Obituaries

Rev. Harold Brown, 85, Vicksburg, died peacefully Jan. 16, 2021. Harold was born March 6, 1935 in Akron, Ohio, the son of Gerald and Margaret (Boger) Brown. While working at General Motors in Mansfield, Ohio, Harold’s destiny was changed by Cook Road Baptist Church, which encouraged him to pursue the ministry. Harold graduated from Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Mo. in 1968. He pastored a few churches in the greater Kalamazoo area and started the Kalamazoo Baptist Church. Harold loved to laugh and never passed up a good buffet. Harold was preceded in death by his wife, Nora, and siblings Mary Moats, Ronnie Brown, and David Brown. He is survived by his children, Terry Brown, Danny Brown, and Dale Brown; grandchildren Jennifer, Allyssa, Russell, Melinda, Crystal, Ashley, and Ty; great-grandchildren Hunter, Evan, and Drake; siblings Joe (Nancy) Brown, Bill (Lydia) Brown, Donald Brown, and Susan Sauer; and many nieces and nephews. Services have been held. Visit his page at BetzlerLifeStory.com. Donations may go to Maranatha Bible Baptist Church.

Jack A. Brown, 91, Portage, formerly of Plainwell and Vicksburg, passed away on Jan. 25, 2021. Jack was born on July 24, 1929 in Dayton, Ohio. He was the son of Sabert and Leslie (Truitt) Brown. On January 4, 1949 Jack married the love of his life, Ethlyn Miller and together they had three children: Janet, Lois, and Bill. Jack worked for over 40 years in Parchment for KVP as a machinist. He loved to fish, bowl, golf, and hunt. He was loving, mellow, humble, social and friendly. Jack and Ethlyn have had a special friendship with Bud and Marilyn Bekken for over 70 years. Jack is survived by his wife of 72 years, Ethlyn; three children: Janet (Warren) Wright, of Vicksburg; Lois (Derry) Sanford, of Vicksburg; Bill (Cindy) Brown, of Plainwell; six grandchildren: Laura (Mike), Doug (Chad), Thomas (Beth), Jacob (Bethany), Jodi (Dennis), Chad; 10 great grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents, two sisters and one brother. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.

Raylan Eugene Cubic, passed away on Jan. 24, 2021 after battling a severe congenital heart defect. Raylan was born on Dec. 28, 2020 to Thomas and Rachel Cubic of Vicksburg. Raylan faced these challenges with a resilience and fortitude that inspired all who knew his story. Raylan is survived by his parents, his twin sister, Lillian Michaela, and a host of family and other loved ones. A private service will be held, followed by interment at Harrison Cemetery where Raylan will be laid to rest among family. In lieu of flowers, Raylan’s family asks that donations be given to the family c/o Shirley Mroczek to be used to purchase small comfort items for other children in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. Visit his page at avinkcremation.com.

Rodney Clair “Rod” Decker, 59, Schoolcraft, died Jan. 4, 2021 at Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo. He was born in Vicksburg Nov. 23, 1961, the son of Allan R. and Geraldine M. (Spealman) Decker. He was a lifetime resident of Kalamazoo County. He graduated from Vicksburg High School in 1979 and later attended Kalamazoo Valley Community College. As a young man, he engaged in general farming and later worked at Portage Steel. For the past 25 years he had been employed at TDA Buddy in Kalamazoo. Rod was a member of the NRA and enjoyed target shooting. He was a MOPAR car enthusiast and looked forward to trips north for ice fishing and snowmobiling. Rod was married to Christine Shelton Sept. 23, 2016. She survives, along with sons Timothy Harger of Schoolcraft, Christopher Harger of Portage, and Aaron Harger of Schoolcraft; grandchildren Nathaniel, Ian, Avery, Joel, and Livia; sisters Tammy Decker and Karla (Bill) Hodge; brother Mark Decker; nephew Thomas (Rebecca) Decker; niece Jessica (Jeremy) Shepherd; and best friend Brian (Dorothea) Williams He was preceded in death by his parents. Visit his page at eickhofffuneralhome.com.

Myrna Lee Forsythe, 84, Vicksburg, died peacefully at Rose Arbor Hospice on Jan. 2, 2021. Myrna was born December 3, 1936 in Reynolds, Ill., the daughter of Dale and Marian (Hahn) Wynn. She graduated from Reynolds High School in 1954, where she met Delano “Del” Forsythe. They were married July 16, 1955, in 1966 moving to Vicksburg, where they raised their family. Both Del and Myrna enjoyed traveling and the company of friends and family. Myrna was a talented cook and seamstress, and she always kept busy crafting and letter writing. She was a member of the United Methodist Church and United Methodist Women. Myrna is survived by sons Dennis (Kathleen) Forsythe and Douglas Forsythe of Vicksburg; grandchildren Nicole Rayburn, Amanda (Matthew) Nixon, Elizabeth (George) Palat, Andrew Forsythe; great grandchildren Tyler Deau, Morgan Rayburn, Allyson Rayburn, Caleb Nixon, Chloe Nixon and one on the way. She is also survived by brother-in-law Charles (Kay) Dooley; sisters-in-law Paulita Forsythe and Sharon Wynn; daughter-in-law Gloria Forsythe; several nieces, nephews, cousins; and special friend Barbara Swarthout. Myrna was preceded in death by her husband; sons Allan Forsythe and a baby boy; her parents; brother Kelly Wynn; sister Joyce Wynn Travis; and brothers-in-law Dennis Dooley, Earl Dooley, and Gary Travis. Visit Myrna’s page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan c/o Rose Arbor.

Dave Morris French, 78, passed away peacefully at Rose Arbor Hospice in Kalamazoo Jan. 24, 2021 after a brief illness. He was a 1960 graduate of Schoolcraft High School where he played football as a left guard. After graduation, he joined the Navy and had a tour on the USS Constellation. He then met and married Joyce Ann Comstock in 1968. He worked for General Motors BOC stamping plant for 27 years and then worked for Western Michigan University, retiring after 10 years. After retiring, he enjoyed going to Bonita Springs, Fla. in the winter. Dave was a Mason and a 55-year member of the Kalamazoo Corvette Club. He loved old cars, car shows, road trips and garage sales. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Joyce; children David (Kathy) of Saline, Mich. and Dawn (Paul) Knieriem of Livonia, Mich.; seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild; brother Larry; several nieces and nephews, cousins and many friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, his brother, Ron, and his grandson, Andrew Knieriem. Donations may go to American Heart Association.

Gary Glenn Hammel, passed away peacefully after a courageous battle with glioblastoma on Dec. 24, 2020. Born in Kalamazoo on Jan. 20, 1951, Gary grew up working alongside his siblings and parents in the family’s multiple businesses, including Hammel Concessions. He graduated from Vicksburg High School in 1969 and later attended Western Michigan University. A natural athlete and outdoorsman, he enjoyed many sports, including golfing, fishing and hunting. In 1970, Gary joined the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety. He began his career as a patrol officer and was promoted to sergeant of the S.I.U from 1987 to 1990. In 1990, Gary became sergeant of the Criminal Investigation Division. Gary retired from law enforcement in 1997 after 27 years of service. In 1999, Gary and his wife relocated to Fort Collins, Colo., where they owned and operated their small business. Gary loved spending time with his family, hiking in the mountains and biking the trails. Gary was preceded in death by his parents, Robert C. Hammel and Eleanor R. Hammel. He is survived by his loving wife of 28 years, Judi. A beloved husband, father, grandfather, and brother, Gary is lovingly remembered by his daughters, Lauri Berry (James and Jamie Culver (Matthew), stepdaughter Stacie Barrett (John), stepson Ryan Gaudie (Amy), sister Lin Hammel, brother Richard Hammel (Theresa), and grandchildren Clara, Joseph, Mitchell, Mara, Samantha, Brooke, Lux and Jovi. Loved by his family and friends, Gary will be remembered for his calming presence, kind soul, keen sense of humor and impressive golf game.

Bruce W. Hedges, 62, Fulton, passed away Jan. 6, 2021. He was born April 30, 1958 in Allegan, the son of Chester and Ellen (Wright) Hedges. Bruce attended Allegan and Otsego schools. On May 20, 1975 he married Sue Leonard, and together they raised two children. He enjoyed riding his Harley and spending time with his family and friends. He could always be seen at his grandchildren’s sporting events and was their biggest fan. For 15 years he owned B&S Auto in Vicksburg. His family will remember him as being strong-willed and having a heart of gold. Bruce is survived by his wife of 45 years, Sue; children Mike (Melisa) Leonard of Vicksburg and Melissa Yant of Fulton; grandchildren Cody Leonard and Brandin Yant; siblings Donna (Mike) O’Connell of Allegan, Dave Hedges, Jr, of Plainwell, and Donnie (Clara) Hedges of Allegan; and several nieces and nephews. Bruce was preceded in death by his parents, David Hedges Sr. and Ellen Hedges, and brothers Chuck and Terry Stratton. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com.

Ann June Jung, 74, Scotts, formerly of Brown Deer, Wis., passed away Jan. 10, 2021. Ann was born on June 1, 1946 in Shorewood, Wis., the daughter of William and Ida (Burnside) Gschwind. She was a 1964 graduate of Granville High School. Ann married Clifford Jung Oct. 18, 1969 and together they raised three children. Ann enjoyed fishing, boating, shopping, baking and especially spending time with her family and grandchildren. She also enjoyed spending time with her friends watching Packer games at Spanky’s in Mequon, Wis. Ann is survived by her husband Clifford; children Brad (Beth) Jung, of Washington, Amy (Mike) McConnaghy of Portage and Andy (Carrie Ann Jung), of Wisconsin; and grandchildren Grace, Kate, Nick, Hailey, Lacey, Nolan, Spencer and Sydney. Ann will be laid to rest next to her parents at Resurrection Cemetery in Mequon. Visit her page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

David E. Landrum, 79, Vicksburg, passed away unexpectedly Jan. 17, 2021. He was born Sept. 7, 1941 to John C. Landrum, Sr. and Donna (Shrock) Landrum in Elkhart and graduated from White Pigeon High School in 1961. While serving in the army in the state of Washington, he met his wife, Lorna. They moved their young family to Michigan, where they remained. Dave worked 25 years at General Motors (Fisher Body) in Kalamazoo, and after his retirement, held various positions in the Kalamazoo area. He volunteered with the Wakeshma Township Fire Department in Fulton. He enjoyed camping with their close friends, the Happy Campers, as well as fishing, especially with his grandchildren. Surviving Dave is his wife of 59 years, Lorna; children Lisa (Ed) Robleski of Little Elm, Texas, Rod Landrum of Murfreesboro, Tenn., Lauri (Kevin) Wiessner of Kalamazoo and Rick (Kay) Landrum of Portage. He will be dearly missed by his grandchildren and great-grandchildren Amanda, Danielle, Travis, Zach, Grace, Michael, Abel, Theo, Juliet and Phoenix.

Lee F. Phelps, 82, Schoolcraft, passed away Jan. 12, 2021. He was born May 8, 1938 in Schoolcraft, the son of Leon and Phyllis (Hice) Phelps. He grew up on the family farm, graduating from Schoolcraft High School. He honorably served his country from 1959 until 1961 as part of the 82nd Airborne Division and was stationed at Fort Bragg. While in the military he was very proud to play on the baseball team. Lee and Kay Sprowl were married June 15, 1963, in Colon United Methodist Church. They raised their sons on the farm they purchased in 1969, growing it from 80 to 440 acres. Lee leaves behind a legacy of faith, hard work and integrity. Lee was a member of the Edwards Corner Bible Church. He is survived by Kay, his wife of 57 years; Larry (Dawn) Phelps of Vicksburg; Buzz (Kristina) Phelps of Nappanee, Ind. and Kurt (Rachel) Phelps of Schoolcraft; grandchildren Andrew, Aaron, Adam, Jacob (Heather), Justin, Micah, Kayson, Gracie, Gentzen, Mark, Halle, and Stephen. Lee was preceded in death by his parents, Leon and Phyllis Phelps. Visit his page at avinkcremation.com. Donations may go to Edwards Corner Bible Church Building Fund.

Dena Julene Piper, 72, Schoolcraft, passed away on Dec. 31, 2020 in Kalamazoo. She was born in Kalamazoo on June 6, 1948, the daughter of LaVerne and Julia (Smith) Brown. She was preceded in passing by her parents, stepfather Harold Bent and brother Dale Brown. Left to cherish Dena’s loving memory are her husband of nearly 52 years, Terry Piper; children Eric (Heidi) Piper, Jared (Mary) Piper, and Dawn (David) Beltz; 12 grandchildren; two great grandchildren; siblings Verna (Phil) Maughan and Darl (Shirley) Brown and many cousins, nieces, nephews, and close family friends. Donations may go to St. Jude’s Research Hospital. Visit her page at mccowensecord.com.

Dennis J. Pound, 65, Vicksburg, passed away Jan. 8, 2021. Dennis was born on Feb. 1, 1955 in Kalamazoo, the son of Guy Douglas and Jean (Mandigo) Pound. Dennis is survived by his wife of 41 years, Diane; daughter Kimberly Pound; son Jay Pound; brother Doug Pound; sister Deborah Dornbos; and many nieces and nephews. Dennis was preceded in death by his parents, two nieces and a nephew. Dennis graduated from Vicksburg High School and Kalamazoo Valley Community College. A private family graveside service will be held at a future date. Visit his page at avinkcremation.com.

Ronald E. Sheely, 75, Portage, passed away Jan. 3, 2021. Ron was born on Jan. 5, 1945 in Camp Shelby, Miss. He was the son of Merritt and Viola (Carey) Sheely. Ron was a road inspector for the Michigan Department of Transportation. On June 6, 1987 he married his wife, Betty. He enjoyed watching the Detroit Lions. He will be remembered by his family for having a generous heart, independent spirit and strong-willed. Ron was preceded in death by his wife, Betty, and a granddaughter, Jennifer Hodgman. Ron is survived by his children, Michael (Elizabeth) Sheely, of Otsego; Keith Sheely, of Illinois; and Anthony (Tina) Sheely), of Grand Rapids; stepchildren Marty O’Brien; Clark O’Brien; March Wegeler; and Doni Anderson; many grandchildren and great grandchildren. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com.

Jeanne A. Tindall, 92, passed away with her family by her side Jan. 14, 2021, from COVID-19. She resided at Friendship Village in Kalamazoo and formerly lived on Indian Lake in Vicksburg. Jeanne was born March 24, 1928 in Kalamazoo, the daughter of the late Ralph and Gladys (Bollinger) Keller. Jeanne grew up in Kalamazoo with three siblings, the late Barbara (Otto) Hood, Jack (Kathy) Keller and Marian (Don) Scheid. On June 18, 1949, she married James L. Tindall. She received her Bachelor of Music from U of M in 1952. After Jim’s passing in 2011, she had a special friend, the late Dr. John Sinclair. Jeanne is survived by her children, Nancy (Thom) Jones of Kalamazoo, Ken Tindall (Beth DeWaters) of Kalamazoo, Scott (Shelley) Tindall of Vicksburg and Marilyn (Ken) Weichhand of Vicksburg; grandchildren Carrie (James) Langley, Paul Gerts, Steve (Sara) Weichhand, Lisa Weichhand, Timothy Tindall, Brad Tindall, Shawn Tindall, Luke (Eunice) Tindall; great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild; a brother-in-law, sisters-in-law and several nieces, nephews, and cousins. Donations may go to Ministry with Community.

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