James “Jim” Barrett, passed on June 23, 2021, after a long battle with dementia. Jim was born on September 27, 1938, to Delbert J. and Mary A. (Clancy) Barrett in Kalamazoo. Jim attended St. Augustine Elementary, Milwood Junior High and graduated from Portage High School in 1956. In February 1960, he married Sharon Golyar and had three children. Jim retired after 36 years with the Upjohn Company. In October 1989, he married Phyllis Norris. They had 32 years of marriage together. Jim enjoyed hunting, fishing, football, baseball and bowling. Jim was preceded in death by his parents; siblings Eleanor, Jack, Bob Pat, Dennis, and Gerry; and special friend Ed Hageman. He is survived by his wife Phyllis; children Phillip (Deb) of Scotts, Monica (Paul) of Delton, and Chantal (Jack); brother Nick; and stepchildren Julie (Gary), Jerry, Shelley (Lou), and Steve. A memorial will be held on Friday, July 2, at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church with a visitation at 10 a.m. and a mass at 11 a.m. Burial will follow at Vicksburg Cemetery. Donations may go to Rose Arbor Hospice or a charity of one’s choice. Visit his page at avinkcremation.com.
Elsie L. (Wolthuis-Desness) Carvell, 92, passed away peacefully June 1, 2021 at Rose Arbor Hospice. Elsie was born February 24, 1929 in Vicksburg, the daughter of John R. and Myrtle (Hendricks) Wolthuis. Elsie grew up on the family farm on “Dutchman’s Road” with her five siblings. Elsie graduated from VHS in 1947, married Willis R. “Bill” Carvell on June 28, 1947, and raised three sons. Bill died in 1956. Elsie married William A. “Bill” Desness on June 7, 1961. They retired from Upjohn and became snowbirds, living between Kline’s Resort and Stuart, Fla. When Bill died in 1993, Elsie settled near Lawton before a final move to Amber Place. Elsie is survived by sons David (Karen) Carvell of Portage and Richard Carvell of Kalamazoo; daughter-in-law Catherine Carvell of Goodlettsville Tenn.; six grandchildren and several great-grandchildren; siblings John Wolthuis, Betty Wheeler and Bill Wolthuis. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husbands, her son Michael and siblings MaryAnn Klimek and Louis Wolthuis. Donations may go to Rose Arbor Hospice or the charity of one’s choice. Visit her page at mccowensecord.com.
William A. “Bill” Couchenour, 87, Vicksburg, passed away at his home on May 11, 2021. Bill was born in Uniontown, Pa. on August 5, 1933, the son of William and Gladys (Waltonbaugh) Couchenour. He was a member of Saint Petersburg High School’s State Championship basketball team and graduated in 1951. He served in the US Army for two years. He then attended Eastern Nazarene College where he met Ruth Andrews. They married in Royersford, Pa. on August 31, 1957 and raised five children: Diane, James, William, Kathleen and Kenneth. Bill is survived by his wife, Ruth; children Diane Bosworth of Vicksburg, Jim (Dixie) Couchenour of Eaton Rapids, Rev Bill (Rhonda) Couchenour of Sterling, Colo., Kathy Demaray of Mason, Mich., and Ken (Cheryl) Couchenour of Mason; grandchildren Briana (Dustin), Brooke, Tyler (Julienne), Austen (Melanie), Kaylee (Kamron), Jonathan, Will, Rachael, Christina, Joshua, Michael (Bansari), Daniel, Caleb, McKenna; 10 great grandchildren with one on the way; his brother, Jim Couchenour of Columbiana, Ohio; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Melvin Couchenour, sister Gladys “Sis” Hofacker; sisters-in-law Pat and Betty Couchenour; brother-in-law Chauncy Hofacker; and grandson-in-law Caleb Starr. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to the William A. and Ruth Andrews Couchenour Scholarship Fund at Olivet Nazarene University.
Ronald L. Eaton, 74, passed away with his son by his side on June 1, 2021. Ron was born January 28, 1947, to Kenneth and Dorothy (Born) Eaton. Ron married the love of his life, Karen Oswalt, September 25, 1971. Ron served his country proudly along with his brother as a Navy corpsman, acquiring the nickname “Doc”. He served in Vietnam and was awarded two purple heart medals. Ron retired from the Post Office after 30 years as a letter carrier. He had a passion for softball and golf, and he began building golf clubs. Ron loved his family and adored his cat. He was a huge Notre Dame and Cubs fan. He was a gifted storyteller. He is survived by his son, Jason (Tracy) Eaton; grandchildren Shan (Mollie Hageman) Pileri, Taylor (Emily Nachtegall) Misel, Brooke (Chase Fricke) Misel, Jarrett Eaton and Jaden Eaton; great-grandchildren Brenden and Noah; siblings David (Viola) Eaton and Robert (Sue) Eaton; several nieces and nephews and his favorite cat, Millie. He was preceded in death by his parents and his wife, Karen. Donations may go to Give Kids the World in honor of Cambri Dorko or Section 1776 in honor of veterans. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com.
Harold Heikes, 96, Kalamazoo, died on May 29, 2021. He was born on August 1, 1924, in Vicksburg, the son of Harry and Esther (Dalton) Heikes. He graduated in 1942 from VHS and served in the US Army Air Corps. He was a top gunner on a B-25, serving in the south Pacific. He began work as a millwright at the paper mill and retired after 38 years. He married Eleanor Woodhams on November 29, 1968, and her five children became his own. The family enjoyed many holidays together on Pine Lake. Harold and Eleanor enjoyed dancing and traveled extensively. Since Eleanor’s death in 2013, he focused on hobbies and family, especially his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Members of Harold’s family include children Terri (Scott) Dunlop, Gary Heikes, and Bonnie Heikes; and grandson, Brian. In addition to his children, he is survived by Eleanor’s children: Ronald Woodhams, Alan (Cynthia) Woodhams, Barbara (Gregory) Deibert, and Robert (Margaret) Woodhams; 10 grandchildren; and 8 great-grandchildren. Besides his wife, Eleanor, he was preceded in death by his brother, Everett, and stepson, Michael Woodhams. Visit his page at BetzlerLifeStory.com. Donations may go to Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes.
Marilyn J. Kozar, 85, Schoolcraft, passed away June 6, 2021, at Rose Arbor Hospice with her family by her side. Born November 30, 1935 in Kalamazoo, she was the middle child of George and Gladys (Werner) Kozar. She married Edwin David Wood. She was preceded in death by her husband; son Michael Wood; parents Gladys and George Kozar; and sisters Geraldine Povenz and Shirley Heuser. Marilyn leaves behind children Eddie Wood, Jennifer (Wood) Duff, and Wendy (Wood) Boutell; grandchildren Edwin (Woody) Wood, Matheson Wood, Alex Andrea (Wood) Bond, Zachary Wood, Jenny (Duff) Dines, Lauren (Chapman) Bienemann, and Shannon Chapman; and many great-grandchildren. She also leaves behind Russ Povenz, who was married to Geraldine, and John (Jack) Heuser, who was married to Shirley. Marilyn was a longtime member of St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church in Vicksburg. Her Catholic religion was an important part of her life, and she was looking forward to being reunited with her family in Heaven. Donations may go to the American Cancer Society. Visit her page at avinkcremation.com.
Rusty Wire Shelburne, 61, Scotts, formerly of Rochester, passed away June 11, 2021 from injuries sustained in a fall at home. Rusty was born in Noblesville on August 3, 1959, the son of Howard Dale and Rebecca Jacquelyn “Jackie” Wire Shelburne. He graduated from Rochester High School in 1977. Rusty married Laurie Drenth on June 3, 1978, in Kalamazoo, and they shared 43 years of adventures. Rusty earned an associate degree in law enforcement from KVCC and began a nearly 40-year career with the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Department. His badge #131 was retired in October 2018. Since retirement, he wintered near Apache Junction, Ariz. where he and Laurie could be near their son, Derek, and the grandchildren. Rusty enjoyed riding his motorcycle, racing his remote-control car, golfing. Rusty is survived by his wife Laurie, of Scotts; son Derek Shelburne of Phoenix; grandchildren Devereaux, Deklan, Audriana and their mother, Juanita; sisters Tammy Shelburne-See of Rochester, Betsy Shelburne of State College, Pa., Misty (Timothy) DePoy of Rochester, and Mindy (Hector) Navarro of Rochester; brothers Jeffery (Jeanie) Shelburne of Rochester, Rodney (Darla) Shelburne of Warsaw, Randy (Carol) Shelburne of Rochester, and Barney (Lorraine) Shelburne of Stillman Valley, Ill.; numerous nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews, many friends, as well as his Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Department Family. He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers Gary D. Shelburne and Scott B. Shelburne. Visit his page at langelands.com.
Caroll Emaline Wise, 94, Scotts, died June 11, 2021 at her home. She was born in Wibaux, Montana on Nov. 2, 1926, the daughter of Hezekiah and Laura (Harkins) Keller. After graduation from high school, she went to cosmetology school. She worked briefly as a hairdresser in Athens, and for over 34 years at Margo Shick’s Salon in Vicksburg. Caroll and her late husband, George, operated a dairy farm in rural Vicksburg and were active at the Kalamazoo and St. Joseph County Grange Fairs. She enjoyed square dancing, gardening and playing cards. Many enjoyed her homemade pies and peanut brittle. Caroll is survived by her son and daughter in law, Richard (Carolyn S.) Wise of Scotts; grandchildren Scott (Jill) Wise and Shellie (Bill) Gibson, both of Battle Creek, and Alisha Wise of Climax; great-grandchildren Gavin and Allison Wise and Grace and Emma Gibson; several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, George Wise; daughter, Carolyn L. Wise; two brothers and four sisters. A memorial will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 10 at the Prairie Baptist Church followed by a luncheon. Donations may go to the St. Joseph County Fair, Dairy Department. Visit her page at eickhofffuneralhome.com.
Lora Jane “Polly” Boodt, 97, Schoolcraft, passed away April 20, 2021 at White Oaks Assisted Living. She was born September 24, 1923 in Schoolcraft at the family homestead on West W Ave. in Prairie Ronde Township, the daughter of Leon and Elizabeth (Hoverman) Wood. She graduated from Schoolcraft High School in 1942 and married Robert L. Boodt, June 18, 1942 in Abilene, Texas. Polly retired from WL Molding. She joined Schoolcraft Chapter #262, Order of the Eastern Star, became an OES Life Member on June 6, 1994 and was a member of Corinthian Chapter #123, Schoolcraft. She enjoyed gardening, baking pies, making caramel corn, camping with the RV club, playing cards, fishing, crocheting and collecting “Polly” frogs. She is survived by her son, Robert L. (Kitty) Boodt of Owosso; son-in-law Kenneth Maxam of Kalamazoo; grandchildren Kim Maxam of Schoolcraft, Keith (Sarah) Maxam of Parchment, Laurie (McDowell) Maxam of Plainwell, Kevin (Stacy) Maxam of Paw Paw, Brian (Melissa) Boodt of Schoolcraft, Troy (Becky) Boodt of Baldwin, and Stormy Greenwalt of Owosso; sister-in-law Velura (Boodt) Wood of Vicksburg; special nieces, Kay (Glessner) Bivens of Virginia and Robbie (Kniss) Glessner of Lapeer; 12 great grandchildren, 10 great-great grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband of 46 years, Robert; daughter, Elizabeth C. Maxam; brothers Walter Wood of Vicksburg and William G. Wood of California; sisters and their husbands Erna and Ray Glessner of Lapeer (formerly of Schoolcraft) and Birdie and Charles Shapard of California and Texas; nephews Marshall L. Glessner of Lapeer and Rodger Bivens of Virginia. Donations may go to First Presbyterian Church of Schoolcraft.
David Brownell, 63, Vicksburg, passed away April 11, 2021. David was born on December 13, 1957 in Kalamazoo, the son of Peter and Joyce (Bradley) Brownell. David lived on Austin Lake for 30 years. He followed a life-long dream and opened and operated the Mercantile Kitchen Store for 10 years in Kalamazoo. He was employed by Allied Mechanical Services for the majority of his life. He loved the lake life, spending time laughing with friends and family, cooking large meals and working around the house. David is survived by his wife of 32 years, Nancy (Stinson) Brownell; children Mary Brownell and Mitch Brownell; brother Doug (Judy) Brownell; stepbrother Steve (Barb) Balinski; and stepsister Suzanne (Matt) Charlier. David was preceded in death by his parents, Peter and Joyce Brownell; brother Scott Brownell; and stepmother Marilyn. Visit his page at avinkcremation.com and pour a vodka tonic in his honor.
Lois Bernice Evert Fulton, 98, passed away April 7, 2021. Lois was born April 20, 1922 at home in East Lansing to Paul and Cora (Mallory) Evert. Lois graduated from James Couzens Agricultural School, now Bath High School, in 1941, and she attended Lansing Business University. She married Robert James Fulton July 25, 1947. Lois worked for the Board of Water and Light and then the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. When Bob and Lois retired in 1986, they built their home at Indian Lake Nazarene Camp. Lois was preceded in death by her parents; her husband; daughter Penny Jean; son-in law Thomas Adams; and brothers and sisters-in-law Ray (Nina) Evert, Stan (Annabelle) Evert, Barbara Warner Fulton, Audrey Bishop Fulton and Dorothy (Bernard) West. She is survived by daughters Paula Fulton, Linda Adams, and Coralee (Dan) Behr, all of Vicksburg; grandchildren Kendra (Brian) Lee, Krista (Kelly) Kraemer, Aaron Behr, Andrew (Lydia) Behr, Adam (Danae) Behr and Michael Adams; great-grandchildren Alyse Kraemer, Lillianna, Autumn, Willow, Oliver, and Gabrielle Behr; and several nieces and nephews. Visit her page at mccowensecord.com.
Robert “Rob” James Garcia Jr., 42, passed away surrounded by his loving family on April 13, 2021. He was born on September 14, 1978 in Hollywood, Fla., the son of Robert J. Garcia Sr. and Molly A. Garcia. On August 27, 2011 he married Sara Franklin, and together they raised two wonderful children. Rob enjoyed playing video games, playing guitar and drawing. He earned an associate’s degree in art, created a comic book of his own and partnered to create a graphic novel. He loved having adventures with his family. Rob was preceded in death by his grandmother, Mildred Garcia; uncles John Garcia and James Garcia; aunt Mildred Pierce; and brother Jonathan Bradley. He is survived by his wife of 10 years, Sara (Franklin) Garcia; children Jaxon and Mackenzie Garcia; parents Robert (Patricia) Garcia and Molly Garcia; siblings Amanda Garcia, Jessica Vergauwen, and Elizabeth Eshuis; aunts Sharon Morgan and Donna Focht; uncle Michael Garcia; nieces, nephews, and many cousins. Donations may go to the family c/o Sara Garcia.
Richard Jay Henderson, 83, passed away surrounded by his loving family on April 9, 2021. He was born on June 13, 1937 in Wakeshma Township, the son of William and Dorothy (Spealman) Henderson Sr. He attended Vicksburg High School, worked at Fulton Service Station and eventually worked for CBS Hightron. After leaving CBS he worked for Kellogg’s for 36 years before retiring in 1993. He also farmed 300 acres in the Vicksburg area with his sister and brother-in-law, Donna and Ron Skippers. In retirement, he enjoyed golfing, going to Canada for fishing trips, cutting wood with his sons and brother, hanging out around a campfire, spending time with his grandchildren, and his yearly pilgrimage to Florida to escape the winter months. Richard was preceded in his passing by his loving wife of 62 years, Carol (Fish) Henderson; siblings Kenneth and Donna; and his parents. He is survived by his children, Rebecca (Jerry) Dunklee, Bradley (Vonda) Henderson, and Brent (Joan) Henderson; siblings Mary (Jim) Cousins, Bill Henderson, and Pat Smith; several grandchildren and great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com.
Clinton “Skidge” Hill, 54, passed away on April 21, 2021. He was born on April 22, 1966 in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, the son of Earl and Roxanne (Sayers) Hill. The family moved from Garden River, Ont. to the Kalamazoo area in 1998. Skidge was a die-hard fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Denver Broncos. He and his wife, Cora, enjoyed adventuring around the world, visiting casinos and deep belly laughs with their besties Rich and Donna. Skidge is survived by his wife of 22 years Cora; children Randi and Bryce; grandchildren Jordan and Tyler; siblings Karen (Jeff), Chad (Lora), Brent and Angel; special friend Clayton “Booker” Boissoneau; in-law’s Glenda (Ben), Wes (Maureen), Trixie (James), his late brother-in-law’s wife, Vanessa, and his mother and father-in-law, Glen and Alice Jones, as well as several aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews. Skidge was preceded in his passing by his parents, his brother Shawn, Baby Hill and a brother-in-law, Manny. Pay it forward with an act of kindness in Skidge’s memory.
Kenneth Alan Jones, 63, died unexpectedly in his Kalamazoo home on April 26, 2021. He was a well-known musician, performing with the Grand Rapids and Battle Creek symphony orchestras. He was a percussionist with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra for 45 years. Ken was born in Sturgis in 1957. His family moved to Schoolcraft in 1967. At the age of 13 he auditioned for Julius Stulberg and the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony. He remained with it for several years, taking tours throughout Canada and Europe. He graduated from Schoolcraft High School in 1975. After receiving a Board of Regents Scholarship, he attended Western Michigan University where he graduated cum laude, with a bachelor’s degree in music. For many years he taught instrumental music to elementary and middle school students in the Kalamazoo Public Schools. Ken was a talented and well-liked person by all who knew him. Preceding him in death were his father, Marion Jones, and his, brother Robert Jones. Left to grieve his passing are his son, Maxwell; his mother, Marilyn Jones, of Schoolcraft; sisters Kathleen Kelly and Laurie Bittle; brothers Larry Jones and Steven Jones; as well as four nieces and three nephews. An outdoor graveside memorial service will be held at the Schoolcraft Cemetery on May 7 at 11:30 am. Attendees are asked to bring a lawn chair.
Ila Rhe Kinder, 75, Vicksburg, passed away on April 21, 2021. Born in Cotton Plant, Arkansas, Ila was raised in nearby Hunter, the second of six children in the Sieber household. The daughter of cotton farmers, Ila and her family were not strangers to hard work. Ila graduated from Brinkley High School in Brinkley, Arkansas with the class of 1964. After high school, Ila began working for a shirt factory. In the early 1960s, she met and married Leland “Buddy” Kinder and raising their family became her focus. She was known for her sense of style and love of family. She treasured her girlfriends and the many adventures they had. She is survived by her daughter, Mischelle (Jim) Korelich of Vicksburg; grandchildren Logan (Joe) Schuiteboer of Kalamazoo, Ally Stafinski of Mendon, Olivia Kinder of Portage, and Audrey Koewers; siblings Thomas Sieber, Peggy Sullivan and Nadine (Bob) Freeland, all of Arkansas, and Carl Sieber of Vicksburg. She is also survived by her special friend, Walter “Buck” Buckallew. Ila was preceded in death by her husband, Leland “Buddy”; a son, Mark Kinder; and sister, Karen. Ila has been cremated. The family will have a memorial service at 11 a.m. July 21 at McCowen & Secord Funeral Home, 409 S. Main Street, Vicksburg. The family will greet friends one hour prior, beginning at 10 a.m. Visit her page at mccowensecord.com.
Walter DeWitt Layne, 90, Vicksburg, passed away peacefully at his home on April 10, 2021, surrounded by his loving family. Walter was born on April 22, 1930 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the son of Walter Scott Layne and Lois (Cooley) Layne. Walt’s family eventually settled on Long Lake in Portage. He attended University High School and transferred to Vicksburg High School where he played football and drove his 1930-era Ford. He served in the US Navy from 1947 to 1950. On the carrier USS Princeton, he saw post-war Japan and China. He performed duties aboard ship and flew missions for the torpedo bomber squad. Walt married Nancy Van Laar on September 28, 1951. The couple raised their family in the Vicksburg area. Walt worked for Upjohn as a chemical operator for 30 years. Retiring in 1985, he and Nancy wintered in LaBelle, Florida for another 30 years. Walt loved golf and fishing for crappie in Lake Okeechobee. He was a member of Amazing Grace Baptist Fellowship, the Gideons International, and Masonic Lodge #240. Walt is survived by his wife of 69 years, Nancy (Van Laar) Layne; children Steven (Sue) Layne, Lorrie (John) VerSteeg and Cyndee (Paul) Van Sweden; grandchildren Scott (Chandra) Kellogg, Leighann (Doug) Harris, Travis (Courtney) Van Sweden and Katie (Dan Ramsdell) Layne; sisters Mary Bullard and Barb Witherow; and great-grandchildren Hank, Clara, Rowen, Zayden and Griffin. Donations may go to Gideons International or the American Kidney Fund. Visit his page at langelands.com.
Hué Thi Loc, 70, Vicksburg, passed away March 30, 2021. Hue was born May 12th, 1941 in Ha Noi, Vietnam, to Nguyen Van Bon and Tran Thi Nghi. When Hué’s father and brother died and her mother fell ill, Hué was adopted. Her adoptive parents moved the family to South Vietnam. Her birth family found her later, but Hué stayed to care for her ill adoptive parents. Hué and Loc Minh Dau (Loc A. Loc) were married in 1964. Loc served in the South Vietnamese army while Hué sold street food to feed her growing family. After the war, Loc was held captive. Hué and Loc left South Vietnam on a boat with their seven children as refugees, her adoptive mother stayed behind due to her physical disability. They lived in a Malaysian refugee camp for two years, sponsored by Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Portage. In 1979, the Loc family settled into a farmhouse in Vicksburg where they raised their eight children. Hué is survived by children Mui, Cau (Anh), Tom (Christine), Phuong (Stephen), Hoang (Karmina), Vuong, Anh (Luke); daughter-in-law Tracy; grandchildren Kiaya, Kliricia, Koehl, Joseph, Ava, Jackson, Lillian, Evelyn, Caitlin, Cobey, Madison, Cy, Jada, Mason, Mya, Maddox, Miles, Amelia, Nicholas, Cullen, Brandon, and another baby girl on her way; great grandchildren Sebastian and Montgomery. She was preceded in death by her husband, Loc A. Loc, and son Nic. Visit her page at avinkcremation.com. Donations may go to the family, which will be forwarded to Tam Quang Temple, Wayland, for its generous services for Hué.
Jack E. Marks: Please join Diane, Tracy, Jami and Bill Marks and Brent Dingman as they celebrate the life of Jack E. Marks on May 23, 2021 from 1-5 p.m. at his home, 6080 East T Avenue, Vicksburg. Luncheon will be served. Jack, an electrician, died Nov. 7, 2020 at the age of 77.
Joseph A. Medema, Schoolcraft, died April 6, 2021. Joe was born April 1, 1980 in Kalamazoo, the son of John W. and Barbara (Warner) Medema. He graduated from Western Michigan University and was a supervisor at Parker-Hannifin. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, and boating. On September 14, 2002 he married Valerie (Wendel), who survives. Also surviving are daughters Brooke, Allyson, and Isabelle Medema; his parents; father-in-law Donald Wendel; grandparents John Medema and Karen Delp; brothers John E. Medema and Joshua Medema; and several nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins. Joe was preceded in death by his mother-in-law, Michele Wendel, and grandparents Dorothy Medema, Richard Delp and Geraldine Wendel. Donations may go to First Reformed Church of Portage. Visit his page at langelands.com.
Edward Allen Murphy, 80, Mesa, Ariz., formerly of Vicksburg, passed March 26, 2021, surrounded by his children, Rex and Vicki, and grandson, Rex Esq. He was a generous, kind-hearted man who would help anybody. He worked as a farm hand, heating and cooling technician, gutter installer, construction supervisor, truck driver, and small business owner. He enjoyed traveling all over the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. On February 25, 1964, he married Gloria Ruth Gunnett in Kalamazoo. They lived in Vicksburg until 1984, when they moved to Arizona, settling in Mesa until her death in 2000. He met and fell in love with Gloria Jobe, initially introduced to her by his wife a couple of years earlier. They enjoyed their time together until her death in 2019. He is survived by three children, Victoria (Bob) Yoder, Vicksburg; Rex (Sun) Murphy, Mesa, Ariz.; Ed Murphy II, Mesa, Ariz; grandchildren Rex Esq., Ryan, and Baily; sisters Betsy Vandelaare of Mendon; Mary (Gary) Vermuelen of Scotts, and Pam (Rich) Aby of Queen’s Creek, Ariz.; sister-in-law Linda Gunnett, Palm Springs, Calif.; brother-in-law Larry (Sue) Gunnett, Three Rivers; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Roy and Lillian Murphy, his wife, girlfriend Gloria Jobe, sister-in-law Mary Williams and brother-in-law Don Vandelaare. His ashes will be spread over Roosevelt Lake in Arizona with those of his wife. Donations may go to a veterans’ organization or St. Joseph’s Indian School.
Patricia Ann Neidlinger, 86, Vicksburg and Schoolcraft, died April 7, 2021. She was born November 10, 1934 in Kalamazoo to Francis and Helen (Kinsey) Knerr. She went to Portage Central High School and worked for WL Molding and Westside Medical. On June 27, 1959, she married Gordon L. Neidlinger. She is survived by her children, Judy Wilcox, Jerry Neidlinger, and Gene Neidlinger; grandchildren William, Rachel, and Ryan; great-grandchildren Jeffrey, Alexia and Izack; and sister Angela Knerr. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, her sister, Barbara, and her brother, Frank. Donations may go to Alzheimer’s Association, Hospice of SW Michigan or American Diabetes Association.
Christopher Alan Pelton (Chris), 59, Schoolcraft, died April 9, 2021 from pancreatic cancer. Chris was born Dec. 18, 1961 in Bay City to Philip and Mary Ann Pelton. He wed Lori Heideman in August 1989. He was an IRS agent and loved the outdoors. Chris is survived by his wife; son Philip (Aubrey Hooker); daughter Olivia; parents Phil and Mary Ann Pelton; brother Perry (Rose) Pelton; sisters Linda (Terry) Benchley, Diane (Kenny) Senske, and Kelly (Dan) Meschke; in-laws Fred and Nancy Heideman; sister-in-law Amy (Chris) Desmond; brothers-in-law Jim (Diane) Heideman, Mike (Rosalind) Heideman, Mark Heideman, and Fred Heideman; and many nieces and nephews. Donations may go to Hospice of SW Michigan. Many thanks to Kristi M., RN, who was an angel.
Elizabeth Anne Sehy, 32, died April 18, 2021. She was born May 9, 1988 at Borgess Hospital, Kalamazoo to Henry and Anne (Shekleton) Sehy, the youngest of four kids. Elizabeth loved the outdoors and soccer. While attending Vicksburg High School, she played varsity soccer, and as an adult, Elizabeth continued to play soccer and served as captain of an intramural soccer team at Kingdom Sports Indoor Center in Kalamazoo. She could often be seen at her niece’s and nephew’s soccer games in Vicksburg on her days off. After graduating in 2006, she received her certificate in dental hygienics from Kellogg Community College in Battle Creek. Elizabeth worked at TJ Maxx for 14 years. Elizabeth was preceded in death by her sister, Sarah Sehy, and nephew, Lane Sehy. She is survived by her parents, Henry and Anne (Shekleton) Sehy; siblings Monica (Scott) Triemstra and Nathan Sehy; nieces and nephews Reagan, Ian, Calvin, and Ava Triemstra and Colton Sehy; and many aunts, uncles, and cousins. Donations may go to St. Martin of Tours Parish.
Thomas P. Bell, 55, Yardley, Pa., passed away Feb. 19, 2021. Tom was born in Lafayette, Ind. on July 6, 1965, the son of Frank and Mary Evelyn (Harris) Bell. Tom was preceded in death by his parents, who lived in Vicksburg for many years. He is survived by his wife, Lisa (Gifford), sons Dmitry and Anthony, brothers Matthew (Jackie) and James (Jen) and several nieces and nephews.
Donald Lee Bladen, 91, Vicksburg, passed away Mar. 17, 2021. He was born Nov. 16, 1929 in Madison, Indiana, the son of Lawrence Allen and Elsie Margaret (Spivey) Bladen. Donald was one of 12 children. He graduated from Madison High School in 1949 and attended Frankfort Pilgrim College. He served as a US Army corporal in the Korean War. He married Wayva Jane King in Carrolton, Kentucky on April 14, 1952. While working for GM in Marian, Ind., he relocated his family to Michigan. Donald was preceded in death by his parents, Lawrence and Elsie Bladen, his beloved wife Wayva, his daughter Tonja (infancy), four brothers, three sisters, seven brothers-in-law, five sisters-in-law, nephews, and a niece. He is survived by children Paul (Barbara) Bladen, Ken (Beverly) Bladen, Jeffery (Cindy) Bladen, LaDonna (Phillip) Brunow, Stefan (Sallie) Bladen, Lydia (Robert) Raines, and Tamita (Richard) Lee; 24 grandchildren; 38 great-grandchildren (with three on the way), three sisters, a brother, five sisters-in-law, two brothers-in-law, and several nieces and nephews. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com.
Beverly Bowen, 83, Vicksburg, passed away Mar. 14, 2021. The daughter of Archie and Esther (Gest) Sites, Beverly was born on Feb. 17, 1938 in Sturgis. Bev’s early years were difficult, but she developed inner strength. She was active in the Grace Christian Fellowship Church and enjoyed her friendships and fellowship there. She also loved gardening and time spent with her family. Beverly is survived by her children, Greg (Jan) Bowen, Pam (Ron) Lash, Barb Bowen and Tim, and Jane (Curtis) Polly; 17 grandchildren; 21 great grandchildren; and stepsister, Judy Lum. Beverly was preceded in death by her husband of 55 years, Thomas Richard Bowen; her parents; brother Gordon Sites; sister Leota Kuntz; stepbrother Michael Weber; grandson Timothy; and Tracy Bowen. Visit her page at avinkcremation.com.
Yvette D. Butler, 62, passed away on March 5, 2021. Yvette was born on May 24, 1958 to Larry and Alice (Whittington) Bryan. Following her wishes, cremation has taken place. Due to COVID-19, no services will take place at this time. Family will have a private burial at a later date. Visit Yvette’s page at mccowensecord.com.
Richard Dale Crittenden, 82, Vicksburg, died Feb. 25, 2021 at his home. He was born in East Lansing on June 13, 1938, the son of Kenard and Wava (King) Crittenden. He graduated from Lansing’s Eastern High School and Michigan State University and served in the US Army in 1961 and 1962. Dick worked for Librand, Ross Brothers, and Montgomery CPA, later establishing his own accounting firm, Crittenden and Associates. He was a member of the Nazarene Church and was very involved in youth ministry. He resided at the Nazarene Camp on Indian Lake for the past 20 years. He enjoyed outdoor activities, especially yard work, and was a big MSU fan. Richard was married to Ruth Smith on Sep. 9, 1961 in Lansing. She survives, along with a son, Kevin (Sue) Crittenden of Shelbyville, Ky.; granddaughters Kelsey (Ken) Sawicki of Seattle and Maranda Crittenden of Louisville, Ky. He was preceded in death by his parents and seven siblings. Military interment of his cremains will take place May 7, 2021 at 2:30 p.m. in Fort Custer National Cemetery in Augusta. Memorial contributions may be directed to the Veterans Administration. Visit his page at eickhofffuneralhome.com.
David Dudley Cromer, 92, Vicksburg, passed away at home Mar. 3, 2021. He was born Feb. 11, 1929 in Sturgis, the son of Lloyd and Wilma (Clark) Cromer. David graduated from Sturgis High School in 1947, then served in the US Air Force. On March 23, 1976 he married the love of his life, Marcia Long. The two were married for 44 years and raised daughters Tammy (Norman) Henderson-Rothenberger and Cynthia (Long) O’Brien, as well as four grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. David worked in construction for 10 years and left to go into offset printing. David loved animals, reading, and photography. David was preceded in death by his parents, a sister and a niece. Visit his page at avinkcremation.com.
Thomas Michael Cronk, 74, Vicksburg, passed away on Mar. 10, 2021. Tom was born in Kalamazoo Nov. 19, 1946, the son of Darl and Lova (Morlan) Cronk. At 19, he began working at the Allied Paper Mill, becoming a journeyman and member of Sheet Metal Workers Local Union #7. On June 24, 2000 Tom married his soulmate, Alice Slayton. He had a 1962 convertible Corvette and a 1955 Chevy. His longtime friend, Richie Foster, was a comfort to Tom during his extended illness. Tom is survived by his wife of 20 years, Alice Cronk; siblings Mary (Jerry) Hass and Joe (Linda) Cronk; a fur baby named Molly Girl; many nieces and nephews; and many friends and acquaintances. Tom always said, “Don’t thank me, Remember me.” Visit his page at mccowensecord.com.
Joan Louise Edwards, 74, Schoolcraft, passed away Feb. 25, 2021. Joan was born April 1,1946 to Ord Cox and Joyce Flossie (Drake) Edwards. Joan’s parents were farmers in the Schoolcraft area. She graduated from Schoolcraft High School in 1964 and WMU in 1968 with a bachelor’s degree in education. Joan retired from Three Rivers Schools after 31 years in the Special Education. In 1999 she moved to the village of Schoolcraft into the home where her grandparents, Albert and Ella Mae (Cox) Edwards, had lived for many years. Joan loved teaching and her cats. She leaves a sister, Honey Joyce Handy; nephew Mike Axtell; niece Debbie Gillaspie; and nephews Brady and Cody Gillaspie. Her brother, Ord Lee Edwards, passed away in 1970. Donations may go to charity.
Albert “Skip” Engelman, 92, Portage, passed away on Mar. 5, 2021. He was born Feb. 25, 1929 to Oliver and Esta (Swift) Engelman. Skip retired after 49 years as a millwright from Fort James (Southerland). He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Bertha “Midge” (Mears) Engelman; children James (Crystal) Engelman, Esta (Bobby) Walls, Albert (Lois) Engelman Jr., and Beth Yancer; 10 grandchildren; several great-grandchildren; several great-great grandchildren; and lots and lots of extras. Skip was preceded in death by his parents, nine siblings, twin great-granddaughters, a son-in-law and a daughter-in-law. Donations may go to Elara Caring Hospice.
Max Albert Evans, 83, Vicksburg, passed away unexpectedly on March 1, 2021. He was born in Grand Rapids, the son of James Evans and Helen (Hill) Newkirk (stepfather Edwin Newkirk). Max graduated from Vicksburg High School and then enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He worked at the Vicksburg paper mill for a short time, but retired from GM in 2002 where he had worked for many years. He married Sarah Jan (Harding) Evans in May, 1966. Max and Sarah raised three daughters and would have celebrated their 55th year anniversary this May. He coached Little League teams throughout his life. He was on a bowling team and also enjoyed golfing and bird hunting. Max is survived by the love of his life, Sarah (Harding) Evans; daughters Renee Hetrick (John Thomasma Jr.), Jeanette (Jake) Fox and Susan (Chad) Schippers; 9 grandchildren; 9 great-grandchildren; siblings Berdena Newkirk and James (Nancy) Evans; and cousins, nieces and nephews. Max was preceded in death by his parents, James Evans and Helen; stepfather Edwin Newkirk; siblings Norine (Max) Cooper, Mary (Clair) Marr and Edwin Newkirk Jr.; and several uncles, aunts and grandparents.
Calvin Bruce Fuller, 83, Vicksburg, died Feb. 12, 2021. He was born Apr. 9, 1937, the son of Frank Fuller and Maude Heath. Calvin lived with his loving wife, Leona, for 59 years in Vicksburg. Calvin had a successful career as a salesman and was an army veteran. Calvin is survived by his wife, Leona; sister Margaret (Irvin) Chapin; son Dennis Fuller (Kathy Andrews); daughter Lisa (Raymond) Kissinger; grandchildren Amie (Greg) Kett and Aaron Clay; and great-grandchildren Annabelle, Mia and Evie Kett.
Harry Mark Gilbert, 73, Indian Lake in Vicksburg, passed away Mar. 8, 2021. He was born Apr. 20, 1947 in Kalamazoo, the son of Dorothy G. Gilbert (née Galbreath) and Truman J. Gilbert. Harry got a full scholarship in vocal performance from WMU. He switched his major to linguistics and transferred to U of M. Harry taught himself computer programming and as a contractor for the CIA, developing software for spy satellites, was Director of Telecommunications at SUNY Albany and managed NBC’s telecommunication networks. He married Pat Lyman on July 11, 1981 in Vicksburg. He started his own consulting firm and worked as a software architect/engineer with SPX Bosch. Harry was preceded in passing by siblings Judson and Mary Ellen. He is survived by his wife of 39 years, Pat Lyman; children Liz (Tyler), Julia (Nick) and Jud; siblings Walter (Betty) and Gene (Rita); and numerous nieces and nephews. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com.
Max L. Loker, 85, Schoolcraft, passed away Mar. 7, 2021. Max was born July 12, 1935 in Hersey, Michigan, the son of Clinton and Marian (Vance) Loker. His parents were farmers and moved their family to Fulton. After graduating with the VHS class of 1953, he served in the US Marines. While square dancing at the Leonidas Dance Hall, Max met Elaine Darling. They were married Oct. 9, 1954 in Fulton. Max operated his family farm and worked in the asphalt paving industry. He and Elaine attended Wakeshma Community Church for over 50 years. Max is survived by his wife of 66 years, Elaine; children Colleen (Paul) Lindberg, Mark (Nongnut) Loker, Jeff Loker, Pam (Jon) Conant; grandchildren Bradley (Kayla) Minnis, Brandon Minnis, Devin (Sam) Loker, Chelsee Loker, Jessica Loker, Jeff Loker, Jr., Kamden (Jessica) McCauley, Hannah McCauley; 12 great-grandchildren; and sister Vera Bower of Indiana. Max was preceded in death by his grandson Brian Minnis; siblings Dale Loker, Margaret West and Bruce Loker; and his parents. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to Talons Out Honor Flight or Wakeshma Community Church.
Linda Lou (Riley) McCallum, 73, passed away peacefully Mar. 5, 2021 at Heritage Community of Kalamazoo. She was the first child of the late Allan and Eula Riley in Alpena, Mich. Linda worked many years as an X-ray technician and supervisor at Bronson Vicksburg Hospital. After leaving the hospital, she became a medical billing specialist and supported her husband in his accounting practice in Vicksburg. Linda was a generous, caring, faithful woman who always considered how she could be of service to those around her. Her tender heart, sweet smile and twinkling eyes will be missed by all who knew her. Linda was preceded in death by her parents, Eula Riley and Allan Riley; son Dale Allan McCallum and sister Carol Ann Riley. She is survived by her loving husband of 53 years, Dale G. McCallum; daughter Dawn McCallum; siblings Frank Riley, Mary Osbeck, Grace Rivera and Cathy Riley; and many other family members and friends. Visit her page at mccowensecord.com.
Dean T. Perry, 80, Vicksburg, passed away surrounded by family Mar. 6, 2021 due to complications after a short struggle with ALS. Dean was born to Maynard and Wilma (Lapham) Perry on July 15, 1940 in Dowagiac. The family moved several times but settled in Vicksburg, where he graduated in 1959. While in high school, Dean played football. After graduation, he joined the U.S. Marines and then the reserves, serving from 1959 to 1967. While in the reserves, he met Carol at a roller-skating rink. They were married May 18, 1964. His hobbies included car shows, camping, rooting for Notre Dame football and spending time with his grandchildren. Dean was very meticulous about his yard and enjoyed his time on his John Deere “his green” tractor. He loved to take care of his “grand-pups”. Dean is survived by his wife of 56 years, Carol (Mays) Perry; children Todd (Renee) Perry and Leasa (Gary) Lambert; grandchildren Ashley Slater and Chase Perry. He was preceded in death by his parents, son Andy Perry and sister Darlene Campbell. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to St. Jude Children’s Hospital.
Betty Louise Thomas (Hochstetler), 90, Kalamazoo, formerly of Vicksburg, died Feb. 28, 2021. Betty was born Jan. 22, 1931 in Constantine, the daughter of Fred and Iva Hochstetler. She graduated from Constantine High School in 1948 and attended the South Bend College of Commerce. She moved to Kalamazoo and worked various jobs throughout her life, eventually serving as accountant for her husband’s heating and cooling business. Betty married Donald L. Thomas on September 25, 1954. Don and Betty purchased a home on Barton Lake where they raised their three children. She enjoyed cooking and hosting family get-togethers and traveling. Betty was a member of the Vicksburg United Methodist Church and sang in the choir, volunteered as bookkeeper, was a member of the United Methodist Women and served on many committees. Betty is survived by her children, Daniel (Lee) Thomas of Paw Paw, Sharon (Daniel) Goldsmith of East Leroy and Steve (Laura) Thomas of Ocala, Fla.; grandchildren Christopher (Kristie) Thomas, Benjamin (Amber) Thomas, Eric (Clarissa) Goldsmith, Sara Goldsmith, Alex (Chrystal) Goldsmith, Ashley Goldsmith, Darrin Thomas, and Jenna (Matt) Whitworth; great-grandchildren Isaac and Zachary Thomas, Henry, Maximus, Jacob, and Josephine Goldsmith, Evelyn Goldsmith, Owen Whitworth, and two more due very soon; and many dear nieces and nephews, cousins, and friends. A memorial service will be held at a later date. Donations may be made to the Vicksburg United Methodist Church building fund, Rose Arbor Hospice, or a charity of your choice.
Richard “Dick” Anton VanderStraaten, 69, Vicksburg, passed away Mar. 27, 2021. He was born in Kalamazoo on November 22, 1951, the son of Marvin and Norma (Hartleroad) VanderStraaten. Dick worked at Stewart Sutherland for nearly 50 years. He loved lighthouses, the Detroit Tigers, the Indy 500, blues music, metal detecting and the casino. Most of all, he loved his family. Dick was preceded in his passing by his parents and brothers, John and James VanderStraaten. He is survived by sons Jeff (Michelle Weemhoff) VanderStraaten and Jason (Alicia) VanderStraaten; grandchildren Ella and Grace VanderStraaten, Timmy Axtell and Logan VanderStraaten; brother Bob (Linda) VanderStraaten; sister-in-law Holly VanderStraaten; and many cousins, nieces, nephews, and great nieces and nephews. Donations may go to the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, or the American Cancer Society. Visit his page at avinkcremation.com.
Frank Arthur Woodhams, 101, Portage, passed away peacefully March 21, 2021. Frank was born Nov. 2, 1919 in his family home in Portage. He earned his pilot license at the newly formed Western State Teachers College (now WMU) flight school before enlisting in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. Frank met his love, Geraleen Shira, and they were engaged before the war. He was a first lieutenant, piloting C-47 aircraft and serving as an instructor for Waco CG-4A combat gliders. Frank survived 60 combat missions. He was decorated for valor and distinguished service. Frank married Gerry and raised three sons on Austin Lake. He owned and operated Prairie Feed and Grain for twenty years and retired at 60. Frank is survived by sons Terry (Sue), Larry (Deb) and William Woodhams and daughter-in-law Tammy Woodhams; grandchildren Nick Woodhams, Shelly (Michael) Rabinowitz, Stephanie (Dean) Swenson; and six great-grandchildren. Visit his page at langelands.com.
Mark D. Barnebee, 58, Vicksburg, passed away Feb. 6, 2021. Mark was born on Dec. 26, 1962 in Kalamazoo, the son of James and Judith (Olin) Barnebee. Mark graduated from Vicksburg High School with the class of 1981. On July 25, 1998 he married Dawn Griffith and together they had one daughter, Ashley. For the past eight years Mark has worked for Pfizer as a chemical operator, and prior to that he worked at Harborlite Corporation. In his spare time he enjoyed grilling, playing golf, going to the casino, and spending time with family. He followed University of Michigan sports, the Dallas Cowboys and the Red Wings. Mark is survived by his wife, Dawn; daughter Ashley Barnebee of Portage; and one grandchild on the way. He is also survived by his mother, Judith Barnebee of Portage; brother Scott (Jenifer) Barnebee of Vicksburg; and several nieces and nephews. Mark will be cremated, and due to COVID restrictions, a gathering to honor his memory is being planned for a later date. Visit Mark’s page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to the Alzheimer’s Association or Generous Hands.
Joyce Elizabeth Blodgett, 82, Schoolcraft, passed away at her home Feb. 23, 2021. She was born on Sept. 6, 1938 in Kalamazoo, the daughter of Lester and Helen (Wright) Ryskamp. She graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School in 1956. On Sept. 7, 1957 she married the late Andrew D. Blodgett. They were married for 33 years and raised their family in Schoolcraft. Andy and Joyce opened the first Blodgett family business, Green Acres, in 1967, and later Andrea’s Flower Shop located on US-131 in Schoolcraft. She worked over 20 years at Hudson’s and retired from Macy’s. She was preceded in death by her son, Andrew G. Blodgett; granddaughter Paige Bilicke; and brother Lester Ryskamp. Surviving are her children Terry W. (Cindy) Blodgett, Robin L. (Avery) Delaney, Kevin S. Blodgett, Pam (Jerry Jonckheere) Blodgett, Tony (Kristy) Blodgett; younger sister Carol (Sam) Pilat and her baby sister Linda (Mike) Dunphey; 25 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren. Donations may go to Schoolcraft Assembly of God, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, or sent to Pam Blodgett, 220 Lyon St., NW – Suite 540, Grand Rapids, MI 49503. Visit her page at avinkcremation.com.
Randall (Randy) John Frakes, 66, Panama City Beach, Fla., formerly of Vicksburg, passed away Feb. 9, 2021, after a long illness. Randy, born on March 28, 1954, was a talented artist, and had a passion for cooking and entertaining. Wherever his home, it was a gathering place full of good times and friends. Even during his illness, he would prepare delightful dinners for guests. He was a nurturer of all, forever taking in stray cats, feeding and caring for them as well. During his earlier years, he enjoyed hunting, especially squirrel and deer with members of the family. It was a must to be in Sidnaw, Mich. on Nov. 15 for the opening of deer season. Randy is survived by his partner of 25 years, Richard King, sisters Barbara (Ted) Sanger and Karen (Steve) Marshall, sister-in-law Cyndi Frakes, niece Heather Frakes, nephews Jason (Missy) Sanger, Kell (Brittany) Sanger, Jonathan (Michelle) Frakes, Ben, Jake and Matthew Marshall, several great nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Marjorie (Baldwin) Frakes, and brother John L. Frakes. Donations may go to their local humane society in his name.
Barbara Jean (Munn) Griner, Vicksburg, passed away Feb. 6, 2021. Barbara was born June 6, 1922, the daughter of Mercer and Florence (Godshalk) Munn. Growing up in Vicksburg, Barbara’s early life centered on family, the community, and her church. She graduated from Vicksburg High School with the class of 1942, then attended business college and worked for her father’s insurance business. This business suited her well, and she eventually worked for Schuring Insurance, retiring in 1990. Friends introduced her to Donald Guy Griner, and they were married on May 15, 1946. They settled in Vicksburg and raised their three daughters, Lynn, Beth, and Karla. She encouraged all of her girls’ endeavors, often volunteering her time and talents. The family looked forward to their traditional events, including trips to their cabin in Lovells, Michigan, and attending the St. Joseph County Fair. Barbara enjoyed time spent with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Donations may go to Vicksburg United Methodist Church. Visit Barbara’s page please at mccowensecord.com.
Carol Ann Henderson, 80, Scotts, passed away Feb. 10, 2021. She was born May 3, 1940 in Parchment, the daughter of Peter and Ethel (Morris) Fish. She graduated from Vicksburg High School in 1958. Following graduation, she married the love of her life, Richard Henderson, on Dec. 6, 1958. They were together for 62 years, and together raised three wonderful children, Rebecca, Bradley, and Brent. She retired from Fidelity after 17 years of service and enjoyed traveling south during the winter months. She also loved camping, fishing, mushroom hunting, travelling to Canada and spending time with her grandchildren and her many cats. She was preceded in her passing by her parents. Carol is survived by her husband Richard; children Rebecca (Jerry) Dunklee, Bradley (Vonda) Henderson,and Brent (Joan) Henderson; several grandchildren and great grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews. Services have been held. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan. Visit her page at mccowensecord.com.
John Albert Hodgman, 77, Vicksburg, passed away Feb. 19, 2021. John was born on Jan. 31, 1944 in Kalamazoo, the son of Albert Theo Hodgman and Ruth Agnes (Kaiser). He was a lifelong resident of Vicksburg, graduating from Vicksburg High School in 1962. He honorably served the United States Armed forces until his discharge in 1965. His mother introduced him to the love of his life, Jacque, and they were married on April 1, 1966. John was employed with National Waterlift/Parker Hannifin from 1965 until his 2004 retirement. He was a man of few words who loved his family, friends, all things Harley Davidson and racing related, as well as the Detroit Lions and Tigers. He was preceded in death by his parents; sisters Lila Burgess and Joyce Phelps; and brothers George Hodgman and Roy Hodgman. He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Jacqueline (Havinga) Hodgman; children Cindy (Mike) Waldon and John (Martha) Hodgman; grandson Mike Waldon; sister Claudia Burgess; and many nieces and nephews. Cremation has taken place and a celebration of his life will be held on a later date. Donations may go to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan and Senior Services Meals on Wheels. The family is being assisted by Avink Funeral Home and Cremation Society, Schoolcraft.
Jerry Houser, 93, Vicksburg, passed away Feb, 1, 2021. Jerry was born on Jan. 26, 1928 in Pontiac, the son of George and Ruby (Martin) Houser. Cremation has taken place per Jerry’s wishes. The family is being assisted by McCowen & Secord Family Funeral Homes, Rupert-Durham Chapel.
Robert “Bob” D. McCowen, 74, Clark Lake, Mich., passed away in Fort Myers, Fla. Jan. 31, 2021. Bob was born on Jan. 21, 1947 in Kalamazoo, the son of Robert H. and Vivian J. (Smith) McCowen. Bob graduated from University High in Kalamazoo with the class of 1965. He went to Michigan State University where he earned a degree in management. He got a degree in accounting at Western Michigan University and became a CPA. On May 21, 1994 he married Sue McCowen. He is survived by his wife Sue; children Steve (Jenny) McCowen, of Schoolcraft, Jeff (Melanie) McCowen of Virginia, Heather Cordell of Jackson, Michelle (Reggie) Chapa of Texas, and Andy (Kristen) Cordell of Kalamazoo; grandchildren Mackenzie, Joey, Stephen, Nicholas, Katherine, Morgan, Madelyn, Nathan, Dylan, Emma and Evan. He is also survived by his mother, Vivian McCowen, of Kalamazoo; sister-in-law Rose McCowen of Georgia; and nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father, Robert H. McCowen and brother Tom McCowen. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to Clark Lake Spirit Foundation, clarklakespirit.com.
Joseph E. Olney III, 66, Vicksburg-Schoolcraft area, passed away at home Feb. 12, 2021 of congestive heart failure/COPD. He was born Nov. 6, 1954, to Joseph E. Olney II and Patricia (Cousins) Olney-Ross. He was raised in the Fulton area and worked most of his life as a machinist/welder with various companies, retiring eventually on disability due to problems with heart and spina bifida. He married Christine Ludwig-Rodriquez in 1989 and helped raise her two daughters. He was an avid morel mushroom hunter and fisherman and loved cars. He was preceded in death by his wife, parents, a step-granddaughter, and a niece and nephew. Surviving are step-daughters Wendy and Heather Rodriquez; step-grandchildren Caleb Sugden, Jace and HarLeigh; step great-grandson Leigham Sugden; brother Michael (Kim) Olney; sisters Judy Noel, Beverly (Thomas) Compton, and Deborah (Charles) Rife; and step-brothers Terry (Karin Thorne) Ross and Thomas Ross. Donations may go to Seventh Day Adventist Church.
Sue A. Ripley, 78, passed away Feb. 6, 2021. Sue was born on June 16, 1942 to Lawrence and Elizabeth (Strait) Miller. Sue is survived by her sister, Jodie (Terry) Cripps; son Brian (Tamela) Campbell; daughter Kris Campbell; and grandchildren Brenda (Jim) Backoff and Rich Campbell. She was preceded in death by her parents, brother and sister-in-law Michael (Mick) and Caroline Miller; and her husband, Robert (Bob) Ripley. After graduating with the Central High School class of 1960 in Muncie, Ind., Susie attended Ball State University, earning her associate degree as a secretary. She worked as an HR technician for more than 25 years at the Upjohn Company. There she met Bob; they were married in 1988. Sue and Bob shared many interests including a love of water and boating, socializing with friends, traveling to warm, sunny destinations, and watching sports. Sue’s deepest happiness came from being surrounded by her family and the people she loved. Visit her page at mccowensecord.com.
Terry Marshall Smith, 68, Portage, formerly of Vicksburg, passed away on Feb. 4, 2021. He was born to Belmonte and Gloria (Gilley) Smith on Feb. 22, 1952, in Kalamazoo and grew up in Fulton. He was a 1970 graduate of Vicksburg High School, where he enjoyed playing sports, excelling in football and track. He also joined a band with some fellow classmates, playing the bass guitar. During the spring of his senior year in high school, he suffered a horrible head injury while pole vaulting. He dealt with the after-effects of that injury and many more physical ailments the remainder of his life. Through it all, he rarely complained and truly was, in his own words, “tough, just plain tough.” He worked at the Kalamazoo County Road Commission for 30 years, and his family was a great source of pride to him. Terry is survived by his three children, Jeff (Erin), Ben (Michelle) and Andrew; 14 grandchildren; and siblings Dan (Vicki) Smith, Steve (Judy) Smith and Donna (Dwight) Blodgett. He was preceded in death by his parents. Services have been held. Donations may go to the Vicksburg High School Athletic Boosters.
Ronald John Spiker, 83, Schoolcraft, passed away at Bronson Hospital Feb. 1, 2021 after sustaining injuries from a tractor accident on his farm. Ron was born and raised in Kalamazoo and was a graduate of Kalamazoo Central’s class of 1955. Ron joined the Navy and was stationed at the Naval Air Station in Kingsville, Texas, from 1955-1958. Ron worked as an air traffic controller with the FAA until 1981, forming many lifelong friendships. He worked in many busy control towers, including Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Detroit, Hawaii and Oklahoma. Ron was a proud member of the Operating Engineers Local 324 from which he retired in 1999. Ron enjoyed family, being outdoors, gardening, hunting, and Tiger baseball. Ron is survived by his children, John (Barbara) Spiker and Susan (Neil) Farrell; grandchildren John (Camilla) Herron, Myra (Nathan) Delaney, Jessica Farrell, Christina (Michael) Dimovski; and great-grandchildren Katelynn Delaney, William Delaney, Aleksandar Dimovski, Ivan Dimovski and Saoirse Herron. He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Stella (Fus) Spiker.
Richard Wayne Tully, 79, Schoolcraft, passed away Feb. 11, 2021. Richard was born June 24, 1941 in Charleston, West Virginia. His family moved to Mt. Pleasant, where he met Barbara Kay Johnston. They were married July 1, 1961. He joined the U.S. Army, serving from 1961-1964. He was stationed in Fort Benning, Georgia and was honorably discharged as a sergeant. The young family moved to Albion and eventually settled in Schoolcraft, where Richard started a driving career, hauling liquid oxygen for AGA Burdox (Gases), retiring in 1998. Richard was a devout Christian and loved music. Richard was preceded in death by his wife of almost 60 years, Barbara Kay Johnston; daughter Dyana Lee Johnson (Brett); granddaughter Eliya Monet Rain Hayward; parents Silas Edgar and Rebecca; and brother David Tully. He is survived by his daughters and sons-in law Angie (Russell) Hayward of Mattawan, Becky (Nathan) Volker of Allegan, Cindy (Bill) Hetrick of Vicksburg and Brett Johnson of Portage; grandchildren David (Katie) Hayward, Kerigan Hayward, Cole (Kate) Hayward, Molly Hayward, Seth Hayward, Randi (Frank) Salisbury, Jordan (Carissa) Hayward, Ben Hayward, Leah Hayward, Tatum Hayward, Daniel (Rochelle) Stroud, Jimmy (Deziree) Page, Bridgette (Gideon) Page, Emmaline (Kyle) Harvey, Jeremiah Johnson, Zechariah Johnson; and 21 great-grandchildren; brother Daniel Tully; sister Gloria Murphy; and many nieces and nephews. Donations may go to Schoolcraft Assembly of God Benevolent Fund. Visit his page at langelands.com.
Joel Lynn Ulsh, 73, Vicksburg, passed away Feb. 17, 2021. He was born Aug. 27, 1947 in Kalamazoo, the son of Eldon and Arlene (Richards) Ulsh. Joel attended Vicksburg High School before finishing his GED while serving in the United States Army. He moved from Michigan to California in the 1980s and began his lifelong passion of working with cars. One of Joel’s favorite hobbies was to track his family’s genealogy. He was very proud of following his family tree all the way back to 1300s Germania. He was preceded in passing by his parents; siblings Bill, Eldonna, and two baby brothers. Surviving are his wife of 35 years, Louella (Baptista) Ulsh; children Joel, Tracy, Toni, Jason, and Cassidy; siblings Don and Jerry; and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. In accordance with Joel’s wishes, cremation has taken place, and he will be laid to rest with his father and grandparents at Beard Cemetery. While visiting Joel’s tribute, please take a moment to light a candle and share a memory. The Ulsh family is being assisted by McCowen & Secord Funeral Homes.
Charles Van Ostran, 85, Climax-Scotts area, passed away Jan. 29, 2021 at Hospice of Kalamazoo. Charles was born Dec. 17, 1935 in Traverse City to Charles and Marie Van Ostran. Charles met his wife, Deanna Jean Brown, in high school. Charles proposed to Dee at the Cheery Bowl Drive-In Theater, and they were married on Oct. 19, 1954. They moved to Kalamazoo, where he worked for Rex Paper Company. Then in 1965, Charles was hired by General Motors, where he spent 30 years as a journeyman tool and die maker. He retired in 1995 and moved to Climax-Scotts where he enjoyed gardening, sports, fishing, and vacationing in Traverse City with Kathy and Neil. Charles is survived by his wife of 66 years, Deanna; brothers Bert (Pam) and Lyle; sisters Doris (Ed) and Ruth; sons Charles (Nancy), Scott (Carmin) and Doug (Dee); several aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. Charles was preceded in death by his mother and father, his son Terry and his granddaughter Jennifer.
Michael Gale Voss, 54, Marcellus, passed away at home Jan. 26, 2021, surrounded by his family. Michael was born in Kalamazoo on May 2, 1966, the son of Gale Alden Voss and Patricia Ann Wdowicki. On Mar. 28, 1992, in Paw Paw, he married DeeAnn (Melville) Voss, who survives. Michael was a lab technician, working for many years at J. Rettenmaier USA of Schoolcraft. He also enjoyed his seasonal time working at Melville’s Campground in Marcellus. Michael most enjoyed spending his time outdoors fishing, boating and camping. Michael is survived by his father, Gale Voss of Schoolcraft; wife DeeAnn (Melville) Voss; brothers Brad (Korey Flick) Voss of Vicksburg and Jeff (Irene) Voss of Plainwell; sister Joni Voss of Kalamazoo; daughter Abigail Voss; and sons Alex (Kristi) Voss and Austin (Emily Nettie) Voss, all of Marcellus. Michael was preceded in death by his mother. Services have been held. Donations may go to West Michigan Cancer Center or to Elara Hospice Care. Visit his page at materralstonfuneralhome.com.
Marilyn June David-Irwin-Wilson, 90, went to be with her Lord on Feb. 11, 2021 at Country Living of Hillsdale. She was born in Mason on August 8, 1930, to William and Mary Benham, who predeceased her. An in-person and virtual memorial service was to be held at the Hillsdale Church of the Nazarene on Feb. 20 with Rev. Mike Prince officiating. The family is encouraging friends and family to join virtually in celebrating her life. Due to COVID-19 and family health conditions, the family is requesting all who attend in-person to wear a mask. Marilyn has been interred at Vicksburg Cemetery beside her first husband, Royal David. Marilyn had a passion for mission work. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Hillsdale Church of the Nazarene to be used for missions. Please make checks payable to Hillsdale Church of the Nazarene, 208 N West St. Hillsdale MI 49242. A full obituary can be viewed at http://www.mccowensecord.com.
Rev. Harold Brown, 85, Vicksburg, died peacefully Jan. 16, 2021. Harold was born March 6, 1935 in Akron, Ohio, the son of Gerald and Margaret (Boger) Brown. While working at General Motors in Mansfield, Ohio, Harold’s destiny was changed by Cook Road Baptist Church, which encouraged him to pursue the ministry. Harold graduated from Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Mo. in 1968. He pastored a few churches in the greater Kalamazoo area and started the Kalamazoo Baptist Church. Harold loved to laugh and never passed up a good buffet. Harold was preceded in death by his wife, Nora, and siblings Mary Moats, Ronnie Brown, and David Brown. He is survived by his children, Terry Brown, Danny Brown, and Dale Brown; grandchildren Jennifer, Allyssa, Russell, Melinda, Crystal, Ashley, and Ty; great-grandchildren Hunter, Evan, and Drake; siblings Joe (Nancy) Brown, Bill (Lydia) Brown, Donald Brown, and Susan Sauer; and many nieces and nephews. Services have been held. Visit his page at BetzlerLifeStory.com. Donations may go to Maranatha Bible Baptist Church.
Jack A. Brown, 91, Portage, formerly of Plainwell and Vicksburg, passed away on Jan. 25, 2021. Jack was born on July 24, 1929 in Dayton, Ohio. He was the son of Sabert and Leslie (Truitt) Brown. On January 4, 1949 Jack married the love of his life, Ethlyn Miller and together they had three children: Janet, Lois, and Bill. Jack worked for over 40 years in Parchment for KVP as a machinist. He loved to fish, bowl, golf, and hunt. He was loving, mellow, humble, social and friendly. Jack and Ethlyn have had a special friendship with Bud and Marilyn Bekken for over 70 years. Jack is survived by his wife of 72 years, Ethlyn; three children: Janet (Warren) Wright, of Vicksburg; Lois (Derry) Sanford, of Vicksburg; Bill (Cindy) Brown, of Plainwell; six grandchildren: Laura (Mike), Doug (Chad), Thomas (Beth), Jacob (Bethany), Jodi (Dennis), Chad; 10 great grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents, two sisters and one brother. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.
Raylan Eugene Cubic, passed away on Jan. 24, 2021 after battling a severe congenital heart defect. Raylan was born on Dec. 28, 2020 to Thomas and Rachel Cubic of Vicksburg. Raylan faced these challenges with a resilience and fortitude that inspired all who knew his story. Raylan is survived by his parents, his twin sister, Lillian Michaela, and a host of family and other loved ones. A private service will be held, followed by interment at Harrison Cemetery where Raylan will be laid to rest among family. In lieu of flowers, Raylan’s family asks that donations be given to the family c/o Shirley Mroczek to be used to purchase small comfort items for other children in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. Visit his page at avinkcremation.com.
Rodney Clair “Rod” Decker, 59, Schoolcraft, died Jan. 4, 2021 at Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo. He was born in Vicksburg Nov. 23, 1961, the son of Allan R. and Geraldine M. (Spealman) Decker. He was a lifetime resident of Kalamazoo County. He graduated from Vicksburg High School in 1979 and later attended Kalamazoo Valley Community College. As a young man, he engaged in general farming and later worked at Portage Steel. For the past 25 years he had been employed at TDA Buddy in Kalamazoo. Rod was a member of the NRA and enjoyed target shooting. He was a MOPAR car enthusiast and looked forward to trips north for ice fishing and snowmobiling. Rod was married to Christine Shelton Sept. 23, 2016. She survives, along with sons Timothy Harger of Schoolcraft, Christopher Harger of Portage, and Aaron Harger of Schoolcraft; grandchildren Nathaniel, Ian, Avery, Joel, and Livia; sisters Tammy Decker and Karla (Bill) Hodge; brother Mark Decker; nephew Thomas (Rebecca) Decker; niece Jessica (Jeremy) Shepherd; and best friend Brian (Dorothea) Williams He was preceded in death by his parents. Visit his page at eickhofffuneralhome.com.
Myrna Lee Forsythe, 84, Vicksburg, died peacefully at Rose Arbor Hospice on Jan. 2, 2021. Myrna was born December 3, 1936 in Reynolds, Ill., the daughter of Dale and Marian (Hahn) Wynn. She graduated from Reynolds High School in 1954, where she met Delano “Del” Forsythe. They were married July 16, 1955, in 1966 moving to Vicksburg, where they raised their family. Both Del and Myrna enjoyed traveling and the company of friends and family. Myrna was a talented cook and seamstress, and she always kept busy crafting and letter writing. She was a member of the United Methodist Church and United Methodist Women. Myrna is survived by sons Dennis (Kathleen) Forsythe and Douglas Forsythe of Vicksburg; grandchildren Nicole Rayburn, Amanda (Matthew) Nixon, Elizabeth (George) Palat, Andrew Forsythe; great grandchildren Tyler Deau, Morgan Rayburn, Allyson Rayburn, Caleb Nixon, Chloe Nixon and one on the way. She is also survived by brother-in-law Charles (Kay) Dooley; sisters-in-law Paulita Forsythe and Sharon Wynn; daughter-in-law Gloria Forsythe; several nieces, nephews, cousins; and special friend Barbara Swarthout. Myrna was preceded in death by her husband; sons Allan Forsythe and a baby boy; her parents; brother Kelly Wynn; sister Joyce Wynn Travis; and brothers-in-law Dennis Dooley, Earl Dooley, and Gary Travis. Visit Myrna’s page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan c/o Rose Arbor.
Dave Morris French, 78, passed away peacefully at Rose Arbor Hospice in Kalamazoo Jan. 24, 2021 after a brief illness. He was a 1960 graduate of Schoolcraft High School where he played football as a left guard. After graduation, he joined the Navy and had a tour on the USS Constellation. He then met and married Joyce Ann Comstock in 1968. He worked for General Motors BOC stamping plant for 27 years and then worked for Western Michigan University, retiring after 10 years. After retiring, he enjoyed going to Bonita Springs, Fla. in the winter. Dave was a Mason and a 55-year member of the Kalamazoo Corvette Club. He loved old cars, car shows, road trips and garage sales. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Joyce; children David (Kathy) of Saline, Mich. and Dawn (Paul) Knieriem of Livonia, Mich.; seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild; brother Larry; several nieces and nephews, cousins and many friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, his brother, Ron, and his grandson, Andrew Knieriem. Donations may go to American Heart Association.
Gary Glenn Hammel, passed away peacefully after a courageous battle with glioblastoma on Dec. 24, 2020. Born in Kalamazoo on Jan. 20, 1951, Gary grew up working alongside his siblings and parents in the family’s multiple businesses, including Hammel Concessions. He graduated from Vicksburg High School in 1969 and later attended Western Michigan University. A natural athlete and outdoorsman, he enjoyed many sports, including golfing, fishing and hunting. In 1970, Gary joined the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety. He began his career as a patrol officer and was promoted to sergeant of the S.I.U from 1987 to 1990. In 1990, Gary became sergeant of the Criminal Investigation Division. Gary retired from law enforcement in 1997 after 27 years of service. In 1999, Gary and his wife relocated to Fort Collins, Colo., where they owned and operated their small business. Gary loved spending time with his family, hiking in the mountains and biking the trails. Gary was preceded in death by his parents, Robert C. Hammel and Eleanor R. Hammel. He is survived by his loving wife of 28 years, Judi. A beloved husband, father, grandfather, and brother, Gary is lovingly remembered by his daughters, Lauri Berry (James and Jamie Culver (Matthew), stepdaughter Stacie Barrett (John), stepson Ryan Gaudie (Amy), sister Lin Hammel, brother Richard Hammel (Theresa), and grandchildren Clara, Joseph, Mitchell, Mara, Samantha, Brooke, Lux and Jovi. Loved by his family and friends, Gary will be remembered for his calming presence, kind soul, keen sense of humor and impressive golf game.
Bruce W. Hedges, 62, Fulton, passed away Jan. 6, 2021. He was born April 30, 1958 in Allegan, the son of Chester and Ellen (Wright) Hedges. Bruce attended Allegan and Otsego schools. On May 20, 1975 he married Sue Leonard, and together they raised two children. He enjoyed riding his Harley and spending time with his family and friends. He could always be seen at his grandchildren’s sporting events and was their biggest fan. For 15 years he owned B&S Auto in Vicksburg. His family will remember him as being strong-willed and having a heart of gold. Bruce is survived by his wife of 45 years, Sue; children Mike (Melisa) Leonard of Vicksburg and Melissa Yant of Fulton; grandchildren Cody Leonard and Brandin Yant; siblings Donna (Mike) O’Connell of Allegan, Dave Hedges, Jr, of Plainwell, and Donnie (Clara) Hedges of Allegan; and several nieces and nephews. Bruce was preceded in death by his parents, David Hedges Sr. and Ellen Hedges, and brothers Chuck and Terry Stratton. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com.
Ann June Jung, 74, Scotts, formerly of Brown Deer, Wis., passed away Jan. 10, 2021. Ann was born on June 1, 1946 in Shorewood, Wis., the daughter of William and Ida (Burnside) Gschwind. She was a 1964 graduate of Granville High School. Ann married Clifford Jung Oct. 18, 1969 and together they raised three children. Ann enjoyed fishing, boating, shopping, baking and especially spending time with her family and grandchildren. She also enjoyed spending time with her friends watching Packer games at Spanky’s in Mequon, Wis. Ann is survived by her husband Clifford; children Brad (Beth) Jung, of Washington, Amy (Mike) McConnaghy of Portage and Andy (Carrie Ann Jung), of Wisconsin; and grandchildren Grace, Kate, Nick, Hailey, Lacey, Nolan, Spencer and Sydney. Ann will be laid to rest next to her parents at Resurrection Cemetery in Mequon. Visit her page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.
David E. Landrum, 79, Vicksburg, passed away unexpectedly Jan. 17, 2021. He was born Sept. 7, 1941 to John C. Landrum, Sr. and Donna (Shrock) Landrum in Elkhart and graduated from White Pigeon High School in 1961. While serving in the army in the state of Washington, he met his wife, Lorna. They moved their young family to Michigan, where they remained. Dave worked 25 years at General Motors (Fisher Body) in Kalamazoo, and after his retirement, held various positions in the Kalamazoo area. He volunteered with the Wakeshma Township Fire Department in Fulton. He enjoyed camping with their close friends, the Happy Campers, as well as fishing, especially with his grandchildren. Surviving Dave is his wife of 59 years, Lorna; children Lisa (Ed) Robleski of Little Elm, Texas, Rod Landrum of Murfreesboro, Tenn., Lauri (Kevin) Wiessner of Kalamazoo and Rick (Kay) Landrum of Portage. He will be dearly missed by his grandchildren and great-grandchildren Amanda, Danielle, Travis, Zach, Grace, Michael, Abel, Theo, Juliet and Phoenix.
Lee F. Phelps, 82, Schoolcraft, passed away Jan. 12, 2021. He was born May 8, 1938 in Schoolcraft, the son of Leon and Phyllis (Hice) Phelps. He grew up on the family farm, graduating from Schoolcraft High School. He honorably served his country from 1959 until 1961 as part of the 82nd Airborne Division and was stationed at Fort Bragg. While in the military he was very proud to play on the baseball team. Lee and Kay Sprowl were married June 15, 1963, in Colon United Methodist Church. They raised their sons on the farm they purchased in 1969, growing it from 80 to 440 acres. Lee leaves behind a legacy of faith, hard work and integrity. Lee was a member of the Edwards Corner Bible Church. He is survived by Kay, his wife of 57 years; Larry (Dawn) Phelps of Vicksburg; Buzz (Kristina) Phelps of Nappanee, Ind. and Kurt (Rachel) Phelps of Schoolcraft; grandchildren Andrew, Aaron, Adam, Jacob (Heather), Justin, Micah, Kayson, Gracie, Gentzen, Mark, Halle, and Stephen. Lee was preceded in death by his parents, Leon and Phyllis Phelps. Visit his page at avinkcremation.com. Donations may go to Edwards Corner Bible Church Building Fund.
Dena Julene Piper, 72, Schoolcraft, passed away on Dec. 31, 2020 in Kalamazoo. She was born in Kalamazoo on June 6, 1948, the daughter of LaVerne and Julia (Smith) Brown. She was preceded in passing by her parents, stepfather Harold Bent and brother Dale Brown. Left to cherish Dena’s loving memory are her husband of nearly 52 years, Terry Piper; children Eric (Heidi) Piper, Jared (Mary) Piper, and Dawn (David) Beltz; 12 grandchildren; two great grandchildren; siblings Verna (Phil) Maughan and Darl (Shirley) Brown and many cousins, nieces, nephews, and close family friends. Donations may go to St. Jude’s Research Hospital. Visit her page at mccowensecord.com.
Dennis J. Pound, 65, Vicksburg, passed away Jan. 8, 2021. Dennis was born on Feb. 1, 1955 in Kalamazoo, the son of Guy Douglas and Jean (Mandigo) Pound. Dennis is survived by his wife of 41 years, Diane; daughter Kimberly Pound; son Jay Pound; brother Doug Pound; sister Deborah Dornbos; and many nieces and nephews. Dennis was preceded in death by his parents, two nieces and a nephew. Dennis graduated from Vicksburg High School and Kalamazoo Valley Community College. A private family graveside service will be held at a future date. Visit his page at avinkcremation.com.
Ronald E. Sheely, 75, Portage, passed away Jan. 3, 2021. Ron was born on Jan. 5, 1945 in Camp Shelby, Miss. He was the son of Merritt and Viola (Carey) Sheely. Ron was a road inspector for the Michigan Department of Transportation. On June 6, 1987 he married his wife, Betty. He enjoyed watching the Detroit Lions. He will be remembered by his family for having a generous heart, independent spirit and strong-willed. Ron was preceded in death by his wife, Betty, and a granddaughter, Jennifer Hodgman. Ron is survived by his children, Michael (Elizabeth) Sheely, of Otsego; Keith Sheely, of Illinois; and Anthony (Tina) Sheely), of Grand Rapids; stepchildren Marty O’Brien; Clark O’Brien; March Wegeler; and Doni Anderson; many grandchildren and great grandchildren. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com.
Jeanne A. Tindall, 92, passed away with her family by her side Jan. 14, 2021, from COVID-19. She resided at Friendship Village in Kalamazoo and formerly lived on Indian Lake in Vicksburg. Jeanne was born March 24, 1928 in Kalamazoo, the daughter of the late Ralph and Gladys (Bollinger) Keller. Jeanne grew up in Kalamazoo with three siblings, the late Barbara (Otto) Hood, Jack (Kathy) Keller and Marian (Don) Scheid. On June 18, 1949, she married James L. Tindall. She received her Bachelor of Music from U of M in 1952. After Jim’s passing in 2011, she had a special friend, the late Dr. John Sinclair. Jeanne is survived by her children, Nancy (Thom) Jones of Kalamazoo, Ken Tindall (Beth DeWaters) of Kalamazoo, Scott (Shelley) Tindall of Vicksburg and Marilyn (Ken) Weichhand of Vicksburg; grandchildren Carrie (James) Langley, Paul Gerts, Steve (Sara) Weichhand, Lisa Weichhand, Timothy Tindall, Brad Tindall, Shawn Tindall, Luke (Eunice) Tindall; great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild; a brother-in-law, sisters-in-law and several nieces, nephews, and cousins. Donations may go to Ministry with Community.
Patricia Rene Aldrich, 92, Schoolcraft, passed away peacefully Dec. 4, 2020 at White Oaks Assisted Living Center. Patricia was born Sept. 13, 1928 to Emerson and Bernice Houts. She was married to Neal C. Aldrich Sept. 24, 1948. Pat grew up and lived in Schoolcraft her whole life. She loved her little town and being active in her community. She retired from Kalamazoo County State Bank after 30 years, and worked at Norma’s Antiques for 25 years. For many years, she enjoyed volunteering at the Schoolcraft Community Library and was also a member of the Order of the Eastern Star. Pat loved music and ballroom dancing with her husband. Her family includes her children, Timothy Aldrich and Larry (Patsy) Aldrich; grandchildren Amy (Jeff) Triplett, Gabriel (Kari) Aldrich, Benjamin (Lisa) Aldrich and Jeremy (Kelly) Aldrich; great grandchildren Zackary Triplett, Henry Aldrich, Mason Aldrich, and Maylee Aldrich; sister Norma Whybrew; sister-in-law Jeanette Houts and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, Emerson and Bernice Houts; her husband of 55 years, Neal Aldrich; her daughter-in-law, Elisabeth Aldrich; and her brother, Errol Houts, Sr. Donations may go to Schoolcraft Community Library or to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan. Visit Patricia’s page at mccowensecord.com.
Julia (Julie) Susan Beran, 77, Schoolcraft, passed away Dec. 14, 2020. She was born Sept. 1, 1943 in Kalamazoo to Louis C. and Camilla A. (Hatley) Berky. Julie met John Beran, the love of her life, before her senior year in high school. They were voted “Couple Most Likely to Stay Together” and they did for over 60 years. She was a loving wife, mother and grandma and enjoyed preparing holiday meals at her house and surprising everyone with a handmade felt ornament each Christmas. She also enjoyed sewing, embroidery, word searches, gardening, bird feeding and her grandchildren’s school functions. Julie was preceded in death by her parents and two brothers. She is survived by her husband, John; daughters Diana Beran, Kathy (Kevin) Richards, and Cindy Beran; and grandchildren Emily (Cody) Marshall, Alysia Stozicki, Ethan Richards and Nicholas Richards. Visit Julie’s page at avinkcremation.com.
Steven L. DeHaan, 70, Schoolcraft, passed away at home on Dec. 27, 2020 after a courageous battle with cancer. Steve was born in Kalamazoo, a son of Steven and Laura (Kannegeiter) DeHaan. He graduated from Parchment High School, served in the US Army and was a deputy with the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Department for 37 years. On July 1, 1988, he married Debbie (Adams) DeHaan, who survives. Also surviving are his children, Zach (Robin) DeHaan, Stephanie (Jeff) Blaskiewicz, Megan (Josh) Knight and Alan Cherette; grandchildren Lauren, Morgan, Gracie, Tyler, Adelih, Sophia; great-granddaughter Alaïa; brother and sisters Kathy Hoeksema, Pat (Ed) Doorlag, Larry (Ruth) DeHaan and sister-in-law Cheryl DeHaan; brother-in-law and sister-in-law Dave and Dawn Llewellyn and sister-in-law DeAnn Adams; as well as several nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family members and friends. Steve was preceded in death by his parents, Steven and Laura DeHaan, brother Jack DeHaan, brother-in-law Edwin Hoeksema and mother-in-law Helen (Wylie) Adams. Visit his page at avinkcremation.com.
Cheryl Ann Derrick, 72, passed away Nov. 14, 2020. She was born in Kalamazoo July 30, 1948, the daughter of Loyd and Loyola Wilson, and was a lifelong resident of the Kalamazoo area. She married the love of her life, Donald Derrick, Jan. 20, 1968. They raised two wonderful sons that she was immensely proud of, David (Kim) and Matthew (Shelly) Derrick. She leaves behind grandchildren Dillon Smith, Jenna Derrick, Bailey Ann Derrick, Nathan and Morgan Jackson,and Kelsey and Max Meyers; and four great grandchildren. Cheryl was an advanced antique collector and dealer; she always enjoyed the thrill of the hunt for the next prize. If you ever met Cheryl, she would never forget your face or your name and you were friends for life. Due to COVID concerns, a memorial service to celebrate Cheryl’s life will be held on a later date. The family asks that when you are having a cocktail on the back porch, patio, deck, fire pit, dock or the pontoon boat to raise your glass in remembrance of Cheryl. Visit her page at avinkcremation.com.
Paul “Champ” Eisenhardt, 80, formerly of Scotts, died Nov. 21, 2020. Champ was born in Kalamazoo and raised in Comstock, where he graduated in 1958, receiving awards in track, football, basketball, and baseball. In adulthood, Champ played fast pitch softball, bowled, and fished with his buddy, Jimmy Vanloo. Champ retired from General Motors after 30-plus years. Champ loved spending time with his family in Bradenton, Fla. Champ will be dearly missed by Sharon, his wife of 38 years; children Catherine (Ed) Nyberg, James Dekker Jr. and Julie Dekker, all of Michigan, Scott Eisenhardt of Florida; grandchildren Amber (Ben) Hammon, Shalyn (Jordan) Bourdo, Rachel Nyberg, Kyle Nyberg, Emilee (Devon) Jones, Chelsea (Jesse) James, Mareea Dekker, and James Dekker III; great grandchildren Nolan, Madysen (Payton), Holland, Everly, Julianah, Carson, Brecken, Wyatt, Dakota Rose, Matthew and Baby Jones, due in 2021; sister-in-law Pat DeBoer and brother-in-law David Leedy, as well as many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Virginia and Paul; siblings David, Bob and Ruthann; nephews David and Jeff; niece Rhonda; daughter-in-law Tracy Dekker and brother-in-law John DeBoer. Visit Paul’s page at mccowensecord.com.
James Edward Fess, Jr., Scotts, passed away Dec. 19, 2020. Jim was born on Nov. 21, 1955 in Vicksburg, the son of James Sr. and Kathryn Jean (Jennings) Fess. Jim graduated from Vicksburg High School in 1974 and participated in football, shot put, and choir. After high school he joined the U.S. Navy. He married Sharon Darling in 1980 at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church. Together, they raised two sons, Robert and Matthew. Jim retired in 2012 after working over 30 years at Upjohn/Pfizer. Jim had the natural ability for building things “correctly” and was always there for his sons to help them with projects. He enjoyed ice fishing, softball and bowling. He loved the Detroit Lions, car shows, going to the races with his friend, Virgil Hopwood, and traveling with Sharon. Jim was preceded in death by his mother, a sister, a brother and his special dog, Rufus. He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Sharon, and their sons, Robert Fess of Scotts and Matthew (Brittney) Fess of Vicksburg; granddaughter Clara Marie Fess; and his cat, Fluffs. Also surviving are his father James Sr. (Diana) Fess of Vicksburg; sisters Pat, Nancy, and Melanie; and several nieces and nephews. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to the American Cancer Society.
H. Arlene Forsythe, 83, Vicksburg, was called home to join her Lord and Savior Dec. 19, 2020 at The Laurels of Coldwater. She was born May 6, 1937 in Bancroft, Michigan, the daughter of William E. and Estella May (Morgan) Self. Her early life was spent in Corunna, where she was a 1955 graduate of Corunna High School. On Aug. 17, 1957 she married Richard Forsythe. She worked at Redmond Motors in Owosso, managed the Hallmark House in Midland, was the librarian at John Wesley College in Owosso, and was a pastor’s wife. Arlene resided in Vicksburg for the past 26 years, retiring from the Michigan District office of the Church of the Nazarene in Vicksburg following many years as office manager. She enjoyed cooking, sewing and playing the organ. Arlene found the most joy when she was surrounded by her family, especially her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She is survived by her husband of 63 years, Richard; daughters Sheryllynn (Roger) McBride of Brighton and Teresa (Rod) McBride of Rockford; son Richard Forsythe of St. Augustine, Florida; grandchildren Mark, Jeff, Amanda, Brooke, Joshua, Clorissa and Elizabeth; six great grandchildren and expecting her seventh; sister Lila Wright of Owosso and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, three sisters and one brother. Donations may go to Sturgis Church of the Nazarene. Visit her page at hackmanfamilyfuneralhomes.com.
Etta Josephine Gould, 100, Vicksburg, passed away surrounded by her loving family Dec. 21, 2020. She was born in Kalamazoo on July 21, 1920, the daughter of Charles Gleason and Gertrude May Truax. She married the love of her life, Bramwell Kenneth Gould, on November 15, 1940. Together they raised six children in the Vicksburg area. She devoted her entire life to the care of others and spent 20 years working as a home health aide before embarking on her nursing career at Bronson Methodist Hospital as an LPN, retiring in 1995 after 35 years of service. During her retirement, she spent time traveling with her son, James, and her daughter, Wanda, until James passed away in 2010. She was preceded in passing by her husband; children James, John and Bonnie; siblings Perry, Harold and Dora; and her parents. Left to cherish her loving memory are her children, Wanda, Marvin and Betty (Lee) Hambright; four grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, two great great-grandchildren and several nieces, nephews and cousins. Donations may go to Elara Caring Hospice, Senior Services or the American Cancer Society. The family would like to thank both Elara and Senior Services for the care and support they provided. Visit Etta’s page at mccowensecord.com.
Joyce D. Hoeksema, 83, Portage, passed away Dec. 6, 2020. Joyce was born May 19, 1937 to Raymond and Lettie (Canavan) Snook. She graduated in 1955 from Vicksburg High School. She married Jim Hoeksema on June 29, 1956, and they became partners in the family business, Jim Hoeksema Greenhouses. As hard as the family worked, they always made time to travel as a family. In retirement, Joyce and Jim enjoyed traveling, especially to golf destinations. She also followed baseball and was engaged in politics. She is survived by three daughters, Kathy Hoeksema-Aivars of Schoolcraft, Cindy (Andy) Medema of Mattawan and Lori Hoeksema of Schoolcraft; grandchildren Andrea Medema, Nathan (Jamie) Medema, and Bailey (Jeffrey) Witt; great grandchildren Andrew and Lily Medema, Peyton and Gage Witt. She is also survived by sisters Rayletta Boone and Jeanne Watson; brother John Snook; brothers-in-law Don (Nancy) Hoeksema, Dale (Marilyn) Hoeksema, and Harold Vlietstra; sisters-in-law Sue Snook, Nancy Snook, Kathy Hoeksema, and Carol Hoeksema. Joyce was preceded in death by her husband; parents; brothers Emanuel, James and Eugene Snook; sister Marveta Calhoun; sister-in-law Doris Vlietstra; brothers-in-law Gerald Hoeksema, Carl Hoeksema, Ed Hoeksema, Orville Boone and Paul Calhoun. Services have been held. Visit her page at avinkcremation.com. Donations may go to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.
Barbara Jean (Dorey) Kissinger, Kalamazoo, passed away Dec. 11, 2020 at home. The daughter of Marvin and Betty (Weinberg) Dorey, she was born April 21, 1958 and grew up in Vicksburg, graduating in 1977. When Barbara was in high school, her 7-year-old nephew Peter Leja passed away from cancer, influencing her decision to go into the medical field. She became a certified nurse’s aide and devoted 42 years of working in nursing homes, adult foster homes, and for the last 15 years in the homes of patients with brain injuries. On Sept. 18, 1982, Barbara was married to Timothy L. Kissinger, who preceded her in death. She was also preceded in passing by her parents. Barbara was a past member of Mid-Lakes Chorus of Sweet Adelines International. and a member of St. Monica Catholic Church. Barb loved to travel. She is survived by her siblings Walter (Patricia) Dorey, Darlene Leja, LouAnn Laurence, Maxine Haywood; sister-in-law Christina Dorey; in-laws Sharon (Greg) Kilburn and Susan VandenBerg; and many nieces and nephews. She was also preceded in death by a brother, Robert Dorey; brothers-in-law Henry Leja, James Laurence and David Haywood; nephew Peter Leja and great niece Alexis Peterson. Donations may go to West Michigan Cancer Center, Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan or St. Monica Catholic Church.
Clare Gene Seaburg, 93, Schoolcraft, passed away on Dec. 15, 2020. Clare was born on March 16, 1927 in Cassopolis, the son of Frank and Aletha (Sutherland) Seaburg. He graduated from Hartford High School and served in the United States Army during the Korean War. He married Yvonne “Tee” Avery on Sept. 15, 1950, together raising three children, Cherie, Cindee and Ty. Clare owned and operated Hydraulic Concrete Corp and enjoyed fishing, bowling, playing cards and helping others. Clare was a member of the Schoolcraft United Methodist Church, Shriners, the Kalamazoo County Masonic Lodge and the West Street Poker Club. Clare and Tee spent 24 summers at Gravel Lake and traveled to Arizona for the winters. Clare was preceded in death by his wife; siblings Harry Seaburg and Ruth Klein. He is survived by his children Cherie (John) Thorp and Cindee (Garry) Moore of Gobles and Ty (Missy) Seaburg of Schoolcraft; 11 grandchildren and 32 great grandchildren with one more on the way. He is also survived by his sister, Linda Miling of Comstock Park, and numerous nieces and nephews. Visit his page at avinkcremation.com. Donations may go to Schoolcraft United Methodist Church and/or Elara Caring Hospice.
Jack Charles Smith, 69, died Oct. 26, 2020 after an eight-month battle with cancer. He was born Jan. 18, 1951 to Jack and Betty Smith of Portage. On Oct. 28, 1972 he married Gretchen Klauss. Jack was employed Upjohn/Pfizer for 32 years as a journeyman pipefitter. After retirement, he worked at Vicksburg Hardware as the Stihl mechanic. Jack was an avid sportsman looking forward to hunting season each fall. He took much pleasure in retelling his hunting escapades. He also enjoyed fishing and time spent with his hunting and fishing buddies. He was admired by many and passed on his knowledge to all who showed interest. His biggest delight was his family. Jack and Gretchen were married 48 years and were devoted to each other. He was proud of daughters Regan (Pete) and Lauren (Jesse) and delighted in his grandchildren, Claire, Willem, Charlie and Alora, and step grandchildren Tucker and Annabelle. His greatest heartache was that he would not be here for them as they grow up. He is also survived by his sister, Diane. Visit Jack’s page at langelands.com.
Ruth Anna Smith, 78, Vicksburg, went home to be with her Lord unexpectedly yet peacefully Nov. 13, 2020. She was born to Harville and Leona (Kuenke) Campbell Oct. 29, 1942, in St. Louis, Mo. She was united in marriage to Carl Joseph Smith June 18, 1960, and soon began a family of seven children. Ruth and Carl were married for 54 years. She was a grandmother to 21 grandchildren, 22 great grandchildren and an aunt to several nieces and nephews. Ruth’s biggest joy was spending time with her family. She is survived by her children, Angela (David) Wilson of Scotts, Deborah Smith of Galesburg, Carl “Sonny” (Jamie) Smith II of Jackson, Karla (Bill) Vroman of Vicksburg, Darla (Jack) Smith-McNett of Vicksburg, Merton Smith of Vicksburg and Wendy (Terry) Smith-Walker of Galesburg; siblings Tom (Diane) Campbell, Marge Lamb, Francis Pennington and Martha “Marty” Thompson, 20 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents, beloved husband, a brother, four sisters and a granddaughter. Visit her page at whitleymemorialfuneralhome.com.
Marilyn E. Baird, 83, Fulton, passed away Oct. 4. Marilyn was born Sept. 30, 1937, in Vicksburg, the daughter of Pete and Bernice (Weimer) Holt. Marilyn enjoyed music, graduating from Vicksburg High School where she met David Baird. Married April 22, 1955, the couple created a home and raised four children. Marilyn’s sewing and crafting interests complemented David’s skills in woodworking, leading to their participation in many craft shows. She was a longtime member of the Prairie Baptist Church. Marilyn is survived by her husband of 65 years, David; children Stephen (Mary) Baird of Coopersville, Joan (Bob) Huffman of New Mexico, Thomas Baird of Florida, Ellen (Mike) Ashbee of Missouri; eight grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; two great great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents; brothers Ted Holt, Don Holt and Tom Holt; and sister Elizabeth Ann. Visit her page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to Rural Bible Missions rbmministries.org/donations or mail directly to RBM Ministries c/o Amy & Paul P.O. Box 128 Plainwell, MI 49080.
Newell Burson Dean, 84, Schoolcraft, passed away Oct. 1 at Bronson Methodist Hospital. He was born at the Burson family homestead north of Schoolcraft Feb. 28, 1936, the son of Leslie Newell Dean and Alice Mae (Burson Dean) Schug. Newell was raised in Portage, graduated from Portage schools, and received his degree in agriculture from MSU in 1956. Newell married Ruth Ellen Garlic March 23, 1956. They moved to the Carl Abel farm in Cedar Springs. He accepted an offer to manage the Allan Milham farm in Portage in 1957. In 1964, he purchased the Maynard Jeffries farm in Schoolcraft, where he and Ruth raised their family. He was a member of the Schoolcraft United Methodist Church for 52 years, and active in leadership of Farm Bureau, Prairie Ronde Township, Kalamazoo County, Lawton Board of Education, Lawton Athletic Boosters and the Van Buren County Youth Fair-Junior Livestock Producers. Newell was preceded in death by his brother-in-law, Ronald Zentz; sister-in-law Diana Dean; granddaughter Kendra Dean; and great grandson Paul Dean Rozeboom. He is survived by his wife; children Julia (Paul) Rozeboom, David Dean, Bruce (Therese) Dean and Gary (Wendy) Dean; sister Millicent Zentz; brothers James Dean and Duane (Sharon) Dean; 13 grandchildren; 20 great grandchildren; and numerous brothers, sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews. Visit Newell’s page at avinkcremation.com. Share memories with the family at RememberingNewell@gmail.com. Donations may go to Schoolcraft United Methodist Church Memorial Fund.
David Marion Huntington, 71, passed away Sept. 26. He was born to Marion and Theresa Huntington April 24, 1949, in Vicksburg. He was a Vietnam veteran. He was joined in marriage to Linda Louise Loosier April 28, 1973, and later welcomed one son, David. David loved camping at Leidy Lake Campground with his wife, Linda and son, Davie. They had many great years there and made many friends. Throughout his career, David worked at Gibson Guitars and Mead Paper. He was a hard worker and always did whatever he could to take care of his family and help his friends. David was preceded in death by his wife of 41 years, Linda, his parents and brothers-in-law John Overton and Jarry Loosier. He survived by his son, David (Brandi) Huntington; brother, Leslie Huntington of Vicksburg; sisters Marilyn (Ed Sr.) Miller of Coldwater, Rosemary (Raymond) Weller of Coldwater, Alice (Mike) Bockstanz of Portage, Lori Overton of Three Rivers, and Brenda (Bob) Piper of Vicksburg; grandchildren KJ, Alyssa, Noah and Eveah. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews that he loved very much. Services will be announced at a later date.
Thomas L. Karns, 58, Vicksburg passed away Sept. 25. Tom was born March 18, 1962, in Marshall, the son of Thomas and Eleanor (Napientek) Karns. Tom graduated in 1980 from Marshall High School. He proudly served in the United States Army 101st Airborne from 1980 until 1989. It was during his time in the service that he became a nurse. When he returned home, he worked at the State Hospital for over 10 years. On July 2, 2004, he married Theora Edwards. He was preceded in death by his wife and parents. He is survived by children Tyson (Melanie) Souza of Oregon and Trina (Carlos) Sanchez of California; their mother, L.J. Souza of California; step-children Tonya (Andy) Taylor of Scotts, Lyndie (Brian Tassell) Wall of Fulton, Conor (Jenny) Schaub of Schoolcraft; father and mother-in-law Linden and Lois Edwards; grandchildren Lea, Neil, Vincent, Kasey, Morgan, Gracie Lue, Eric Thomas, Wyatt, Isla and Oliver. He is also survived by brothers Larry (Julia) Karns, of Battle Creek and Michael Karns, of Texas; sisters Donna (Dennis) Wintersteen of Marshall and Becky (Rich) Simpkins of Mississippi; sisters-in-law Pam (Jeff) Foy of Climax and Jenny (Chan) Edwards of Vicksburg; many nieces and nephews; and his beloved dog, Geno. Tom will be cremated and his ashes will be interred in a private ceremony at Fort Custer National Cemetery. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com.
James (Jim) Mendocha, 68, passed away peacefully on Oct. 18. The youngest of five children, Jim was born Dec. 4, 1951 to Frank and Wanda (Zoilkowski) Mendocha. He was a graduate of WMU with a bachelor’s degree in art. On Oct. 1, 1994, he married his soulmate and the love of his life, Janet Prosser. Their family quickly grew with the addition of their two wonderful sons, Matthew and Michael, whom he adored. Jim lived an adventurous early life. He lived all over the country. His mother often said he was born with a gypsy heel. His travels frequently coincided with various occupations, from being a stenographer at the Pentagon while in the army to owning his own candle making store in Estes Park, Colorado, to finally helping his wife run The Fulton Little Store. Jim enjoyed playing and listening to all kinds of music. He was known for his sense of humor, story-telling, and spending time with lifelong friends, Mark Weeks and Eric Matthies. Jim was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Wanda Nash. He is survived by his loving wife, Janet Mendocha; sons Matthew and Michael; brother Jack Mendocha; sisters Carol (Arthur) Pollari, lovingly referred to as Spud and French Fry, and Sally Mendocha; and several nieces and nephews. A gathering of friends and family will be scheduled for a later date. Donations may go to Rose Arbor Hospice or West Michigan Cancer Center.
Robert “Bob” Peck, 83, passed away peacefully Sept. 29, 2020, in his hometown of Campton, Kentucky. The son of the late Henry and Ellen Banks Peck, he was born in Campton Jan. 22, 1937. Bob moved to Kalamazoo in the 1950s, finding his niche as a drywall hanger and finisher for his former brother-in-law Jim, owner of Burns Drywall in Portage. Bob did countless jobs for Martz Home Builders, Louis Roberts Home Builders and other side jobs for folks who requested his work. He was a regular in the “drywallers’ corner” at Derk’s Restaurant in Portage, before retiring to Kentucky. Bob was a talented guitarist and enjoyed riding his motorcycle. He is survived by his wife, Mary Burrow Peck of Campton; son Bill (Melissa) of Warren, Michigan; daughters Cathy Conner of Winchester, Kentucky, Missy (Lee) Noel of Portage, Colleen (George) Ogan of Kalamazoo, and Christine (Gary) Allen of Vicksburg; 17 grandchildren; 26 great-grandchildren; brother Woodrow “Sam” Peck of Campton; sister Dixie Peck of Campton; and special friend Anna Tate whom he called “his bingo wife.” He was preceded in death by daughter Geri Docsa; a grandchild; and sister, Berneda Swim. Bob was laid to rest in Campton.
K. Mark Pedler, 60, of Three Rivers, formerly of Elkhart, Indiana, passed away Oct. 11. He was born Dec. 30, 1959, in Elkhart. He graduated from Concord High School in Elkhart and was a journeyman tool and die maker for 25 years. Mark was preceded in death by his wife of 26 years, Diane. He is survived by daughters Kristine Smithers of Three Rivers and Kelly Pedler of Galesburg; grandchildren Kaleb, Kadin, Emileigh, Ethan, Adleigh and Kensley; brother Kim J. Pedler of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin; niece Chelsea Pedler; nephew Jordan Pedler; and mother Karen Lemon of Elkhart. Condolences can be sent to Avink Funeral Home. Donations may go to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan. Visit his page at avinkcremation.com.
Bonnie Lynne (Wedel) Russell, of Kalamazoo, passed away Oct. 18, with family at her side. Bonnie was born to George and Joyce (Christensen) Wedel May 29, 1969, in Kalamazoo. When she was a year old, the family moved to Scotts, where she grew up enjoying animals and the outdoors. Bonnie loved music, eventually sharing her talents with the praise band at Country Christian Evangelical Free Church. Bonnie was also a talented designer, managing the flower shop at Wedel’s Garden Center. Bonnie was a loyal member of the Republican Party for 20 years and attended the 2016 National Republican Convention. She and Rich were engaged at Little Sable Lighthouse near Silver Lake Oct. 26, 2018, and traveled extensively. She enjoyed being mom to Rich’s kids Bryan, Matt and Nicole and grandma to their children. Bonnie leaves behind her beloved husband, Rich Russell; his parents Bill and Ruth Russell and Bill and Kathy Runkle; siblings Terrie (Dana) Schwartz and Andrew (Danielle) Wedel; her special niece Andrea (Gary) Truax; nephews Nathan (Lindsey) Schwartz, Nicholas Schwartz, Zachariah Wedel, Caleb Wedel and Eli Wedel; and grand nieces and nephews Dylan, Jackson, Alaina and Callen Truax and Stella Schwartz. Services will be held at a later date. Visit Bonnie’s page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to Kalamazoo Gospel Mission and Country Christian Evangelical Free Church.
Alan Paul Stanton, 66, of Constantine Township, passed away Oct. 14, 2020. Alan was born July 21, 1954, in Battle Creek to Gerald and Ruth (Wing) Stanton. He grew up in Fulton on the family farm, attending and graduating from Athens Area Schools. On April 24, 1993, he married the former Theresa Stark. They relocated to Constantine Township in 1994 and have resided there since. Alan was employed as a forklift operator by White Pigeon Paper Mill. He was a hard worker, a storyteller and an outdoorsman. He attended Factoryville Bible Church and Bethany Chapel. Alan is survived by his wife of 27 years, Theresa; children Sandy McCausland and Bill (Teri) Bambrick, both of Constantine; grandchildren Joe McCausland, Brittany Bambrick and Katelyn McCausland; great-grandchildren Grady, Piper and Stefan Criddle and Rose Carr; siblings Bethel (Joe) Halladay of Belgrade, Montana, Leta Gould Stanton of Yoakum, Texas, Carlena Hacker of Mendon, Joel (Marlene) Stanton of Liberal, Kansas, and Lois Stanton of LaGrange; many nieces and nephews, numerous friends and his best furry buddy “Mike.” He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Ardis Hall. Services have been held. Memorial contributions are suggested to the family to establish the Gerald and Ruth Stanton Memorial Scholarship to be awarded to an academically average college-bound student who shows financial need. Please visit www.lighthousefuneral.com to share memories, pictures and videos with the family.
Pamela J. VanWeelden, 63, of Portage, passed away Sept. 28 from heart complications at Spectrum Hospital in Grand Rapids. Pam was born Feb. 1, 1957 in Kalamazoo, the middle child of Fred and Ester Drenth. She spent 43 wonderful years married to her husband, Dennis VanWeelden. The couple was later blessed with their son, Jeremy VanWeelden. Family and friends were especially important to her, and she always made time to help care for them when needed. Pam is survived by her loving husband, Dennis; son Jeremy; brothers Douglas and Randy Drenth; sisters Terri Veildman and Jennie Drenth; and sisters-in-law Cindy Boven and Linda Moed. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a Celebration of Life service will be postponed until spring 2021. The celebration will take place at her home on Austin Lake. For those who wish to attend the celebration, please send a note to Dennis VanWeelden at 2363 Woody Noll Drive, Portage, Michigan 49002 for date and time confirmation. Visit her page at avinkcremation.com.
Charles “Charlie” Bartholomew, 74, Vicksburg, died June 26. The son of Henry and Mary (Hacker) Bartholomew, Charlie was born in Kalamazoo on January 4, 1946. He attended Otsego High School and MSU. On June 24, 1967 he married Judy, his high school sweetheart. He was preceded in death by his parents. Surviving are his wife, Judy; children Charles (Susan) Bartholomew Jr., Julia (Matthew) McKee, and David Bartholomew; grandchildren Courtney, Kyle, Emily, Madeline and Colin; a brother, Henry Bartholomew III; and nephews Henry (Tracy) Bartholomew IV and Phillip Bartholomew. Visit his page at BetzlerLifeStory.com. Donations may go to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.
Gary Dean Carpenter, 77, Vicksburg, passed away July 24. Gary was born on March 2, 1943 in Vicksburg, the son of Leslie and Glenna (Lamerson) Carpenter. He graduated from VHS in 1961. He was a skilled carpenter and golfer. Gary is survived by his children, Jill (Tony) Lindsley and Jason Carpenter; grandchildren Austin (Marcie Reynolds) Keiser, Madison (Scott) Krieger and Bella Carpenter; great grandchildren Kaiden Keiser and Avery Reynolds. Gary is also survived by his sister, Nancy (Craig) Miller; lifelong friends of over 70 years Rob and Dan Stroud; and nieces, nephews and cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents; a brother, Roger Johnson, and niece, Diane Coville. Visit his page at avinkcremation.com. Donations may go to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.
Deborah Rial Eckert, 70, died June 26. The daughter of Carmelita Carpenter and Robert Rial, Debbie was born in Battle Creek on August 29, 1949. During her primary years, she attended a one-room schoolhouse at Ellis Corners in Calhoun County. She graduated from VHS in 1967. She married Stuart Eckert in 1967 at Chapman Memorial Nazarene Church. She worked many years managing the cafeteria at James River. She loved living on Indian Lake and had many hobbies, including mushroom hunting, writing, painting, traveling, and vacationing on the motorcycle. Debbie is survived by her husband, Stuart Eckert; children Teresa and Troy Eckert; and grandchildren DJ and Devin Hettinger, Parker Essex, Auston Martin, and Amber and Trevor Eckert.
Margaret May McClish, 90, Portage, passed away June 27. Margaret was born on January 21, 1930 in Kalamazoo. Margaret graduated from Portage schools in 1948. She was married 60 years to her high school sweetheart, Maurice “Maury” McClish. She is survived by her children Mike (Doris) McClish and Matt McClish of Vicksburg and Mary (Robert) Ryan of Delton; grandchildren Ben (Lisa) McClish and Maria (Tony) Wharton of Vicksburg, Liam (Margo) McClish of TN, Thomas McClish of IN. and Michelle McClish, of IL.; great-grandchildren, and brother Max Crawford. She was preceded in death by husband, Maurice, brother David Crawford, and sister Louise Heller. Visit her page at mccowensecord.com.
Robert H. Merrill, 93, Vicksburg, passed away July 12. Robert was born on May 18, 1927 in Vicksburg, the son of Burl and Clara (Herrmann) Merrill. He graduated in 1945 from VHS. After graduation, he enlisted in the navy and attended MSU. He married Margaret (Peg) Rawlinson in 1951, and eventually owned and operated Rawlinson Appliance. He was a founding member of the Vicksburg Lions Club. He is survived by daughters Gwyn (Larry) Grubka of North Carolina, Beth (John) Foster of Portage, Sue (Dan) Cooley of Schoolcraft, Jeanne Sears and Julie Merrill, both of Vicksburg; 12 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his companion, Norma Simmons of Vicksburg; sisters-in-law Rita Brown of Portage and Elizabeth Parker of Arizona; and nieces and nephews. Bob was preceded in death by his wife Margaret “Peg” Merrill; grandson Eric Sears and brother-in-law Charles Rawlinson. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to South County Community Services, American Diabetes, Vicksburg Historical Society and/or Vicksburg Lions Club.
Joseph Aaron Miller, 62, Schoolcraft, passed away unexpectedly July 6. He was born in Kalamazoo on May 5, 1958, the son of Glaydon and Lois Miller. Joseph graduated from Portage Northern. He was preceded in death by his father, Glaydon Miller. He leaves behind his mother, Lois Miller and a brother, Timothy (Angie) Miller, his niece, Barbara (Josh) Dunn, great-nephews Glaydon and Deacon Dunn and great-niece Josie Dunn. Donations may go to Kalamazoo Gospel Mission. Visit his page at langelands.com.
Timothy E. Price, 41, Vicksburg, passed away June 13 from cancer. Tim was born March 14, 1979 in Kalamazoo to Robert E. and Lynne M. Price. He married Jennifer A. Glaser November 15, 2019. Tim was a 1997 VHS graduate. He served in the Marine Corps, enjoyed hunting, fishing, camping, bonfires, and PBR. Tim is survived by his wife, Jen, his children, Ryan Price-Salazar and Paris Price, and his stepchildren, Delaney Glaser and Raymond Glaser, his parents, Robert and Lynne Price, a brother, Daniel (Trish Baker) Price, a sister, Genevieve (Jamie) Carter, his paternal grandmother, Katherine (Price) Finch, great aunt Nancee (Terry Newell) Beach, as well as many special aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, cousins and friends. Tim was preceded in death by his paternal grandfathers, Robert Price Sr. and Harry Finch, and his maternal grandparents, Merlin and Faye Hines. Donations may go to Glioblastoma Foundation or to Jen for an educational fund for the children.
Patricia Ross, 85, Vicksburg, passed away at home with family by her side June 29. Pat was born on June 9, 1935 to Wallace & Maxine (Stauton) Cousins. Pat was artistic and enjoyed sewing, lunches, and movies. Pat’s family includes her children, Michael (Kim) Olney, Judy Noel, Beverly (Thomas) Compton, Joseph Olney, Deborah (Charles) Rife, Terry Ross and Thomas Ross; 13 grandchildren; 15 great grandchildren; siblings Larry (Barb) Cousins, Allen (Betty) Cousins, Dennis (Lee) Cousins and Roberta Casselman as well as several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, Leroy; her parents, grandson Christopher Shipley and her granddaughter Gretchen Olan; brothers Donald Cousins and Kenneth Cousins. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com.
James H. Simonds, DPM, died June 29 with his family around him. Jim was born in Kalamazoo on November 28, 1930, the son of Walter and Eloise (Gay) Simonds. He was a graduate of St. Augustine High School, WMU, and Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine. He was an army veteran. Jim owned Simonds Foot & Ankle Clinic, where he practiced for over 60 years. He was a member of St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church and a 4th Degree Knight of Columbus. Jim was an Eagle Scout, hunter, fisherman, and outdoorsman. Nothing made him happier than time with family, a completed to-do list or a day on his tractor. He was inducted into the Hackett Athletics Hall of Fame and held many leadership roles. Jim was preceded in death by his sister, Shirley Ferrara, and his brothers-in-law Bud Ferrara and Art Redmond. He is survived by his wife Mary; sister Barbara Gay Redmond; the mother of his children, Elizabeth Simonds; children Nancy (Terry) Haas, Jim (Mary) Simonds Jr., Dave Simonds, John (Anita) Simonds, and Mary (Kent) Matthews; step-children Donald (Ann) Ulsh, Scott (Tesa) Ulsh and Lisa (Eugene) Lehman; grandchildren Justin (Rikki), Sara (Chad), Derek, Jack, Kevin, Dan, Shelby, Matthew, Aleks (Hunter), Erika, Luke, Jake, Elizabeth, Emily, Hunter (Brooke), David (Cassie), Rachel (Jacob), Melanie, Jonathan, Ella Grace, and Liam; great-grandchildren Nora, Landon, and Mason; and many nieces and nephews. Donations may go to Hackett Catholic Prep Athletics (women’s basketball, volleyball, and soccer programs), St. Martin of Tours, or St. Edwards of Mendon.
Kathryn (Kitty) Mariel Starbuck, 90, died June 27 of COVID-19. The youngest daughter of Forrest and Fannie (Rifenberg) Shick, Kitty was born July 9, 1929 and raised on the family farm. Kitty graduated from VHS in 1946. She met the love of her life, Marvin, at a dance hall in Glendale and wed October 23, 1950. They built their new home next door to the house Kitty grew up in, living there for 60 years. Her claim to crafting fame was the manufacture of toy dinosaurs for the Field Museum in Chicago. Kitty served as editor-publisher of two monthly geological publications for 40 years. Kitty was preceded in death by her parents and sisters Marilynn Shick and Marian Sperry. She is lovingly remembered by her husband Marvin; children Kay (Lynn) DeMoss and Dennis (Terri) Starbuck; grandchildren Nikki (Mike) Schnelle and Sara Folck; great-grandchildren Madalyn, Chandler, Stella, and Lilah; nephew Bob (Marcie Brown) Sperry; great-nephew John (Caitlin) Sperry. Dan, Jen, and Delaney VanderPloeg and Jeff, Heidi, David and Drew DeMoss join them in grief. Donations may go to Vicksburg United Methodist Church.
Howard James Steffey Sr., 77, Schoolcraft, passed away July 24. Howard was born on December 22, 1942 in Kalamazoo, the son of Harlow and Dorothy (Marlette) Steffey. Howard graduated from Loy Norrix High School in 1961. He served in the U.S. Air Force during Vietnam. On October 10, 1964, he married Sally Frazier. Together they raised their three children, Howard Jr., Bob and Susan. He worked for over 35 years as an electrician for Georgia Pacific. He loved to watch old western movies and singing along to a nice country song. Howard is survived by his wife of 55 years, Sally; children Howard Steffey, Jr, of Kalamazoo, Bob Steffey, of Vicksburg, and Susan Elhart, of Vicksburg; grandchildren Bryan Woodward, of Battle Creek, Austin Steffey, of Kalamazoo, and Elysa Elhart, of Vicksburg; great grandchildren Abigail and Bentley. He is also survived by his sister, Gail Leggett, of Kalamazoo. He was preceded in death by his brothers, Harlow and Douglas Steffey. Howard has been cremated and at this time no services are planned. Visit his page at avinkcremation.com.
Todd Harold Weinberg, 51, Scotts, passed away July 11. Todd was born April 12, 1969 to Mel and Jo Weinberg and grew up on a farm in Scotts. He graduated with honors from VHS in 1987 and was a drummer in the “Big Red Machine.” Todd was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at age 5. At 44, he had a double lung transplant. Four years later, he got cancer. He continued farming, reluctantly retiring this year. He is survived by his mom, Jo Weinberg, sister Molly (Weinberg) Schake of Mililani, Hawaii, a brother, Chad Weinberg of Alexandria, Va.; brother-in-law, Mark Shake; and sister-in-law, Therra (Ebwe) Weinberg. He was uncle to Ryna Weinberg, Corban Weinberg, Phoebe Weinberg, Emily Schake, Wendy (Schake) Lyons, Daniel Lyons, Nathan Schake, and Brooke Schake. Todd was preceded in death by his father, Milford “Mel” Weinberg. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com.
Carol A. Wunderlin, 86, of Portage, died June 29, 2020, at Rose Arbor Hospice, Kalamazoo, following a battle with dementia. The daughter of Milton and Pauline (Denner) Hillsburg, Carol was born September 28, 1933 in Kalamazoo. Carol attended St. Joseph Elementary and St. Augustine High School and Parsons Business College. On June 4, 1960, Carol married Walter Wunderlin. Carol was preceded in death by siblings Joan Haas and Robert Hillsburg. Surviving are her husband of 60 years, Walter Wunderlin; daughter Michelle Buist; grandsons Tanner (Amaira) Buist and Carter Buist; great-grandchildren Axel and Rebel; brother John (Jean) Hillsburg; and many nieces and nephews. Services have been held with burial at Mt. Olivet Cemetery. Visit her page at BetzlerLifeStory.com. Donations may go to the Alzheimer’s Association of Southwest Michigan or Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.
Donald Carl Ampey, 61, Vicksburg, passed away June 8, surrounded by family. Don was born on March 5, 1959 to Donald and Linda (Moon) Ampey. Don worked for a number of years at Allied Paper in Kalamazoo and also at Ampey Buffing and Polishing. Don is survived by his wife of 41 years, Bonnie (Yerge) Ampey: children Christina (Bill) Hearns, Andrea (Kevin) Kavlock, and Greg (Anne) Ampey: and grandchildren Ashley, Katherine, DJ, Melissa, Brittany, Savannah, Cloey, and Charlotte; siblings Patty, Francine, Robert, and Rick and many nieces and nephews. Don was preceded in death by his parents, Don and Linda Ampey. Per Don’s wishes, cremation has taken place. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to the Wounded Warrior Project.
Terry Coburn, 76, Mattawan, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his loved ones on March 30. Terry was born October 13, 1943, the son of the late Richard Edward and Muriel Marie (Oldacre) Coburn. Raised in Fulton, Terry graduated from Vicksburg High School in 1961. In 1964, Terry enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, beginning his training in San Diego. It was there he met Sally Ann Bruggema, the love of his life. During his deployment to Vietnam from 1966-1967, Terry and Sally wrote letters. They began dating when he returned and were married February 23, 1968, settling in Fulton. Terry worked for Rieth Riley Asphalt and Krum’s Chevrolet before earning his associate’s degree from KVCC. He was employed by KVCC for 38 years as a supervisor of media services and as a part time faculty member, teaching applied electricity. Terry loved to serve his community, as best demonstrated by his 43-year commitment to Vicksburg Little League. He began by coaching, helping the grounds crew, and serving on the board. Terry found his passion in umpiring softball. He umpired many local, district, regional and state games as well as the Big-League Softball World Series games. He served on various boards and participated in many umpiring clinics. He enjoyed teaching and always tried to be fair. Terry was an active, loving father to his two children, Scott Edward and Kathleen (Katie) Ann Coburn, and adored his grandchildren. Family was the most important thing to Terry. He is survived by his wife, Sally; son Scott (Jennifer) Coburn and daughter Kathleen (Katie) Coburn; and grandchildren Aubrey and Ashlen Coburn. A celebration of life will be held Saturday, August 8, at the Vicksburg Little League fields, a fitting tribute to Terry’s many hours and interactions there. Visitation will be from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., followed by a memorial at 1 p.m., with lunch afterward. Those attending are encouraged to wear bright clothing.
Mary Ann Collier, 84, Schoolcraft, passed away June 6. Per her wishes, she has been cremated and no services are planned.
Janet V. Griffith, 84, Vicksburg, passed away June 4. Janet was born April 22, 1936 in Peoria, Ill., the daughter of Glen and Ruth (Smith) Pease. Jan worked in various places over the years; but most of her employment was with the City of Eureka, Ill., working with the mayor and the Eureka Police Department. She sang in numerous groups and choirs, and was an incredible soloist. Prior to moving to Michigan, Jan was a member of the Eureka United Methodist Church. Jan attended Cross Community Church of the Nazarene in Portage. She was an avid collector of antiques. She loved spending time with her husband, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, family members and many friends. On August 10, 1957, she was united in marriage to her loving husband, Richard (Dick) Griffith, who survives. Also surviving are her daughters, Deb (Jim) Hinze, Dawn Griffith; t grandchildren Kristen Simpson, Ashley (Joe) Renie, Austin (Haylee) Griffith; great-grandchildren Ryan, Brooklyn, Camden, Noah, Brayden, Cayden, and Jonah; a sister, Elnor Stevenson; nieces Maralee Malingowski and Teresa Cottrell, and several other nieces and nephews. There will be two Celebration of Life services, one in Michigan and one in Eureka, to be announced. Donations may go to Indian Lake Nazarene Camp in Vicksburg, Michigan. Visit her page at langelands.com.
Phillip M. Hinson, 56, Schoolcraft passed away June 2. Phil was born on July 30, 1963 in Anderson, Ind., the son of Archie and Joyce (Langford) Hinson. He graduated from Climax-Scotts High School with the Class of 1981. When he was 18, he got a job at Stewart Sutherland, and worked there ever since. On June 30, 2007, he married Pam in Kalamazoo. His hobbies included his love for the outdoors by trail riding on an ATV or deer hunting with a bow or gun. He will be remembered by his family as big hearted, logical, loving the Lord, being a good provider and very family-oriented. Phil is survived by his wife of 12 years, Pam; son Noah and stepdaughter Emily Hayner, all of Schoolcraft. He is also survived by his mother, Joyce Hinson, Scotts; a brother, Troy Hinson, of Texas; brother-in-law Ronald (Kelly) Schneider, of Portage; niece Cristra (James) Brown; nephews Zachary Hinson and Devin Schneider; and several aunts, uncles, and cousins. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to the ALS Foundation at alsa.org.
Suzanne Laymon, 67, Schoolcraft, passed away June 11. Suzanne was born on July 5, 1952 to Charles and Mary Hulbert in Kalamazoo. Suzanne enjoyed scrapbooking and camping. She can be described as honest, humorous and sarcastic. She and her husband Harold were married for 47 years. She is survived by her husband; children Stacy (Jason) Fulbright and Jim (Robin) Laymon; grandchildren Ethan Laymon, Byron Fulbright, Latreece Thomas, Cobie Thomas, Maky Thomas, Camded Thomas, Ashley Laymon, Tiffani Laymon, Sam Ferrer, Camellia Ferrer and Angelica Ferrer; and great grandchildren Dexter Bell, Amelia McCormick, Nolan McCormick and Lynden McCormick; siblings Cindy, Maryann, Charles and Kim. She was preceded in death by her brother, Bill, and her parents. Donations may go to the Wounded Warrior Project. Visit her page at avinkcremation.com.
Marihelen Niskala, 91, Schoolcraft, passed away peacefully May 28 at Wings of Hope Hospice in Allegan. Per Marihelen’s wishes, she has been cremated and no service will be held. Visit her page at avinkcremation.com.
Steven Michael Simon, 69, Vicksburg passed away June 25. Steve was born on May 23, 1951 to Elmer and Valeria (Osworth) Simon. Steve could usually be found at Angel’s Crossing Golf Course with his friend, Dave. Steve is survived by his wife of 40 years, Linda (Buytendorp) Simon; children Lane (Julie) Terrell and John (Francie) Terrell; grandchildren Cuyler, Mariah, and Becca (Randy); great grandchildren Laurel and Oliver; and a sister Lydia. Steve was preceded in death by his parents. Cremation has taken place, a memorial service to follow at a later date.
Robert Soter, 68, Vicksburg, passed away June 19. Robert was born on April 29, 1952 to Samuel and Tina Soter in Buffalo, N.Y. Bob was a drummer for 59 years, as he started to teach himself to play the drums at 9. His older sister purchased him his very first drum set for his 12th birthday. While still in Buffalo, Bob belonged to two bands, the Nightwalkers and the Nighthawks. More recently, he was in a group called the Backroads Band. Bob was a man with many skills and he especially loved working in the automotive industry. Throughout his life he worked for GM. Next, he was a custom car painter and was a condition reporter for Schoolcraft Auto Auction before he retired. Soon after retiring, Bob found himself bored and needed a way to spend his time. He began working at Shaffer’s flowers and enjoyed every minute of it. Bob’s favorite part was dropping off flowers for someone and saying “Somebody loves you!” He will always be known as an amazing father and partner. He loved his kids and his wife of 19 years, Rebecca. Bob will be remembered as an amazing husband and a hard worker who would do anything for his daughters. Bob is survived by his wife, Rebecca; daughters Kate (Soter) Selvidge, Lindsay Soter, Maya (Soter) David and Jillian Soter; his sister, Marge Soter; grandchildren Cheyanne, Isabella, Tate and Dylan; and great grandchildren John Albert and Everly. Bob was preceded in death by his parents, Samuel Anthony and Fatina (Neenos) Soter, his sister, Elana Soter, and the mother of his children, Vickie Lehto and stepson Daniel.
Visit his page at mccowensecord.com.
Della Mae Spencer, 71, Gobles, formerly of Vicksburg, passed away June 22. Della was born on March 18, 1949 in Vicksburg, the third of four children of Harry and Mary (Viro) Spencer. She graduated from Vicksburg Schools in 1968. Della was born again and baptized at the Journey Family Church in Gobles. She was outgoing, outspoken, and loving. She loved saving animals. She is survived by her daughters, Heather Gause of Florida, Mary Burgoyne of Decatur; grandchildren Joplin and Sirius Burgoyne of Decatur; a sister, Leota (Linda Jones) Michielson, of Lawton. She is also survived by her special companion of over 40 years, Stanley Chaney of Gobles. Visit her page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to the Journey Family Church Building Fund.
Elmer “Walt” Ellis Walters Jr., 89, Scotts, went to be with the Lord on May 30. “Junior” was born on the family farm in Jones, Mich. He began a long career in the paper mill industry as a teen. He was a veteran of the Korean War, (1954-1956). Known more as “Walt” in his later years, he was manager of shipping and receiving at Quality Farm and Fleet for 20 years and also worked at Advanced Molding Innovations. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, camping and tinkering with his tractor at his farm in Scotts. Elmer was preceded in death by his parents, Elmer and Clara Walter, a sister, Betty (Bud) Jensen, and his beloved daughter, Arlene Walter Moord. Surviving are his brother, Fred (Lorna) Walter, his wife of 30 years, Sandi Walters, stepdaughter Melanie (Quentin) Witkowski, granddaughters MaRinda (Mac) Stamp, MaHaley Moord, Hadley and Sutton Witkowski, great grandchildren Cameron, Brixton and Ellis Stamp, stepdaughter Ardell (Alvin) Bontrager and their three children, and cousin Doug Bouwman. Elmer has been cremated and per his wishes will be interred at Poe’s Cemetery next to his daughter. Donations may go to Ascension At Home Hospice and Scotts United Methodist Church.
George Eugene Wedel, 81, Scotts, passed away June 21. George was born June 16, 1939 to Harley and Isabelle Wedel and grew up in Kalamazoo with his brothers, Harley and Richard, both deceased, and Roger, who survives. He met his high school sweetheart, Joyce Christensen, at Kalamazoo Central. They were married January 31, 1959. George and Joyce had three children, Terrie (Dana) Schwartz, Andrew (Danielle) Wedel, and Bonnie (Richard) Russell. Their grandchildren are Nathan (Lindsey) Schwartz, Andrea (Gary) Truax, Nicholas Schwartz, Zachariah Wedel, Caleb Wedel, and Eli Wedel and great grandchildren Dylan, Jackson, Alaina and Callen Truax and Stella Schwartz. George’s father started Wedel’s Nursery, Florist & Garden Center in 1946 in Kalamazoo. Joyce, Terrie, Andrew, Bonnie, and Andrea, Zachariah, and Caleb have all worked at Wedel’s Garden Center. Donations may go to Kalamazoo Gospel Mission, Forgotten Man Ministries or Country Christian Evangelical Free Church.
Michael Lewis Yeager, 52, Vicksburg, went home to be with his Lord and Savior on June 12. Mike was born on September 26, 1967 to George and Roxanna Yeager. He was a graduate of Kalamazoo Central High School and attended Berkeley School of Music in Boston and the Guitar Institute in Hollywood. He was a member of the bands P-Brain TV and LO-FI Scorpio. He enjoyed singing on the praise team at Westwood Christian Reformed Church. Mike loved fishing and spending time with family and friends. Mike was preceded in death by his father, George Yeager and is survived by his mother, Roxanna Yeager; his wife, Kristi Yeager; children Jake Andrews and Adrianna (Jon) Boyd and grandson Ryder Michael Boyd. Private services will be held for Mike at Westwood Christian Reformed Church and his interment will take place at Vicksburg Cemetery. Donations may go to Westwood Christian Reformed Church or the West Michigan Cancer Center. Visit his page at langelands.com.
George Bowling, 75, Vicksburg, passed away May 6. George was born on December 29, 1944 in Wheeling, W.Va. He was the son of Bane and Eunice (Rose) Bowling. George proudly served his country in the United States Marine Corp during Vietnam from 1964 to 1965. George retired from tool manufacturing after 25 years from Clausing Corp. George will be remembered by his family for being strong-willed but very friendly. George is survived by his two children, Maria (Mick) McCallister, of Parchment and Kevin Bowling, of Vicksburg; grandchildren Terra (Taylor) McCallister, of Portage; Miranda McCallister, of Florida; Karissa (Zach) McCallister, of Kalamazoo; Caden, Connor and Carson Bowling, of Vicksburg; and six great grandchildren. George’s ashes will be buried with military honors at Fort Custer National Cemetery at a later date. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to Talons Out Honor Flight talonsouthonorflight.org.
Scott Alan Brock, 42, Vicksburg, passed away May 4. Scott was the son of Paul and Brenda (Wood) Brock. He was born on April 28, 1978 in Kalamazoo. He grew up in Vicksburg and attended school there. He worked for a few companies in Kalamazoo and Allegan County. He enjoyed visiting his family at mom’s house, especially for Sunday dinners, and learned to play the guitar a little over the years. In the last year, Scott started attending One Church in Kalamazoo and grew especially close to Pastor Scott and his wife. Though he had health problems in the last six months, he was formulating plans to help charities in the Kalamazoo area. He was preceded in death by his parents, Paul and Brenda Brock, and his oldest brother, Gary Alvord. He is survived by his brother, Andy Brock, and sister-in-law, Amy Brock, of Scotts, and his sister, Melanie Brock (Mike Stephens), of Portage. He is also survived by nephews Jacob Ross, of Kalamazoo, and Kurt (Alex) Koller, of Battle Creek; nieces Emma Brock of Kalamazoo, Maggie Brock of Scotts, and Leia Mullen of Portage, and a grand-nephew, Oliver Koller, born this April. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com.
Beth Haines, 66, Adrian, formerly of Vicksburg, passed away May 1. She was born March 1, 1954 in Vicksburg, daughter of Richard and Elizabeth Lowe. She grew up in Vicksburg and graduated from Vicksburg High School, then Kellogg Community College. Beth enjoyed spending time with family and friends. She also enjoyed relaxing in her pool, reading books, crafts, her annual 4th of July party, and especially the holidays. She was preceded in death by her father, Richard F Lowe, and her son, Jason D Haines. Beth is survived by her mother, Elizabeth Lowe of Vicksburg; children, Jared A. Haines of Adrian; Jordan A. (Amanda) Haines of Highland; daughter Lauren E Haines of Westland; grandchildren Caleb, Emma, Eli, Zoey, Sawyer, Cole, and Jordynne Haines; a brother, Rick (Kim) Lowe of Three Rivers; nephew Corey Aukerman of Three Rivers; niece Kelly Aukerman of Vicksburg; great nephew, Dawson Aukerman of Three Rivers, and great niece Abigail Braat of Vicksburg. Donations may go to InterAct of Michigan. Visit her page at mccowensecord.com.
Dwight Haines, 56, Vicksburg, passed away May 10. Dwight was born on February 20, 1964 in Benton Harbor. He was the son of Clarence and Margaret (Sutcliffe) Haines. Dwight graduated from Vicksburg High School in 1982. A fun-loving, outgoing and caring individual, Dwight had a deep love for music that he shared through playing piano and violin, and frequently partaking in the entertainment scene of downtown Kalamazoo. He will always be remembered for the laughs and love he brought to his family and friends. Dwight is survived by his mother, Margaret; a sister, Brenda (James) McCallum, of Galesburg; niece and nephew Nicole (Tim) Wilson, of Galesburg; and David (Tara) McCallum, of Galesburg; four great-nephews, Nathan, Elijah, Ryan and Eric. He was preceded in death by his father, Clarence Haines, in 2016. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com.
Louis D. Malito, 80, a resident of Arbor Terrace in Naperville, Ill. and a former longtime resident of Vicksburg, passed away April 20. He was born on February 13, 1940 in Chicago. Lou is survived by his beloved wife, Elizabeth “Beth” Malito; his loving children, Leah (Michael) Malito Vinik, Dean (the late Lisa) Malito, Darla (Scott) Malito Caputo, Holly (Steve) Malito Pickens, Daniel Malito of Vicksburg, David (Michelle) Malito formerly of Vicksburg, Jesse Malito, Anna Malito, Katrin Malito, along with 13 grandchildren and four great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, Dominick and Mary (née Falbo) Malito and infant son, Dominic. Lou was a member of U.A. Plumbers Local 130 in Chicago and continued in this trade through Plumbers Local 333, working for Kellogg Corporation after moving to Vicksburg. While living in Country Club Hills, Ill., Lou was also a volunteer fire fighter and became part of the first paramedic team in Country Club Hills. Throughout his life, he was a football coach, baseball coach, softball coach and player, bowler and always a gardener. Most of all, he was a loving father, a caring neighbor and good friend. Lou enjoyed spending time with his ever-growing family, each summer at Pine Lake Cabins in Wellston, Mich., where he found peace, enjoyed fishing and spent time hanging around the campfire with his crazy large family.
Jo Anne McCrumb, 73, Kalamazoo, formerly of Vicksburg, died May 25. She was born to Donald and Helen (Miller) McCrumb on December 5, 1946. She attended Grand Ledge Public Schools and participated in 4-H, rode rodeo, showed horses. The family later moved to Vicksburg, where Jo played clarinet in the high school marching band, pitched for the softball team, and, even though she was only a Bulldog for a year, was elected Fall Homecoming Queen in 1964. She graduated from Vicksburg High School in 1965, then attended Western Michigan University, earning a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts. She worked for several companies including ROLM communication systems and Western Michigan University, installing phone systems and trained employees to use them. She retired from WMU. She attended Vicksburg United Methodist Church, and Unity of Kalamazoo when she moved to the city. She met her husband, Jeff Smith, through church. Jo was preceded in death by her parents and her daughter, Amy Piper. Surviving are her son, Troy (Shannon) Smith; grandchildren Alex and Faith; siblings Jock McCrumb, Jed (Linda) McCrumb; and nieces and nephews. A private gathering will take place with burial at Vicksburg Cemetery. Visit Jo’s page at BetzlerLifeStory.com. Donations may go to Unity of Kalamazoo.
Ryan C. Miller, 43, Vicksburg, passed away May 22. He was born on June 4, 1976 to Timothy and Deborah (Frye) Miller in Kalamazoo. Growing up in Vicksburg, he was a talented athlete and musician. He played soccer and golf in high school as well as the tuba in the Big Red Machine marching band, graduating in 1994. He received an associate’s degree from Ferris State University and entered the heating and cooling industry as a pipefitter. After 9/11 he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served his first tour in Iraq in 2002, followed by two other tours of duty in Operation Enduring Freedom. Upon returning home he married his high school sweetheart, Kristine Spiegelberg. When he needed some time to relax and collect himself, he turned to the solace of nature, the garden, or his barn. He loved tinkering on tractors and growing food to feed his family. He also enjoyed the fresh air of a campsite as well as the breeze while riding his Harley Davidson over the years. Ryan grew his strong faith by leaving his fingerprints on many aspects of the Vicksburg United Methodist Church. Ryan is survived by his wife of 12 years, Kris; children Anna Lynn, Anthony Ryan, and Liam, all of Vicksburg; his parents, Timothy and Deborah Miller of Vicksburg; and siblings Scott (Kathy) Miller, of Vicksburg and Todd (Mandy) Miller, of Vicksburg. He is also survived by his mother and father-in-law, Deb and Wayne Spiegelberg, of Vicksburg; sisters-in-law Brandy Thomas of Vicksburg, Sara Spiegelberg of Springfield, Bonnie (Blake) Osborn of Grand Rapids, and Barbie (Jason) Masternak of Dorr; and several nieces, nephews and cousins. Ryan was preceded in death by his grandparents, Bob and Kay Miller, Jim Frye, and great grandma, Lur Dumas. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to Wounded Warrior Project or USO Military Lounge.
Sue Clark Moore, 82, Vicksburg native, activist and editor-publisher of the South County News, died at her home Wednesday, May 27. Sue grew up in the newspaper business. She was the daughter of Meredith and Bernice Clark, who owned the Vicksburg Commercial Express. Sue wrote and edited for that newspaper over two decades. She attended Michigan State University, was on the cheerleading squad, and began a 66-year streak of attending MSU-UM football games. Although she lived in Vicksburg for most of her life, she lived at times in Seattle and Springfield, Ill. In Vicksburg, she served on the Board of Education and promoted community-changing efforts. She helped push for creation of the Community Foundation and the Farmers Market. She worked on the program and fundraising for the Rotary Club Showboat, now the Showcase. Her parents’ newspaper had been taken over by the Kalamazoo Gazette, and ceased publication in 2012. In 2013, with a nudge from Village Council President Bill Adams, Sue and others in the Schoolcraft-Vicksburg area began to publish the weekly South County News, credited by many as a “glue” that continues to hold each community together. Sue is survived by her two sons, Scott (Lynda) Moore, of Portage and Chris Moore, of Seattle, and grandchildren Zachary, Austin and Meredith Moore. She was preceded in death by her parents and a sister, Sandra Kay Miller. Due to COVID-19 concerns, a public visitation for Sue was scheduled by appointment June 1 at McCowen & Secord Funeral Home, Rupert-Durham Chapel in Vicksburg. A more public gathering to honor and celebrate Sue’s life will be held at a future date when current restrictions are lifted. Visit her page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to the non-profit South County News.
Joseph L. Reynolds, 86, Delton, formerly of Vicksburg, passed away suddenly May 15. Joe was born in Kalamazoo on October 3, 1933, the son of the late William and Lila (White) Reynolds. He was a longtime resident of Vicksburg before moving to his dream home at Shelp Lake in Delton. Joe served in the National Guard with the 126th Infantry as a combat engineer and sharpshooter from 1955-1958. He retired from the Upjohn Company and then worked for the Kalamazoo Greater Auto Auction. He also ran his own janitor business. He earned seven varsity letters from Portage High School in football, baseball, basketball, and track. He also held the school record for running the mile. Joe graduated from Portage High School in 1951. He managed Vicksburg Merchants Men’s Fastpitch softball team and the Vicksburg Fastpitch Tournament and was known as “Coach Grandpa” within Vicksburg Little League. Joe played on various softball teams well into his 80s and won back-to-back gold medals in the Senior Softball USA Tournament of Champions in 2016 and 2017. He enjoyed camping, fishing, kayaking, cards and cribbage, his grandkids, being silly, and propagating flowers that he snuck out of other people’s yards. Joe also enjoyed orioles and hummingbirds and loved spending time with his family and at his winter home in Naples, Fla. On June 27, 1953, he married the love of his life, Dorothy J. (Marble) Reynolds. She preceded him in death on July 3, 2013. He was also preceded in death by his son, Timm E. Reynolds; brothers Lawrence, William and John and sisters Lila, Larene and Lyleen. Joe is survived by his children, Joseph (Joy Herson) Reynolds, Todd (Jody Sukup) Reynolds, Diana (Craig) O’Dell, Jennie (Rick) Holmes and Sean Reynolds; 11 grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; his dear friend and companion, Marlene Warren and numerous nieces and nephews. Donations may go to Southwest Michigan Miracle League. Visit his page at joldersma-klein.com.
David Rhoda, 81, Schoolcraft, passed away peacefully at home May 11, under the care and love of his children and grandchildren. David was born in Schoolcraft on May 6, 1939, the son of the late Lawrence and Flora (Bingham) Rhoda. After graduating from Schoolcraft High School, he proudly served his country as private first class in the Marines Corps until being honorably discharged in 1960. He returned to make Schoolcraft his home and was always proud of his community. David had a kind heart and was always generous. He loved delivering his homemade salsa and pickles to friends, neighbors, family and his doctors and nurses. David had a wonderful smile and personality which made him a joy to know. Nothing made him happier than when his children and grandchildren would visit. He especially loved taking his grandchildren fishing and on John Deere “Gator” rides down the trails and back roads. He is survived by his children, Dennis (Karen) Rhoda, Don (Lorri) Rhoda, Larry (Missie) Rhoda, Steve (Tammy) Rhoda, Kim (Jim) Hamilton; grandchildren Trevor, Alyssa, Adam, Kyler, Macayla, Gabe, Halie, Trae, Jadyn, Bailee, Gavin and Olivia; siblings John Rhoda, Albert Rhoda, Nancy Fellner, Ruth (Larry) Cowan; and Gayla Sager, a very special friend and companion with whom he spent the last 10 years. Due to the current health crisis, a celebration of his life will be held at a later date. Donations may go to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan, c/o the funeral home. Visit his page at joldersma-klein.com.
Nancy Louise Roelof, 79, Portage passed away peacefully in her home with family by her side on Tuesday, May 12. Nancy was born on October 22, 1940 in Smithers, W.Va. to Troy and Violet (Feathers) Brown. On August 11, 1967, Nancy married Henry “Hank” Roelof Jr. in Parchment. He preceded her in death on November 21, 1995. She was also preceded in death by both of her parents, her sister Alice (Harley) Gettig, and her brothers, Johnnie, Arnold and (Troy) “Junior”. Nancy is survived by her children, Jerry (Shoni) Harris of Portage, Mike (Margaret) Harris of Comstock and Deborah (Morris) Giddings of Vicksburg; 11 grandchildren; 17 great grandchildren; three of her four sisters, Carolyn (Curly) Turrentine, Linda (Joe) Cronk, and Pamela (Danny) Long; two of her five brothers, Mike(Colleen) Brown and Billy (Rosita) Brown; and her best friend, Martha (David) Pride. Nancy has been cremated. A celebration of her Life will be held at a later date. While at Nancy’s webpage at http://www.mccowensecord.com, please take time to sign her guestbook by lighting a candle and sharing a memory with the family. Nancy’s family is being cared for by the McCowen & Secord Funeral Home, Rupert-Durham Chapel, Vicksburg.