Category Archives: Obituaries

Obituaries

Charles “Charlie” Bartholomew, 74, Vicksburg, died June 26. The son of Henry and Mary (Hacker) Bartholomew, Charlie was born in Kalamazoo on January 4, 1946. He attended Otsego High School and MSU. On June 24, 1967 he married Judy, his high school sweetheart. He was preceded in death by his parents. Surviving are his wife, Judy; children Charles (Susan) Bartholomew Jr., Julia (Matthew) McKee, and David Bartholomew; grandchildren Courtney, Kyle, Emily, Madeline and Colin; a brother, Henry Bartholomew III; and nephews Henry (Tracy) Bartholomew IV and Phillip Bartholomew. Visit his page at BetzlerLifeStory.com. Donations may go to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.

Gary Dean Carpenter, 77, Vicksburg, passed away July 24. Gary was born on March 2, 1943 in Vicksburg, the son of Leslie and Glenna (Lamerson) Carpenter. He graduated from VHS in 1961. He was a skilled carpenter and golfer. Gary is survived by his children, Jill (Tony) Lindsley and Jason Carpenter; grandchildren Austin (Marcie Reynolds) Keiser, Madison (Scott) Krieger and Bella Carpenter; great grandchildren Kaiden Keiser and Avery Reynolds. Gary is also survived by his sister, Nancy (Craig) Miller; lifelong friends of over 70 years Rob and Dan Stroud; and nieces, nephews and cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents; a brother, Roger Johnson, and niece, Diane Coville. Visit his page at avinkcremation.com. Donations may go to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.

Deborah Rial Eckert, 70, died June 26. The daughter of Carmelita Carpenter and Robert Rial, Debbie was born in Battle Creek on August 29, 1949. During her primary years, she attended a one-room schoolhouse at Ellis Corners in Calhoun County. She graduated from VHS in 1967. She married Stuart Eckert in 1967 at Chapman Memorial Nazarene Church. She worked many years managing the cafeteria at James River. She loved living on Indian Lake and had many hobbies, including mushroom hunting, writing, painting, traveling, and vacationing on the motorcycle. Debbie is survived by her husband, Stuart Eckert; children Teresa and Troy Eckert; and grandchildren DJ and Devin Hettinger, Parker Essex, Auston Martin, and Amber and Trevor Eckert.

Margaret May McClish, 90, Portage, passed away June 27. Margaret was born on January 21, 1930 in Kalamazoo. Margaret graduated from Portage schools in 1948. She was married 60 years to her high school sweetheart, Maurice “Maury” McClish. She is survived by her children Mike (Doris) McClish and Matt McClish of Vicksburg and Mary (Robert) Ryan of Delton; grandchildren Ben (Lisa) McClish and Maria (Tony) Wharton of Vicksburg, Liam (Margo) McClish of TN, Thomas McClish of IN. and Michelle McClish, of IL.; great-grandchildren, and brother Max Crawford. She was preceded in death by husband, Maurice, brother David Crawford, and sister Louise Heller. Visit her page at mccowensecord.com.

Robert H. Merrill, 93, Vicksburg, passed away July 12. Robert was born on May 18, 1927 in Vicksburg, the son of Burl and Clara (Herrmann) Merrill. He graduated in 1945 from VHS. After graduation, he enlisted in the navy and attended MSU. He married Margaret (Peg) Rawlinson in 1951, and eventually owned and operated Rawlinson Appliance. He was a founding member of the Vicksburg Lions Club. He is survived by daughters Gwyn (Larry) Grubka of North Carolina, Beth (John) Foster of Portage, Sue (Dan) Cooley of Schoolcraft, Jeanne Sears and Julie Merrill, both of Vicksburg; 12 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his companion, Norma Simmons of Vicksburg; sisters-in-law Rita Brown of Portage and Elizabeth Parker of Arizona; and nieces and nephews. Bob was preceded in death by his wife Margaret “Peg” Merrill; grandson Eric Sears and brother-in-law Charles Rawlinson. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to South County Community Services, American Diabetes, Vicksburg Historical Society and/or Vicksburg Lions Club.

Joseph Aaron Miller, 62, Schoolcraft, passed away unexpectedly July 6. He was born in Kalamazoo on May 5, 1958, the son of Glaydon and Lois Miller. Joseph graduated from Portage Northern. He was preceded in death by his father, Glaydon Miller. He leaves behind his mother, Lois Miller and a brother, Timothy (Angie) Miller, his niece, Barbara (Josh) Dunn, great-nephews Glaydon and Deacon Dunn and great-niece Josie Dunn. Donations may go to Kalamazoo Gospel Mission. Visit his page at langelands.com.

Timothy E. Price, 41, Vicksburg, passed away June 13 from cancer. Tim was born March 14, 1979 in Kalamazoo to Robert E. and Lynne M. Price. He married Jennifer A. Glaser November 15, 2019. Tim was a 1997 VHS graduate. He served in the Marine Corps, enjoyed hunting, fishing, camping, bonfires, and PBR. Tim is survived by his wife, Jen, his children, Ryan Price-Salazar and Paris Price, and his stepchildren, Delaney Glaser and Raymond Glaser, his parents, Robert and Lynne Price, a brother, Daniel (Trish Baker) Price, a sister, Genevieve (Jamie) Carter, his paternal grandmother, Katherine (Price) Finch, great aunt Nancee (Terry Newell) Beach, as well as many special aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, cousins and friends. Tim was preceded in death by his paternal grandfathers, Robert Price Sr. and Harry Finch, and his maternal grandparents, Merlin and Faye Hines. Donations may go to Glioblastoma Foundation or to Jen for an educational fund for the children.

Patricia Ross, 85, Vicksburg, passed away at home with family by her side June 29. Pat was born on June 9, 1935 to Wallace & Maxine (Stauton) Cousins. Pat was artistic and enjoyed sewing, lunches, and movies. Pat’s family includes her children, Michael (Kim) Olney, Judy Noel, Beverly (Thomas) Compton, Joseph Olney, Deborah (Charles) Rife, Terry Ross and Thomas Ross; 13 grandchildren; 15 great grandchildren; siblings Larry (Barb) Cousins, Allen (Betty) Cousins, Dennis (Lee) Cousins and Roberta Casselman as well as several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, Leroy; her parents, grandson Christopher Shipley and her granddaughter Gretchen Olan; brothers Donald Cousins and Kenneth Cousins. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com.

James H. Simonds, DPM, died June 29 with his family around him. Jim was born in Kalamazoo on November 28, 1930, the son of Walter and Eloise (Gay) Simonds. He was a graduate of St. Augustine High School, WMU, and Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine. He was an army veteran. Jim owned Simonds Foot & Ankle Clinic, where he practiced for over 60 years. He was a member of St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church and a 4th Degree Knight of Columbus. Jim was an Eagle Scout, hunter, fisherman, and outdoorsman. Nothing made him happier than time with family, a completed to-do list or a day on his tractor. He was inducted into the Hackett Athletics Hall of Fame and held many leadership roles. Jim was preceded in death by his sister, Shirley Ferrara, and his brothers-in-law Bud Ferrara and Art Redmond. He is survived by his wife Mary; sister Barbara Gay Redmond; the mother of his children, Elizabeth Simonds; children Nancy (Terry) Haas, Jim (Mary) Simonds Jr., Dave Simonds, John (Anita) Simonds, and Mary (Kent) Matthews; step-children Donald (Ann) Ulsh, Scott (Tesa) Ulsh and Lisa (Eugene) Lehman; grandchildren Justin (Rikki), Sara (Chad), Derek, Jack, Kevin, Dan, Shelby, Matthew, Aleks (Hunter), Erika, Luke, Jake, Elizabeth, Emily, Hunter (Brooke), David (Cassie), Rachel (Jacob), Melanie, Jonathan, Ella Grace, and Liam; great-grandchildren Nora, Landon, and Mason; and many nieces and nephews. Donations may go to Hackett Catholic Prep Athletics (women’s basketball, volleyball, and soccer programs), St. Martin of Tours, or St. Edwards of Mendon.

Kathryn (Kitty) Mariel Starbuck, 90, died June 27 of COVID-19. The youngest daughter of Forrest and Fannie (Rifenberg) Shick, Kitty was born July 9, 1929 and raised on the family farm. Kitty graduated from VHS in 1946. She met the love of her life, Marvin, at a dance hall in Glendale and wed October 23, 1950. They built their new home next door to the house Kitty grew up in, living there for 60 years. Her claim to crafting fame was the manufacture of toy dinosaurs for the Field Museum in Chicago. Kitty served as editor-publisher of two monthly geological publications for 40 years. Kitty was preceded in death by her parents and sisters Marilynn Shick and Marian Sperry. She is lovingly remembered by her husband Marvin; children Kay (Lynn) DeMoss and Dennis (Terri) Starbuck; grandchildren Nikki (Mike) Schnelle and Sara Folck; great-grandchildren Madalyn, Chandler, Stella, and Lilah; nephew Bob (Marcie Brown) Sperry; great-nephew John (Caitlin) Sperry. Dan, Jen, and Delaney VanderPloeg and Jeff, Heidi, David and Drew DeMoss join them in grief. Donations may go to Vicksburg United Methodist Church.

Howard James Steffey Sr., 77, Schoolcraft, passed away July 24. Howard was born on December 22, 1942 in Kalamazoo, the son of Harlow and Dorothy (Marlette) Steffey. Howard graduated from Loy Norrix High School in 1961. He served in the U.S. Air Force during Vietnam. On October 10, 1964, he married Sally Frazier. Together they raised their three children, Howard Jr., Bob and Susan. He worked for over 35 years as an electrician for Georgia Pacific. He loved to watch old western movies and singing along to a nice country song. Howard is survived by his wife of 55 years, Sally; children Howard Steffey, Jr, of Kalamazoo, Bob Steffey, of Vicksburg, and Susan Elhart, of Vicksburg; grandchildren Bryan Woodward, of Battle Creek, Austin Steffey, of Kalamazoo, and Elysa Elhart, of Vicksburg; great grandchildren Abigail and Bentley. He is also survived by his sister, Gail Leggett, of Kalamazoo. He was preceded in death by his brothers, Harlow and Douglas Steffey. Howard has been cremated and at this time no services are planned. Visit his page at avinkcremation.com.

Todd Harold Weinberg, 51, Scotts, passed away July 11. Todd was born April 12, 1969 to Mel and Jo Weinberg and grew up on a farm in Scotts. He graduated with honors from VHS in 1987 and was a drummer in the “Big Red Machine.” Todd was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at age 5. At 44, he had a double lung transplant. Four years later, he got cancer. He continued farming, reluctantly retiring this year. He is survived by his mom, Jo Weinberg, sister Molly (Weinberg) Schake of Mililani, Hawaii, a brother, Chad Weinberg of Alexandria, Va.; brother-in-law, Mark Shake; and sister-in-law, Therra (Ebwe) Weinberg. He was uncle to Ryna Weinberg, Corban Weinberg, Phoebe Weinberg, Emily Schake, Wendy (Schake) Lyons, Daniel Lyons, Nathan Schake, and Brooke Schake. Todd was preceded in death by his father, Milford “Mel” Weinberg. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com.

Carol A. Wunderlin, 86, of Portage, died June 29, 2020, at Rose Arbor Hospice, Kalamazoo, following a battle with dementia. The daughter of Milton and Pauline (Denner) Hillsburg, Carol was born September 28, 1933 in Kalamazoo. Carol attended St. Joseph Elementary and St. Augustine High School and Parsons Business College. On June 4, 1960, Carol married Walter Wunderlin. Carol was preceded in death by siblings Joan Haas and Robert Hillsburg. Surviving are her husband of 60 years, Walter Wunderlin; daughter Michelle Buist; grandsons Tanner (Amaira) Buist and Carter Buist; great-grandchildren Axel and Rebel; brother John (Jean) Hillsburg; and many nieces and nephews. Services have been held with burial at Mt. Olivet Cemetery. Visit her page at BetzlerLifeStory.com. Donations may go to the Alzheimer’s Association of Southwest Michigan or Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.

Obituaries

Donald Carl Ampey, 61, Vicksburg, passed away June 8, surrounded by family. Don was born on March 5, 1959 to Donald and Linda (Moon) Ampey. Don worked for a number of years at Allied Paper in Kalamazoo and also at Ampey Buffing and Polishing. Don is survived by his wife of 41 years, Bonnie (Yerge) Ampey: children Christina (Bill) Hearns, Andrea (Kevin) Kavlock, and Greg (Anne) Ampey: and grandchildren Ashley, Katherine, DJ, Melissa, Brittany, Savannah, Cloey, and Charlotte; siblings Patty, Francine, Robert, and Rick and many nieces and nephews. Don was preceded in death by his parents, Don and Linda Ampey. Per Don’s wishes, cremation has taken place. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to the Wounded Warrior Project.

Terry Coburn, 76, Mattawan, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his loved ones on March 30. Terry was born October 13, 1943, the son of the late Richard Edward and Muriel Marie (Oldacre) Coburn. Raised in Fulton, Terry graduated from Vicksburg High School in 1961. In 1964, Terry enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, beginning his training in San Diego. It was there he met Sally Ann Bruggema, the love of his life. During his deployment to Vietnam from 1966-1967, Terry and Sally wrote letters. They began dating when he returned and were married February 23, 1968, settling in Fulton. Terry worked for Rieth Riley Asphalt and Krum’s Chevrolet before earning his associate’s degree from KVCC. He was employed by KVCC for 38 years as a supervisor of media services and as a part time faculty member, teaching applied electricity. Terry loved to serve his community, as best demonstrated by his 43-year commitment to Vicksburg Little League. He began by coaching, helping the grounds crew, and serving on the board. Terry found his passion in umpiring softball. He umpired many local, district, regional and state games as well as the Big-League Softball World Series games. He served on various boards and participated in many umpiring clinics. He enjoyed teaching and always tried to be fair. Terry was an active, loving father to his two children, Scott Edward and Kathleen (Katie) Ann Coburn, and adored his grandchildren. Family was the most important thing to Terry. He is survived by his wife, Sally; son Scott (Jennifer) Coburn and daughter Kathleen (Katie) Coburn; and grandchildren Aubrey and Ashlen Coburn. A celebration of life will be held Saturday, August 8, at the Vicksburg Little League fields, a fitting tribute to Terry’s many hours and interactions there. Visitation will be from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., followed by a memorial at 1 p.m., with lunch afterward. Those attending are encouraged to wear bright clothing.

Mary Ann Collier, 84, Schoolcraft, passed away June 6. Per her wishes, she has been cremated and no services are planned.

Janet V. Griffith, 84, Vicksburg, passed away June 4. Janet was born April 22, 1936 in Peoria, Ill., the daughter of Glen and Ruth (Smith) Pease. Jan worked in various places over the years; but most of her employment was with the City of Eureka, Ill., working with the mayor and the Eureka Police Department. She sang in numerous groups and choirs, and was an incredible soloist. Prior to moving to Michigan, Jan was a member of the Eureka United Methodist Church. Jan attended Cross Community Church of the Nazarene in Portage. She was an avid collector of antiques. She loved spending time with her husband, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, family members and many friends. On August 10, 1957, she was united in marriage to her loving husband, Richard (Dick) Griffith, who survives. Also surviving are her daughters, Deb (Jim) Hinze, Dawn Griffith; t grandchildren Kristen Simpson, Ashley (Joe) Renie, Austin (Haylee) Griffith; great-grandchildren Ryan, Brooklyn, Camden, Noah, Brayden, Cayden, and Jonah; a sister, Elnor Stevenson; nieces Maralee Malingowski and Teresa Cottrell, and several other nieces and nephews. There will be two Celebration of Life services, one in Michigan and one in Eureka, to be announced. Donations may go to Indian Lake Nazarene Camp in Vicksburg, Michigan. Visit her page at langelands.com.

Phillip M. Hinson, 56, Schoolcraft passed away June 2. Phil was born on July 30, 1963 in Anderson, Ind., the son of Archie and Joyce (Langford) Hinson. He graduated from Climax-Scotts High School with the Class of 1981. When he was 18, he got a job at Stewart Sutherland, and worked there ever since. On June 30, 2007, he married Pam in Kalamazoo. His hobbies included his love for the outdoors by trail riding on an ATV or deer hunting with a bow or gun. He will be remembered by his family as big hearted, logical, loving the Lord, being a good provider and very family-oriented. Phil is survived by his wife of 12 years, Pam; son Noah and stepdaughter Emily Hayner, all of Schoolcraft. He is also survived by his mother, Joyce Hinson, Scotts; a brother, Troy Hinson, of Texas; brother-in-law Ronald (Kelly) Schneider, of Portage; niece Cristra (James) Brown; nephews Zachary Hinson and Devin Schneider; and several aunts, uncles, and cousins. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to the ALS Foundation at alsa.org.

Suzanne Laymon, 67, Schoolcraft, passed away June 11. Suzanne was born on July 5, 1952 to Charles and Mary Hulbert in Kalamazoo. Suzanne enjoyed scrapbooking and camping. She can be described as honest, humorous and sarcastic. She and her husband Harold were married for 47 years. She is survived by her husband; children Stacy (Jason) Fulbright and Jim (Robin) Laymon; grandchildren Ethan Laymon, Byron Fulbright, Latreece Thomas, Cobie Thomas, Maky Thomas, Camded Thomas, Ashley Laymon, Tiffani Laymon, Sam Ferrer, Camellia Ferrer and Angelica Ferrer; and great grandchildren Dexter Bell, Amelia McCormick, Nolan McCormick and Lynden McCormick; siblings Cindy, Maryann, Charles and Kim. She was preceded in death by her brother, Bill, and her parents. Donations may go to the Wounded Warrior Project. Visit her page at avinkcremation.com.

Marihelen Niskala, 91, Schoolcraft, passed away peacefully May 28 at Wings of Hope Hospice in Allegan. Per Marihelen’s wishes, she has been cremated and no service will be held. Visit her page at avinkcremation.com.

Steven Michael Simon, 69, Vicksburg passed away June 25. Steve was born on May 23, 1951 to Elmer and Valeria (Osworth) Simon. Steve could usually be found at Angel’s Crossing Golf Course with his friend, Dave. Steve is survived by his wife of 40 years, Linda (Buytendorp) Simon; children Lane (Julie) Terrell and John (Francie) Terrell; grandchildren Cuyler, Mariah, and Becca (Randy); great grandchildren Laurel and Oliver; and a sister Lydia. Steve was preceded in death by his parents. Cremation has taken place, a memorial service to follow at a later date.

Robert Soter, 68, Vicksburg, passed away June 19. Robert was born on April 29, 1952 to Samuel and Tina Soter in Buffalo, N.Y. Bob was a drummer for 59 years, as he started to teach himself to play the drums at 9. His older sister purchased him his very first drum set for his 12th birthday. While still in Buffalo, Bob belonged to two bands, the Nightwalkers and the Nighthawks. More recently, he was in a group called the Backroads Band. Bob was a man with many skills and he especially loved working in the automotive industry. Throughout his life he worked for GM. Next, he was a custom car painter and was a condition reporter for Schoolcraft Auto Auction before he retired. Soon after retiring, Bob found himself bored and needed a way to spend his time. He began working at Shaffer’s flowers and enjoyed every minute of it. Bob’s favorite part was dropping off flowers for someone and saying “Somebody loves you!” He will always be known as an amazing father and partner. He loved his kids and his wife of 19 years, Rebecca. Bob will be remembered as an amazing husband and a hard worker who would do anything for his daughters. Bob is survived by his wife, Rebecca; daughters Kate (Soter) Selvidge, Lindsay Soter, Maya (Soter) David and Jillian Soter; his sister, Marge Soter; grandchildren Cheyanne, Isabella, Tate and Dylan; and great grandchildren John Albert and Everly. Bob was preceded in death by his parents, Samuel Anthony and Fatina (Neenos) Soter, his sister, Elana Soter, and the mother of his children, Vickie Lehto and stepson Daniel. 
Visit his page at mccowensecord.com.


Della Mae Spencer, 71, Gobles, formerly of Vicksburg, passed away June 22. Della was born on March 18, 1949 in Vicksburg, the third of four children of Harry and Mary (Viro) Spencer. She graduated from Vicksburg Schools in 1968. Della was born again and baptized at the Journey Family Church in Gobles. She was outgoing, outspoken, and loving. She loved saving animals. She is survived by her daughters, Heather Gause of Florida, Mary Burgoyne of Decatur; grandchildren Joplin and Sirius Burgoyne of Decatur; a sister, Leota (Linda Jones) Michielson, of Lawton. She is also survived by her special companion of over 40 years, Stanley Chaney of Gobles. Visit her page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to the Journey Family Church Building Fund.

Elmer “Walt” Ellis Walters Jr., 89, Scotts, went to be with the Lord on May 30. “Junior” was born on the family farm in Jones, Mich. He began a long career in the paper mill industry as a teen. He was a veteran of the Korean War, (1954-1956). Known more as “Walt” in his later years, he was manager of shipping and receiving at Quality Farm and Fleet for 20 years and also worked at Advanced Molding Innovations. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, camping and tinkering with his tractor at his farm in Scotts. Elmer was preceded in death by his parents, Elmer and Clara Walter, a sister, Betty (Bud) Jensen, and his beloved daughter, Arlene Walter Moord. Surviving are his brother, Fred (Lorna) Walter, his wife of 30 years, Sandi Walters, stepdaughter Melanie (Quentin) Witkowski, granddaughters MaRinda (Mac) Stamp, MaHaley Moord, Hadley and Sutton Witkowski, great grandchildren Cameron, Brixton and Ellis Stamp, stepdaughter Ardell (Alvin) Bontrager and their three children, and cousin Doug Bouwman. Elmer has been cremated and per his wishes will be interred at Poe’s Cemetery next to his daughter. Donations may go to Ascension At Home Hospice and Scotts United Methodist Church.

George Eugene Wedel, 81, Scotts, passed away June 21. George was born June 16, 1939 to Harley and Isabelle Wedel and grew up in Kalamazoo with his brothers, Harley and Richard, both deceased, and Roger, who survives. He met his high school sweetheart, Joyce Christensen, at Kalamazoo Central. They were married January 31, 1959. George and Joyce had three children, Terrie (Dana) Schwartz, Andrew (Danielle) Wedel, and Bonnie (Richard) Russell. Their grandchildren are Nathan (Lindsey) Schwartz, Andrea (Gary) Truax, Nicholas Schwartz, Zachariah Wedel, Caleb Wedel, and Eli Wedel and great grandchildren Dylan, Jackson, Alaina and Callen Truax and Stella Schwartz. George’s father started Wedel’s Nursery, Florist & Garden Center in 1946 in Kalamazoo. Joyce, Terrie, Andrew, Bonnie, and Andrea, Zachariah, and Caleb have all worked at Wedel’s Garden Center. Donations may go to Kalamazoo Gospel Mission, Forgotten Man Ministries or Country Christian Evangelical Free Church.

Michael Lewis Yeager, 52, Vicksburg, went home to be with his Lord and Savior on June 12. Mike was born on September 26, 1967 to George and Roxanna Yeager. He was a graduate of Kalamazoo Central High School and attended Berkeley School of Music in Boston and the Guitar Institute in Hollywood. He was a member of the bands P-Brain TV and LO-FI Scorpio. He enjoyed singing on the praise team at Westwood Christian Reformed Church. Mike loved fishing and spending time with family and friends. Mike was preceded in death by his father, George Yeager and is survived by his mother, Roxanna Yeager; his wife, Kristi Yeager; children Jake Andrews and Adrianna (Jon) Boyd and grandson Ryder Michael Boyd. Private services will be held for Mike at Westwood Christian Reformed Church and his interment will take place at Vicksburg Cemetery. Donations may go to Westwood Christian Reformed Church or the West Michigan Cancer Center. Visit his page at langelands.com.

Obituaries

George Bowling, 75, Vicksburg, passed away May 6. George was born on December 29, 1944 in Wheeling, W.Va. He was the son of Bane and Eunice (Rose) Bowling. George proudly served his country in the United States Marine Corp during Vietnam from 1964 to 1965. George retired from tool manufacturing after 25 years from Clausing Corp. George will be remembered by his family for being strong-willed but very friendly. George is survived by his two children, Maria (Mick) McCallister, of Parchment and Kevin Bowling, of Vicksburg; grandchildren Terra (Taylor) McCallister, of Portage; Miranda McCallister, of Florida; Karissa (Zach) McCallister, of Kalamazoo; Caden, Connor and Carson Bowling, of Vicksburg; and six great grandchildren. George’s ashes will be buried with military honors at Fort Custer National Cemetery at a later date. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to Talons Out Honor Flight talonsouthonorflight.org.

Scott Alan Brock, 42, Vicksburg, passed away May 4. Scott was the son of Paul and Brenda (Wood) Brock. He was born on April 28, 1978 in Kalamazoo. He grew up in Vicksburg and attended school there. He worked for a few companies in Kalamazoo and Allegan County. He enjoyed visiting his family at mom’s house, especially for Sunday dinners, and learned to play the guitar a little over the years. In the last year, Scott started attending One Church in Kalamazoo and grew especially close to Pastor Scott and his wife. Though he had health problems in the last six months, he was formulating plans to help charities in the Kalamazoo area. He was preceded in death by his parents, Paul and Brenda Brock, and his oldest brother, Gary Alvord. He is survived by his brother, Andy Brock, and sister-in-law, Amy Brock, of Scotts, and his sister, Melanie Brock (Mike Stephens), of Portage. He is also survived by nephews Jacob Ross, of Kalamazoo, and Kurt (Alex) Koller, of Battle Creek; nieces Emma Brock of Kalamazoo, Maggie Brock of Scotts, and Leia Mullen of Portage, and a grand-nephew, Oliver Koller, born this April. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com.

Beth Haines, 66, Adrian, formerly of Vicksburg, passed away May 1. She was born March 1, 1954 in Vicksburg, daughter of Richard and Elizabeth Lowe. She grew up in Vicksburg and graduated from Vicksburg High School, then Kellogg Community College. Beth enjoyed spending time with family and friends. She also enjoyed relaxing in her pool, reading books, crafts, her annual 4th of July party, and especially the holidays. She was preceded in death by her father, Richard F Lowe, and her son, Jason D Haines. Beth is survived by her mother, Elizabeth Lowe of Vicksburg; children, Jared A. Haines of Adrian; Jordan A. (Amanda) Haines of Highland; daughter Lauren E Haines of Westland; grandchildren Caleb, Emma, Eli, Zoey, Sawyer, Cole, and Jordynne Haines; a brother, Rick (Kim) Lowe of Three Rivers; nephew Corey Aukerman of Three Rivers; niece Kelly Aukerman of Vicksburg; great nephew, Dawson Aukerman of Three Rivers, and great niece Abigail Braat of Vicksburg. Donations may go to InterAct of Michigan. Visit her page at mccowensecord.com.

Dwight Haines, 56, Vicksburg, passed away May 10. Dwight was born on February 20, 1964 in Benton Harbor. He was the son of Clarence and Margaret (Sutcliffe) Haines. Dwight graduated from Vicksburg High School in 1982. A fun-loving, outgoing and caring individual, Dwight had a deep love for music that he shared through playing piano and violin, and frequently partaking in the entertainment scene of downtown Kalamazoo. He will always be remembered for the laughs and love he brought to his family and friends. Dwight is survived by his mother, Margaret; a sister, Brenda (James) McCallum, of Galesburg; niece and nephew Nicole (Tim) Wilson, of Galesburg; and David (Tara) McCallum, of Galesburg; four great-nephews, Nathan, Elijah, Ryan and Eric. He was preceded in death by his father, Clarence Haines, in 2016. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com.

Louis D. Malito, 80, a resident of Arbor Terrace in Naperville, Ill. and a former longtime resident of Vicksburg, passed away April 20. He was born on February 13, 1940 in Chicago. Lou is survived by his beloved wife, Elizabeth “Beth” Malito; his loving children, Leah (Michael) Malito Vinik, Dean (the late Lisa) Malito, Darla (Scott) Malito Caputo, Holly (Steve) Malito Pickens, Daniel Malito of Vicksburg, David (Michelle) Malito formerly of Vicksburg, Jesse Malito, Anna Malito, Katrin Malito, along with 13 grandchildren and four great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, Dominick and Mary (née Falbo) Malito and infant son, Dominic. Lou was a member of U.A. Plumbers Local 130 in Chicago and continued in this trade through Plumbers Local 333, working for Kellogg Corporation after moving to Vicksburg. While living in Country Club Hills, Ill., Lou was also a volunteer fire fighter and became part of the first paramedic team in Country Club Hills. Throughout his life, he was a football coach, baseball coach, softball coach and player, bowler and always a gardener. Most of all, he was a loving father, a caring neighbor and good friend. Lou enjoyed spending time with his ever-growing family, each summer at Pine Lake Cabins in Wellston, Mich., where he found peace, enjoyed fishing and spent time hanging around the campfire with his crazy large family.

Jo Anne McCrumb, 73, Kalamazoo, formerly of Vicksburg, died May 25. She was born to Donald and Helen (Miller) McCrumb on December 5, 1946. She attended Grand Ledge Public Schools and participated in 4-H, rode rodeo, showed horses. The family later moved to Vicksburg, where Jo played clarinet in the high school marching band, pitched for the softball team, and, even though she was only a Bulldog for a year, was elected Fall Homecoming Queen in 1964. She graduated from Vicksburg High School in 1965, then attended Western Michigan University, earning a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts. She worked for several companies including ROLM communication systems and Western Michigan University, installing phone systems and trained employees to use them. She retired from WMU. She attended Vicksburg United Methodist Church, and Unity of Kalamazoo when she moved to the city. She met her husband, Jeff Smith, through church. Jo was preceded in death by her parents and her daughter, Amy Piper. Surviving are her son, Troy (Shannon) Smith; grandchildren Alex and Faith; siblings Jock McCrumb, Jed (Linda) McCrumb; and nieces and nephews. A private gathering will take place with burial at Vicksburg Cemetery. Visit Jo’s page at BetzlerLifeStory.com. Donations may go to Unity of Kalamazoo.

Ryan C. Miller, 43, Vicksburg, passed away May 22. He was born on June 4, 1976 to Timothy and Deborah (Frye) Miller in Kalamazoo. Growing up in Vicksburg, he was a talented athlete and musician. He played soccer and golf in high school as well as the tuba in the Big Red Machine marching band, graduating in 1994. He received an associate’s degree from Ferris State University and entered the heating and cooling industry as a pipefitter. After 9/11 he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served his first tour in Iraq in 2002, followed by two other tours of duty in Operation Enduring Freedom. Upon returning home he married his high school sweetheart, Kristine Spiegelberg. When he needed some time to relax and collect himself, he turned to the solace of nature, the garden, or his barn. He loved tinkering on tractors and growing food to feed his family. He also enjoyed the fresh air of a campsite as well as the breeze while riding his Harley Davidson over the years. Ryan grew his strong faith by leaving his fingerprints on many aspects of the Vicksburg United Methodist Church. Ryan is survived by his wife of 12 years, Kris; children Anna Lynn, Anthony Ryan, and Liam, all of Vicksburg; his parents, Timothy and Deborah Miller of Vicksburg; and siblings Scott (Kathy) Miller, of Vicksburg and Todd (Mandy) Miller, of Vicksburg. He is also survived by his mother and father-in-law, Deb and Wayne Spiegelberg, of Vicksburg; sisters-in-law Brandy Thomas of Vicksburg, Sara Spiegelberg of Springfield, Bonnie (Blake) Osborn of Grand Rapids, and Barbie (Jason) Masternak of Dorr; and several nieces, nephews and cousins. Ryan was preceded in death by his grandparents, Bob and Kay Miller, Jim Frye, and great grandma, Lur Dumas. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to Wounded Warrior Project or USO Military Lounge.

Sue Clark Moore, 82, Vicksburg native, activist and editor-publisher of the South County News, died at her home Wednesday, May 27. Sue grew up in the newspaper business. She was the daughter of Meredith and Bernice Clark, who owned the Vicksburg Commercial Express. Sue wrote and edited for that newspaper over two decades. She attended Michigan State University, was on the cheerleading squad, and began a 66-year streak of attending MSU-UM football games. Although she lived in Vicksburg for most of her life, she lived at times in Seattle and Springfield, Ill. In Vicksburg, she served on the Board of Education and promoted community-changing efforts. She helped push for creation of the Community Foundation and the Farmers Market. She worked on the program and fundraising for the Rotary Club Showboat, now the Showcase. Her parents’ newspaper had been taken over by the Kalamazoo Gazette, and ceased publication in 2012. In 2013, with a nudge from Village Council President Bill Adams, Sue and others in the Schoolcraft-Vicksburg area began to publish the weekly South County News, credited by many as a “glue” that continues to hold each community together. Sue is survived by her two sons, Scott (Lynda) Moore, of Portage and Chris Moore, of Seattle, and grandchildren Zachary, Austin and Meredith Moore. She was preceded in death by her parents and a sister, Sandra Kay Miller. Due to COVID-19 concerns, a public visitation for Sue was scheduled by appointment June 1 at McCowen & Secord Funeral Home, Rupert-Durham Chapel in Vicksburg. A more public gathering to honor and celebrate Sue’s life will be held at a future date when current restrictions are lifted. Visit her page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to the non-profit South County News.

Joseph L. Reynolds, 86, Delton, formerly of Vicksburg, passed away suddenly May 15. Joe was born in Kalamazoo on October 3, 1933, the son of the late William and Lila (White) Reynolds. He was a longtime resident of Vicksburg before moving to his dream home at Shelp Lake in Delton. Joe served in the National Guard with the 126th Infantry as a combat engineer and sharpshooter from 1955-1958. He retired from the Upjohn Company and then worked for the Kalamazoo Greater Auto Auction. He also ran his own janitor business. He earned seven varsity letters from Portage High School in football, baseball, basketball, and track. He also held the school record for running the mile. Joe graduated from Portage High School in 1951. He managed Vicksburg Merchants Men’s Fastpitch softball team and the Vicksburg Fastpitch Tournament and was known as “Coach Grandpa” within Vicksburg Little League. Joe played on various softball teams well into his 80s and won back-to-back gold medals in the Senior Softball USA Tournament of Champions in 2016 and 2017. He enjoyed camping, fishing, kayaking, cards and cribbage, his grandkids, being silly, and propagating flowers that he snuck out of other people’s yards. Joe also enjoyed orioles and hummingbirds and loved spending time with his family and at his winter home in Naples, Fla. On June 27, 1953, he married the love of his life, Dorothy J. (Marble) Reynolds. She preceded him in death on July 3, 2013. He was also preceded in death by his son, Timm E. Reynolds; brothers Lawrence, William and John and sisters Lila, Larene and Lyleen. Joe is survived by his children, Joseph (Joy Herson) Reynolds, Todd (Jody Sukup) Reynolds, Diana (Craig) O’Dell, Jennie (Rick) Holmes and Sean Reynolds; 11 grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; his dear friend and companion, Marlene Warren and numerous nieces and nephews. Donations may go to Southwest Michigan Miracle League. Visit his page at joldersma-klein.com.

David Rhoda, 81, Schoolcraft, passed away peacefully at home May 11, under the care and love of his children and grandchildren. David was born in Schoolcraft on May 6, 1939, the son of the late Lawrence and Flora (Bingham) Rhoda. After graduating from Schoolcraft High School, he proudly served his country as private first class in the Marines Corps until being honorably discharged in 1960. He returned to make Schoolcraft his home and was always proud of his community. David had a kind heart and was always generous. He loved delivering his homemade salsa and pickles to friends, neighbors, family and his doctors and nurses. David had a wonderful smile and personality which made him a joy to know. Nothing made him happier than when his children and grandchildren would visit. He especially loved taking his grandchildren fishing and on John Deere “Gator” rides down the trails and back roads. He is survived by his children, Dennis (Karen) Rhoda, Don (Lorri) Rhoda, Larry (Missie) Rhoda, Steve (Tammy) Rhoda, Kim (Jim) Hamilton; grandchildren Trevor, Alyssa, Adam, Kyler, Macayla, Gabe, Halie, Trae, Jadyn, Bailee, Gavin and Olivia; siblings John Rhoda, Albert Rhoda, Nancy Fellner, Ruth (Larry) Cowan; and Gayla Sager, a very special friend and companion with whom he spent the last 10 years. Due to the current health crisis, a celebration of his life will be held at a later date. Donations may go to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan, c/o the funeral home. Visit his page at joldersma-klein.com.

Nancy Louise Roelof, 79, Portage passed away peacefully in her home with family by her side on Tuesday, May 12. Nancy was born on October 22, 1940 in Smithers, W.Va. to Troy and Violet (Feathers) Brown. On August 11, 1967, Nancy married Henry “Hank” Roelof Jr. in Parchment. He preceded her in death on November 21, 1995. She was also preceded in death by both of her parents, her sister Alice (Harley) Gettig, and her brothers, Johnnie, Arnold and (Troy) “Junior”. Nancy is survived by her children, Jerry (Shoni) Harris of Portage, Mike (Margaret) Harris of Comstock and Deborah (Morris) Giddings of Vicksburg; 11 grandchildren; 17 great grandchildren; three of her four sisters, Carolyn (Curly) Turrentine, Linda (Joe) Cronk, and Pamela (Danny) Long; two of her five brothers, Mike(Colleen) Brown and Billy (Rosita) Brown; and her best friend, Martha (David) Pride. Nancy has been cremated. A celebration of her Life will be held at a later date. While at Nancy’s webpage at http://www.mccowensecord.com, please take time to sign her guestbook by lighting a candle and sharing a memory with the family. Nancy’s family is being cared for by the McCowen & Secord Funeral Home, Rupert-Durham Chapel, Vicksburg.

Obituaries

Larry Oliver Briggs, 77, Mendon, died April 20 at Bronson Methodist Hospital. He was born in Kalamazoo on Sep. 24, 1942, the son of the late Oliver and Jessie (Evans) Briggs. He graduated from Vicksburg High School and first worked at Tibbots as a welder and then Simpson Paper Company. Larry spent most of his working life at American Axle in Three Rivers. He coached Mendon Rocket Football and Little League Baseball and enjoyed building things in his workshop, especially swing-sets. Larry is survived by his wife, the former Evelyn Sue Hines; sons Kurt (Olga) Briggs of Fishers, Indiana and Kevin Briggs of Mendon; grandchildren Mischa and Allison Briggs and Austin, Connor, Coleton, Ashton, Carter, and Kaylena Briggs; siblings Gene, Connie, Virg, Diana, Ronnie, and Gary; and nieces and nephews. In keeping with his wishes, cremation has been conducted and a memorial service will be held at a later date. Assistance was provided by the Eickhoff Funeral Home of Mendon. Memories and condolences may be shared at eickhofffuneralhome.com.

Thelma Louise (Parsell) Buckham, 90, passed away unexpectedly in her home on April 18. Thelma was born in St. Clair Shores, Mich. on April 15, 1930, the youngest of eight children. On April 30, 1949, she was united in marriage with George Kingsley Buckham and moved to Buckham Farms in Oshtemo, where they worked the farm with their four children and George’s twin brother, Fred. Her gentle and work-worn hands delivered triplet lambs, canned bushels of peaches, kneaded bread dough, sowed seeds, and sewed sheep blankets and party dresses for her granddaughters. She was actively involved in the Oshtemo 4-H Club and Kalamazoo County 4-H for over 70 years. Thelma is survived by her children, Gail (Carl) VanderKolk of Dorr, George (Kathy) Buckham of Schoolcraft, Jeff (Julia) Buckham of Schoolcraft and Brian (Susan) Buckham of Richland; 19 grandchildren; 28 great-grandchildren; 2 great-great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. Private burial has taken place in Genesee Prairie Cemetery. A service to celebrate Thelma’s life will be held later this year. Services are entrusted to Langeland Family Funeral Homes Burial & Cremation Services, Kalamazoo. Visit her page at langelands.com.

Stephen Joel Crane, 82, Battle Creek, formerly of Scotts, passed away April 18. Stephen was born on June 23, 1937 in Detroit and was the only child of Leland and Cecilia (Lenaham) Crane. In his younger years he enjoyed playing baseball. After high school he proudly served his country in the United States Air Force during the Korean War. He worked as a pallet maker for Rock-Tenn in Battle Creek. Stephen was a member of the VFW Post 1527 and the Kalamazoo County Masonic Lodge. On November 10, 2001 he married Norma Jean Olson. Stephen is survived by his daughter, Denise Crane, of Kalamazoo; stepchildren Ronnie (Brenda) Olson of Kalamazoo, Denny (Karen Nay) Olson of Vicksburg, David (Kim) Olson of Vicksburg, Karen (Tom) Dillon of Galesburg, Brenda (Joel) Nelson of Vicksburg and Jack (Dawn Waldron) Olson of Vicksburg; 14 grandchildren and numerous great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, Norma Jean Crane, in 2012. Stephen is being cremated and will have a military burial of his ashes at Fort Custer National Cemetery once it can be held publicly. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to Talons Out Honor Flight talonsouthonorflight.org/donate.html.

Helen I. Meeuwse, 88, Vicksburg, died April 8. Helen was born February 24, 1932 in Kalamazoo to Edward and Edna (Miles) Stacey. On February 19, 1949, she married Engbert Meeuwse. Helen worked for the Gibson Guitar Company for 17 years. She was an avid reader and enjoyed gardening and weeding. Helen is survived by her children, Kay (George) Kucinich, Brenda (Mike) Hills and Jerry (Karla Derington) Meeuwse; grandchildren Melissa McGuire, Anne (Paul) Bowgett, Duane (Emily) Kucinich and Miles Meeuwse; two great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. Helen was preceded in death by her husband, Engbert, brothers Charles, Loyal, Ralph, Miles and Arnold Stacey and sisters Elizabeth Harden, Meda Ruse and Loraine Martin. Due to the COVID-19 virus, a service will be held later when it is safe for Helen’s family and friends to be together and celebrate Helen’s life. Donations may go to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan. Visit her page at farleyestesdowdle.com.

Stuart Renwick Molineaux, 84, Battle Creek, passed away peacefully in his sleep April 12 at Care Community. He was born on August 23, 1935, the only son of Grace and Forrest Molineaux of Vicksburg. He is survived by sisters Sharon Rutz of Marcellus; Debbie Molineaux and Sue Molineaux, both of Green Valley, Ariz.; Jeanne Molineaux, Penn Valley, Calif.; nephews Casey Hulse of Vicksburg, Steve Rutz of Silver Springs Md., Chris Rutz of St. Joseph, Bryan Graybill of Gladwin, Mich; and many cousins. Stuart was predeceased by his oldest sister, Pam Hulse. Stuart was raised in Crystal, MI. He was a marine and then practiced law. Stuart was physically assaulted in the mid-1990’s with resulting brain damage and moved to supported living. Visit Stuart’s page at avinkcremation.com.

Diane Kay Reece, 80, Kalamazoo, died April 27 at Friendship Village. She was born on Sept. 4, 1939 and raised on the family farm in Fulton, the daughter of Forrest and Ruth (Harrison) Snyder. Diane graduated from VHS in 1958. On June 21, 1959, she married Ron Reece, whom she had known since kindergarten. He preceded her in death on October 18, 2006. Diane is survived by her three children, Jeff (Katie) Reece of Ann Arbor, Tammy Patterson of Portage, and Jenny (Bryan) Taffee of Portage; grandchildren Morgan (Ryan) Szumski of Kalamazoo, Mackenzie (Nam) Le of Portage, and Mallory (Greg) Waddell of Kalamazoo, Jordan Taffee of Portage, and Carson Taffee of Portage; great grandchildren Carter and Collins Szumski, and Indie Le; sisters Joyce Francisco of East Naples, Florida, and Vera (Chuck) Walker of Portage; brothers-in-law Gordon Mitchell of Fulton, Richard Portinga of Portage, Tom (Sandy) Reece of Chicago, John (Lori) Reece of Ann Arbor, and Dave (Kathy) Reece of Portage; sister-in-law Janet Reece of Chicago; and many nieces and nephews. In addition to her husband and parents, Diane was preceded in death by her father- and mother-in-law, Paul and Beulah Reece; brothers and sisters-in-law, Richard and Iva Snyder, Stewart and Maxine Snyder, Leslie and Rowene Snyder; brother Lee Snyder; sister Mildred (nee Snyder) Mitchell; sisters and brothers-in-law Alice (nee Snyder) and Dana Fry, Peggy (nee Snyder) Hollenbeck-Portinga and Gary Hollenbeck; and brothers-in-law, Sam Francisco and Jack Reece. Donations may go to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan or Bok Tower Gardens. Visit her page at hohnerfh.com/diane-reece/.

John Franklin Sturgeon, 87, Vicksburg, passed away April 8 at his home. John was born December 23, 1932 in Flint, the son of Jonathan Martin and Ida Mae (Goode) Sturgeon. He graduated from Dye High School in the class of 1953, attended Owosso College and proudly served in the Michigan National Guard. John was an active member of both Owosso and Vicksburg Nazarene churches where he sang bass in the church choirs for the past 40 years, along with serving on calling teams and the church board. He married Shirley Mae Shoup in Owosso on February 13, 1970. John retired from General Motors after 42 years of service. John is survived by his wife; children Mark (Sherri) Sturgeon of Mattawan, Paul Sturgeon of Henderson, Nev., Karen Lewkowski of Lakeland, Fla., David (Sue) Stanton of Sturgis, Johnna Sturgeon (Kevin Maves) of Vicksburg, Joanna Sturgeon (T.J. Sibert) of Vicksburg; 11 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren; other loving family members and friends. He was predeceased by his parents and brothers Albert and Martin Sturgeon. A private family graveside service will be held at Hillcrest Memorial Gardens and a public celebration will be held at a later date. Donations may go to Nazarene Compassionate Ministries. Online condolences may be sent to the family at Nelson-House.com.

Julius William Weessies, Jr. “Bill”, 80, passed away April 16. He was born June 16, 1939 in Dayton, Ohio, the son of Julius and Irene (Frakes) Weessies, Sr. Bill grew up in Vicksburg and graduated from Vicksburg High School. He served in the U.S. Air Force, returned to the Kalamazoo area and resumed working as a technician for Western Electric and its successor companies, retiring in 1994. Bill was a longtime fan and supporter of WMU Hockey and enjoyed cruising, powerboating and auto racing. On March 11, 1961, Bill married the former Judith A. Ryder who preceded him in death on February 20, 1994. He was also preceded in death by his parents. Bill is survived by his son, Greg Weessies of Schoolcraft; his companion, Carolyn Kirkpatrick of Portage; brothers Jim and Bob Weessies; several nieces and nephews; and many close friends. Private graveside services will be held in the Schoolcraft Village Cemetery. Donations may go to Bickford of Portage Assisted Living & Memory Care. Visit his page at langelands.com.

Pastors, Funeral Directors Face Challenges Amid COVID-19

By Sue Moore

Pastor Dave Downs, Chapman Memorial Church of the Nazarene

“We are not able to visit our folks who are confined to nursing home and hospitals.

“However, I did record a video Bible study this past Wednesday that was used at the Bickford Senior Living facility in Portage. Also, last Sunday my sermon was recorded in my office and posted to our Facebook page and website. This Sunday we are starting to use Facebook live for our morning worship service. These will be live on Facebook each Sunday at 10 a.m. until further notice. We will have very limited music. And no one in attendance.

“Our children’s director, Kelly Downs, is communicating with the children via Facebook and encouraging them with activities they are able to do at home with their families.

“Our youth pastor, Brian Robbins, is communicating his weekly message to our middle and high school students via Facebook. Our young adult pastor, Rob Lash, is also staying in touch with our young adults via Facebook.

“Our senior adult pastor, Wes Bittenbender, is communicating regularly with our elderly folks. When they have needs, we have people ready to respond. People have offered to pick up groceries and prescriptions if needed.

“We have also reached out to our schools and Generous Hands. Our people responded this week to some pressing needs at Generous Hands. Superintendent Keevin O’Neal told us he would reach out to us with ways we can be of assistance when something comes up.

“These are very trying times as we are social people. We love to be together! Thankfully, we are also hopeful people. We know that one day we will again be able to meet together. We trust these days to God and pray for healing!”

Pastor Ed Schmidt, Lakeland Reformed Church

Historically churches were designed to respond to humanity’s need to be “social” – be part of a family, community, social distancing in many ways fractured our attachments. But it also forces us to become creative for the “family of God” to remain connected. So Social media – using the internet through emails, Facebook & Facebook Live, Skype, and other platform have emerged as essential to sustain our connections. We are also encouraging a “re-emphasis” by connecting through one on one phone conversations, or walk over and give a greeting with a post it note on your neighbor’s window. Individuals have started calling each other, maybe one a week or every other week because they missed seeing each other at church. When our leadership is calling the members we are asking for what do you need? And what can you give/do?

For most churches I heard the Sunday connection for worship was through a log-in worship through Facebook Live or a recorded message on YouTube. I know of a church who used a phone “party line” or conference call connection for members to dial up the Pastor and 9 others in the sanctuary to share their prayers of joys and concerns.

No great insights or unusual examples. But something we are all trying to learn from one another and apply as we are able. But as churches we will keep working through this new normal, because Church operations “sure aren’t the same as they used to be.” But we will continue to figure out how to share our good news of comfort, hope and faith to a community that’s anxious, afraid and uncertain. It’s still down to showing God’s love to our neighbor.

Pastor Greg Culver, United Methodist Church of Vicksburg

“I think the thing for the church is that while our people experience social distancing, we do what we can to make sure the feeling doesn’t digress into social isolation. For many legacy (aka elder) members, the church is their primary connection with others. The church is also highly symbolic in that it represents Christ to many people – and as pastor, that makes my role symbolic as someone who will keep steady hand on the keel of the ship. People need to hear from their church family and their pastor. I email frequent pastoral messages to be of encouragement. The congregation has been included in the caring. Everybody in our email database was forwarded an up-to-date church directory inviting them to make at least three contacts daily with someone else – not necessarily someone they know well. Never underestimate the offering of ‘small-talk.’

“An order of worship for the missed Sunday is sent out along with a prepared manuscript of the pastor’s sermon as a witness that, yes, the pastor is discerning Scripture on their behalf. We’re moving into video-production to put worship on our website as well as utilizing our social media (Facebook and Instagram).

“Coronavirus social distancing will probably extend beyond Easter. The church has never experienced anything like this and we anticipate contingencies in our approach to ministry. Mortality, viral or not, and how to care for folk in the face of death raises some questions. We might end up “live-streaming” a funeral or two.

“What an under-appreciated blessing we had when we were able to physically gather together. A more robust understanding of gratitude could come from it being taken away by circumstances beyond our control.

“All in all, I think that our people are coping well, thus far. It’s gonna take a lot of Jesus to get us through, but He’s totally faithful even in the difficult times.”

In his letter to the Catholic faithful, Bishop Paul J. Bradley of the Diocese of Kalamazoo has temporarily suspended all public Masses effective Friday, March 20 through Palm Sunday, April 5, 2020. Additionally, the annual Chrism Mass on Tuesday, April 7th has been relocated to St. Augustine Cathedral, Kalamazoo, and will be limited to attendance by priests only. The Mass will be live-streamed and details will be posted on the diocesan website. The Diocesan Pastoral Center will be closed to the public from March 20th through April 5th; employees will be working remotely. In his letter, Bishop Bradley wrote:

“Being unable to come to Mass and receive the Gift of the Eucharist is a huge sacrifice that we must make to protect the health and well-being of all those with whom we come in contact. While this restriction is temporary, and I pray, short-lived, our faith life continues. We must stay strong in the practice of our faith through our individual times of prayer, as well as increased family prayer times; our own spiritual reading and reflection on God’s Holy Word; the praying of the rosary, and other important devotions and spiritual practices. I have asked our priests to keep our churches open/unlocked as much as possible during this time of crisis, and I invite you to come to spend time of prayer and reflection with Jesus Present in the Blessed Sacrament, following all the other proscribed precautions of social distancing. I also want you to know that all our priests will continue celebrating Mass every day privately; I have asked them specifically to offer Masses regularly for the intentions of the Faithful of their parishes and our Diocese, especially those who are sick, alone, and suffering in other ways during this time of crisis.”

Dale Eickhoff, owner of Eickhoff Funeral Home in Mendon

“Funeral homes have always practiced universal precautions, since we are confronted with some type of outbreak or epidemic every five to 10 years. Infection control is nothing new for us. What is new are the restrictions on the size of any gathering – currently limited to 50 people –, by the Governor. Suggesting that we limit attendance to 50 family members is going to be a challenge. In small rural communities, we are all related! At this point we are forced to have a small intimate ceremony (perhaps by invitation only) with the hope of having a larger gathering or luncheon when restrictions have been lifted.”

Steve McCowen, co-owner of McCowen & Secord Funeral Home

“The funeral industry is unique because we handle every deceased person with Universal Precautions and treat as if everyone has a contagious disease. We have training with our staff annually to make sure they are on top of the care for themselves as well as the people we bring into our buildings. I always like to tell the staff to remember if they don’t protect themselves they put their family and our staff at risk. So, I live my life this way every day. I’ve always probably been seen as a germophobic person but I was just always taught to wash my hands a ton in our profession with all the people we come in contact with. My first year as a funeral director I was sick nonstop.

“As far funerals for the public knowledge, we are business as usual. The CDC has guidelines that our National Funeral Directors Association sent out this past week. So, we can make sure our embalmers like myself understand the illnesses like this one and others we could be facing. It also lets us know what extra precautions to take when handling a deceased. This illness doesn’t seem to stay with the body after death like some. At least not what they have found so far. We trained our staff that goes to the hospital and homes what to expect and how to handle this situation and others.

“We have asked all of our staff, much like we do during cold and flu season, to stay home if they have any symptoms. We understand we work with the ‘at-risk’ community on a daily basis.

“We do have extra hand sanitizers at our locations and it’s really hard not to shake a hand but I noticed today people were cautious at the service [we just had]. I don’t live my life in fear, maybe because of all the diseases I’ve had to work around in my career. It also says in my faith 365 times in the Bible to ‘Fear Not’. So, I still give hugs to those that need one and offer to help families when they need someone. It’s what we do. I’m don’t fear getting sick and if the good Lord ask me to come home today I have no fear in that either.”

Obituaries

Ronald (Ron) Bruce Avis, 84, Vicksburg, passed away March 7. Ron was the son of Donald “Bud” and Wenona “Nona” Avis and was born on September 19, 1935. Ron was a Cedar Springs High School graduate and received his electrical license by International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in Chicago. He joined the army and served during the Korean War. He married Nelly Sweet June 28, 1959 right after Nelly graduated from MSU. They resided in Chicago while she taught and he finished electrical school. They then moved to Vicksburg, becoming lifelong residents. He served on the Schoolcraft Township Planning Commission for many years and was a member of the Vicksburg United Methodist Church. He was most involved in the Kalamazoo County 4-H Horse Project. His favorite thing in life was to watch children blossom through their 4H projects. He was also a Freemason and a member of the IBEW Local 131. During Ron’s time as an electrician and project manager for R.W. Leet Electric, a sub-contractor of the Upjohn Company, he was in the lead on many projects. He is survived by Nelly Ann Avis after 61 years of marriage, daughters Amy Avis, Portage and Molly (Kevin) Ball of Carmel, Ind. and grandchildren Lucas, Lauryn and Griffin Ball; a brother, Norwood (Janet) Avis of Cedar Springs and several nieces and nephews. Donations may go to Generous Hands of Vicksburg, generoushands.org or the Vicksburg United Methodist Church.

Anna Burson, 94, Schoolcraft, peacefully passed away March 21 at Rose Arbor Hospice. Anna was born on August 17, 1925 to Kenneth and Irene (McClain) Nichols. She is survived by her children, David (Linda Sue) Burson of Schoolcraft, Vikki (Denny) Plothow of Portage, Stephen (Linda Jean) Burson of Schoolcraft, Jeff Burson of Schoolcraft; grandchildren Tammy (Todd) Thayer, Todd (Melissa) Burson, John Burson, Melissa (Chris) Carpenter, Kathy Jako, Joshua (Mary) Burson, Lance (Gail) Strome, Tracie Burson, Tina Burson, Michael (Mimi) Burson Jr., Billy Burson and Candy (Paul) Graham; 20 great grandchildren; 6 great-great grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. Anna was preceded in death by her husband of 46 years, Max; her children, Ronald, Michael Sr. and Theresa and her six brothers and a sister. Visit mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to Rose Arbor Hospice.

Sue Ann Hanna, 66, Scotts, passed away March 20, surrounded by family. Sue was born to George and Betty (Leversee) Srackangast on January 18, 1954. Sue is survived by her husband, Colin Hanna; children Christopher (Kelly), Dennis, and Kyle (Holly); grandchildren Nate, Ally, and Isabella; siblings Jim Srackangast and Beth Jackson; and several nieces and nephews. Sue was preceded in death by her parents and a sister, Sharon Kooyers. Sue has been cremated and a service may be held at a later date. Visit her page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan or Talons Out Honor Flight.

Theresa (Coffinger) Huntington, passed away March 20. She was born to Ernest and Marilda (Hopkins) Coffinger on May 22, 1924. At the age of 18, she was joined in marriage to Marion (Babe) Huntington on April 24, 1943. They later welcomed nine children. Theresa loved crocheting Christmas ornaments, and making quilts for her family and friends. She spent countless hours enjoying nature and feeding the birds. Family was very important to her. Over the years the staff at the West Michigan Cancer Center had become a beloved part of her family. Theresa was preceded in death by her husband of 36 years, Marion Huntington, on December 21, 1979; infant daughters Sharon Lee in 1946 and Edith May in 1959; her parents; a brother, Norman Coffinger; sisters Sally Terry and Dora Roberts; daughter-in-law Linda (Loosier) Huntington; son-in-law John Overton; and grandson Ed Miller Jr. Surviving are sons Leslie (Angel) and David Huntington of Vicksburg; daughters Marilyn (Ed Sr.) Miller of Coldwater, Rosemary (Raymond) Weller of Coldwater, Alice (Mike) Bockstanz, of Portage, Lorie Overton, of Three Rivers and Brenda (Robert) Piper, of Vicksburg; grandchildren Shannon (Mike) Lashbrook, David (Brandi) Huntington, Raymond Weller Jr., Theresa (John) Cleckner, Jessica (Hunter) Weller, Alicia (Ron) Crandall, Michelle (Brian) VanderBor, John (Sarah) Overton, Mike (Lisa) Overton, Steve Overton, Sierra (Eric) Piper and Natalie (Jesse) Piper; great grandchildren Eddie, David and Jonathan Miller, Tyler Weller, Lindsey, Logan and Ashlyn Cleckner, Yazmene and Trenton VanderBor, Collin Crandall, Hannah and Mackenzie Overton, Camron and Jordan Overton, Laine, Aubree and Addison Overton, and James Vance. Donations may go to the West Michigan Cancer Center.

James (Jim) Lafler, passed away March 13. He was born on Sept. 12, 1935, in Leonidas. He was raised and attended school in Fulton and Vicksburg. Jim resided in Vicksburg and Portage. He worked as a lumberjack, enjoyed fishing, hunting, and catching snapping turtles. Jim was also known for hauling junk and scrap metal and cleaning out apartments and homes. Jim married Theresa Weinberg, with whom he had five children. Jim has two stepdaughters with his partner of 51 years, Beverly Ridenour. He was preceded in death by his parents, James Lafler Sr. and Neva Lafler, sons James Lafler III and Jack Lafler, brother Tom Lafler, and sister Joann Sleeman. He is survived by Beverly Ridenour, his children Rita (Doug) Diamond, Dale (Junita) Lafler, Scott (Amy) Lafler, Linda (Warner) Connor-Offord, Vickie Muncy, brother Willard (Mazy) Lafler, brother Butch (Robin) Lafler, several grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be held at the Word for Life Church of God at a future date. Officiating at the service will be Pastor Jeffery McNally.

Marjorie June (Peggy) Zonyk Lambert, 91, passed away February 3 in Mecosta, Mich. She was born in Battle Creek on June 26, 1928, the eldest child of Raymond and Ethel (Daniels) Brown of Vicksburg. Peggy graduated Vicksburg High School in 1945. She received a certificate in medical dictation from Elkhart Business School. Peggy went to work as a clinic secretary at Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo. On July 7, 1948, Peggy married Joe Zonyk. She served as the Brady Township treasurer. Her last job was with Gilmore Advertising in Kalamazoo. She retired in 1988. She also enjoyed old sayings she collected and eventually published them in a book she called “Grandma’s Sayings.” That book has been sold in every state in the U.S. On July 14, 1983, Peggy married John (Jack) Lambert. They were married for 27 years. Peggy is survived by her children, Dan (Caryn) Zonyk of Vicksburg and Susan (Ron) Reardon of Canadian Lakes, Mich. She is also survived by her step-children, John (Lisa) Lambert of Carmel, Ind. and Nancy Lambert, Arcadia, Kan. She was a proud and loving grandmother to her grandchildren, Angela Verwey of Plainwell, Michael (Melissa) Zonyk of Grand Rapids, Michelle (Dave) Malito of Portage, Joshua (Emily) Reardon of Shelby, N.C., Jeffrey (Lauren) Reardon of Westland, Mich., Jeff Lambert of Denver, Col. and Ryan Lambert of Indianapolis, Ind. Peggy was also blessed with seven great-grandchildren. She leaves behind two siblings, Kay Warner of Warren, Mich. and Ray Brown of Three Rivers as well as many cousins, nieces, and nephews. She was predeceased by her parents and spouses. Visit her page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to Royal View Assisted Living. Staff there considered her part of their family for the last 10 years of her life.

Kathleen Ruth Lange, 78, Vicksburg passed away March 22. Kathy was born on September 22, 1941 in Allegan. She was the fifth child of eight to Theodore and Josephine (McGeath) Lange. She graduated from Allegan High School with the class of 1959. Kathy completed beauty school and enjoyed being a beautician for many years. Later on, her love for flowers lead her to design floral arrangements for Shafer Flowers in Kalamazoo, and she also for a period of time had her own business called Silk Creations. Her hobbies included working in her flower garden and painting. She raised her children on Long Lake and enjoyed the lake life with pontoon rides, fishing, and many sunsets. While her children were younger, she was a leader for both Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and active in the Vicksburg Athletic Boosters. While her boys were in high school, she organized spaghetti dinners for the football team that is now a tradition in the community. Most important to Kathy was her faith and her family. She loved when her family was all together and supported her children’s and grandchildren’s many endeavors. She will be remembered by her family for being giving, helpful, generous, spunky, faithful, strong willed, and very family-oriented. Kathy is survived by her three children, Kelly (Dan) Oswalt, of Vicksburg; Scott Swope, of Vicksburg; and Matt (Debbie) Swope, of Vicksburg; grandchildren: Megan (JT Neel) Oswalt, Emily (Andy) Foster, Katie (Derek) Debiak,  Amanda Swope and Nick Swope, all of Vicksburg; great grandchildren Grady and Addy Foster, both of Vicksburg. She is also survived by her brother, Thomas Lange, of Allegan; sister Gretchen (Ron) Wedge, of Allegan; brother-in-law Ken Washburn, of Hopkins; and many nieces, nephews and cousins. She was preceded in death by her great granddaughter, Josie Neel; siblings Grace Ann (Gerald) Richardson, Sue (Joe) Huguelet, Barbara Jo Washburn, Mary Joan Lange, Ted (Wanda) Lange; special cousin Edna “Skip” McDonough; and sister-in-law Sue Lange. Kathy will have a Celebration of her Life on her birthday, September 22, 2020 from 5-8 p.m. at R&R Weddings and Events. Visit her page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to Birch Meadows.

Rose Elizabeth Moore, 104, Vicksburg passed away March 24. Rose was born on November 13, 1915 in Leonidas, MI. She was the daughter of Earl and Nora (Lunger) Lash. Rose married Floyd Moore on December 21, 1960. She worked as a cook for over 25 years at the State Hospital before retiring. Her hobbies included cooking and crocheting. Rose will be remembered by her family and friends as: amazing, fun to be around, loving, caring, giving, and having a joyful heart. Rose is survived by her husband of 59 years, Floyd; five grandchildren: Robert R. (Diana) Siscoe, of Albion; Floyd A. (Stacy) Siscoe, of Mattawan; Craig Siscoe, of Bronson; Elizabeth A. (James) Moore, of SC; Vicky Muncy, of Kalamazoo; and many great and great great grandchildren. She is also survived by her sister, June Potter, of Vicksburg, and several nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by her son: Robert E. Siscoe. Rose has been cremated and no services are planned at this time. Visit her page at mccowensecord.com.

Virgene Rae Price, 79, Portage, formerly of Vicksburg, passed away March 17. Virgene was born on January 14, 1941 in Weidman, Mich. She was the daughter of Clare and Ruth (Hart) Oberlin. On December 17, 1988 she married Leonard Price and blended their families together. Virgene is survived by her children, Lori (Allen) Shedd; Mark (Melissa) Kuepfer; Paul Kuepfer; Kristin (Scott) Watkins; and 11 grandchildren and three great grandchildren.  She was preceded in death by siblings Richard (Carol) Oberlin and Sharon (Orlo) Johnson and by her husband, Leonard Price. A memorial service will be planned for a later date at St. Michael Lutheran Church in Portage. Please continue to check Virgene’s webpage at mccowensecord.com where you can get updated service information, sign the guestbook, and share a memory with the family. The family is being assisted by the McCowen & Secord Funeral Home, Rupert-Durham Chapel, Vicksburg.

Julia Marie Smith, 53, Vicksburg, passed away March 18. Born to William and Phyllis (Watson) Smith on May 24, 1966, in Vicksburg. She was the older of two as she was joined in her family by her brother, Jeff. She attended local schools including Vicksburg High School. There, Julia was an avid softball player, was in track, and also played the clarinet in the marching band. She was thrilled to welcome three children, Adam, Stephanie, and Makenna, into her heart and home. Later, she was blessed to add two grandchildren, Sophia and Mia, into the family. It was easy to see that Julia’s granddaughters were her greatest source of pride and joy. For more than 20 years, she was blessed with the companionship of Chris Pillars after meeting him at a New Year’s Eve party. She spent more than 16 years working at Linden Woods Dental, and she also worked at Main Street Pub in Vicksburg for over 10 years. Julia loved Keno and traveling, and when at home she loved a good Lifetime movie. Julia is survived by her companion of 20 years, Chris Pillars; three children: Adam (Ryan) Phillips, of Canton; Stephanie (Michael Alexander) Phillips, of Kalamazoo; Makenna Pillars, of Vicksburg; two grandchildren: Sophia and Mia Alexander, of Kalamazoo. She is also survived by her mother: Phyllis Smith, of Scotts; and brother Jeff (Kim) Smith, of Vicksburg. She is preceded in death by her father, William Smith; grandparents: Edward and Betty Smith and Richard and Evelyn Watson. A memorial service is being planned for a later date. Visit her page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to the family c/o Stephanie Phillips.

Doug Truckey, 80, Vicksburg, passed away with family by his side on March 1. Doug was born on February 15, 1940 to Francis and Helen (McElevain) Truckey. Following his wishes, cremation has taken place. Doug is survived by his wife of 62 years, Jan; his children, Scott (Susan) Truckey, Jeff (Jean) Truckey, Brian (Karen) Truckey and Lori (Jacob) Bittle; 14 grandchildren; 16 great grandchildren with 3 more on the way, as well as several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; his son, Dennis, his brother, Frances Jr., and his sister, Sandra. Doug enjoyed woodworking and watching westerns on TV. He loved spending time with his family and lived for his grandchildren. He enjoyed farming, hunting and fishing as well as trap shooting. Doug retired from Fox River Paper Company after 17 years. He served his country proudly in the United States Air Force for 6 years. He was very patriotic all his life. Please visit Doug’s memory page at mccowensecord.com where you can leave a memory for his family.

Obituaries

Andrew Donald Blodgett, 81, Schoolcraft passed Feb. 12. Andrew was born on October 17, 1938 in Kalamazoo. He was the middle son of Leroy and Sadie (Cook) Blodgett. On September 7, 1956, he married Joyce Ryskamp. They were married for 33 years and had six children together. He was part of the Schoolcraft community, from owning a local business, to serving the community on the village council and raising all six of his children there. He loved Schoolcraft and made it his home his entire life. He worked in the corporate world for Sears Roebuck and Company until he decided to follow his passion of working with plants. He opened the first Blodgett family business, Green Acres in 1967 on US 131 in Schoolcraft. He loved the nursery business and working with trees, flowers and shrubs. He later married Alicia Chavez Lopez on December 9, 2000. He and Alicia traveled back and forth from Schoolcraft to Alicia’s hometown of Los Reyes, Mexico. This became the headquarters for dispersing his goods to the indigenous people of Mexico. It became the focus of his life in creating his 501(c) 3, the Mission to the Poor that serves the poorest of poor in the inner regions of Mexico. During his travels, he dispersed thousands of shoes, clothing, and food. Andy is survived by his wife of 19 years, Alicia; children Terry W. (Cindy) Blodgett, Robin E. (Avery) Delaney, Kevin S. Blodgett, Pamela A. (Jerome Jonckheere) Blodgett and Anthony L. (Kristy) Blodgett; 25 grandchildren; 15 great grandchildren; and his first wife of 33 years, Joyce. He is also survived by his two brothers, Bud Blodgett and Dwight Blodgett; half siblings David and Caroline. He was preceded in death by his son, Andrew G. Blodgett, in 2010; granddaughter, Paige; half siblings Bertha and Dennis; and stepmother, Jean. Andrew will later be buried in Alicia’s hometown in Mexico. Donations may go to: Mission to the Poor or JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) and sent to: Pam Blodgett, 220 Lyon St., NW – Suite 540, Grand Rapids MI 49503. Visit Andrew’s page at avinkcremation.com.

Clyde M. Covell, 93, Vicksburg passed away Feb. 18. Clyde was born on October 23, 1926 and was the son of Charles and Mary (Burger) Covell. Clyde graduated from Vicksburg High School. After high school, Clyde bravely served his country in the United States Army in the Philippines and Japan. Once he returned from the service he worked for Michigan Bell in Kalamazoo. He was an amateur radio operator for many years. Most of all, he loved growing up on a farm and being outdoors. He loved his tractors and also watching the trains go by. He loved going to his cabin in central Alaska. He was a very independent, organized, and proud farmer. He is survived by his two sons, Danny Covell, of Three Rivers and Timothy (Nancy) Covell, of Alaska; three grandchildren; two sisters and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and nine siblings. Visit Clyde’s page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to Generous Hands.

Sharon Eldred (nee Kudary), 70, Scotts, formerly of Vicksburg, passed away Feb. 21. She was born May 5, 1949 in Sturgis to the late Joseph and Clara (Ramsdell) Kudary. She is survived by her husband, Richard J. Eldred; son Shawn (Monica) Eldred; three wonderful grandchildren whom she loved dearly; brothers Jeff (Mary Ann) and Joe Kudary; sister Denise (Brian) Murray; nieces and nephews; and numerous lifelong friends. Private services will be held for the immediate family. Interment will take place in Gilson Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or a charity of one’s choice. Visit Sharon’s page at langelands.com.

Lloyd W. Harber, 94, Vicksburg, passed away Feb. 13. Lloyd was born on December 5, 1925 in Hannibal, Mo. He was the son of George and Ona (Boucher) Harber. Lloyd graduated from Vicksburg High School with the class of 1944. After high school he proudly served in the United State Navy during World War II. After the service he met Joyce Venhuis. They were married on November 7, 1947 in Vicksburg. He worked for over 30 years as a lead chemical operator for the Upjohn Company. He also worked hard helping laying cement blocks on various building projects around the community. For 16 winters he and Joyce enjoyed their time in Mission, Texas, where he learned the skill of wood carving. Lloyd is survived by his wife of 72 years, Joyce; children Norma Manley of Vicksburg and Jim Harber of Vicksburg; grandchildren Matt and Josh Harber, both of Kalamazoo; Jennifer (Shane) Cassel), of Grand Rapids; and Rich (Autumn) Mays, of Scotts; five great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Nancy Mays; parents and three siblings. Lloyd will be cremated. No services are planned at this time. Visit Lloyd’s webpage at mccowensecord.com.

Elwin Earl “Bud” Holtz and Mable Alice (Denney) Holtz, passed away peacefully just 10½ hours apart at the family home in Fulton. Elwin, 92, died Feb. 4. He was born in Scotts, on June 24, 1927, the son of the late Earl Lewis and Melva Mae (Wilcox) Holtz and was a fourth-generation lifelong resident of Wakeshma Township. He attended Athens area schools and served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during the Korean War.He worked at the Lee Paper Mill, Oliver Aviation, Kalamazoo Stove Company and Checker Motors. He was a successful farmer. He loved the Detroit Tigers and Lions. Mable, 88, died Feb. 5. She was born in Mendon Township on March 5, 1931, the daughter of the late Frederick and Goldie Mae (De Hoff) Denney. She graduated from Colon High School, attended MSU, and earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from WMU. She taught 11 years in one-room schools, and 19 years at Union City Schools. She had also worked at Lamb Knit, Sutherland Paper Company, Burgess Seeds, and the Haas Corporation. Mable and Elwin were married in 1953 and enjoyed their 66 years together. The couple visited 49 states, England, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Australia. They led a successful fight against starting a landfill in Wakeshma Township. Mable believed in the inalienable right to stick your nose in the government’s business. Elwin and Mable are survived by a daughter, Mary Alice Searer of Grand Haven; granddaughter, Sara K. Searer of New Port Richey, Fla. And great-grandchildren Sophia and Benjamin. Mable is survived by sisters Patricia Shepler-Carter of Athens and Dolores Loker of Vicksburg.  She was preceded in death by brothers, Arthur, Frederick, William, and Pete Denney; and by sisters Alma Guthrie, Doris Denney, Mary Denney, and Bertha Smith. Elwin was preceded in death by a sister, Lucille Pierson, and a brother, Lee Jay Holtz. Condolences may be shared at eickhofffuneralhome.com

Myra Jackson, 72, was born on May 25, 1947. Myra passed away peacefully on February 7. Possessing a passion for working with children, especially those with special needs, Myra dreamed of becoming a teacher. Upon graduating from Western Michigan University, she taught at Waylee School from 1970-1975. After raising her daughter and son and many years of substitute teaching, she returned to the classroom at Climax-Scotts Elementary school from 1987 until her retirement in 2007, when she was named Teacher of the Year. Her students were her joy and kept her feeling young. She believed in each one and desired that her students learn important life lessons even more than academic ones in order to make a positive impact in the world. She was a long-time member of Lakeland Reformed Church in Vicksburg, volunteering for the library, nursery, and Sunday School for decades. Myra was an inspiration to everyone. Her struggles with multiple sclerosis, her defeat of breast cancer, and her fight against lung cancer taught us how important determination, ingenuity, and an abundant amount of spunk are to overcoming the disappointments and challenges life brings. Myra is survived by her husband, Len Jackson; her children Jon (Sherry) Erickson, Tina (Derek) Vande Slunt, and Jeffrey (Jennifer) Jackson; grandchildren Noah, Micah, Jenna, Payton, and Blake; siblings Judith (Alfred) Hoffmann, Kenneth (Joann) Swieringa, and Roger (Betty) Swieringa: as well as many nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews whom she dearly loved. Cremation has taken place. Visit her page at avinkcremation.com.

Wayne C. Kucks, Vicksburg, passed away Feb. 15. Wayne was born December 8, 1928 in Detroit, the son of Karl Hein and Eliza Kucks. He served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War. Wayne worked for more than 39 years with Durametallic, retiring in 1987 as plant supervisor. He co-owned Way-Ric Metallizing and ran a home machine shop. He played guitar in the Scottsburg Hometowner Band. Wayne worshipped at St. Michael Lutheran Church, was a life member of the Vicksburg VFW Post #5189, and volunteered at the Vicksburg Historical Museum. On November 27, 1982 he was united in marriage to his wife, June (Pangburn), who survives. Also surviving are children Elizabeth (Skip) Mangold, LuAnn Kucks, Christine Kucks, Eric (Becci) Kucks, Michelle Smith-Martin, Cheri Fether; 13 grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren; brothers Edwin (Debbie) Hein, Larry (Sue) Myland; special friends, Barbara (John) Linder; and several nieces and nephews. Wayne was preceded in death by two sons, Paul H. and Ned R. Kucks; a brother, Karl, Jr; and a sister, Kathleen. Donations may go to St. Michael’s Lutheran Church Good Samaritan Fund or the Vicksburg VFW Post# 5189. Visit his page at langelands.com.

Julie Ann Middaugh, 61, Kalamazoo, passed away Feb. 17. Julie was born on October 22, 1958 in Kalamazoo. She was the daughter of Clifford and Nora (Skinner) Munn. She worked for a period of time as a certified nursing assistant for Tendercare and then for some home care businesses. Her family loved it when she made her mother’s recipe for date cookies. She enjoyed crafts and crocheting. Julie is survived by her children, Richard Middaugh of Kalamazoo, Sina (Sean) Kelly of Vicksburg, Eric (Beth) Ross of Lawton, Angela Middaugh of Vicksburg; grandchildren Grace Kelly, Nora Ross and Kylie Ross. She is also survived by siblings Mary (Douglas) Woodhams of Scotts and David Munn of Fulton; and her special dog, Crack Jack. She was preceded in death by her parents, daughter Becky Munn; and brothers John and Tom Munn. Visit her page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to Generous Hands.

Donald Arthur Rand, 85, Vicksburg, died Feb. 19. He was born on March 18th, 1934 in Melrose, Wis., the oldest of seven children born to the late Arthur and Veda (Nimmo) Rand. He grew up in the Comstock area and graduated from Comstock High School in 1953. Don served in the United States Army as a military policeman from 1956-1958. He was stationed in Fort Hood, Texas and in Hawaii. He also spent three years in the Army Reserve, attaining the rank of sergeant first class. Upon his return from service, he married his high school sweetheart, Ellen May Curtis, on October 11th, 1958. They were married for 55 years until her death in 2014. He is survived by his three children, Lori (Jim) Markus, Wendy (Don) Gillespie, Don Rand Jr.; four grandchildren; three great grandchildren; brothers Verl (Joanna) Rand, Terry (Gail) Rand, Keith (Bev) Rand and Jim Rand; sister Shirley Rand Wilbert. He was also preceded in death by his brother, Jack Rand and Jack’s wife, Bev Rand. Don worked for the Allied Paper Company for almost 20 years. He worked for H.J. Cooper and then M&M Motor Mall until his retirement. Don discovered running in his 50s and was hooked. A collector, he would carry a bag while running and pick up anything that caught his eye. His highest running achievement was completing a half marathon. Don donated 237 units (29 gallons) of blood to the American Red Cross. Don was also an active member of the Vicksburg Lions Club. Donations may go to the American Red Cross. A private ceremony will be held at a later date. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com.

Virginia Schuring, 77, Muir, formerly of Vicksburg, passed away Feb. 23. Virginia was born on December 13, 1942 in Vicksburg. She was the daughter of Ernest and Macella “Bid” (Mears) Erskine. She graduated from Vicksburg High School. On September 10, 1965, she married Robert Schuring and raised their kids in Vicksburg. In 1995, they moved to Muir. Virginia is survived by her four children, Gila (Bob) D’Agostino of Vicksburg, Charlie (Jodi) Schuring of Muir, Kimberly Schuring of Vicksburg, Christine (Joe Fouth) Mottor of Florida; grandchildren Nick Schuring of Muir, Lindsey Schuring of Muir, Justin (Vanessa) Tillison of Gobles;  Mitchell (fiancée: Lindsey) Mottor of Stanton, and Tyler (Bella) Mottor of Muir; great grandchildren Allison Mottor, Dean Mottor, Mason Tillison, and Eleanor Mottor. Virginia is survived by siblings Judy (Don) Hatfield of Ohio and John Erskine of Kentucky; special aunt Midge (Skip) Engelman of Portage; sister-in-law Bonnie Erskine of Scotts; best friends Mike and Lana Seiler of Muir; and nieces Stacy Erskine, and Shelly Hirdning. She was preceded in death by her husbands, Robert Schuring and Ronald Minnis, son Greg Schuring, brother Jim Erskine and her parents.

Phyllis Jean Simmons, 88, Climax, passed away Feb. 1. Phyllis was born May 23, 1931 on the family farm in Climax. She was the daughter of Sherry and Alma (Staffen) Baughman. She graduated from Climax High School in 1949. Phyllis was a member of the Scotts Elementary Mother’s Club for 11 years, Glowing Embers Girl Scouts for 15 years, 4-H leader for 10 years, Climax American Legion, Michigan Extension Service for 25 years, volunteered at the Fort Custer Post for the mentally challenged children, for many years did an Indian demonstration at Thanksgiving for various schools, authored a book on the experiences of her husband during the Korean War, member of Climax Volunteer Road Committee, Prairie Home Historical Society, member of Lucinda Hinsdale Stone Chapter DAR and National Society of the Daughters of the Union. Phyllis was also an elected official and served as trustee on the Climax Township Board for two years and supervisor on that board for six years. She was preceded in death by her husband, John P. Simmons, in 2003. She is survived by her children, John E. (Beth) Simmons of Caledonia and Sherry Low of Climax; grandchildren John Hollan (Danielle) Simmons of Wayland, Andrew Simmons of Caledonia, Justin (Sarah) Low, of Scotts, Nathan Low of Climax; great grandchildren Ruby, Teddy, Nico, Salinger, and Gerrit. Visit her page at avinkcremation.com. Donations may go to the Prairie Home Historical Society.

Violet J. Spence, 88, of rural Vicksburg, died Feb. 23 at White Oaks Assisted Living in Lawton, surrounded by her family. She was born in Knoxville, Tenn. on June 4, 1931, the daughter of John R. and Mary O. (Crowe) Gentry. She graduated from Mendon High School with the class of 1949. She was married to John W. Spence on Dec. 16, 1949 in the West Mendon EUB Church. She directed the Youth Choir and taught Sunday School at church. Violet is survived by four children and their spouses, Mary Ellen (Steve) Houts of Three Rivers, Bob (Kathy) Spence of Mendon, Norma (Jay) Dahl of Mendon, and Jimmy (Diane) Spence of Three Rivers; grandchildren Christopher Houts, Chad (Kelly) Spence, Angie Crotser, Cory (Cindy) Munn, Kandi (Troy) Torres, Travis (Cassidy) Munn, Karlie (TJ) Clark, and Kendra (Lane) Duell; 18 great-grandchildren; sisters Bessie Jones of South Bend, Mary Patterson of Lansing, and Sharon (Sam) Rial of Colon; brothers Doug (Pat) Gentry of Battle Creek and Terry Gentry of Kalamazoo; several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, John; daughter, Sandra; sister, Althea Gentry; and brothers Robert “Sonny” Gentry, and Ronald Gentry. Donations may go to either Grace Hospice or the Alzheimer’s Association. Visit her page at eickhofffuneralhome.com.

Leona “Elaine” Stephens, 76, Vicksburg, passed away Feb. 5. Elaine was born on March 11, 1943 in Sault Ste Marie. She was the daughter of Clifford and Leona Belle (Riley) Niskala. On September 8, 1959, she married her first husband, Ernest Bruseau in Newberry and had three children. On August 26, 1992 in Gatlinburg, Tenn., she married Gary Stephens. Prior to retiring, she worked as a department assistant and assembler for EPC Manufacturing. She was a member of the Ladies Library in Schoolcraft with her mother, making crafts for the bazaar, acting in a play, making cookies and any other activity that they had. She was a Girl Scout leader for many years and enjoyed every part of it. She was the keeper of the family history for many generations and loved to share this with others. Elaine loved going to zoos, camping and going back to her roots by visiting the Upper Peninsula. Elaine will be cremated, and the family will have a gathering at a later date. She is survived by her husband of 27 years, Gary Stephens; children Greg (Linda) Bruseau of Virginia and Teresa (David) DeYoung of Mattawan; grandchildren Derek (Haley) Bruseau of Montana and Kyle DeYoung of Kalamazoo. She is also survived by siblings DeLoryce Niskala-Bigrow of Kalamazoo, John Niskala of Allegan and Linda Niskala of Kalamazoo; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Ernest, her brother, Clifford and her daughter, Brenda (deceased prenatal). Visit Elaine’s page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to the American Lung Association.

Obituaries

Florence Evelyn Belden, 92, Vicksburg, died Dec. 10. Florence was born February 9, 1927 in Manchester, Tenn., the daughter of Elmer and Mary (Frizzel) Reynolds. After marrying her adoring husband, Milford, in 1951, the family settled in Vicksburg. The small town suited her well as Florence never learned to drive or even ride a bicycle. She enjoyed playing Bunco, bowling, and making an endless amount of popcorn balls for trick-or-treaters. Perhaps nothing brought her more pleasure than cooking and baking all sorts of yummy delights for her family. Florence was preceded in death by her husband; siblings Nola Thomas, Allene Ferrell, George Reynolds, and Beverly Lloyd. Surviving are her children, Gary (Linda) Belden, Duane (Bonnie) Belden, Jack Belden, Paul (Pat) Belden, Carl Belden, Delores Germain and Denise (George) Esman; 18 grandchildren; several great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. Visit her page at BetzlerLifeStory.com. Donations may go to Fulton Christian Church or Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.

William Robert (Bill) Cohrs, formerly of Vicksburg, died Jan. 21. His warm smile, gentle nature, steady temperament and dry sense of humor were appreciated by all who knew him. Bill was born in Vicksburg, on February 8, 1950 to Fred Robert and Maxine Muir Cohrs. Bill loved sports at an early age and was a star athlete at Vicksburg High School, where he excelled in basketball, football and track and field. Prior to his graduation in 1968, he set a state record in the high jump. Bill earned his undergraduate degree as well as a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Michigan State University. He was a forward for the Spartans basketball team and held a life-long sports allegiance for his alma mater. Bill went on to earn his juris doctor degree from the University of Virginia in 1980. Bill enjoyed a highly successful professional life as a trademark and copyright attorney which began in Atlanta with the firm of Hurt, Richardson, Garner, Todd & Cadenhead. After six years with King & Spalding, Bill spent the majority (and remainder) of his career with Exxon-Mobile at its world headquarters in Irving, Texas. The international nature of his responsibilities afforded Bill an opportunity to visit many parts of the world. He retired after 22 years with Exxon in June, 2012. Bill met the love of his life, Susan Blakemore, when they were employed by the same firm in Atlanta. They married on June 20, 1981. They moved to Coppell, Texas in 2005 and grew to love the community and its people. Bill and Susan were both “doers” and actively contributed to various community organizations as well as their church. Bill was an election judge since 2012, a member of the Coppell Republican Club, where he most recently served as treasurer, and attended the Coppell Citizens Police Academy. As member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Bill served in varied capacities including the coordination of clean-up efforts for those affected by tornadoes in Canton, Texas, and Hurricane Harvey in Houston. Bill was predeceased by his parents, Fred (97) and Maxine (94). He is survived by his wife; sons David, Matthew and Luke; grandchildren Thomas Beach, Genevieve Fonov, Darby Adams, Timothy Adams, Gary Adams and Grace Olivia Adams); great-grandchild Luka Fonov; and siblings Fred, Dan, Maryann Cohrs Weaver, Nancy and Tim. Donations may go to the Salvation Army.

Dorothy Dailey, 81, Vicksburg, passed away Jan. 20. Dorothy was born on October 2, 1938, to Isaac and Mary (Parsons) Dubbeld. Dorothy’s family includes her children, Loren (Krista) Dailey, Sharon Alstrom and Daniel Dailey; siblings Alice, Mary, Bonnie, Suzy, Jim, Richard, Daniel and Ronald as well as several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, Laverne, and siblings Walter, Betty and Donna. Dorothy enjoyed cooking and taking care of her flower garden and was an avid birdwatcher. Visit her page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to the American Diabetes Association.

Del “Dean” Forsythe, 84, Vicksburg, passed away Jan. 8. He was born in Jerome, Iowa on November 22, 1935. Del provided for his family through his work as a tool and die supervisor at GM. With wife Myrna at his side, Del created a home rooted in honesty. In 1966, Del transferred to Kalamazoo, and the family settled in Vicksburg. In 1967, they joined Vicksburg United Methodist Church. Del was an active member of the local Fraternal Order of Eagles and the Loyal Order of Moose. He also worked with the Vicksburg Ambulance Service. Upon retiring from GM after 37 ½ years of loyal service, he and Myrna got to travel. He is survived by his wife of 64 years; sons Dennis Lee (Kathleen) Forsythe, of Vicksburg and Douglas Eugene Forsythe, of Vicksburg; grandchildren Nicole Lee Rayburn, of Tennessee; Amanda Marian (Matthew) Nixon, of Michigan; Elizabeth Anne (George) Palat, of Arizona; Andrew Dennis Forsythe, of Michigan; great-grandchildren Tyler James Deau, Morgan Lee Rayburn, Allyson Nicole Rayburn, Caleb Nixon, and Chloe Nixon. He is also survived by a brother, Charles (Kay) Dooley, of Iowa; a daughter-in-law, Gloria Forsythe, of Kalamazoo; sisters-in-law Paulita Forsythe and Sharon Wynn; and several nieces, nephews and cousins. Del was preceded in death by sons Allan Dean Forsythe and a baby boy; brothers Dennis Dooley and Earl Dooley; brothers-in-law Kelly Wynn and Gary Travis; and sister-in-law Joyce Wynn Travis. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to Vicksburg United Methodist Church and Rose Arbor.

Michael D. Hadley, 71, Vicksburg, passed away Jan. 15. He was born to Dr. Alonzo L. Hadley and Hattie Evelyn Cunningham in Williamsport, Ind. on October 3, 1948. He and his wife, Judy, graduated from WMU in 1971 with teaching degrees. They moved to Vicksburg in 1972, where Mike had been hired to teach 8th grade general science and 7th grade math at the Junior High. He stayed for 31 years, retiring in 2003. He was science department chair for 20 years. He completed his master’s degree in middle school education in 1979. After retirement, he spent eight years as a part time instructor in the WMU working with intern teachers. Mike was recognized as a “Significant Educator” twice by a graduating VHS senior and appeared in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers four times. He was Vicksburg’s Teacher of the Year in 1996. He played the trombone for many years in the Kalamazoo Concert Band and for students in the hallways on special occasions. Mike was diagnosed with prostate cancer in December of 2009 and spent all the time from then to his death fighting this disease. He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Judy, and his daughter, Sarah (Marvin) Taylor. Michael was preceded in death by his parents. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to Judy Hadley for an endowment scholarship fund being set up at Southwestern Michigan College.

George W. Hodgman, Sr., 84, Vicksburg, passed away Jan. 16. George was born on October 14, 1935 in Kalamazoo. He was the son of Albert and Ruth (Kaiser) Hodgman. On February 14, 1959, he married the love of his life, Margie Keyes. He was selfless, caring, and a handy craftsman. George worked for the Vicksburg Department of Public Works for over 35 years. He enjoyed horses and racing stock cars. George is survived by his wife of 60 years; children George (Carolyn) Hodgman, Jr. of Florida and Ruth Polmanteer of Vicksburg; four grandchildren and six great grandchildren. He is also survived by his siblings, John (Jackie) Hodgman, of Vicksburg and Claudia Burgess, of Vicksburg and his mother-in-law, Veronica Keyes, of Portage; and several nieces and nephews. According to George’s wishes, he has been cremated. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.

Yoko (Sato) Lewis, 90, Portage, formerly of Vicksburg, died Dec. 21. Yoko was a descendent of the Samurai Tadanobu Sato, an elite warrior of the 12th Century (1180) and commander to the very first shogun, a feudal warlord. Born in Kobe, Japan on February 22, 1929, Yoko came to the US as a Japanese war bride. She met and fell in love with a U.S. Army medic, Cpl. Lawrence R. Lewis of Vicksburg, during the Korean conflict. They were married for 27 years and then divorced; he survives her. Yoko leaves to cherish her memory a daughter by that marriage, Linda Hartley (Daniel). Yoko was preceded in death by her infant child, Carol Lewis (4 days old), her parents, and seven older brothers and two older sisters. Other survivors include nieces and nephews of the Lewis and Maskus families. A magnet to children and animals alike, Yoko flitted through life like a butterfly. Donations may go to National Alliance on Mental Illness. Cremation has taken place. A graveside memorial will be announced this spring. Visit her page at langelands.com. Mail expressions of sympathy to 7709 Innisbrook Dr, Portage, MI 49024.

Nancy I. Mikle, 79, Vicksburg, passed away Jan. 27. Nancy was born on March 24, 1940 in Bronson, the daughter of Omer and Ruby Sanders. On January 12, 1957, she was married to the love of her life, Donald Mikle. She enjoyed crocheting and when she was younger, bowling in leagues. But most important to her was her family. She is described by her family as loving, amazing, kind and selfless. She was preceded in death by her son,Donald, Jr; daughter, Deborah; parents and sister Barbara Rantz. She is survived by her husband of 63 years, Donald; sons Dan and David Mikle, both of Vicksburg; three grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren. She is also survived by her sister, Jane Cartwright, of Allegan and numerous nieces and nephews. Visit her page at avinkcremation.com.

Sally Miller, 72, Vicksburg, passed away Jan. 24, peacefully surrounded by family. Sally was born October 9, 1947 to Albert and Erma Herwick. Sally worked for Upjohn for 34-plus years in many capacities. Sally is known for her love of bowling, fishing on her trips to the Florida Keys, and spending time at the cabin in Bitely, Mich. Sally is survived by her husband, Bill Miller; children Rich (Linfang) Pearson and Laurie Pearson; grandchildren Dustin Pearson, Joshua Cranmore, Raieen Pearson, and Raisen Pearson; siblings Phil (Pam) Herwick, Roger (Jean) Herwick and Nancy Cole; sisters-in-law Sharon (Bob) Allison, Sandy Dewar and Scott Seekman; a cousin, Bev Herwick; and many nieces and nephews. Sally was preceded in death by her parents and a cousin, Jerry. Cremation has taken place per Sally’s wishes. Visit her page at mccowensecord.com.

Robert S. “Bob” Munn, 71, Vicksburg, died Jan. 21, at home following a long illness. He was born in Strauburg, Germany on Aug. 4, 1948, the son of the late Stanley J. and Margarete Ann (Selonke) Munn. After graduation from Vicksburg High School with the class of 1966, Bob joined the U.S. Army and served in Vietnam, where he was awarded several combat medals. Upon returning home, he worked briefly at the Kalamazoo Post Office. He was the coordinator of the warehouse for Simpson Lee Paper Company for most of his working life, and for the last 15 years at Upjohn Pharmacia. Bob’s hobbies included metal detecting, woodcutting and attending stock car races. He especially looked forward to trail riding and vacations up north. He was a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Bob was married to Theresa Ann Waldron in Las Vegas on Aug. 18, 1998. She survives along with sons Randy (Gina) Munn of Mattawan and Andy (Chaundra Hart) Munn of Plainwell; a daughter, Dawn (Jack) Waldron; stepchildren Melissa (Doug) Vrba of Mattawan, Tabitha Sehy of South Haven, and Matthew (Kelley) Sehy of Independence, Ky; grandchildren, Dustin, Joseph, Lauren, Madison, Jacob, Danielle, Ethan, Tyler, Bryce, Graham, Sophia, Addison, Dylan, and Nick; great-grandchildren Aryia, Aniyah, and Emma Jay; a sister, Jane Crist of Vicksburg; brother, Jim (Sheri) Munn of Mendon; and nieces and nephews. Donations may go to the Wounded Warrior Project. Visit his page at eickhofffuneralhome.com.

Grace Rayman, Vicksburg, passed away peacefully Jan. 9, surrounded by family. Grace was born December 2, 1923 to C.B. and Grace (Mendenhall) Patty. Grace is survived by her daughters, Barbara Townsend, Diane Ford and Joyce (Dave) Alling, grandchildren Jon Townsend, Jill Townsend Palmer, Brian Ford, Stephanie Ford, Justin Weinberg and Julie Weinberg; great grandchildren Hayden Palmer, Hannah Palmer, Blake Ford, Brandon Ford, Brielle Ford, Ava Weinberg, Madelyn Grubaugh and Luther Rice. Grace was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Douglas Rayman, and her sister, Virginia Patty. Visit her page at avinkcremation.com.

Norma Jean Schmidt, 72, Portage, formerly of Schoolcraft, passed away Jan. 24. Norma was the daughter of John and Helen Schmidt. She was a member of the Schoolcraft High School class of 1965. She later retired from the United States Postal Service. She loved to go on drives, visiting family and friends, and hunting for mushrooms. She was active in helping with her class reunions and monthly lunches with her retiree friends. She volunteered with Loaves and Fishes and the Kalamazoo Senior Center, driving seniors to get groceries and doctor appointments. Norma is survived by her sisters, Joan Stiver and Linda (David) Krum, nieces and nephews Debbie Stiver-King, Jeff (Kathy) Stiver, Darcy (Eric) Krum-Bolles, Denise Krum, Dean (Ashley) Krum, Mike (Sandy) Fitzstephens, Daniel Fitzstephens, Timothy Fitzstephens, David Fitzstephens, Scott Fitzstephens and Melinda (Rob) Schmidt-Blahl and many great nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, brother Bernard, sister Joyce Fitzstephens; and brother-in-law Harold (Bob) Stiver, and sister-in-law Thelma Schmidt. Visit her page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes, and Kalamazoo Senior Services.

Christine Mary Sehy, 57, Kalamazoo, formerly of Scotts, passed away peacefully Jan. 18. She was born March 13, 1962. Christine was diagnosed at birth with Down syndrome. Special Olympics were a big part of Christine’s life. She won a gold medal in the frisbee throw and several ribbons in other events. Bowling was a favorite of hers and if they gave medals for the slowest-rolling bowling ball, Christine would have had another gold! Christine was baptized into the Catholic faith, was confirmedm and continued to worship in Friendship class. The last 26 years of Christine’s life were spent with her sister Helen, who loved her dearly. Christine was preceded in death by her parents, Leonard and Esther (Commissaris) Sehy and a brother, Andrew Sehy. She is survived by her siblings, William (Jean McNett) Sehy, Schoolcraft; Mary (Bruce) Bowersox, Alabama; Eleanor (Bruce) Firlik, Wayland; Edward (Susan Hitzman) Sehy, Scotts; Margaret (Jack) Cesar, Alabama; Marie (David) Hartman, Walhalla and Arizona; Paul (Dorothy Hitzman) Sehy, Ohio; Frances Goebel, Kalamazoo; Anna (Fred) Cagney, Florida; Joan (Mike) Kowalski, Rudyard; Henry (Anne Shekleton) Sehy, Vicksburg; Helen (Dave) Kidder, Plainwell; Patricia (Jim) Hathaway, Holland; Thomas (Theresa Carra) Sehy, Sturgis; Katherine Johnson, Ohio. Visit her page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan and Adult Down Syndrome Center, or an organization of your choice.

Taylor Alan VanSchoick, 29, Kalamazoo, passed away surrounded by family Jan. 18. Taylor was born on October 10, 1990 in Kalamazoo. He was the son of Jerry and Patsy (Evensen) VanSchoick. Taylor graduated from Vicksburg High School in 2009. After high school he completed his paramedic courses and graduated from the Fire Academy to become a firefighter with South Kalamazoo County Fire Authority. After five years of service at PrideCare EMS, Taylor started working on diesel engines. He moved to Lisle, Ill. and attended Universal Technical Institute to become a diesel technician. Taylor was most recently employed at Freightliner of Kalamazoo. Taylor loved playing golf with his family, and working on his home. He also enjoyed snowmobiling and camping. He was a Detroit sports fan and loved following the Tigers and Wolverines. Most important to him was following the sports that his brother Mitch played. Taylor battled health issues with bravery and with a positive attitude right up to the final hour. Taylor is survived by his parents, Jerry and Patsy VanSchoick, of Scotts; a brother, Mitch VanSchoick, of Kalamazoo; grandparents Carol Davison, of Vicksburg and Kenneth and Letha Evensen, of Vicksburg; aunts and uncles Peggy and Todd LaPorte, of Scotts; Laura and Bill Sandahl, of Scotts; Jon and Gerri VanSchoick, of Marcellus; and Jim VanSchoick, of Grandville. He is also survived by his cousins, Kelli and Phil Campbell, Kimberly VanSchoick, Steven VanSchoick, Sarah VanSchoick, Tyler Sandahl, Kelsey Sandahl, Alex LaPorte, Aaron LaPorte and Reese Taylor Campbell; and his special golden retriever, Cal. He was preceded in death by his grandfather, Dick VanSchoick. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to Make A Wish.

Michael Charles Waldron, 64, Vicksburg, passed away peacefully at Glenn Arbor Hospice. He is survived by his wife of 24 years, Jacque Waldron, and his two children, Michael J. Waldron and Amanda Raifsnider-Waldron. In addition, he is survived by his siblings, Diana (Alan) VanOrnam, Christina (Randy) Mohney, and Steve (Kathy) Waldron, and many nieces and nephews.

Obituaries

James Knepp Bell, 78, Schoolcraft, passed away Nov. 30. James was the son of Ramsay and Virginia (Knepp) Bell. He was born on November 3, 1941 in Washington, D.C. James graduated from Schoolcraft High School in 1959. After high school, he attended Michigan State University for a short time, before coming home to work. His family described him as independent, a creative thinker, unconventional, having a business mind, and a naturalist. In the 80’s, his family owned Bell’s Family Restaurant in Schoolcraft. He also owned Bell Real Estate and worked in his later years at Harding’s in Schoolcraft. Jim was a proud lifetime member of the Schoolcraft Lions Club. His hobbies included bow hunting and bowling. He enjoyed a good poker game. James is survived by his four children, James (Maureen) Bell, of Portage; Shane (Donna) Bell, of Florida; Tim (Sonja) Bell, of Louisiana; and Tamara (Don) Trudeau, of Nevada; 11 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother, Jeff (Vicki) Bell, of Schoolcraft. Visit James’ page at avinkcremation.com. Donations may go to the Schoolcraft Lions Club.

Lyle G. Brockway, 95, Grand Rapids, formerly of Vicksburg, passed away January 1. Lyle was born in Brady Township on April 15, 1924 to Omar and Ines (Stevens) Brockway. He graduated from Vicksburg High School in 1942 and attended Michigan State University until enlisting in the Army Air Corps. He was the recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross with three oak leaf clusters for flying thirty-five missions in B-17s over Europe during WWII. After the war, he married Maria Marian Dalman on July 5, 1947 in Vicksburg. Lyle was employed at Consumers Power Company for 37 years, rising to district superintendent in the Cadillac area before his retirement. Lyle and Maria had four children. He enjoyed many activities over the years, playing bridge, gardening, doing crosswords, caning chairs, square dancing, while always being an active member of the Vicksburg EUB and United Methodist Churches wherever he lived. He loved his time with his grandchildren and taught them all how to play cribbage. He served on the Brady Township Board as a trustee, United Way board in Manistee, taught Sunday school, and was a member and director of the American Contract Bridge Club. Lyle was preceded in death by his first wife, Maria in 1991; his parents; sisters Donna Kunselman, Margaret Harriger, Mary Brown; a brother, Donald Brockway; and a son, Michael Brockway. He is survived by his second wife, Roberta DeRoos; a sister, Bea Ross; children Ken (Barb) Brockway, Robert (MaryAnn) Brockway, Ann (Scott) Robare; a daughter-in-law, Fran Brockway; 10 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren. A funeral service for Lyle will be held on Saturday, January 11, at 11 a.m. at the McCowen-Secord Funeral Home, Rupert-Durham Chapel, Vicksburg. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service beginning at 10 a.m. Visit Lyle’s page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to the Red Bird Mission.

Jerrold “Jerry” L. Dailey, 80, Scotts, passed away Dec. 16. Jerry was born on March 21, 1939 in Vicksburg. He was the son of George and Imogene (Randall) Dailey. He graduated from the Vicksburg High School Class of 1957. On March 25, 1978, he married Marilee. He is survived by his wife; son Chad (Brooke) Dailey, of Schoolcraft; stepson Scott (fiancé Tomi Jo) Shrauger, of Jenison; grandchildren Jordan, Hunter, Paige, Brenna, Joey, and Carli. He is also survived by his sister-in-law: Louanne (Bob) Heemstra, of Kalamazoo and daughter-in-law Dawn Dailey, of Schoolcraft. He was preceded in death by his son, Scot Dailey. Visit Jerry’s page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to Lord of Life Lutheran Church and the Vicksburg Lions Club.

Bradley Jacob Dow, 22, Kalamazoo, passed away December 10. He was born January 31, 1997 in Norwich, Conn., the son of Bruce and Rachel (Smith) Dow. He graduated from Vicksburg High School in 2015, where he was a member of the Big Red Machine marching band. He was an avid musician, playing the trombone and drums. Bradley is survived by his parents, Bruce and Rachel of Scotts; brother Bruce (Donielle) Dow and their children, Jessica and Isaac of Comstock, and sister Meagan (Joseph) Stiver and their daughter, Addison, of Vicksburg. He also leaves his paternal grandparents Ronald and Bette Dow of Las Vegas. He is also survived by his girlfriend, Taylor Freemire, and dog, Remington Prince. Donations may go to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention or to his GoFundMe to help offset expenses.

James S. Huntington, 67, Vicksburg, passed away peacefully December 6. James was born on July 20, 1952 in Kalamazoo. He was the son of Paul and Margaret (Hartman) Huntington. He graduated from Vicksburg High School in 1970. On December 18, 1976 he married Sheran Skipper in Missouri. James worked at Simpson Paper mill until it closed. James is survived by his children, Elizabeth Huntington of Vicksburg, Marcia Skipper of Vicksburg; Pamela (Dale) Mentor of Portage and Ronald Skipper of Comstock; 19 grandchildren; great grandchildren and his siblings, Robert (Jodi) Huntington of Scotts and Steven (Brenda) Huntington. He was preceded in death by his parents and siblings Pat and Larry. Visit James’ page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to Generous Hands.

Philip B. Maneikis, Schoolcraft, passed away December 25. He was born on November 14, 1944 to Victor and Margaret (Hammond) Maneikis. He married Cynthia M. Hull on July 30, 1966. They were married 38 terrific years and raised four wonderful Christian daughters. Phil retired from KVCC after teaching engineering manufacturing for 33 years. He also farmed 350 acres in Schoolcraft for over 40 years. He was a member of Lawton Evangelical (Mennonite) Church. Phil was passionate about helping those in need in devastated areas through Mennonite Disaster Service. He rebuilt and repaired homes for 2-3 months every year for 20 years. After Cyndi passed in 2003, he married Kathleen (DeForest) Schelb. Their combined family included daughters Tiffany Priest, Michelle (Jeff) Stahl, Jennifer (Scott) VanZanten, Melissa Chandler, and Jennifer Schelb. They also had 12 grandchildren and 2 great grandsons. Phil was predeceased by his brother, Dennis. In addition to the above family members, he is survived by his brother, Stanley. Visit Phil’s page at BetzlerLifeStory.com. Donations may go to Leukemia And Lymphoma Society or Lawton Evangelical Church to be used for missions.

William “Jim” Miller II, 68, passed away at his home December 22. Jim was born in Kalamazoo, on February 8, 1951 to the late William J. Miller “Bill” and Irene (Kramer) Miller. He was raised in Portage with his brother, Robert Jay Miller. After graduating from Portage Northern High School, Jim went on to Ferris State University. He later moved on to a career at the Upjohn Company (Pfizer) that spanned more than 37 years. Jim loved the people he worked with and enjoyed reminiscing with old friends and co-workers at the monthly retirement breakfasts. Jim loved sports! He enjoyed bowling and playing adult hockey as a goalie. One of his greatest passions was coaching and playing for the Upjohn slow pitch softball team, “Freak Bros.” He was proud of his friendship with the late Galesburg-Augusta Hall of Fame High School Football coach, Bill Maskill, and loved sharing stories of their friendship over the years. They enjoyed sharing breakfast three days a week for the last 10 years. Jim is survived by his son, William “Willie” Miller, of Schoolcraft, a brother; Robert (Tammy) Miller; grandchildren William “Jimmy” Miller IV and Mackenzie Fay Miller, a nephew, Bobby Miller, and niece, Andrea Miller. Visit his page at avinkcremation.com.

Josie Taylor-B Neel, 1, Vicksburg, passed away from complications with her heart December 7. She was born to JT Neel and Megan Oswalt on November 27, 2018. Within forty-eight hours of her birth, Josie underwent surgery to repair her congenital heart defect, truncus arteriosus. Josie enjoyed playing with her cousins, having her mom read and sing to her, and playing with her special baby dolls. She often loved to stare out the window looking for deer with her dad. There is no doubt that Josie Neel was a bright light in the lives of many. Her infectious smile could light up any room. Born slightly premature, she made up for her small stature in her larger-than-life personality. Josie is survived by her parents, JT Neel and Megan Oswalt, of Vicksburg; grandparents Shane and Heidi Neel of Vicksburg and Dan and Kelly Oswalt of Vicksburg; great grandparents Bonnie Oswalt, of Vicksburg; Kathy Lange, of Vicksburg; and Gary Neel, of Alabama; great-great-grandmother Darlene Cain, of South Haven. She is also survived by her aunts and uncles, Emily and Andy Foster, of Vicksburg; Derek and Katie Debiak, of Vicksburg; Justin and Morgan, of Otsego; and Wyatt Neel, of Vicksburg; special cousins Grady, Addy, Braelyn, Brynlee, and Easton. She was preceded in death by her great grandparents, Gordon Oswalt, Edwin and Ruth Martin, and Vivian Schroeder. Visit Josie’s page at mccowensecord.com. Donation checks be made payable in one of the parent’s names for a future memorial fund that will be set up in Josie’s name.

Phillip M. Stewart, 83, formerly of Vicksburg, passed away Nov. 29 in Bradenton, Florida. He was born to John and Ruth Stewart in Kalamazoo on November 26, 1936, the oldest of five children. Phillip attended WMU, where he obtained bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and physics. Phill co-founded Triple S Plastics in Kalamazoo, then moved it to Vicksburg. In addition, he founded Beacon Tool and Engineering. He was an inventor and held seven U.S. patents. In 1987, he moved to Sarasota, Florida. In 1988 Phill cofounded Stewart Industrial Supply in Bradenton with his brother, Dave Stewart, formerly of Vicksburg. He entered the teaching field by substituting at Sarasota Military Academy and IMG Academy. Phillip was preceded in death by his parents, his brother, Jack Stewart, and his daughter, Sandra Baus. He is survived by his wife, Esther, his children Tammy Stewart, Teresa Vaal, Phillip Andrew Stewart and Diana Schau. He is also survived by his brothers, Dave Stewart and Bill Stewart, and his sister, Jeanne Qualls. Phillip had eight grandchildren, three great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. Donations may go to the Melanoma Research Fund at U of M. Checks may be made payable to U of M and sent to the Michigan Medicine Office of Development. You may also call 734-764-6777 or visit the website victors.us/philstewart to make your gift. You may also donate to Tidewell Hospice.

Hisko Timmermans, 72, Vicksburg, passed away November 30. On February 17, 1947, Hisko was born to Gerrit and Zwaantje (Hulsing) Timmermans in Groningen, Netherlands. His family immigrated to the United States in 1956. He graduated with the class of 1965 from Portage High. Hisko received his bachelor’s degree in education from WMU. He enlisted in the United States Army and served stateside. He remained in the reserves until 1976. Hisko worked for his father at Timmermans Plumbing and Heating, a family business. Following in his father’s footsteps, he later started his own business, Hisko Timmermans Plumbing Company and finished his plumbing career at Mall City Mechanical. Hisko was also actively involved in the Vicksburg community. Hisko enjoyed playing the guitar and singing in a local beach band. Hisko enjoyed a wide variety of sports. He was known to officiate the AYSO soccer games in Paw Paw as well as play on an adult league at the SoccerZone in Portage. He also played golf, ran in local races, and was a regular member of a spinning class at the Bronson Athletic Club. Hisko was married in 1969 to his first wife Diane (Karen) and together they raised three wonderful children; Kristi, Josh, and Matt. Later, he met and married his second wife, Barbara, on April 21, 1989, joining her two children, Lisa and Matt, with his three and forming their extended family. Hisko is survived by loving his wife of 30 years, Barbara; the children, Kristi (Matt) Hausler, of Petoskey; Josh (Maureen) Timmermans, of Ohio; Matt (Christina) Timmermans, of Ohio; stepchildren Lisa (Chris) Newman, of Vicksburg; Matt (Marcy) Leonard, of Arizona; 11 grandchildren; siblings Roelie (Doug) Caldwell, of Ludington and Garret (Sandra) Timmermans, of Kalamazoo; several nieces and nephews. Visit Hisko’s page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to West Michigan Cancer Center, AYSO, or Generous Hands.

Carol Woodburn, Schoolcraft, passed away peacefully December 4. Carol was born to Herbert and Marie Beischl on July 2, 1936. She is survived by her children, William (Sue Vanlaten) Woodburn, Chris Asher, Ross Woodburn, Robert (Michelle) Woodburn Jr. and Keith (Jackie) Woodburn; 11 grandchildren; 14 great grandchildren; a sister, Loleta Farrow; and many nieces and nephews. Carol was also known as “grandma” to many. She was preceded in death by her husband of 45 years, Robert Woodburn Sr., parents, Herbert and Marie Beischl; siblings George, LeRoy, Alice, Mildred, Ruby and Judy. Cremation has taken place and burial will be March 13, 2020 at Schoolcraft Cemetery with a luncheon to follow at First Presbyterian Church in Schoolcraft. Visit Carol’s page at avinkcremation.com.

Obituaries

Connie Marie (Rizzo) Armstrong, 78, Vicksburg, passed away November 21. She was born January 20, 1941 in Kalamazoo, the daughter of Peter Joseph and Mary (Millek) Rizzo, and had been a lifelong resident of Kalamazoo and Vicksburg. Connie was preceded in death by her parents and her husband, Eugene Armstrong of Kalamazoo. She is survived by six children, William (Shelly)Cornell; Melody Meyer, Kalamazoo; Michelle (Robert) Myers, Texas; Connie Sanders, Gladwin, Mich; Mark Sanders, Oklahoma; Leon (Tammy) Hough, Holland, Mich.; six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. She is survived by siblings Sharon (Rick) Mahoney, Kalamazoo, Peter (Bonnie) Rizzo and MaryLynn Wilcox (Roger), both of Vicksburg. A Mass of Christian Burial took place on Wednesday, November 27 at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Kalamazoo. Please visit mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to St. Joseph Catholic Church.

Cornelia “Connie” Badham, 89, Schoolcraft, passed away November 20 in Three Rivers. Connie was born March 11, 1930 in Kalamazoo, the daughter of Sake and Ricka (Dykema) Vander Veen. She was a lifelong area resident, employed for many years with Gibson Guitar and then General Motors until her retirement in 1993. She was a member of the Schoolcraft United Methodist Church. Family was a very important part of Connie’s life. Surviving are three children, John (Audrey) Badham, Merrie Badham and Barbara Krizanic; five grandsons and several great-grandchildren. Connie was preceded in death by her daughter, Linda Reed, her parents and by all her siblings. Donations may go to Schoolcraft United Methodist Church. Please visit Connie’s personalized guestbook at langelands.com.

Donald George Braymer, 98, Vicksburg, passed away Oct. 31. He passed quietly of cumulative heart congestion with little pain and loving family members at his side. Don was born in Kalamazoo on May 5th, 1921 to George and Nelli Braymer. Don and his wife, Betty, lived the past 32 years on Sunset Lake in Vicksburg and resided the previous 28 years on Gourdneck Lake in Portage. They were married on August 8th, 1945 and were inseparable for nearly 74 years. Don was a loving husband and father, a friendly neighbor and was always willing to lend his considerable expertise to friends and strangers in need. Don grew up in the Kalamazoo area and joined the U.S. Navy shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor that brought the U.S. into World War II. Don spent time training at the Great Lakes Naval Station in Illinois and in St. Louis, Mo., where he met the love of his life, Betty Jane Zausch. During World War II, Don served his country in the Pacific Theater as a naval airplane mechanic and saw action on several pivotal islands including Guadalcanal. After the war, Don returned to the States, married Betty, moved back to Kalamazoo and began a long career at the Upjohn Pharmaceutical Company from which he retired in 1976. Don started in the mail room and worked his way up to become the head of the photography department. During his stay in the photography department, Don produced motion pictures for Upjohn. His team won recognition for several medical documentaries. Don and Betty belonged to a singing and performance group that visited the elderly for years until health issues prevented their participation. They were longstanding members of the First Congregational Church of Kalamazoo and regularly attended services there over the years. Don was preceded in death by Betty, who passed away this spring. They had four children: Don Jr. (Carol) Braymer, David (Kate) Braymer, Kathy (Charlie) MacDonald and Bill (Susan) Braymer. David Braymer preceded Don in death as he passed away 13 years ago. Don is survived by 13 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren. Visit his page at langelands.com.

Joyce Elaine Henderson, passed away peacefully on November 13 at Rose Arbor Hospice. Joyce was the daughter of Robert and Pearl (Rose) Nichols. She was born on August 10, 1936. Growing up, her parents owned the grocery store in Scotts. She married Jean Blodgett and together they had four children: Jeanine, Lori, Tracy and Brian. Soon after Brian was born, doctors discovered that Jean had a brain tumor. He passed away when all the kids were young. She worked many jobs to keep food on the table and provide for her children. Her favorite job was working at the greenhouses in Comstock. When Joyce met William Henderson, it wasn’t long before they were married. They enjoyed traveling together and fishing trips with friends. They purchased a travel trailer, as they both loved to camp, especially at Blue Lake in Climax. A lot of the Henderson family and friends gathered there. They called it “Hendersonville.” Joyce was a pretty happy person who only regretted one thing in her life – quitting school in 10th grade. She always said that she wanted to get her diploma, so she eventually went back and obtained her GED and graduated on the honor roll with all A’s and B’s and the highest grade in her class. Joyce is survived by her husband, William Henderson, and her four children, Jeanine (Al) Peake, Lori (Mark) Mastenbrook, Tracy (Ed) Blodgett, and Brian (Michelle) Blodgett. She leaves behind two step-grandchildren, Chris (Jim) Faas, Sarah (Dale) Olmstead and eight grandchildren, Samantha, Amanda, Brittany, Amber, Jamie, Trevor, Alecia and Abigail. She has one sister, Donna Gray. Donations may go to Rose Arbor Hospice.

Carole Locey, Vicksburg, passed away November 15. She was born on October 27, 1939 to Daniel Sr. and Donna (Saye) Conway. She contracted polio as a young girl and the experience contributed to Carole’s strength and resilience for the rest of her life. Carole will be forever remembered by her children, Ellen Fillingham and David Locey; a granddaughter, Autumn Locey; brother, Daniel Conway, Jr.; niece, Kelly (Rich) Stack; nephews Scott (Stephanie), Christopher (Laura) and Brian (Jacqueline) Conway, and their children. Carole was preceded in death by her parents and her sister-in-law, Patricia Conway. Visit her page at BetzlerLifeStory.com. Donations may go to Kalamazoo Community Chorale or Hackett Catholic Prep Athletics.

Mrs. Mary M. Lowe, Vicksburg, died November 20. Mary was born May 21, 1948 in Kalamazoo, the daughter of Donald and Margaret (Wolff) Phelps. She was a lifelong Kalamazoo area resident and was employed with Field’s Fabrics for over 15 years before retiring. On November 2, 1968, she was united in marriage to Ronald M. Lowe, who survives. Also surviving are a daughter, Michelle (Rob) Neville of Raleigh, N.C,; grandchildren Justin (Kasey) Lewis and Phebe Lewis and a great-granddaughter, Dakota. Donations may go to the West Michigan Cancer Center. Visit her page at langelands.com.

Patricia Jeanette Weinberg, passed away peacefully November 13. She was born to John and Doris Goldsmith on February 18, 1933 in Vicksburg. Patricia worked for the Vicksburg schools as a bus driver. She also worked in hospital administration. Patricia was preceded in death by her husband, Lyle Weinberg. Patricia is survived by her five children, Daniel and Kathy Weinberg, Patricia and Robert Parker, Michael and Debra Weinberg, Melinda and Bill Kiewiet, Matthew and Eden Weinberg, 17 grandchildren, and 23 great-grandchildren.

Rolland “Stub” J. Westfall, 98, Schoolcraft, passed away Nov. 28. He was born January 8, 1921 in Newberg Township to Leo and Lila (Jones) Westfall. He graduated from Three Rivers High School in 1940 and married Pearl Modert June 9, 1945. Rolland is survived by his wife of 74 years, Pearl; son Warren (Diane) Westfall, of Schoolcraft; daughter Janice (Jim) Altimus, of Three Rivers; grandchildren Jon Altimus, of Arkansas; Judy (Steve) Rupp, of Kalamazoo; Jeffrey (Danielle) Altimus of Arizona; and Shawn (Nicki) Westfall, of Schoolcraft; great grandchildren Emilie (Ryan) Boatright; Zacherie Altimus; Elaine Altimus, Ethan Rupp, Harrison Rupp, Faith Westfall, Keaton Westfall and great great grandchildren Miller, Kanon, and Konner Boatright. He is also survived by his brother-in-law, Hubert McDonald, of Three Rivers; nieces, and nephews. Rolland was preceded in death by his parents; sisters Evelyn (Lorraine) Rice and Lucille (Owen) Hoak; granddaughter Robin Westfall; great great granddaughters Samantha and Elizabeth. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to Kairos Dwelling, Pleasant Valley United Methodist Church, and South Kalamazoo County Fire Fighter Association.

Catherine Wurtzel, 84, Scotts, died November 15. She was born in Scotland to John and Catherine (Ellis) Friel on May 23, 1935. She came to the United States in 1957 and became the secretary to the vice president of Ford International. She met her future husband, Philip, and they were married in 1960 in Saginaw. Catherine’s family includes her children, Ann (Shawn) Gloden, Kathryn (Buck) Rauch, Philip (Darcye) Wurtzel, Steve (Angie) Wurtzel, and Ryan (Heather) Wurtzel; grandchildren Courtney, Nicole, Rebecca, Heather, Matthew, Jack, Liam, Maximus, Alexander, Madison and Mackenzie; a great-grandson, Jace; special friends Dr. Jim and Lori Stepanski, the Murray family, Paul and Mary Moscardini, Pete Noteboom and many wonderful nephews, nieces and friends. Catherine was preceded in death by her husband of 55 years; in-laws Mary (Sam) Healander, Fred Wurtzel, Alice (Frank) MacRae, Edmund (Sarah) Wurtzel, Arthur (Cile) Wurtzel, Bob (Kay) Kossak, Donald (Julie) Wurtzel, Dorothy (Joe) Murin, Joe (Patty) Wurtzel; and John (Jean) Murray – her Scottish family. Visit her page at BetzlerLifeStory.com. Donations may go to the Willis Foundation or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.