Obituaries

Marilyn E. Baird, 83, Fulton, passed away Oct. 4. Marilyn was born Sept. 30, 1937, in Vicksburg, the daughter of Pete and Bernice (Weimer) Holt. Marilyn enjoyed music, graduating from Vicksburg High School where she met David Baird. Married April 22, 1955, the couple created a home and raised four children. Marilyn’s sewing and crafting interests complemented David’s skills in woodworking, leading to their participation in many craft shows. She was a longtime member of the Prairie Baptist Church. Marilyn is survived by her husband of 65 years, David; children Stephen (Mary) Baird of Coopersville, Joan (Bob) Huffman of New Mexico, Thomas Baird of Florida, Ellen (Mike) Ashbee of Missouri; eight grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; two great great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents; brothers Ted Holt, Don Holt and Tom Holt; and sister Elizabeth Ann. Visit her page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to Rural Bible Missions rbmministries.org/donations or mail directly to RBM Ministries c/o Amy & Paul P.O. Box 128 Plainwell, MI 49080.

Newell Burson Dean, 84, Schoolcraft, passed away Oct. 1 at Bronson Methodist Hospital. He was born at the Burson family homestead north of Schoolcraft Feb. 28, 1936, the son of Leslie Newell Dean and Alice Mae (Burson Dean) Schug. Newell was raised in Portage, graduated from Portage schools, and received his degree in agriculture from MSU in 1956. Newell married Ruth Ellen Garlic March 23, 1956. They moved to the Carl Abel farm in Cedar Springs. He accepted an offer to manage the Allan Milham farm in Portage in 1957. In 1964, he purchased the Maynard Jeffries farm in Schoolcraft, where he and Ruth raised their family. He was a member of the Schoolcraft United Methodist Church for 52 years, and active in leadership of Farm Bureau, Prairie Ronde Township, Kalamazoo County, Lawton Board of Education, Lawton Athletic Boosters and the Van Buren County Youth Fair-Junior Livestock Producers. Newell was preceded in death by his brother-in-law, Ronald Zentz; sister-in-law Diana Dean; granddaughter Kendra Dean; and great grandson Paul Dean Rozeboom. He is survived by his wife; children Julia (Paul) Rozeboom, David Dean, Bruce (Therese) Dean and Gary (Wendy) Dean; sister Millicent Zentz; brothers James Dean and Duane (Sharon) Dean; 13 grandchildren; 20 great grandchildren; and numerous brothers, sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews. Visit Newell’s page at avinkcremation.com. Share memories with the family at RememberingNewell@gmail.com. Donations may go to Schoolcraft United Methodist Church Memorial Fund.

David Marion Huntington, 71, passed away Sept. 26. He was born to Marion and Theresa Huntington April 24, 1949, in Vicksburg. He was a Vietnam veteran. He was joined in marriage to Linda Louise Loosier April 28, 1973, and later welcomed one son, David. David loved camping at Leidy Lake Campground with his wife, Linda and son, Davie. They had many great years there and made many friends. Throughout his career, David worked at Gibson Guitars and Mead Paper. He was a hard worker and always did whatever he could to take care of his family and help his friends. David was preceded in death by his wife of 41 years, Linda, his parents and brothers-in-law John Overton and Jarry Loosier. He survived by his son, David (Brandi) Huntington; brother, Leslie Huntington of Vicksburg; sisters Marilyn (Ed Sr.) Miller of Coldwater, Rosemary (Raymond) Weller of Coldwater, Alice (Mike) Bockstanz of Portage, Lori Overton of Three Rivers, and Brenda (Bob) Piper of Vicksburg; grandchildren KJ, Alyssa, Noah and Eveah. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews that he loved very much. Services will be announced at a later date.

Thomas L. Karns, 58, Vicksburg passed away Sept. 25. Tom was born March 18, 1962, in Marshall, the son of Thomas and Eleanor (Napientek) Karns. Tom graduated in 1980 from Marshall High School. He proudly served in the United States Army 101st Airborne from 1980 until 1989. It was during his time in the service that he became a nurse. When he returned home, he worked at the State Hospital for over 10 years. On July 2, 2004, he married Theora Edwards. He was preceded in death by his wife and parents. He is survived by children Tyson (Melanie) Souza of Oregon and Trina (Carlos) Sanchez of California; their mother, L.J. Souza of California; step-children Tonya (Andy) Taylor of Scotts, Lyndie (Brian Tassell) Wall of Fulton, Conor (Jenny) Schaub of Schoolcraft; father and mother-in-law Linden and Lois Edwards; grandchildren Lea, Neil, Vincent, Kasey, Morgan, Gracie Lue, Eric Thomas, Wyatt, Isla and Oliver. He is also survived by brothers Larry (Julia) Karns, of Battle Creek and Michael Karns, of Texas; sisters Donna (Dennis) Wintersteen of Marshall and Becky (Rich) Simpkins of Mississippi; sisters-in-law Pam (Jeff) Foy of Climax and Jenny (Chan) Edwards of Vicksburg; many nieces and nephews; and his beloved dog, Geno. Tom will be cremated and his ashes will be interred in a private ceremony at Fort Custer National Cemetery. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com.

James (Jim) Mendocha, 68, passed away peacefully on Oct. 18. The youngest of five children, Jim was born Dec. 4, 1951 to Frank and Wanda (Zoilkowski) Mendocha. He was a graduate of WMU with a bachelor’s degree in art. On Oct. 1, 1994, he married his soulmate and the love of his life, Janet Prosser. Their family quickly grew with the addition of their two wonderful sons, Matthew and Michael, whom he adored. Jim lived an adventurous early life. He lived all over the country. His mother often said he was born with a gypsy heel. His travels frequently coincided with various occupations, from being a stenographer at the Pentagon while in the army to owning his own candle making store in Estes Park, Colorado, to finally helping his wife run The Fulton Little Store. Jim enjoyed playing and listening to all kinds of music. He was known for his sense of humor, story-telling, and spending time with lifelong friends, Mark Weeks and Eric Matthies. Jim was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Wanda Nash. He is survived by his loving wife, Janet Mendocha; sons Matthew and Michael; brother Jack Mendocha; sisters Carol (Arthur) Pollari, lovingly referred to as Spud and French Fry, and Sally Mendocha; and several nieces and nephews. A gathering of friends and family will be scheduled for a later date. Donations may go to Rose Arbor Hospice or West Michigan Cancer Center.

Robert “Bob” Peck, 83, passed away peacefully Sept. 29, 2020, in his hometown of Campton, Kentucky. The son of the late Henry and Ellen Banks Peck, he was born in Campton Jan. 22, 1937. Bob moved to Kalamazoo in the 1950s, finding his niche as a drywall hanger and finisher for his former brother-in-law Jim, owner of Burns Drywall in Portage. Bob did countless jobs for Martz Home Builders, Louis Roberts Home Builders and other side jobs for folks who requested his work. He was a regular in the “drywallers’ corner” at Derk’s Restaurant in Portage, before retiring to Kentucky. Bob was a talented guitarist and enjoyed riding his motorcycle. He is survived by his wife, Mary Burrow Peck of Campton; son Bill (Melissa) of Warren, Michigan; daughters Cathy Conner of Winchester, Kentucky, Missy (Lee) Noel of Portage, Colleen (George) Ogan of Kalamazoo, and Christine (Gary) Allen of Vicksburg; 17 grandchildren; 26 great-grandchildren; brother Woodrow “Sam” Peck of Campton; sister Dixie Peck of Campton; and special friend Anna Tate whom he called “his bingo wife.” He was preceded in death by daughter Geri Docsa; a grandchild; and sister, Berneda Swim. Bob was laid to rest in Campton.

K. Mark Pedler, 60, of Three Rivers, formerly of Elkhart, Indiana, passed away Oct. 11. He was born Dec. 30, 1959, in Elkhart. He graduated from Concord High School in Elkhart and was a journeyman tool and die maker for 25 years. Mark was preceded in death by his wife of 26 years, Diane. He is survived by daughters Kristine Smithers of Three Rivers and Kelly Pedler of Galesburg; grandchildren Kaleb, Kadin, Emileigh, Ethan, Adleigh and Kensley; brother Kim J. Pedler of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin; niece Chelsea Pedler; nephew Jordan Pedler; and mother Karen Lemon of Elkhart. Condolences can be sent to Avink Funeral Home. Donations may go to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan. Visit his page at avinkcremation.com.

Bonnie Lynne (Wedel) Russell, of Kalamazoo, passed away Oct. 18, with family at her side. Bonnie was born to George and Joyce (Christensen) Wedel May 29, 1969, in Kalamazoo. When she was a year old, the family moved to Scotts, where she grew up enjoying animals and the outdoors. Bonnie loved music, eventually sharing her talents with the praise band at Country Christian Evangelical Free Church. Bonnie was also a talented designer, managing the flower shop at Wedel’s Garden Center. Bonnie was a loyal member of the Republican Party for 20 years and attended the 2016 National Republican Convention. She and Rich were engaged at Little Sable Lighthouse near Silver Lake Oct. 26, 2018, and traveled extensively. She enjoyed being mom to Rich’s kids Bryan, Matt and Nicole and grandma to their children. Bonnie leaves behind her beloved husband, Rich Russell; his parents Bill and Ruth Russell and Bill and Kathy Runkle; siblings Terrie (Dana) Schwartz and Andrew (Danielle) Wedel; her special niece Andrea (Gary) Truax; nephews Nathan (Lindsey) Schwartz, Nicholas Schwartz, Zachariah Wedel, Caleb Wedel and Eli Wedel; and grand nieces and nephews Dylan, Jackson, Alaina and Callen Truax and Stella Schwartz. Services will be held at a later date. Visit Bonnie’s page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to Kalamazoo Gospel Mission and Country Christian Evangelical Free Church.

Alan Paul Stanton, 66, of Constantine Township, passed away Oct. 14, 2020. Alan was born July 21, 1954, in Battle Creek to Gerald and Ruth (Wing) Stanton. He grew up in Fulton on the family farm, attending and graduating from Athens Area Schools. On April 24, 1993, he married the former Theresa Stark. They relocated to Constantine Township in 1994 and have resided there since. Alan was employed as a forklift operator by White Pigeon Paper Mill. He was a hard worker, a storyteller and an outdoorsman. He attended Factoryville Bible Church and Bethany Chapel. Alan is survived by his wife of 27 years, Theresa; children Sandy McCausland and Bill (Teri) Bambrick, both of Constantine; grandchildren Joe McCausland, Brittany Bambrick and Katelyn McCausland; great-grandchildren Grady, Piper and Stefan Criddle and Rose Carr; siblings Bethel (Joe) Halladay of Belgrade, Montana, Leta Gould Stanton of Yoakum, Texas, Carlena Hacker of Mendon, Joel (Marlene) Stanton of Liberal, Kansas, and Lois Stanton of LaGrange; many nieces and nephews, numerous friends and his best furry buddy “Mike.” He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Ardis Hall. Services have been held. Memorial contributions are suggested to the family to establish the Gerald and Ruth Stanton Memorial Scholarship to be awarded to an academically average college-bound student who shows financial need. Please visit www.lighthousefuneral.com to share memories, pictures and videos with the family.

Pamela J. VanWeelden, 63, of Portage, passed away Sept. 28 from heart complications at Spectrum Hospital in Grand Rapids. Pam was born Feb. 1, 1957 in Kalamazoo, the middle child of Fred and Ester Drenth. She spent 43 wonderful years married to her husband, Dennis VanWeelden. The couple was later blessed with their son, Jeremy VanWeelden. Family and friends were especially important to her, and she always made time to help care for them when needed. Pam is survived by her loving husband, Dennis; son Jeremy; brothers Douglas and Randy Drenth; sisters Terri Veildman and Jennie Drenth; and sisters-in-law Cindy Boven and Linda Moed. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a Celebration of Life service will be postponed until spring 2021. The celebration will take place at her home on Austin Lake. For those who wish to attend the celebration, please send a note to Dennis VanWeelden at 2363 Woody Noll Drive, Portage, Michigan 49002 for date and time confirmation. Visit her page at avinkcremation.com.

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