Obituaries

Linda Susan Ailes, Schoolcraft, passed away at her home October 21. She was born April 18, 1960 in Kalamazoo, the daughter of Carl and Joanne (Engle) Wisner, and had been a lifelong area resident. On July 26, 1980, Linda married Ryan B. Ailes, who survives. Also surviving are her children, April Ailes, Jason (Nicole) Ailes and Stephen (Jamie) Ailes; grandchildren Dylan, Morgan, Jalynn, Liam, Davis, Esmae and Marley; parents Carl and Joanne Wisner, mother-in-law Marylou Ailes; sisters Karen (David) Booth, Teresa (Greg) Dragoo and Beth (Arthur) Agletingler; and several nieces and nephews. Donations may go to Curesarcoma.org/donate or sarcomaalliance.org/get-involved/give/donate in Linda’s name. Visit Linda’s page at langelands.com.

Cheryl Ann (Mandly) Barker, 75, Vicksburg, passed away October 12. Cheryl was born in Gary, Ind. on June 6, 1944, the daughter of Antone and Christina (Engle) Mandly-Berg. Cheryl’s father passed away when she was two years old. Her mother married Fredrick John Berg, who truly became her father. While in nursing school, Cheryl would meet the love of her life, William Charles Barker, on a blind date. They married August 20, 1966, then moved to Michigan, where they created their life together on Barton Lake. Cheryl received her degree in nursing from Illinois-Masonic Hospital, Chicago. She began her career as a registered nurse and worked in pediatrics at Cook County Hospital. Cheryl would continue her nursing career for over 50 years, which included working at Bronson Hospital and Heartland Healthcare Center. She was a proud member of the American Legion Auxiliary #261 Cedar Lake Indiana. Cheryl enjoyed cooking, gardening, antiquing, but most of all Cheryl loved being on the lake. She could be found enjoying the sunshine, boating, fishing, water skiing and entertaining. Her love for the lake taught her adored children, grandchildren, foster grandchildren, and great grandchildren to love the lake life as well. She was preceded in passing by her parents, her husband Bill, and one daughter, Sandra Barker. Surviving to cherish her loving memory are a son, William John Barker, daughter Cheryl Lou Moore, both of Vicksburg; sisters Luana (David) Klaas, Ruth(Randy) Deweese, Annette (Terry) DeVries, and Verna (Robert) Carr, a brother, John (Tana) Berg; grandchildren Courtney, Mitchell and Isaiah Moore, William and Anna Barker, Jessica Johnson, and Latorya Smith, nine great grandchildren and a host of other relatives and friends. Donations may go to American Legion Auxiliary #261. Envelopes available at Hohner Funeral Home in care of arrangements. Online condolences may be shared at http://www.hohnerfh.com.

William Thomas “Bill” Bush, 79, died from complications of pancreatic and liver cancer October 4. Born and raised in Schoolcraft, the son of William Michael Bush and Ella Jane Wright, he was a long-time resident of Redding, Calif. Bill worked as a farmer and then as a mechanic on agricultural equipment. Bill basically loved anything with a motor and could fix anything. He leaves his wife of 35 years, Eileen Bush of Redding; children Tom Bush and wife Debra of Schoolcraft; Cheryl Crawford and husband Billy of Ashland, Ore.; and, AJ Gigliotti and wife Ali of Shasta Lake City, Calif.; grandchildren Brittany Hetrick of Schoolcraft, Jesse Gigliotti of Redding, Tucker Gigliotti of Shasta Lake City, and Cassidy Gigliotti of Shasta Lake City; great-grandchildren Tristan, Bryce, Jackson, Audrey, and Kennedy; and brothers, David Bush of Battle Creek and Richard Bush of Goshen, Ind. He was preceded in death by his sisters, Alma and Judy, and a brother, Walter. Donations may go to the National Pancreatic Cancer Foundation at npcf.us.

Arthur (Corky) Clayton Emrick Jr., 61, Florence Township, Constantine, died Aug. 19 of natural causes. He was born March 2, 1958, in Vicksburg, the son of Arthur Clayton and Ida Mae (Parsons) Emrick Sr. He had been a Constantine resident since 1995, coming from Vicksburg. He was employed for more than 20 years by the Sturgis Journal as a photographer, journalist and sports editor. He was a recipient of numerous Associated Press, Michigan Press Association and Gatehouse Media “Best of Gatehouse” awards. He was synonymous with prep sporting events in St. Joseph County, spending much of his time on the sidelines and interacting with coaches and student-athletes. He also embraced his role as a news reporter for the Journal, serving on the police, fire and courts beat. Prior to working at the Journal, he was a dispatcher and police cadet for Kalamazoo Township, involved with local fire departments, police and dive rescue. He was a fan and shareholder with the Green Bay Packers, enjoyed his dogs and cooking. On Dec. 16, 1995, he married Susan Kay Walters in Constantine. She survives, along with his parents, Arthur C. and Ida M. Emrick Sr.; his children, Arthur Clayton Emrick III, Tyler John Emrick and Emilee Brianne (Jeremy) Leech; stepchildren Amanda Walters, Nathan (Carolina) Walters, Matthew Walters and Mark (Kelly) Walters; two grandchildren and a step-grandchild. Donations may go to the athletic department of a school of the donor’s choice.

Penny Gail Esman, 67, Vicksburg, passed away October 15. Penny was born on February 14, 1952 in Indianapolis, Ind. She was the daughter of Preston Hubert and Edna (Sumerville) Lard. She graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School and attended classes at Kalamazoo Valley Community College. On January 24, 1981, she married the love of her life, Harm Esman, Sr. She was a CNA that worked at Friendship Village and various other places over the years. She is described by her family as awesome, sassy, loving, strong-willed, beautiful, silly and sometimes a little goofy. Her greatest gift besides for her love for her family was helping others. She was a very selfless person who brightened the lives of those she touched. She was preceded in death by her parents and her sister, Esther Lard. She is survived by her husband of 38 years, Harm Esman Sr; her children, Delbert “Bud” James (Aimee Labrec) Gunnett, of Athens; Jeremiah Lee (Shannon) Gunnett, of Kalamazoo; Jedediah Jack (Crystle) Gunnett Sr, of Grand Junction; Harm Esman Jr, of Kalamazoo; Jessica Ann (Michael) Lopez, of Vicksburg; and Jennifer (James) Boren, of Vicksburg. She is also survived by her 20 grandchildren, Tristen, Cammi, James, Stephanie, Kaitlyn, Jeremiah Jr, Cherrish, Jedediah, Brittany, Harm III, Christian, Briana, Autumn, Cordell, Savannah, Justine, Zack, Audrey, Alexis, and Chelsea; great grandchildren Madalynn and Harper; a brother, Preston “Corky” Lard Jr, of Kalamazoo. Penny will be cremated and the family will have a Celebration of Life Service at a later date. Visit Penny’s page at mccowensecord.com.

Thomas A. Krill, 67, Schoolcraft, passed away on the weekend of September 27. He was born September 22, 1952 in Kalamazoo to Frederick and Doris (Haas) Krill. Tom was a 1971 graduate of Loy Norrix High School and a resident of the Kalamazoo area all his life. He was the proud owner of the Krill’s Korner party store, located in the Edison neighborhood, for over 30 years. Tom enjoyed golfing, fishing, cooking, travelling, playing poker and was an avid coin collector. He was a loving father, grandfather, brother, and uncle who enjoyed spending time with close friends and family. Tom is survived by a son, Casey Krill; grandchildren Madison Krill and Oliver Krill; brothers Frederick (Cindy) Krill, Charles (Cindy) Krill, Phillip (Sue) Krill, Joseph (Robyn) Krill, James Krill; and sisters Janet (James) Carter and Joyce Jarmen. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Donald Krill. Per his wishes, cremation will take place and funeral and burial services will be determined at a later date. Visit Thomas’ webpage at mccowensecord.com.

Jesse E. Rochholz, Jr., 81, Schoolcraft, peacefully passed away at home October 18 after a battle with Lewy body dementia. He was the son of Jesse E. Rochholz, Sr. and Virginia (Burson) Rochholz. He moved from Mattawan to Schoolcraft in 1948 and graduated from Schoolcraft High School in 1957. He was married to Sandra Rochholz for 60 years. He was an accountant in the agricultural business for 29 years. Both he and his wife retired on August 31, 2002. He enjoyed spending time with his family, making model cars, auto racing, and Tiger baseball. Surviving are his wife, Sandra Roccholz, sons Michael (Brenda) Rochholz, of Schoolcraft and Jesse E. Leroy “Roy” (Rosie) Rochholz III of Schoolcraft, daughters Paula (Robert) Beckman of Ohio and Dena (Stephen) Holman of Schoolcraft; grandchildren Stephen Rochholz, Sara Wright, Nicole Enzweiler, Jessica Wynne, Holly Smith, Michael Geesaman, and Brad Geesaman and 10 great grandchildren. He is also survived by sisters Janet Pratt and Judy Molenaar, as well as several nieces, nephews and cousins. He was preceded in death by his grandson, Paul Beckman. Visit Jesse’s page at avinkcremation.com. Donations may go to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.

William “Bill” Slater Jr., 84, Vicksburg, passed away peacefully surrounded by family October 25. Bill was born to William and Emma Slater on September 9, 1935. Bill is survived by his significant other, Joyce Beckner; his daughter, Sue Gonser (Mike Colasanti); grandchildren Steven Quada (Kayla Imler), Paul (Karen) Quada, Joshua Slater (Angel Nocis), Lindsey (Bret) Borock, and Brittany (Shaun) Rutgers; a daughter in law, Michele Slater, as well as several siblings. Bill was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Ellen (Brooks) Slater; and son, Steve Slater. Visit Bill’s page at mccowensecord.com.

Gordon Lou Sutton, of Schoolcraft, passed away September 21, at the age of 72. Gordon was born on September 11, 1947 in Kalamazoo. He was the son of Garlef and Beryl (Prosser) Sutton. Gordon graduated from Mattawan High School in June 1966. He then joined the Army in November, 1966 and served through November, 1969. He was preceded in death by his parents, Garlef and Beryl Sutton, and his brother, Lloyd Sutton. He was survived by his sons, Scott (Shawn) Sutton and Gary (LeAnne) Sutton. He is also survived by his sister, Sondra (James) Shilling. Visit Gordon’s page at avinkcremation.com.

Gregory John Visel, 32, Schoolcraft, died October 10. Greg was born September 30, 1987 in Kalamazoo, the son of Barry and Nancy (Schneidt) Visel. Known as one who loved giving hugs, Greg made friends with everyone he met and was especially fond of and thankful for those he met through his Circle of Friends social group. He enjoyed the latest technology, calling or FaceTiming people regularly just to chat. He particularly loved competing in the Special Olympics in several sports including bowling, track, basketball, soccer, and others. Greg was preceded in death by his mother, Nancy. Surviving are his father, Barry; brothers Ben (Trisha) Visel and Pete Visel; and nephews and nieces Jake, Joe, Addie, and Lexi. Cremation has taken place to be followed by private burial. Visit Greg’s page at BetzlerLifeStory.com. Donations may go to Special Olympics Area 16.

Josephine “Jo” Weems, 76, Schoolcraft, died September 26. She was born on June 4, 1943 in New Jersey. In 1984, Jo and her husband, Connie, moved to Michigan, where they settled in Schoolcraft. She spent years working for Ernst and Young and Lane Bryant, which meant she had an amazing wardrobe. Jo only bought the clothes they sold, changing her wardrobe every time they came out with a new line since she told her husband this was required by the company! As a result, Jo had three full closets of clothes and endless boxes of shoes. In 2012, Jo was deeply saddened with the death of her beloved husband, but she did her best to not let it slow her down. She joined the Kalamazoo Area Newcomers Club and Sit and Stitch where she gained many new friendships. Jo’s family includes her two children, Scott Weems and Chris (Cheri) Weems; grandchildren Jake and Allison Weems, and a brother, Peter (Pat) LaPlaca. Visit Jo’s page at betzlerlifestory.com. Donations may go to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.

Frances Marie Weinberg, 96, of rural Three Rivers, died Oct. 1 following a brief illness. She was born in Plainwell on Nov. 17, 1922, the youngest of seven children born to Dwight and Edith (Eley) Marker. She was married to Rex Hamilton Weinberg on Aug. 16, 1941 in Kalamazoo. Together they operated a farm north of Mendon, owned a dry cleaning and laundry service in Kalamazoo’s Oakwood Plaza, and ran the John Deere dealership in Vicksburg. They were members of the Farm Bureau, working the St. Joseph County Fair booth and ushering for many years in the grandstand. They wintered in Florida every year beginning in 1962. She was an active member of the West Mendon Community Church for 70 years. Frances enjoyed yardwork and gardening, playing dominoes and bingo with friends, and especially loved time with her family. She was eager to share words of wisdom and advice with her family, and she took great pride in things being, neat, clean and well organized. Frances is survived by her son and daughter in law, Ron and Pat Weinberg of Mendon; grandchildren Troy (Sandra) Weinberg, Sheli (Mark) Daniels, Jeff (Elizabeth) Jergens, Robin (Mark) Parks, and Tim (Tonya) Jergens; 20 great-grandchildren; eight great-great-grandchildren; and a son in law, Pat (Judy) Jergens. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Rex, in 2010; and her daughter, Carolyn Jergens, in 2006. Donations may go to the West Mendon Community Church. Visit her page at eickhofffuneralhome.com.

Milford “Mel” Weinberg, 84, Scotts, passed away September 30. Mel was born on April 6, 1935 at home in Brady Township to Harold A. and Mary K. (Waltz) Weinberg. He moved to his current home and farm in 1937 and grew up attending Pavilion #4 country school and enjoyed the many class reunions in his later years. He graduated from Vicksburg High School in 1953. He then attended Western Michigan University before entering the Army in 1958. He served for two years in Germany. On October 9, 1965, he married the love of his life, Joanna (Haefner) Weinberg. Together, they raised three children on that same farm which today is operated and managed by his son, Todd. Mel was a “people person” and had a natural love for farming, the farm community, his family and his church connections. He was a member of Lakeland Reformed Church for over 40 years and the Latecomers Farm Bureau Group of Kalamazoo County. His home farm was where he loved to be. Family vacations were usually short as he was always ready to get back home until daughter Molly and family moved to Hawaii where he didn’t mind a few extra days. In October of 2015, the three kids held a surprise 50th wedding anniversary that Mel and Jo very much appreciated. In later years, overcoming health issues began to take their toll, physically and mentally. But he always looked forward to the kids and grandkids coming home through the summer months. Mel leaves his wife of 54 years, Jo; children Molly (Weinberg) Schake, of Mililani, Hawaii; Todd H. Weinberg, of Scotts and Chad R. Weinberg, of Alexandria, Va., a son-in-law Mark Schake, and daughter-in-law Therra (Ebwe) Weinberg; grandchildren Emily Schake, Wendy (Schake), Daniel Lyons, Nathan Schake, Brooke Schake, Ryna Weinberg, Corban Weinberg, and Phoebe Weinberg. He was preceded in death by his sister, Ellie (Weinberg) Fitzgerald, and brother, Stanley Weinberg. Visit Mel’s page at mccowensecord.com.

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