Obituaries

Donald Carl Ampey, 61, Vicksburg, passed away June 8, surrounded by family. Don was born on March 5, 1959 to Donald and Linda (Moon) Ampey. Don worked for a number of years at Allied Paper in Kalamazoo and also at Ampey Buffing and Polishing. Don is survived by his wife of 41 years, Bonnie (Yerge) Ampey: children Christina (Bill) Hearns, Andrea (Kevin) Kavlock, and Greg (Anne) Ampey: and grandchildren Ashley, Katherine, DJ, Melissa, Brittany, Savannah, Cloey, and Charlotte; siblings Patty, Francine, Robert, and Rick and many nieces and nephews. Don was preceded in death by his parents, Don and Linda Ampey. Per Don’s wishes, cremation has taken place. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to the Wounded Warrior Project.

Terry Coburn, 76, Mattawan, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his loved ones on March 30. Terry was born October 13, 1943, the son of the late Richard Edward and Muriel Marie (Oldacre) Coburn. Raised in Fulton, Terry graduated from Vicksburg High School in 1961. In 1964, Terry enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, beginning his training in San Diego. It was there he met Sally Ann Bruggema, the love of his life. During his deployment to Vietnam from 1966-1967, Terry and Sally wrote letters. They began dating when he returned and were married February 23, 1968, settling in Fulton. Terry worked for Rieth Riley Asphalt and Krum’s Chevrolet before earning his associate’s degree from KVCC. He was employed by KVCC for 38 years as a supervisor of media services and as a part time faculty member, teaching applied electricity. Terry loved to serve his community, as best demonstrated by his 43-year commitment to Vicksburg Little League. He began by coaching, helping the grounds crew, and serving on the board. Terry found his passion in umpiring softball. He umpired many local, district, regional and state games as well as the Big-League Softball World Series games. He served on various boards and participated in many umpiring clinics. He enjoyed teaching and always tried to be fair. Terry was an active, loving father to his two children, Scott Edward and Kathleen (Katie) Ann Coburn, and adored his grandchildren. Family was the most important thing to Terry. He is survived by his wife, Sally; son Scott (Jennifer) Coburn and daughter Kathleen (Katie) Coburn; and grandchildren Aubrey and Ashlen Coburn. A celebration of life will be held Saturday, August 8, at the Vicksburg Little League fields, a fitting tribute to Terry’s many hours and interactions there. Visitation will be from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., followed by a memorial at 1 p.m., with lunch afterward. Those attending are encouraged to wear bright clothing.

Mary Ann Collier, 84, Schoolcraft, passed away June 6. Per her wishes, she has been cremated and no services are planned.

Janet V. Griffith, 84, Vicksburg, passed away June 4. Janet was born April 22, 1936 in Peoria, Ill., the daughter of Glen and Ruth (Smith) Pease. Jan worked in various places over the years; but most of her employment was with the City of Eureka, Ill., working with the mayor and the Eureka Police Department. She sang in numerous groups and choirs, and was an incredible soloist. Prior to moving to Michigan, Jan was a member of the Eureka United Methodist Church. Jan attended Cross Community Church of the Nazarene in Portage. She was an avid collector of antiques. She loved spending time with her husband, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, family members and many friends. On August 10, 1957, she was united in marriage to her loving husband, Richard (Dick) Griffith, who survives. Also surviving are her daughters, Deb (Jim) Hinze, Dawn Griffith; t grandchildren Kristen Simpson, Ashley (Joe) Renie, Austin (Haylee) Griffith; great-grandchildren Ryan, Brooklyn, Camden, Noah, Brayden, Cayden, and Jonah; a sister, Elnor Stevenson; nieces Maralee Malingowski and Teresa Cottrell, and several other nieces and nephews. There will be two Celebration of Life services, one in Michigan and one in Eureka, to be announced. Donations may go to Indian Lake Nazarene Camp in Vicksburg, Michigan. Visit her page at langelands.com.

Phillip M. Hinson, 56, Schoolcraft passed away June 2. Phil was born on July 30, 1963 in Anderson, Ind., the son of Archie and Joyce (Langford) Hinson. He graduated from Climax-Scotts High School with the Class of 1981. When he was 18, he got a job at Stewart Sutherland, and worked there ever since. On June 30, 2007, he married Pam in Kalamazoo. His hobbies included his love for the outdoors by trail riding on an ATV or deer hunting with a bow or gun. He will be remembered by his family as big hearted, logical, loving the Lord, being a good provider and very family-oriented. Phil is survived by his wife of 12 years, Pam; son Noah and stepdaughter Emily Hayner, all of Schoolcraft. He is also survived by his mother, Joyce Hinson, Scotts; a brother, Troy Hinson, of Texas; brother-in-law Ronald (Kelly) Schneider, of Portage; niece Cristra (James) Brown; nephews Zachary Hinson and Devin Schneider; and several aunts, uncles, and cousins. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to the ALS Foundation at alsa.org.

Suzanne Laymon, 67, Schoolcraft, passed away June 11. Suzanne was born on July 5, 1952 to Charles and Mary Hulbert in Kalamazoo. Suzanne enjoyed scrapbooking and camping. She can be described as honest, humorous and sarcastic. She and her husband Harold were married for 47 years. She is survived by her husband; children Stacy (Jason) Fulbright and Jim (Robin) Laymon; grandchildren Ethan Laymon, Byron Fulbright, Latreece Thomas, Cobie Thomas, Maky Thomas, Camded Thomas, Ashley Laymon, Tiffani Laymon, Sam Ferrer, Camellia Ferrer and Angelica Ferrer; and great grandchildren Dexter Bell, Amelia McCormick, Nolan McCormick and Lynden McCormick; siblings Cindy, Maryann, Charles and Kim. She was preceded in death by her brother, Bill, and her parents. Donations may go to the Wounded Warrior Project. Visit her page at avinkcremation.com.

Marihelen Niskala, 91, Schoolcraft, passed away peacefully May 28 at Wings of Hope Hospice in Allegan. Per Marihelen’s wishes, she has been cremated and no service will be held. Visit her page at avinkcremation.com.

Steven Michael Simon, 69, Vicksburg passed away June 25. Steve was born on May 23, 1951 to Elmer and Valeria (Osworth) Simon. Steve could usually be found at Angel’s Crossing Golf Course with his friend, Dave. Steve is survived by his wife of 40 years, Linda (Buytendorp) Simon; children Lane (Julie) Terrell and John (Francie) Terrell; grandchildren Cuyler, Mariah, and Becca (Randy); great grandchildren Laurel and Oliver; and a sister Lydia. Steve was preceded in death by his parents. Cremation has taken place, a memorial service to follow at a later date.

Robert Soter, 68, Vicksburg, passed away June 19. Robert was born on April 29, 1952 to Samuel and Tina Soter in Buffalo, N.Y. Bob was a drummer for 59 years, as he started to teach himself to play the drums at 9. His older sister purchased him his very first drum set for his 12th birthday. While still in Buffalo, Bob belonged to two bands, the Nightwalkers and the Nighthawks. More recently, he was in a group called the Backroads Band. Bob was a man with many skills and he especially loved working in the automotive industry. Throughout his life he worked for GM. Next, he was a custom car painter and was a condition reporter for Schoolcraft Auto Auction before he retired. Soon after retiring, Bob found himself bored and needed a way to spend his time. He began working at Shaffer’s flowers and enjoyed every minute of it. Bob’s favorite part was dropping off flowers for someone and saying “Somebody loves you!” He will always be known as an amazing father and partner. He loved his kids and his wife of 19 years, Rebecca. Bob will be remembered as an amazing husband and a hard worker who would do anything for his daughters. Bob is survived by his wife, Rebecca; daughters Kate (Soter) Selvidge, Lindsay Soter, Maya (Soter) David and Jillian Soter; his sister, Marge Soter; grandchildren Cheyanne, Isabella, Tate and Dylan; and great grandchildren John Albert and Everly. Bob was preceded in death by his parents, Samuel Anthony and Fatina (Neenos) Soter, his sister, Elana Soter, and the mother of his children, Vickie Lehto and stepson Daniel. 
Visit his page at mccowensecord.com.


Della Mae Spencer, 71, Gobles, formerly of Vicksburg, passed away June 22. Della was born on March 18, 1949 in Vicksburg, the third of four children of Harry and Mary (Viro) Spencer. She graduated from Vicksburg Schools in 1968. Della was born again and baptized at the Journey Family Church in Gobles. She was outgoing, outspoken, and loving. She loved saving animals. She is survived by her daughters, Heather Gause of Florida, Mary Burgoyne of Decatur; grandchildren Joplin and Sirius Burgoyne of Decatur; a sister, Leota (Linda Jones) Michielson, of Lawton. She is also survived by her special companion of over 40 years, Stanley Chaney of Gobles. Visit her page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to the Journey Family Church Building Fund.

Elmer “Walt” Ellis Walters Jr., 89, Scotts, went to be with the Lord on May 30. “Junior” was born on the family farm in Jones, Mich. He began a long career in the paper mill industry as a teen. He was a veteran of the Korean War, (1954-1956). Known more as “Walt” in his later years, he was manager of shipping and receiving at Quality Farm and Fleet for 20 years and also worked at Advanced Molding Innovations. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, camping and tinkering with his tractor at his farm in Scotts. Elmer was preceded in death by his parents, Elmer and Clara Walter, a sister, Betty (Bud) Jensen, and his beloved daughter, Arlene Walter Moord. Surviving are his brother, Fred (Lorna) Walter, his wife of 30 years, Sandi Walters, stepdaughter Melanie (Quentin) Witkowski, granddaughters MaRinda (Mac) Stamp, MaHaley Moord, Hadley and Sutton Witkowski, great grandchildren Cameron, Brixton and Ellis Stamp, stepdaughter Ardell (Alvin) Bontrager and their three children, and cousin Doug Bouwman. Elmer has been cremated and per his wishes will be interred at Poe’s Cemetery next to his daughter. Donations may go to Ascension At Home Hospice and Scotts United Methodist Church.

George Eugene Wedel, 81, Scotts, passed away June 21. George was born June 16, 1939 to Harley and Isabelle Wedel and grew up in Kalamazoo with his brothers, Harley and Richard, both deceased, and Roger, who survives. He met his high school sweetheart, Joyce Christensen, at Kalamazoo Central. They were married January 31, 1959. George and Joyce had three children, Terrie (Dana) Schwartz, Andrew (Danielle) Wedel, and Bonnie (Richard) Russell. Their grandchildren are Nathan (Lindsey) Schwartz, Andrea (Gary) Truax, Nicholas Schwartz, Zachariah Wedel, Caleb Wedel, and Eli Wedel and great grandchildren Dylan, Jackson, Alaina and Callen Truax and Stella Schwartz. George’s father started Wedel’s Nursery, Florist & Garden Center in 1946 in Kalamazoo. Joyce, Terrie, Andrew, Bonnie, and Andrea, Zachariah, and Caleb have all worked at Wedel’s Garden Center. Donations may go to Kalamazoo Gospel Mission, Forgotten Man Ministries or Country Christian Evangelical Free Church.

Michael Lewis Yeager, 52, Vicksburg, went home to be with his Lord and Savior on June 12. Mike was born on September 26, 1967 to George and Roxanna Yeager. He was a graduate of Kalamazoo Central High School and attended Berkeley School of Music in Boston and the Guitar Institute in Hollywood. He was a member of the bands P-Brain TV and LO-FI Scorpio. He enjoyed singing on the praise team at Westwood Christian Reformed Church. Mike loved fishing and spending time with family and friends. Mike was preceded in death by his father, George Yeager and is survived by his mother, Roxanna Yeager; his wife, Kristi Yeager; children Jake Andrews and Adrianna (Jon) Boyd and grandson Ryder Michael Boyd. Private services will be held for Mike at Westwood Christian Reformed Church and his interment will take place at Vicksburg Cemetery. Donations may go to Westwood Christian Reformed Church or the West Michigan Cancer Center. Visit his page at langelands.com.

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