Danny Lee Castle, was born April 30, 1953, in Kalamazoo, the son of Glenn and Irene (Cothran) Castle. He graduated from Galesburg-Augusta High School in 1971. Danny liked to tell folks he studied at the University of Honky-Tonks, Dives and Biker Bars, where he could often be found playing as a member of the band. Music was Danny’s language, his vocation and his greatest joy. He played in several regional and local bands throughout the years including North Country, Upland Express, Barker’s Castle, and JAG Band. In 1974, Danny composed the song, “Michigan Again,” which was recorded by Rutzy Leonard and the Morrow River Gang on WOW records in 1978. On his 65th birthday, Danny was diagnosed with a very rare type of bile duct cancer that had metastasized throughout his body. He fought hard to enjoy the remaining days of his life – far exceeding the short life expectancy he had been given. Danny’s legacy will be the many ways he showed his family and friends the value of living life on your own terms, keeping a song in your heart and demonstrating that love and kindness are by far the most important and richest traits a person can possess. Danny began his celebration in the afterlife on Feb. 24, reuniting with his parents and brothers, William Castle and Carl “Butch” Castle. Danny is survived by his loving wife, Dana Hetrick Castle, and children Angela (Kevin Dockerty) Peck, of Schoolcraft; Elizabeth (Tyler) Cheesebro of Virginia Beach, Va. and Jake (Haley) Ross of Ooltewah, Tenn. He was affectionately known as Grampy to Rilley, Lillian and Serie Briggs; Mason and Peyton Ross and Graham and Fynn Cheesebro. Danny is also survived by three siblings, Larry Castle of Florida, Susan (Robert) Eaton of Portage, Mary (Bruce) Edmonson of Parchment; sisters-in-law Janis (John) Castle-Dodge of Mason, Mich. and Linda Castle of Galesburg; a very special cousin, Colleen (Dennis) Ocker of Grand Rapids; several special nieces, nephews, and cousins as well as a large circle of friends. A memorial gathering was held on Saturday, March 2 at the VFW in Augusta. A memorial wake will be held later this summer. The family is being assisted by the McCowen & Secord Family Funeral Home, Rupert-Durham Chapel, Vicksburg.
Lee A. Coville, Sr., 91, Vicksburg, passed away Feb. 4. Lee was born Aug. 12, 1927 to Harold and Luvera (Verrill) Coville. Lee was a lifelong farmer who also enjoyed dancing, singing karaoke, bowling, and his family. He was honorably discharged from the Army Air Corps in 1947. Lee leaves behind his wife, Lori Ann (Bacon); a son, Lynn (Stacey) of Vicksburg; a daughter, Beth Marie (David) Davis, of Dowagiac; and a stepdaughter, Molly Beale (Dan) of Vicksburg. Lee also leaves behind 11 grandchildren and several great-grandchildren. Lee is survived by his brother, Wendell (Linda) Coville; daughter in law, Karen Coville; and several other brothers and sisters in law. Lee was preceded in death by his wife, Evelyn Marie (Brown); a son, Lee Albert Jr.; a sister, Annabelle Scheibner; a brother, Harold (Barney) Coville; and a nephew, Thomas “Jeffrey” Brown, whom he raised. Donations may be directed to the Coville family to cover expenses.
Janet Ellen Doorn, 71, Scotts, passed Feb. 2. She is survived by daughters Michael (Chris) Schoultz of Scotts and Deanne (Jeremy Crabtree) Doorn of Portage; siblings Carol (Ken) Stuart, James Nelson; sister in law Linda Hinds; grandchildren Andrew, Olivia, and Jaxson as well as several special nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her daughter, Amy Bartolameolli; parents Ed and Anne Nelson; siblings Rick, Tom, and Barbara; as well as Don Doorn. Please visit Janet’s page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to the family.
Max “Mike” Eberstein, 76, Vicksburg, passed away Feb. 3. He was born Dec. 1, 1942, in Vicksburg,to Max E. and Marie (Stevens) Eberstein. He is survived by his wife, Jill Eberstein; his children, Scott (Linda) Eberstein, Sherry (Ivan) Riddle, Kevin (Lisa) Eberstein, and Tammy (Tom) Parsons; 19 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. Due to Mike’s wishes the family will be having a private memorial service. Donations may be made to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan or the West Michigan Cancer Center. Please visit Max’s page at langelands.com.
James E. Erskine, Scotts, passed away Feb. 7. He was born to Ernest and Marcella Erskine on June 11, 1946. After graduating from Vicksburg High School, he served in the U.S. Marine Corps and was honorably discharged in 1968. He worked at General Motors for 33 years. One of Jim’s highlights was the annual pig roast that he hosted for 30 years. One of his favorite things to do was to head up north to his deer camp near Escanaba. Jim’s family includes his wife, Bonnie Erskine; daughters Shelly Hirdning and Stacy Erskine; step-children Maria (Mick) McCallister and Kevin Bowling; granddaughter Shelby Hirdning; step-grandchildren Terra McCallister, Karissa McCallister, Miranda McCallister, Caden Bowling, Conner Bowling and Carson Bowling; great-granddaughter Paisley Bunch; siblings Virginia Schuring, Judy (Don) Hatfield, and John Erskine. Jim also leaves behind numerous close friends. Jim was preceded in death by his parents, brother-in-law Robert Schuring and granddaughter Stephanie Hirdning. Jim will be buried with military honors at the Fort Custer National Cemetery. Visit Jim’s page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to Heartland Hospice.
Linda Gail Gerow, Schoolcraft, died peacefully Feb. 16 at Rose Arbor Hospice. She was born to Clayton and Twilah (Huss) Stevens on December 17, 1950. She graduated from Portage Central in 1969. Surviving are her husband, Kim; children Sarah Gasper, Jeff (Deanna) Gerow, and Mandy (Ryan) White; grandchildren Cory, Derek, Bailey, Clayton, Brennan, Savannah, Irelyn, Lindsay, Chelsea, Brooke; five great-grandchildren; father-in-law Raymond Gerow; and many nieces and nephews. Linda was preceded in death by her parents. Services were held Thursday, Feb. 21. Burial will take place at Fort Custer National Cemetery. Please visit Linda’s page at betzlerfuneralhome.com. Donations may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Dr. John Michael “Mick” Hanley, 73, of Scotts, passed away Feb. 11. He was born September 26, 1945 in Butte, Montana to the late John and Elizabeth (Harrington) Hanley. Mick earned his B.A. in English from the University of Montana-Dillon. He taught high school English and coached for three years. He then earned his M.A. in speech-pathology and audiology from the University of Montana and practiced in public schools until 1974. Later, he earned his Ph.D. in speech hearing and science from the University of Iowa, where he served as a faculty member from 1977-1980 before joining the faculty at Western Michigan University. In 1990, Mick became the chair of Western’s Speech Pathology and Audiology Department and served in that position for 17 years. Mick’s areas of expertise included research, training, and clinical emphasis on the communication disorder of stuttering. During his years at WMU, Mick won the WMU Distinguished Service Award as well as the Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders Distinguished Service Award. In 2006, the John “Mick” Hanley Endowed Scholarship was established at Western. Mick enjoyed golfing, skiing, reading, and camping. He was married to his best friend, Sherry Matson, on Aug. 10, 1968. Mick was preceded in death by his parents and a son, Kevin Sean Hanley. He is survived by his loving wife of 50 years, Sherry Hanley; son, Keith Michael (Lisa) Hanley; grandchildren, Brady John and Brody Michael Hanley; sister, June (Joel) Berry; brother, James Hanley; and numerous nieces and nephews. Donations may be made to the Dr. John M. Hanley Endowed Scholarship at Western Michigan University or the American Cancer Society.
Fred Kohler, 71, Vicksburg, passed away Feb. 10. He was born Sept. 20, 1947 to Arnold and Maxine Kohler. Fred’s family includes his former wife, Cynthia Wolf; children Arnie (Melissa) Kohler, Bradley Kohler and Pamela Grgrich; grandchildren Devon, Jordan and McKenzie; siblings Tom (Brenda) Skelton, Mike (Marsha) Skelton and Dennis (Joan) Humphrey and many nieces and nephews. Fred was preceded in death by his parents and a sister, Nancy Shutes. A memorial service for Fred will be held at a later date to be announced. Services are being handled by McCowen & Secord Life Story Family Funeral Home, Rupert-Durham Chapel, Vicksburg. Fred will be buried with military honors at the Fort Custer National Cemetery. Visit Fred’s page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to Disabled Veterans.
Marjorie “Margie” Luther, 87, Vicksburg, passed away unexpectedly January 28. She was born to the late Melba Mueller Hoger and Elmer “Mac” Hoger on August 27, 1931. Margie spent her early years on Throop Street in Chicago. Margie married in 1960 and divorced after 14 years. After that, she lived and worked independently in Brookfield, Ill. She retired from Allied Products as assistant to the president in 1997. Margie inherited her parents’ lakeside home in Vicksburg, a place familiar from her childhood. The home was built on Indian Lake in 1911 by her maternal grandfather, Charles Mueller. It was a family summer cottage and has remained in the family for over a century. Margie had it renovated and retired there in 1998. Margie is survived by her first cousins, Dorothy Brown of Midlothian, Ill., Warren Hoger of Wheaton, Ill.; Chuck Hoger of Anaheim, Calif.; and Patti Pigney of Palm City, Fla.; other family members (especially Beth Hoger, and Patti and Pete Koelle), kind neighbors (especially Jon and Kitty Kachniewicz), and her church family (especially her Bible study group and Pastor Joan). Donations may go to Lord of Life Lutheran Church or South County Community Services. Margie’s life will be remembered on March 26 at Lord of Life Lutheran Church. Margie’s remains will be interred at a later date at Concordia Cemetery in Forest Park, Ill. Arrangements by Joldersma & Klein Funeral Home.
Robert E. Smith, 67, Vicksburg, passed away Feb. 3. He was born to Sidney and Dawn (Horning) Smith on July 15, 1951, the oldest of seven children. He graduated from Comstock High School in 1969 and enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving for 12 years. Bob loved selling his pumpkins at the Vicksburg Farmers’ Market. He later learned to make and sell delicious homemade jams and maple syrup. Bob had a knack for making others feel special. He was a former president of the Vicksburg Historical Society, a member of the Farmers’ Market Board, and helped with the advertising of the South County News when it was first starting out. He was especially proud of his involvement with the Harvest Festival. Bob is survived by his loving wife, Kathy; a son, Brandon Smith, of Vicksburg; and a stepson, Johnathan Donlin, of Kalamazoo. Visit Bob’s page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to Generous Hands.