Obituaries

Thomas P. Bell, 55, Yardley, Pa., passed away Feb. 19, 2021. Tom was born in Lafayette, Ind. on July 6, 1965, the son of Frank and Mary Evelyn (Harris) Bell. Tom was preceded in death by his parents, who lived in Vicksburg for many years. He is survived by his wife, Lisa (Gifford), sons Dmitry and Anthony, brothers Matthew (Jackie) and James (Jen) and several nieces and nephews.

Donald Lee Bladen, 91, Vicksburg, passed away Mar. 17, 2021. He was born Nov. 16, 1929 in Madison, Indiana, the son of Lawrence Allen and Elsie Margaret (Spivey) Bladen. Donald was one of 12 children. He graduated from Madison High School in 1949 and attended Frankfort Pilgrim College. He served as a US Army corporal in the Korean War. He married Wayva Jane King in Carrolton, Kentucky on April 14, 1952. While working for GM in Marian, Ind., he relocated his family to Michigan. Donald was preceded in death by his parents, Lawrence and Elsie Bladen, his beloved wife Wayva, his daughter Tonja (infancy), four brothers, three sisters, seven brothers-in-law, five sisters-in-law, nephews, and a niece. He is survived by children Paul (Barbara) Bladen, Ken (Beverly) Bladen, Jeffery (Cindy) Bladen, LaDonna (Phillip) Brunow, Stefan (Sallie) Bladen, Lydia (Robert) Raines, and Tamita (Richard) Lee; 24 grandchildren; 38 great-grandchildren (with three on the way), three sisters, a brother, five sisters-in-law, two brothers-in-law, and several nieces and nephews. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com.

Beverly Bowen, 83, Vicksburg, passed away Mar. 14, 2021. The daughter of Archie and Esther (Gest) Sites, Beverly was born on Feb. 17, 1938 in Sturgis. Bev’s early years were difficult, but she developed inner strength. She was active in the Grace Christian Fellowship Church and enjoyed her friendships and fellowship there. She also loved gardening and time spent with her family. Beverly is survived by her children, Greg (Jan) Bowen, Pam (Ron) Lash, Barb Bowen and Tim, and Jane (Curtis) Polly; 17 grandchildren; 21 great grandchildren; and stepsister, Judy Lum. Beverly was preceded in death by her husband of 55 years, Thomas Richard Bowen; her parents; brother Gordon Sites; sister Leota Kuntz; stepbrother Michael Weber; grandson Timothy; and Tracy Bowen. Visit her page at avinkcremation.com.

Yvette D. Butler, 62, passed away on March 5, 2021. Yvette was born on May 24, 1958 to Larry and Alice (Whittington) Bryan. Following her wishes, cremation has taken place. Due to COVID-19, no services will take place at this time. Family will have a private burial at a later date. Visit Yvette’s page at mccowensecord.com.

Richard Dale Crittenden, 82, Vicksburg, died Feb. 25, 2021 at his home. He was born in East Lansing on June 13, 1938, the son of Kenard and Wava (King) Crittenden. He graduated from Lansing’s Eastern High School and Michigan State University and served in the US Army in 1961 and 1962. Dick worked for Librand, Ross Brothers, and Montgomery CPA, later establishing his own accounting firm, Crittenden and Associates. He was a member of the Nazarene Church and was very involved in youth ministry. He resided at the Nazarene Camp on Indian Lake for the past 20 years. He enjoyed outdoor activities, especially yard work, and was a big MSU fan. Richard was married to Ruth Smith on Sep. 9, 1961 in Lansing. She survives, along with a son, Kevin (Sue) Crittenden of Shelbyville, Ky.; granddaughters Kelsey (Ken) Sawicki of Seattle and Maranda Crittenden of Louisville, Ky. He was preceded in death by his parents and seven siblings. Military interment of his cremains will take place May 7, 2021 at 2:30 p.m. in Fort Custer National Cemetery in Augusta. Memorial contributions may be directed to the Veterans Administration. Visit his page at eickhofffuneralhome.com.

David Dudley Cromer, 92, Vicksburg, passed away at home Mar. 3, 2021. He was born Feb. 11, 1929 in Sturgis, the son of Lloyd and Wilma (Clark) Cromer. David graduated from Sturgis High School in 1947, then served in the US Air Force. On March 23, 1976 he married the love of his life, Marcia Long. The two were married for 44 years and raised daughters Tammy (Norman) Henderson-Rothenberger and Cynthia (Long) O’Brien, as well as four grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. David worked in construction for 10 years and left to go into offset printing. David loved animals, reading, and photography. David was preceded in death by his parents, a sister and a niece. Visit his page at avinkcremation.com.

Thomas Michael Cronk, 74, Vicksburg, passed away on Mar. 10, 2021. Tom was born in Kalamazoo Nov. 19, 1946, the son of Darl and Lova (Morlan) Cronk. At 19, he began working at the Allied Paper Mill, becoming a journeyman and member of Sheet Metal Workers Local Union #7. On June 24, 2000 Tom married his soulmate, Alice Slayton. He had a 1962 convertible Corvette and a 1955 Chevy. His longtime friend, Richie Foster, was a comfort to Tom during his extended illness. Tom is survived by his wife of 20 years, Alice Cronk; siblings Mary (Jerry) Hass and Joe (Linda) Cronk; a fur baby named Molly Girl; many nieces and nephews; and many friends and acquaintances. Tom always said, “Don’t thank me, Remember me.” Visit his page at mccowensecord.com.

Joan Louise Edwards, 74, Schoolcraft, passed away Feb. 25, 2021. Joan was born April 1,1946 to Ord Cox and Joyce Flossie (Drake) Edwards. Joan’s parents were farmers in the Schoolcraft area. She graduated from Schoolcraft High School in 1964 and WMU in 1968 with a bachelor’s degree in education. Joan retired from Three Rivers Schools after 31 years in the Special Education. In 1999 she moved to the village of Schoolcraft into the home where her grandparents, Albert and Ella Mae (Cox) Edwards, had lived for many years. Joan loved teaching and her cats. She leaves a sister, Honey Joyce Handy; nephew Mike Axtell; niece Debbie Gillaspie; and nephews Brady and Cody Gillaspie. Her brother, Ord Lee Edwards, passed away in 1970. Donations may go to charity.

Albert “Skip” Engelman, 92, Portage, passed away on Mar. 5, 2021. He was born Feb. 25, 1929 to Oliver and Esta (Swift) Engelman. Skip retired after 49 years as a millwright from Fort James (Southerland). He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Bertha “Midge” (Mears) Engelman; children James (Crystal) Engelman, Esta (Bobby) Walls, Albert (Lois) Engelman Jr., and Beth Yancer; 10 grandchildren; several great-grandchildren; several great-great grandchildren; and lots and lots of extras. Skip was preceded in death by his parents, nine siblings, twin great-granddaughters, a son-in-law and a daughter-in-law. Donations may go to Elara Caring Hospice.

Max Albert Evans, 83, Vicksburg, passed away unexpectedly on March 1, 2021. He was born in Grand Rapids, the son of James Evans and Helen (Hill) Newkirk (stepfather Edwin Newkirk). Max graduated from Vicksburg High School and then enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He worked at the Vicksburg paper mill for a short time, but retired from GM in 2002 where he had worked for many years. He married Sarah Jan (Harding) Evans in May, 1966. Max and Sarah raised three daughters and would have celebrated their 55th year anniversary this May. He coached Little League teams throughout his life. He was on a bowling team and also enjoyed golfing and bird hunting. Max is survived by the love of his life, Sarah (Harding) Evans; daughters Renee Hetrick (John Thomasma Jr.), Jeanette (Jake) Fox and Susan (Chad) Schippers; 9 grandchildren; 9 great-grandchildren; siblings Berdena Newkirk and James (Nancy) Evans; and cousins, nieces and nephews. Max was preceded in death by his parents, James Evans and Helen; stepfather Edwin Newkirk; siblings Norine (Max) Cooper, Mary (Clair) Marr and Edwin Newkirk Jr.; and several uncles, aunts and grandparents.

Calvin Bruce Fuller, 83, Vicksburg, died Feb. 12, 2021. He was born Apr. 9, 1937, the son of Frank Fuller and Maude Heath. Calvin lived with his loving wife, Leona, for 59 years in Vicksburg. Calvin had a successful career as a salesman and was an army veteran. Calvin is survived by his wife, Leona; sister Margaret (Irvin) Chapin; son Dennis Fuller (Kathy Andrews); daughter Lisa (Raymond) Kissinger; grandchildren Amie (Greg) Kett and Aaron Clay; and great-grandchildren Annabelle, Mia and Evie Kett.

Harry Mark Gilbert, 73, Indian Lake in Vicksburg, passed away Mar. 8, 2021. He was born Apr. 20, 1947 in Kalamazoo, the son of Dorothy G. Gilbert (née Galbreath) and Truman J. Gilbert. Harry got a full scholarship in vocal performance from WMU. He switched his major to linguistics and transferred to U of M. Harry taught himself computer programming and as a contractor for the CIA, developing software for spy satellites, was Director of Telecommunications at SUNY Albany and managed NBC’s telecommunication networks. He married Pat Lyman on July 11, 1981 in Vicksburg. He started his own consulting firm and worked as a software architect/engineer with SPX Bosch. Harry was preceded in passing by siblings Judson and Mary Ellen. He is survived by his wife of 39 years, Pat Lyman; children Liz (Tyler), Julia (Nick) and Jud; siblings Walter (Betty) and Gene (Rita); and numerous nieces and nephews. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com.

Max L. Loker, 85, Schoolcraft, passed away Mar. 7, 2021. Max was born July 12, 1935 in Hersey, Michigan, the son of Clinton and Marian (Vance) Loker. His parents were farmers and moved their family to Fulton. After graduating with the VHS class of 1953, he served in the US Marines. While square dancing at the Leonidas Dance Hall, Max met Elaine Darling. They were married Oct. 9, 1954 in Fulton. Max operated his family farm and worked in the asphalt paving industry. He and Elaine attended Wakeshma Community Church for over 50 years. Max is survived by his wife of 66 years, Elaine; children Colleen (Paul) Lindberg, Mark (Nongnut) Loker, Jeff Loker, Pam (Jon) Conant; grandchildren Bradley (Kayla) Minnis, Brandon Minnis, Devin (Sam) Loker, Chelsee Loker, Jessica Loker, Jeff Loker, Jr., Kamden (Jessica) McCauley, Hannah McCauley; 12 great-grandchildren; and sister Vera Bower of Indiana. Max was preceded in death by his grandson Brian Minnis; siblings Dale Loker, Margaret West and Bruce Loker; and his parents. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to Talons Out Honor Flight or Wakeshma Community Church.

Linda Lou (Riley) McCallum, 73, passed away peacefully Mar. 5, 2021 at Heritage Community of Kalamazoo. She was the first child of the late Allan and Eula Riley in Alpena, Mich. Linda worked many years as an X-ray technician and supervisor at Bronson Vicksburg Hospital. After leaving the hospital, she became a medical billing specialist and supported her husband in his accounting practice in Vicksburg. Linda was a generous, caring, faithful woman who always considered how she could be of service to those around her. Her tender heart, sweet smile and twinkling eyes will be missed by all who knew her. Linda was preceded in death by her parents, Eula Riley and Allan Riley; son Dale Allan McCallum and sister Carol Ann Riley. She is survived by her loving husband of 53 years, Dale G. McCallum; daughter Dawn McCallum; siblings Frank Riley, Mary Osbeck, Grace Rivera and Cathy Riley; and many other family members and friends. Visit her page at mccowensecord.com.

Dean T. Perry, 80, Vicksburg, passed away surrounded by family Mar. 6, 2021 due to complications after a short struggle with ALS. Dean was born to Maynard and Wilma (Lapham) Perry on July 15, 1940 in Dowagiac. The family moved several times but settled in Vicksburg, where he graduated in 1959. While in high school, Dean played football. After graduation, he joined the U.S. Marines and then the reserves, serving from 1959 to 1967. While in the reserves, he met Carol at a roller-skating rink. They were married May 18, 1964. His hobbies included car shows, camping, rooting for Notre Dame football and spending time with his grandchildren. Dean was very meticulous about his yard and enjoyed his time on his John Deere “his green” tractor. He loved to take care of his “grand-pups”. Dean is survived by his wife of 56 years, Carol (Mays) Perry; children Todd (Renee) Perry and Leasa (Gary) Lambert; grandchildren Ashley Slater and Chase Perry. He was preceded in death by his parents, son Andy Perry and sister Darlene Campbell. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

Betty Louise Thomas (Hochstetler), 90, Kalamazoo, formerly of Vicksburg, died Feb. 28, 2021. Betty was born Jan. 22, 1931 in Constantine, the daughter of Fred and Iva Hochstetler. She graduated from Constantine High School in 1948 and attended the South Bend College of Commerce. She moved to Kalamazoo and worked various jobs throughout her life, eventually serving as accountant for her husband’s heating and cooling business. Betty married Donald L. Thomas on September 25, 1954. Don and Betty purchased a home on Barton Lake where they raised their three children. She enjoyed cooking and hosting family get-togethers and traveling. Betty was a member of the Vicksburg United Methodist Church and sang in the choir, volunteered as bookkeeper, was a member of the United Methodist Women and served on many committees. Betty is survived by her children, Daniel (Lee) Thomas of Paw Paw, Sharon (Daniel) Goldsmith of East Leroy and Steve (Laura) Thomas of Ocala, Fla.; grandchildren Christopher (Kristie) Thomas, Benjamin (Amber) Thomas,  Eric (Clarissa) Goldsmith, Sara Goldsmith, Alex (Chrystal) Goldsmith, Ashley Goldsmith, Darrin Thomas, and Jenna (Matt) Whitworth; great-grandchildren Isaac and Zachary Thomas, Henry, Maximus, Jacob, and Josephine Goldsmith, Evelyn Goldsmith, Owen Whitworth, and two more due very soon; and many dear nieces and nephews, cousins, and friends. A memorial service will be held at a later date. Donations may be made to the Vicksburg United Methodist Church building fund, Rose Arbor Hospice, or a charity of your choice.

Richard “Dick” Anton VanderStraaten, 69, Vicksburg, passed away Mar. 27, 2021. He was born in Kalamazoo on November 22, 1951, the son of Marvin and Norma (Hartleroad) VanderStraaten. Dick worked at Stewart Sutherland for nearly 50 years. He loved lighthouses, the Detroit Tigers, the Indy 500, blues music, metal detecting and the casino. Most of all, he loved his family. Dick was preceded in his passing by his parents and brothers, John and James VanderStraaten. He is survived by sons Jeff (Michelle Weemhoff) VanderStraaten and Jason (Alicia) VanderStraaten; grandchildren Ella and Grace VanderStraaten, Timmy Axtell and Logan VanderStraaten; brother Bob (Linda) VanderStraaten; sister-in-law Holly VanderStraaten; and many cousins, nieces, nephews, and great nieces and nephews. Donations may go to the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, or the American Cancer Society. Visit his page at avinkcremation.com.

Frank Arthur Woodhams, 101, Portage, passed away peacefully March 21, 2021. Frank was born Nov. 2, 1919 in his family home in Portage. He earned his pilot license at the newly formed Western State Teachers College (now WMU) flight school before enlisting in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. Frank met his love, Geraleen Shira, and they were engaged before the war. He was a first lieutenant, piloting C-47 aircraft and serving as an instructor for Waco CG-4A combat gliders. Frank survived 60 combat missions. He was decorated for valor and distinguished service. Frank married Gerry and raised three sons on Austin Lake. He owned and operated Prairie Feed and Grain for twenty years and retired at 60. Frank is survived by sons Terry (Sue), Larry (Deb) and William Woodhams and daughter-in-law Tammy Woodhams; grandchildren Nick Woodhams, Shelly (Michael) Rabinowitz, Stephanie (Dean) Swenson; and six great-grandchildren. Visit his page at langelands.com.

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