Monthly Archives: May 2019

Memorial Day Observances in the Area

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Vicksburg Pack 251 Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts march down Vicksburg’s Main Street in the 2018 Memorial Day parade.

By Sue Moore

Memorial Day, observed Monday, May 27, is a time to remember those who fought and died for our nation with ceremonies and a parade. Vicksburg kicks off its parade at 10 a.m., Schoolcraft at 10:30 and Fulton at 12:30 p.m.

The Vicksburg high school band will lead the parade with the Boy Scouts, the high school equestrian team, fire trucks and children decorating their bikes in red, white and blue. Each observance will have a featured speaker. In Vicksburg it will be Jim Hamrick, the quartermaster from the of the Charles Osborne 5189 Veterans of Foreign Wars post. Anyone who would like to join the parade should meet at Vicksburg Middle School at 9:45 a.m.

Fulton’s parade draws the largest crowd with fire trucks from many departments and lots of kids participating. The American Legion Wally Coon Post 475 will lead the Schoolcraft parade and ceremony.

Another group, the Blue Star Mothers of America, has a mission to remember today’s servicemen and women. It has a chapter in Kalamazoo that includes mothers from all over southwest Michigan. Its purpose is to send care packages as often as possible to the troops, Trudy Johnson told the Vicksburg Rotary Club in April. “We want to be a support group for those in the service of our country.”

“Our biggest joy is getting told by a soldier that he or she appreciated our specialty packages. It came at a good time,” they will tell Johnson. They love to receive gum, beef jerky, tuna packets, diaper wipes, Oreo cookies and homemade pillow cases, she said. This is the group’s major project. It depends entirely on donations for food and mailing costs.

“As mothers of service people, we want to give back to our community and support each other, perhaps with a listening ear and a shoulder to lean on. You have a different feeling if your child is putting him or herself out there,” Johnson said.

“It’s a little bit of love coming from home but it helps us to be notified of who needs help,” Johnson said. The Blue Star Mothers is a nationwide organization and has chapters such as the one in Kalamazoo. Johnson is from Paw Paw and hopes to recruit other mothers from the Vicksburg and Schoolcraft area. She may be contacted at richardtrudy@charter.net or at 269-343-4540.

Tradition Ended with Last Senior Girls Tea at LLA

By Sue Moore

For 90 years the Vicksburg Ladies Library Auxiliary has invited the girls from the high school senior class to a tea at the library. Sadly, the tea will not go on for another 90. Officers of the association have decided it might not be as relevant anymore.

“There are so many events going on at this time of the year in seniors lives,” Sue Opalewski said. “We’ve had trouble scheduling the tea the last few years, plus it takes the young women out of school just when they most need to be present to finish up graduation requirements. There were 55 out of the 80 senior girls in attendance.”

The speaker for the day, Kenzie Pridgion, ended the tradition with words of wisdom culled from her own experiences growing up in Schoolcraft and becoming an aviator. “The race is long and in the end it’s only with yourself. Oh, and don’t forget to wear sunglasses!”

After graduating from Schoolcraft High School in 1999, Pridgion headed to Western Michigan University where she said she majored in “socialization” her first two years while still wanting to be an aviator. After she got serious about her major and graduated, she became a flight instructor, then took a job with a regional airline, Com Air, based at JFK airport in New York. “Commuting was hard but the flight benefits outweighed it as I got to travel the world,” she said. Then she was furloughed and had to cast about for the next job. She decided upon the military. The competition was highly competitive and challenging in the Michigan Air National Guard where she flew a C-47.

She now is flying for Stryker Corporation, one of its 10 pilots and its first female pilot. She is still training students on the MQ9 remotely-piloted aircraft in Battle Creek for the Air National Guard, which Stryker supports, she said.

“Don’t expect things to be handed to you. College doesn’t define you, it shapes you personally. You don’t always have to be the best, but you have to give your best,” she cautioned the audience. “Attitude and desire will carry you a long way.”

Michelle DeGroote New LMCU Mortgage Loan Originator

Michelle DeGroote
Michelle DeGroote.

By Emily Kraft

Lake Michigan Credit Union (LMCU) is pleased to announce the promotion of Michelle DeGroote to its team as a mortgage loan originator from its Schoolcraft home mortgage office. She reports directly to Kelli DeWitt, LMCU’s Vice President for Regional Mortgage Production. She will be serving the southwest Michigan area.

DeGroote graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Design and Merchandising from Louisiana Lafayette University and earned her master’s degree from Indiana State University. She was originally hired in at LMCU as a Loan Officer Assistant and has over 18 years of experience specializing in construction loans.

“We are privileged to have Michelle on our team,” DeWitt said. “Her knowledge of the mortgage and construction industry, attention to detail, and communication skills leave our members, Realtors and builders with a positive, lasting impression.”

DeGroote said, “I chose LMCU because they offer the best rates. I genuinely care about my clients, and it means a lot to know that I’m getting them the best possible value for their mortgage.”

When she’s not in the office, Michelle enjoys coaching and spending time with her husband, three boys, and their family dog, Lulu.

DeGroote grew up in Kalamazoo and currently lives in Schoolcraft.

Girl Scout Cookies Donated to Local Kids

girl scout cookiesGirls from Scout Troop 80826 in Schoolcraft regifted boxes of cookies that customers bought and gave back to the girls. The 15 boxes of cookies, worth $75, came from the 2018-19 cookie season. The girls donated the cookies to the Eagles Nest Food Pantry and the teachers and staff at Schoolcraft Elementary School. The girls decided those were the two places they wanted their troop’s donated cookies to go to this year, said their leader, Nikki Hulinek. While at the Eagles Nest, the girls helped pack Friday snack packs for local kids. Shown in the photo, from left, are Kennedy Beaghan, Aubrey Tuesley, Lucy Spell, Dilynn Burson, Andersen Brown, Lula Stull and Jackie Hulinek.

Local Volunteers Reach Out to Ministry with Community

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Bill Oswalt, Maureen Dobbie, Mike Hardy, Kaye Bennett and Jean Philport help serve lunch at Ministry with Community honoring Chuck Corella.

When Vicksburg resident Kathy Corella wanted to honor the memory of her husband, Chuck, who had died in 2009, she decided to sponsor a lunch at Ministry with Community (MwC), a daytime shelter and resource center in Kalamazoo.

Since the date she chose to sponsor that lunch was a Thursday, much of the volunteer crew serving it was also made up of Vicksburg residents, including Bill Oswalt, Jean Philport, Maureen Dobbie, Mike Hardy and Kaye Bennett, a large part of MwC’s lunch volunteers known as the Thursday Group. (Other Vicksburg people, like Dee Dee Hoy and Jim and Madonna Nimmo, volunteer on other days.) On Thursday, April 11, Corella’s donation and the Thursday Group’s toil served a three-course fried chicken dinner to 245 members.

Members is the term MwC uses to refer to the people they serve, upwards of 2,500 individuals a year, who are struggling with challenges such as homelessness, poverty and mental illness. The organization provides breakfast and lunch every day of the year, and offers daytime shelter and services such as laundry, showers and phone access. Staff social workers help members with issues ranging from domestic violence to obtaining birth certificates and ID.

The staff of Ministry with Community could not do all it does without volunteers and community support. That’s where South County people like Corella and the lunch volunteers come in.

“Chuck used to talk to homeless people to find out their pressing needs,” Kathy Corella says. Then he’d go shopping and deliver the purchases to people living on the streets. Supporting Ministry with Community in his name was a natural step. Like Corella, many people sponsor a meal at MwC to remember a loved one; others do it to thank someone or to celebrate a milestone. A $300 gift provides a full lunch that day; the daily lunch count is usually between 200 and 250 people. For more details on meal sponsorship, call Janet Karpus at 269-343-6073, ext. 138, or email jkarpus@ministrywithcommunity.org.

Once you’ve got the meal ready to serve, you need people to plate it and deliver it, family style, to diners. That’s where volunteers like Bill Oswalt come in. Not long after Oswalt’s wife, Pat, died, in 2015, he agreed to ride along with other Vicksburg friends for their weekly trip to MwC. He found that he really enjoyed the work. “There’s obviously a need,” Oswalt says, “and it’s good to be a part of meeting that need.” Like others from Vicksburg who volunteer at MwC, Oswalt has a long history of community involvement in South County. Among his many activities, Oswalt is a trustee of the Vicksburg Foundation, where he’s been on the Board for 40 years and was president for 29.

Dobbie, too, is a long-time Vicksburg volunteer, with involvement in Generous Hands, South County Community Services, the community gardens and more. She’s been a Ministry with Community volunteer for more than a dozen years, providing services to members including chair massages and foot and nail care. She says she keeps coming back to MwC “because of the wonderful people there – staff and members.” Then she adds, “But I receive so much in return.”

Serving lunch is not the only way volunteers contribute to Ministry with Community. A wide variety of volunteer opportunities is available, ranging from stocking and sorting donated items or wrapping silverware, to leading art and activities groups, providing music during the lunch hour, gleaning (picking up food donations from local restaurants and grocery stores), and working the front desk. For information on how you might help, either as an individual or as part of a group, call Megan Stull at 269-343-6073, ext. 134, or email mstull@ministrywithcommunity.org.

Avink Funeral Home Purchased by McCowen & Secord

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Tim Secord on the left and Steve and Jenny McCowen on the right are the proud new owners of the Avink Funeral Home in Schoolcraft.

By Sue Moore

A year ago, Steve McCowen and partner Tim Secord and their families purchased Vicksburg and Portage funeral homes from Marilyn Durham and her family. In mid-March, the partners made another big move, purchasing the Avink Funeral Home & Cremation Society in Schoolcraft.

“We plan to be very active in the Schoolcraft community,” McCowen said. “We want to give families a funeral home with full-service capabilities. John and Liz Avink were pioneers in adopting the Cremation Society and we will continue that as well as providing options to meet the needs of any family who comes to us.”

The partners also own the Marshall & Gren Chapel in Plainwell. “For many folks, Avink’s means fair and affordable, and for that reason we plan to keep the name of the business the same. People will say they don’t want anything, and our job is to find out what that means to them,” said McCowen. “People have services all the time without it being at the funeral home.

“It’s about honoring the life and meeting the needs of the family. We can provide both right here in this building at 129 S. Grand Street in Schoolcraft or find the right location to meet their needs and size of the event. We have many partners in the community to help with larger events.

“For years the funeral home was the family home of the Avinks and really didn’t have business hours where you know you could stop and visit with someone about your wishes. Now it will be open and staffed from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. where we can meet to make plans with family members. We will write the obituaries with help from the family, take care of the many details such as pre-planning, social security and veterans’ benefits.”

Cremation has been the most used option for a family using Avink’s services in the past. At the other three locations run by McCowen and Secord, cremation is utilized about 50 percent of the time, Secord said. “When most people come in for a visitation they are rather guarded,” McCowen said. “They are truly out of their comfort zone. We tell them that just being there is what matters. The majority who attend don’t know the deceased very well, they come for the relatives. For us, it’s part of being a small-town funeral director and serving your community and their needs.”

Secord began his career in the funeral business after stints as a firefighter, minister, author and speaker. He lives in Otsego with his wife, who is a schoolteacher. They have two children. His mother lived at Barton Lake near Vicksburg and his sister Terri Secord teaches at Vicksburg High School. His real calling in life has turned out to be serving people in the time of their greatest loss, he said.

McCowen became part of a blended family when he married Jenny McKillop last year. Together they have five children and live in Schoolcraft. Jenny’s son attends Portage Central and daughter attends Kalamazoo Valley Community College, and Steve’s two sons are at Vicksburg High School, while daughter Mackenzie attends Western Michigan University. Since coming to Vicksburg 16 years ago, McCowen has been very active in the community, participating with the DDA, the Chamber, the School Foundation and sports programs.

Together the partnership employs four full time people and two apprentices working to become funeral directors. They also employ around 20 part-time staff to be used for funeral services. They have purchased a new hearse to be used at any of their four locations.

“We like to have local members of the community be a part of our operation as we believe it’s better when someone is grieving to be comforted by someone they might know. All of our family members help out when needed,” McCowen pointed out.

Obituaries

Thomas Earl Cook, Jr., 60, Schoolcraft, died unexpectedly April 11 at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor. He was born on June 26, 1958 to Thomas Sr. and Virginia (Rutz) Cook. Tom obtained an engineering degree from WMU and was in sales at Durametallic/Flowserve for 40 years. He played bass guitar and often hosted parties with his band providing entertainment. With quiet faith, Tom also served as an elder at Westminster Presbyterian Church for the past 10 years. He and his Therese, his wife of 10 years, were involved in the music ministry at church – he played bass guitar while she played percussion. They also served their community. Theresa was appointed clerk of Prairie Ronde Township where Tom served as deputy clerk. Members of his family include his wife, Theresa (Rosneck) Cook; daughters Kaylee (Jeremy) Trinkle and Kendra Cook; grandchildren Leland and Naomi and another grandson expected in August; his parents, siblings David (Cheri) Cook, Linda (Jeff) Dehn and Carrie (Matt) Selbee; his aunt, Phyllis Hall and his uncle Marshall Rutz; his former wife, Judith Joubert; in-laws Leo and Ellen Rosneck; brothers and sisters-in-law Cathy (John) Robertstad, Jim Rosneck, Patty (Jim) Wood and Leo (Stacey) Rosneck and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. He was preceded in death by uncles Larry Hall and Jack Cook. Cremation has taken place. Services were held Saturday, April 20, at Westminster Presbyterian Church. Please visit Tom’s personal web page at http://www.betzlerfuneralhome.com where you can share a favorite memory or photo and sign his online guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Westminster Presbyterian Church.

Allan Ray Decker, 82, Vicksburg, died April 23, at his home following a long illness. He was born in Colon on Jan. 16, 1937, the son of Clair and Frances (James) Decker. He graduated from Colon High School with the class of 1955. Allan enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in Korea with the Signal Corps. He was married to Geraldine Spealman on April 5, 1959 in Leonidas; they moved to Vicksburg in 1962. Allan worked for Lakeside Refining Company in Kalamazoo for 35 years. He earned his associate’s degree from Kalamazoo Valley Community College in 1975. He was a member of the Disabled American Veterans. Allan is survived by his children, Tammy Decker of Fulton, Karla (Bill) Hodge of Huntersville, N.C., Rod (Christina K.) Decker and their family, and Mark Decker both of Vicksburg; grandchildren Thomas (Rebecca) Decker, Jessica (Jeremy) Shepherd, John Tiller, Ed, and Joe Hodge; a brother, Bruce Decker of Athens; two sisters, Susan Glass of Selina, Ohio and Linda Cubbernuss of Mendon. He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Jerry in 2011; and by brothers Lewis, Wayne and Ronald Decker. Visitation will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Monday, May 6, 2019 at the Eickhoff Funeral Home in Mendon. Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Tuesday, May 7, 2019 at the Crossroads Missionary Church in Mendon with Pastor Bryan Balasa officiating. The family will receive friends for one hour prior to services at the church. Burial will be in Leonidas Cemetery. It is suggested that memorials be directed to the Deacon’s Fund at Crossroads Missionary Church. Condolences may be expressed to the family at http://www.eickhofffuneralhome.com.

Mary Martha Denney, 98, Sherwood, died April 6, at Drew’s Place in Coldwater where she had resided the past 18 months. She was born in Grant County, Ind. on Jan. 22, 1921, the daughter of Frederick and Goldie Mae (DeHoff) Denney. She was a graduate of Athens High School and attended Augerbright Business College. Mary had been employed at Hillsdale Manufacturing, where she made uniforms for the Army. Later she worked at Eaton Manufacturing, polishing valves for aircraft engines. After the war she worked at Lamb Knit in Colon and after its closing, worked at Boyer Lumberyard. Finally, she worked at the Haas Corporation in Mendon where she retired after 24 years. Mary was a member of the Fulton Christian Church. She is survived by four sisters, Bertha Smith of Fulton; Patricia Shepler Carter of Athens, Mable (Elwin) Holtz of Fulton, and Delores (Bruce) Loker of Vicksburg; sisters-in-law Doris Denney and Darlene Denney; many nieces, nephews, and great-nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by sisters Alma Guthrie and Doris Denney; and brothers Arthur, Frederick, William, and Pete Denney. Donations may go to the Fulton Christian Church, 14108 East W Avenue, Fulton, MI 49052. Visit her page at eickhofffuneralhome.com.

Stanley Ray Gose, 63, Vicksburg, died April 10, at Bronson Methodist Hospital. He was born in Sturgis on June 18, 1955, the son of James M. and Leona R. (Gorsline) Gose. Stanley graduated from Vicksburg High School with the class of 1973. He was employed at Simpson Paper Company in Vicksburg for 23 years. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, and golf. He was a big Detroit Tigers fan and always looked forward to trips to the ballpark. Stanley was married to Susan Elizabeth Abbott on Aug. 6, 1977 in Vicksburg. She survives along with three children, Michael Gose, Michele (Dan) Ochko, and Melissa Gose, all of Vicksburg; and special friend Joe (Cecilia) Fritz. Stanley was preceded in death by his parents; baby brother, Robert Gose, and close friend, Art Schultz. Graveside services were held Monday, April 15 in Vicksburg Cemetery with Rev. Chris Salter officiating. Memorial donations may be directed to the American Cancer Society or a charity of one’s choice. Arrangements were by the Eickhoff Funeral Home of Mendon. Condolences may be expressed to the family at http://www.eickhofffuneralhome.com.

Donald O. Lash, 89, Vicksburg, passed away April 12. Don was born on November 4, 1929 in Vicksburg. He was the son of Earl and Nora (Lunger) Lash. He served his country during World War II in the Army Air Corps for three years. After he returned from the service, he married the love of his life, Doris Eilene McClish. Don is described as a generous, strong-willed, good and endearing man. In his spare time, he enjoyed being outdoors, deer hunting and mushroom hunting. He also loved to play cards and enjoyed woodworking. Don is survived by his wife of 69 years, Doris Eilene; children Patricia (Phillip) Prichard, of Centreville; Betty (Rick) Mayo, of Scotts; Gerald Lash, of Vicksburg; Ron (Pam) Lash, of Vicksburg; Terri Simmons, of Vicksburg; 13 grandchildren, 30 great grandchildren, and four great great grandchildren. He is also survived by his sisters, Rose (Floyd) Moore, of Vicksburg and June Potter, of Vicksburg. He is preceded in death by four brothers and one sister. Funeral services were held at Chapman Memorial Church of the Nazarene, Vicksburg, on Tuesday, April 16. Visit Don’s page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to Reverence Hospice.

Ronald J.E. “Ron” Myers, 86, Scotts, died April 9, at his home. He was born in Comstock on April 5, 1933,c the youngest of three children born to Ralph and Alison (Spealman) Myers. After high school, Ron served in the National Guard. He was married to Marian D. “Pete” Homan on May 29, 1952 in Leonidas. Ron was a carpenter at Miller Davis in Kalamazoo for 7 years. He later became a millwright at the General Motors plant in Kalamazoo where he worked for 27 years. Ron was a Mason and life member of the Portage Brady Lodge #34. He enjoyed hunting and fishing throughout his life. When his children were young, he was a 4-H Leader and taught woodworking and coached softball. Ron is survived by a daughter, Pamela Borsodi of Osceola, Ind.; a son, Philip Myers, of Pampa, Texas; grandchildren Mary (Todd) Franks, Rachel (Ian) Hamilton, Jonathan (Isabella) Borsodi, Emily (Ashton) Anthony, Adam Borsodi, and Matthew Borsodi; great-grandchildren Leah Franks, Reed Hamilton, Gavin Franks, Kayleigh Hamilton, Mia Borsodi, Ania Borsodi, Emerson Anthony, and Braxton Anthony; daughter- in- law, Judy Myers; friend and caretaker, Sue Porter; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, sons Jerry Eugene Myers and Glenn Myers; brother James Myers; and a sister, Virginia Dunn. A graveside service was held Saturday, April 13, in Leonidas Cemetery. It is suggested that memorial donations be directed to either Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan, 222 N. Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo, MI 49007 or to Shriner’s Hospitals for Children, 1502 USF Pine Dr., Tampa, FL 33612. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at eickhofffuneralhome.com.

Richard Eugene Nielsen, 82, loving great-grandfather of 16, grandfather of 17, father of five and husband of one, went to be with his Savior on 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. He frequently visited his out-of-state children and grandchildren. He hosted many guests in his Washington DC area home. 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 children, Rodney (Jeannie), Cindy Champion (Bruce), Bradley (Tonya), Deanna Sturgeon (Craig), and Kent, his sister, Sandy, his niece, Michelle, and nephew, Daniel.Donations may go to KARIS (sowingkindness.org).

Janet L. Noonan, 80, Vicksburg, passed away April 14. She was born on March 30, 1939 to David and Hazel (Mandoka) Mackety. The family was proud of being members of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi Pine Creek Reservation. She graduated from Athens High School and went to nursing school for her career, working in several hospitals in the area. She loved her women’s Bible study groups, her flowers and gardening. She is survived by her husband of 31 years, Vincent; children Leah (Curt) Wiser of Kalamazoo, Albert Sprague of Kalamazoo, Scott (Mary) Sprague of Wayland, Marilyn (Larry) Schmidt of Portage; three grandchildren and four great grandchildren. She is also survived by stepchildren Anthony (Carrie) Noonan, of Florida; Jo (Terry) Heath, of Vicksburg; Ron (Vicki) Noonan, of Marcellus; Polly Noonan, of Florida; sisters Ann Mackety, of Tekonsha and Lynne Guess, of Athens; and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by parents David and Hazel Mackety and a brother, Jim Mackety. Visit her page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan.

Clarence “Bernie” Root Jr., 80, Vicksburg, passed away March 18. He was born on June 16, 1938. Bernie was one of seven children born to Clarence Root Sr. and Helen Ames. He graduated from Kalamazoo Public Schools, joined the Army and was stationed in Germany. Bernie is survived by his sons, Jeff and Brian; a daughter, Jennifer; grandchildren Johny Foote, Sara Foote, Andy Foote, Ryan Root, Bobby Root, Jerry Root, Erica Root, Jesica Miner, and Gabby Miner; and several great grandchildren. Bernie is preceded in death by his parents; and his oldest daughter, Kelly Root. Bernie was married to Sharon Lewellyn for over 40 years. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, and living the farm life until his later years, when he resided in Vicksburg on Sunset Lake. A memorial service will be planned in May at Ft. Custer National Cemetery. Visit Bernie’s page at mccowensecord.com. The family is being assisted by McCowen & Secord Funeral Homes.

Martha Taylor, 72, formerly of Marcellus, passed away March 25. She was born in Albion on January 31, 1947, the daughter of Rev. Kenneth Jacobs, Sr. and Louise Owen Jacobs. Martha graduated from Marcellus High School in 1965 and resided in Marcellus until she married Ronald Taylor on March 28, 2001. Martha worked for Cass County Sheriff Department and Three Rivers Police Department, then retired from St. Joseph County Central Dispatch in 2012, after 20 years. She was a member of the Fraternal Order of the Eagles Women’s Auxiliary in Portage/Schoolcraft. She and her husband were snowbirds for the last four years in Destin, Florida. Along with her loving husband, Martha is survived by her son, John (Kathi) Carney of Sturgis, daughters Amy (Brian) Taylor Johnson and Jennifer Johnson, both of Vicksburg; sister Faith (Mike) Harris of Marcellus, brother Andrew (Pam) Jacobs of Niles, grandchildren Jayson Wallace, Dru Carney, Kristopher Leeder, Sam Carney, Benjamin, Cloe, Lucas, Jaidyn and Brady Johnson, 14 great-grandchildren, and many cousins, nieces and nephews. Martha was preceded in death by her parents, brothers James Jacobs and Kenneth Jacobs, Jr., and a sister, Ruth Jacobs. Donations may go to the Eagles Club 3531 – Ladies Auxiliary in Portage/Schoolcraft. Visit her page at materralstonfuneralhome.com.

LeRoy VanMaanen, 80, Portage, passed away suddenly at Bronson Hospital on March 27, sadly on his birthday. He was a firefighter for 35 years. LeRoy was the fire chief at Westwood Fire Station and also a fire fighter for the City of Kalamazoo. In addition, Leroy owned several side businesses, A1 Laminating and Roy’s TV. He also worked for Hoekstras Greenhouses and Long John Floral, delivering flats of flowers around southwest Michigan. He was very devoted to his church, Lakeland Reformed, and his family. LeRoy’s family includes Gloria VanMaanen, his wife of 13 years; his children Debra Comstock, Barbara VanMaanen, Nancy (Joe) Fink, Gary (Dawn) VanMaanen, and step children Sherri (Mike) Pence, Steve (Elva) Arend, John (Sue) Arend and Wendy (Robb) Rittner; 21 grand children and nine great grandchildren; a sister, Helen (John) Rishel; and cherished friend Dick Johnson. He was preceded in death by his wife of 35 years, Phyllis VanMaanen, his brother and sister-in-law Jack and Kathy)VanMaanen and his sister, Sondra Madsen. Funeral services were held on Saturday, March 30, at the Lakeland Reformed Church. Please visit LeRoy’s page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to the family to help cover funeral expenses or to Lakeland Reformed Church in memory of LeRoy.

Gail Nadine Wade, passed away on March 28. She was born on Oct. 4, 1937 to Emily “Grace” and Fredrick Guy Phinney. Growing up in Detroit, she was active in Voice of Christian Youth and worked as a carhop in her teenage years. She graduated from Cass Tech High School with a major in nutrition. In 1955, she and her family moved to Lake City, Michigan where she began working at Mercy Hospital in Cadillac in the dietary department. She also met and fell in love with Bill Wade. They were married on May 18, 1957 and had three daughters. Besides raising a houseful of girls, she worked for a while part-time at Vicksburg Schools and eventually started working at Triple S Plastics in Vicksburg. She enjoyed riding motorcycles and was a member of the Gold Wing Association. In the aftermath of a serious motor vehicle accident almost a year ago, she was residing at Masonic Pathways in Alma, where she passed away. She had also been in the Long-term Acute Care unit at Pipp Hospital in Plainwell for a lengthy period of time. It seemed that no matter what was thrown her way, she would always have a smile on her face. Preceding her in death were her parents, sisters Jeanne Phinney and Patricia Phinney, daughter Beverly Taylor. Surviving are her loving husband, William Wade, daughters Kathleen (Greg) Yarworth and Tracey Wade, eight grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and sisters Jo (Darrold) McKeown and Judy (Gordon) Lydic. Cremation has taken place. There will be a gathering for family and friends at a later date.