Duane A. Avard passed away August 5, 2023. He was born April 30, 1933, to Harold and Ethel Avard. Educated at Kalamazoo Central, he embodied a commitment to learning that would extend beyond the classroom. On June 12, 1953, he married Betty June Brosseau, embarking on a journey of shared dreams and enduring companionship. Duane’s professional path led him to Durametallic, where he worked until retirement. Duane and June had a shared passion for horses, eventually acquiring a farm in Texas Township. There they also raised polled Hereford cattle. They enjoyed traveling to Florida, especially Pine Island. Duane is survived by his wife, June Avard; daughters Pam (Brian) Hannar and Sherry Logan; and his brothers, David and Louis Avard. He will be remembered for his love of family, steadfastness in the face of challenges, and his unyielding spirit. Visit his page at amsfuneralhomes.com.
Martha Irene Bowen, 83, Vicksburg, passed away July 28, 2023. She was born November 6, 1939 in Pontiac, to Albert Norman and Martha Elizabeth Hawkins. Martha graduated from Spring Arbor High School in 1957. She married William David Bowen on August 24 of that year. They raised their four children in Midland. After starting a family, Martha attended Delta College and received an associate degree in interior design. She primarily was a homemaker but worked as a seamstress and interior designer for a few years. Martha enjoyed gardening, baking, sewing, and playing games. She enjoyed hosting tea parties with her grandchildren. Martha was an active member of the Nazarene Church, first at Midland Community and most recently of Chapman Memorial. Martha had a kind and generous spirit. Martha was preceded in her passing by her husband, William (Bill) Bowen, daughter Yvonne Biggar and daughter-in-law Kristin Bowen. She is survived by her children, son-in-law Jonathan Biggar; Debra and Steven Reader, William A. Bowen, and Yalonda and J. Mitchell Combs; grandchildren Rebecca (Nick), Allison (Rob), Gretchen (Andrew), Sara (Mike), Adam (Shayna), Jack Renee, Mandy, Emily (Connor), Abigail (Michael), Tim, Jake, and Miguella; and 13 great-grandchildren with the 14th expected in October 2023. Services have been held. Memorials made in Martha’s memory may be directed to Chapman Memorial Church of the Nazarene, The Gideons International, or Indian Lake Nazarene Camp. Visit her page at amsfuneralhomes.com.
Evelyn Ann Brockway, 84, formerly of Vicksburg, passed away peacefully on August 17, 2023. She was born May 13, 1939, in Valparaiso, Indiana, to LeRoy and Margaret (Wayne) Manning. She attended Valparaiso High School and moved to Kalamazoo in 1968, where she met and married Carlton Brockway. They raised their family in Vicksburg and resided there for the next 47 years. Evelyn led Vicksburg Athletic Boosters’ bingo for 44 years, raising several million dollars during that time. Evelyn was inducted into the Vicksburg Athletic Hall of Fame in 1990, and the Boosters now name their annual scholarships after her. In 2014, Vicksburg Community Schools named the girls varsity softball field the “Evelyn Brockway Softball Complex.” Evelyn was preceded in death by her husband, Carlton, and is survived by her children, John (Vicki) Holmes, Rick (Jennie) Holmes, Carla Brockway; grandchildren John, Katrina, Aaron, Christopher, Olivia, Rachel, Joshua, Alex; and great-great grandchildren Kadence, Eti and Enoka. Visit her page at amsfuneralhomes.com. Donations may go to the Vicksburg Athletic Boosters at vicksburgathleticboosters.org.
James Randel Dean, 82, Schoolcraft, passed away peacefully with family and friends at his side August 1, 2023, at Kairos Dwelling in Kalamazoo. James was born to Leslie and Alice Mae (Burson) Dean on the family farm in Portage, in April 1941. He attended Portage High School and was the senior class president, keeping the Mustang “59ers” connected over the years. He graduated from Ferris State University and was in the Lambda Chi fraternity. James married Diana Lou Williams on November 30, 1963. For 32 years, Jim proudly guided the student dining services at WMU. He was a member of Schoolcraft United Methodist Church, Schoolcraft school board, NACUFS, Portage Central Alumni Association, Kairos Dwelling board, Schoolcraft Historical Society and Friendship Force. Jim volunteered as head cook for the Schoolcraft 7th grade camp. He took pleasure in cookbooks, antiques, travel, gardening, friends, and family. He is survived by his children, Gregory (Kayla) and Karen (Pete); grandchildren Alison, Connor, Molly and Brenna; siblings Millicent Zentz and Duane; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife Diana, his brother Newell (Ruth) Dean; brother-in-law Ron Zentz; and sister-in-law Sherri Dean. Visit his page at amsfuneralhomes.com. Donations may go to Kairos Dwelling and Portage Central Alumni Association.
Patricia Louise Dorrance, 61, Schoolcraft, passed away on August 22, 2023 at Bronson Methodist Hospital. She was born in Kalamazoo on May 5, 1962, the daughter of Kenneth and Patricia (Reddy) Dorrance. Pat attended school in Climax-Scotts and was part of the 1980 graduating class from Mendon High School. After high school she attended Kalamazoo Valley for a couple of years. For over fifteen years, Pat worked at Edwards Garment in Kalamazoo as an office clerk. She was a simple woman who enjoyed the simple things in life. Pat enjoyed being outside, gardening, tending to her flowers, and maintaining her lawn. She loved animals, especially her dogs. In her free time, Pat liked to camp, have bonfires, and to gather with her friends with some good music. Most of all, she loved her grandchildren and her family. Pat is survived by her mother, Patricia Imanse; sons Brian (Alissa) Baker of Vicksburg and Jesse Samson of Mendon; grandchildren Addison Baker, Brody Baker, Carson Baker, Grace Samson, and Charlotte Samson; siblings Brian (Carrie) Dorrance of Scotts and Becky (Danny) Watson of Scotts; and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her father, Kenneth Dorrance, her stepfather, Bruce Imanse, and her sister Wendy Britten. A gathering will take place at a later date. Visit her page at eickhofffuneralhome.com.
Evon Marie Fleckenstein, 82, Vicksburg, passed away August 8, 2023. Evon was born on April 1, 1941, in Battle Creek, the daughter of Hubert and Lydia (VanOverloop) Prentice. She graduated from Mattawan High School in 1959. She was a ball girl for the Kalamazoo Lassies, an American Girls Professional Baseball League team in the mid 50’s. She married Paul “Jim” Fleckenstein November 24, 1967. She enjoyed watching Notre Dame football and women’s sports. She was an accomplished league bowler. She enjoyed traveling, casinos, and Elvis. She worked in banking and finance, eventually retiring from Pfizer in 2002. She was preceded in death by her husband, Paul “Jim” Fleckenstein; parents Hubert and Lydia Prentice; and brother, Jack Prentice (Patricia). Evon is survived by her children: Kim (Richard) Jones, Susan (John) Sterling, Brian (Michelle) Fleckenstein, and Cindy (Randy) Howard; grandchildren Trevor Kiel, David (Stormi) Jones, Devin (Dakota) Jones, Abby Lockwood, Dana Lockwood, and Ella Lockwood; and great grandchildren Rhylee and Waylon Jones. She also is survived by brother-in-law, Tom (Marilyn) Fleckenstein, and nieces and nephews, Mark and Jeff Prentice and Cammy and Kevin Fleckenstein. Visit her page at amsfuneralhomes.com. Donations may go to Centrica Care Navigators and SPCA of Southwest Michigan.
Steven Jacob Edwin Giem passed away August 1, 2023. He was born May 29, 2002 in Kalamazoo. He attended Vicksburg Community Schools and was always mechanically inclined. He was self-employed, running his own lawn care service. Steven was an avid outdoorsman and fisherman. He loved the peacefulness of being in nature. Steven is survived by his mother, Nickole Marie Berger of Portage; his dads, Jake “Jason” Kellogg of Three Rivers and Scott Andrew Berger of Portage; grandparents, Kathy Bolton, Stanley and Dawn Bolton, Bonnie and Douglas Kellogg, and Brian and Carol Berger; great-grandmother Margaret “Peg” Giem; aunt Gloria Bolton-Wicks, her husband, Adam, and their daughter Katherine “Kasia” Faye; godparents Jamie and Brian Washburn and their children Vivian, Hazel, and Grayson; his aunt Renee Clark, her husband, Adam and their son Luke; cousins Caleb and Kaleen Redner; great aunt Paulette Hospenthal, and great uncle Gail Makinen; many friends and his very best friend Cameron Pape. Steven was preceded in death by his uncle, William Bolton, grandfather Steven Makinen, grandmother Cheryl “Cheri” Berger, great-grandfathers Seth Giem II and Gary Makinen, great-grandmother Carol Makinen, great uncles Daniel Hospenthal and Ronald Makinen and his beloved dog, Walter. Visit his page at amsfuneralhomes.com.
Madge Eleanor Hollander, 99 years young, passed away August 16, 2023, surrounded by her family. She was born in Detroit on August 2, 1924. She was married to Norman Hollander in 1945 and together they had four children, Sue (Skip) Beaty, Bill (Clare)Hollander, Wayne Hollander, and Lori (Richard) Barnes. She had 7 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren, and 2 great-great-grandchildren. She remained independent enough to stay active with her weekly bowling, golfing, and the Portage Senior Center Needlers. She never stopped making new friends. A celebration of her life will be held on September 16 from 2-4 p.m. at the Vicksburg Community Center. Donations may go to St. Jude Children’s Hospital in her memory.
Mark Eugene Klein, 70, Mendon, died August 8, 2023, at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo. He was born in Three Rivers September 8, 1952 to Vincent Eugene Klein and Henrietta (Pleuster) Klein. He graduated from Colon High School in 1970. He worked at Simpson Paper Company for 31 1/2 years before its closing as Fox River Paper. He then worked at I.A.C. in Mendon. Mark was a lifetime member of St. Edward Catholic Church. He enjoyed travels across the country with his family. He was a fan of the Tigers, Lions, Notre Dame, and old TV shows. Mark was married to Paula Vreeland on June 15, 1974 at St. Edward. She survives along with children Marty Klein, Stephanie (Cesar) Colette, Michelle (Steve) Allison, Matthew Klein, and Cindy (Jesse) King; grandchildren Lucas Colette, Dierks King, and Austin King; a few grand fur babies; siblings Mary Klein, Tom (Margie) Klein, Jane (Barry) VanderVeen, Gary (Sandy) Klein, Diane (David) Snyder, Bonnie Moser, Carol Mack, David Klein, Anthony (Patty) Klein, and Barbara (Wayne) Dale; mother-in-law Martha Vreeland and sister-in-law Tangileen Klein. Mark was preceded in death by his parents, Vincent E. and Henrietta; brothers Roger and Vincent B. Klein; sister Jean Marie Klein; brothers-in-law John Mack and Byron Moser; and grand-niece Judy Klein. Donations may go to St. Edward Catholic Church. Visit his page at eickhofffuneralhome.com.
Joel MacLean Smola lost his long, brave battle with common variable immune deficiency (CVID) on August 2, 2023, at U of M Hospital, surrounded by family and friends. Born in Kalamazoo on April 16, 1992, Joel was the second of five siblings. He graduated from Mattawan High School in 2010, where he played band, tennis, and bowling. He was the #1 singles player in tennis during his senior year, earning the coveted MVP title for two consecutive years. He coached tennis in Paw Paw, sharing his enthusiasm and knowledge. He belonged to the Vicksburg United Methodist Church where he played drums in the praise band, engaged with the youth group, and was a counselor at Wesley Woods Church Camp. He had a fascination with fireworks and put on a spectacular show every 4th of July. He immersed himself in trading card games like Magic and Yu-Gi-Oh! Joel worked as a cook at Latitude 42 and attended KVCC. Joel is survived by his parents, Jim and Joan Smola, siblings Alan (Annalisa) Smola, William Smola, Scott Smola, and Meredith Smola, and grandmother, Barbara Hosner. He was preceded in death by his grandfather, Albert Hosner, grandparents Ed and Dorothy Smola, and his cousin, Charlie Smola. Donations may go to Immune Deficiency Foundation, Vicksburg United Methodist Church, or the family by following the link helphopelive.org/campaign/20850. Visit his page at amsfuneralhomes.com.
Joyce Elizabeth Steeby, 90, formerly of Schoolcraft, passed away August 4, 2023, at Rest Haven Care Center in Holland after losing her battle with Alzheimer’s. She was born July 5, 1933, in Kalamazoo to Romeo and Anna (Cooley) Frey. She attended Schoolcraft Schools and earned her education degree at WMU. She married Gary Steeby in 1956. She was a founding member of the Schoolcraft Historical Society and a member of the Schoolcraft Ladies Library Association. She was a substitute teacher and earned a real estate license. Joyce was key to the creation and support of the Gary Steeby Memorial Tennis Program. She attended Calvary Bible Church until she moved to Holland. Joyce was preceded in death by her parents; husband Gary Allen Steeby; daughter Julie Ann Steeby; sister and brother-in-law Esther and Darrell Brush; brother and sister-in-law Paul and Nancy Frey; and sister-in-law Sandra (David) Frey. She is survived by her children, Jon (Julie) Steeby, Mark (Nadia) Steeby, and Jennifer (John) Ruiter; grandchildren Jillian (Jimi) Russell, Justin (Sarah) Steeby, Ashton and Jacob Steeby, and Peter, Luke, and Elizabeth Ruiter; great-grandchildren Ellis, Ford, Owen, and Ava; brother David Frey; sister Phyllis Frey; as well as several nieces and nephews. Donations may go to Calvary Bible Memorial Fund, Schoolcraft Community Library, or Hospice of Holland. Visit her page at langelands.com.