Obituaries

Mary Lou Adams, 81, of Indian Lake, Vicksburg, died March 17 at Rose Arbor Hospice. She was born June 4, 1937 in Hopkins, the daughter of Vernon and Maxine (Marron) Weick. Mary Lou was a 1955 graduate of Hopkins High School and earned her bachelor’s degree in teaching from Western Michigan University. After several substitute teaching positions, she found her career at UpJohn Company working in interlibrary loans, retiring in 1996. On July 4, 1960, Mary Lou married George D. Adams. They were members of St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Parish, where she served as a Eucharistic Minister. She was a gifted crafter, including knitting, cross-stitching and quilting. She is survived by her husband, George Adams; children Dan (Sandy) Adams, Philip (Mary) Adams, and Mary Beth (Jim) Kelly; grandchildren Janae, Matt, and Joey Adams, Abby Adams (Ryan Meddaugh), Kyle, Sean, and Brendan Kelly; a brother, Bill Weick; sister Laurie Weick-Wood; sisters-in-law Gloria Shoemaker and Barb Adams; her brother-in-law Earl Bensinger; and several nieces and nephews. Donations may go to Alzheimer’s Association or Hospice of Southwest Michigan. Visit Mary Lou’s page at langelands.com.

Robert “Bob” Arndt III, 46, Vicksburg, passed away March 12. He was born on November 6, 1972. He grew up in Schoolcraft and was proud to join his father and uncle at the South Kalamazoo County Fire Authority, serving for 19 years. By 2011, his dream job came up: He left his job as a factory worker to drive a semi-truck for Steve Smith of SSS Farms. He is survived by his wife of 23 years, Dawn; children Cody (Devin Uren-Price) Arndt of Westland and Natalie Arndt of Vicksburg. He is also survived by his parents, Robert J. Arndt of Schoolcraft and Karen Korakas of Toledo, Ohio; siblings Tara (Gregg) Leavell of Battle Creek; Kim (Steve) Shafer of Decatur; Brad Hull of Leonidas; and Bryan (Tim Vancha) Hull of Zephyrhills, Fla.; nieces and nephews Dante Leavell, Drew Leavell, Tagan Pollock, Trent and Nicole Marnell, Stephen Hull, Josh Hull, Hannah Hull, and Katelyn Hatfield; mother and father-in-law Donald and Judith Hatfield, of Galion, Ohio; sister-in-law Melissa Hatfield, of Galion, Ohio; brothers-in-law Eric (Rick Fournier) Hatfield, of Mansfield, Ohio, and Kevin Hatfield, of Marcellus; and special cousin Jodi Campbell, of Schoolcraft. He was preceded in death by aunt Nancy and uncle Tim-Tom Campbell, and uncle Jerry Burch. Visit Bobby’s page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to Heartland Hospice and South Kalamazoo County Fire Authority.

Thomas Baker
, 75, Vicksburg, died suddenly on March 16. He was born in Flint Sept. 9, 1943, to Fred and Martha June Baker, and grew up in Kalamazoo. He attended Kalamazoo Central High and went on to Western Michigan University, where he studied business. He was hired by GM, one of the first hires at its Sprinkle Road plant and worked there until it closed in 1999. Tom married the love of his life, Denise Hames, in 1974. The couple had two children, Lindsay and Zachary. In retirement, he was caretaker for properties near Pretty Lake. He could fix anything, loved to play with the grandkids and fishing on Barton Lake. Tom is survived by his wife, Denise, children Lindsay Baker and Zachary (Heidi) Baker, grandchildren Alexandra and Simon, a sister, Betsy Baker, and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and a sister, Victoria Baker. Visit his page at betzlerfuneralhome.com. Donations may go to the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy.

Lori May Blakely, 37, Vicksburg, passed away March 16. She was born Dec. 15, 1981, to Robert and Elizabeth “Liz” Pierson. She attended Vicksburg schools and began dating her future husband, William Blakely, a classmate since middle school, in her senior year at Vicksburg High School. An avid reader, she also enjoyed gardening and spending time with friends and family, especially her beloved sons, Brendan and Connor. When she wasn’t deep into a novel, she was listening to her favorite country artists or 90s music. She is survived by her husband, William, sons Brendan and Connor; and siblings Jerry and Jimmy Pierson. Visit Lori’s page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to the family.

Wesley “Jack” Buckallew, 75, Vicksburg, passed away March 17. He was born Nov. 28, 1943, to Gerald and Florence Buckallew. Jack graduated from Vicksburg High School and attended KCC. He met his wife-to-be, Cynda, in the college cafeteria and married her in June, 1964. The couple raised two sons, Jeff and Mark. Jack was a Cub Scout leader and attended all of his boys’ sporting events. He was a Sunday School teacher at Vicksburg United Methodist Church and a member and past president of the Lions Club. He is survived by his wife, Cynda, sons Jeff (Kim) and Mark (Mary) and grandchildren Jordan (Lindsey), Chris, Daniela, Jason, and Braiden Buckallew. Jack was preceded in death by his parents, twin brother Joe, sisters Beverly Schuring and Alice Dibble and grandchildren Micah and Jacob Buckallew. Visit Jack’s page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to the American Diabetes Association.

Cathy Sue Farrel, 66, Schoolcraft, passed away March 22. Cathy was born on January 26, 1953 to Carrol and Jacqueline (Simpson) Syers. Cathy’s family includes her husband of 26 years, Bill; her children, Melissa Morgan, Nichole Bruner, Derek (Jessica) Farrel and William Farrel III; a sister Lorie (Bernie) Smith; grandchildren Katlynn, Bradley, Beth, Bryon, Lila, Jamie, Monica, DJ, Adi and Harper; great-grandchildren Makayla and Emma as well as several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents and her brother, Ron Syers. Cathy was a great mother who loved her family dearly. A memorial service is being planned.

Marilyn Marie (Mason) Keene, 88, of Kalamazoo, formerly of Vicksburg, passed away peacefully at Friendship Village March 7, with her family by her side. Marilyn was born on June 5, 1930 in Kalamazoo. She graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School in 1948 and attended Western Michigan University where she met her husband, James Terrell Keene. On July 27th, 1951 they were married. Marilyn worked as a nursery school teacher, 4-H leader and enjoyed her time as a local garden club member. She taught ceramics and started a successful floral business that specialized in providing silk flowers for weddings. She enjoyed writing poetry and stories for her grandchildren, painting beautiful watercolors and researching her family history. She is survived by her husband, daughters Suzanne (Brian) Rucker, Lori (Floyd) Phalen; grandchildren Lindsey Rucker, James (Maggie) Rucker, Emily (Kyle Waite) Rucker; great grandchildren Marilyn Waite and Max Rucker; a sister, Janis (Jack) Loomis and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, Beulah (Loomis) Mason and Alton Mason, a sister, Barbara Vanden Akker, a brother and sister in law, Richard and Avis Keene, nephews Ronald Keene, Brian Loomis and Robert Vanden Akker, and nieces Diane Burhans and Sharon Loomis. A celebration of life will be held on April 27 at 11 a.m. at Schoolcraft United Methodist Church, followed by visiting and fellowship at the church. Private burial services will be held at Oakwood Cemetery in Allegan. Donations may go to Doctors Without Borders. More information is available at Avink Funeral Home.

Timothy L. Lafler, 54, Fulton, passed away March 19. Tim, the son of Willard and Maysie Lafler, was born on Oct. 23, 1964 in Kalamazoo. Tim was fun, caring, and strong-willed. He loved to tinker with cars. He is survived by sons Jacob Lafler of Flint and Nick Lafler of Mendon; his parents, Willard and Maysie Lafler, of Fulton; a brother, Willard Lafler; numerous nieces, nephews and cousins; and his special dog, Chopper. He was preceded in death by his brother, Edward Lee Lafler, and sister-in-law Tori Lafler. A memorial gathering for Tim will be held April 13 from 12 to 3 p.m., at the Fulton Christian Church. Visit Tim’s page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to Generous Hands.

Judy Ann (Dolhay) Lem, 74, Vicksburg, died March 18, surrounded by family. Judy was born November 13, 1944 in Kalamazoo, the daughter of Louis and Carolyn (Stewart) Dolhay. On May 31, 1961, she was married to Jack Lem Sr. Judy worked at WMU for over 15 years retiring in 2001. Judy is survived by her husband, Jack; sons, Jack Lem Jr. and Patrick (Kimberly) Lem, a daughter, Robin Lem; grandkids Jack Lem III, Elizabeth Lem, Anthony Gauna, Joe Gauna, Brie Gauna, Zachary Lem, and Alyssa Lem; great-grandkids Mickey Lem, Morgan Lem, Mason Wolfe, her little Johnny Northrop, with whom she had a special bond; and brothers Rick Dolhay, Steven “Bud” Dolhay, John (Patti) Dolhay, Joe Dolhay; sister Susie (Mike) Birkhold; and several cousins, nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her son, Todd, her parents, her brother Robert Dolhay, sister Carol “Lynn” Converse, nephews John Paul Converse and Tim Birkhold; and great-nephew Eric Hartwell. Judy loved Myrtle Beach, shopping, arts & crafts, bowling, cookouts, and going out with her WMU girlfriends. Donations may go to the Eric Hartwell Foundation, erichartwellfoundation.com. Visit Judy’s page at langelands.com.

Phyllis J. Minnis, 84, Fulton, passed away March 3. She was born to Forrest and Grace (Marble) Moored on November 1, 1934. She graduated from Vicksburg High School in 1952, where she met Robert Minnis. They married in 1956. Phyllis had fantastic skills in the kitchen and was known for her blueberry buckle and blueberry and cherry pies. Phyllis was an avid golfer and spent many years playing on a golf league until arthritis kept her from being able to play. She then took up aerobics, continuing until two weeks before her death. She was a diehard Detroit Tigers fan. Phyllis is survived by her children, Karen (Joe) Austin, Alan Minnis and Linda (Dan) Colter, all of Fulton; grandchildren Kathy Austin, of Fulton; Brad (Kayla) Minnis, of Vicksburg; Brandon (fiancée Heather Norton), of Three Rivers; Josh (fiancée Darcy Simmons) Gilkey, of Mendon; Audrey (Cody) Smith, of East Tawas; and Collin Colter, of Fulton; Kevin Colter, of Kalamazoo; and Daniel Colter, of Kalamazoo; and many great grandchildren. She is also survived by her sister, Sheila (Max) Spealman, of Scotts; and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, Robert, in 2001; and grandsons Brian Minnis and Kurt Austin. A funeral service was held on March 7 at the Wakeshma Community Church, Fulton, followed by burial at South Fulton Cemetery. Visit Phyllis’ page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to Wakeshma Community Church.

Richard Eugene Nielsen, loving great-grandfather of sixteen, grandfather of seventeen, father of five, and husband of one, went to be with his Savior at the age of 82 on Saturday March 30. Richard was born on July 6, 1936 in Vicksburg and graduated from Vicksburg High School and Western Michigan University.  He taught business at Vicksburg High School, was Dean of Business at Glen Oaks Community College, and served as Assistant Superintendent of Business for the Vicksburg school system.  He moved to Reston, Virginia in 1984 to help pastor a church.  He used his business and fatherly skills to counsel countless people in both finances and life.  He was a member of the Vicksburg and Reston Rotary Clubs for 45 years, and led teams of Rotarians on several medical trips to help the people of Haiti.  On September 4, 1954 he married Ardith Barnes, a marriage that lasted 56 years until Ardith’s passing in 2011.  They raised two daughters and three sons. Richard loved to travel, and visited many countries across the globe.  He frequently visited his out-of-state children and grandchildren. He hosted many guests in his Washington DC area home, some for months at a time.  He loved to eat, and he loved his desserts.  Of utmost importance to Richard was his faith.  He leaves a great spiritual legacy, as his children and grandchildren love the Lord. Richard was proceeded in death by his wife, Ardith, and his grandson, Benjamin.  He is survived by his five children, Rodney (Jeannie), Cindy Champion (Bruce), Bradley (Tonya), Deanna Sturgeon (Craig), and Kent, his sister Sandy, his niece Michelle, and nephew Daniel.  A memorial service will be held on Saturday, April 27 at Agape Christian Church in Kalamazoo, 609 Cherokee St., Kalamazoo, at 11:00 a.m.  In lieu of flowers, Richard has requested any donations be sent to KARIS (sowingkindness.org) at 10521 Judicial Drive, Suite 204, Fairfax, VA  22030.

David B Palmer, 54, Vicksburg, passed away March 10. David was the son of Robert and Norma Palmer. He graduated from Vicksburg High in 1983 and worked for more than 25 years as a lab technician for Rx Optical. He was described as a gentle person who enjoyed helping others, enjoyed golfing and as an avid bowler scored a couple of perfect games. He is survived by his mother, Norma, a brother, Douglas (Sue) Palmer of Arkansas, a sister, Deborah (Chris) Wedel of Mendon, and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father. According to David’s wishes, he was cremated. A memorial gathering will be held at a later time. Visit David’s page at avinkcremation.com. Donations may go to Generous Hands.

Tim Shook, 63, Miami, Florida and formerly of Fulton, died unexpectedly March 21. Arrangements are pending and will be announced by the Eickhoff Funeral Home of Mendon. Condolences may be expressed to the family at eickhofffuneralhome.com.

Raymond L. Snyder
, 81, passed away peacefully at his home in Holland, MI March 20. He was born on October 9, 1937, in Fulton, the son of Harry and Laura Snyder. Ray graduated from Vicksburg High School in 1956 and immediately began working in retail sales. He had a long and storied career with W. T. Grant Company. He was the owner of The Country Squire Men’s and Ladies Clothing Store in Flora, Illinois through 1989. He officially retired in April 2018. Ray loved working with his flowers and plants and spent many hours arranging and rearranging them until they were exactly right. He was preceded in death by his parents; a sister, Harriet Ryder, and brother, Willard Snyder. Ray is survived by his wife, Jane, and their daughters, Susan Taylor and husband, Mike, of Charleston, Illinois, and Laura Prior and husband, Ed, of Princeton, Indiana. Ray has three grandchildren, Christopher Scaggs (Jessica); Courtney Finley (Daniel); and Kaitlyn Taylor (fiancé Albert Adkins). He has a great granddaughter, Natalie, and two great grandsons, Bentley and Mason. Also surviving are a brother, Robert (Mildred) Snyder of Holland; sister, Ruth (Jay) Hartgerink, of Portage; and several nieces and nephews. A memorial service honoring Ray’s life will be held Saturday, April 6, at Third Reformed Church in Holland. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations and memorials be made to Hospice of Holland.

Robert Michael Steffler (Bob), 60, Schoolcraft, passed away at home March 16, with his wife, children and parents by his side, just 21 hours before his 61st birthday. Bob was diagnosed in February, 2017 with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and fought this with courage, never giving up. Bob was born on March 17, 1958 in Kalamazoo to Robert and Jane (Brady) Steffler. Bob grew up in the Milwood neighborhood, graduating from Loy Norrix High School in 1977. He went on to graduate from Denver Automotive College in 1978. From there he began a lifelong career in the automotive field. He first work at Daleiden’s Auto body, then worked the next 34 years at Morrison Industrial Equipment. Bob met the love of his life and best friend, the former Ann C. Loy. They were married May 9, 1987 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Kalamazoo. They resided and raised their family in Schoolcraft. Bob loved the game of golf. For many years he played every Friday from June to October with his dad. He always flew the Notre Dame flag on game days. Bob is survived by his beloved wife, Ann, his daughter and son-in law, Katelyn and Chase Jones, of Middlebury, Ind.; his son, Matthew Steffler, of Schoolcraft; his grandchildren, Alexi Ann and Mason Micheal; his parents, Robert and Jane Steffler of Kalamazoo; brothers John (Barb) Steffler, Parchment; Mike (Tracy) Steffler, Kalamazoo and Dan (Stacy) Steffler, Portage, and his sister Susan (Ben) Peterson of Portage; many nieces and nephews and his mother-in-law, Madelyn Loy, Schoolcraft. His father-in-law, Millard Loy, preceded him in death. Memorials can be made in Bob’s name to St. Catherine of Siena, Simply Cremations, 4500 Kalamazoo Avenue SE, Kentwood MI 49508.

Frederick Max Streeter, 73, Kalamazoo and Zephyrhills, Fla., passed away unexpectedly March 9, in Wesley Chapel, Fla. Fred was born February 22, 1946 in Kalamazoo, to Max and Eleanor Streeter. After graduating from Vicksburg High School in 1965, he was drafted into the Army. When he returned, he was united in marriage to Jacqueline (Brotherton) on September 4, 1970, his soulmate for 48 years. Fred was a Mason and Past Master with the Masonic Blue Lodge in Mattawan. He was a member and past president of the Justin Morgan Horse Association and involved in 4H. For years he owned Fred’s Hardware Store and was known as the man who could fix anything. Fred later retired from Consumers Concrete where he worked as a dispatcher. Fred spent the last 10 years living in Zephyrhills and made friends with everyone he encountered. Fred is survived by his wife, Jacqueline; a daughter, Shannan (Brendon) Frank; a son, Jason (Lyndsey) Streeter; granddaughters Taylor, Jayley, Ella, Alyssa, Sydney and Savannah, and ßa brother, Tom (Kathy) Streeter. He was predeceased by his parents. A celebration of life will be held in Kalamazoo at a date to be determined. Visit Fred’s page at avinkcremation.com.

Valeria Thrasher, 92, Mason, formerly of Vicksburg, passed away on March 14. Val was born on December 16, 1926. A graveside service was held on Thursday, March 21 at Maple Grove Cemetery in Mason. Val’s family includes her children, Steve (Linda) Simon and Lydia Thrasher; grandson Nathan as well as several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents and her husband, Henry Thrasher. The family is being assisted by the McCowen & Secord Funeral Home, Rupert Durham Chapel.

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