worked at American Tool and then left to become co-owner of Kalamazoo Tool Co. for 20 years. The final years of his career were spent at Micro-Machine. He was an avid hunter and trapper and loved fishing, gardening, camping, boating, and riding his four-wheeler every day. Jerry’s family includes his wife, Dorothy Flach; children Robert (Dawn) Flach, Dennis (Donna) Flach, David Flach, John (Pam) Flach and Steve (Susan) Flach; 10 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; siblings Helen (Lawrence) Fleck, Marian (Marvin) Woodin, and Donald Flach; brother-in-law Bruce Fleck and many nieces and nephews. Jerry was preceded in death by his daughter, Mary Flach; siblings Marcelline Fleck and Fr. LaVern Flach, O.S.A. Visit Jerry’s page at BetzlerFuneralHome.com. Donations may go to St. Mary’s Catholic Church or Midwest Augustinians c/o Province of Our Mother of Good Counsel.
Shirley Fuller Smithe, died at her home in San Fernando, Calif., Dec. 7. Shirley was born at home on a farm in Avoca, Mich., June 6. 1935. She was a graduate of Schoolcraft High School and Bethel College in Indiana. Shirley was preceded in death by her parents, brothers Francis, Gerald, Ralph and Harvey, half-sisters Louella and Ester, her stepmother, stepbrother and stepsister. She is survived by her son, David Smithe, and grandson, Nevada Smithe, brother Calvin (Leona) Fuller and sister Margaret (Irvin) Chapin and several nieces and nephews. Shirley taught school to handicapped students in the Los Angeles California school district for 47 years. Her class size averaged nine students and she was helped by two assistants. In those 47 years, Shirley received seven Certificates of Excellence in teaching and several prodigious Gold Apple awards.
Kenneth J. George, Kalamazoo, died Jan. 18. Ken was born January 26, 1931 in Kalamazoo, the son of William and Evelyn (Lewis) George. He had been a lifelong Kalamazoo/Vicksburg area resident and was employed with several paper manufacturing companies including Simpson Paper, for over 20 years as an accountant before retiring. Ken was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Julane George in 2008; and brothers Dave and Harold George. He is survived by sons Brad (Beverly) George of Columbus, Ohio and Brian George of Kalamazoo; three grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; a sister, Rosemary Herrick of Redding, Calif.; and several nieces, nephews, and cousins. Private services and burial will be held at a later date. There will be no visitation. Donations may go to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.
Donald P. Linders, 79, Vicksburg, died peacefully Jan. 20. He was born on Feb. 10, 1939 to Gerard and Mary (Louis) Linders in Kalamazoo. When Don finally retired from his years of banking in 1995, he turned to many of his special interests. He found great pleasure in tending to his vegetable garden. He was known to grow an abundant supply of tomatoes, pickles, cucumbers, green peppers and raspberries. A lover of the great outdoors, a perfect day for Don included fishing in the morning and playing tennis in the afternoons. His winter retreat to Gulf Shores, Ala. also afforded him the opportunity to visit many different restaurants where he would often try to replicate the dishes when he returned home. Remarkably, he and his wife Judy went to the Iowa nationals for square dancing! They both loved the dancing as well as the lasting friendships they made over the years. Surviving Don are his loving wife, Judy; their children Lori (Kevin) VanDyke, Dave (Laura) Linders, Mike (Donna) Linders, and Dan Linders; grandchildren Ashley (Leland) Lickfelt, Jordan (Katelyn) VanDyke, Matthew (Kristina) VanDyke, Zackery Linders, Joshua Linders, Chelsea Linders, Kylie Linders and Jeremy Linders; siblings Howard Linders, Richard (Nancy) Linders, Karen (Bill) Kannegieter; sister-in-law Ruth Linders; and many special nieces and nephews. Don was preceded in death by his parents, Gerard and Mary; siblings Jack Linders, Mary-Beth Wyant, Judy Smith, sister and brother-in-law Marilyn and Herb Roseboom sister-in-law Leatha Linders; and granddaughter Kara Linders. Visit Don’s page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to the Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan or the First Presbyterian Church of Schoolcraft or other charity of your choice.
John Herbert Lynn Sr., 76, Vicksburg, passed away doing what he loved, traveling the country, Dec. 27. He was born to Wayne and Maxine (Phelps) Lynn on Oct. 9, 1942. He is survived by a brother; Richard Lynn, children Shelly Jo Lynn, John (Diane) Lynn Jr., Lorri (Terry) Hutchins, Suzie (Jason) LaMere; grandchildren Joseph, Scott, Sarah, Emily, Samantha, Parker; three great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife; Vicki E. (Galbreath) Lynn, his parents and his sister, Pat Schultz. He graduated with an agricultural degree from MSU and was proud to have served his country in the Marine Corps. The family plans to have an informal memorial at a later date. Condolences can be sent to mccowensecord.com.
Raymond E. Poulsen, 96, Schoolcraft, passed away Jan. 7 with his family by his side. Raymond is survived by his son, Jack (Patti Baggett) Poulsen, of Schoolcraft; grandchildren Chad Poulsen of Vicksburg; Andy (Daniall) Poulsen, of Vicksburg; Michelle Will Hodgman, of Schoolcraft; Joe (Jenny Lage) Poulsen, of Vicksburg; great grandchildren Kendalynn, Gracie, Easton, Jocelyn, Hailey, Davis, Sophia, Jace, Daniel, David, and Carmen. He was preceded in death by his wife, Loretta; sons Raymond and Bruce Poulsen; grandson Michael Musselman; great granddaughter Kenzie Joy Musselman. Visit Raymond’s page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to Vicksburg VFW Post #5189.
Mary Elizabeth Zonyk-Wagar, 89, Palmer, Alaska, formerly of Vicksburg, passed away peacefully at her daughter’s home Jan. 24. She was born to Walter S. Shepard and Evelyn (Farnham) Shepard in Flint on March 26, 1929. When her children reached their teenage years, Mary set off to earn her GED. She then pursued her bachelor of science degree in education. Accepting a position with the Three Rivers District at Moore Park, Mary began a remarkable 30-year career. When her daughter, Christine, earned her bachelor’s degree, Mary was right there walking beside her onstage receiving her master’s. Mary is survived by her children, Patricia (Dorman) Wilson, Christine Zonyk and George (Linda) Zonyk, grandchildren Marlo Adams, Denise (Dewayne) Wolf, Holly (Brett) Gibbens, Danielle (Travis) Wolf, Alex (Kathy) Mendiola and Jenny (Dennis) Rose, and 19 great-grandchildren. Mary was preceded in death by her parents; her husband of more than 56 years, George Zonyk; her second husband, John Wagar; sister, Barbara Rybitsky and brother, David Fultz. The family will receive friends at the McCowen & Secord Family Funeral Homes, Rupert-Durham Chapel. A Mass of Christian Burial will be at the St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church. Burial will be at the Vicksburg Cemetery following mass. The date of this event will be posted as soon as it becomes available. Visit Mary’s page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church or the Alzheimer’s Association.