Coralee Pearl Behr, 67, Vicksburg, passed away September 14, 2021. She was born on July 24, 1954 in Lansing, the daughter of Robert and Lois (Evert) Fulton. Coralee married Daniel Behr; together they raised sons Aaron, Andrew and Adam. Daughters Lydia, Danae, and Stacey were added to her family, followed by grandchildren Lillianna, Autumn, Willow, Olivery, Gabby and Jeremiah, continually influenced and guided by Coralee and her faith. Above all else, Coralee’s faith and relationship with God was the guiding influence in her life. Those who knew her well could be confident she taught the lesson to love one another with no expectation for return. Visit her page at

William F. Brumleve, 78, Vicksburg, passed away on September 27, 2021. He was born in Louisville, Kentucky, to Frank and Leona Brumleve. He attended Trinity High School and Bellarmine College (now University) in Louisville and served in the U.S. Air Force for four years. While stationed at Empire Air Force Station in Empire, Mich., he met the love of his life, Patricia “Patt” Hittle. They were married at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Traverse City in June of 1964. In 1966, they moved to Portage, where he worked for General Motors as a steel system analyst for 38 years. Bill served on the Vicksburg Village Council and Planning Commission. He did volunteer ground work for the Vicksburg District Library. He was an active member of St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church. Bill is survived by his wife of 57 years, Patt; children Douglas (Aimee) Brumleve, of Manistee; and Theresa (Jon) Sabo, of Virginia; grandchildren Sean (Abbey) Sabo and Allison Sabo; sisters Carol (Jimmy) Neece and Margaret (Jim Ed) England, both of Kentucky; brothers-in-law Dick Hittle, of Detroit and John Hittle, of Lake Orion; and his beloved dog, Sophie. He was preceded in death by his parents and sister Jeannie Brumleve. Visit his page at Donations may go to Kairos Dwelling and St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church.

Eric L. Crawford, 41, Vicksburg, passed away at home surrounded by his family following a battle with colon cancer. Eric was born February 9, 1980, the son of Michelle “Missy” Crawford and Timothy Laboch. Eric was a 1999 Vicksburg High School graduate and grew up at Lemon Park, Indian Lake. Eric enjoyed all the typical water activities, trick skiing, and riding his wave runner. Eric played hockey and was an avid hockey fan. Eric was a member of the Low Down Custom Car Club and was proud of his 1996 Jimmy. Eric was employed at Hertz Rent-a-Car at the Kalamazoo Airport and then at JRS Rettenmaier as a material handler. Eric enjoyed restoring cars, fire trucks and military equipment with his Papa. He also enjoyed flying in his Papa’s seaplane off Indian Lake, a nightly tradition for them. He and Cindy Sherburn were married on October 1, 2005. Eric’s family includes his wife, Cindy Crawford; daughter Hayden; mother Michelle “Missy” Crawford (Armando Blanco); uncle Dean (Vivian) Crawford; his parents-in-law Vada and Dale Sherburn; grandmother-in-law Laurel Sherburn; sisters-in-law and their families Shelli (Mark) Candey and their kids Griffin (Susan), Taylor, Nicolas, Lindsey (Jim) and Tracy (Dan) Abbott and their kids Kayla, Kyle (Megan), and Nik; his special friends Dick VanLinder and Maurice and Judy Hovious. He was preceded in death by his grandparents Richard “Dick” and Shirley Crawford. Donations may go to the Colon Cancer Coalition. Visit his page at

Beverly Anne (Jones) Goldsmith passed away in Portage on September 27, 2021. Bev was born on September 16, 1933 in Boonville, Ind. to Homer (Jack) and Margaret (Davis) Jones. The small family lived in Indiana during Bev’s early years and then moved to Portage. Bev excelled in school, graduating from Portage High School in 1951, receiving her varsity letters in basketball, volleyball and tennis. Bev attended Western Michigan College (WMU), where she met John Alton Goldsmith of Vicksburg, and they were soon married. They eventually settled in Portage and started a family. John and Bev divorced a few years later, and Bev raised both her sons alone. Bev worked for many years as a paralegal for the Legal Aid Bureau of Kalamazoo County. Bev enjoyed a long life of social activities, family time and working in her gardens, and she loved spending time with her granddaughter, Jessica. Bev had many health problems the last several years of her life, but her fierce determination, fortitude and resilience never left her. Bev is survived by her granddaughter, Jessica Eleanor Goldsmith; daughter-in-law Carol (Resseguie) Goldsmith-Moore; as well as her cousins’ children. She was preceded in death by her parents; sons Chip and Kevin; cousins Robert and Gary; and other aunts and uncles. Donations in Bev’s memory may be made to Kindred Hospice. Visit her page at

Mel E. Payne, 70, Vicksburg, passed away peacefully on September 18, 2021. Mel was born on November 7, 1950, in Kalamazoo, the son of Marie (Kinser) and Clifton Payne. He was married to Coleen Payne (Campbell) on August 7, 1976. Mel joined the Salvation Army and served in the U.S. Army. He enjoyed singing and playing the guitar, was an avid bowler and fisherman, and played cribbage. Left to cherish his loving memory is his spouse of 45 years, Coleen; children Kevin (Teresa) Payne and Colette (Andy) Axe; brother Terry Payne; very special cousin Larry Warner; grandsons Josh Axe, Bryton Payne, and Kaeden Payne; in-laws Kat Campbell, Barb (John) Krueger, Jim (Terri) Campbell, and Kevin Campbell; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins as well as his canine companion, Honey. Mel was preceded in passing by parents Marie and Clifton Payne. Donations may go to Glenn Arbor Hospice of Battle Creek. Visit Mel’s page at

Ronald Roger Rhoades, 65, Schoolcraft, passed away July 30, 2021. Ronald was born in Dowagiac on February 9, 1956, the son of Clarence Nelson Rhoades and Dorothy Marie (Reish) Rhoades. On July 23, 1977, in Marcellus, he married the love of his life, Pamela Joyce Stuck, who survives him. Ronald was a foundry worker for many years, although his true passion was farming. Ronald loved spending time with his family and anything to do with the outdoors. Ronald is survived by his wife, Pamela Joyce Rhoades; daughter Amanda (Michael) Grunwell of Schoolcraft; Jason (Janice) Rhoades of Marcellus; granddaughters Kerstin and Keiauna Rhoades; siblings Sandy (Dale) Davidhizar of Jones, Don (Cindy) Rhoades of Lawton, Jeff (Lisa) Rhoades of Marcellus, Bruce Rhoades of Schoolcraft; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. Ronald was preceded in death by his parents, Clarence and Dorothy Rhoades; father-in-law Pete Stuck; and uncles Ken and Maynard Reish. Donations may go to CurePSP for the awareness, education, care and cure for Progressive Supranuclear Palsy. Visit his page at

Jennifer Rowe, 35, passed calmly in her loving family home on September 9, 2021. Jennifer was born December 26, 1985, the daughter of Scott Andrew and Mary Lynn Rowe, and grew up with her two sisters, Amanda Stone and Karrie Johnson. Jennifer graduated in 2005 from Vicksburg High School. She was a Special Olympics gold medalist and became a well-known local Michigan artist. She was a hard worker, loved music and was full of joy. She was preceded in death by her Grandma Delila, C.B. and Bertha Smith, and her great-grandmother, Mable Rowe. Jennifer is survived by her parents, her Grandma Faith, her sisters, aunts, and loving family member Amanda Conklin. Donations may go to Special Olympics – Kalamazoo County Area 16. Visit her page at

Deborah I. Shannon, 66, Schoolcraft, passed away September 9, 2021. Deb was born on June 11, 1955 to Duane and Evelyn (Yonokvitz) Soderquist. Deb is survived by her husband of 47 years, Rick; children Sarah (Mike) Zavoral, Joseph (Jolene) Shannon and Mary (Richard) Ditson; grandchildren Emily (Travis), Avery, Kaelen, Addison, Evelyn, Griffen, Gage, Garret, Grey, Aislyn and Olivia, Sophia, Evangeline and Daniel; father Duane; brothers David Soderquist and Richard Soderquist as well as several nieces and nephews. Deb was preceded in death by her mother, Evelyn, her brother, Wayne Soderquist and son Daniel. Deb was a faithful follower of Jesus. She was a loving mother and a devoted grandmother and enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren. She has bookcases full of books and would use books to minister to people. She was a charitable, humble woman who gave without expecting anything in return. Donations may go to Catholic Charities of Kalamazoo. Visit her page at

John H. Skinner II, 79, Schoolcraft, passed away August 31, 2021, with his wife and daughters by his side. John was born February 17, 1942 in Sault Saint Marie to Jean (Palmer) and John Skinner. John graduated from Newberry High School in 1960 and proudly served in the US Army from 1967 to 1969. On December 20, 1967, he married the love of his life, Jacklyn (Maile) Skinner. John is survived by his wife of 53 years, Jackie; children Amy Kweton of Libertyville, Ill., Beth (Carl) Vause of Concord, Mass., Gary and Tim Brundige, both of Three Rivers; grandchildren Maya and Emmett Kweton, Catherine and Max Vause, Erika (Randy) Gose, Staci (Bryant) Haas, and Leah (Keith) Salzman; great grandchildren Lucas and Hayden Salzman, Miles, Deakon, Areanna Gose, and Connor, Landon, Bayleigh and Brayden Haas; sister Jean (Ed) Brondyke of Newberry Mich.; and several nieces, nephews and cousins. John was preceded in death by his parents and an infant brother. Donations may go to Hospice of Southwest Michigan. Visit his page at

David Weyenberg, 74, Vicksburg, passed away on September 8, 2021. He was born April 17, 1947 in Kalamazoo, the son of Theodore and Maxine (Derhammer) Weyenberg. He graduated from Portage Northern High School. He was an amazing mechanic, and his love of cars lasted his whole life. He enjoyed traveling and was happiest when surrounded by his family. David is survived by his wife of 53 years, Edie (Gasaway) Weyenberg; children Amy (Rick) Manchester and Melinda (Steve) St. Clair; grandchildren Ethan (Gabby), Alex (Shannon), Merrick (Falco), Hannah, and Parker; bonus grandchildren Erika from Finland, Kathi from Germany, Rebecca from Germany, Simone from Germany, and Jeremy from Germany; great grandchildren Nora and twins on the way; siblings Ronald (Alice) Weyenberg, and Mary Lou (Don) Oman; sister-in-law Irma Fox ; brother-in-law Ed (Pat) Gasaway; sister-in-law Terri Gasaway; and several aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins. David was preceded in death by his parents; brother Paul Weyenberg; brothers-in-law Dale Fox and Bert Gasaway. Visit his page at

Cindy Jo (Decker) Wilson, 63, Vicksburg, passed away peacefully September 2, 2021. She was born August 10, 1958, in Vicksburg, the daughter of Carl and Elizabeth Decker. Cindy began her career as a math tutor in the 80’s at KVCC. She earned an MBA and master’s in education and retired in 2016 as a tenured professor teaching statistics and finite math. She loved her family, friends, and dachshunds. Matt and Cindy regularly went to Eldora to watch NASCAR races. She owned and operated a NASCAR store, the Checker Flag, in Vicksburg. She was preceded in death by her parents, mother-in-law Jean Wilson, and older sister Carol Plantier. She is survived by her husband of 29 years, Matthew Wilson of Vicksburg; son Joe (Heather) Glidden; grandchildren Liam and Grace Glidden of Portage; mother and father-in-law John and Linda Wilson of Vicksburg; siblings Cheri (Mike) Rogers of Tennessee, Carla (Jim) Cox of Portage, Caryn (Dan) Zonyk of Vicksburg, and brother-in-law Loyd Plantier of Vicksburg; as well as numerous nieces and nephews. Details regarding a celebration of life will be coming. Visit her page at

Joyce E. Wolthuis, 89, Schoolcraft, passed away September 12, 2021. Joyce was born in Kalamazoo on May 11, 1932, the daughter of John and Wilhelmina (Wiessner) Kroll. On May 23, 1952, she married John Wolthuis, who survives her. She worked for many years at the Upjohn Company. Joyce was an avid reader who especially liked Christian fiction. She was a devoted follower of Jesus and looked forward to worship every week at Texas Corners Bible Church, where she was a member. She was a collector of dolls and Holly Hobby figurines. Besides her husband, Joyce is survived by sons Steven (Deborah), Mark (Michele) and Timothy (Lynette) Wolthuis, all of Vicksburg; seven grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren; and countless friends. Joyce was preceded in death by her parents and an infant granddaughter. Donations may go to Kalamazoo Gospel Mission or Kindred Hospice, c/o Joldersma & Klein. Visit her page at


Karen Louise Berry, 83, Vicksburg, passed away at home surrounded by her loving family. She was born on July 27, 1938, in Ludington, the daughter of Helen Sauers. Karen graduated from Climax-Scotts High School in 1956. Following graduation, she met and married Richard Walter Berry, and together they raised their family in Vicksburg. She had a passion for the outdoors and was blessed with a green thumb. She loved to cook and spend time with her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She was preceded in her passing by her mother Helen Ault; husband Richard Berry; and brothers Gaylord Hotrum Sr. and Paul Hotrum. Left to cherish Karen’s loving memory are her children, Janice (Todd) Robinson, Richard Berry II and Sue (Tom) Forward; grandchildren Ashley (Tony) Garrod, Arrin Berry-Robinson, Olivia Berry, Alyssa Frisch and Codey Frisch; great-grandchildren Kyler Frisch and Ella Stokes; siblings Sonya Beebe and James (Renee) Hotrum; sister in-law Rosemary Hotrum; aunt “Sr. Colette” Evelyn Sauers; and many nieces and nephews. Donations may go to the family in care of Janice Robinson. Visit her page at

William (Bill) David Bowen, 84, Vicksburg, passed away August 18, 2021. He was born on April 17, 1937, in Atlanta, Michigan, to William Martin and Nellie Mary (Turppa) Bowen. Bill graduated from Pinconning High School in 1955. He married Martha Irene Hawkins on August 24, 1957, and they raised their four children in Midland. He worked at Dow Chemical and retired as a master pipefitter at age 53. Bill served as Santa Claus at the Lakeview Square Mall in Battle Creek for 17 years. He was an active member of Chapman Memorial Church of the Nazarene and was an active member of Gideons International for 55 years. Bill enjoyed gardening, servicing golf carts, and volunteering at Indian Lake Nazarene Camp. Bill will be remembered for his loving and giving personality. He was preceded in his passing by his daughter-in-law, Kristin Bowen. Surviving are his wife of 64 years, Martha Irene (Hawkins) Bowen; children Yvonne and Jonathan Biggar, Debra and Steven Reader, William A. Bowen, and Yalonda and J. Mitchell Combs; grandchildren Rebecca, Allison, Gretchen, Sara, Adam, Renee, Mandy, Emily, Abigail, Tim, Jake and Miguella; and 11 great-grandchildren. Donations may go to ChapNaz Church, the Gideons International, or Indian Lake Nazarene Camp. Visit his page at

Janet Butcher, 66, Portage, passed away on Monday, August 2, 2021. She was born on January 18, 1955 in Joliet, Ill., the daughter of Fred and Alberta (Windham) Stone. Janet worked for many years at General Motors. She loved to craft and play bingo, and loved karaoke. Janet is survived by her husband of 19 years, Michael Butcher; children Melanie (Scott) Newell, Eric Kelley, and Jennifer (Jeff) Warn; grandchildren Keri Newell, Brian Newell, Ryan Newell, Jadyn Kelley; her fur babies Jake and Riley; siblings, Freddie Stone and Deborah Morphew. Janet was preceded in death by her parents and her sister, Barb Gray. Visit her page at

Dale A. Catherman, 74, Hesperia, passed away suddenly August 10, 2021. Dale grew up in Vicksburg but lived most of his adult life in Oceana County. He graduated from Vicksburg High School in 1965 and served in the U.S. Army from 1966 to 1968. He was employed by Consumers Energy for many years until his retirement. He is survived by his wife, Mary; son Jon Catherman; stepchildren Jimmy Lewis, Mike Lewis, and Karen (Tim) Balcom; sister Diane (Paul) Czuk; grandchildren Adrienne (Patrick) Gordon, Alex Lewis, Stephanie Valdes, Ashley (Anthony) Tanner, D.J. (Haley) Hills and Erin Lewis; and 11 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, Fred and Martha Catherman.

Kathryn Louise Cook, passed away peacefully, holding both her daughters’ hands with her son-in-law by her side, on August 20, 2021, following her battle with lung and pancreatic cancers since 2019. Kay was born on December 13, 1945, to William and Vera (Fisher) Armstrong in Three Rivers. Kay grew up with her brother and sister in Moore Park, until the age of 11, when she moved to Portage. She graduated from Portage Central High School. Kay married Louis H. Avard in 1963. They raised two daughters in Texas Township before their marriage ended. Kay was creative and ambitious, opening her own wallpaper business and many antique shops across Southwest Michigan. Kay was well known for her beautiful linens and lace. In retirement, Kay found peace in her beautiful flower gardens. She cherished family time, making holiday gatherings memorable with baking passed-down family recipes, beautiful decorations, and her contagious smile, which her daughters and granddaughters carry on today. Kathryn was preceded in death by her great-grandson Lucas Kristopher Carrizales, her parents, nephew Jack Armstrong, and many aunts and uncles. Surviving are daughters Christine Kay Avard (Christopher Barnes) and Rhonda Lynn (Kristopher) Vernia; brother George Armstrong (Vivian Franklin); sister Lynne (Lee) Scheffers; grandchildren Blake Babic, Logan Vernia, Olivia Caffrey, and Mason Vernia; six great-grandsons; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. Services have been held. Donations may go to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan or the Animal Rescue Project. Visit Kay’s page at

Denise R. Crane, 54, Parchment, passed away on August 16, 2021. Denise was born on September 24, 1966 in Battle Creek, the daughter of Stephen and Linda (Cutsinger) Crane. Denise graduated from Battle Creek Public Schools. For the past 16 years, Denise has lived and worked at Shalom in Kalamazoo. Her hobbies included reading romance novels and doing word search puzzles. She loved animals of all kinds. Denise’s family will remember her as loving and laid back. Denise is survived by her six stepsiblings, Ron (Brenda) Olson of Kalamazoo, Dennis (Karen Nay) Olson of Vicksburg, David (Kim) Olson of Vicksburg, Karen (Tom) Dillon of Galesburg; Brenda (Joel) Nelson of Marcellus, and J.J. Olson of Vicksburg; aunt Carol (Mike) Quartermaine; step nieces and nephews; and 11 cousins. She was preceded in death by her mother Linda Crane; her father and stepmother, Stephen and Norma Jean (Olson) Crane; maternal grandparents Cordas and Lillian Cutsinger; uncle Carl Cutsinger and aunt Patricia Homan. Visit her page at Donations may go to Shalom Kalamazoo.

Trevor Jon Jennings, 27, Vicksburg, passed away August 2, 2021. Trevor was born September 2, 1993, in Kalamazoo, the son of Dexter William Jennings and Fawn Marie (Hoffman) Jennings. Trevor always enjoyed the outdoors and vehicles. He saved his money to buy his first 1977 Ford Bronco when he was 14. Trevor graduated from Vicksburg High School in 2011 and attended KVCC where he earned his associate’s degree in machine tool. He worked as a machinist at FEMA for nine years. Trevor loved his family and time spent with them. He was especially attached to his dog, Gunner, whom he rescued as a puppy in Tennessee. Trevor enjoyed Friday nights with friends, having dinner and riding three wheelers, four wheelers, and RZRs. His kind heart will be remembered by all who knew him. He is survived by his parents, Dexter and Fawn (Hoffman) Jennings; sister Marissa (Michael) Coonfer; grandparents Jon and Bev Hoffman and Dexter and Jan Jennings; dog Gunner; and many aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. Visit his page at Donations may go to the Bronson Medical ICU or For the Love of Paws.

William (Bill) Tell Johnson, 91, Three Rivers, passed away quietly on August 24, 2021, surrounded by his family. Bill was born on June 7, 1930, the son of Agnes (Stuut) and Harold Johnson in Kalamazoo. He worked as a truck driver for Tripp Trucking, Michigan Express and Holland Motor Trucking. He later worked as manager at the Asphalt Improvement Company in Kalamazoo until his retirement and then continued driving part time, even into his 80s, for Maverick Express. Bill was an avid outdoorsman. A trip to Alaska with his second wife, Janice, was a highlight of his travels. He loved family, friends, animals, and Reba McIntyre. He will be remembered for his quick wit. Bill is survived by his wife, Vicki; sons Korree and Kort Johnson, both of Allegan; daughter Koddee (Scott) Haner of Lawton; six grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; siblings Don (Barb) Johnson and Linda (Tiller) Stanton, both of Kalamazoo. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Kammah; wife, Janice (Haveman); sister Betty Roseboom; and son-in-law Pat Taplin. A memorial will take place from 1-3 p.m. on September 12 in the community tent at Kline’s Resort. Donations may go to the SPCA of Southwest Michigan.

Allen Mendel Kelly, 85, Scotts, passed away on August 29, 2021, in Kalamazoo. He was born on September 27, 1935, in Vicksburg, the son of David and Erma (Cusick) Kelly. He grew up in Vicksburg and in 1954 graduated from Vicksburg High School, where he enjoyed many sports. On June 16, 1956, he married Patrecia Smith at the Evangelical Free Church in Vicksburg. Allen was a lab technician at Hercules Inc. for 44 years. Al and Pat owned and ran Shamrock Stables where they boarded, raised and trained horses. Following his retirement, he enjoyed hunting, fishing, camping and trail riding. He loved spending time with his grandchildren. He was preceded in his passing by his parents. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Patrecia Kelly; children Scott (Sheril) Kelly, Todd (Jennie) Kelly, and Kathy (Brad) Belcher; 10 grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; siblings Edie (Dean) Boone and Carol (Merritt) Edner; and nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be held at Renovation Church on September 11, 2021 with a visitation at 10 a.m. until the service at 11 a.m. Donations may go to Hospice of Southwest Michigan. Visit his page at

Kevin L. Perkins, 45, Vicksburg, passed away on August 14, 2021. Kevin was born on December 8, 1975 in Kalamazoo, the son of Gaylord Perkins and Sarah (Bailey) Perkins-VerMeulen. On October 10, 2004, he married the love of his life, Sara Martin. Kevin was a hard-working family man. He was a talented mechanic and could fix just about anything. Kevin will be remembered by his family as a supportive and strong dad. Kevin is survived by his wife of 16 years, Sara Meagon Perkins; children Baylee Perkins, Amber Perkins, Erin Perkins, and Kevin James Perkins; parents Sarah Ann (Bailey) Perkins-VerMeulen and Gaylord Steven Perkins; and his siblings. Visit his page at Donations may go to the family.

Nancy Jo Vandergeest, 77, Three Rivers, passed away August 11, 2021. Nancy was born on June 13, 1944 in Boise, Idaho., the only child of William and Patricia Howe. Nancy was a graduate of Loy Norrix High School. She married Stuart Vandergeest on March 3, 1967. She was a loving mother to their three children. She worked at Fannie May, and volunteered at Three Rivers Hospital. Nancy loved crossword puzzles, reading, gardening and caring for her chickens and dogs. Nancy also enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren. Nancy is survived by her husband of 54 years, Stuart; children Jody (Bob) Morgan, of Jones; Tim Vandergeest, of Wyoming, Mich., Mark Vandergeest, of Milford; and grandchildren Jason and Erin Morgan of Jones. Nancy was preceded in death by her father, William “Bill” Howe and mother Patricia (Harold) Hagerman. Visit her page at Donations may go to St. Joseph County Animal Shelter.

Joan Wales-Dickson, 82, formerly of Vicksburg, died July 12, 2021 in Las Cruces, New Mexico. She was born in Kalamazoo on December 16, 1939 to German immigrant parents F. Joseph and Marie (Eppler) Weitenauer. She grew up on a farm near Vicksburg and attended Mendon and Vicksburg Schools, graduating with the Vicksburg High School class of 1957. Joan married David M. Wales in 1958. They raised two boys, Jeffrey M. and Mark D. Wales. In the 1980s they pulled up stakes, ending up in El Paso, Texas. Joan was successful in her careers at Western Michigan University, in real estate, and management. Years after David passed away, she met and married Larry Dickson. With him, she traveled the world, shopping everywhere she went. The marriage ended in divorce. Joan was an avid seamstress, making beautiful clothes and quilts. Joan is survived by her son, Jeff (Joni) Wales of Vicksburg, grandson John C. Wales, brother Otto Decker and his family. She was preceded in death by her parents, her son Mark, husband David, and sister Delores Elkins. In keeping with her wishes, cremation has been conducted. A visitation will be held on Saturday, October 9, 2021 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Eickhoff Funeral Home in Mendon. Afterward, family and friends are invited to share more memories at her son, Jeff’s home at 16975 South 31st Street, Vicksburg, MI 49097. Memories and condolences may also be shared online at

Mark A. Weed, 56, Vicksburg, passed away on August 30, 2021. Mark was born on October 29, 1964 in Niles, the son of Harry and Jean (Maleski) Weed. Mark graduated from Dowagiac Union High School with the class of 1983. He worked for Pfizer as a chemical operator for 20 years. On October 29, 2000 he married the love of his life, Carrie Younger. Besides spending time with his family and friends, Mark had a passion for traveling, riding his Harley, attending sporting events and caring for his wife and children. Mark had a bright and energetic personality and was known for his ability to sense when people needed his help. He touched many lives with his generosity and passion for life. Mark is survived by his wife, Carrie; sons Tony (Sarah) Weed and Corbin Weed, both of Vicksburg; and his mother, Jean Weed, of Kentucky. His is also survived by siblings Jim (Julie) Weed and Theresa Goff. He was preceded in death by his father, Harry Weed. Mark has been cremated and a memorial service will be held at a later date. Visit his page at to review Mark’s updated service information, sign his guestbook and share a memory with the family. Those who wish to make a donation may contribute to the charity of their choice.


John Buelke, 74, Schoolcraft, died suddenly on July 6, 2021. He was born June 8, 1947, in Plymouth, Wis., the son of Eleanor and John Buelke. The family eventually moved to Kalamazoo and John stayed in the area his entire life. John graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School and WMU where he earned his teaching degree. He served in the military and was stationed at Fort Knox, Ky., where he was a chaplain’s assistant. There he met his future wife, Margie Baker. John and Margie returned to Kalamazoo where he began his teaching career, eventually retiring from Mattawan High School. John enjoyed racquetball and pickleball and was a farmer at heart, tending the community garden he started at the Schoolcraft United Methodist Church. He is survived by his beloved wife Margie, sons Robert and Brian, sisters Karen Parrish and Barb Dircks, and a host of nieces and nephews on both sides of the family. He was preceded in death by his parents and a sister, Jeanne. In accordance with the family’s wishes, cremation has taken place and services have been held. Visit his page at Donations may go to South County Community Services – or plant a rose bush.

Merle L. Coville, Sr., 88, Scotts, passed away on July 24, 2021. Merle was born on October 7, 1932 in Climax, the son of William and Ella (Randall) Coville. Merle graduated from Climax High School in 1951 and served in the US Air Force. Merle worked for Consumers Power Company, retiring after 26 years. Merle loved to farm with his brothers and excavating, digging ponds and hauling marl. On August 27, 2002, Merle married Earline. They enjoyed traveling and going to casinos. Merle is survived by his wife of 19 years, Earline; children JoEllen (Jon) Elwell, of Climax, Julie Lighthill, of Oregon, Joy Childress of Arkansas, Merle (Patty) Coville, Jr, of Climax; stepchildren Roco (Patty) Elliott of Wisconsin and Tami (Bob) DeJonge of Richland; grandchildren Michelle, Jennie, Jeffrey, Samantha, Brian, Roxanne; and eight great grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother, Wilbur (Shirley) Coville, of Climax and sister Leila Godshalk, of Indiana. Merle was preceded in death by his grandson, Andrew Lighthill; brothers Bob and Ray Coville; sisters Hazel Kaiser and Bertha Buchko; and his first wife, JoAnne Coville. Visit his page at Donations may go to Hospice Care of SW Michigan.

Shirley A. Crawford, 88, Vicksburg, passed away June 22, 2021. Shirley was born September 8, 1932 in Hobart, Ind. In 1952, she married Richard (Dick) Crawford and honeymooned at Lemon Park on Indian Lake. The couple remained in Vicksburg to raise their family. Shirley was a bus driver for Vicksburg Community Schools as well as a receiving clerk for the Upjohn Company for 17 years. Shirley won the Star Award from Kalamazoo County for volunteer work at Tobey School. Dick and Shirley attended every Vicksburg Car Festival since 1980 with their various cars, fire trucks, and tanks. She is survived by her children, Michelle “Missy” (Armando Blanco) Crawford of Vicksburg and Dean Crawford (Vivian Avila) of Vicksburg; grandson Eric (Cindy) Crawford of Vicksburg; and one great-grandchild, Hayden Crawford; many nieces and nephews, dear friends Dick and Janet VanLinder, Maurice and Judy Hovious, and Jordan Avila. She was preceded in death by her husband, two sisters and a brother. Visit her page at Donations may go to Birch Meadows, Hospice Care of SW Michigan, and the Cancer Center of West Michigan in honor of Eric Crawford.

Betty Donovan, 67, Schoolcraft, passed away on July 20, 2021. She was born on December 31, 1953 in Battle Creek, the daughter of Allen and Dorothy (Amsler) Dove. Betty was a social butterfly and loved to spend time chatting with her family and friends. She did puzzles and crossword puzzles, and enjoyed and looked forward to trips to various casinos. Betty is survived by her children, Alan Caffrey (Bev Baldwin), Kristina (Larry) Quick, and Eugene Yohey; grandchildren Kyle and Ryan Quick; sibling Rex Fields; cousins Shirley Jessup, Brenda Elabalsy, Johnny Maurer, Bobby Maurer, Jerry Lawson, and William Krem; and companion Richard Yohey. Betty was preceded in death by her parents and her brother, David Fields. Visit her page at

Harry Mark Gilbert, 73, Indian Lake in Vicksburg, passed away on March 8, 2021 at Bronson Methodist Hospital due to complications from pulmonary fibrosis and chronic heart failure. Visit his page at A memorial tribute for Harry will be held on Saturday, August 14 at 6 p.m. at Dormouse Theatre, located at the corner of Portage Rd. and Lake St. in Kalamazoo. The tribute will be followed by a meal and a party, at Harry’s request. Bring a musical instrument, a voice to sing or a toe to tap. This will be a jam session in Harry’s honor. We want to make sure we have enough of all the food that Harry loved, so please RSVP by texting 269-599-8383. Just leave your name and the number of guests.

Patricia “Pat” Hageman, 91, Schoolcraft, passed away on July 25, 2021. She was born October 29, 1929, in Kalamazoo, the daughter of Joseph and Evelyn Bradley. Pat and her husband Ed had eight children and were welcoming to other children over the years. Once her children were grown, Pat worked as a reporter for the weekly Vicksburg Commercial Express, covering local news and authoring a column titled “Pat’s Pen.” She loved reading and volunteered at the Schoolcraft Library. She was instrumental in the fundraising and building of the library addition in 1990. She also was interested in genealogy. Patricia was preceded in death by her husband Edwin, parents Joseph and Evelyn Bradley, brother John Bradley, children John and Kathleen, son-in-law Christopher Renberg and dear friend Shirley (Kropp) Jones. She is survived by six children, Colleen (George) Schwartz, Susan (Roger) Smith, Jill (Matthew Dickinson) Anderson, Edwin (Kim Porter) Hageman, Cyril (Terri) Hageman, Nell Renberg and her informally adopted daughter, Susan Kay (James) Ryan. Survivors also include nine grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be held August 27 at 11 a.m. at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church. Family will receive friends at 10 a.m. Donations may go to Hospice Care of SW Michigan or Residential Opportunities, Kalamazoo. Visit her page at

Katharina Harrison, 88, Vicksburg, passed away January 17, 2021. Visit her page at Katie’s family will have a visitation on August 28 from noon to 3 p.m. at McCowen & Secord Funeral Home. Come and share your stories about Katie. Donations may go to the Vicksburg Community Schools Athletic Department or Hospice Care of Greater Kalamazoo.

Helen Horn, 77, passed away June 14, 2021. Helen was born December 21, 1943, the daughter of Ralph David, Sr. and Elizabeth Anna (Multhaupt) Brown. Helen graduated from VHS in 1961. She attended Northwood Institute, WMU and KVCC. Helen started her career at WKMI AM radio and in 1967, started working at WMU, retiring in 2005. She was member of the Portage United Church of Christ and the Breakfast Optimist Club of Kalamazoo. Helen is survived by her husband and VHS classmate, David Horn; children Kathryn “Kathy” (Dave Kerley) Abts-Kerley and Thomas “Tom” (Kathy) Pressey; grandchildren Joshua (Stephanie) Abts, Nichele Abts, Riley Pressey, Sydney Pressey, Ian (Keely) Kerley, Gabriel Kerley, Connor Pressey, Ashlynn Kerley and Alexis “Lexi” Pressey; great-grandchildren Noah Abts, Kameron Abts and James Kerley; Sharon (Mike) VanDyken, like a daughter; life-long friend and classmate James R. Haas; “BFF” Joann Smith; siblings, Nancy (Otto) Decker, Ralph David, Jr. (Wendy) Brown, Patricia (Paul) Weber, Elizabeth (William) Bushouse and John (Laurie) Brown; and many nieces, nephews and cousins. Helen was preceded in death by her brother, Robert Brown; two nieces and a nephew; mother in-law, Audrey K. (Horn) Baugh; and special friends, Tami Porter, Marilyn Brown and Karen Schuring. Donations may go to Kairos Dwelling. Visit her page at

Reverend Gerald D. Laing, 91, Vicksburg, passed away on July 26, 2021. Gerald was born on October 18, 1929 in Lansing, the youngest of six children. Because his father was injured, Gerald dropped out of high school and went to work to help support the family. In the late 40’s, Gerald met Marcine Green, and proposed just days before he received his draft notice. He was sworn into service with the United States Army on July 21, 1951; the couple married on November 3, 1951. After discharge, he enrolled at Trevecca Nazarene College in Nashville, Tennessee, pursuing his call to ministry. From 1954 through 1960, Gerald ministered as an evangelist before pastoring at Grace Nazarene Church in Jackson. He then pastored Grand Ledge Church of the Nazarene before going back to work in 1976, traveling as an evangelist. Throughout retirement, he supported the Indian Lake Nazarene Camp and Chapman Memorial Church. Rev. Gerald Laing was preceded in death by his wife of 60 years, Marcine, and his siblings. He is survived by children Jim (Kemi) Laing and Jacquelyn (John) Skurkey; grandchildren James (Alison) Laing, Jared (Tobi) Laing, Jodi (Adam) Leonard, Chelsie (Jared) Capello, and Cole (Kara) Hostetler; 14 great grandchildren and one baby on the way. He is also survived by a niece, Elizabeth Bashore. Visit his page at

Sharlene Lockner, 83, Vicksburg, passed away at her home on July 26, 2021 with her family at her side. Sharlene was born on November 5, 1937 to Charles and Hazel (Dunning) Litten in Kalamazoo, the youngest of seven daughters. Sharlene married the love of her life, Jack Lockner, on January 29, 1954. Sharlene enjoyed spending hours in her art room sharing her love of painting by teaching and painting everything from ceramics, oil paintings, doll houses and furniture, and even painted rocks that could be found on many local walking trails. Sharlene was preceded in death by husband, Jack, daughter Marcia, father Charles, and mother Hazel. She is survived by daughters Linda (Greg) Zummach and Lori Lockner; grandchildren Sandra West, Leslie (Brandon) Thornton, Justin (Tammy) Shaffer, and David (Heather) Maurer; along with many great grandchildren who were the sparkle in her life. She loved her family and adored her cats. An outdoor graveside memorial service will be held September 11, 2021 at Mountain Home Cemetery in Otsego, and a celebration of life luncheon will follow. Visit her page at Donations may go to Rose Arbor through Hospice Care of SW Michigan.

Norman Charles Mills II, 72, Scotts, died Sunday, July 18, 2021, as the result of a motorcycle accident. Norman was born on September 7, 1948, the son of Norman Charles and Ruth Ella (Orr) Mills. Norm attended the Immaculate Conception Catholic School through eighth grade. He graduated from Three Rivers High school in 1966. From 1968 to 1974 Norm proudly served his country in the United States Army Reserves. From 1967 to 1999, Norm worked for the Pepsi-Cola company and never missed a day of work, receiving many awards and recognitions. Norm met Debra Miller in 1978, and they were married March 8, 1980 at St. Martin of Tours Church in Vicksburg. After retirement, Norm began driving a school bus for the Vicksburg Community Schools, a job he enjoyed. He was an avid golfer, Harley Davidson enthusiast, and a people person. He is survived by his loving wife of 41 years, Deborah Mills; daughters Jennifer Mills and Rachel Mitchell; grandchildren Shailynn Jackson and KeAndre Berry; sisters Ruth (Douglas) Burson and Deborah (Bruce) Harley. He was preceded in death by his son, Kurtis Russell; brother Michael Mills; sister Margorie Beard; and his parents. Donations can be made to Deb Mills for assistance with funeral services. Visit his page at

Sharon Morlan, 73, Schoolcraft, passed away on June 22, 2021, from a three-year battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Sharon was born in Rochester, Minn. on March 8, 1948. She graduated from Lourdes High School in Rochester and received a nursing degree from St. Mary’s Nursing School. Sharon was married to Roger A. Morlan on April 24, 1970. Sharon began her career working as a practical nurse, and after moving to Michigan in 1986, worked at Tendercare of Portage for more than 25 years. She enjoyed reading, soap operas, camping, and family. Sharon is survived by husband Roger; stepchildren Michael (Kim) Morlan and Michele Myers; daughters Heidi Morlan and Wendy Morlan; grandsons Joshua Myers, Mitchel and Bryce Morlan, Ethan and Andrew Shenberger; granddaughters Emily and Hannah Anderson, Jordan Myers, and Taylor Anderson; niece Jaime Dexter; and other family located in central Michigan and Rochester. Sharon was preceded in death by her parents, Gerald R. and Gail M. (Anderson) Dexter; Uncle John and Aunt Dorothy (Anderson) Nordine; and brother Gary Dexter; as well as grandparents and several uncles, aunts and cousins. Donations may go to cancer research or Grace Hospice of Kalamazoo. The family thanks Sharon’s many healthcare workers. Visit her page at

Lester Dale Noel, 81, Mendon, died May 6, 2021 at his home. He was born in Vicksburg on January 31, 1940, the son of Virgil and Dorothy Noel. Lester graduated from Vicksburg High School. After high school, he worked for 39 years as a mold setter at the Haas Corporation, later known as the Lear Corporation. On October 27, 1959, Lester married Marie Kathryn Overholt in Vicksburg. Lester was an avid bass fisherman. He organized and competed in many bass fishing tournaments and was a member of the National Bass Anglers Association. Lester enjoyed hunting, attending Mendon sporting events, and doing yard work. Lester’s favorite hobby was playing and teasing his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Lester is survived by his wife, Marie Noel of Mendon; son Randy (Tammy) Noel of Florida; grandchildren Kayla Hollomon (Cody Greer), Christina (John) Bingaman, Kourtney (Brandon) Burbank, Nathan Dupree, Jessica Noel (Kyle Sass), Jonathan Noel, and Justin (Samantha) Noel; 15 great grandchildren; siblings Vernon (Janet) Noel, David (Carolyn) Noel, Joan (Jim) Parker-Sackrider, and Vera (Glen) Thomas. He was preceded in death by his parents, son Rick Noel, and brother Virgil Noel. Donations may go to the Parkinson’s Foundation. Visit his page at

Ellen Mae Zemek, 83, Vicksburg, passed away on May 28, 2021 in Kalamazoo. She was born July 7, 1937, the daughter of the late Stanley and Helen (Plucinski) Kempa. She graduated from Iron River High School. After high school Ellen moved to Chicago to begin her career as an administrative assistant. She married John Theodore Zemek on November 9, 1957. They celebrated 59 years together before his death on January 21, 2017. Ellen retired from Youth Services Opportunities. Ellen was an avid bowler, golfer and tennis player, and she loved to cook. After living on Eagle Lake for 25 years, Ted and Ellen moved to South Haven and eventually settled in the Scotts-Vicksburg area to be closer to their grandkids. Her pride and love for her grandchildren was apparent with the endless hours spent at ball fields and hockey rinks. She was a parishioner at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church. She is survived by children David (Marilyn) Zemek of Palm Desert, Calif., Nancy (Scott) Muffley of Portage, and Michael (Laura) Zemek of Lowell, Mich.; grandchildren Jordyn and Josie Muffley and Blake and Josh Zemek. She was preceded in death by older brothers Frank, Walter, Joseph, Ben and Robert Kempa and older sisters Rose and Sophie. Cremation has taken place and services have been held. Memorials may be directed to St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church. Please visit her page at


James “Jim” Barrett, passed on June 23, 2021, after a long battle with dementia. Jim was born on September 27, 1938, to Delbert J. and Mary A. (Clancy) Barrett in Kalamazoo. Jim attended St. Augustine Elementary, Milwood Junior High and graduated from Portage High School in 1956. In February 1960, he married Sharon Golyar and had three children. Jim retired after 36 years with the Upjohn Company. In October 1989, he married Phyllis Norris. They had 32 years of marriage together. Jim enjoyed hunting, fishing, football, baseball and bowling. Jim was preceded in death by his parents; siblings Eleanor, Jack, Bob Pat, Dennis, and Gerry; and special friend Ed Hageman. He is survived by his wife Phyllis; children Phillip (Deb) of Scotts, Monica (Paul) of Delton, and Chantal (Jack); brother Nick; and stepchildren Julie (Gary), Jerry, Shelley (Lou), and Steve. A memorial will be held on Friday, July 2, at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church with a visitation at 10 a.m. and a mass at 11 a.m. Burial will follow at Vicksburg Cemetery. Donations may go to Rose Arbor Hospice or a charity of one’s choice. Visit his page at

Elsie L. (Wolthuis-Desness) Carvell, 92, passed away peacefully June 1, 2021 at Rose Arbor Hospice. Elsie was born February 24, 1929 in Vicksburg, the daughter of John R. and Myrtle (Hendricks) Wolthuis. Elsie grew up on the family farm on “Dutchman’s Road” with her five siblings. Elsie graduated from VHS in 1947, married Willis R. “Bill” Carvell on June 28, 1947, and raised three sons. Bill died in 1956. Elsie married William A. “Bill” Desness on June 7, 1961. They retired from Upjohn and became snowbirds, living between Kline’s Resort and Stuart, Fla. When Bill died in 1993, Elsie settled near Lawton before a final move to Amber Place. Elsie is survived by sons David (Karen) Carvell of Portage and Richard Carvell of Kalamazoo; daughter-in-law Catherine Carvell of Goodlettsville Tenn.; six grandchildren and several great-grandchildren; siblings John Wolthuis, Betty Wheeler and Bill Wolthuis. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husbands, her son Michael and siblings MaryAnn Klimek and Louis Wolthuis. Donations may go to Rose Arbor Hospice or the charity of one’s choice. Visit her page at

William A. “Bill” Couchenour, 87, Vicksburg, passed away at his home on May 11, 2021. Bill was born in Uniontown, Pa. on August 5, 1933, the son of William and Gladys (Waltonbaugh) Couchenour. He was a member of Saint Petersburg High School’s State Championship basketball team and graduated in 1951. He served in the US Army for two years. He then attended Eastern Nazarene College where he met Ruth Andrews. They married in Royersford, Pa. on August 31, 1957 and raised five children: Diane, James, William, Kathleen and Kenneth. Bill is survived by his wife, Ruth; children Diane Bosworth of Vicksburg, Jim (Dixie) Couchenour of Eaton Rapids, Rev Bill (Rhonda) Couchenour of Sterling, Colo., Kathy Demaray of Mason, Mich., and Ken (Cheryl) Couchenour of Mason; grandchildren Briana (Dustin), Brooke, Tyler (Julienne), Austen (Melanie), Kaylee (Kamron), Jonathan, Will, Rachael, Christina, Joshua, Michael (Bansari), Daniel, Caleb, McKenna; 10 great grandchildren with one on the way; his brother, Jim Couchenour of Columbiana, Ohio; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Melvin Couchenour, sister Gladys “Sis” Hofacker; sisters-in-law Pat and Betty Couchenour; brother-in-law Chauncy Hofacker; and grandson-in-law Caleb Starr. Visit his page at Donations may go to the William A. and Ruth Andrews Couchenour Scholarship Fund at Olivet Nazarene University.

Ronald L. Eaton, 74, passed away with his son by his side on June 1, 2021. Ron was born January 28, 1947, to Kenneth and Dorothy (Born) Eaton. Ron married the love of his life, Karen Oswalt, September 25, 1971. Ron served his country proudly along with his brother as a Navy corpsman, acquiring the nickname “Doc”. He served in Vietnam and was awarded two purple heart medals. Ron retired from the Post Office after 30 years as a letter carrier. He had a passion for softball and golf, and he began building golf clubs. Ron loved his family and adored his cat. He was a huge Notre Dame and Cubs fan. He was a gifted storyteller. He is survived by his son, Jason (Tracy) Eaton; grandchildren Shan (Mollie Hageman) Pileri, Taylor (Emily Nachtegall) Misel, Brooke (Chase Fricke) Misel, Jarrett Eaton and Jaden Eaton; great-grandchildren Brenden and Noah; siblings David (Viola) Eaton and Robert (Sue) Eaton; several nieces and nephews and his favorite cat, Millie. He was preceded in death by his parents and his wife, Karen. Donations may go to Give Kids the World in honor of Cambri Dorko or Section 1776 in honor of veterans. Visit his page at

Harold Heikes, 96, Kalamazoo, died on May 29, 2021. He was born on August 1, 1924, in Vicksburg, the son of Harry and Esther (Dalton) Heikes. He graduated in 1942 from VHS and served in the US Army Air Corps. He was a top gunner on a B-25, serving in the south Pacific. He began work as a millwright at the paper mill and retired after 38 years. He married Eleanor Woodhams on November 29, 1968, and her five children became his own. The family enjoyed many holidays together on Pine Lake. Harold and Eleanor enjoyed dancing and traveled extensively. Since Eleanor’s death in 2013, he focused on hobbies and family, especially his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Members of Harold’s family include children Terri (Scott) Dunlop, Gary Heikes, and Bonnie Heikes; and grandson, Brian. In addition to his children, he is survived by Eleanor’s children: Ronald Woodhams, Alan (Cynthia) Woodhams, Barbara (Gregory) Deibert, and Robert (Margaret) Woodhams; 10 grandchildren; and 8 great-grandchildren. Besides his wife, Eleanor, he was preceded in death by his brother, Everett, and stepson, Michael Woodhams. Visit his page at Donations may go to Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes.

Marilyn J. Kozar, 85, Schoolcraft, passed away June 6, 2021, at Rose Arbor Hospice with her family by her side. Born November 30, 1935 in Kalamazoo, she was the middle child of George and Gladys (Werner) Kozar. She married Edwin David Wood. She was preceded in death by her husband; son Michael Wood; parents Gladys and George Kozar; and sisters Geraldine Povenz and Shirley Heuser. Marilyn leaves behind children Eddie Wood, Jennifer (Wood) Duff, and Wendy (Wood) Boutell; grandchildren Edwin (Woody) Wood, Matheson Wood, Alex Andrea (Wood) Bond, Zachary Wood, Jenny (Duff) Dines, Lauren (Chapman) Bienemann, and Shannon Chapman; and many great-grandchildren. She also leaves behind Russ Povenz, who was married to Geraldine, and John (Jack) Heuser, who was married to Shirley. Marilyn was a longtime member of St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church in Vicksburg. Her Catholic religion was an important part of her life, and she was looking forward to being reunited with her family in Heaven. Donations may go to the American Cancer Society. Visit her page at

Rusty Wire Shelburne, 61, Scotts, formerly of Rochester, passed away June 11, 2021 from injuries sustained in a fall at home. Rusty was born in Noblesville on August 3, 1959, the son of Howard Dale and Rebecca Jacquelyn “Jackie” Wire Shelburne. He graduated from Rochester High School in 1977. Rusty married Laurie Drenth on June 3, 1978, in Kalamazoo, and they shared 43 years of adventures. Rusty earned an associate degree in law enforcement from KVCC and began a nearly 40-year career with the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Department. His badge #131 was retired in October 2018. Since retirement, he wintered near Apache Junction, Ariz. where he and Laurie could be near their son, Derek, and the grandchildren. Rusty enjoyed riding his motorcycle, racing his remote-control car, golfing. Rusty is survived by his wife Laurie, of Scotts; son Derek Shelburne of Phoenix; grandchildren Devereaux, Deklan, Audriana and their mother, Juanita; sisters Tammy Shelburne-See of Rochester, Betsy Shelburne of State College, Pa., Misty (Timothy) DePoy of Rochester, and Mindy (Hector) Navarro of Rochester; brothers Jeffery (Jeanie) Shelburne of Rochester, Rodney (Darla) Shelburne of Warsaw, Randy (Carol) Shelburne of Rochester, and Barney (Lorraine) Shelburne of Stillman Valley, Ill.; numerous nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews, many friends, as well as his Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Department Family. He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers Gary D. Shelburne and Scott B. Shelburne. Visit his page at

Caroll Emaline Wise, 94, Scotts, died June 11, 2021 at her home. She was born in Wibaux, Montana on Nov. 2, 1926, the daughter of Hezekiah and Laura (Harkins) Keller. After graduation from high school, she went to cosmetology school. She worked briefly as a hairdresser in Athens, and for over 34 years at Margo Shick’s Salon in Vicksburg. Caroll and her late husband, George, operated a dairy farm in rural Vicksburg and were active at the Kalamazoo and St. Joseph County Grange Fairs. She enjoyed square dancing, gardening and playing cards. Many enjoyed her homemade pies and peanut brittle. Caroll is survived by her son and daughter in law, Richard (Carolyn S.) Wise of Scotts; grandchildren Scott (Jill) Wise and Shellie (Bill) Gibson, both of Battle Creek, and Alisha Wise of Climax; great-grandchildren Gavin and Allison Wise and Grace and Emma Gibson; several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, George Wise; daughter, Carolyn L. Wise; two brothers and four sisters. A memorial will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 10 at the Prairie Baptist Church followed by a luncheon. Donations may go to the St. Joseph County Fair, Dairy Department. Visit her page at


Lora Jane “Polly” Boodt, 97, Schoolcraft, passed away April 20, 2021 at White Oaks Assisted Living. She was born September 24, 1923 in Schoolcraft at the family homestead on West W Ave. in Prairie Ronde Township, the daughter of Leon and Elizabeth (Hoverman) Wood. She graduated from Schoolcraft High School in 1942 and married Robert L. Boodt, June 18, 1942 in Abilene, Texas. Polly retired from WL Molding. She joined Schoolcraft Chapter #262, Order of the Eastern Star, became an OES Life Member on June 6, 1994 and was a member of Corinthian Chapter #123, Schoolcraft. She enjoyed gardening, baking pies, making caramel corn, camping with the RV club, playing cards, fishing, crocheting and collecting “Polly” frogs. She is survived by her son, Robert L. (Kitty) Boodt of Owosso; son-in-law Kenneth Maxam of Kalamazoo; grandchildren Kim Maxam of Schoolcraft, Keith (Sarah) Maxam of Parchment, Laurie (McDowell) Maxam of Plainwell, Kevin (Stacy) Maxam of Paw Paw, Brian (Melissa) Boodt of Schoolcraft, Troy (Becky) Boodt of Baldwin, and Stormy Greenwalt of Owosso; sister-in-law Velura (Boodt) Wood of Vicksburg; special nieces, Kay (Glessner) Bivens of Virginia and Robbie (Kniss) Glessner of Lapeer; 12 great grandchildren, 10 great-great grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband of 46 years, Robert; daughter, Elizabeth C. Maxam; brothers Walter Wood of Vicksburg and William G. Wood of California; sisters and their husbands Erna and Ray Glessner of Lapeer (formerly of Schoolcraft) and Birdie and Charles Shapard of California and Texas; nephews Marshall L. Glessner of Lapeer and Rodger Bivens of Virginia. Donations may go to First Presbyterian Church of Schoolcraft.

David Brownell, 63, Vicksburg, passed away April 11, 2021. David was born on December 13, 1957 in Kalamazoo, the son of Peter and Joyce (Bradley) Brownell. David lived on Austin Lake for 30 years. He followed a life-long dream and opened and operated the Mercantile Kitchen Store for 10 years in Kalamazoo. He was employed by Allied Mechanical Services for the majority of his life. He loved the lake life, spending time laughing with friends and family, cooking large meals and working around the house. David is survived by his wife of 32 years, Nancy (Stinson) Brownell; children Mary Brownell and Mitch Brownell; brother Doug (Judy) Brownell; stepbrother Steve (Barb) Balinski; and stepsister Suzanne (Matt) Charlier. David was preceded in death by his parents, Peter and Joyce Brownell; brother Scott Brownell; and stepmother Marilyn. Visit his page at and pour a vodka tonic in his honor.

Lois Bernice Evert Fulton, 98, passed away April 7, 2021. Lois was born April 20, 1922 at home in East Lansing to Paul and Cora (Mallory) Evert. Lois graduated from James Couzens Agricultural School, now Bath High School, in 1941, and she attended Lansing Business University. She married Robert James Fulton July 25, 1947. Lois worked for the Board of Water and Light and then the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. When Bob and Lois retired in 1986, they built their home at Indian Lake Nazarene Camp. Lois was preceded in death by her parents; her husband; daughter Penny Jean; son-in­ law Thomas Adams; and brothers and sisters-in-law Ray (Nina) Evert, Stan (Annabelle) Evert, Barbara Warner Fulton, Audrey Bishop Fulton and Dorothy (Bernard) West. She is survived by daughters Paula Fulton, Linda Adams, and Coralee (Dan) Behr, all of Vicksburg; grandchildren Kendra (Brian) Lee, Krista (Kelly) Kraemer, Aaron Behr, Andrew (Lydia) Behr, Adam (Danae) Behr and Michael Adams; great-grandchildren Alyse Kraemer, Lillianna, Autumn, Willow, Oliver, and Gabrielle Behr; and several nieces and nephews. Visit her page at

Robert “Rob” James Garcia Jr., 42, passed away surrounded by his loving family on April 13, 2021. He was born on September 14, 1978 in Hollywood, Fla., the son of Robert J. Garcia Sr. and Molly A. Garcia. On August 27, 2011 he married Sara Franklin, and together they raised two wonderful children. Rob enjoyed playing video games, playing guitar and drawing. He earned an associate’s degree in art, created a comic book of his own and partnered to create a graphic novel. He loved having adventures with his family. Rob was preceded in death by his grandmother, Mildred Garcia; uncles John Garcia and James Garcia; aunt Mildred Pierce; and brother Jonathan Bradley. He is survived by his wife of 10 years, Sara (Franklin) Garcia; children Jaxon and Mackenzie Garcia; parents Robert (Patricia) Garcia and Molly Garcia; siblings Amanda Garcia, Jessica Vergauwen, and Elizabeth Eshuis; aunts Sharon Morgan and Donna Focht; uncle Michael Garcia; nieces, nephews, and many cousins. Donations may go to the family c/o Sara Garcia.

Richard Jay Henderson, 83, passed away surrounded by his loving family on April 9, 2021. He was born on June 13, 1937 in Wakeshma Township, the son of William and Dorothy (Spealman) Henderson Sr. He attended Vicksburg High School, worked at Fulton Service Station and eventually worked for CBS Hightron. After leaving CBS he worked for Kellogg’s for 36 years before retiring in 1993. He also farmed 300 acres in the Vicksburg area with his sister and brother-in-law, Donna and Ron Skippers. In retirement, he enjoyed golfing, going to Canada for fishing trips, cutting wood with his sons and brother, hanging out around a campfire, spending time with his grandchildren, and his yearly pilgrimage to Florida to escape the winter months. Richard was preceded in his passing by his loving wife of 62 years, Carol (Fish) Henderson; siblings Kenneth and Donna; and his parents. He is survived by his children, Rebecca (Jerry) Dunklee, Bradley (Vonda) Henderson, and Brent (Joan) Henderson; siblings Mary (Jim) Cousins, Bill Henderson, and Pat Smith; several grandchildren and great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. Visit his page at

Clinton “Skidge” Hill, 54, passed away on April 21, 2021. He was born on April 22, 1966 in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, the son of Earl and Roxanne (Sayers) Hill. The family moved from Garden River, Ont. to the Kalamazoo area in 1998. Skidge was a die-hard fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Denver Broncos. He and his wife, Cora, enjoyed adventuring around the world, visiting casinos and deep belly laughs with their besties Rich and Donna. Skidge is survived by his wife of 22 years Cora; children Randi and Bryce; grandchildren Jordan and Tyler; siblings Karen (Jeff), Chad (Lora), Brent and Angel; special friend Clayton “Booker” Boissoneau; in-law’s Glenda (Ben), Wes (Maureen), Trixie (James), his late brother-in-law’s wife, Vanessa, and his mother and father-in-law, Glen and Alice Jones, as well as several aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews. Skidge was preceded in his passing by his parents, his brother Shawn, Baby Hill and a brother-in-law, Manny. Pay it forward with an act of kindness in Skidge’s memory.

Kenneth Alan Jones, 63, died unexpectedly in his Kalamazoo home on April 26, 2021. He was a well-known musician, performing with the Grand Rapids and Battle Creek symphony orchestras. He was a percussionist with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra for 45 years. Ken was born in Sturgis in 1957. His family moved to Schoolcraft in 1967. At the age of 13 he auditioned for Julius Stulberg and the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony. He remained with it for several years, taking tours throughout Canada and Europe. He graduated from Schoolcraft High School in 1975. After receiving a Board of Regents Scholarship, he attended Western Michigan University where he graduated cum laude, with a bachelor’s degree in music. For many years he taught instrumental music to elementary and middle school students in the Kalamazoo Public Schools. Ken was a talented and well-liked person by all who knew him. Preceding him in death were his father, Marion Jones, and his, brother Robert Jones. Left to grieve his passing are his son, Maxwell; his mother, Marilyn Jones, of Schoolcraft; sisters Kathleen Kelly and Laurie Bittle; brothers Larry Jones and Steven Jones; as well as four nieces and three nephews. An outdoor graveside memorial service will be held at the Schoolcraft Cemetery on May 7 at 11:30 am. Attendees are asked to bring a lawn chair.

Ila Rhe Kinder, 75, Vicksburg, passed away on April 21, 2021. Born in Cotton Plant, Arkansas, Ila was raised in nearby Hunter, the second of six children in the Sieber household. The daughter of cotton farmers, Ila and her family were not strangers to hard work. Ila graduated from Brinkley High School in Brinkley, Arkansas with the class of 1964. After high school, Ila began working for a shirt factory. In the early 1960s, she met and married Leland “Buddy” Kinder and raising their family became her focus. She was known for her sense of style and love of family. She treasured her girlfriends and the many adventures they had. She is survived by her daughter, Mischelle (Jim) Korelich of Vicksburg; grandchildren Logan (Joe) Schuiteboer of Kalamazoo, Ally Stafinski of Mendon, Olivia Kinder of Portage, and Audrey Koewers; siblings Thomas Sieber, Peggy Sullivan and Nadine (Bob) Freeland, all of Arkansas, and Carl Sieber of Vicksburg. She is also survived by her special friend, Walter “Buck” Buckallew. Ila was preceded in death by her husband, Leland “Buddy”; a son, Mark Kinder; and sister, Karen. Ila has been cremated. The family will have a memorial service at 11 a.m. July 21 at McCowen & Secord Funeral Home, 409 S. Main Street, Vicksburg. The family will greet friends one hour prior, beginning at 10 a.m. Visit her page at

Walter DeWitt Layne, 90, Vicksburg, passed away peacefully at his home on April 10, 2021, surrounded by his loving family. Walter was born on April 22, 1930 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the son of Walter Scott Layne and Lois (Cooley) Layne. Walt’s family eventually settled on Long Lake in Portage. He attended University High School and transferred to Vicksburg High School where he played football and drove his 1930-era Ford. He served in the US Navy from 1947 to 1950. On the carrier USS Princeton, he saw post-war Japan and China. He performed duties aboard ship and flew missions for the torpedo bomber squad. Walt married Nancy Van Laar on September 28, 1951. The couple raised their family in the Vicksburg area. Walt worked for Upjohn as a chemical operator for 30 years. Retiring in 1985, he and Nancy wintered in LaBelle, Florida for another 30 years. Walt loved golf and fishing for crappie in Lake Okeechobee. He was a member of Amazing Grace Baptist Fellowship, the Gideons International, and Masonic Lodge #240. Walt is survived by his wife of 69 years, Nancy (Van Laar) Layne; children Steven (Sue) Layne, Lorrie (John) VerSteeg and Cyndee (Paul) Van Sweden; grandchildren Scott (Chandra) Kellogg, Leighann (Doug) Harris, Travis (Courtney) Van Sweden and Katie (Dan Ramsdell) Layne; sisters Mary Bullard and Barb Witherow; and great-grandchildren Hank, Clara, Rowen, Zayden and Griffin. Donations may go to Gideons International or the American Kidney Fund. Visit his page at

Hué Thi Loc, 70, Vicksburg, passed away March 30, 2021. Hue was born May 12th, 1941 in Ha Noi, Vietnam, to Nguyen Van Bon and Tran Thi Nghi. When Hué’s father and brother died and her mother fell ill, Hué was adopted. Her adoptive parents moved the family to South Vietnam. Her birth family found her later, but Hué stayed to care for her ill adoptive parents. Hué and Loc Minh Dau (Loc A. Loc) were married in 1964. Loc served in the South Vietnamese army while Hué sold street food to feed her growing family. After the war, Loc was held captive. Hué and Loc left South Vietnam on a boat with their seven children as refugees, her adoptive mother stayed behind due to her physical disability. They lived in a Malaysian refugee camp for two years, sponsored by Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Portage. In 1979, the Loc family settled into a farmhouse in Vicksburg where they raised their eight children. Hué is survived by children Mui, Cau (Anh), Tom (Christine), Phuong (Stephen), Hoang (Karmina), Vuong, Anh (Luke); daughter-in-law Tracy; grandchildren Kiaya, Kliricia, Koehl, Joseph, Ava, Jackson, Lillian, Evelyn, Caitlin, Cobey, Madison, Cy, Jada, Mason, Mya, Maddox, Miles, Amelia, Nicholas, Cullen, Brandon, and another baby girl on her way; great grandchildren Sebastian and Montgomery. She was preceded in death by her husband, Loc A. Loc, and son Nic. Visit her page at Donations may go to the family, which will be forwarded to Tam Quang Temple, Wayland, for its generous services for Hué.

Jack E. Marks: Please join Diane, Tracy, Jami and Bill Marks and Brent Dingman as they celebrate the life of Jack E. Marks on May 23, 2021 from 1-5 p.m. at his home, 6080 East T Avenue, Vicksburg. Luncheon will be served. Jack, an electrician, died Nov. 7, 2020 at the age of 77.

Joseph A. Medema, Schoolcraft, died April 6, 2021. Joe was born April 1, 1980 in Kalamazoo, the son of John W. and Barbara (Warner) Medema. He graduated from Western Michigan University and was a supervisor at Parker-Hannifin. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, and boating. On September 14, 2002 he married Valerie (Wendel), who survives. Also surviving are daughters Brooke, Allyson, and Isabelle Medema; his parents; father-in-law Donald Wendel; grandparents John Medema and Karen Delp; brothers John E. Medema and Joshua Medema; and several nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins. Joe was preceded in death by his mother-in-law, Michele Wendel, and grandparents Dorothy Medema, Richard Delp and Geraldine Wendel. Donations may go to First Reformed Church of Portage. Visit his page at

Edward Allen Murphy, 80, Mesa, Ariz., formerly of Vicksburg, passed March 26, 2021, surrounded by his children, Rex and Vicki, and grandson, Rex Esq. He was a generous, kind-hearted man who would help anybody. He worked as a farm hand, heating and cooling technician, gutter installer, construction supervisor, truck driver, and small business owner. He enjoyed traveling all over the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. On February 25, 1964, he married Gloria Ruth Gunnett in Kalamazoo. They lived in Vicksburg until 1984, when they moved to Arizona, settling in Mesa until her death in 2000. He met and fell in love with Gloria Jobe, initially introduced to her by his wife a couple of years earlier. They enjoyed their time together until her death in 2019. He is survived by three children, Victoria (Bob) Yoder, Vicksburg; Rex (Sun) Murphy, Mesa, Ariz.; Ed Murphy II, Mesa, Ariz; grandchildren Rex Esq., Ryan, and Baily; sisters Betsy Vandelaare of Mendon; Mary (Gary) Vermuelen of Scotts, and Pam (Rich) Aby of Queen’s Creek, Ariz.; sister-in-law Linda Gunnett, Palm Springs, Calif.; brother-in-law Larry (Sue) Gunnett, Three Rivers; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Roy and Lillian Murphy, his wife, girlfriend Gloria Jobe, sister-in-law Mary Williams and brother-in-law Don Vandelaare. His ashes will be spread over Roosevelt Lake in Arizona with those of his wife. Donations may go to a veterans’ organization or St. Joseph’s Indian School.

Patricia Ann Neidlinger, 86, Vicksburg and Schoolcraft, died April 7, 2021. She was born November 10, 1934 in Kalamazoo to Francis and Helen (Kinsey) Knerr. She went to Portage Central High School and worked for WL Molding and Westside Medical. On June 27, 1959, she married Gordon L. Neidlinger. She is survived by her children, Judy Wilcox, Jerry Neidlinger, and Gene Neidlinger; grandchildren William, Rachel, and Ryan; great-grandchildren Jeffrey, Alexia and Izack; and sister Angela Knerr. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, her sister, Barbara, and her brother, Frank. Donations may go to Alzheimer’s Association, Hospice of SW Michigan or American Diabetes Association.

Christopher Alan Pelton (Chris), 59, Schoolcraft, died April 9, 2021 from pancreatic cancer. Chris was born Dec. 18, 1961 in Bay City to Philip and Mary Ann Pelton. He wed Lori Heideman in August 1989. He was an IRS agent and loved the outdoors. Chris is survived by his wife; son Philip (Aubrey Hooker); daughter Olivia; parents Phil and Mary Ann Pelton; brother Perry (Rose) Pelton; sisters Linda (Terry) Benchley, Diane (Kenny) Senske, and Kelly (Dan) Meschke; in-laws Fred and Nancy Heideman; sister-in-law Amy (Chris) Desmond; brothers-in-law Jim (Diane) Heideman, Mike (Rosalind) Heideman, Mark Heideman, and Fred Heideman; and many nieces and nephews. Donations may go to Hospice of SW Michigan. Many thanks to Kristi M., RN, who was an angel.

Elizabeth Anne Sehy, 32, died April 18, 2021. She was born May 9, 1988 at Borgess Hospital, Kalamazoo to Henry and Anne (Shekleton) Sehy, the youngest of four kids. Elizabeth loved the outdoors and soccer. While attending Vicksburg High School, she played varsity soccer, and as an adult, Elizabeth continued to play soccer and served as captain of an intramural soccer team at Kingdom Sports Indoor Center in Kalamazoo. She could often be seen at her niece’s and nephew’s soccer games in Vicksburg on her days off. After graduating in 2006, she received her certificate in dental hygienics from Kellogg Community College in Battle Creek. Elizabeth worked at TJ Maxx for 14 years. Elizabeth was preceded in death by her sister, Sarah Sehy, and nephew, Lane Sehy. She is survived by her parents, Henry and Anne (Shekleton) Sehy; siblings Monica (Scott) Triemstra and Nathan Sehy; nieces and nephews Reagan, Ian, Calvin, and Ava Triemstra and Colton Sehy; and many aunts, uncles, and cousins. Donations may go to St. Martin of Tours Parish.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Mark D. Barnebee, 58, Vicksburg, passed away Feb. 6, 2021. Mark was born on Dec. 26, 1962 in Kalamazoo, the son of James and Judith (Olin) Barnebee. Mark graduated from Vicksburg High School with the class of 1981. On July 25, 1998 he married Dawn Griffith and together they had one daughter, Ashley. For the past eight years Mark has worked for Pfizer as a chemical operator, and prior to that he worked at Harborlite Corporation. In his spare time he enjoyed grilling, playing golf, going to the casino, and spending time with family. He followed University of Michigan sports, the Dallas Cowboys and the Red Wings. Mark is survived by his wife, Dawn; daughter Ashley Barnebee of Portage; and one grandchild on the way. He is also survived by his mother, Judith Barnebee of Portage; brother Scott (Jenifer) Barnebee of Vicksburg; and several nieces and nephews. Mark will be cremated, and due to COVID restrictions, a gathering to honor his memory is being planned for a later date. Visit Mark’s page at Donations may go to the Alzheimer’s Association or Generous Hands.

Joyce Elizabeth Blodgett, 82, Schoolcraft, passed away at her home Feb. 23, 2021. She was born on Sept. 6, 1938 in Kalamazoo, the daughter of Lester and Helen (Wright) Ryskamp. She graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School in 1956. On Sept. 7, 1957 she married the late Andrew D. Blodgett. They were married for 33 years and raised their family in Schoolcraft. Andy and Joyce opened the first Blodgett family business, Green Acres, in 1967, and later Andrea’s Flower Shop located on US-131 in Schoolcraft. She worked over 20 years at Hudson’s and retired from Macy’s. She was preceded in death by her son, Andrew G. Blodgett; granddaughter Paige Bilicke; and brother Lester Ryskamp. Surviving are her children Terry W. (Cindy) Blodgett, Robin L. (Avery) Delaney, Kevin S. Blodgett, Pam (Jerry Jonckheere) Blodgett, Tony (Kristy) Blodgett; younger sister Carol (Sam) Pilat and her baby sister Linda (Mike) Dunphey; 25 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren. Donations may go to Schoolcraft Assembly of God, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, or sent to Pam Blodgett, 220 Lyon St., NW – Suite 540, Grand Rapids, MI 49503. Visit her page at

Randall (Randy) John Frakes, 66, Panama City Beach, Fla., formerly of Vicksburg, passed away Feb. 9, 2021, after a long illness. Randy, born on March 28, 1954, was a talented artist, and had a passion for cooking and entertaining. Wherever his home, it was a gathering place full of good times and friends. Even during his illness, he would prepare delightful dinners for guests. He was a nurturer of all, forever taking in stray cats, feeding and caring for them as well. During his earlier years, he enjoyed hunting, especially squirrel and deer with members of the family. It was a must to be in Sidnaw, Mich. on Nov. 15 for the opening of deer season. Randy is survived by his partner of 25 years, Richard King, sisters Barbara (Ted) Sanger and Karen (Steve) Marshall, sister-in-law Cyndi Frakes, niece Heather Frakes, nephews Jason (Missy) Sanger, Kell (Brittany) Sanger, Jonathan (Michelle) Frakes, Ben, Jake and Matthew Marshall, several great nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Marjorie (Baldwin) Frakes, and brother John L. Frakes. Donations may go to their local humane society in his name.

Barbara Jean (Munn) Griner, Vicksburg, passed away Feb. 6, 2021. Barbara was born June 6, 1922, the daughter of Mercer and Florence (Godshalk) Munn. Growing up in Vicksburg, Barbara’s early life centered on family, the community, and her church. She graduated from Vicksburg High School with the class of 1942, then attended business college and worked for her father’s insurance business. This business suited her well, and she eventually worked for Schuring Insurance, retiring in 1990. Friends introduced her to Donald Guy Griner, and they were married on May 15, 1946. They settled in Vicksburg and raised their three daughters, Lynn, Beth, and Karla. She encouraged all of her girls’ endeavors, often volunteering her time and talents. The family looked forward to their traditional events, including trips to their cabin in Lovells, Michigan, and attending the St. Joseph County Fair. Barbara enjoyed time spent with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Donations may go to Vicksburg United Methodist Church. Visit Barbara’s page please at

Carol Ann Henderson, 80, Scotts, passed away Feb. 10, 2021. She was born May 3, 1940 in Parchment, the daughter of Peter and Ethel (Morris) Fish. She graduated from Vicksburg High School in 1958. Following graduation, she married the love of her life, Richard Henderson, on Dec. 6, 1958. They were together for 62 years, and together raised three wonderful children, Rebecca, Bradley, and Brent. She retired from Fidelity after 17 years of service and enjoyed traveling south during the winter months. She also loved camping, fishing, mushroom hunting, travelling to Canada and spending time with her grandchildren and her many cats. She was preceded in her passing by her parents. Carol is survived by her husband Richard; children Rebecca (Jerry) Dunklee, Bradley (Vonda) Henderson,and Brent (Joan) Henderson; several grandchildren and great grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews. Services have been held. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan. Visit her page at

John Albert Hodgman, 77, Vicksburg, passed away Feb. 19, 2021. John was born on Jan. 31, 1944 in Kalamazoo, the son of Albert Theo Hodgman and Ruth Agnes (Kaiser). He was a lifelong resident of Vicksburg, graduating from Vicksburg High School in 1962. He honorably served the United States Armed forces until his discharge in 1965. His mother introduced him to the love of his life, Jacque, and they were married on April 1, 1966. John was employed with National Waterlift/Parker Hannifin from 1965 until his 2004 retirement. He was a man of few words who loved his family, friends, all things Harley Davidson and racing related, as well as the Detroit Lions and Tigers. He was preceded in death by his parents; sisters Lila Burgess and Joyce Phelps; and brothers George Hodgman and Roy Hodgman. He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Jacqueline (Havinga) Hodgman; children Cindy (Mike) Waldon and John (Martha) Hodgman; grandson Mike Waldon; sister Claudia Burgess; and many nieces and nephews. Cremation has taken place and a celebration of his life will be held on a later date. Donations may go to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan and Senior Services Meals on Wheels. The family is being assisted by Avink Funeral Home and Cremation Society, Schoolcraft.

Jerry Houser, 93, Vicksburg, passed away Feb, 1, 2021. Jerry was born on Jan. 26, 1928 in Pontiac, the son of George and Ruby (Martin) Houser. Cremation has taken place per Jerry’s wishes. The family is being assisted by McCowen & Secord Family Funeral Homes, Rupert-Durham Chapel.

Robert “Bob” D. McCowen, 74, Clark Lake, Mich., passed away in Fort Myers, Fla. Jan. 31, 2021. Bob was born on Jan. 21, 1947 in Kalamazoo, the son of Robert H. and Vivian J. (Smith) McCowen. Bob graduated from University High in Kalamazoo with the class of 1965. He went to Michigan State University where he earned a degree in management. He got a degree in accounting at Western Michigan University and became a CPA. On May 21, 1994 he married Sue McCowen. He is survived by his wife Sue; children Steve (Jenny) McCowen, of Schoolcraft, Jeff (Melanie) McCowen of Virginia, Heather Cordell of Jackson, Michelle (Reggie) Chapa of Texas, and Andy (Kristen) Cordell of Kalamazoo; grandchildren Mackenzie, Joey, Stephen, Nicholas, Katherine, Morgan, Madelyn, Nathan, Dylan, Emma and Evan. He is also survived by his mother, Vivian McCowen, of Kalamazoo; sister-in-law Rose McCowen of Georgia; and nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father, Robert H. McCowen and brother Tom McCowen. Visit his page at Donations may go to Clark Lake Spirit Foundation,

Joseph E. Olney III, 66, Vicksburg-Schoolcraft area, passed away at home Feb. 12, 2021 of congestive heart failure/COPD. He was born Nov. 6, 1954, to Joseph E. Olney II and Patricia (Cousins) Olney-Ross. He was raised in the Fulton area and worked most of his life as a machinist/welder with various companies, retiring eventually on disability due to problems with heart and spina bifida. He married Christine Ludwig-Rodriquez in 1989 and helped raise her two daughters. He was an avid morel mushroom hunter and fisherman and loved cars. He was preceded in death by his wife, parents, a step-granddaughter, and a niece and nephew. Surviving are step-daughters Wendy and Heather Rodriquez; step-grandchildren Caleb Sugden, Jace and HarLeigh; step great-grandson Leigham Sugden; brother Michael (Kim) Olney; sisters Judy Noel, Beverly (Thomas) Compton, and Deborah (Charles) Rife; and step-brothers Terry (Karin Thorne) Ross and Thomas Ross. Donations may go to Seventh Day Adventist Church.

Sue A. Ripley, 78, passed away Feb. 6, 2021. Sue was born on June 16, 1942 to Lawrence and Elizabeth (Strait) Miller. Sue is survived by her sister, Jodie (Terry) Cripps; son Brian (Tamela) Campbell; daughter Kris Campbell; and grandchildren Brenda (Jim) Backoff and Rich Campbell. She was preceded in death by her parents, brother and sister-in-law Michael (Mick) and Caroline Miller; and her husband, Robert (Bob) Ripley. After graduating with the Central High School class of 1960 in Muncie, Ind., Susie attended Ball State University, earning her associate degree as a secretary. She worked as an HR technician for more than 25 years at the Upjohn Company. There she met Bob; they were married in 1988. Sue and Bob shared many interests including a love of water and boating, socializing with friends, traveling to warm, sunny destinations, and watching sports. Sue’s deepest happiness came from being surrounded by her family and the people she loved. Visit her page at

Terry Marshall Smith, 68, Portage, formerly of Vicksburg, passed away on Feb. 4, 2021. He was born to Belmonte and Gloria (Gilley) Smith on Feb. 22, 1952, in Kalamazoo and grew up in Fulton. He was a 1970 graduate of Vicksburg High School, where he enjoyed playing sports, excelling in football and track. He also joined a band with some fellow classmates, playing the bass guitar. During the spring of his senior year in high school, he suffered a horrible head injury while pole vaulting. He dealt with the after-effects of that injury and many more physical ailments the remainder of his life. Through it all, he rarely complained and truly was, in his own words, “tough, just plain tough.” He worked at the Kalamazoo County Road Commission for 30 years, and his family was a great source of pride to him. Terry is survived by his three children, Jeff (Erin), Ben (Michelle) and Andrew; 14 grandchildren; and siblings Dan (Vicki) Smith, Steve (Judy) Smith and Donna (Dwight) Blodgett. He was preceded in death by his parents. Services have been held. Donations may go to the Vicksburg High School Athletic Boosters.

Ronald John Spiker, 83, Schoolcraft, passed away at Bronson Hospital Feb. 1, 2021 after sustaining injuries from a tractor accident on his farm. Ron was born and raised in Kalamazoo and was a graduate of Kalamazoo Central’s class of 1955. Ron joined the Navy and was stationed at the Naval Air Station in Kingsville, Texas, from 1955-1958. Ron worked as an air traffic controller with the FAA until 1981, forming many lifelong friendships. He worked in many busy control towers, including Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Detroit, Hawaii and Oklahoma.  Ron was a proud member of the Operating Engineers Local 324 from which he retired in 1999. Ron enjoyed family, being outdoors, gardening, hunting, and Tiger baseball. Ron is survived by his children, John (Barbara) Spiker and Susan (Neil) Farrell; grandchildren John (Camilla) Herron, Myra (Nathan) Delaney, Jessica Farrell, Christina (Michael) Dimovski; and great-grandchildren Katelynn Delaney, William Delaney, Aleksandar Dimovski, Ivan Dimovski and Saoirse Herron. He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Stella (Fus) Spiker.

Richard Wayne Tully, 79, Schoolcraft, passed away Feb. 11, 2021. Richard was born June 24, 1941 in Charleston, West Virginia. His family moved to Mt. Pleasant, where he met Barbara Kay Johnston. They were married July 1, 1961. He joined the U.S. Army, serving from 1961-1964. He was stationed in Fort Benning, Georgia and was honorably discharged as a sergeant. The young family moved to Albion and eventually settled in Schoolcraft, where Richard started a driving career, hauling liquid oxygen for AGA Burdox (Gases), retiring in 1998. Richard was a devout Christian and loved music. Richard was preceded in death by his wife of almost 60 years, Barbara Kay Johnston; daughter Dyana Lee Johnson (Brett); granddaughter Eliya Monet Rain Hayward; parents Silas Edgar and Rebecca; and brother David Tully. He is survived by his daughters and sons-in law Angie (Russell) Hayward of Mattawan, Becky (Nathan) Volker of Allegan, Cindy (Bill) Hetrick of Vicksburg and Brett Johnson of Portage; grandchildren David (Katie) Hayward, Kerigan Hayward, Cole (Kate) Hayward, Molly Hayward, Seth Hayward, Randi (Frank) Salisbury, Jordan (Carissa) Hayward, Ben Hayward, Leah Hayward, Tatum Hayward, Daniel (Rochelle) Stroud, Jimmy (Deziree) Page, Bridgette (Gideon) Page, Emmaline (Kyle) Harvey, Jeremiah Johnson, Zechariah Johnson; and 21 great-grandchildren; brother Daniel Tully; sister Gloria Murphy; and many nieces and nephews. Donations may go to Schoolcraft Assembly of God Benevolent Fund. Visit his page at

Joel Lynn Ulsh, 73, Vicksburg, passed away Feb. 17, 2021. He was born Aug. 27, 1947 in Kalamazoo, the son of Eldon and Arlene (Richards) Ulsh. Joel attended Vicksburg High School before finishing his GED while serving in the United States Army. He moved from Michigan to California in the 1980s and began his lifelong passion of working with cars. One of Joel’s favorite hobbies was to track his family’s genealogy. He was very proud of following his family tree all the way back to 1300s Germania. He was preceded in passing by his parents; siblings Bill, Eldonna, and two baby brothers. Surviving are his wife of 35 years, Louella (Baptista) Ulsh; children Joel, Tracy, Toni, Jason, and Cassidy; siblings Don and Jerry; and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. In accordance with Joel’s wishes, cremation has taken place, and he will be laid to rest with his father and grandparents at Beard Cemetery. While visiting Joel’s tribute, please take a moment to light a candle and share a memory. The Ulsh family is being assisted by McCowen & Secord Funeral Homes.

Charles Van Ostran, 85, Climax-Scotts area, passed away Jan. 29, 2021 at Hospice of Kalamazoo. Charles was born Dec. 17, 1935 in Traverse City to Charles and Marie Van Ostran. Charles met his wife, Deanna Jean Brown, in high school. Charles proposed to Dee at the Cheery Bowl Drive-In Theater, and they were married on Oct. 19, 1954. They moved to Kalamazoo, where he worked for Rex Paper Company. Then in 1965, Charles was hired by General Motors, where he spent 30 years as a journeyman tool and die maker. He retired in 1995 and moved to Climax-Scotts where he enjoyed gardening, sports, fishing, and vacationing in Traverse City with Kathy and Neil. Charles is survived by his wife of 66 years, Deanna; brothers Bert (Pam) and Lyle; sisters Doris (Ed) and Ruth; sons Charles (Nancy), Scott (Carmin) and Doug (Dee); several aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. Charles was preceded in death by his mother and father, his son Terry and his granddaughter Jennifer.

Michael Gale Voss, 54, Marcellus, passed away at home Jan. 26, 2021, surrounded by his family. Michael was born in Kalamazoo on May 2, 1966, the son of Gale Alden Voss and Patricia Ann Wdowicki. On Mar. 28, 1992, in Paw Paw, he married DeeAnn (Melville) Voss, who survives. Michael was a lab technician, working for many years at J. Rettenmaier USA of Schoolcraft. He also enjoyed his seasonal time working at Melville’s Campground in Marcellus. Michael most enjoyed spending his time outdoors fishing, boating and camping. Michael is survived by his father, Gale Voss of Schoolcraft; wife DeeAnn (Melville) Voss; brothers Brad (Korey Flick) Voss of Vicksburg and Jeff (Irene) Voss of Plainwell; sister Joni Voss of Kalamazoo; daughter Abigail Voss; and sons Alex (Kristi) Voss and Austin (Emily Nettie) Voss, all of Marcellus. Michael was preceded in death by his mother. Services have been held. Donations may go to West Michigan Cancer Center or to Elara Hospice Care. Visit his page at

Marilyn June David-Irwin-Wilson, 90, went to be with her Lord on Feb. 11, 2021 at Country Living of Hillsdale. She was born in Mason on August 8, 1930, to William and Mary Benham, who predeceased her. An in-person and virtual memorial service was to be held at the Hillsdale Church of the Nazarene on Feb. 20 with Rev. Mike Prince officiating. The family is encouraging friends and family to join virtually in celebrating her life. Due to COVID-19 and family health conditions, the family is requesting all who attend in-person to wear a mask. Marilyn has been interred at Vicksburg Cemetery beside her first husband, Royal David. Marilyn had a passion for mission work. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Hillsdale Church of the Nazarene to be used for missions. Please make checks payable to Hillsdale Church of the Nazarene, 208 N West St. Hillsdale MI 49242. A full obituary can be viewed at


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Patricia Rene Aldrich, 92, Schoolcraft, passed away peacefully Dec. 4, 2020 at White Oaks Assisted Living Center. Patricia was born Sept. 13, 1928 to Emerson and Bernice Houts. She was married to Neal C. Aldrich Sept. 24, 1948. Pat grew up and lived in Schoolcraft her whole life. She loved her little town and being active in her community. She retired from Kalamazoo County State Bank after 30 years, and worked at Norma’s Antiques for 25 years. For many years, she enjoyed volunteering at the Schoolcraft Community Library and was also a member of the Order of the Eastern Star. Pat loved music and ballroom dancing with her husband. Her family includes her children, Timothy Aldrich and Larry (Patsy) Aldrich; grandchildren Amy (Jeff) Triplett, Gabriel (Kari) Aldrich, Benjamin (Lisa) Aldrich and Jeremy (Kelly) Aldrich; great grandchildren Zackary Triplett, Henry Aldrich, Mason Aldrich, and Maylee Aldrich; sister Norma Whybrew; sister-in-law Jeanette Houts and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, Emerson and Bernice Houts; her husband of 55 years, Neal Aldrich; her daughter-in-law, Elisabeth Aldrich; and her brother, Errol Houts, Sr. Donations may go to Schoolcraft Community Library or to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan. Visit Patricia’s page at

Julia (Julie) Susan Beran, 77, Schoolcraft, passed away Dec. 14, 2020. She was born Sept. 1, 1943 in Kalamazoo to Louis C. and Camilla A. (Hatley) Berky. Julie met John Beran, the love of her life, before her senior year in high school. They were voted “Couple Most Likely to Stay Together” and they did for over 60 years. She was a loving wife, mother and grandma and enjoyed preparing holiday meals at her house and surprising everyone with a handmade felt ornament each Christmas. She also enjoyed sewing, embroidery, word searches, gardening, bird feeding and her grandchildren’s school functions. Julie was preceded in death by her parents and two brothers. She is survived by her husband, John; daughters Diana Beran, Kathy (Kevin) Richards, and Cindy Beran; and grandchildren Emily (Cody) Marshall, Alysia Stozicki, Ethan Richards and Nicholas Richards. Visit Julie’s page at

Steven L. DeHaan, 70, Schoolcraft, passed away at home on Dec. 27, 2020 after a courageous battle with cancer. Steve was born in Kalamazoo, a son of Steven and Laura (Kannegeiter) DeHaan. He graduated from Parchment High School, served in the US Army and was a deputy with the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Department for 37 years. On July 1, 1988, he married Debbie (Adams) DeHaan, who survives. Also surviving are his children, Zach (Robin) DeHaan, Stephanie (Jeff) Blaskiewicz, Megan (Josh) Knight and Alan Cherette; grandchildren Lauren, Morgan, Gracie, Tyler, Adelih, Sophia; great-granddaughter Alaïa; brother and sisters Kathy Hoeksema, Pat (Ed) Doorlag, Larry (Ruth) DeHaan and sister-in-law Cheryl DeHaan; brother-in-law and sister-in-law Dave and Dawn Llewellyn and sister-in-law DeAnn Adams; as well as several nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family members and friends. Steve was preceded in death by his parents, Steven and Laura DeHaan, brother Jack DeHaan, brother-in-law Edwin Hoeksema and mother-in-law Helen (Wylie) Adams. Visit his page at

Cheryl Ann Derrick, 72, passed away Nov. 14, 2020. She was born in Kalamazoo July 30, 1948, the daughter of Loyd and Loyola Wilson, and was a lifelong resident of the Kalamazoo area. She married the love of her life, Donald Derrick, Jan. 20, 1968. They raised two wonderful sons that she was immensely proud of, David (Kim) and Matthew (Shelly) Derrick. She leaves behind grandchildren Dillon Smith, Jenna Derrick, Bailey Ann Derrick, Nathan and Morgan Jackson,and Kelsey and Max Meyers; and four great grandchildren. Cheryl was an advanced antique collector and dealer; she always enjoyed the thrill of the hunt for the next prize. If you ever met Cheryl, she would never forget your face or your name and you were friends for life. Due to COVID concerns, a memorial service to celebrate Cheryl’s life will be held on a later date. The family asks that when you are having a cocktail on the back porch, patio, deck, fire pit, dock or the pontoon boat to raise your glass in remembrance of Cheryl. Visit her page at

Paul “Champ” Eisenhardt, 80, formerly of Scotts, died Nov. 21, 2020. Champ was born in Kalamazoo and raised in Comstock, where he graduated in 1958, receiving awards in track, football, basketball, and baseball. In adulthood, Champ played fast pitch softball, bowled, and fished with his buddy, Jimmy Vanloo. Champ retired from General Motors after 30-plus years. Champ loved spending time with his family in Bradenton, Fla. Champ will be dearly missed by Sharon, his wife of 38 years; children Catherine (Ed) Nyberg, James Dekker Jr. and Julie Dekker, all of Michigan, Scott Eisenhardt of Florida; grandchildren Amber (Ben) Hammon, Shalyn (Jordan) Bourdo, Rachel Nyberg, Kyle Nyberg, Emilee (Devon) Jones, Chelsea (Jesse) James, Mareea Dekker, and James Dekker III; great grandchildren Nolan, Madysen (Payton), Holland, Everly, Julianah, Carson, Brecken, Wyatt, Dakota Rose, Matthew and Baby Jones, due in 2021; sister-in-law Pat DeBoer and brother-in-law David Leedy, as well as many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Virginia and Paul; siblings David, Bob and Ruthann; nephews David and Jeff; niece Rhonda; daughter-in-law Tracy Dekker and brother-in-law John DeBoer. Visit Paul’s page at

James Edward Fess, Jr., Scotts, passed away Dec. 19, 2020. Jim was born on Nov. 21, 1955 in Vicksburg, the son of James Sr. and Kathryn Jean (Jennings) Fess. Jim graduated from Vicksburg High School in 1974 and participated in football, shot put, and choir. After high school he joined the U.S. Navy. He married Sharon Darling in 1980 at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church. Together, they raised two sons, Robert and Matthew. Jim retired in 2012 after working over 30 years at Upjohn/Pfizer. Jim had the natural ability for building things “correctly” and was always there for his sons to help them with projects. He enjoyed ice fishing, softball and bowling. He loved the Detroit Lions, car shows, going to the races with his friend, Virgil Hopwood, and traveling with Sharon. Jim was preceded in death by his mother, a sister, a brother and his special dog, Rufus. He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Sharon, and their sons, Robert Fess of Scotts and Matthew (Brittney) Fess of Vicksburg; granddaughter Clara Marie Fess; and his cat, Fluffs. Also surviving are his father James Sr. (Diana) Fess of Vicksburg; sisters Pat, Nancy, and Melanie; and several nieces and nephews. Visit his page at Donations may go to the American Cancer Society.

H. Arlene Forsythe, 83, Vicksburg, was called home to join her Lord and Savior Dec. 19, 2020 at The Laurels of Coldwater. She was born May 6, 1937 in Bancroft, Michigan, the daughter of William E. and Estella May (Morgan) Self. Her early life was spent in Corunna, where she was a 1955 graduate of Corunna High School. On Aug. 17, 1957 she married Richard Forsythe. She worked at Redmond Motors in Owosso, managed the Hallmark House in Midland, was the librarian at John Wesley College in Owosso, and was a pastor’s wife. Arlene resided in Vicksburg for the past 26 years, retiring from the Michigan District office of the Church of the Nazarene in Vicksburg following many years as office manager. She enjoyed cooking, sewing and playing the organ. Arlene found the most joy when she was surrounded by her family, especially her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She is survived by her husband of 63 years, Richard; daughters Sheryllynn (Roger) McBride of Brighton and Teresa (Rod) McBride of Rockford; son Richard Forsythe of St. Augustine, Florida; grandchildren Mark, Jeff, Amanda, Brooke, Joshua, Clorissa and Elizabeth; six great grandchildren and expecting her seventh; sister Lila Wright of Owosso and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, three sisters and one brother. Donations may go to Sturgis Church of the Nazarene. Visit her page at

Etta Josephine Gould, 100, Vicksburg, passed away surrounded by her loving family Dec. 21, 2020. She was born in Kalamazoo on July 21, 1920, the daughter of Charles Gleason and Gertrude May Truax. She married the love of her life, Bramwell Kenneth Gould, on November 15, 1940. Together they raised six children in the Vicksburg area. She devoted her entire life to the care of others and spent 20 years working as a home health aide before embarking on her nursing career at Bronson Methodist Hospital as an LPN, retiring in 1995 after 35 years of service. During her retirement, she spent time traveling with her son, James, and her daughter, Wanda, until James passed away in 2010. She was preceded in passing by her husband; children James, John and Bonnie; siblings Perry, Harold and Dora; and her parents. Left to cherish her loving memory are her children, Wanda, Marvin and Betty (Lee) Hambright; four grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, two great great-grandchildren and several nieces, nephews and cousins. Donations may go to Elara Caring Hospice, Senior Services or the American Cancer Society. The family would like to thank both Elara and Senior Services for the care and support they provided. Visit Etta’s page at

Joyce D. Hoeksema, 83, Portage, passed away Dec. 6, 2020. Joyce was born May 19, 1937 to Raymond and Lettie (Canavan) Snook. She graduated in 1955 from Vicksburg High School. She married Jim Hoeksema on June 29, 1956, and they became partners in the family business, Jim Hoeksema Greenhouses. As hard as the family worked, they always made time to travel as a family. In retirement, Joyce and Jim enjoyed traveling, especially to golf destinations. She also followed baseball and was engaged in politics. She is survived by three daughters, Kathy Hoeksema-Aivars of Schoolcraft, Cindy (Andy) Medema of Mattawan and Lori Hoeksema of Schoolcraft; grandchildren Andrea Medema, Nathan (Jamie) Medema, and Bailey (Jeffrey) Witt; great grandchildren Andrew and Lily Medema, Peyton and Gage Witt. She is also survived by sisters Rayletta Boone and Jeanne Watson; brother John Snook; brothers-in-law Don (Nancy) Hoeksema, Dale (Marilyn) Hoeksema, and Harold Vlietstra; sisters-in-law Sue Snook, Nancy Snook, Kathy Hoeksema, and Carol Hoeksema. Joyce was preceded in death by her husband; parents; brothers Emanuel, James and Eugene Snook; sister Marveta Calhoun; sister-in-law Doris Vlietstra; brothers-in-law Gerald Hoeksema, Carl Hoeksema, Ed Hoeksema, Orville Boone and Paul Calhoun. Services have been held. Visit her page at Donations may go to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.

Barbara Jean (Dorey) Kissinger, Kalamazoo, passed away Dec. 11, 2020 at home. The daughter of Marvin and Betty (Weinberg) Dorey, she was born April 21, 1958 and grew up in Vicksburg, graduating in 1977. When Barbara was in high school, her 7-year-old nephew Peter Leja passed away from cancer, influencing her decision to go into the medical field. She became a certified nurse’s aide and devoted 42 years of working in nursing homes, adult foster homes, and for the last 15 years in the homes of patients with brain injuries. On Sept. 18, 1982, Barbara was married to Timothy L. Kissinger, who preceded her in death. She was also preceded in passing by her parents. Barbara was a past member of Mid-Lakes Chorus of Sweet Adelines International. and a member of St. Monica Catholic Church. Barb loved to travel. She is survived by her siblings Walter (Patricia) Dorey, Darlene Leja, LouAnn Laurence, Maxine Haywood; sister-in-law Christina Dorey; in-laws Sharon (Greg) Kilburn and Susan VandenBerg; and many nieces and nephews. She was also preceded in death by a brother, Robert Dorey; brothers-in-law Henry Leja, James Laurence and David Haywood; nephew Peter Leja and great niece Alexis Peterson. Donations may go to West Michigan Cancer Center, Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan or St. Monica Catholic Church.

Clare Gene Seaburg, 93, Schoolcraft, passed away on Dec. 15, 2020. Clare was born on March 16, 1927 in Cassopolis, the son of Frank and Aletha (Sutherland) Seaburg. He graduated from Hartford High School and served in the United States Army during the Korean War. He married Yvonne “Tee” Avery on Sept. 15, 1950, together raising three children, Cherie, Cindee and Ty. Clare owned and operated Hydraulic Concrete Corp and enjoyed fishing, bowling, playing cards and helping others. Clare was a member of the Schoolcraft United Methodist Church, Shriners, the Kalamazoo County Masonic Lodge and the West Street Poker Club. Clare and Tee spent 24 summers at Gravel Lake and traveled to Arizona for the winters. Clare was preceded in death by his wife; siblings Harry Seaburg and Ruth Klein. He is survived by his children Cherie (John) Thorp and Cindee (Garry) Moore of Gobles and Ty (Missy) Seaburg of Schoolcraft; 11 grandchildren and 32 great grandchildren with one more on the way. He is also survived by his sister, Linda Miling of Comstock Park, and numerous nieces and nephews. Visit his page at Donations may go to Schoolcraft United Methodist Church and/or Elara Caring Hospice.

Jack Charles Smith, 69, died Oct. 26, 2020 after an eight-month battle with cancer. He was born Jan. 18, 1951 to Jack and Betty Smith of Portage. On Oct. 28, 1972 he married Gretchen Klauss. Jack was employed Upjohn/Pfizer for 32 years as a journeyman pipefitter. After retirement, he worked at Vicksburg Hardware as the Stihl mechanic. Jack was an avid sportsman looking forward to hunting season each fall. He took much pleasure in retelling his hunting escapades. He also enjoyed fishing and time spent with his hunting and fishing buddies. He was admired by many and passed on his knowledge to all who showed interest. His biggest delight was his family. Jack and Gretchen were married 48 years and were devoted to each other. He was proud of daughters Regan (Pete) and Lauren (Jesse) and delighted in his grandchildren, Claire, Willem, Charlie and Alora, and step grandchildren Tucker and Annabelle. His greatest heartache was that he would not be here for them as they grow up. He is also survived by his sister, Diane. Visit Jack’s page at

Ruth Anna Smith, 78, Vicksburg, went home to be with her Lord unexpectedly yet peacefully Nov. 13, 2020. She was born to Harville and Leona (Kuenke) Campbell Oct. 29, 1942, in St. Louis, Mo. She was united in marriage to Carl Joseph Smith June 18, 1960, and soon began a family of seven children. Ruth and Carl were married for 54 years. She was a grandmother to 21 grandchildren, 22 great grandchildren and an aunt to several nieces and nephews. Ruth’s biggest joy was spending time with her family. She is survived by her children, Angela (David) Wilson of Scotts, Deborah Smith of Galesburg, Carl “Sonny” (Jamie) Smith II of Jackson, Karla (Bill) Vroman of Vicksburg, Darla (Jack) Smith-McNett of Vicksburg, Merton Smith of Vicksburg and Wendy (Terry) Smith-Walker of Galesburg; siblings Tom (Diane) Campbell, Marge Lamb, Francis Pennington and Martha “Marty” Thompson, 20 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents, beloved husband, a brother, four sisters and a granddaughter. Visit her page at


Marilyn E. Baird, 83, Fulton, passed away Oct. 4. Marilyn was born Sept. 30, 1937, in Vicksburg, the daughter of Pete and Bernice (Weimer) Holt. Marilyn enjoyed music, graduating from Vicksburg High School where she met David Baird. Married April 22, 1955, the couple created a home and raised four children. Marilyn’s sewing and crafting interests complemented David’s skills in woodworking, leading to their participation in many craft shows. She was a longtime member of the Prairie Baptist Church. Marilyn is survived by her husband of 65 years, David; children Stephen (Mary) Baird of Coopersville, Joan (Bob) Huffman of New Mexico, Thomas Baird of Florida, Ellen (Mike) Ashbee of Missouri; eight grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; two great great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents; brothers Ted Holt, Don Holt and Tom Holt; and sister Elizabeth Ann. Visit her page at Donations may go to Rural Bible Missions or mail directly to RBM Ministries c/o Amy & Paul P.O. Box 128 Plainwell, MI 49080.

Newell Burson Dean, 84, Schoolcraft, passed away Oct. 1 at Bronson Methodist Hospital. He was born at the Burson family homestead north of Schoolcraft Feb. 28, 1936, the son of Leslie Newell Dean and Alice Mae (Burson Dean) Schug. Newell was raised in Portage, graduated from Portage schools, and received his degree in agriculture from MSU in 1956. Newell married Ruth Ellen Garlic March 23, 1956. They moved to the Carl Abel farm in Cedar Springs. He accepted an offer to manage the Allan Milham farm in Portage in 1957. In 1964, he purchased the Maynard Jeffries farm in Schoolcraft, where he and Ruth raised their family. He was a member of the Schoolcraft United Methodist Church for 52 years, and active in leadership of Farm Bureau, Prairie Ronde Township, Kalamazoo County, Lawton Board of Education, Lawton Athletic Boosters and the Van Buren County Youth Fair-Junior Livestock Producers. Newell was preceded in death by his brother-in-law, Ronald Zentz; sister-in-law Diana Dean; granddaughter Kendra Dean; and great grandson Paul Dean Rozeboom. He is survived by his wife; children Julia (Paul) Rozeboom, David Dean, Bruce (Therese) Dean and Gary (Wendy) Dean; sister Millicent Zentz; brothers James Dean and Duane (Sharon) Dean; 13 grandchildren; 20 great grandchildren; and numerous brothers, sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews. Visit Newell’s page at Share memories with the family at Donations may go to Schoolcraft United Methodist Church Memorial Fund.

David Marion Huntington, 71, passed away Sept. 26. He was born to Marion and Theresa Huntington April 24, 1949, in Vicksburg. He was a Vietnam veteran. He was joined in marriage to Linda Louise Loosier April 28, 1973, and later welcomed one son, David. David loved camping at Leidy Lake Campground with his wife, Linda and son, Davie. They had many great years there and made many friends. Throughout his career, David worked at Gibson Guitars and Mead Paper. He was a hard worker and always did whatever he could to take care of his family and help his friends. David was preceded in death by his wife of 41 years, Linda, his parents and brothers-in-law John Overton and Jarry Loosier. He survived by his son, David (Brandi) Huntington; brother, Leslie Huntington of Vicksburg; sisters Marilyn (Ed Sr.) Miller of Coldwater, Rosemary (Raymond) Weller of Coldwater, Alice (Mike) Bockstanz of Portage, Lori Overton of Three Rivers, and Brenda (Bob) Piper of Vicksburg; grandchildren KJ, Alyssa, Noah and Eveah. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews that he loved very much. Services will be announced at a later date.

Thomas L. Karns, 58, Vicksburg passed away Sept. 25. Tom was born March 18, 1962, in Marshall, the son of Thomas and Eleanor (Napientek) Karns. Tom graduated in 1980 from Marshall High School. He proudly served in the United States Army 101st Airborne from 1980 until 1989. It was during his time in the service that he became a nurse. When he returned home, he worked at the State Hospital for over 10 years. On July 2, 2004, he married Theora Edwards. He was preceded in death by his wife and parents. He is survived by children Tyson (Melanie) Souza of Oregon and Trina (Carlos) Sanchez of California; their mother, L.J. Souza of California; step-children Tonya (Andy) Taylor of Scotts, Lyndie (Brian Tassell) Wall of Fulton, Conor (Jenny) Schaub of Schoolcraft; father and mother-in-law Linden and Lois Edwards; grandchildren Lea, Neil, Vincent, Kasey, Morgan, Gracie Lue, Eric Thomas, Wyatt, Isla and Oliver. He is also survived by brothers Larry (Julia) Karns, of Battle Creek and Michael Karns, of Texas; sisters Donna (Dennis) Wintersteen of Marshall and Becky (Rich) Simpkins of Mississippi; sisters-in-law Pam (Jeff) Foy of Climax and Jenny (Chan) Edwards of Vicksburg; many nieces and nephews; and his beloved dog, Geno. Tom will be cremated and his ashes will be interred in a private ceremony at Fort Custer National Cemetery. Visit his page at

James (Jim) Mendocha, 68, passed away peacefully on Oct. 18. The youngest of five children, Jim was born Dec. 4, 1951 to Frank and Wanda (Zoilkowski) Mendocha. He was a graduate of WMU with a bachelor’s degree in art. On Oct. 1, 1994, he married his soulmate and the love of his life, Janet Prosser. Their family quickly grew with the addition of their two wonderful sons, Matthew and Michael, whom he adored. Jim lived an adventurous early life. He lived all over the country. His mother often said he was born with a gypsy heel. His travels frequently coincided with various occupations, from being a stenographer at the Pentagon while in the army to owning his own candle making store in Estes Park, Colorado, to finally helping his wife run The Fulton Little Store. Jim enjoyed playing and listening to all kinds of music. He was known for his sense of humor, story-telling, and spending time with lifelong friends, Mark Weeks and Eric Matthies. Jim was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Wanda Nash. He is survived by his loving wife, Janet Mendocha; sons Matthew and Michael; brother Jack Mendocha; sisters Carol (Arthur) Pollari, lovingly referred to as Spud and French Fry, and Sally Mendocha; and several nieces and nephews. A gathering of friends and family will be scheduled for a later date. Donations may go to Rose Arbor Hospice or West Michigan Cancer Center.

Robert “Bob” Peck, 83, passed away peacefully Sept. 29, 2020, in his hometown of Campton, Kentucky. The son of the late Henry and Ellen Banks Peck, he was born in Campton Jan. 22, 1937. Bob moved to Kalamazoo in the 1950s, finding his niche as a drywall hanger and finisher for his former brother-in-law Jim, owner of Burns Drywall in Portage. Bob did countless jobs for Martz Home Builders, Louis Roberts Home Builders and other side jobs for folks who requested his work. He was a regular in the “drywallers’ corner” at Derk’s Restaurant in Portage, before retiring to Kentucky. Bob was a talented guitarist and enjoyed riding his motorcycle. He is survived by his wife, Mary Burrow Peck of Campton; son Bill (Melissa) of Warren, Michigan; daughters Cathy Conner of Winchester, Kentucky, Missy (Lee) Noel of Portage, Colleen (George) Ogan of Kalamazoo, and Christine (Gary) Allen of Vicksburg; 17 grandchildren; 26 great-grandchildren; brother Woodrow “Sam” Peck of Campton; sister Dixie Peck of Campton; and special friend Anna Tate whom he called “his bingo wife.” He was preceded in death by daughter Geri Docsa; a grandchild; and sister, Berneda Swim. Bob was laid to rest in Campton.

K. Mark Pedler, 60, of Three Rivers, formerly of Elkhart, Indiana, passed away Oct. 11. He was born Dec. 30, 1959, in Elkhart. He graduated from Concord High School in Elkhart and was a journeyman tool and die maker for 25 years. Mark was preceded in death by his wife of 26 years, Diane. He is survived by daughters Kristine Smithers of Three Rivers and Kelly Pedler of Galesburg; grandchildren Kaleb, Kadin, Emileigh, Ethan, Adleigh and Kensley; brother Kim J. Pedler of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin; niece Chelsea Pedler; nephew Jordan Pedler; and mother Karen Lemon of Elkhart. Condolences can be sent to Avink Funeral Home. Donations may go to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan. Visit his page at

Bonnie Lynne (Wedel) Russell, of Kalamazoo, passed away Oct. 18, with family at her side. Bonnie was born to George and Joyce (Christensen) Wedel May 29, 1969, in Kalamazoo. When she was a year old, the family moved to Scotts, where she grew up enjoying animals and the outdoors. Bonnie loved music, eventually sharing her talents with the praise band at Country Christian Evangelical Free Church. Bonnie was also a talented designer, managing the flower shop at Wedel’s Garden Center. Bonnie was a loyal member of the Republican Party for 20 years and attended the 2016 National Republican Convention. She and Rich were engaged at Little Sable Lighthouse near Silver Lake Oct. 26, 2018, and traveled extensively. She enjoyed being mom to Rich’s kids Bryan, Matt and Nicole and grandma to their children. Bonnie leaves behind her beloved husband, Rich Russell; his parents Bill and Ruth Russell and Bill and Kathy Runkle; siblings Terrie (Dana) Schwartz and Andrew (Danielle) Wedel; her special niece Andrea (Gary) Truax; nephews Nathan (Lindsey) Schwartz, Nicholas Schwartz, Zachariah Wedel, Caleb Wedel and Eli Wedel; and grand nieces and nephews Dylan, Jackson, Alaina and Callen Truax and Stella Schwartz. Services will be held at a later date. Visit Bonnie’s page at Donations may go to Kalamazoo Gospel Mission and Country Christian Evangelical Free Church.

Alan Paul Stanton, 66, of Constantine Township, passed away Oct. 14, 2020. Alan was born July 21, 1954, in Battle Creek to Gerald and Ruth (Wing) Stanton. He grew up in Fulton on the family farm, attending and graduating from Athens Area Schools. On April 24, 1993, he married the former Theresa Stark. They relocated to Constantine Township in 1994 and have resided there since. Alan was employed as a forklift operator by White Pigeon Paper Mill. He was a hard worker, a storyteller and an outdoorsman. He attended Factoryville Bible Church and Bethany Chapel. Alan is survived by his wife of 27 years, Theresa; children Sandy McCausland and Bill (Teri) Bambrick, both of Constantine; grandchildren Joe McCausland, Brittany Bambrick and Katelyn McCausland; great-grandchildren Grady, Piper and Stefan Criddle and Rose Carr; siblings Bethel (Joe) Halladay of Belgrade, Montana, Leta Gould Stanton of Yoakum, Texas, Carlena Hacker of Mendon, Joel (Marlene) Stanton of Liberal, Kansas, and Lois Stanton of LaGrange; many nieces and nephews, numerous friends and his best furry buddy “Mike.” He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Ardis Hall. Services have been held. Memorial contributions are suggested to the family to establish the Gerald and Ruth Stanton Memorial Scholarship to be awarded to an academically average college-bound student who shows financial need. Please visit to share memories, pictures and videos with the family.

Pamela J. VanWeelden, 63, of Portage, passed away Sept. 28 from heart complications at Spectrum Hospital in Grand Rapids. Pam was born Feb. 1, 1957 in Kalamazoo, the middle child of Fred and Ester Drenth. She spent 43 wonderful years married to her husband, Dennis VanWeelden. The couple was later blessed with their son, Jeremy VanWeelden. Family and friends were especially important to her, and she always made time to help care for them when needed. Pam is survived by her loving husband, Dennis; son Jeremy; brothers Douglas and Randy Drenth; sisters Terri Veildman and Jennie Drenth; and sisters-in-law Cindy Boven and Linda Moed. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a Celebration of Life service will be postponed until spring 2021. The celebration will take place at her home on Austin Lake. For those who wish to attend the celebration, please send a note to Dennis VanWeelden at 2363 Woody Noll Drive, Portage, Michigan 49002 for date and time confirmation. Visit her page at