David Willmarth Blunt passed away May 7, 2023 after living with pulmonary fibrosis for more than a decade. David was born September 29, 1943 in Youngstown, Ohio to Robert and Dorothy (Leubin) Blunt. The family moved to California where he attended Escondido High School. At University of Oregon, he ran track for the founder of Nike and majored in economics. He was vice president of sales for Harborlite Corporation. Dave married Martha Page in 1966. They divorced in 1989, but remained close to parent their children: Christopher, Rob, and Kathleen. In 1993, Dave married Debra (Beauchamp) Wagnitz, and welcomed her children, Sarah and Aimee, into his life. Dave was preceded in death by his brother, Bob, and his parents. He is survived by his wife, Deb; children and step children Christopher (Kerstin) Blunt, Dr. Robert (Danielle Walters) Blunt, Kathleen (Colby) Richards, Sarah (Hank) Avink, and Dr. Aimee (Tim) Simpson; grandchildren Elonna, Henry, Jeffrey, Simonne, David, Sophia, Corbin, Molly, Charlie, Nathan, Julian, Gabriel, and Tessa; honorary grandchildren Zainab, Nazli, and Zarifa; brother Bill (Diane) Blunt; many beloved extended family members, and his ex-wife, Martha (Bob) Greene. Visit his page at Donations may go to Centrica Care Navigators.

Phyllis Louise Copenhafer, 81, Fulton, passed away May 15, 2023, at Ascension Borgess Hospital. Phyllis was born on March 23, 1942, a daughter of Ray and Nedra (Norris) Wolfe. She was a graduate of Colon High School and later graduated from Ferris State University with an associate degree in accounting. On August 23, 1964, Phyllis married Stanley F. Copenhafer at Leonidas Bible Church. Stanley preceded her in death 56 years later, on April 12, 2021. Phyllis was a lifelong member of the church where she served as treasurer for many years. Phyllis also worked as a secretary for Vicksburg Public Schools, and later as an accountant for Comstock Public Schools where she retired in 2005. Phyllis was also a member and leader of the Leonidas Do-Best 4-H Club. She also enjoyed traveling, playing the piano, and was a proud lover of stray cats. Surviving Phyllis are her sons, Alan (Linda) Copenhafer of Vicksburg and Dean (Connie) Copenhafer of Clinton Township, Michigan; grandsons Jeffery (Karen) Copenhafer and Mikel (Janessa) Copenhafer; and great grandson Royce Copenhafer. Besides her parents, Ray and Nedra Wolfe, Phyllis was preceded in death by her husband, Stanley Copenhafer, and brother Royce Allen Wolfe. Donations may go to Leonidas Bible Church. Visit her page at

Dana Sue (DeGraaf) Erb, 63, Portage, passed away April 14, 2023, at Bronson Hospital. Dana was born October 24, 1959, in Kalamazoo to Edgar J. and Doris E. (VanOstran) DeGraaf. Dana graduated from Portage Northern High School in 1978. At the time of her passing, Dana was managing the Horizon Bank branch on West Centre Street. Previously, she was branch manager at Kellogg Community Credit Union and Mercantile Bank in Kalamazoo, where she was a member of the Oakwood Business Association. Dana volunteered as treasurer for Building Blocks of Kalamazoo and frequently provided financial planning to area high school students. Dana enjoyed spending time with her family and friends. Dana loved the beach in South Haven, as well as traveling to visit her sons in The Netherlands and New York City. Dana is survived by her partner, Michael Evans; sons Jason (Amélie), Joshua (Eric) Hecksel, and Dustin (Will) Chen; grandchildren Adriana, Hugo and Lucas; mother Dorie (VanOstran) DeGraaf; siblings Angela DeGraaf, Michael (Lisa) DeGraaf, Edward (Lee) DeGraaf and Michelle (Barry) Gray; and many nieces and nephews. Dana was preceded in death by her father, Edgar DeGraaf. Donations may go to Kalamazoo Animal Rescue or American Lung Association.

James Edward Fess, 91, Vicksburg, passed away April 14, 2023. He was born December 9, 1931, in Toledo, Ohio, the son of Theodore and Agnes (Jones) Fess and the youngest of four siblings. James retired from Pfizer (formerly Upjohn) after 55 years. He made a living building houses, having even built one for himself on Portage Lake. He was preceded in his passing by his parents; siblings Robert “Bob” Fess, Roberta Steward, and Anna Gutierrez; sons James Fess Jr. and Jonathan Fess; daughter Jacqueline Springston (Fess); and two grandchildren, Lil Jon Davis-Fess and Holli Davis-Fess. Left to cherish his loving memory is his wife, Diane (Ridenour) Fess, and daughters Melanie, Nancy, and Pat. Visit his page at

Ruth Ann Marie (Hoeksema) Hiskes, 85, Vicksburg, went home to be with her Lord and Savior on May 13, 2023. Ruth was born in Chicago on June 22, 1937, the daughter of Henry and Henrietta (Kramer) Hoeksma. Ruth was a graduate of Chicago Christian College and Kendall School of Art. A homemaker and devoted mother, she raised three children and spent much time gardening. She enjoyed watercolor painting and photography. Antiquing and fairy-gardening were some of her favorite pastimes. She is survived by her loving husband of 66 years, Donald Hiskes; children Scott (Sheryl) Hiskes, Heidi (Kenneth) Dykstra, and Mark (Julie) Hiskes; grandchildren Jason Swaagman, Justine (Brandon) Budz, Joel (Amanda) Hiskes, Adam (Jessica) Dykstra, David (Mariah) Dykstra, Jamilyn Hiskes, Brian Hiskes; seven great grandchildren; siblings Henry Hoeksema, David (Maryalice) Hoeksema, and Donald (Patty) Hoeksema. Ruth was preceded in passing by her parents, Dr. Henry and Henrietta Hoeksema; grandchild Benjamin Dykstra; brother Karl Hoeksema; and in-laws Dr. John and Dolores Hiskes, with whom she had a special relationship. Visit her page at

Randall A. Jensen, 62, Vicksburg, died May 13, 2023, at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo. He was born in Kalamazoo on March 15, 1961, the son of Albert and Kathleen (Reilly) Jensen. He was a state champion wrestler at Vicksburg High School and was inducted into the hall of fame. After graduation, he served in the U.S Army Rangers. Randy worked at Stryker Corporation, and then at Redline Manufacturing. He was a welder at work as well as at home, creating and repairing things in his barn. He enjoyed the outdoors. Randall was married to Raquel “July” Laurente on Sep. 14, 2012 in Kalamazoo. She survives along with a daughter, Miranda (Jacob Stevens) Jensen of Vicksburg; a son, Randall Jensen Jr. of Chicago; grandchildren Isaiah, Edison, and Ophelia; a brother, Richard (Heather) Jensen; and sister, Robin (Mark) Welch. He was preceded in death by his parents, Al and Kay Jensen. Visit his page at

Donald M. Lemley, 69, Vicksburg, passed away May 17, 2023, at Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo. Don was born May 26, 1953, in Huntington, New York, the son of Donald and Susan (O’Leary) Lemley. He graduated from Walt Whitman High School in 1971 and enlisted in the US Army. He served for a total of four years, two years in the Korean DMZ as munitions expert with nuclear training. He returned to New York where he worked as a police officer and an EMT. He began his career in security in Milwaukee at Alexian Village Senior Living. He attended Milwaukee Area Technical College, earned a degree in accounting and became a certified fraud examiner. In 2000, Don met his future wife, Francesca Bartocci online. Don ended up moving to Michigan and on July 7, 2001, they were married at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church. He continued his career in security at the Battle Creek Federal Center, where he retired in 2007. Don enjoyed New York Yankees baseball, was an avid Strat-O-Matic player, and liked reading non-fiction. Don is survived by his wife, Francesca, and his niece, Victoria Scott. He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister and brother-in-law, Susan and Roger Scott. Visit his page at Donations may go to Wounded Warrior Project or to the ASPCA.

Beth Anne Miller passed away on April 10, 2023 with family at her side. She was born May 24, 1948, in Vicksburg to Howard and Bethel (Lamerson) Sult. Beth graduated from Vicksburg High School in the class of 1966 and went on to become an LPN. The most rewarding time in her career was providing in-home healthcare to disabled children and teens. Beth was a longtime faithful member of South Church where she served as a deaconess. She also provided marriage counseling and helped lead bible studies with her husband, Paul. Beth was proud of her grandchildren and cherished her role as their Grammy. She is survived by her daughters, Marna Miller and Angie (Darren) Wear; grandchildren, Austin Miller, Savannah (Sequoia) Wear-Farrell-Williams, Lucas, Hope, Isabella and Aiden Wear; siblings, Arden (Penny) Sult, Dale (Marty) Sult, Bernie Sult and Barbara (John) Hoffman; in-laws, Vickie (Bud) Kline, Darlene (David) Hammer along with several nieces and nephews. Beth was preceded in death by her husband Paul; grandsons Zachery Wear and Jonah Miller; and sister-in-law, Sharon Bobb. Donations may go to Lansing City Rescue Mission.

Tricia Rose Miller, 16, Vicksburg, passed away peacefully in her sleep on May 4, 2023. She was born in Kalamazoo on May 4, 2007, the daughter of Amy Miller. Trish enjoyed Dora the Explorer, chocolate pudding, riding the bus at Woods Edge Learning Center, and playing with empty chip bags. Trish loved her Poppy and listening to his oldies music. She enjoyed her siblings, especially playing the piano with Tiffani and any of Jake’s shenanigans. She was preceded in her passing by her grandmother, Patricia Rose Buell. She is survived by her mother, Amy Miller; siblings Stephanie (Marvin) Smeal, Lisa (Andy) Kitzmiller, Tiffani (James) Leonard, Thomas Miller, Johnathan Miller, and Jacob Miller; nieces and nephews Lilah, Kristen, Alec, Adam, Carson, Lilianna, and Levi; grandparents Bob Moughton and Edd (Poppy) Buell; aunts and uncles Scott (Kimberly) Buell, Bill (Jessica) Cox, Steve (Lynne) Buell, and Rob (Jessica) Moughton; and several cousins. Visit her page at

Mary Jane Peters, 96, Vicksburg, passed away peacefully on April 29, 2023. Mary was born on July 20, 1926, to Harry and Gladys (Cody) Eno. Mary attended Kalamazoo Central high school and graduated in 1944. Mary met Michael on a double date right after he returned from the Navy. They were at a dance, but they didn’t hit it off. But he was persistent, and he won her over. They were married on April 26, 1947. Mary was an active member of her church and involved in the church choir. She was a brownie and girl scout leader when her daughter was involved. Mary loved to garden and was an avid book reader. She also painted china dishes. Mary is survived by her husband of 76 years, Michael; their children, Linda Peters and David (Laurie) Peters; grandchildren Melissa Reyes, Sarah (Jereme) Smith, Justin Peters and Michael (Jayme Hart) Peters; great-grandchildren Gizelle Enriquez, Bella Enriquez, Addy Smith, Kinsley Smith, Hadley Smith, Grace Peters, Archer Peters and Rickey Peters, as well as very special friends, Karen and Dick Randall, Diana Dobson and Bev Porter. Mary was preceded in death by her parents and siblings Russ, Larry, George, Margaret. Visit her page at Donations may go to Elara Caring Hospice, Kalamazoo.

Gwendolyn Lee (Oswalt) Sherman, 84, Vicksburg, passed away on April 28, 2023, after a prolonged Alzheimer’s affliction. Growing up on a dairy farm near Vicksburg instilled an appreciation of hard work that served her well throughout her life. As a voice music major at MSU, Gwen’s mellow mezzo-soprano singing voice showed star potential but life in the big city was not to her liking. She switched to a teaching major and became a second-grade teacher in Lansing. She and Gary were married in 1961 and eventually landed in Minneapolis. There she crossed paths with Mary Kay Cosmetics. Mary Kay Ash recognized Gwen’s potential and became a mentor, business advisor, and champion. By the time she retired in 2005, Gwen had received many awards, including pink Cadillacs to drive the last 24 years and 19 Top Director trips to all corners of the world. She leaves behind her husband Gary; sons Geoffrey M. and wife Megan (Clore), Garth W. and wife Alison (Stensrude); grandchildren, Blake, Rachel, Chase, Max, Nathan and Cooper; and brother, William Lewis Oswalt. She was preceded in death by her parents, Stanley Martin and Gertrude Viola (Markle) Oswalt. Services have been held. Donations may go to Youth Haven or Centreville Baptist Church A special memorial service is being planned. Visit her page at

Jack Duane Steele, 95, passed away on April 2, 2023. He and his twin brother, Jim, were born on May 24, 1927, the sons of Clifford and Ethel (Baker) Steele. Jack and Jim enlisted in the US Navy in the spring of 1945. Fortunately, WWII ended before they were deployed. He graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School. Jack married Marie Slover on Thanksgiving Day 1949. He worked as a technician crafting partial plates at Fitch Dental Lab. After that, Jack worked at Upjohn for over 30 years. Marie died in 2014. In 2016, Jack and Jan Fess were married. Jack was an avid wood carver and stayed active. Jack is survived by his wife, Jan Steele; children Kirk (Elaine) Steele and Kim (Jorge) Steele; stepchildren Bob (Robin) Fess, Ted (Kim) Fess, and Jeannine (Deon) Brown; grandchildren Jennifer (Sam) Willoughby, Tyler (Kattie) Steele, Karlie (Garrett) Batten, Jessica (Glenn) Fess, Samantha (Kevin) McIntosh, Deon Jr. (Maria) Brown, Skylar (Maxine) Brown, Jazzlyne (Jordan) Ardoin, Lilliana Fess, and Penelope Fess; great-grandchildren Brayden, Emery, Brynn, Rylee, Mateo, Gabriella, Shia, and Jonah; niece Connie (Herman) Devries; and nephew Gary (Maria) Steele. Jack was preceded in death by his parents, first wife Marie, and twin brother Jim. Donations may go to West Mendon Community Church or National Audubon Society. Visit his page at

Shirley A. Valencourt, 95, formerly of Vicksburg, passed away May 18, 2023. Shirley was born March 28, 1928, in Kalamazoo, the daughter of Everett and Anna (Ritter) Haynes. She graduated from Vicksburg High School in 1946 and on September 27, 1946, she married William Valencourt. Shirley worked for Upjohn for 20 years, retiring in 1986. Shirley and Bill wintered in Texas for 15 years. She loved to play cards, crochet, knit, read and dance. She enjoyed puzzles and most recently enjoyed playing bingo at the Vineyards. Shirley attended Vicksburg United Methodist Church, was a member of Portage Senior Center and enjoyed taking bus trips with her daughter, Bonnie. Shirley is survived by four daughters, Judy (Charlie) Fitzsimmons, Barb (late Charles) Skuza, Bonnie (Phil) Goodman, and Linda (Terry) Johncock; 10 grandchildren; several great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren; sisters Elaine Barringer, Ruth Bartholomew and Donna Reames; many nieces and nephews; and her lifelong best friend, Billie Andres. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Bill, and several siblings. Cremation has taken place and she will be laid to rest at Mt. Ever-Rest Memorial Park in Kalamazoo. Visit her page at Donations may go to Barry County Animal Shelter or the Vineyards Assisted Living.

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