Category Archives: Obituaries


Kenneth Allen Fowler, 68, Ft. Myers, FL, formerly of Schoolcraft, died August 9. He graduated from Vicksburg High School in 1967. He played many sports, but football was his favorite. After graduating, Ken attended a year of community college, and then enlisted with the Army Reserve in 1969 and was honorably discharged May 19, 1975. He purchased the Snow’s IGA store in Vicksburg and renamed the store Fowler’s Grocery. The previous owners, the Mattimores, were like family to Ken, and they served as a mentor to him. He sold Fowler’s grocery in 1985 and purchased the Tastee Freeze in Mendon that same year. He owned the Tastee Freeze for two years, and then sold it, and purchased a restaurant in Vicksburg in 1987 called Marjo’s. Eight years later he purchased a second restaurant in Schoolcraft and called it Marjo’s West. He sold both restaurants in 2005 and moved to Florida. Ken loved to watch his boys play football for the Schoolcraft Eagles, and although he was proud of all of his boys’ accomplishments, he was especially proud of the 1988 State Championship, when his son Adam played on the team. He organized many golf leagues, and for several years held a Fowler Open tournament. He is survived by his three children, Eric David Fowler, and Adam Scott Fowler (Tammie) of Schoolcraft, and Joshua Mark Fowler of Saginaw; and a sister, Suzie (Dennis) Fitzgibbon of South Haven. He is also survived by 10 grandchildren, a great grandchild and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his mother and stepfather, Dorothy June (Karl) Smith, and his father, Brenton Dodge Fowler; and a brother, Brenton Donald Fowler. Donations may go to Schoolcraft Eagles Football Fund.

Bernadine “Sally” I. Inman, 94, Vicksburg, passed away October 11. Sally was born March 9, 1924 in Kalamazoo, the daughter of James and Neta (Smith) Mears. She is described as strong-willed, a little feisty, and very independent. Sally enjoyed her walks and was known for walking six miles a day. Sally is survived by sons, George (Juanita) Inman, of Vicksburg; Marvin (Linda) Inman, of Vicksburg; Rich (Myra) Inman, of Vicksburg; four grandchildren and many great grandchildren. She is also survived by her two sisters, Bid Erskine, of Schoolcraft and Midge (Skip) Engelman, of Portage. She was preceded in death by her daughter, Katherine Cook; brothers James “Dune” Mears, Justin “Sonny” Mears, and William “Big Bill” Mears and her longtime special friend, DeVerne Wallace. Visit Sally’s page at Donations may go to South County Community Services.

Phillip R. Mott, 82, Vicksburg, passed away Oct. 3. He was born to Harry and Jessie (Dalton) Mott on September 5, 1936 in Dowagiac. His father gathered holly in the wild and would be considered to be a wholesale florist in today’s world. Phil started off working at service stations and in auto repair at a young age, continuing in that field until 1990. As a young man, he was in the Air National Guard for six years. In the early 70s Phil began learning to cultivate his own variety of holly in addition to working at the gas stations. In 1990, Phil went back full time to his family roots and into the nursery business. He and wife, Mardee, became the first holly cultivators in the country for Michigan winterberry. They went on to become the largest grower of Michigan winterberry in North America. The family Christmas Barn and tree farm were also well known among families in southwest Michigan. He flew both planes and helicopters, was a deer hunter, and an avid sports fisherman. He also owned a sprint car and enjoyed watching races. Phil is survived by his wife, Mardee; children, Michelle Mott, of Portage and Michael (Kathleen) Mott, of Kalamazoo; a sister, Janet Knox, of Indiana; and several nieces and nephews. Phil was preceded in death by five siblings. Visit Phil’s page at Donations may go to the West Michigan Cancer Center and American Red Cross.

Jack L. Wiley, 66, Vicksburg, passed away September 27. He was born to Artemus “Art” and Bettie Wiley on February 5, 1952. As a student at Vicksburg High School, he was a state champion wrestler in 1969 and 1970. He was inducted into the Vicksburg High School Sports Hall of Fame. Jack started in excavating right out of high school when his first project was excavating the last nine holes at Olde Mill Golf Course in Schoolcraft. In 1983, Jack started his own business. His last project before retiring after 21 years was Angels Crossing Golf Course in Vicksburg. Jack also used his excavating background to work maintaining the grounds at the Vicksburg Cemetery and Schoolcraft Cemetery for Schoolcraft Township. Over the years, many families were comforted by seeing him at services for family members and knowing he was taking care of burying their loved one. Jack was involved in the St. Joseph County Fair for 31 years. He also volunteered for the Vicksburg Ambulance service in the early to mid-eighties. He is survived by his wife, Julie; children Jack Jr. (Joanne) Wiley, of Vicksburg and Kris (Jamie) Barga, of Vicksburg; grandchildren Michael, John, Dustin, Ally and Torie. Jack is also survived by siblings Jean Stinson, of Decatur; Steve (Penny) Wiley, of Marcellus, and several nephews. Visit Jack’s page at


William “Billy” Michael Bolton, 28, Vicksburg, passed away August 25. He was born to Stanley and Kathy (Giem) Bolton on May 31, 1990. Billy attended Vicksburg schools as well as Sulphur Rock and Viola High School in Arkansas. He loved animals and had a witty sense of humor. Billy’s family includes his mother, Kathy Bolton, of Portage; his father, Stanley (Dawn) Bolton, of Climax; sisters Nickole “Nicki” (Scott) Berger, of Portage; Renee (Adam Clark) Storm, of Tennessee; and Gloria (Adam) Wicks, of Florida; paternal grandmother Violet (Stan) Skrzypek, of Three Rivers; maternal grandmother Peg Giem, of Portage; cherished uncle Donny Bolton, of Three Rivers; and nephews Steven Giem and Luke Clark; brother-in-law Jake Kellogg, of Three Rivers; best friend Thomas “Will” Wyatt, of Vicksburg; and many great aunts and uncles. Billy was preceded in death by his grandfathers, Don Bolton and Seth Giem; great uncle Robert Noel and great-grandmother Beverly Waldron. Visit his page at Donations may go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Dennis “Denny” Boyle, 87, Scotts, died Sept. 11. He was born October 22, 1930 to Edwin and Eleanor Boyle. Denny graduated from Milford High School in 1948. Denny earned a master’s degree at EMU. He taught at Milford High, coached basketball and led his team to the state finals. He married Yvonne Engel in 1951 and moved to Vicksburg to work as registrar at WMU for almost 30 years. Denny served as a member and president of the Vicksburg School Board. He was also president of Vicksburg Rotary and the Vicksburg Village Council. He was the longest-serving general chairperson of the Rotary Showboat. Denny is survived by his children: Katherine (Jay) Crouch, of Niles; Colleen Boyle, of Vicksburg; Audrey Boyle, of Minnesota; Patricia (Scott) Cline, of Schoolcraft; Dennis (Georgia) Boyle, of Portage; Trina (Gary) Boyle-Holmes, of Vicksburg; Tobias (Robyn) Boyle, of Portage; Timothy (Pierina) Boyle, of Missouri; Kevin Boyle, of Vicksburg; Kelly (Didik) Soekarmoen, of Vicksburg; Mary (Jack) Paulsen, of Battle Creek; Maureen (Rob) Brown, of Portage; 31 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his siblings: Patricia Wilbur, of South Carolina; Eleanor “Tommy” Doonan, of Texas; and Milly Webb, of Colorado; a sister-in-law, Audrey McKeon, of Troy; a brother-in-law, Don Butler, of Arizona and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife, Yvonne, in 2013; his sister, Joan Butler; and his grandson, Dennis Boyle-Holmes. Visit his page at Donations may go to Vicksburg Foundation, Vicksburg Rotary and St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church.

Edith May Bradshaw, Schoolcraft, passed away Sept. 7. She was born September 1, 1921. Edith May grew up on the Clark Farm outside Schoolcraft. She was raised by Helen and Alvin Forsyth. She attended the one-room grade school nearby and graduated from Mattawan High School in 1939. She moved to Kalamazoo and married Robert A. Bradshaw on March 1st, 1944. In 1958, she and Bob moved back to Schoolcraft where they lived until 2002. Bob preceded her in death on March 31, 2003. Edith May was a wife, mother, grandmother, homemaker, and bookkeeper. She is survived by her daughter Esther (Jerry) Wiles of Galesburg and son Oliver D. Bradshaw of Richmond, VA, grandsons Christopher A. Bradshaw of Jackson Heights, NY and W. Gregory Bradshaw of Richmond, VA, and many nieces and nephews. Visit her page at

Joseph A. Caporossi, 35, Schoolcraft, passed away unexpectedly at home Sept. 6. Joseph was born in Kalamazoo on December 25, 1982, the son of Patrick A. and Cathy R. (Rhoades) Caporossi. He graduated from Schoolcraft High School in 2001 and attended KVCC. Joe worked at Tile Mart for seven years and then at PNC Bank for ten. In addition to his parents, he is survived by his siblings, Michael (Annie) Waterman, Lisa (Billy) Lynch and Tony (Katherine) Caporossi; nieces and nephews Riley and Spencer Waterman, Arrianna Ring, Vinny Caporossi, Mose Lynch and Kami Caporossi; grandmothers, Lenore Stair and Donna Rhoades; as well as many aunts, uncles and cousins and his dog, Petunia. Joseph was preceded in death by his grandfathers, Raymond Rhoades and Dino Caporossi and step-grandfather, Edward Koperdak. Visit his page at Donations may go to SPCA of SW Mich.

Robert L. Cook, 81, Scotts, died July 30 at Rose Arbor Hospice, where his wife Helen had died six days before. Robert was born and raised in Allegan. He served in the Marines from 1957-60. Afterward, he mentored Marines in Kalamazoo. Robert helped create the Rose Park Veteran’s Memorial. He worked in the packaging industry for 58 years. He was co-founder of Arvco Container Corporation, retiring in 2003. He then formed Speciality Packaging. He was past president of Jaycees, charter president of Kalamazoo Sunrise Rotary, longtime member of Kalamazoo Rotary Club. He is survived by daughters Sally (Carl) Barber of Plainwell; Carrie (John) Hine of Wayland; Rhonda (Steve) Broekema of Schoolcraft; Patti (Scott) Sampley of Kalamazoo; and Robin (Brian) Wicker of St. Michael, Minn.; 12 grandchildren; many great-grandchildren and several beloved nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Robert B. Cook and Donna (Pierce) Cook; sisters Barbara Jean Gilpin and Patricia Whitney; brothers-in-law, Dick Gilpin and George Whitney; and son-in-law Mike Irwin. Donations may go to Young Marines of Kalamazoo or VA Medical Hospital Palliative Care Unit. Visit his page at

Fredericka “Freddi” Coppes, 90, Vicksburg, passed away on Sept. 3. Freddi was preceded in death by her husband, Richard “Dick” Coppes. She was born at home on Patterson Street in Kalamazoo, on May 10, 1928. She was the daughter of Edward and Theresa (Holtman) Mastenbrook. Freddi attended Woodward Elementary School and Kalamazoo Central High School, graduating in 1946. She was a varsity softball player. Freddi retired from Michigan Bell around 1966 to become a farmer. She and Dick bought an 80-90 acre farm in Vicksburg to raise cattle. They bought bull calves at auction, named them, and kept a book on each one, buying 50 new calves per year. She was a founding member of the Ladies Stock Club studying stocks and investing successfully. For years she designed and created special costumes for the featured performers of the Rotary Showboat and helped organize and cook the Thursday night pre-show dinner. She was awarded the distinguished “Red Rose Award” for outstanding support of Rotary projects by a non-member. She was also known for her landscape paintings. She designed the quilt square, representing love of land and country, hanging on the old red barn at the farm. She enjoyed sewing, oil painting, bowling and volunteering for the Vicksburg Ambulance Service. She was a strong supporter of FFA and 4H. Sadly, dementia stole much of the “real” Freddi for the past five years. Visit her page at Donations may go to the Vicksburg Cultural Arts Center (c/o Vicksburg DDA/VCAC) or the South County Community Services.

Jean A. Fleck, 80, Coralville, IA, formerly of Vicksburg, died peacefully Sept. 6. She was born on March 9, 1938 to Chester and Alice (Johnson) Dalman. Jean was a talented musician. By her early teens, Jean provided the organ music at two local churches. She was awarded an organ scholarship to WMU. Jean played trombone in the Vicksburg High School marching band. Music continued throughout her life with dancing, piano and guitar playing, and organized singing (Sweet Adelines). Jean is survived by her husband, Arthur, of Coralville and their three daughters, Elizabeth DeLuca of Matamoras, PA, Julie (Byron) Tabor of Cedar Rapids, IA, and Nicole (Marcus) Fleck-Tooze of Lincoln, Neb.; her grandson, Arthur DeLuca and her sister, Jacqueline Wetmore. Jean was preceded in death by her parents and brother, Gary. Visit her page at

Herbert Mallory Goodwin, 84, Vicksburg, passed away Sept. 22. He was born on February 16, 1934, a son of the late Herbert and Sara (Dustin) Goodwin and was a lifelong area resident. Herbert joined the US Navy in 1955 and was honorably discharged in 1957. He worked for the Kalamazoo County Parks Department as a foreman for 32 years and was honored with a resolution upon his retirement in 1995. Herbert was a member of the Kal-Val Saddle Club and earned numerous awards over his 64 years there. He was an extremely enthusiastic barrel racer and had a passion for his horses. Herbert also took great pride in taking care of the grounds at Kal-Val. He was also a proud member of the Kalamazoo County Sheriff Mounted Division. Herbert is survived by his loving wife, Beverly Goodwin; a daughter, Brenda Goodwin of Vicksburg; three stepsons, Curt (Shelly) Pryor of North Carolina, Eric (Amy) Pryor of Kalamazoo and Dave (Gwen) Pryor of Kalamazoo; eight grandchildren; a sister, Georgia Piper of South Carolina; and many nieces and nephews. Donations may go to Country Christian Evangelical Free Church. Visit his page at

Louise Heller, Vicksburg, passed away August 23. She was born Oct 7, 1933 in Kalamazoo to Helen and Lewis Crawford. As a loving mother, wife and friend, she loved cooking, baking and everything outdoors. She loved teaching her children the many secrets of nature and if you ever needed to know how to spell a word, she was like a walking dictionary. She is survived by her son, Jim, and his wife Renée, five grandchildren, four great grandchildren and the extended family of Bob and Jane Hedges. She was preceded in death by her daughter, Susan, husband, Jess, and brother, David.

Dale “Nikki” Kuhn, 65, Schoolcraft, died suddenly Sept. 14. She was the daughter of Arthur W. Fowler, Jr. and Beverly (Weber), who preceded her in death. Nikki graduated from Bishop Foley High School and Glen Oaks Community College. She worked as an R.N. for Three Rivers Manor, Bronson Hospital and was currently at Renal Care, Fresenius Health Care. On October 8, 1978, Nikki married Terry Kuhn in Sturgis and they shared many beautiful years together serving the Lord. They were ordained together in 2015 with the Christian International Apostolic Network. Together they raised and showed Shetland sheepdogs, and cared for them like children. Under her guidance, many of them became champions and grand champions. Nikki was also preceded in death by her sister, Christine, and her brother, Arthur Fowler III. She is survived by her husband, Terrance Kuhn, of Schoolcraft; her sister, Eileen (Keith) Swanson of Romeo; her nephews, Keith Swanson, Jr. of Memphis, Kyle (Rachel) Curtiss of Howell, and Kevin Curtiss of Delton; and her sister-in-law, Carol Satterly of Hastings. Donations may go to the Kalamazoo Alzheimer’s Association or the Gospel Mission. Visit her page at

Gloria L. Manuszak, 78, Portage, formerly of Vicksburg, passed away Sept. 20. She was born to Stephen and Elizabeth Esther (Vliek) Bella August 20, 1940. She waitressed at area restaurants including Greco’s and the Beacon Club. With the kids grown, Gloria’s 30-year marriage ended. She began her own home-flipping business, Restorations by Gloria. Gloria is survived by her children, Barb Manuszak, of Mendon; Bill (Tiffiny) Manuszak, of Vicksburg; Greg (Kelly) Manuszak, of Grandville; Steve (Stacy) Manuszak, of Arizona; and Whit (Tara) Manuszak, of Arizona; 14 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her two siblings: Georgia Bella, of Indiana and David (Connie) Bella, of Paw Paw. She was preceded in death by her parents and her grandson, Alec Manuszak. Visit her page at Donations may go to Habitat for Humanity.

Ronald Addison Martens, Fulton and Gun Lake, died Sept. 16. He was born December 14, 1929 to Harold and Cora DeYoung Martens. He was valedictorian at Athens Agricultural Schools in 1948. Ron won a Regents Alumni Scholarship to U of M, earning a bachelor’s degree in 1952 and a master’s in 1954. In 1956 he joined the US Civil Service Commission. Ron moved to Defense Property Disposal Service in 1980, retiring in 1986. He was an initial donor and board member of Cedar Park Senior Housing and a board member of South County Community Services. A botanist, his passion was growing fruits, vegetables and flowers. He was preceded in death by his wife, Lois, in 2010; his parents; his brother, Richard in 2016. Survivors include his children, Alan (Cheryl) Martens of Holland; Camille (Martin) Subject of Leslie; Nathan (Wendy Rice) Martens of Galesburg; grandchildren Jasen (Christine) Rademacher; Sarah and Matthew Subject; Emma, Samuel, Elizabeth “Betsy” and Nicholas Martens; great grandchildren Gracelyn, Luke and Beckett Rademacher; a sister, Shirley Martens of Carlton, OR; an aunt, Lucille Marusek of Bradenton, FL.; his in-laws, many cousins, nieces and nephews. Memorial services will be held at the First Presbyterian Church of Richland on Oct. 28 at 2 p.m. A reception will follow in the Gull Prairie Room. Donations may go to the Caregivers Conference at the Transformations Spirituality Center or the First Presbyterian Church of Richland. Visit his page at

Iris T. McGahan, 88, Vicksburg, passed away Sept. 28. Iris was born August 12, 1930 in Newberry. She was the daughter of Elmer and Nellie (Hetric) Fritz. She graduated from Newberry High School in 1948. She married the love of her life, Edwin McGahan, on June 18, 1948. Iris McGahan worked as the Director of Food Service for Vicksburg Community Schools for over 23 years. She is survived by her four children: Dennis (Sandy Robinson) McGahan, of Vicksburg; Keith (Jacki) McGahan, of Richland; Kathy (Gary) Bragg, of Three Rivers; and Darlene (Duane VanderPloeg) Wiborn, of Martin; nine grandchildren, and 21 great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, Edwin; a daughter-in-law, Christine McGahan; a grandson, Michael Edwin McGahan; and six siblings. A funeral will be held Oct. 3 at Vicksburg United Methodist Church. Visit her page at Donations may go to Great Lakes Caring Hospice.

Harriet Lavonne (Groen) Pruitt, Vicksburg, passed away Sept. 8. Born May 18, 1941, she was the oldest daughter of Cornelius and Gertrude Groen. She married Bill D. Pruitt on Dec. 26, 1959. Her children are Linda Mickel, Bill Pruitt Jr and Chad Pruitt. Her seven grandchildren include Danielle Reynolds, Matthew Reynolds, Michael Reynolds, Bill Pruitt III, Drake Pruitt, Allison Pruitt and Casen Pruitt and great grandchildren Caleb Nettles, Evan Nettles and Gavin Reynolds. She and Bill shared 50 years of marriage before Bill passed suddenly. Harriet came from a very large, loving family. Her brother and sisters include Gerrit Groen, Betty Achterhoff (deceased), Joyce Smeenk, Glenda Miller and John Groen.

Michael Redmann, 42, Schoolcraft, died Sept. 14. Michael was born Sept. 4, 1976 in Grand Rapids to Mark and Marcia (Jensen) Redmann. Michael loved spending time with his friends and family as well as fishing in all seasons. He also loved Notre Dame football, Detroit Tigers baseball and had the musical interest and talent to hear, enjoy and play a wide variety of music. His sense of humor, compassion and love for others, and his intelligence made Michael the son, brother and friend that we will all miss forever. Survivors include his mother, Marcia Redmann; brother, Matthew Redmann; and nephew, Ayden.

LaVon Mae Rolfe, 93, passed away Sept. 20. LaVon was born in Iowa, June 22, 1925 to Ralph and Irene Miller (Dunham). She graduated from Benjamin Bosse High School in Evansville, IN. LaVon was a medical professional in the office of Dr. August Fath after her marriage to Clarence “Larry” Rolfe in 1946, but her path veered to raising children and the bookkeeping of Larry’s music store. LaVon was also an Avon sales representative for over 30 years. LaVon lived at home until recently, thanks to occasional assistance from her friend and caregiver, June French. A fall on Sept. 7 led to emergency back surgery and a stay at the Bronson Commons rehabilitation facility, where she peacefully passed away. LaVon was preceded in death by her husband, Larry, and by her big brother Ralph Jr., and brother-in-law Stanley, several years ago. Her first-born child, Kevin, died several days after birth, but was never forgotten. LaVon is survived by her other children: Craig Rolfe, Kirk Rolfe, Tamra (Randy) Stafford, and Bruce (Crystal) Rolfe; and by grandsons Nicholas (Lisa) Stafford, and Jaron Rolfe and Alexander Rolfe, as well as their respective soon-to-be spouses, Abbie Pressley and Michelle Walters. Donations may go to Residential Opportunities, Inc. of Kalamazoo. This organization has assured Kirk a safe and contented life for decades.

Fred Simkins, 79, Vicksburg, died Sept. 6. He was born April 25, 1939 to Marcus and Alice Simkins. Fred served in the Army for three years, mostly stationed in France. He always appreciated the beauty of the land and dreamed of going back to visit. Fred worked as a tool and die maker as well as a supervisor at Checker Motors. Fred’s family includes his wife of 14 years, Joyce; his children, Dwight (Donna) Blodgett, John (Liubov) Blodgett, Andrew (Joni) Simkins, Tina (Chris) Hondzinski, Melanie (John) Kelly, Rebecca (Randall) Hoogstraton; siblings Jean, Mike, Tom, Jerry, Rose, Cheryl, Carol, Reva; grandchildren Cassandra, Jessica, Max, Allison, Megan, Andelyn, Alex, Connor, Somber and Tannen; a great grandchild, Escher, as well as several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, his first wife, Pat, and his second wife, Linda. Visit his page at Donations may go to the National Kidney Foundation or Glenn Arbor Hospice.

Harriett Jeanne Swartz, 81, Schoolcraft, died Sept. 4. The daughter of Donald and Mary Jane Swartz, Harriett was born on December 29, 1936 in Chicago. Upon graduation from Schoolcraft High School then WMU, she taught at Milwood Elementary School in Kalamazoo for 41 years – all but one year in the same room. An educator, historian, author and gardener, she was immersed in her community. She was a member of the First Presbyterian Church, Schoolcraft Historical Society, and the Ladies Library of Schoolcraft. Still, her greatest joy was her large family and many friends. She is survived by brothers Donald, Michael (Sandra) Swartz, sister Nancy (Richard) Rafferty; nephews Richard (Mary) Rafferty, Donald (Janice) Rafferty, James (Toni) Rafferty, Scott (Andrea) Swartz; nieces Kathleen Dixon, Michelle (Mark) Romstadt, Jennifer (Dan) Sielaff, Jennifer (John) Kalleward, Cindy (Chris) Ballosh, Jacque (Scott) Wilcox; great nieces and nephews Dianna (Chad) Coley, Samuel (Angela) Kalleward, Cullen and Cormac Dixon, Andrew and Bradley Romstadt, Jack and Ian Rafferty, Nathan and Samuel Sielaff, Bryson and Caleb Swartz, Jozie and Drew Rafferty, Jackson and Lucas Kalleward, Henry Wilcox, Hayden Ballosh, Kylie and Kinsley Dixon. Donations may go to First Presbyterian Church of Schoolcraft, Ladies Library Association of Schoolcraft, Schoolcraft Historical Society or a charity of one’s choice.

Ellen Palmer Uithoven, 89, Vicksburg, passed away surrounded by family Sept. 9. Ellen was born on Dec. 27, 1928 to Earl and Helen Hitchcock. She graduated from Kalamazoo Central and KVCC. She enjoyed theater, acting in high school plays and later in the first Barn Theatre production. She was in many Civic productions and also directed plays at KVCC. She worked as a telephone operator, a mail carrier, and did food service at Upjohn and KVCC. She was a worthy matron of the Eastern Star, Lotus Lily chapter. Ellen raised Labrador retrievers and had several show dogs. Ellen’s family includes her children, Rod Palmer, Rick (Wendy) Palmer, Randey (Karen) Palmer; grandchildren Ann (Stephen) Jacobs, Sean (Jennifer Priest) Palmer, Emily (Doug) Lovell, Jesse (Jennifer) Palmer, Stacy (Andrew) Wood and Maddie Eves; 17 great grandchildren as well as three nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her first husband, Alfred Burton Palmer, her second husband, Robert Uithoven and siblings William and Delores. Visit her page at

Bryan Wines, 70, Kalamazoo, passed away at home on August 24. Bryan was born September 26, 1947 in Mount Clemens, attended Dearborn High School and was a 1969 WMU graduate. He taught high school math in the Vicksburg and Kalamazoo Public School districts. He retired in 2014 after teaching at the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital. In 2002, Bryan was named the Michigan Alternative Education Teacher of the Year. Bryan was preceded in death by his parents, Raymond and Fern Wines and is survived by his sister, Kari Bricker, Westland, Mich. and a brother, Roger Wines, Canton, MI. Donations may go to Hospice of SW Michigan or the West Michigan Cancer Center. Visit his page at

Jack L. Wiley, passed away Sept. 27. He was born February 5, 1952 in Kalamazoo. He was the son of Artemus and Bettie (Rockelein) Wiley. Jack was a graduate of Vicksburg High School. He was a two-time state champion wrestler in 1969 and 1970. Jack retired as a self-employed excavating contractor. He married Julie Batten on August 14, 1971. Jack is survived by his wife Julie, children Jack Jr (Joanne) Wiley and Kris (Jamie) Barga all of Vicksburg. He loved his five grandchildren: Michael, John, Dustin, Ally and Torie. Visit his page at


Dave Brown, 70, Vicksburg, passed away July 23 after he lost a valiant fight with multiple myeloma. Dave was a retired lineman for an electric company. He served in the military, where he received an honorable discharge. Dave loved his family and had a passion for building vehicles. That passion for vehicles led him to be a member of the Rod Benders of West Michigan, where he made many great friends over the years. Dave was preceded in death by his mother, Mildred Romig. Dave is survived by his wife Nancy; sons Mike (Nicole) Brown and Scott (Jen) Brown; seven grandchildren; sister Sharon Wilson; nephews Gary and Larry Hesher; and an extended family. To honor Dave’s wishes, there will not be a funeral or visitation. Family members will update the Avink Funeral home website at a later time with information where Dave will be laid to rest where you can go pay your respects in person.

Deana Louise Klitch Butler, Vicksburg, passed away August 4 at Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo. Deana was born September 21, 1957, the youngest of six children, to Michael and Dolores Klitch in Paw Paw. Those who knew Deana will always remember what an avid reader she was. In fact, her daughter had said, “Her living room looked like a used book store.” Deana enjoyed gardening with her husband and often made salsa from their garden to share with friends and family. She loved animals and left behind three fur babies, Rogue, Stubby and Ozzy. Deana graduated in 1974 from Dawntreader High School in Kalamazoo. She took nursing classes and worked at the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital for 20 years. Deana is survived by Mike, her husband of 28 years. They loved trips to South Haven and spending time with their grandson, DJ. Deana is also survived by her daughter, Michele (Dave) Rigozzi lV of Coloma, Mich.; grandson DJ Rigozzii V, also of Coloma; mother-in-law Gloria Butler of Vicksburg; nephew Eric Klitch of Kalamazoo; sisters Mary (Alan) Atherly of Ames, Iowa and Patricia (William) Sprague of Richland; sisters-in-law Maria Klitch of Jacksonville, Fla. and Peg Klitch of Kalamazoo. She was preceded in death by her brothers, Edward, Mike, and Thomas; and parents Michael and Dolores. Donations may go to National Kidney Foundation or SPCA of Kalamazoo. Visit her page at

Barbara A. Comstock, 86, Scotts, passed away July 21. Barbara was born on November 14, 1931, in Lafayette, Ind. Raised by a single mother, Viola Sysinger, Barbara learned the value of hard work as her mother worked in a factory, cleaned homes, and did whatever else was necessary in order to survive. Barbara graduated in the Adult Education Program in 1988 from Vicksburg High School, the same year as her youngest daughter, Marianna. She spent 26 years working as a rural postal carrier. She was a member of Lakeland Reformed Church, where she volunteered in the Clothes Closet and Stephen’s Ministry with her husband, Joseph. Barb enjoyed quilting and gardening. She loved Johnny Cash and classic country western music. She is survived by sons Joseph Comstock, of Scotts; Jonathan (Victoria) Comstock, of Hastings; daughter Marianna (Bryan) Poggione-Proper, of Mattawan; 18 grandchildren and 15 great children. She was preceded in death by her husband, Joseph in 2004; and two children, Clara Mutch and Jeffrey Comstock. Visit her page at Donations may go to Kalamazoo Michigan Commission for the Blind. The family was assisted by McGowen & Secord Funeral Home, Vicksburg.

Elwyn G. Dodgson, 89, passed away May 13 at his home. He was born in Schoolcraft Township on February 15, 1929 to John and Sarah (Belle) Dodgson. He graduated from Athens High School in 1948. He married the former Doris Ann Brockway in Galien, Mich. The couple was married for 55 years until her death in 2015. Elwyn is survived by his children, Jerry (Dawn) Dodgson and his daughter, Julie (John) Cornett; a grandson, Cody Burdick of Leonidas. He was preceded in death by his children, Susan, Andy and Mary Dodgson.

Paul Richard Evans, 50, Schoolcraft, passed away July 8 at Rose Arbor in Kalamazoo. Paul was born March 2, 1968, the son of Paul D. and Ruth (Trimmer) Evans. He attended Vicksburg schools until his senior year when he moved to Three Rivers, graduating in the class of 1987. On July 23, 1994 he married the love of his life, Laurie Nowakowski. Paul loved both his close and extended family. He was a social butterfly; it was said that Paul never met a stranger. He was an avid hunter and fisherman and enjoyed listening to rock’n’roll. He was preceded in his passing by his father, Paul Dewey Evans. Paul leaves to cherish his loving memory, his wife, Laurie Evans, daughters Haley and Holly Evans; son Jacob Evans; sisters Lisa (Leroy) Heikes and Amy (Roger) Stahl; special nieces and nephews Allison Singh, Dokota, Breanna, Melinda, Autumn, Bonnie, Ginny and Aloh. Donations may go to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation or to the Family of Paul Evans c/o Laurie Evans. Envelopes are available at the Hohner Funeral Home. Visit his page at

Fletcher T. Everett, 85, Vicksburg, died Aug. 1 at the Laurels of Galesburg where he had resided the past four months. He was born near Centreville on March 16, 1933, the son of the late Arthur and Eula (Schofield) Everett. He graduated from Vicksburg High School with the class of 1951. Fletcher was the parts manager at Krum Chevrolet in Vicksburg for several years, and later was a service technician for the Upjohn Company. Fletcher loved horses and displayed many mules, ponies, and draft horses at the county fair. He was a caller at local square dances and enjoyed camping with his family. He was a member of Amazing Grace Baptist Fellowship in Portage and a former member of the Schoolcraft Eagles Lodge 3531. Fletcher is survived by four children, Julie (Charles) Barnes of Mendon, Diane (Cliff) Austin, Charlene Smith, and Dan Everett, all of Vicksburg; grandchildren Lorrie (Jay) Hagenbuch, Doug (Lilla) Barnes, Darcey (Nate) Sehy, Bradley (Alexis) Brockway, Aaron Smith, Andy Smith, and Cody Everett; great-grandchildren Jaden Hoyt, Juliana Hagenbuch, Ty and Carson Barnes, Colton Sehy and Bella Brockway. He was preceded in death by his parents; a brother, Arthur Albert Everett; his first wife, Evelyn (Brewer) Everett in 1986; and wife, Thelma (Stuut) Everett in 2015. Donations may go to Southern Care Hospice. Assistance was provided by the Eickhoff Funeral Home of Mendon. Visit his page at

Ronald Bruce Gentry, 75, Mendon, went to be with the Lord Aug. 1. He was born in Three Rivers on Jan. 23, 1943, the son of John Raymond and Mary Ovella (Crow) Gentry. Ron graduated from Vicksburg High School in 1961 and attended North Central Bible College in Minneapolis, Minn. where he later became head of security. Twelve years later, he returned to Michigan and was employed at the Colmer Division of Maxitrol in Colon until failing health forced his retirement on 2008. Ron is survived by brothers Doug (Pat) Gentry of Casa Grande, Ariz. and Terry Gentry of Kalamazoo; sisters, Bet Jones of South Bend, Violet Spence of Three Rivers, Mary Patterson of Lansing and Sharon (Sam) Rial of Colon; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; a sister, Althea Gentry; and a brother, Robert “Sonny” Gentry. In keeping with his wishes, cremation has been conducted. A memorial service is being planned for later and will be announced by the Eickhoff Funeral Home. Donations may go to International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, Feed the Hungry, or to the Jerusalem Prayer Team. Visit his page at

Wilda Henderson, 69, Vicksburg, passed away August 16. Wilda grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and later moved to Vicksburg. She was a long-time member of the Lioness club and worked at Family Fare in Vicksburg for over 30 years. She loved traveling back to the UP to visit and spend quality time with her family, and she would often work at the camp store on Brevoort Lake. She enjoyed playing card games, especially yahtzee, and she also loved to read and do crafts such as cross stitching. Wilda is survived by her husband, James; children Mary Stevens, Jim (Denise) Henderson, Michael (Amy) Henderson; grandchildren Randi (Jordan), Dusty, Joey, Jeremy, Bailey, Trey, Jacob, Brendan, Drake; great-granddaughter Riley; special aunt Sharon (Bill) Painter; sister-in-law Sue Spencer; and several nieces and nephews. Wilda was preceded in death by her parents, John and Fawn Spencer; brother, John Spencer Jr.; and her sister, Dawn Buell. A funeral service was held on Wednesday, August 22 at the McCowen & Secord Family Funeral Home, Rupert-Durham Chapel. Visit her page at Donations may go to South County Community Services.

Oscar Lewis Hunt Jr., Vicksburg, passed away August 11 surrounded by his family, friends and neighbors. Oscar was born July 17, 1935 in Kalamazoo, the son of Wilma (Hettinger) and Oscar Hunt, Sr. Oscar is survived by his son, Dale, of Vicksburg, his daughter, Linda (Richard) of Welaka, Fla. and Bear Lake, Mich., brothers Bill (Sue) of Vicksburg and Bob (Barb) of Texas Corners, sister-in-law Jackie Stoneburner of Schoolcraft, and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by the love of his life, Joan (Chaddock) Hunt. Assisted by Avink Funeral Home, Schoolcraft.

Marjorie Ketchbaw-Burris (Rickard), 96, mom, grandma, great grandma and three times a great great grandma, Aunt Margie AKA “sweet pea,” passed away August 15. Marjorie was born on November 24, 1921 and adopted by James and Golda Rickard in Kalamazoo. She was preceded in death by her first husband, Roscoe (Pete) Ketchbaw, sons Michael and David Ketchbaw and second husband, Richard Burris. Marjorie is survived by sons Larry (Beverly) Ketchbaw and Daniel (Candace) Ketchbaw, many grandchildren, nieces and nephews. To meet Marjorie was to have an instant friend and don’t you dare pass an animal to pet or a child without having a lengthy conversation with them and their parents. She requested every meal and gift to be chocolate of some sort and said that her best friend was “Russell Stover”. To know her was to love her. No funeral or memorial services were held.

Victoria “Tori” Lafler, Vicksburg, passed away July 26. Tori’s family includes her husband, Willard Lafler; mother, Victoria Dean; children Timothy Lee Hatter, Robert Michael Hatter, Erick (Amber) James Hatter; step-children Joseph Alan (Laycie) Lafler, Michael Shane Lafler and Lisa Marie (Andrew) McCall; brothers Michael Joseph Dean and Robert John Dean; sister Catherine Marie Hazard; several step-grandchildren, and nieces and nephews. Tori was preceded in death by her father, Robert George Dean, and her brother James Clayton Dean. Tori was a wonderful and loving mother, daughter, sister and wife. She had an unending love for those around her with a passion for supporting those in her community, working at the Behavioral Health Services at Western Michigan University as a certified peer support specialist. A funeral service was held on Tuesday, July 31 at the McCowen & Secord Funeral Home. Visit her page at Donations may go to St. Jude Children’s Hospital or Shriners Children’s Hospital.

Earl “Bud” Mason, 77, Vicksburg, passed away on August 21. Bud is survived by his wife, Jane Mason; children Michael R. (Natalie) Mason, Mark A. (Linda) Mason, Julie L. (Britt) Tasker; siblings William (Sandy) Mason, Annette (John) Ramirez, Nicholas (Floria) Mason, Eugene Mason, Shirley Mason, Patrick (Carol) Mason; grandchildren Zachary, Adam, Emma, Sean, Madelynn and Mason. Bud was preceded in death by his parents, William and Florence Mason. Bud grew up in Muskegon and later moved to Vicksburg, where he was a barber for almost 40 years. He was a member of the Vicksburg Lions Club for over 10 years and a member of the Third Christian Reformed Church. Bud served his country in the United States Army. Bud was very well known and loved by everyone he met. He will forever be remembered and missed by all who knew him. Visit his page at The family was assisted by McCowen & Secord Family Funeral Home, Vicksburg. Donations may go to the Special Olympics or the Third Christian Reformed Church.

Gordon Foster Oswalt, 83, Vicksburg passed away surrounded by family August 20. He was born to Foster and Marion (Merrill) Oswalt on June 23, 1935. He attended the Harper country school and then Vicksburg High School where he was active in baseball, football, basketball, and the FFA. After graduating from high school in 1953, Gordon graduated from Michigan State University where he was active in livestock judging and the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity. A lifelong resident of the community he loved, Gordon was involved in many groups and organizations. He was a member of the Vicksburg United Methodist Church and a member of the Vicksburg Rotary Club since 1968. He was a regular cast member of the annual Showboat, a Paul Harris Fellow – the highest honor Rotary can bestow – and recipient of a Rotary Hero award for his work in the service club. He served on many local boards and committees, including the Vicksburg School Board and Brady Township Planning Commission. Gordon was a member of the Michigan Farm Bureau, Michigan Sheep Producers, Michigan Cattlemen’s Association, and the American Angus Association. He was on the Farm Credit Services Board of Directors and past chairman of the Kalamazoo Conservation Board. He was a 4-H leader and part of a bridge club. In addition to playing cards with pitch buddies and reading, he loved watching the Detroit Tigers and following his Michigan State Spartans. Gordon and his wife, Bonnie, hosted hundreds of MSU vet students and a very special German student, Andrea (Rainer) Ochmann, who has returned throughout the years to visit the family home. All who knew Gordon Foster Oswalt and his contagious zest for life would agree that there was no one quite like him. Quiet and strong, he was a hardworking man, deeply devoted to his family, friends, and community. Gordon’s family includes his wife, Bonnie; children Kathleen (Dennis) Forsythe, of Vicksburg; Scott (Sheryl) Oswalt, of Vicksburg; Steven (Kim) Oswalt, of Vicksburg; Daniel (Kelly) Oswalt, of Vicksburg; David (Dao) Oswalt, of Colorado; grandchildren Amanda (Matt) Nixon, Elizabeth (George) Palat, Andrew Forsythe; Allison (Luke) Boyea, Cameron (Jess Crittendon) Oswalt, Joseph Oswalt, Taylor (Austin) Eaton, Megan (JT Neal) Oswalt, Emily (Andy) Foster, Katie (Derek) Debiak, Gordon Oswalt, Alyson Ly, Jeff Smith, Marlena Smith; great-grandchildren Caleb and Chloe Nixon, Grady and Adelyn Mae Foster, and Rylee Eaton; a brother, John L. (Linda) Oswalt, of Vicksburg; and many very special nieces and nephews and dear friends. Visit his page at Donations may go to the Vicksburg Community Schools Foundation c/o the Oswalt Family Technical Scholarship, Vicksburg United Methodist Church and the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission.

LuAnn Phelps, 63, a loving mother, grandmother and wife with a huge, generous heart that touched many, died August 19, from injuries sustained in an auto accident. She was born June 5, 1955, to Harvey and Gertrude (Towersey) Heppe in Sheridan, Mich.. She grew up on the family farm in Orleans, Mich., and graduated from Ionia High School in 1973. She married Thomas B. Phelps on August 18, 1979. LuAnn graduated from Michigan State University, where she earned her degree in accounting, then worked for the Department of Treasury Kalamazoo office for thirty-three years, retiring in 2011. An avid quilter, LuAnn helped make dozens of quilts for the New Hope Fellowship Quilting Ministry and for her family. LuAnn is survived by her husband, Tom; daughter, Elizabeth (Brandon) Morse and their four children, Jessica, Justin, Courtney and Sarah; her son, Andrew (Cassie) Phelps and their two children, Penny and Gemma; her mother, Gertrude Heppe; sister, Donna (Heppe) Ackley; brother, Donald (Karen) Heppe; sister, Linda (Heppe) Odette; brother-in-law, Pat (Martha) Phelps; sisters-in-law, Jenny Hartman and Valerie Eastman, and Sally (Gary) Spence; and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her father, Harvey Heppe; brother-in-law, Rick Ackley; mother-in-law, Marjorie Hotovy; and brother-in-law, Mike Phelps. Donations may go to the Wounded Warrior Project or the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Visit her page at

Loretta J. Poulsen, 90, Schoolcraft, passed away August 12 with her family by her side. She was born on May 30, 1928. She graduated from Jonesville High School in Jonesville, Mich., and later graduated from Western Michigan University. Loretta worked as a registered children’s occupational therapist at the Kalamazoo State Hospital. Throughout her life, Loretta was a woman of many interests. She was very creative and crafty, enjoying ceramics and gardening as well as quilting. In fact, going to the fabric store was one of her most favorite things. Loretta was a fantastic cook, and one of her husband’s favorite dishes was her fried potatoes. For years, she enjoyed the companionship of her beloved dog, Bebe. Loretta is survived by her husband of 71 years, Raymond; son Jack (Patti Baggett) Poulsen, of Schoolcraft; grandchildren Chad Poulsen, of Vicksburg; Andy (Daniall) Poulsen, of Vicksburg; Michelle (Will Hodgman) Musselman, of Schoolcraft; Joe Poulsen, of Kalamazoo; grandchildren Kendalynn, Gracie, Easton, Jocelyn, Hailey, Davis, Sophia and Jace. She was preceded in death by sons Raymond and Bruce Poulsen. Visit her page at Donations may go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Alfred “Al or Tom” Thomas, 80, Vicksburg, passed away July 29. Al was born on May 18, 1938 in Vicksburg. He was the son of Alfred H. and Vera (Mathis) Thomas. Al married the love of his life, Margie Westra, and enjoyed spending his life with her. Burial of Al’s ashes was held at the Vicksburg Cemetery on Tuesday, August 7. Visit his page at The family is being assisted by the McCowen & Secord Family Funeral Homes, Rupert-Durham Chapel.

Heather Lee Thompson, Vicksburg, passed away in her home August 15, surrounded by family members, after a courageous battle with cancer. She was born on April 22, 1971 in Ridgewood, NJ to her mother, Dawn Hickman. Heather grew up in Wilmot, IN, and was a 1989 graduate of West Noble High School. On June 3, 2006, Heather married the love of her life, Todd Thompson. One of Heather’s most cherished times was in the evening when she and Todd would sip wine and enjoy the beauty of Indian Lake together on the pontoon boat. Heather enjoyed entertaining and planning the annual Thompson Trash Volleyball Party, neighborhood golfing events, and the most recent spectacular fireworks display over Indian Lake, a legacy that will live on in her honor for many years. Heather is survived by her husband, Todd; children Corbin Thompson, Brianna Wines, Logan Thompson and Christian Wines, of Vicksburg. She was preceded in death by her mother, Dawn Hickman. A memorial service will be held August 31 at 11 a.m. at the Chapman Memorial Church of the Nazarene. The family will receive friends at the church beginning at 10 a.m. Please feel free to wear colorful, joyful clothing for this celebration of life. Donations may go to Chapman Memorial Church of the Nazarene or Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health in Indianapolis. The family is being assisted by the McCowen & Secord Family Funeral Home, Rupert-Durham Chapel.

Harris Walters, went to be with his Heavenly Father on August 3 at his home. Born Aug. 5, 1924 to his parents, Frank and Florence Walters, in Otsego, he joined a family that would grow to include eight children. On October 14, 1949, he was united in marriage to Effie Klein. He is survived by three sons, Frank (Patty), Dan (Rhonda) and Dennis (Meli); grandchildren Emily, Alison (Dan), Amanda, Nathan (Carolina), Matt, Mark (Kelly), Samuel, Andrew, and James. Also surviving are siblings Fran Walters, Vivian Reed, and Lou (Ned) Sutherland. Also surviving is a brother-in-law, George (Evelyn) Klein and sister-in-law Betty Klein Welch. He was preceded in death by his wife, Effie, parents Frank and Florence, and siblings Marian, Ethel, Beatrice, Carl, and Katherine. A special thank you to longtime friends and business partners Wendel and Geri Bole for their dedicated support and love for Harris, Shirley Kury for her friendship and kindness, and Larry Ketchum and Donna Crouch for their assistance in helping Harris at the VFW and American Legion. Extended step-family includes Scott (Lana), Brynn and Olivia Bowe, Amy (Josh), Tucker, and Ally Wright, and Laura (Zac), Oliver, Milo, Niven, and former daughter-in-law Sue Emrick, with whom he remained close. Donations may go to Lakeland Reformed Church or to the Vicksburg Community Schools Foundation. Visit his page at


Loyd Babcock, 80, Vicksburg, passed away July 5 at Bronson Methodist Hospital after a long illness. Loyd was born on April 2, 1938 in Battle Creek to Clarence and Myrtle Babcock. He graduated from Battle Creek Lakeview in 1956. Loyd met his wife of 60 years, Wanda, in 1955 on a blind date. They were married in 1958. During that year, Loyd began working in road construction. Wanda and their children followed Loyd throughout the state of Michigan as he helped build many of the state’s current highways. Loyd also served in the Marine Corps Reserve for three years during this time. After eight years and 18 moves working road construction, Loyd and Wanda decided to settle their family in Vicksburg, where he found a job working for General Motors. Loyd had a strong work ethic and was always willing to help others out when there was a need. Loyd was also considered a craftsman by many. He had a creative mind and could build or invent anything once he set his mind to it. Loyd is survived by his wife: Wanda; children Cynthia Carpenter of Portage, Diana (Phillip) Haring of Vicksburg, Joseph (Loree) Babcock of Vicksburg; grandchildren Bethany, Brittany, Bailey, Zachary, Kyler, Quintin, Eric, Evan; and great-grandchildren Elijah, Adelaide, and Oliver. Loyd was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers and a sister; son-in-law Richard Carpenter and grand-daughter Zoey Haring. Funeral services took place on Tuesday, July 10 at the Chapman Memorial-Nazarene Church in Vicksburg. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations be made to the Heartland Healthcare Center in Three Rivers or to Chapman Memorial Church or Indian Lake Nazarene Campground. Visit Loyd’s page at

Jerry O. Burnham, 84, Vicksburg, passed away with his family at his side July 17 at Bronson Methodist Hospital. He was born March 17, 1934, in Calhoun County’s Burlington Township, the son of George and Lucille (Hanna) Burnham. Jerry was a longtime Battle Creek resident after graduating from Marshall High School with the class of 1952. He joined the United States Coast Guard following high school, serving during the Korean War. On June 21, 1957, he married Lorraine Noga, of Leonidas. Jerry was employed more than 30 years developing computer systems for Clark Equipment Co. of Battle Creek, later relocating with the company to Georgetown, KY. He was involved in real estate in the Lexington area after his retirement. He and his wife returned to Michigan in 1998, settling in Vicksburg. Never one to sit idle, Jerry worked part-time at Sears in Portage and later at Lowe’s, complementing his vast knowledge of power tools. He was also an in-store demonstrator for Dremel Tool Co. Jerry especially enjoyed the outdoors and had a hobby for every season. He was a skilled craftsman who enjoyed time in his workshop fly-tying, woodworking, and meticulously carving and painting ducks and fish. He was a member of Bass Casters of Battle Creek and served as a field tester for Strike King Lure Co. He is survived by his wife, Lorraine, of Vicksburg; a daughter, Rebecca (Jeffrey) Rietsma, of Portage; granddaughter, Jessie Rietsma, of Portage; a grandson, Jordan Burnham, of Lexington, Ky.; 17 nieces and nephews; and his beloved granddog, Dora. He was preceded in death by his parents; his sister, Sharon, in 2008; daughter, Michelle, in 1969; and son, Thomas, in 2007. In accordance with his wishes, cremation has taken place. A funeral Mass was held Saturday, July 21, at St. Edward’s Catholic Church in Mendon. Military interment took place in St. Edward Catholic Cemetery. Donations may go to National Kidney Foundation of Michigan, or the Alzheimer’s Association. Online condolences can be left at

Gloria Feist, 76, Vicksburg, went home with her family at her side on June 27. Gloria was born on Oct. 31, 1941 to Henry and Joe (Sivak) Fortuna. A funeral mass was held on Monday July 2 at St. Martin of Tours. Gloria’s family includes her husband of 57 years, Ron; her children Ron (Robin) and Tim (Laurel); her siblings Henry (Mary) Fortuna and Maryann (Larry) Feist; her siblings-in-law: Marcia Fortuna, Sue Luurtsema, Nancy (Allan) Brown as well as several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents; her brother, Joey Fortuna; daughter-in-law, Kathy Feist; and her brother-in-law, Robert Luurtsema. Visit her page at Donations may go to St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church.

Cindy Ann Graham, 64, Schoolcraft, passed away July 16 at Rose Arbor Hospice. Cindy was born May 14, 1954 in Muskegon, the only daughter of Albert and Ida (Laney) Rozeboom. After graduating from Nazareth College with a BSN in 1977, Cindy worked as a public health nurse for Kalamazoo County for four years. Following the birth of her son, Andrew, she was a stay-at-home mom until he began school. Returning to work in 1987, Cindy was a prevention program supervisor until 1991, when she was named executive director of the Family Institute, a position she held until 1999. Next, Cindy became the manager of corporate affairs for Kalamazoo Neighborhood Housing Services. In 2003, she assumed the role of Grants/Community Planning Officer at Housing Resources Inc., a position she held until February 2018 when she retired. Additionally, from 1995 to 1998, she was selected as one of 20 persons in the United States to be an Active Fellow with the Kellogg International Leadership Program. Participating in this prestigious program allowed her to visit the Dominican Republic, Zimbabwe, Israel, and Scotland –including the Island of Iona – resulting in great personal growth and wonderful memories. In her private life, Cindy had a passion for gardening, crafts, bicycling, and especially for spending time with her beloved granddaughter, Olivia. On November 21, 1981, Cindy was united in marriage to her loving husband of 36 years, Michael Graham, who survives. Also surviving are a son, Andrew (Jodi) Graham; granddaughter, Olivia; mother, Ida Rozeboom; brothers, Gary (Marla) Rozeboom, Ted (Gloria) Rozeboom; nephews Nathan Rozeboom and Peter (Sherry) Graham; brother-in-law, Peter (Felicia) Graham; step-mother, Mary Rozeboom; step-sister, Beth (Dave) Steenwyk; step-brothers, Mark (Kim) DeVries, Phil (Kathy) DeVries, Joel (Andrea) DeVries. Cindy was preceded in death by her father, Albert, and her nephew, Christopher. Donations may go to the ALS Association. Visit her page at

Jason Haines, 43, Portage, formerly of Tecumseh, passed away June 24. Jason graduated from Tecumseh High School. He then attended Jackson Community College and Kalamazoo Valley Community College when he moved to the Kalamazoo area. Jason enjoyed spending time with family and was very close to his grandmother, who lived in Vicksburg.  Jason is survived by his daughter, Jordynne Haines, of Vicksburg; mother, Beth Haines, of Adrian; father, David (Kelly) Haines, of Tecumseh; grandmother, Elizabeth Lowe, of Vicksburg; siblings Jared Haines, of Adrian; Jordan (Amanda) Haines, of Milford; Lauren Haines, of Westland; Garrett and Catherine Haines, both of Tecumseh. He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Richard Lowe and Charles and Joan Haines. Visit his page at Donations may go to establish a college fund for Jordynne Haines and/or InterAct of Michigan.

Barbara Jean Hansen, 76, Portage, passed away July 6. Barbara was born to Donald and Enid Crapo in Vicksburg on October 31, 1941. An informal gathering and celebration of life was held on Friday, July 13. Barbara was a graduate of Bronson School of Nursing and continued her long career in the health care industry, including 28 years as a surveyor for the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, retiring at the end of 2017. Her passions were gardening, spending time with her grandchildren, and hosting family gatherings. Barbara is survived by her sons, Scott (Janene) Rawlinson of Mattawan and Jeff (Patricia) Hansen of Portage; siblings Donald Crapo of Fremont, Ind. and Sandy (Dan) Minger of Vicksburg; nephews Brian (Tonya) Minger, Brent Minger, Darryl Crapo, Greg Crapo and Christopher Martin; grandchildren Zachary Hansen, Tyler Rawlinson, Kyle Rawlinson, Ryan Hansen, and Julia Hansen; great-nieces Jose K. Martin; great-nephews Brendon Martin and Cole Martin. She was preceded in death by her parents, Donald and Enid Crapo, mother of many years, Maxine Crapo, and a beloved sister, Carol Ann (Crapo) Martin. Visit her page at Donations may go to the Bronson School of Nursing.

Steven Michael Hanson, 35, Vicksburg passed away July 17. Steve was born July 13, 1983 in Detroit. He is the son of Christian and Loretta (Cross) Hanson. Steve graduated from Vicksburg High School and served in the Army National Guard 101st Division from 2001 to 2007. He received his bachelor’s degree and his masters of business administration from Davenport College. Steve enjoyed working at the circulation desk at the KVCC Library. Surviving are his parents, Christian and Loretta Hanson of Vicksburg; his grandmothers Maryann Cross and Mary Hanson; his beloved dog Jake; several aunts, uncles, cousins and special friends. Donations may go to C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor. Visit his page at

Janis “John” Jablovskis, 78, Schoolcraft, formerly of King George, VA, passed away June 15. Born in Latvia on September 21, 1939, he graduated from the University of Louisville and made his career at the Naval Surface Warfare Center as a mechanical engineer for over 30 years. It was there he met the love of his life, Beverly Zodrow. They were together for over 40 years until she passed away in 2006. John is survived by his beloved daughter, Karen Ann, her husband Steve Coleman, Steve’s brother Mark, granddog Nala and various cousins. A memorial service will be held at a later date. Donations may go to BARK, 12300 Farrington Rd., Ashland, VA 23005. Visit his page at

Albert E. “Al” Jensen, 86, Vicksburg, died June 30 at Rose Arbor Hospice in Kalamazoo. He was born in Chicago on Oct. 18, 1931, the son of Albert and Edna (Werthe) Jensen. The family moved to the Vicksburg area when Al entered the 5th grade. He graduated from Vicksburg High School in 1949. He worked briefly at Post Cereals in Battle Creek before joining the U.S. Marine Corps. After his military service, he returned to his job at Post where he retired after 37 years. He was married to Kathleen J. “Kay” Reilly on Aug. 31, 1957 in Kalamazoo. She preceded him in death on Oct. 20, 2010. Al was known to build, fix, or repair anything. He enjoyed camping and boating with his family up north and motorcycle rides with his buddies, Tom, Dick, and Larry. Al is survived by two sons, Richard D. (Heather) Jensen and Randall A. (Raquel) Jensen, both of Vicksburg; a daughter, Robin L. (Mark) Welch of Kalamazoo; grandchildren Haleigh, Jake, Miranda, and R.J. Jensen; great-grandchild Isaiah Nielsen; a sister, LaVern Barden, of Kingsville, Texas; and nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife and a sister, June Meska. In keeping with his wishes, cremation has been conducted. Donations may go to charity. Visit his page at

Jerry L. Lovell, 77, Vicksburg, passed away June 28. He was born to Edward and Lucille (Jensen) Lovell on October 18, 1940. He graduated from White Cloud High School in 1959. He married Kathryn “Kathi” Jonaitis on October 7, 1961 and settled in Vicksburg in 1964. Jerry worked for Allied Paper and retired after 29 years. Jerry was a huge sports fan. All five of his children were athletes in high school. After high school, his sons played fast pitch softball and he and Kathi traveled all over to follow the team. The children also grew up following Jerry’s cousins fast pitch softball team. Until the last couple of years, Jerry would follow the grandchildren’s sports. He was an outdoorsman who enjoyed hunting and fishing, and one of his favorite places was his property up in White Cloud. He helped establish the Little League fields in Vicksburg. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Kathi; children Jeff (Tracy) Lovell, of Scotts; Bruce Lovell, of Three Rivers; Brad Lovell, of Vicksburg; Amy (Randy) Miller, of Vicksburg; Doug (Emily) Lovell, of Schoolcraft. He is also survived by grandchildren Kyle (Sharon) Miller, Tyler Lovell, Amanda Lovell, Brenden Lovell, Hunter Lovell, Sydney Duong, Madison Lovell, Max Duong, Mitchell Duong, Zachary Lovell, and Bessie Stears; great grandson Mason Miller; brothers and sisters-in-law Judi (Terry) Richards, Dorothy Jonaitis, Ed (Margo) Jonaitis, Mary Lindquist, and Greg (Nancy) Folta, many close nieces, nephews, and cousins. He was preceded in death by his brother-in law, Ray Lindquist. Visit his page at Donations may go to Kairos Dwelling.

James Raymond LeZotte, 46, Vicksburg, passed away July 8. Jim was born on May 23, 1972, the son of Martha and Raymond LeZotte. Jim is described by those who loved him as a very kind, honorable person, and had a great sense of humor. In his spare time, he enjoyed fishing, following sports, video gaming and he loved his two cats. He was a 1990 graduate of Vicksburg High School and then he went on to receive his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Western Michigan University. Jim is survived by his parents, Martha and Raymond LeZotte, of Vicksburg; his sister Karen (Steve) Raffenaud, of Portage; niece and nephew, Addison and Evan Raffenaud and several aunts and uncles. Visit his page at

Bill Nichols, 79, Schoolcraft passed away June 25. He was born December 17, 1938, the son of the late Harold and Lillian Nichols. He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Sheila; his sister and brother-in-law, Beverly and David Hamman; his brother and his brother’s wife, Bob Nichols and Terry Furst; 12 nieces and nephews; and numerous great nieces and nephews. Bill was a 1956 graduate of Schoolcraft High School. He attended Western Michigan University and was a graduate of Coyne Electrical and Radio School in Chicago. Bill retired from General Telephone Company. He built a 33-foot trimaran and in 1992 he and Sheila sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe and sailed back in 1993. He rode his bicycle across the United States once to the east coast and twice to the west coast. He and Sheila rode their bikes to New Orleans. He built his home, a gyroglider, a model train layout and repaired antique clocks and much more. Visit his page at Donations may go to Schoolcraft Historical Society and Schoolcraft United Methodist Church.

Patricia Louise Noel, 83, Vicksburg, passed away July 24 following a long illness. She was born in Schoolcraft on April 11, 1935, the daughter of Lawrence and Alice (Downey) Beebe. She graduated from Vicksburg High School in 1953 and continued her education at Parsons Business College prior to joining Ronningen-Petter/Dover Corporation as a secretary before moving into purchasing. Patricia enjoyed gardening and cooking for the many family meals and get-togethers. Watching wildlife come into her yard looking for the treats she had placed in a metal pan always brought a smile. Pat married Harold Noel on April 14, 1955. Together they raised three children, Lee, Cindi, and Randi. After graduation, all three kids played softball and Pat and Harold were always there for support. Pat is survived by sons Lee (Missy) Noel and Randi (Deb) Noel; grandchildren Brock Noel (Kristin, Logan, Lillian), Chad Overweg (Jackie, Nick), Shannon Boyd (Mike), Tricia Willy (Matt, Tyler); a sister, Shirley Sharp; brothers Carl and Gus Beebe. She was preceded in death by her parents, Alice and Lawrence Beebe; in-laws, Art and Pearl Noel; sisters Margaret Martens, Betty Harper, and Sandy Beebe; a brother, Lawrence; daughter and son in law, Cindi and Jerry Overweg. Donations may go to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan. Visit her page at

Robert Glenn Swinehart, born April 23, 1930, passed away peacefully in his sleep July 5. Surviving Robert are his son, Don, and daughter, Kathleen (Patrick) Meyers; grandsons Robert, Craig, Chris, and Brad, along with five great grandchildren. Robert was preceded in death by his wife Peggy, a son Douglas, and a grandson Nicholas. A memorial gathering is pending.

Jack Whitcomb, 93, died July 2 at Rose Arbor Hospice Residence surrounded by his family. Jack was born on April 9, 1925 in Kalamazoo, the son of the late Arthur and Roselyn (Knarr) Whitcomb. Jack enlisted in the United States Navy in 1942 and served aboard the minesweeper USS Surfbird in the South Pacific. On August 20, 1948, he married Donna (Miles) Whitcomb, who preceded him in death November 4, 2014. He retired from Upjohn in 1983 after 34 years in the pipe shop. Jack enjoyed farming, building and flying experimental aircraft, making wine and beer, and time with family. Also preceding him in death were two brothers, Robert and Ralph Whitcomb. Surviving are sons, Kenneth (Sharon) Whitcomb, of Allegan, and Michael (Donna) Whitcomb, of Schoolcraft, five grandchildren and eight grandchildren. Donations may go to

Douglas George Zehner, 61, Vicksburg, passed away at home Wednesday, June 27. Doug was born September 13, 1956, in Flint. He was the son of Martin Zehner and Shirley Barnett. Doug’s family moved to Portage in 1965. He graduated from Portage Central, then attended Ferris State University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy. Doug worked at Bronson Methodist Hospital, Borgess Hospital, Fred’s Pharmacy, Vicksburg and Harding’s Pharmacy in Schoolcraft, and at Three Rivers Hospital for the past 10 years. He enjoyed fishing, hunting, Red Wing hockey and boating on the lake with friends and family. He was preceded in death by his wife, Patti Jones-Zehner; a son, Cody Zehner, his father, Martin Zehner and stepfather, James Barnett. He leaves behind a son, Kyle Zehner of California; a daughter, Katlyn Zehner, of Kalamazoo; a brother, Greg Zehner, of North Carolina; a sister, Cheryl Prather, of Kalamazoo; a sister, Kathi Peterson, of Minnesota; his mother, Shirley Barnett, of Bloomingdale, Mich.; a granddaughter, Mykah Zehner; a grandson, Brody Dixson; nephews Chad Zehner, Soren Peterson and Victor Peterson; and nieces Daphne Baker and Nicole Gardner. Doug had many friends and was always glad to help anyone who needed his help. Doug was a kind and gentle man. In lieu of flowers, spend time with your family. Doug would want you to do that.


Cindy Chapman, 52, Scotts, passed away May 28. Cindy was born on September 24, 1965 in Three Rivers. She was the daughter of Marvin and Millie (Brown) Forsyth. She is survived by her husband, Mitchell; children Stephanie Allgaier and Andrew Chapman. Cremation has taken place. A celebration of life is scheduled for her; more information will be provided in the days to come. Visit Cindy’s page at Donations may go to her GoFundMe page.

Evelyn D. Chapman, 97, Schoolcraft, passed away June 10. Evelyn was born in Kalamazoo on November 22, 1920, the daughter of the late Carroll and Katherine (Beard) DesVoignes. Evelyn was also preceded in death by her step-mother, Mildred (Gish) DesVoignes. She was a kind and loving person whose gentle nature and warm smile made her a joy to be around. On August 14, 1943, she married the love of her life, Benjamin Chapman Jr., who preceded her in passing on January 25, 1985. In 2000, Evelyn moved to Schoolcraft, where she enjoyed working in her yard and spending time with her family and friends. She and her husband were long-time members of First Presbyterian Church of Schoolcraft. She was currently an assisted living resident of Heritage Community of Kalamazoo. She leaves to cherish her memory three daughters, Marilyn (Larry) Pierce, Ruth (Richard) DeVries and Linda (Kent) Bacon; six grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; a sister, Norma Spicketts; sister-in-law, Phyllis DesVoignes; and several nieces, nephews, and great friends. Donations may go to the church c/o the funeral home. Visit her page at

Sharon Flickinger, Schoolcraft, died June 3. Sharon was born February 16, 1947 in Indianapolis, Ind., a daughter of Orval and Audrey (Russell) Rice. She was a Kalamazoo area resident most of her life and was employed with Western Michigan University for over 30 years, retiring in 2009. Sharon was preceded in death by her parents. On June 17, 1967, she was united in marriage to Thomas H. Flickinger, who survives. Also surviving are a son, Michael “Mike” (Jodi) Flickinger of Vicksburg; granddaughters Chelsea and Kaylee Flickinger; sisters Nancy Birch of Virginia and Debbie (John) Tucker of Colorado; and several nieces, nephews, and cousins. A memorial gathering was held Saturday, June 16 at the Langeland Family Funeral Homes, Portage Chapel. Private burial will take place at a later date. Donations may go to Gift of Life or to the West Michigan Cancer Center. Visit her page at

Wendell L. Glidden, 78, Portage, formerly of Schoolcraft, passed away June 9. Wendell was born on September 26, 1939 in Kalamazoo. He was the son of Lloyd and Camilla (Hulbert) Glidden. Wendell is described as happy, smooth and caring. He loved to sing and watch the Detroit Tigers. You could never fool him however, with what time the Tiger game was on. Wendell was cared for the past few years by the loving staff at the Schuring Road Adult Foster Care. Wendell is survived by his siblings, Ronald Glidden, of Florida; Lee (Carla) Glidden, of Vicksburg; Thomas (Sandy) Glidden, of Climax; Elwin (Diane) Glidden, of Tennessee; Dawn (Jack) Grosenbach, of California; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and three siblings Alice Hannar, Linn Glidden and Robert Glidden. A funeral service was held on Thursday, June 14 at the McCowen & Secord Family Funeral Home, Rupert-Durham Chapel, Vicksburg, followed by burial at the Wildey Cemetery in Paw Paw. Visit his page at Donations may go to the Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.

Dave Haywood, 57, Vicksburg, passed away June 8 at home surrounded by loved ones. Dave was born July 30, 1960 to Roland Haywood and Judy (Haywood) Preston. Dave was a lover of all things outdoors. He enjoyed traveling with his wife, Maxine, spending time at their cabin up north snowmobiling, riding his Harley and most recently his boat in South Haven. Dave is survived by his mother Judy; mother-in-law Betty Dorey; his wife of 38 years, Maxine; children David Haywood (Tiffany) and Jennifer Caswell (Trevor); grandchildren Dylan Haywood, Isabelle Haywood, Victoria Haywood, Gavin Caswell, Gabrielle Caswell and many more extended family members. Dave was preceded in death by his father, Roland Haywood, and father-in-law, Marvin Dorey. Visit his page at

Phyllis M. Jungjohan, 86, Mendon, died May 29, at her son’s home in Milton, Fla. following a long illness. She was born in Three Rivers, on Nov. 9, 1931, the daughter of Ray and Ruby (Draime) Anderson. She graduated from Vicksburg High School and Wright’s Beauty Academy. She was the proprietor of Phyllis’ Beauty Shop in downtown Mendon for over 29 years. Phyllis was an active member of the West Mendon United Methodist Church, the Mendon Women’s Club and the Order of Eastern Star Chapter 154. She served as trustee for the Mendon Carnegie Library; and was a member of the Friends of the Library. She enjoyed travel, gardening, chocolate, and large fancy hats. She was married to Kenneth Leroy Jungjohan on July 15, 1950. They resided near Mendon until Kenneth’s passing in 2014. Phyllis is survived by sons William (Lana) Jungjohan of Mottville, Mich., Gordon (Denise) Jungjohan of Destrehan, La., and Kenneth Jr. (Liza) Jungjohan of Milton, Fla.; eight grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren, three great great-grandchildren, brothers Ralph (Betty) Anderson and Martin (Diane) Anderson; sister-in-law Laverna Anderson; brother-in-law Jerry Crabtree; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Kenneth; daughter and son-in-law, Linda (Gary) Phelps; siblings Arthur Anderson, Janet Crabtree, Joan (Garold) Conine, and Ruth Ann Manion. Donations may go to Heartland Hospice, the West Mendon Community Church or Mendon Food Cupboard. Visit her page at

Marion Joseph (Skeeter) Pacukewicz, passed away on June 20. He was born in Mishawaka, Ind. on February 27, 1925 to Ludwig and Mary (Madjeda) Pacukewicz. His three older siblings did not approve of the name Marion, nicknaming him “Skeeter” after a comic strip character. Upon graduating from Mishawka High School in 1943, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving in the European theater and with occupation forces in the Asiatic theater. Skeeter was discharged in 1946, and then attended Kalamazoo College on the GI Bill. While living in Kalamazoo, he met Thelma Potts. They were married on July 12, 1947. The newlyweds soon moved to Mishawaka where he was employed by the Studebaker Corporation. In the mid-50s, he got into the grocery business, training as a meat cutter in Berrien Springs. In 1965, he was transferred to Vicksburg to manage the Thriftway grocery store and moved to Barton Lake. He was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed hunting, fishing, and gardening. Skeeter was preceded in death by his parents and siblings. He is survived by his wife of 71 years, Thelma; a daughter, Judi (Steve) Holton; a son, Gary Pacukewicz; a niece, Bernice McClure; sister in-law Betty Proovost; and several additional nieces and extended family. Donations may go to Kalamazoo Gospel Mission or Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan. Services were held Saturday, June 23 at McCowen & Secord Family Funeral Home, Vicksburg. Visit his page at

Charlotte Rice, died June 6. She was born to Charles and Muriel Stuck on March 3, 1919. She graduated from Fulton High School in 1939. She went through the nursing program at the state hospital in Kalamazoo. She was married to Win Rice in 1941. He went off to war that year. When she was in her 50s, Charlotte started working at the Bronson Vicksburg Hospital. Once they retired, Charlotte and Win took at least one trip a year going to places such as Alaska, Hawaii, Disneyland, Disney World, the Canary Islands, and Europe. Charlotte was proactive into her 90s. Charlotte’s family includes her children, Sue (Roger) Lucas and Mike (Carolyn) Rice; a sister, Iva (Dick) Snyder; grandchildren Wendy (Steve) Caverly, Kim (John) Hayes, Tony (Vickie Mann) Wells, Angie (Paul) Rechlin, Jill (Dave) Partaka, John (Stacia) Lucas and Kathy (Jason) Hopkins; and great-grandchildren Joshua Benn, Katy Benn, Brooke Perry, Sarah Hayes, Ty Hayes, Austin Wells, Nate Rechlin, Emilee Partaka, Davey Partaka, Lucas Hopkins, Sidney Hopkins and Brody Hopkins. Charlotte was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Winston Rice; siblings Milton (Ruth) Stuck, Polly (Perry) Barnes, Laura Groth, and Nora (Harold) Wise. Visit her page at Donations may go to Vicksburg United Methodist Church or Hope Hospice in Cape Coral, Florida.

Arthur Edward Shultz, 73, Vicksburg, passed away June 15. Art was the son of Kenneth and Lena (Hildenbrandt) Shultz. He graduated from Vicksburg High School and then went on to work for over 30 years as a forklift driver for the General Motors Fisher Body. On January 21, 1967, in Vicksburg, he married the love of his life, Helen Huntington. Art was a jokester, fun loving, and a wonderful husband. He loved to fish, hunt, and was a wonderful woodworker. Up until a few years ago the family had a cottage near Hardy Dam. At home, Art was always seen with his two boxers, Willie and Ozzie. Art is survived by his wife, Helen; children Brenda (Dale) Butcher, of Vicksburg; Jodie Shultz, of Vicksburg and Amy (Scott) Bell, of Mendon; grandchildren Tyler Shultz, of Mendon; Brittany Warner, of Vicksburg; Ryan Bell, of Mendon; and Kyle Bell, of Mendon. He is also survived by his four best friends: Art English, of Athens; Stan Gose, of Vicksburg; Ronnie Miller, of Vicksburg; and Jerry Parsons, of Tennessee. He was preceded in death by his parents, Kenneth and Lena Shultz. Arthur has been cremated and will be interred at the Vicksburg Cemetery at a later date. Visit his page at The family is being assisted by the McCowen & Secord Funeral Homes, Rupert-Durham Chapel, Vicksburg.

Phyllis L. Smith, passed away peacefully January 19, with her family and friends by her side. Phyllis was born July 22, 1935, in Kalamazoo, the daughter of Merritt and Gertrude (Elgersma) Holt. She was employed at the Upjohn Company for 32 years before retiring. She was united in marriage to the love of her life, Roy Smith, on June 28,1955. Phyllis loved renovating the farmhouse she and her husband lived in near Vicksburg. She had a passion for creating beautiful flower gardens and she readily shared flowers from her own garden to help start others. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Roy Smith; a brother, Milan Robert Holt; a sister, Ida Mae Cutshaw, and a daughter, Nancy Worthington. Phyllis is survived by her daughters, Amy Smith and Karen (Ted) Hammond; grandchildren Abby Hammond, Lyndsay Hammond and Tyler (Jennifer) Worthington, and several nieces and nephews. Donations may go to Rose Arbor Hospice or the Ladies Library Association. Visit her page at

David A. Watkins, 66, formerly of Schoolcraft, passed away June 1, at IU Health Goshen Hospital. He was born in Schoolcraft September 12, 1951 to the late George and Colleen (Shearer) Watkins. He was preceded in death by his sister, Ann Watkins. David was a computer analyst for many years and was also a member of the Eagles Lodge. In his spare time, he enjoyed playing pool, taking care of his birds and spending time with his grandchildren. On December 10, 2016, he married Patty L. Castle; she survives along with one son, Bryon (Jennifer) Watkins, stepchildren Rhonda (Patrick) Potter, Jared (Christina) Myrkle, Jonathan (Cassie) Myrkle, Jessica (Marty) Clawson, Angel Myrkle, Karilynn Swiger, Amanda Linville, Sebastian (Samantha) Wolf and Jasmine Beatty. Also surviving are 30 grandchildren and brothers John (Leeanne) Watkins and Robert Watkins. A celebration of life gathering was held Saturday, June 9, at Sister Lakes Community Church, Dowagiac. Due to David’s love of birds, please send memorial contributions to A Place To Call Home Parrot Rescue & Adoption. Elkhart Cremation Services has been entrusted with the arrangements.

Walter E. Wedel, 89, Fulton, passed away June 4. He was born to Benjamin and Mabel (Reebs) Wedel on September 9, 1928. His father worked on the family farm that was established in 1876. Walt graduated from Athens High School in 1946, was drafted into the Army and served during the Korean conflict. Walt also served for three years as the president of the USA National Shuffleboard Association. Within his community, Walt served in local government, including all positions on the board in Wakeshma Township, and also served as a Kalamazoo county commissioner. Walt and his wife, Ann, were inducted into the Michigan Farmer’s Hall of Fame as well as the Shuffleboard Hall of Fame. He was also a member of Wakeshma Community Church. Walt was kind and soft spoken, and his wit made him a true charmer. Walt’s family includes his wife, Ann; children Benjamin Wedel, of South Carolina; Cyndi Frakes, of Vicksburg; Tim Wedel, of Kalamazoo; and Lori (David) Fry, of Fulton; grandchildren Jonathan (Michele) Frakes, of Portage; Heather Frakes, of Kalamazoo; Jessica (Randy) Bartholomew, of Fulton; Michael (Catherine) Fry, of Ohio; Travis (Vanessa) Fry, of Ypsilanti; Levi Fry, of East Lansing; 10 great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews. Walt was preceded in death by his siblings, Wayne Wedel, Rex Wedel, and Anna Crotser; and son-in-law John Frakes. Funeral services were held on Saturday, June 9 at the Wakeshma Community Church, Fulton, followed by burial at North Fulton Cemetery. Visit Walt’s page at Donations may go to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan and Wakeshma Community Church.


Michael C. Auten, 70, Vicksburg, passed away May 10. Michael was born on May 10, 1948, in Marion, Ind. the son of Charles and Marjorie (Glass) Auten. He served in the United States Army for two years. On April 19, 1975, he married Mary Dubbeld. Michael worked for General Motors for over 30 years. Michael is survived by his wife of 43 years, Mary; children Sherri Auten, of Vicksburg; Mike (Michelle) Auten, of Hastings; Candace Auten; grandchildren Nathan, Ashlynn, and Brooklynn. He is also survived by his sister, Mary Ellen (Ken) Griffin, of Georgia. He was preceded in death by his parents, a brother, Jeremiah Auten, and a sister, Dixie Wadsworth. Mr. Auten will be cremated. No services are planned at this time. Visit Michael’s page at Donations may go to the American Heart Association.

John Zane Betts, 78, Portage, formerly of Vicksburg, passed away May 16. He was born to Louis and Delores (Miller) Betts on July 3, 1939. In 1962, John began his 42-year career working for Kalamazoo Container. In time, the company was bought out by Green Bay Packaging Inc. which ignited his passion for the Green Bay Packers. It didn’t take long for John to become an over-the-top, crazy Packers fan. His love for the team led to his claiming a room in his home as the Packer Den. For a combined 22 years, John honorably gave his time and energy to both the Otsego and Mattawan Fire departments. Fishing was another passion. He even enjoyed winning some bass contests sponsored by DNR Sports. He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Karen; children Christopher (Tracy) Betts, of Grand Rapids; Rick Betts, of Battle Creek; Brad (Jennifer) Betts, of Ann Arbor and Jason (Angie) Betts, of Plainwell; 13 grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. He is also survived by siblings Tryell (Jim) Handy, of Ithaca and Dennis Betts, of Bath; Celia Anderson, of Bath and several nieces and nephews. John was preceded in death by his granddaughter, Taylor, and siblings Tom and Louis Betts. A memorial service was held on Tuesday, May 22 at the McCowen & Secord Family Funeral Home, Rupert-Durham Chapel, Vicksburg. Visit John’s page at Donations may go to Generous Hands and KVD Foundation.

Merl Ambrose Burk
, Vicksburg, passed away May 17. He was born on August 26, 1921 to Emory and Ellen (Fuller) Burk and lived a Christian life full of love and integrity. He was a WWII Army Veteran who obtained the rank of Sgt and served in the South Pacific. Merl entered the tool and die industry after leaving the Army and went to work for Severance Tool in Saginaw. He eventually went to work for Johnson Carbide where he became an owner of the company before retiring to Florida in 1983. For the past few years he has lived on the grounds of Indian Lake Nazarene camp and enjoyed riding around on his golf cart, visiting with family and friends, sitting by the campfires and gathering at the snack bar to socialize and talk about the “good ole days”. He had plenty of stories to tell. He was an avid golfer and fisherman and loved having his family around. He leaves behind two daughters, Karen M. Wells (James), Susan J. Bliss (Thomas) and one son, Patrick J. Burk (Suzanne), 10 grandchildren, and 20 great grandchildren. His wife Jean A. Burk predeceased him along with one grandchild and four great grandchildren. Burial with Military Honors was at Fort Custer. Donations may go to Indian Lake Nazarene Camp. Visit his page at

KC Burson, 68, Vicksburg, died May 7, at the Battle Creek Veterans Administration Medical Center-Hospice, after a courageous battle with lung cancer. KC, the son of Milton Terry and Doris Elaine (Williams) Burson, was born in Three Rivers on March 1, 1950. He was a 1968 graduate of Schoolcraft High School. He immediately enlisted in the US Marine Corps, where he served during the Vietnam War as a private first class and was the recipient of a Purple Heart. KC worked for over 20 years as a sewer and water hook-up operator for the Scott W. Taylor Company of Galesburg. He enjoyed fishing, watching football, especially the Detroit Lions; and was an avid fan of watching NASCAR to cheer on Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt. Surviving are his wife of 42-plus years, Nancy; his daughters, Stacy (Andy) Helmboldt of Battle Creek and Autumn (Tommy) Dean of Vicksburg; three precious granddaughters, Taylor Burson, Grace and Libby Helmboldt; step-children, Laurie (Tim) Leonard of Kalamazoo, Cheri Puryear of Paw Paw, and Bill Puryear of Kirksville, Mo.; just as precious step-grandchildren, Alisha Queen, T.J. and William Leonard and Steve, Raymond and Jenavee Puryear; three sisters, Peggy (Tom) Baldwin and Marlene Burson, both of Lawton, and Terry (Richard) Burgess of Vicksburg; sister-in-law Pat Burson of Schoolcraft and many nieces and nephews. KC was preceded in death by his parents; his step-mother, Betty Burson; a sister, Louise Rhoda; a brother, Bob Burson, and a step-brother, Mike Hess. Interment was at Fort Custer National Cemetery with the US Marine Corps Honor Guard and the Fort Custer Honor Guard bestowing full military honors. Donations may go to the Battle Creek Veterans Administration Medical Center-Hospice or West Michigan Cancer Center. Visit his page at

Doug Gillespie, was born July 22, 1952 to Patricia and Herald Gillespie in Three Rivers and died unexpectedly on March 31, 2018 in Denver, CO, his longtime home, surrounded by loved ones. He is survived by his mother Patricia Gillespie Doak, his current wife Sandy, his two beloved daughters, Leslie Brooke Gallegos(Jeremy) and Michelle Blair Provenzano (Tony), as well as five grandchildren and three stepchildren.  He was preceded in death by his father. Doug lived the first part of his life in Vicksburg, where he met and married Suzan Olvitt Gillespie. He also lived in Texas and Arizona. He made his life in Colorado since the 1980s. He followed his dad’s example and worked as a lineman and later as a self-employed contractor.

Kathleen Mary Hageman, Schoolcraft, died May 12. She and a twin brother were born on July 22, 1949 to Edwin and Patricia Hageman. They were premature and weighed about three pounds each. The brother only lived four days. Kathleen thrived in an incubator and when she reached a “safe” weight was allowed to come home. Because she was premature, mentally she did not develop as her brothers and sisters did. When it was time for her to attend school, the school told the parents reluctantly that they could not handle her. She was slow and had seizures, but was willing to learn. In her late twenties, she became a part of McKercher Workshop. They had work for their attendees and paid them for it. Kathleen loved it! Kathleen left this life peacefully at Rose Arbor hospice after about 10 days. Kathleen was preceded in death by her father, Edwin; brother, John and brother-in-law Chris Renberg. She is survived by her mother, Patricia, siblings Colleen (George) Schwartz, Susan (Roger) Smith, Jill (Matthew) Anderson, Edwin (Kim) Hageman, Nell Renberg, Cyril (Teri) Hageman, Susan Kay (Jim) Ryan and numerous nieces and nephews. Donations may go to Residential Opportunities Inc., where Kathleen was allowed to live as independently as possible for over 30 years, or Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan which made her last days comfortable and peaceful. Visit her page at Arrangements handled by Avink Funeral Home Cremation Society.

Brennan Scott Hamilton, 18, Vicksburg, passed away suddenly on Sunday, May 27, due to injuries received in an automobile accident. Brennan was born in Kalamazoo on November 20, 1999, the son of Sara Bartosiewicz-Hamilton and the late Scott Hamilton. He recently graduated from Vicksburg High School, where he was in the school choir and was a member of the National Honor Society. Brennan had a great sense of humor. He enjoyed skiing, playing lacrosse, and was an avid music lover. He is survived by his mother, Sara Bartosiewicz-Hamilton; a sister, Payton Hamilton; grandparents, Gary and Phyllis Bartosiewicz and Michael and Lorraine Hamilton; great-grandmothers Verna Hamilton and Virginia Baynton; aunts and uncles, Jennifer (Ryan) Edlind, Lisa Bartosiewicz, Laura (Bryan) Boily, Jason (Melanie) Hamilton; cousins Liam, Tyler and Carter Edlind and Leslie and Alyssa Hamilton; and his best friend, Chase Young. He was preceded in death by his father, Scott Hamilton. Donations may go to the family to establish a scholarship in his name. Visit Brennan’s page at

Shirley Ann Hart, Vicksburg, passed away on May 26. She was born April 27, 1938 in Montcalm, WV, one of two children, and is survived by her elder brother, Lloyd Eller Jr. Shirley was preceded in death by her husband of 43 years, Claude Ray Hart Sr., as well as great grandchild Ray Michael. Shirley is survived by sons Claude Ray Hart Jr., Mark David Hart and Brian Kenneth Hart, as well as her grandchildren, Brandy, Mark Jr, Breanne, Miranda, Teddie, Travis and Brent; and great-grandchildren Ellawyn, Aurora, Rayley, Benjamin. Shirley and Claude were married November 19, 1955 in Bluefield, WV while Claude was in his final year of his Navy commitment and Shirley was in her final year at Bramwell High School. Shirley and the family moved to the Vicksburg area in 1966. While Shirley was a “stay at home mom,” she kept the family busy with the garden and various livestock as well as preparing the harvest. Shirley began doing ceramics in the 1970s and in short order had her own kilns, molds and ceramic shop. She started at H&R Block in 2009 where she worked as a tax preparer and eventually office manager. Shirley continued at H&R Block on a seasonal basis until 2014. She started at the local Sam’s club shortly after it opened and was soon running the payroll and working with the HR department. Donations may go to Kairos Dwelling. Visit Shirley’s page at

Thomas Hastings Sr., 86, Portage, passed away May 28, surrounded by his family. Tom was born on July 13, 1931, to Aloysius and Margaret Hastings. Tom’s family includes his children, Tom (Sharon) Hastings Jr. of Alabama, Maggie (Tim) Corbin of Tennessee, Ann (Tom) Hahn of Lowell, Mich.; grandchildren Molly and Hannah Blatt of South Carolina; a sister, Karen Hastings; a cousin, Bruce (Joan) McPherson; and a close friend, Dick (Jean) Schmitt. He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife of 65 years, Dorothy Hastings, who passed away this February, and a son, Timothy, who died at birth. Tom ran the Root Beer Stand in Kalamazoo for many years. Tom had a great sense of humor and was a very good tennis player. A celebration of his life is being planned for this summer. Visit Tom’s page at

Mason William Heikes, 2, Vicksburg, passed away May 9. He was born on August 26, 2015 to William and Kristen Heikes. He filled the hearts of those around him with unending love. Known for his bright smile and sparkling eyes, one could sense Mason’s warm soul. His young heart was pure and full of wonder. He loved to sit and cuddle, and with his chocolate milk in hand, he’d even check the bottom of the cup to make sure it was made with enough chocolate, or he’d send it back for more! He is survived by his parents, a brother, Carter; maternal grandparents, Dawn (David) Hamberg, of Vicksburg; paternal grandparents Burt (Penney Melchoir) Heikes, of Vicksburg; Candi (Clarence) Ewert, of Kalamazoo; Noreen “Noni” Heikes, of Vicksburg; great-grandma Bonnie Childers, of Alabama; great-grandpa Kenneth Heikes, of Vicksburg; Rick and Esther Randall, of Parchment; Nancy Lowe, of Portage; Pat Ewert, of Kalamazoo. He is also survived by aunts and uncles Kayla (Mickey McManus) Hough, of Vicksburg; Chris Hamberg, of Vicksburg; Cassandra “Cassi” (Wyatt) Taylor, of Lawton; Elizabeth Heikes, of Vicksburg; Chris (Shannon) Ewert, of Hastings; cousins Lexi Hough, and one on the way; great-aunts and uncles Lisa (Leroy) Heikes, of Plainwell; Michelle (Jason) Hall, of Paw Paw; Staci Randall, of Arizona; Chuck (Amy) Childers, of Alabama; Richard (Tiffany) Childers, of Alabama; Sandy Plowman, of Alabama; Lynette (Jay) Dolen, of Kentucky. Mason was preceded in death by his great-grandma, Sue Heikes; great-grandpa, Peter Lowe; great-grandma, Judy Hiatt; great-grandpa, Charles Childers; great great-grandma, Reba Baker; and great-uncle, Steve Randall. Visit Mason’s page at Donations may go to a memorial fund being set up at the Kalamazoo County State Bank.

Emily Keenan, 21, passed away unexpectedly May 10. She was born on October 2, 1996 to Chris and Stephanie Keenan, the year after their business, Kalamazoo Kingdom, was started. Her father introduced her to a soccer ball before she could walk. She had a true talent and love for the game. Her father built a special bond through soccer as he had the privilege to coach her during her club season at Kingdom Soccer Club. She had the unique gift of being able to shoot with both feet and her Dad described her left-foot shots as “an absolute rocket”. As with everything in her life, she threw her whole self into every game, so much so that it wasn’t unusual for her to have an injury afterward. Once she was finished with high school, she became a Certified Nurse Assistant. She loved caring for her elders and creating joy, laughter and a social life where there was often a void before. She adored finding ways to create new memories for her patients and often considered them dear friends. A few years ago, her family moved to Indian Lake where they discovered a love for lake life and a new lease on Keenan family life. Emily absolutely loved being in nature and took every opportunity to spend time on the kayak and to go swimming or fishing. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Tuesday, May 15, at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church, Portage. Visit her page at Donations may go to Gryphon Place.

Robert “Bob” J. Klein, 91, Schoolcraft, passed away at Rose Arbor Hospice Residence May 8. Bob was born in Mendon on June 4, 1926, the son of the late John and Elizabeth (Higgens) Klein. He owned his barber shop in Kalamazoo for many years. After retirement, Bob and his wife, Patricia, moved to Schoolcraft where he returned to his passion for farming and woodworking. Bob and Pat made life-long friendships with their Schoolcraft neighbors. He was known for his dedicated work ethic, was a “jack of all trades” and could fix or jerry-rig anything. Bob’s family was always at the center of his life and he was proud of his children’s and grandchildren’s accomplishments. On February 18, 1950, he was united in marriage to the former Patricia A. Kirkendall, who preceded him in death on November 15, 2016 after 66 years of marriage. Bob was also preceded in death by two brothers and five sisters. He is survived by his children, Jim (Jennifer Roque) Klein, Pamela (Dr. Charles) Zeller, Kelley Hiemstra and Kathy Klein; grandchildren Joel (Jodi) Klein, Matthew Roque, Brendon (Rachel) Erickson, Erika (Dr. Daniel Krcelic) Steele-Krcelic, Jessica (Travis Hargrove) Hiemstra, Jennifer Hiemstra and Erik Eichorn; great-grandchildren Joelle, Isadora and Halle and sister-in-law, Kathleen Prochaska. In accordance with his wishes, cremation has taken place and a private family service will be held. Donations may go to Rose Arbor Hospice Residence or the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission. Visit his page at

Willard Minnis
, 77, Fulton, passed away May 16 at Bronson Methodist Hospital. Willard was born on March 1, 1941 to Robert and Cleo (Homan) Minnis. Services took place on Saturday, May 19. Willard’s family includes his wife of 57 years, Lois; his children, Willard Herbert (Cathy Bunce) Minnis, LouAnn (Forester) Prater; LeAnn Prater and Lori Grinage; grandchildren Sara, Brian, TJ, Amanda, Brady and Heather; 15 great grandchildren; his brother, Norman (Lois) and his sister in law, Phyllis, as well as several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; his brothers, Robert and Ronald, and his grandson, Matthew. Willard served his country proudly in the National Guard. Visit Willard’s page at Donations may go to the Wakeshma Community Church or the Humane Society of Kalamazoo.

Jay E. Rantz, 73, Vicksburg, formerly of Plainwell, passed away May 2. He was born to Clifford and Clarabelle (Holcomb) Rantz on June 11, 1944. Jay possessed a natural curiosity for how things worked. He was especially drawn to cars, speed and anything mechanical. A hands-on guy, Jay never feared exploring the inner workings of things, and loved the challenge of discovering a successful fix to a seemingly impossible problem. After graduating from Plainwell High School, Jay attended trade school for a year in Chicago. He returned to western Michigan, where he worked for many years as a machinist for a local tool and die company; Midwest Gage in Climax. Eventually, Jay formed his own company; J & J Machine. He is survived by his sweetheart of 21 years, Sandy; a daughter, Christine Rantz, of Kalamazoo; a sister, Patsy (Steve) Singleton, of Florida; stepchildren Scott (Kristy) Breed, of New Jersey and Beth Breed, of Kalamazoo; grandchildren Connor Jay, Aaron, Adam, Christian, Michael and Kaleb. He was preceded in death by two children: Kelly Rantz-Johnson and Sonya Rantz. Services were held at McCowen & Secord Funeral Homes, Marshall-Gren Chapel, Plainwell on Monday, May 7. Burial was at the Hillside Cemetery in Plainwell. The procession was lead by his friends in the classic cars they all loved. Visit Jay’s page at Donations may go to the West Michigan Cancer Center.

Wilma A. Sportel, Kalamazoo, passed away May 1. Wilma was born September 27, 1933 in Kalamazoo, the daughter of the late Steven and Adrianna (VanDyke) VanZanten. Prior to her retirement she was employed for several years with KVISD (KRESA) in the accounting department. She was a member of Second Christian Reformed Church. Wilma was preceded in death by her first husband, Nelson Groenheide, on September 1, 1953. On June 24, 1955 she was united in marriage to Adrian Sportel, who preceded her in death on December 13, 2003. Also preceding her in death was her sister, Carol Modderman. Wilma is survived by her children, Tom (Penny) Sportel, Teri (Mike) Benthin; grandchildren Shaun (Jenny) Sportel, Matt (Liz) Sportel, Tori Wellington; great-grandchildren Sienna, Sawyer and Mason; and many nieces and nephews. A memorial service was held on Thursday, May 10 at the Langeland Family Funeral Homes, Westside Chapel. Private family interment was in Boughton Cemetery in Scotts. Donations may go to the Galesburg-Augusta High School and Schoolcraft High School Athletic Departments. Visit her page at


Dayton P. Baker, 83, Kline’s Resort, died April 3 at Borgess Medical Center. He was born in Lawton on Aug. 30, 1934, the son of Donald J. and Vera E. (Pierson) Baker. He was a graduate of Kalamazoo Central High School. Dayton started his employment at Eckrich Meats. Later he joined the Upjohn company as a chemical operator, retiring after 27 years of service. After retirement, he went to work for his son, Jerry, at the Canopeum. Dayton was married to Betty Jane Allen on Aug. 27, 1955 in Oshtemo. Betty died in 1997. He married Maxine (Romer) Philbrick on July 25, 1998 in Englewood, Fla. They attended the Englewood Methodist Church, and Dayton enjoyed many rounds of golf in the winter months. He was a former member of the Mendon Kiwanis Club. Dayton is survived by his wife, Maxine; sons Gerald (Karen) Baker of Lawton, Michael Baker of Kalamazoo, and Randall Baker of Colon; step-children Russell (Melissa) Philbrick of Venice, Fla., Phillip (Melanie) Philbrick of Syracuse, N.Y., and Janet (Heath) Hedden of Kalamazoo; 13 grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; a son, Craig Baker; and by siblings Eunice Baker, Pierson “Bud” Baker, Bonnabelle “Bonnie” Grate, Lura Vining, Donnadene “Donna” Bonnell, Donald J. Baker, Jr., Jack Baker, and Jacqueline “Jackie” Laymon. A memorial service was held on Saturday, April 14 in the West Mendon Community Church. A private interment of ashes will take place in Mendon Cemetery. Memorial donations may be directed to the family, or to the Englewood United Methodist Church. Condolences may be expressed at

Elmer L. Baker, 89, Vicksburg, passed away February 26. He was born to Benton and Carrie (Orr) Baker on February 7, 1929. Like many young men, Elmer was drafted, where he fibbed on his birth-date and began serving in the U.S. Army. He served as a heavy-equipment operator in the years between World War II and Korea. Elmer worked as a machine tender for Simpson Paper for 36 years prior to retiring. Whether at work or within his community, Elmer was a man who could be counted on and trusted. At home with his family, he enjoyed all different kinds of animals including cows, ducks, geese, chickens, and even a pair of raccoons. He also enjoyed tending to his huge garden and had a love for hummingbirds and various wildlife. Elmer spent time tinkering here and there and could literally fix anything broken. When his wife, Marie fell ill and developed dementia, Elmer lovingly cared for her for 10 years until she sadly passed away in 2004. He is survived by his children, Tim (Carol) Baker, of Colon; Larry (Virginia) Baker, of Florida; Beverly (Jim) Currier, of Sturgis; Lana Koole, of Portage; Janet (Daniel) Reitz-Galo, of Portage; Donald Ely, of Portage; Susan (Dann) Louis, of Three Rivers; 13 grandchildren and 36 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by siblings Larry (Dorma) Baker, of West Virginia; Marjorie (Floyd) McMinn; Mary Ann (Henry) Richards; Nancy (Brad) Crouse; Barbara (Phil) Tracy; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife, Marie; siblings James Baker, Robert Baker, Wayne Baker; and Doris Jean Talkington; and an infant grandchild, Samantha. A memorial service was held Saturday, March 3 at the McCowen & Secord Family Funeral Home. Visit his page at Donations may go to Generous Hands.

John R. Bonnema, Schoolcraft, passed away Friday morning, March 30. John was born December 16, 1927 in Kalamazoo to the late William and Anna (Kiel) Bonnema. John was owner and operator of Bonnema Masonry Construction until his retirement in 1993. He was a charter member of Prairie Edge Christian Reformed Church, where he served as elder, deacon and Sunday School superintendent. He was also one of the founding members of the Singing Crusaders and served on the Board at both the Gospel Mission and South Christian School. John enjoyed the outdoors, especially hunting and fishing with his grandchildren. On August 26, 1949, he was united in marriage to his loving wife of 68 years, Katherine “Kay” (Ritsema), who survives. Also surviving are his children, Robert (Beth) Bonnema, Don (Toni) Bonnema, Laurie (Dennis) Mulder, Joan (Tom) Brussee; 14 grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren. John was preceded in death by his three brothers and two sisters. Services were held on Wednesday, April 11 at Prairie Edge Christian Reformed Church. Private family interment will be in Schoolcraft Cemetery. Memorials may be directed to Prairie Edge Christian Reformed Church or the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission. Visit his page at

Rex William Bragg, 88, Vicksburg, passed away April 12. He was born to John and Jenny (Weber) Bragg on February 6, 1930 in Greentown, Ind. Rex served in the military and was deployed to Korea during the Korean War. He worked as a tool and die maker for almost 32 years at General Motors. Rex began working at the Marion, Ind. Fisher Body Plant in 1954, and the Delco-Remy prior to that. In 1966, Fisher Body transferred him to the Kalamazoo area. There, he and his wife, Glory, set up roots and raised their family in a loving, close-knit home. He began a Boy Scout Troop in Fulton where he served as scoutmaster from 1967 to 1972, followed by a year in Vicksburg. In the late 1980s, Rex and Glory became members of Vicksburg United Methodist Church where they both grew in their faith. In 1985 they moved to Kline’s Resort. They were members of the Michigan Motor Home Club as well as the Happy Traveler’s Club. In addition, Rex was a member of the Vicksburg Lions Club, UAW Local 488, the DAV and a Masonic Lodge member. He also served his community as a Wakeshma Township firefighter. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Glory; children Gary (Kathy) Bragg of Three Rivers, Paula (Randy) Lee of Kalamazoo, Tonya (Robert) Weiandt of Portage; grandchildren Trisha (Joseph) Howard of Greenville, Dawn (Kyle) Rice of Three Rivers, Kristen (Calvin) Klinger of Vicksburg, Jeremy Lee of Kalamazoo, Nicholas (Kelsey) Lee of Parchment; Elizabeth Lee of Kalamazoo, Karl (Elysia) Armstrong of Three Rivers, Katherine (Khanh) Dang of Caledonia; great-grandchildren Emily, Riley, Addison, Nathan, Colton, Collin, Karlie, Izzabella, Caden, Ryan, and Micah. He was preceded in death by two great-grand angel babies and his seven siblings. Visit his page at Donations may go to South County Help A Vet Fund and Wreaths Across America at wreathsacrossamerica-braggfamily on Facebook. Arrangements by McCowen & Secord Family Life Story Funeral Home.

Anna Elizabeth Brown, 103, Vicksburg, passed away April 21. She was born Elizabeth Anna Multhaupt on December 8, 1914, in Kalamazoo, the daughter of Frederick and Elizabeth (Banziger) Multhaupt. Her early education was in Oshtemo before she continued on to graduate from the Kalamazoo Central High School class of 1931. Anna attended the Oshtemo Methodist Church, where she met a young violinist named Ralph David Brown. They eventually married, settled in Vicksburg in 1941 and made a home there for 77 years. Anna was one of the founding members of the Vicksburg Ambulance Service along with her husband, Ralph, and several other community members. She was an EMT, and loved it until she retired at 76. She was always sewing and repairing clothes. However, her greatest love was gardening. Anna was very patriotic and always flew the American flag, even on her car. She loved parades. She served on the Village Council. She was a member of the Scotts Elmwood Chapter 88 of the Pythian Sisters, serving as Grand Chief of the State of Michigan in 1972-73. In 1976, as part of the bicentennial celebration, she was chosen as one of 150 outstanding women of Michigan. At the age of 100, she was recognized by the South County Emergency Medical Service when it named the classroom in her honor. Surviving are six loving children: Nancy (Otto) Decker, Vicksburg; Patricia (Paul) Weber, Kalamazoo; Ralph David (Wendy) Brown Jr., Bay City; Elizabeth (William) Bushouse, Helen (David) Horn, and John (Laurie) Brown, all of Kalamazoo; 19 grandchildren, several great and great-great grandchildren, a sister, Wilma Cooper, Kalamazoo; many nieces, nephews and cousins, as well as many relatives in Germany and Switzerland. She was preceded in death by her husband, Ralph; a son, Robert; her parents; brother Arthur Multhaupt; sisters Cora Miller, Emilie Smith, and Mary Barnes; and grandchildren Sara Brown, Paul Decker and Diane (Bushouse) Evans. Donations may go to Hospice of Southwest Michigan or a charity of your choice. Visit her page at

Lyle R Davis (“Rube”), 91, Schoolcraft, passed away peacefully in his home on March 20. He was born on July 12, 1926 to the late Charles and Verle (Dooley) Davis. Lyle lived his entire life in the Schoolcraft area and graduated from Schoolcraft High School. Following in his father’s footsteps, he became a union carpenter, building area schools and apartments. He eventually went into residential building for himself. Lyle is a WWII Navy veteran. Until his mid-eighties, he marched in Schoolcraft’s annual 4th of July and Memorial Day Parades with the Drill Team or Color Guard. Lyle was preceded in death by his wife of 66 years, Geneva (Lance) Davis. They were married on April 27, 1946. He was also preceded in death by his brothers, David and Roy Davis; a brother-in-law, Donald Patnoude; sisters-in-law Pat Davis and Helen Lance; great grandchildren Garrick Roemer and Onika, Talon, and Landon Kessler. Lyle is survived by his children, Kay (Lou) Scohy, Wanda (Walter) Scott, Rod (Cynthia) Davis, and Logan (Craig) Roe. He was the beloved grandpa of 12 grandchildren, and 20-plus great grandchildren. Also surviving are his sister-in-law, Charline (Lance) Patnoude; brother-in-law Lyle Lance; and several nieces and nephews. A graveside service for Lyle was held on April 21 in the Schoolcraft cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan, Schoolcraft American Legion or the American Red Cross of Southwest Michigan.

Virginia “Ginny” (Bent) Davis, 93, Schoolcraft, passed away peacefully at home April 9. Ginny was born on January 13, 1925, the daughter of the late Albert V. Kimball, Sr. and Isabelle Ann (Stevens) Kimball. She was preceded in death by her first husband, Gerald Bent, whom she married in 1945, and her second husband, Ralph Davis, whom she married in 1972. She was also preceded by her brother, Albert V. Kimball, Jr. Ginny worked at the Upjohn Company for 15 years. Ginny is survived by a daughter, Cindy (Richard) Shattuck, and a granddaughter, Marcy (Michael) Charvat. Also surviving are great-grandchildren Carson, Gavin and Gabrielle Charvat; a sister, Mary Purdham; nephew Albert (Debbie) Kimball III; niece Deborah Linden; and a sister-in-law, Mary Lou Kimball. In accordance with Ginny’s wishes, cremation has taken place. Donations may go to the Animal Rescue Project.

Alan Grauman, Vicksburg, passed away peacefully at his home April 16. He was born on August 24, 1948 to the late Allen and Mara (Morescalchi) Grauman. His parents met in Italy while his father was a young U.S. soldier following World War II. Alan attended school in Portage, Venezuela and Italy. He and his new wife Cecilia’s first home was on Main Street in Vicksburg, a home they purchased with another couple. A big old house, the other couple lived upstairs and they lived downstairs. In 1976 they moved into the rural area of Vicksburg making the country roads their forever home. Alan worked at Consumers Energy in engineering before transferring to the company’s IT department. Alan’s interests were far and wide, and after retiring in 2015, it gave him just the time he needed to enjoy them. He couldn’t resist anything that needed to be put together and programmed. He liked computers, and was good at working on them. Over the years he acquired quite a collection of used computer and electronic parts because he might have needed them someday. Alan’s family includes his wife, Cecilia (Reisterer); daughter Jaime (Chris) Payne; son Jesse Grauman; grandchildren Madeline, Linus, India, Amaya and Jesse; siblings Judy Grauman and Mila (Jim) Beck, and several nieces and nephews. Funeral services were held on Friday, April 20 at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Home. Please visit Alan’s personal web page at, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign his online guestbook. Memorial donations may be made to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.

Gracie Harber, 93, Vicksburg, went to be with the Lord on March 24, at her home with her family at her side. Gracie was born on February 19, 1925 to James & Josie (McCullah) Stokes. Services were held on Monday, April 2 at the McCowen & Secord Family Funeral Home. Gracie’s family includes her daughters, Sharon (Frank) Burr, Donna Cartwright and Vickie (Brian) Klassen; grandchildren Angela (Kristopher) Wilson, Joseph Cartwright, Wendy (Darin Frederickson) Burr, Tracy (Mark) Thomas, Scott (Nicole) Klassen, Lisa (Adam) Brewer; great grandchildren Stephen, Josh, Hannah, Sydney, William, Stevine and a baby on the way, as well as several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband of 50 years, George, and six siblings. Visit her page at Donations may go to Community Baptist Church of Vicksburg or Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.

Andrew H. Lewis, Kalamazoo, formerly of Vicksburg, passed away at his home April 9. He was born on June 15, 1933 in Kalamazoo, a son of Gilbert and Bertha (Dykehouse) Lewis. He was a life-long area resident. Andrew entered the US Army just before his 20th birthday and served in the Korean War before being honorably discharged in 1955. He returned home and worked for the Upjohn Company until his retirement in 1990. Andrew was a member of Saint Martin of Tours Catholic Church, a life member of VFW Post 5855 and a member of American Legion Post 207, Eagles Aerie 3531 and Moose International. Andrew was preceded in death by his parents; a brother, Albert Lewis; a sister, Adeline Lewis; and a brother-in-law, Marvin “Luke” Lukomski. In 1962, Andrew married the former Marlene Lukomski, who survives. Also surviving are five children and their spouses: David (Candy) Lewis of Portage, Carolyn (Brian) Kitzmiller of Vicksburg, Diann (Jeff) Roodbergen of Vicksburg, Gary (Karin) Lewis of Wake Forest, N.C. and Daniel (Lynette) Lewis of Kalamazoo; 13 grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; a brother, Lawrence (Beverly) Lewis of Vicksburg; sister-in-law, Patricia Lewis; many nieces and nephews; and his beloved dog, Princess. Cremation has taken place. Internment with military honors was held at Ft. Custer National Cemetery. Donations may go to VFW Post 5855, Paralyzed Veterans of America or to the American Heart Association.

A memorial dinner will be held in honor of Marilyn Lindley at the
Scotts Community Center on May 6th from 1-4:30.

Ann Linton of Vicksburg will be honored with a memorial service to be held at Lakeland Reformed Church, 10442 Sprinkle Rd., Vicksburg, on May 19. Visitation with the family begins at 10 a.m. and the service is at 11 a.m. She turned 107 on February 14 and passed away on February 24.

Marcia C. Meyer, Schoolcraft, passed away April 18. She was born to Wendell Millard and Roberta “Bert” Arndt on July 22, 1975. Marcia attended school in Luther, Mich., where she played volleyball, and was also a member of the National Honor Society. After graduating from Pine River High School in 1993, she attended college in the Kalamazoo area. Throughout her life, Marcia was always busy. Marcia worked for 14 years at Summit Polymers, the last six years as a purchasing coordinator. Marcia absolutely loved taking pictures, and she also enjoyed traveling and snowmobiling. Marcia Meyer was one of the funniest people around. She loved making others laugh, and she was outgoing, giving, and friendly. Marcia’s family includes her husband, Terry; daughter Andrea; parents Wendell and Bert Millard, of Wisconsin; siblings Sondra Smith, of Schoolcraft, Beth (Mike) Dennison, of Indiana, and Denny Millard, also of Indiana. Services were held Monday, April 30 at the McCowen & Secord Family Funeral Homes, Rupert-Durham Chapel, Vicksburg. Burial followed at Schoolcraft Cemetery. Visit her page at Donations may go to the West Michigan Cancer Center or Schoolcraft Schools.

Barbara Northam, 65, Scotts, died April 2. Barbara was born June 9, 1952 in Berwyn, Ill., the daughter of Michael and Betty Piotrowski. Services were held at on Wednesday, April 4 at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Home. Visitation in Darien, Ill. took place on Friday, April 6 at the Modell Funeral Home. Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Saturday, April 7 at Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church, Darien, with interment in Clarendon Hills Cemetery. Barbara is survived by her husband, Jim; children Matthew (Laura) Northam and Angeline (Matthew) Anderton. Other members of her family include grandchildren, Ella, Julia, Claire and Andrew; and sisters Sandra Chereshkoff and Debra (Randy) Kieras. Visit her page at Donations may go to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.

Robin M. Shearer, Grand Rapids, died April 19. Robin was born on June 28, 1952 to Victor and Marjorie Girolami in Hamilton, OH. She was pre-deceased by her husband, Andrew F. Shearer, her son, Owen K. Shearer, and her parents. Robin spent her early childhood in Hamilton, Ohio and moved with her family to Michigan in 1965. She graduated from Vicksburg High School and attended Kalamazoo Valley Community College. She married the love of her life, Andy Shearer, on June 23, 1973. Robin and Andy helped run the Vicksburg Tastee Freeze for many years. Robin was very active in the Grand Rapids International Fellowship Church of the Nazarene. She is survived by seven siblings: Vicki Smith(Dan), Andrew Girolami (Rhonda), Chuck Girolami (Diana), Cathy Holden (Chris), Rick Girolami (Sandy), Lynn Baragar (Todd), and David Girolami. She is also survived by many nieces, nephews, great nieces, great nephews and great-greats. There will be a memorial service May 15, at the Grand Rapids International Fellowship Church of the Nazarene at 6:30 p.m. Her cremains will be interred with her husband, Andy Shearer, and next to her son, Owen.

Norma Jean Suess (Switzer), 81, passed away unexpectedly but peacefully in her sleep at her Fort Myers, FL, home April 8. Born May 16, 1936, to Alva and Helen (Hall) Switzer at their home in Kalamazoo, she was a 1954 graduate of Vicksburg High School and married Alan Suess of Plainwell on December 29, 1956. Her husband’s academic career took them around the Midwest, from the University of Illinois, to Ohio State University and finally to Purdue University in Indiana, where they raised their family.  It also took Norma around the world, living in India for a short stint and in Turkey for a few years, visiting a dozen countries in Europe and Asia in between. She owned her own interior design boutique for 30 years and was a lifelong painter in pastels, oil, and acrylics. She continued taking seminars at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts in her retirement as she summered in Portage on West Lake. She formed several groups for golfing, going to movies, book clubs and an art guild. She was active to the end, golfing to the last day. Norma is survived by her children, Theresa, Matthew (Bonnie), and Eric (Kimberly) and grandchildren Deric and Derin, and by her sisters Judy Lewis (Eli), Fran Rigney (Carl), and Patricia Bittenbender (Milan). She was preceded in death by her brother, Alvin (Sonny), and her parents. A celebration of life service will be held July 14 at 11 a.m. at Chapman Memorial Church of the Nazarene. The family will begin receiving friends at the church one hour prior to the service. Donations may go to the Alan Suess Scholarship at the Purdue Polytechnic Institute online at

Norma June Vargo, 79, Portage, passed away April 6. Norma was born on February 27, 1939 in Mishawaka, Ind. She was the daughter of Frederick and Irene (Landcraft) Boldt. On July 20, 1957, she married James Vargo at St. Ann’s Catholic Church. She owned and operated the Sale Barn in Schoolcraft. She is survived by her children, Mark (Mary) Vargo, of Three Rivers and Julie Shaffer, of Portage; granddaughter Jenna Courtney; siblings Fred (Marj) Boldt, John Boldt and MaryAnn (Art) Webber. She was preceded in death by her husband, Jim Vargo, in 2005. A private entombment for Norma will be held at the Mount Ever-Rest Memorial Park. Visit her page at Donations may go to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan. The family is being assisted by the McCowen & Secord Family Funeral Home.

Lynn D. Whyle, Vicksburg, passed away April 16, at home. Lynn was born August 10, 1946 in Kalamazoo, the daughter of the late Charles and Evelyn (Swan) Senne and a lifelong resident in the Kalamazoo area. She was employed for 30 years with the Upjohn Company and enjoyed doing crafts which involved quilting and needlework. She also enjoyed spending time on the computer and doing volunteer work in Lake Placid, Fla. for five years, just after her retirement. On October 25, 1985 she was united in marriage to her loving husband, Robert “Bob” Whyle III, who survives. Also surviving are her children, Julie (Ben) Glazebrook, Stephen (Sarah) Bauserman; grandchildren Kelsey Emery, Carly and Alexander Glazebrook; step-children Deborah Waite, Carla Harrington, and Robert Whyle IV; brother, Richard Senne; and several nieces and nephews. Lynn was preceded in death by a sister, Patricia “Patti” Capman. Services were held on April 21 at the Langeland Family Funeral Home. Interment was at Riverside Cemetery. Memorials may be directed to Grace Hospice.