Betty Lou Arbanas, 89, Kalamazoo, passed away October 2, 2023. Betty was born on January 12, 1934, in Kalamazoo, the daughter of Harry and Mamie (Beck) Powers. She was a graduate of Mattawan High School. On September 11, 1954, she married Millard “Bud” Aukerman. Together they had four children: Richard, Carolyn, Millard “Guy”, and Jerry Aukerman. In June of 1987, Betty married Rudolph “Rudy” Arbanas. Betty loved to travel, walk, garden, crochet, golf, and bowling. and some may say it was the best years of her life. The family will miss her homemade pies and pastries. Betty will be remembered by her family as loving, compassionate, kind, friendly and selfless. The family would especially like to thank her care team at Centrica Care Navigators and her caring neighbors, Randy and Joyce, Randy and Beth and Debbie and Alicia. Betty was preceded in death by her husband Rudolph “Rudy” in 2020, and her son, Jerry Aukerman. Betty is survived by her children, Dick (Carol) Aukerman of Pleasant Lake, Carolyn Gibson of Marcellus, Millard “Guy” Aukerman of Kalamazoo and Todd Arbanas of Kalamazoo; grandchildren Corey Aukerman, Kelly Aukerman, Ashley Van Heest, April Buckhannon, Jim Kline, Tamarha Ellison, Jessica Goodrode, Jason Gibson, Amy Lnglis, Daniel Aukerman, Bo Arbanas, Chase Arbanas, and Dylan Arbanas; 11 great grandchildren and two great great grandchildren.
Mary Ann Byers passed away September 3, 2023, at her home in Vicksburg, with her family by her side. Mary Ann was born October 2, 1942, to Victor and Maxine (Castor) Campbell. She was preceded in death by her mother and father and her son, Christopher Byers. She leaves behind her spouse, Woody Byers of Vicksburg, a son, Steven Byers of Vicksburg, a sister, Dolores Linstead of Parchment and a brother, Victor (Carol) Campbell, also of Vicksburg. She also leaves behind several grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Mary Ann loved the holidays and enjoyed baking all her Christmas candies and pies. The holidays were not the same if there were no pies and candy. She loved her rose bushes and collected many dolls over the last few years which she loved to display around her house. She also loved traveling down south to the many craft shows that they attended. She was employed at the Kalamazoo Conservatory of Music for a short period of time, but most of all she enjoyed being able to stay home raising her children and being a wife. Services have been held. Memorials may be made to the visiting nurses or to hospice. Visit her page at amsfuneralhomes.com.
Jesús (Chey) Escamilla, 67, Boulder, Colorado, went to be with his Lord on October 10, 2023. Chey was born July 17, 1956, in Kalamazoo, the son of Jose and Jesusita Escamilla. Chey had a beautiful soul and a special bond with each of his brothers and sisters. He was filled with generosity, love, and kindness and possessed a funny personality and quick wit. He was a 1975 graduate of Vicksburg High School. After high school, Chey began his journey to explore the country. He traveled and lived in many parts of the country where he shared his devotion to the Bible and taught the Word of the Lord. Chey lived in Israel for several years studying and exploring biblical scripture. Chey dedicated his life to his ministry, his religious studies and living a gentle and humble life. He was preceded in death by his parents, Jose and Jesusita Escamilla; baby sister Elena; one brother, Ricardo; and two brothers-in-law, Thomas Kelley and Ramah “Ray” Shearer. Jesus is survived by his nine siblings, Victoria Kelley of Three Rivers, Maria Lydia (Muhammed) Ali of Portage, Esequiel Escamilla of Kalamazoo, Jose Escamilla Jr. of Benton Harbor, Estella Shearer of Vicksburg, Adalia (Dan) Martin of Schoolcraft, Teresa (Rudy) Ruelas of Traverse City, Alejandro Escamilla of Chicago, and Adolfo (Marie) Escamilla of Portage. He is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins. A private family Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church in Vicksburg. Visit his page at amsfuneralhomes.com.
Sally Lou Fort, 77, Vicksburg, passed away October 15, 2023. She was born November 19, 1945 in Vicksburg, the daughter of Robert and Velma (Garrison) Homan. Sally attended Vicksburg High School prior to graduating from Grand Ledge Academy. On September 8, 1968, she married Buzz Fort. She worked at Shakespeare and Associates Loan in Kalamazoo before transitioning to Franklin Hospital in Vicksburg. Later, Sally worked for Modern Tile and Carpet as a receptionist. She loved traveling, casinos, hats, animals, and cooking. Sally is survived by her husband of 55 years, Buzz; children Adam (Diane) Fort of Vicksburg and Dana (Scott) Dent of Kalamazoo; grandchildren Jenna (Matthew) Curtis of Grand Rapids, Caleb Fort of Grand Rapids, and Ryan Fort of Richland; and her great-granddog, Leo. She is also survived by siblings Sandra (Larry) York of Tennessee, Bonnie Wolfe of Vicksburg, Rob (Kathy) Homan of Vicksburg, and Ivy (Eric) Kirchberg of Connecticut; sister and brother-in-law Janet (Doug) Richardson of White Lake; and several nieces, nephews, and cousins. The family thanks a special neighbor and friend, Mary Michnick for her love and kindness. Sally was preceded in death by her parents, Robert and Velma Homan; brother and sister-in-law Bill and Helen Fort; and loving pets Ladybug and Sunday. Visit her page at amsfuneralhomes.com. Donations may go to SPCA.
Jerry H. Hamelink, 83, Wakeshma Township, passed away on Sunday, October 15, 2023. Jerry was born March 16, 1940, in Holland, to Marinus and Edith (Damson) Hamelink. After graduating from Holland High School in 1958, Jerry attended Hope College, Michigan Technical University and Brigham Young University on his way to earning a doctorate in mechanical engineering at West Virginia University. On August 21, 1965, he married Nancy Tellman. They settled in rural Vicksburg in 1967, where they reared four children. Jerry began his career at a chicken hatchery, then Consumers Power and Upjohn before becoming a professor of mechanical engineering at WMU. He retired in 2005 after teaching for 37 years. Jerry served as Wakeshma Township supervisor for 30 years and was a member of the North Athens Baptist Church and Gideons International. He liked farming, hunting, fishing, fixing up old cars and masonry. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Nancy; children Greg (Loretta) Hamelink of Marcellus, Nate (Christy) Hamelink of Marcellus, Mike (Mandy) Hamelink of Portage and Faith (Steve) Chadwick of Vicksburg; 12 grandchildren; and sister-in-law, Virginia (Steve) Graves of Durand. Jerry was preceded in death by his parents; twin brother Jack Hamelink; and brothers Ron Hamelink and Jon Hamelink. Donations may go to Gideons International. Visit his page at lighthousefuneral.com.
Nancy Lou Hill, 77, left this world on October 20, 2023, in Vicksburg. She was born on April 9, 1946 in Kalamazoo, to the loving embrace of Harry and Gertrude (Lesman) Boodt. She married Carl Hill on January 15, 1966. Nancy was preceded in death by her husband, son Carl (Cathy) Hill II, her parents and siblings Charlotte Robinson, Sharon Barringer, and Ken Boodt. She is survived by her children, Keith Hill, Amanda (Dean) Gouin, Richard (Margo) Hill, and T.J. Hill; five grandchildren and a great-grandchild. Nancy is also survived by siblings Connie Frisch, Ronnie (Sue) Boodt, Linda Boodt, and Kathy Markword, as well as numerous nieces and nephews. Nancy had many passions in life that brought joy to her and those around her. She was an exceptional baker, renowned for her homemade rolls, cookies, banana bread, and holiday treats. She enjoyed working on crafting and creative projects with her husband and watching reruns of ‘70s game shows. She also enjoyed music and attending concerts, and her favorite artist was Carrie Underwood. Above all, Nancy’s love for her family was immeasurable. She dedicated herself to creating a warm and loving home, and her unwavering support and kindness touched many hearts and lives. Donations may go to the Bronson Cancer Center. Visit her page at amsfuneralhomes.com.
Roxanne Hume, born December 20, 1944, in Kalamazoo, peacefully passed away on September 28, 2023. She was the daughter of Mart and Helen (Metaljen) Little and shared her childhood with her twin brother, William Little. Roxanne’s early years were marked by frequent moves, but her family eventually settled and she attended Kalamazoo Central High School. She married Dale Hume on June 25, 1963. Roxanne’s professional journey took her on various paths, beginning as a cashier at Thrift Way. She eventually worked for the UpJohn Company for over 30 years. In retirement, she worked a paper route and worked at Family Fare. She enjoyed reading, gardening, and her dogs. She loved her family and family gatherings. Roxanne was preceded in death by her husband, Dale Hume, and her parents, Mart and Helen Little. She is survived by her children, Tracy (Jeffrey) Lovell, David Hume, and Rhonda (James) Gucma; twin brother William (Judy) Little; grandson Brenden (Grace) Lovell; and her nieces Amanda and Mistelle. She leaves behind a legacy of love, resilience, and unwavering dedication to her family. Memorials made in Roxanne’s memory may be directed to the Southwestern Michigan SPCA. Envelopes are available at the funeral home. Services have been held. Visit her page at amsfuneralhomes.com.
Timothy Ira Moore, 84, Vicksburg, passed away surrounded by family on October 28, 2023. Tim was born December 6, 1938, to Gordon and Geraldyne (Vermeulen) Moore. He graduated from Vicksburg High School in 1956 and University of Michigan in 1960 with a degree in forestry management. He worked at Simpson Paper and was an area forester. Tim was a Rotarian with 59 years of perfect attendance serving as a president, a Paul Harris recipient, a Rotary Hero, and a vital part of the Showboat. He was active with the Vicksburg Library, Vicksburg Historical Society, United Way, the Vicksburg Community School Foundation, and the Vicksburg Bronson Hospital board. Tim is survived by his wife, Martha (Marti) Moore; sons Timothy Scott (Lynda) Moore, Chris (Jael Aumack) Moore; stepsons James Miller, Joshua (Emily) Hillard, Benjamin (Gail) Hillard and Lucas (Shannon) Hillard; grandchildren Zachery, Austin and Meredith Moore, Brandon, Allison, Bella, Cole, Victoria, Tate, Charlotte, Jackson, Winter, Angelica, and Eloise Hillard. Tim was predeceased by his parents and brother, Gordon Moore II. A reception will be held Thursday, Nov. 2 from 4-7 p.m. at the Avink, McCowen & Secord Funeral Home. A service will follow Friday, Nov. 3, at 11 a.m. at Vicksburg United Methodist Church. Visit his page at amsfuneralhomes.com. Donations may go to Centrica Care Navigators, WMU Senior Center or Vicksburg Rotary Strive Program.
Doris Marie Noel, born March 1, 1930, passed away peacefully October 17, 2023, at her home in Vicksburg, where she lived with her daughter and son-in-law. Many may remember her working behind the courtesy desk at Meijer on South Westnedge Avenue. She was one of the first cashiers to be hired when the store opened in 1964. She retired from Meijer in 1991. She is survived by daughters Gloria (Gary) Jones of Vicksburg and Gail (Tony) Jones of Lawrence, and son-in-law Ken VanDewoestyne of Kalamazoo. Also surviving are her loving grandchildren Rod (Crystal) Jones of Clarion, Pennsylvania, Kim (Curt) Dolan of Wetumpka, Alabama, Chad (Kristen) Noel-Jones of Hoopeston, Illinois, Brian (Teresa) Noel-Eldridge of Nicholson, Georgia, Darcy Noel of Kalamazoo, and Austin Eldridge of Commerce, Georgia, and several great and great-great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, Donald, daughter Linda VanDewoestyne, sister Mary Lou Kirschenbauer and brother Clifford (Chuck) Gross. Cremation has taken place and private services will be held at a later time. Donations may go to Centrica Care Navigators. Visit her page at amsfuneralhomes.com.
James H. Putman went to be with his Lord and Savior on September 19, 2023, in Portage. Jim was born July 17, 1944 to Glenn and Helen Putman. Jim was a hard worker who held many jobs in his lifetime. He worked at Bill Knapps restaurant as a busboy, Jolly Kids, and at Kalamazoo Sled when he was younger. Later he went on to work at the Monarch Paper Mill for years until he moved on to working for Ronningen-Petter. After he retired, he loved being a driver for the Amish where he made lots of friends. Jim loved his family, horses, dogs, trips out to Colorado, and collecting toy tractors. Jim is survived by his wife of 53 years, Barbara J. (VanderKooi) Putman; children James II (Kara) Putman and Kim Putman; grandchildren Isabella, Michael and Nicklas; brother Glenn (Lori) Putman and sister Claire (Ron) Shefler. He was preceded in death by his parents, Glenn and Helen Putman and sister Glenda (Putman) Bos. Visit his page at amsfuneralhomes.com.
Kenneth T. Stiver, 91, Schoolcraft, passed away October 11, 2023, at the age of 91. He was born in Schoolcraft October 18, 1931 to parents Fred and Mahala (Taylor) Stiver. Kenneth grew up surrounded by love and a strong sense of family unity. As a child, he selflessly worked on his father’s farm. After completing his education at Schoolcraft High School in 1949, Kenneth served in the US Army. Following his military service, he furthered his education at Western Michigan University. For 43 years, he devoted his time and talents to Graph Trucking, which later became Davis Motor Carrier. He started as a truck driver, and eventually became personnel director. Kenneth had a pleasant demeanor and had a comical flair. He enjoyed wood carving and home remodeling, golf and being outside in the beauty of nature. Kenneth is survived by his wife of 66 years, Shirley; sons, John (Kathy) Stiver of Schoolcraft and Jim (Heather) Stiver of Mendon; grandchildren Joe (Meagan) Stiver of Portage, Gina (Logan) Wolfe of Scotts, and Nicholas Stiver of Mendon; and a great-grandchild, Addison Stiver. Kenneth was preceded in death by his daughter, Julie Ann Stiver and eight siblings. Services have been held. Visit his page at amsfuneralhomes.com. Donations may go to St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church and Generous Hands.
Ivan L. Winkler, 91, passed away October 15, 2023 in Vicksburg. He was born January 12, 1932 in Kalamazoo, and grew up to become an outstanding individual who touched the lives of countless people. Ivan’s career spanned over 46 years in the paper mill trade for International Paper. He married Doris on March 24, 1951, and together they raised five children. He was a proud United States Air Force veteran; Ivan served his country until February 3, 1956, earning the rank of staff sergeant during his time in the military. His dedication to the nation was recognized with the National Defense Service Medal. Although Ivan had only received an eighth-grade education, he was intelligent and possessed an uncanny ability to excel in various trades. He had a strong work ethic, enjoyed the out-of-doors and tinkering with motors. He had a great sense of humor and an unwavering love for his family. He is survived by his children, Gary (Penny) Winkler of Three Rivers, Frank Winkler of Scotts, Marsue (Rick) Alexander of Mendon, and Brian Winkler of Vicksburg; 12 grandchildren, 17 great grandchildren, 1 great great grandchild with another on the way. He was preceded in death by his wife, Doris, son, Larry and granddaughter, Gretchen. Visit his page at amsfuneralhomes.com. Donations may go to Centrica Care Navigators.