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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Linda Susan Ailes, Schoolcraft, passed away at her home October 21. She was born April 18, 1960 in Kalamazoo, the daughter of Carl and Joanne (Engle) Wisner, and had been a lifelong area resident. On July 26, 1980, Linda married Ryan B. Ailes, who survives. Also surviving are her children, April Ailes, Jason (Nicole) Ailes and Stephen (Jamie) Ailes; grandchildren Dylan, Morgan, Jalynn, Liam, Davis, Esmae and Marley; parents Carl and Joanne Wisner, mother-in-law Marylou Ailes; sisters Karen (David) Booth, Teresa (Greg) Dragoo and Beth (Arthur) Agletingler; and several nieces and nephews. Donations may go to or in Linda’s name. Visit Linda’s page at

Cheryl Ann (Mandly) Barker, 75, Vicksburg, passed away October 12. Cheryl was born in Gary, Ind. on June 6, 1944, the daughter of Antone and Christina (Engle) Mandly-Berg. Cheryl’s father passed away when she was two years old. Her mother married Fredrick John Berg, who truly became her father. While in nursing school, Cheryl would meet the love of her life, William Charles Barker, on a blind date. They married August 20, 1966, then moved to Michigan, where they created their life together on Barton Lake. Cheryl received her degree in nursing from Illinois-Masonic Hospital, Chicago. She began her career as a registered nurse and worked in pediatrics at Cook County Hospital. Cheryl would continue her nursing career for over 50 years, which included working at Bronson Hospital and Heartland Healthcare Center. She was a proud member of the American Legion Auxiliary #261 Cedar Lake Indiana. Cheryl enjoyed cooking, gardening, antiquing, but most of all Cheryl loved being on the lake. She could be found enjoying the sunshine, boating, fishing, water skiing and entertaining. Her love for the lake taught her adored children, grandchildren, foster grandchildren, and great grandchildren to love the lake life as well. She was preceded in passing by her parents, her husband Bill, and one daughter, Sandra Barker. Surviving to cherish her loving memory are a son, William John Barker, daughter Cheryl Lou Moore, both of Vicksburg; sisters Luana (David) Klaas, Ruth(Randy) Deweese, Annette (Terry) DeVries, and Verna (Robert) Carr, a brother, John (Tana) Berg; grandchildren Courtney, Mitchell and Isaiah Moore, William and Anna Barker, Jessica Johnson, and Latorya Smith, nine great grandchildren and a host of other relatives and friends. Donations may go to American Legion Auxiliary #261. Envelopes available at Hohner Funeral Home in care of arrangements. Online condolences may be shared at

William Thomas “Bill” Bush, 79, died from complications of pancreatic and liver cancer October 4. Born and raised in Schoolcraft, the son of William Michael Bush and Ella Jane Wright, he was a long-time resident of Redding, Calif. Bill worked as a farmer and then as a mechanic on agricultural equipment. Bill basically loved anything with a motor and could fix anything. He leaves his wife of 35 years, Eileen Bush of Redding; children Tom Bush and wife Debra of Schoolcraft; Cheryl Crawford and husband Billy of Ashland, Ore.; and, AJ Gigliotti and wife Ali of Shasta Lake City, Calif.; grandchildren Brittany Hetrick of Schoolcraft, Jesse Gigliotti of Redding, Tucker Gigliotti of Shasta Lake City, and Cassidy Gigliotti of Shasta Lake City; great-grandchildren Tristan, Bryce, Jackson, Audrey, and Kennedy; and brothers, David Bush of Battle Creek and Richard Bush of Goshen, Ind. He was preceded in death by his sisters, Alma and Judy, and a brother, Walter. Donations may go to the National Pancreatic Cancer Foundation at

Arthur (Corky) Clayton Emrick Jr., 61, Florence Township, Constantine, died Aug. 19 of natural causes. He was born March 2, 1958, in Vicksburg, the son of Arthur Clayton and Ida Mae (Parsons) Emrick Sr. He had been a Constantine resident since 1995, coming from Vicksburg. He was employed for more than 20 years by the Sturgis Journal as a photographer, journalist and sports editor. He was a recipient of numerous Associated Press, Michigan Press Association and Gatehouse Media “Best of Gatehouse” awards. He was synonymous with prep sporting events in St. Joseph County, spending much of his time on the sidelines and interacting with coaches and student-athletes. He also embraced his role as a news reporter for the Journal, serving on the police, fire and courts beat. Prior to working at the Journal, he was a dispatcher and police cadet for Kalamazoo Township, involved with local fire departments, police and dive rescue. He was a fan and shareholder with the Green Bay Packers, enjoyed his dogs and cooking. On Dec. 16, 1995, he married Susan Kay Walters in Constantine. She survives, along with his parents, Arthur C. and Ida M. Emrick Sr.; his children, Arthur Clayton Emrick III, Tyler John Emrick and Emilee Brianne (Jeremy) Leech; stepchildren Amanda Walters, Nathan (Carolina) Walters, Matthew Walters and Mark (Kelly) Walters; two grandchildren and a step-grandchild. Donations may go to the athletic department of a school of the donor’s choice.

Penny Gail Esman, 67, Vicksburg, passed away October 15. Penny was born on February 14, 1952 in Indianapolis, Ind. She was the daughter of Preston Hubert and Edna (Sumerville) Lard. She graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School and attended classes at Kalamazoo Valley Community College. On January 24, 1981, she married the love of her life, Harm Esman, Sr. She was a CNA that worked at Friendship Village and various other places over the years. She is described by her family as awesome, sassy, loving, strong-willed, beautiful, silly and sometimes a little goofy. Her greatest gift besides for her love for her family was helping others. She was a very selfless person who brightened the lives of those she touched. She was preceded in death by her parents and her sister, Esther Lard. She is survived by her husband of 38 years, Harm Esman Sr; her children, Delbert “Bud” James (Aimee Labrec) Gunnett, of Athens; Jeremiah Lee (Shannon) Gunnett, of Kalamazoo; Jedediah Jack (Crystle) Gunnett Sr, of Grand Junction; Harm Esman Jr, of Kalamazoo; Jessica Ann (Michael) Lopez, of Vicksburg; and Jennifer (James) Boren, of Vicksburg. She is also survived by her 20 grandchildren, Tristen, Cammi, James, Stephanie, Kaitlyn, Jeremiah Jr, Cherrish, Jedediah, Brittany, Harm III, Christian, Briana, Autumn, Cordell, Savannah, Justine, Zack, Audrey, Alexis, and Chelsea; great grandchildren Madalynn and Harper; a brother, Preston “Corky” Lard Jr, of Kalamazoo. Penny will be cremated and the family will have a Celebration of Life Service at a later date. Visit Penny’s page at

Thomas A. Krill, 67, Schoolcraft, passed away on the weekend of September 27. He was born September 22, 1952 in Kalamazoo to Frederick and Doris (Haas) Krill. Tom was a 1971 graduate of Loy Norrix High School and a resident of the Kalamazoo area all his life. He was the proud owner of the Krill’s Korner party store, located in the Edison neighborhood, for over 30 years. Tom enjoyed golfing, fishing, cooking, travelling, playing poker and was an avid coin collector. He was a loving father, grandfather, brother, and uncle who enjoyed spending time with close friends and family. Tom is survived by a son, Casey Krill; grandchildren Madison Krill and Oliver Krill; brothers Frederick (Cindy) Krill, Charles (Cindy) Krill, Phillip (Sue) Krill, Joseph (Robyn) Krill, James Krill; and sisters Janet (James) Carter and Joyce Jarmen. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Donald Krill. Per his wishes, cremation will take place and funeral and burial services will be determined at a later date. Visit Thomas’ webpage at

Jesse E. Rochholz, Jr., 81, Schoolcraft, peacefully passed away at home October 18 after a battle with Lewy body dementia. He was the son of Jesse E. Rochholz, Sr. and Virginia (Burson) Rochholz. He moved from Mattawan to Schoolcraft in 1948 and graduated from Schoolcraft High School in 1957. He was married to Sandra Rochholz for 60 years. He was an accountant in the agricultural business for 29 years. Both he and his wife retired on August 31, 2002. He enjoyed spending time with his family, making model cars, auto racing, and Tiger baseball. Surviving are his wife, Sandra Roccholz, sons Michael (Brenda) Rochholz, of Schoolcraft and Jesse E. Leroy “Roy” (Rosie) Rochholz III of Schoolcraft, daughters Paula (Robert) Beckman of Ohio and Dena (Stephen) Holman of Schoolcraft; grandchildren Stephen Rochholz, Sara Wright, Nicole Enzweiler, Jessica Wynne, Holly Smith, Michael Geesaman, and Brad Geesaman and 10 great grandchildren. He is also survived by sisters Janet Pratt and Judy Molenaar, as well as several nieces, nephews and cousins. He was preceded in death by his grandson, Paul Beckman. Visit Jesse’s page at Donations may go to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.

William “Bill” Slater Jr., 84, Vicksburg, passed away peacefully surrounded by family October 25. Bill was born to William and Emma Slater on September 9, 1935. Bill is survived by his significant other, Joyce Beckner; his daughter, Sue Gonser (Mike Colasanti); grandchildren Steven Quada (Kayla Imler), Paul (Karen) Quada, Joshua Slater (Angel Nocis), Lindsey (Bret) Borock, and Brittany (Shaun) Rutgers; a daughter in law, Michele Slater, as well as several siblings. Bill was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Ellen (Brooks) Slater; and son, Steve Slater. Visit Bill’s page at

Gordon Lou Sutton, of Schoolcraft, passed away September 21, at the age of 72. Gordon was born on September 11, 1947 in Kalamazoo. He was the son of Garlef and Beryl (Prosser) Sutton. Gordon graduated from Mattawan High School in June 1966. He then joined the Army in November, 1966 and served through November, 1969. He was preceded in death by his parents, Garlef and Beryl Sutton, and his brother, Lloyd Sutton. He was survived by his sons, Scott (Shawn) Sutton and Gary (LeAnne) Sutton. He is also survived by his sister, Sondra (James) Shilling. Visit Gordon’s page at

Gregory John Visel, 32, Schoolcraft, died October 10. Greg was born September 30, 1987 in Kalamazoo, the son of Barry and Nancy (Schneidt) Visel. Known as one who loved giving hugs, Greg made friends with everyone he met and was especially fond of and thankful for those he met through his Circle of Friends social group. He enjoyed the latest technology, calling or FaceTiming people regularly just to chat. He particularly loved competing in the Special Olympics in several sports including bowling, track, basketball, soccer, and others. Greg was preceded in death by his mother, Nancy. Surviving are his father, Barry; brothers Ben (Trisha) Visel and Pete Visel; and nephews and nieces Jake, Joe, Addie, and Lexi. Cremation has taken place to be followed by private burial. Visit Greg’s page at Donations may go to Special Olympics Area 16.

Josephine “Jo” Weems, 76, Schoolcraft, died September 26. She was born on June 4, 1943 in New Jersey. In 1984, Jo and her husband, Connie, moved to Michigan, where they settled in Schoolcraft. She spent years working for Ernst and Young and Lane Bryant, which meant she had an amazing wardrobe. Jo only bought the clothes they sold, changing her wardrobe every time they came out with a new line since she told her husband this was required by the company! As a result, Jo had three full closets of clothes and endless boxes of shoes. In 2012, Jo was deeply saddened with the death of her beloved husband, but she did her best to not let it slow her down. She joined the Kalamazoo Area Newcomers Club and Sit and Stitch where she gained many new friendships. Jo’s family includes her two children, Scott Weems and Chris (Cheri) Weems; grandchildren Jake and Allison Weems, and a brother, Peter (Pat) LaPlaca. Visit Jo’s page at Donations may go to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.

Frances Marie Weinberg, 96, of rural Three Rivers, died Oct. 1 following a brief illness. She was born in Plainwell on Nov. 17, 1922, the youngest of seven children born to Dwight and Edith (Eley) Marker. She was married to Rex Hamilton Weinberg on Aug. 16, 1941 in Kalamazoo. Together they operated a farm north of Mendon, owned a dry cleaning and laundry service in Kalamazoo’s Oakwood Plaza, and ran the John Deere dealership in Vicksburg. They were members of the Farm Bureau, working the St. Joseph County Fair booth and ushering for many years in the grandstand. They wintered in Florida every year beginning in 1962. She was an active member of the West Mendon Community Church for 70 years. Frances enjoyed yardwork and gardening, playing dominoes and bingo with friends, and especially loved time with her family. She was eager to share words of wisdom and advice with her family, and she took great pride in things being, neat, clean and well organized. Frances is survived by her son and daughter in law, Ron and Pat Weinberg of Mendon; grandchildren Troy (Sandra) Weinberg, Sheli (Mark) Daniels, Jeff (Elizabeth) Jergens, Robin (Mark) Parks, and Tim (Tonya) Jergens; 20 great-grandchildren; eight great-great-grandchildren; and a son in law, Pat (Judy) Jergens. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Rex, in 2010; and her daughter, Carolyn Jergens, in 2006. Donations may go to the West Mendon Community Church. Visit her page at

Milford “Mel” Weinberg, 84, Scotts, passed away September 30. Mel was born on April 6, 1935 at home in Brady Township to Harold A. and Mary K. (Waltz) Weinberg. He moved to his current home and farm in 1937 and grew up attending Pavilion #4 country school and enjoyed the many class reunions in his later years. He graduated from Vicksburg High School in 1953. He then attended Western Michigan University before entering the Army in 1958. He served for two years in Germany. On October 9, 1965, he married the love of his life, Joanna (Haefner) Weinberg. Together, they raised three children on that same farm which today is operated and managed by his son, Todd. Mel was a “people person” and had a natural love for farming, the farm community, his family and his church connections. He was a member of Lakeland Reformed Church for over 40 years and the Latecomers Farm Bureau Group of Kalamazoo County. His home farm was where he loved to be. Family vacations were usually short as he was always ready to get back home until daughter Molly and family moved to Hawaii where he didn’t mind a few extra days. In October of 2015, the three kids held a surprise 50th wedding anniversary that Mel and Jo very much appreciated. In later years, overcoming health issues began to take their toll, physically and mentally. But he always looked forward to the kids and grandkids coming home through the summer months. Mel leaves his wife of 54 years, Jo; children Molly (Weinberg) Schake, of Mililani, Hawaii; Todd H. Weinberg, of Scotts and Chad R. Weinberg, of Alexandria, Va., a son-in-law Mark Schake, and daughter-in-law Therra (Ebwe) Weinberg; grandchildren Emily Schake, Wendy (Schake), Daniel Lyons, Nathan Schake, Brooke Schake, Ryna Weinberg, Corban Weinberg, and Phoebe Weinberg. He was preceded in death by his sister, Ellie (Weinberg) Fitzgerald, and brother, Stanley Weinberg. Visit Mel’s page at


Harriet L. “Pat” Bacon, 87, Fulton, died Sept. 20, at Bronson Battle Creek Hospital. She was born in Fulton on March 25, 1932, one of 10 children born to Jonathin D. and Effie May ((Huffman) Parsons. She attended Fulton Elementary School. She was married to Donald W. Bacon on June 25, 1949 in Hastings. Donald died in 2001. Pat had been employed as a nurse’s aide at the Kalamazoo County Rest Home and the Alamo Nursing Home. She enjoyed cooking for her family and appreciated all kinds of music. Pat is survived by four children, Robin (Richard) Lafler of Fulton, Cookie Gettys of Kalamazoo, David (Kristine) Bacon of Colon, and Lori Coville of Vicksburg; 20 grandchildren, 33 great-grandchildren; and several great-great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Donald Bacon; son, Russell Bacon; daughter, Carol Terry; sons in law Thomas Gettys, Lee Coville, Sr, and J.C. Terry; and by siblings Sylvia Woodell, Mary Dubbeld, Addie Mason, Margaret Shook, Paul, George, Bill, John, and Chauncy Parsons. Donations may go to the family. Memories and condolences may be shared at

Mary Catherine Brandt Beebe, was born to Rufus Lewis and Tena Anna (Roberts) Brandt in Ohio City, Ohio on June 14, 1944. She married Ronald Edward Beebe, better known as Gus, on November 20, 1965 in Vicksburg. Together they raised 12 children and fostered around 25 children. Aunt Mary was the name that she was often called not only by nieces and nephews, but by daycare kids as well. She also hosted five-day clubs and invited neighbor kids as well. She gave out several candy bars for scripture memorization. She even gave rides to many kids for church. Mary passed away on September 4, after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s. Mary Beebe was preceded in death by her parents, Rufus and Anna Brandt, a granddaughter, Destiny Beebe, and eight siblings. She is survived by her husband, Gus Beebe, children Tena (Rod) Bartholomew of Belding, Mich., Ron Beebe Jr. of Vicksburg, Michelle Perez of Port Huron, Mich., Patty (Randy) Graham of Almont, Mich., Don (Kyeong) Beebe of Kalamazoo, Tom(Jenny) Beebe of Palatine, Ill., Ralph(Tammy) Beebe of Mendon, Sherri(Jeremiah) Coe of Portage, Veronica Mickaels of Kalamazoo, Dawn, Howard, and Amber, 20 grandchildren, one great grandchild, siblings Martha Pride of Scotts, Don (Lovina) Brandt of Geneva, Ind., and Charles (Joyce) Brandt of Sarasota, Fla., many nieces and nephews and even more great nieces and great nephews. Donations may go to Kalamazoo Gospel Mission. Memories may be shared with the family at

Guy Jay Bowen, 63, Marcellus, formerly of Schoolcraft, passed away September 7. Guy was born on October 25, 1955 in Sturgis, Mich. He was the son of Charles and Shirley (Bawden) Bowen. Guy graduated from Schoolcraft High School in 1974. He owned and operated Guy Bowen Plumbing and Repair and was a member of Local 357, Plumber’s and Pipefitter’s Union. His family described him as a funny, hardworking, generous, kindhearted, gentle but tough-when-needed kind of guy. He is preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his three children, Scott (Lana) Bowen of Marcellus, Amy (Joshua) Wright of Mattawan and Laura (Zachary) Nizen of Paw Paw; grandchildren Brynn, Tucker, Olivia, Oliver, Ally and Milo. He is also survived by his sisters, Connie Dozeman, June Morand, and Sherry Dorko, all of Schoolcraft; step-brothers Jim, Dan and Mike Struble, all of Ohio. Visit Guy’s page at Donations may go to the SPCA.

Larry Couch, 70, Dayton, Ohio, passed away September 14. Larry was born March 17, 1949 in Hazard, Kentucky, the son of John and Jane (Wooten) Couch. He will be remembered for his outgoing personality, the huge smile he shared with everyone he met and for being one of the funniest people you’d ever meet. Larry is survived by daughters Joddie (Toby) Neusbaum, of Vicksburg, Jamie Alleshouse, of Vicksburg, and Joni (Chad) Gervers, of Rapid City; grandsons Kaleb and Jared Neusbaum and Logan Alleshouse; great grandchildren Emma Jo and Jace Neusbaum. He is also survived by his mother, Jane Couch of Dayton; a sister, Donna (Freddie) Phibbs of Dayton, and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father, John Couch, and his little brother, Butch Couch. Larry has been cremated and a celebration will be held at a later date. Visit Larry’s page at

Scott Allan DeYoung, 52, Vicksburg, died Sept. 17, at Rose Arbor Hospice following a long illness. He was born in Kalamazoo on Dec. 10, 1966, the son of Frederick and Eleanor Mae (Copenhafer) DeYoung. He graduated from Vicksburg High School in 1984 and furthered his studies at Career Quest in Kalamazoo. He was a machinist by trade and worked at X-L Machine of Three Rivers for 10 years and briefly at Stryker Corporation until his health forced him to retire. Scott had a life-long love of camping. He enjoyed yardwork, computer games, watching all sports, and fixing and repairing things. He especially looked forward to family reunions. Scott is survived by his mother, Eleanor Cooley; his father, Frederick DeYoung; children Chelsea (Nickolas DeRyke) DeYoung of Schoolcraft and Michael (Melanie Morello) DeYoung of Grand Rapids; granddaughters Emarie, Nora, and Daisy; three brothers and two sisters. He was preceded in death by his stepfather, Richard Cooley; a sister, Kay Katie DeYoung; paternal grandparents Harm and Arlene DeYoung; maternal grandparents Westley and Louisa Copenhafer. Donations may go to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at

Carol J. Ennis, Schoolcraft, passed away September 17. Carol was born July 11, 1947 in Kalamazoo, the daughter of John and Trena (Kiel) VanderRoest. She worked for several years as the office manager of Stannard’s Music. Carol was an active and faithful member of Prairie Edge Christian Reformed Church and was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She enjoyed attending her children’s and grandchildren’s sporting events and many other times with family and friends. On April 15, 1966, she was united in marriage to Glenn Ennis Jr., her loving husband of over 50 years, who survives. Also surviving are her daughters, Lisa (Jim) Goble, Dawn (Jeff) Jackson, Kim (Michael) Crampton; grandchildren Austin (Lauren) Jackson, Alyssa Jackson, Josiah and Lydia Goble, Sadie Crampton; great grandson Ellis Jackson; sister-in-law, Brenda VanderRoest; sister and brother, Marcia (Rick) VanDyke and Tom (Char) VanderRoest; and several nieces and nephews. Carol was preceded in death by her parents; and a brother, Jim VanderRoest. Donations may go to the Alzheimer’s Association, Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan, or Prairie Edge Christian Reformed Church. Visit Carol’s page at

Eileen Margaret Goldberg, 95, Vicksburg, passed away September 18 at The Laurels of Galesburg. Eileen was born on September 3, 1924 in Roseville, Mich. She was the oldest of five children of Eddie and Martha Marshall. She met Harry Goldberg at Peniel Bible Institute in Stanton, Ky. In March, 1950 they eloped in marriage. In 1952 they settled in Vicksburg, where Eileen enjoyed being a homemaker, sewing dresses for her daughters and making meals from scratch. Eileen was preceded in death by all her siblings, and a daughter, Sandra Lynn Wirth, in May, 1982, and, more recently, her husband Harry Goldberg in April, 2017. She is survived by a daughter, Marjorie Ann (Mark) Newhouse, of Augusta; a son, Paul William (Kitti) Goldberg, of Vicksburg; five grandchildren and eight great grandchildren. The family will be having a private graveside service at Fort Custer National Cemetery. Visit Eileen’s page at Donations may go to the Southern Care Hospice.

Thomas B. Holt, 68, Athens, passed away September 18. Tom was born to Theodore and Bernice (Weimer) Holt on February 5, 1951. He was a 1969 graduate of Vicksburg High School. After high school he served his country in the United States Army and was a Vietnam veteran. He is described by his family as a gentle, very tender hearted and giving. In his spare time he enjoyed watching television and caring for his cats. Tom is survived by his sister, Marilyn (David) Baird, of Fulton; nine nieces and nephews and several grand nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his brothers, Donald and Theodore Holt; and his grandniece, Megan Holt. A graveside service to bury Tom’s ashes will be held on Saturday, October 12, at 11 a.m. at the North Fulton Cemetery. Tom will be buried with military honors. On Tom’s webpage at, sign his guestbook and share a memory with the family. Those who wish may make memorial contributions to the Disabled American Veteran’s (D.A.V). The family is being assisted by the McCowen & Secord Funeral Home, Rupert-Durham Chapel.

Jacqueline “Jackie” E. Hunt, 86, Vicksburg, passed away September 6. Jacqueline Elaine Ringler was born in Kalamazoo on June 20, 1933 to Rose and Harold Ringler. She married Douglas R. Hunt after knowing him for only two weeks. They were married almost 50 years. She worked as a visiting nurse for many years. She was preceded in death by her husband, Doug; son, Dougie; sisters Joanne Powell and Barb Kuilema. Surviving are her children, Deb (Larry Britten); Jill Siljander; Steve (Diane) Hunt and Greg (Laura) Hunt, 14 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her brothers, Jim (Sandy) Ringler and Terry Ringler. She will be remembered for her love of animals, fishing and her humor. The family had a memorial gathering on Thursday, September 12, at the McCowen & Secord Funeral Home, Rupert-Durham Chapel, Vicksburg. Please visit Jackie’s webpage at where you can read her obituary, sign the guestbook, and share a memory. In lieu of flowers, those who wish may make contributions to the Ronald McDonald House.

Terry Lee McMillan, 69, Schoolcraft, passed away September 2. Terry was born on January 22, 1950 in Three Rivers. He was the son of Charles and Pheobe (Welcher) McMillan. He graduated from Schoolcraft High School in 1969. Terry is described as an outdoorsman who was one with nature, lived life to the fullest and didn’t worry about tomorrow. Terry is survived by his wife, Marsha; stepsons Robert (Wendy) Lash, of Three Rivers and Nathan (Kelli) Lash, of White Pigeon; and seven grandchildren. He is also survived by brothers David McMillan, of Schoolcraft; Dale (Bobbi Jo) McMIllan, of Schoolcraft; and Tracy (Schelle) McMillan, of Schoolcraft and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his brother, Dennis McMillan. Terry has been cremated and a memorial gathering will be held for Terry at a later date. Visit Terry’s page at Donations may go to the Southwest Michigan Coonhunters Organization: 306 E. Edgar Bergen Blvd, Decatur, MI 49045.

Anna L. Merriam, 80, Vicksburg, died under hospice care at her sister’s home September 11. She was born December 20, 1938, in Kalamazoo, the daughter of Claude Hoogakker and Fannie Ruth (Goble) Burr. Ann graduated from high school in Portage. On January 10, 1959, Ann was married to Allen E. Merriam. For over 45 years, she was a devoted member of the Chapman Memorial Church of the Nazarene, where she assisted in the office and the nursery. Ann enjoyed photography, painting, reading and word searches. Her family includes her children, Gail (Robert) Feister, Terry (Dorothy “Jake”) Merriam, and Jerry (Marie) Merriam; her daughter-in-law, Marcia Merriam; her nine grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren; sisters Bonnie (Jim) Nelson and Nona Tucker; step-sister Kathy and several nieces and nephews. Ann was preceded in death by her husband, Allen; her son, Jody Merriam; and her sister, Claudia Hill. The family suggests memorials be directed to Chapman Memorial Church of the Nazarene. Visit Ann’s page at

Caryl Jeanne Miller, 80, Schoolcraft, passed away September 27. Caryl was born on March 26, 1939 in Three Rivers. She was the daughter of Ralph and Louise (Swem) Lillie. She was a graduate of Three Rivers High School and a member of the Class of 1957. On September 5, 1959 at Three Rivers Bible Church she married Jacob “Jake” Miller. Caryl’s family describes her as creative, kind, giving, loved people and selfless. Her hobbies included knitting, crocheting, card making, and china painting. She was a great cook who loved trying new recipes and was an avid reader. She was a member of Three Rivers Bible Church. Caryl is survived by her husband of 60 years, Jacob “Jake”; children Lynette (Tim) Wolthuis, of Vicksburg and Mark (Mary) Miller, of Kentwood; grandchildren Philip (Alicia) Miller, of Hudsonville; Holly Miller, of China; Amy Miller, of Kentwood; and Levi Miller, of Kentucky; a great granddaughter, Sidney Miller. She was preceded in death by her son, Matthew in 1995. A memorial service will be held at a later date. Visit Caryl’s page at Donations may go to Southern Care Hospice.

Evelyn M. Watson, 89, Scotts, passed away September 17. She was born to Charles and Mildred (Blackburn) Davis on December 17, 1929. She married Joseph Wrather right out of high school. A daughter, Connie, was born in 1953 and, unfortunately, Joe died later that same year. She later married Richard Watson and they moved to Michigan from Indiana. Evelyn’s career as an RN was celebrated when she retired from Bronson Hospital after 17 years of service. In retirement, as her own health became more challenging, Evelyn was fortunate to welcome her special caregiver into her life. Not only did Deborah Morphew afford Evelyn quality care, the two quickly became both friends and family. Evelyn was a devoted member of the Scotts United Methodist Church and was a Sunday school teacher for many years. Evelyn was preceded in death by her husbands, son Richard James “Jim” Watson; and siblings Mable Jones, Raymond Vetor and Pat Slagele. She is survived by her children, Connie Decker of Vicksburg, Phyllis Smith of Vicksburg, John (Diane) Watson of California, Dennis (Laura) Watson, of Kalamazoo; numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her special caregiver and friend, Deborah Morphew, of Vicksburg. Visit Evelyn’s page at Donations may go to the Scotts United Methodist Church or Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.

William Francis West, 92, of rural Vicksburg, died Sept. 13, at his home. He was born in Olney, Ill. on Dec. 13, 1926 the son of Harley and Mattie (Delzell) West. After graduation from Athens High School, he worked at the Oliver Plant in Battle Creek and for Wolf’s Feed and Grain in Athens. For many years he worked at Hydreco of Galesburg, and after retirement worked at the Felpausch Grocery in Vicksburg. Francis had been a member of the Wakeshma Community Church, the Chapman Memorial Church of the Nazarene, and West Leroy Bible Church. He was always busy, raising cows and sheep, fixing and repairing equipment, and collecting antiques. He was a representative for Dekalb Seed Corn, and enjoyed photography. Francis was married to Margaret A. Loker on June 22, 1947. She survives along with their children, Linda (Lee) Crotser of Scotts, Mary Lou (Sal) Cali of Sturgis, Diane Blain of Portage, and Alan F. West of Sherwood; 10 grandchildren; 20 great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren; a brother, Clifford (Sue) West of East LeRoy; nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers Eugene and Charles West; and a sister, Coyla Dornton. Donations may go to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan, 222 N. Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo, MI 49007. Condolences may be expressed to the family at

Charles Lowell Woodhams, 69, passed away at his home in Cottonwood, Ariz. September 6 after a brief illness. He was born to Francis and Bessie (Lemon) Woodhams on August 6, 1950 on his parents’ 20th wedding anniversary. He graduated from Schoolcraft High School, attended KVCC, joined the Navy and served in Vietnam. He is survived by his wife of 31 years, Marcelle “Bobbi,” and his son, Steven. His living siblings are Marjorie Rowden McCauley, Mary Ritter, Elizabeth Shearer, Joyce (Kenneth) Hamming, James (Margaret) Woodhams, Linda (Daniel) Garrett. He was preceded in death by his parents, sister Beverly and nephew P. John Hamming. Charles has 18 nieces & nephews and 28 great nieces and nephews. Donations in his memory may be made to a favorite charity.

Jerry Yoder, 79, Vicksburg, passed away September 18. Jerry was born on December 8, 1939 in Burne, Ind., the son of Aaron and Fern (Young) Yoder. He was a 1968 Vicksburg High School graduate. He married Rosemarie Powers on February 6, 1959. Jerry worked until his retirement at Kalamazoo Stamping & Die. He was outgoing, giving, and observant. Jerry was preceded in death by his son, Thomas Yoder and brother, Jacob “Lee” Yoder. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Rosemarie; children Bob (Vicki) Yoder, of Vicksburg; Barb “Babs” (Mark) Forward, of Galesburg, Patrick (Angela) Yoder, of Tennessee; five grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren. He is also survived by a step-brother, Kyle Taylor, of Portage and several nieces and nephews. Visit Jerry’s page at Donations may go to the American Heart Association or West Michigan Cancer Center.


Janice “Jan” Applebey, Vicksburg, passed away peacefully August 10. She was known as “Mom”, “Sis”, “Jan”, “Auntie Jan”, “Granny” and “Apple” to all who loved her. Jan was born January 18, 1940 to Stanley Hattis and Helena Shlagor in Kalamazoo. Jan is the proud mother of two children, Kerenda Applebey and Ron (Kim) Applebey; grandmother to Jynell (Clint) Tackett, Nick (Ashley) Ruggles and Martez (Jessica) White; and great grandmother to Melody Tackett, Brooklyn Tackett and Rylee Ballard. Jan is also sister to Althea Smith of Florida, Yona Reed of Florida, Stanley (Wanda) Hattis Jr. of Minnesota, Ronald Hattis of Michigan, and Larry (Ruth) Hattis of Alabama. She also leaves behind many nieces and nephews. Jan was preceded in death by her parents and her husband, Meredith “Jay” Applebey. Jan worked as a packer at Stewart-Sutherland Bag Company for 20-plus years. She enjoyed gardening, and driving around with her best friend looking for wildlife. She enjoyed sewing, painting, and knitting and crocheting. She played cards or dice almost every day. Visit her page at Donations may go to Rose Arbor Hospice.

William “Bill” Berner, Vicksburg, 77, passed away at Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo. Bill was born April 8th, 1942 the son of William and Donna (Stratton) Berner. He was a Vicksburg resident for over 40 years. Bill is survived by his wife of 37 years, Vicki (Babbitt), his son Jeffrey Berner, his daughter Jodi (Briant) Daniel, grandchildren Benjamin (Alyssa) Berner, Jason (Emily) Wyman, and Nichole (Brian) Vane, as well as seven great-grandchildren. Bill’s life was dedicated to his wife and family. He was loving, funny, intelligent, generous, kind, accepting, and often a bit mischievous. His family was his pride and joy. In accordance with Bill’s wishes, cremation has taken place. Donations may go to the West Michigan Cancer Center. Visit his page at

June Bobish, 103, Schoolcraft, passed away June 19. June was one of four children, including her sister Margaret and brothers Forrest and John. Until June’s passing, she was the oldest living graduate of Vicksburg High School. After graduation, June went to cosmetology school in Grand Rapids. Upon graduation, she returned to Vicksburg to open her own beauty shop on Main Street. The Beauty Shop was open for 58 years. June married Tony Bobish at the age of 39. They were married 60 years before Tony passed away at the age of 106 years old in 2015. They lived together in the home Tony built until relocating to Gaylord. June turned 103 on June 18 of this year. She is survived by many nieces and nephews who loved her dearly. Visit her page at Donations may go to Hospice of Michigan. The family is being assisted by the McCowen & Secord Funeral Home, Rupert-Durham Chapel, Vicksburg.

Dennis (“Louie”) Layne Eberstein, 62, Schoolcraft, passed away July 30. He was born July 17, 1957 in Vicksburg to the late Robert and Barbara (Kline) Eberstein. Louie graduated from Schoolcraft High School, and after a year in California, returned home to Schoolcraft. Louie spent his time building a dedicated circle of friends and helping out those close to him. He also enjoyed riding his motorcycle, especially in the mountains of West Virginia. Marrying late in life, Louie adored and was dedicated and committed to his wife of 6 ½ years, Laura. Louie is survived by his wife, Laura Eberstein; and brother Mike (Jeanne) Eberstein. Following Louie’s wishes, he will be cremated and a celebration of life will be held at a later date. Donations may go to St. Jude Hospital for support of families and research; West Michigan cancer center to support research, or Schoolcraft’s Historical Society for operation and maintenance of the Underground Railroad House.

Bonnie Sue Gose, 83, East Leroy, passed away August 19. She was born on January 13, 1936 to Leonard and Grace (Williams) Davis. Cooking was a big part of Bonnie’s life; she was a wonderful cook. Nurturing was in Bonnie’s nature through her unconditional love. Bonnie is survived by her children, Rick (Vonda) Gose of Luther, Sandy (Ray) Smith of East Leroy, and Bob (Carol) Gose of Vicksburg; 13 grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her siblings, Peggy (Charles) Sams of Marcellus and Mike (Linda) Davis of Indiana. Bonnie was preceded in death by her husband, Dale; daughter, Sarah Blankenship; siblings Bill Davis, Tom Davis, Noami McGill and twin siblings that passed at birth. Visit her page at Donations may go to Alzheimer’s Research.

Irene Green, 92, Vicksburg, passed away August 19. Irene was born on October 4, 1926 to Delbert and Mary (Bush) Burr. Irene’s family includes her daughter, Janet Green (Robert Poats); her sister-in-law, Doris Burr, as well as several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband of 53 years, Merle, her son, Owen Green, siblings David, Pauline Miller, Merle and Stanley Burr. She was also preceded by a special companion of eight years, Ralph Ramlow. Irene started her working career as a truck driver for D&E Weiandt in 1958, becoming the first woman to join Teamsters Local No. 7. She retired in 1983 to travel in her Ford Model T’s. Those travels took her in 1984 from New York to Seattle on the 75th Anniversary Ford Rerun Tour and in 1987 from Texas to Alaska, a Model T adventure covering 10,500 miles. She was a member of the Model T Ford Club International, local chapter Tin Lizzie Travelers, Model T Ford Club of America and a member of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Three Rivers. Visit her page at Donations may go to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan or St. Peter’s Lutheran Church.

Joyce D. Green, 86, Vicksburg, went to be with her Lord August 13 at Park Village Pines, Kalamazoo. She was born May 27, 1933 to the late James Roelofs and Dena Holthouse. Joyce married Robert Green on June 16, 1951. Settling in Vicksburg, they were together for 65 years. Joyce was a librarian at the Vicksburg District Library, retiring in 1991 and a member of the Victorian Garden Club. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Robert; and her son, Michael James. Joyce is survived by her daughter, Cindy Hammond and her husband, Scott; son David Green and his wife, Amy; grandsons Jacob, Benjamin, and Noah; and numerous nieces, nephews, and friends. Donations may go to Generous Hands, Inc. or Lakeland Reformed Church.

Stuart Todd Hayner, passed from this earth July 2, embraced by family. Todd, born June 9, 1967 was curious over his entire life about the universe and metaphysics, keeping his parents, Clarence Hadley II and Rosemary Hadley, bewildered. Todd worked at Stewart Sutherland for years. It was during this time that he used his name, Stuart. Stuart owned and operated Selective Tree Service. He is survived by Judy Lee Hayner; his mother, Rosemary Hadley; his beautiful daughters, Brittany (Ryan) Bleeker and Emily Hayner; siblings Jason Hadley, Larry Davis, Leslie Gunderson, Kyle and James Hayner and Jennifer Bradley; stepchildren Jerry and Erica Root; grandsons Ryan and Eli Bleeker and JP Root; nieces and nephews, Alexis and Jaden Gunderson, Paige, Kyle, Lacey and Ella Hadley and Jake Davis. A potluck to celebrate his life and share memories will take place on Saturday September 21st at 3:00 PM at  906 Vicker Street, Vicksburg.

Robert “Bob” Hildebrand, 80, Vicksburg, passed away July 31. He was born to Rollin and Bessie Hildebrand on October 30, 1938. Bob attended Vicksburg schools and became a professional mason. He always had an impeccable yard that was the envy of the neighborhood. He built a pond in his backyard and spent a significant amount of time tending to his meticulous flowerbeds as well as cleaning the pond. Outside of his work, he was a professional fisherman, winning many tournaments over the past several years. Popular among the competitive fishing industry, he traveled the country to fish. Bob is survived by his wife of 61 years, Joyce; their son, Rick Hildebrand of Vicksburg; granddaughters Jodie (Chad) Ostertag of Portage and Jessica (Jim) Cutshaw of Vicksburg; great-grandchildren Kyllie Zeller, Jim Cutshaw, and Aaden Ostertag. He is also survived by siblings Ron (Marylou) Hildebrand of Vicksburg; Virginia Bogema of Schoolcraft; Ruth Fritz of Pennsylvania; and Margaret (Dick) Fifer of Scotts. He was preceded in death by his brother, Howard Hildebrand. Visit his page at Donations may go to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.

Bruce P. Loker, 89, Vicksburg, died Aug. 21, following a long illness. He was born in Fulton on March 21, 1930, the son of Perry C. and Marian (Vance) Loker. He graduated from Athens High School and served in the U.S. Army for two years as a military policeman. Bruce was married to Dolores Denny on Feb. 25, 1955. Together they raised their children and operated a dairy farm near Fulton. Bruce was a pilot and enjoyed flying his Cessna. He attended the Factoryville Bible Church. Bruce is survived by his wife, Dolores Loker; children Rodney (Roseann) Loker of Vicksburg, Raymond (Tracie) Loker of Fulton, Perry (Cheryl) Loker of Vicksburg, Penny (Matthew) Mills of Belton, Mo., and Dawn (Randy) Adams of Raymore, Mo.; 23 grandchildren; 41 great-grandchildren; a brother, Max (Elaine) Loker; sisters Margaret (Francis) West and Vera Boyer; a sister in law, Beatrice Loker; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; a son, Royce; granddaughter, Jenny; and brother, Dale. Donations may go to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan. Visit his page at

Corey A. Theobald, 33, Schoolcraft, passed away July 30. Corey was born January 12, 1986 in Kalamazoo, a son of Peter and Judith (Oswalt) Theobald. He was a lifelong Kalamazoo area resident and was employed with Harding’s several years ago. Corey is survived by his parents; a brother, Kyle Theobald; and several grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Donations may go to Twelve Baskets Food Pantry. Visit his page at

Vivian Elizabeth Blevins Watz, 95, died peacefully July 29 at the Heritage Community Nursing Home in Kalamazoo. Vivian was born on July 19, 1924, in Detroit, the daughter of William and Vivian Duke. World War II took her husband Marty Watz overseas for three years and while he was gone, Vivian wrote faithfully to her husband every day. During the war, she worked third shift at a factory inspecting shells for the war effort. When Marty came home, they bought a home in Harper Woods, where they lived for the next 45 years, raising four children. Vivian worked as a telephone operator for many years. After Marty died in 2010, Vivian moved to Spring Manor Apartments in Portage. Vivian is survived by her children, Diane Watz-Frisinger, Martin, Jr. (Sandra), Janet Glaes (Charles) and Steven (RoseAnn); grandchildren, Joshua Frisinger, Melissa Heimbough (Hayes), Jonathan Glaes (Jessica), Tyler Glaes, Natalie Glaes, Steven Watz, and Alexandra Watz; and great-grandchildren Sophia Frisinger, Hunter Glaes, Mason Glaes, and Gabriella Glaes. Visit her page at Donations may go to Generous Hands, Alzheimer’s Association or the Vicksburg Community Schools Foundation.


Marilyn J. Butler, 86, Portage, passed away peacefully with family surrounding her on Tuesday, July 16. Marilyn was born February 24, 1933 in Kalamazoo, the daughter of Norman and Margaret (Sullivan) Thiel. She graduated from Kalamazoo Central in 1951. When her children were young, she was the church secretary at Westminster Presbyterian Church and then worked at Consumers Energy as a customer service representative. On June 1, 1951, she was united in marriage to Roy Douglas Butler who proceeded her in death on January 3, 1999. Marilyn was also preceded in death by her parents; her stepmother, Thelma Thiel; stepfather, Don Masera, her sister, Madelyn McGuffin, in 2016; and her great grandson, little Vimmer, in 2014. Surviving are her daughters, Debbie (Mark) Lettow, Chonie (Robert) Kirkendall and Lori (Henry) Meier; grandchildren Wendy, Matthew (Nikki) Piper, Adam (Rachel) Meier, Robert Kirkendall, Jamie Kirkendall, Patrick (Jessica) Kirkendall, Meghan (Tim) Bullis, Jordan (Morgan) Meier, Jennee (Vincent) Krell, and Max Meier; 17 great grandchildren; five nieces and two nephews. A memorial service was held on Saturday, July 20, at the McCowen & Secord Funeral Homes, Rupert-Durham Chapel. Visit her page at Donations may go to Southern Care Hospice, Portage.

Bernice King, 94, Portage, passed away on July 1. Bernice was born on April 3, 1925 in an old farm house in Bloomfield Hills. She spent her career as a bookkeeper for various churches over the years. Bernice moved to Portage after retiring in December of 1992. She spent her time as a member of the Eastern Star, Portage Senior Center and traveling with friends and family. The past 10 years were spent playing hand chimes weekly at the Portage Senior Center. Bernice is survived by her daughter, Vicki (Charles) Bailey; granddaughter, Shannon Melvin; and great-grandchildren Tiffany and Logan Melvin. Bernice was preceded in death by her husband, Vernon King, and brother, Leonard Brandt. A memorial service was held on Monday, July 15 at McCowen & Secord Funeral Homes (Avink Funeral Home and Cremation Society). Please visit Bernice’s page at where you can sign the guestbook, share a memory, or archive a photo. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Portage Senior Center.

Karen (Hatfield) Sabin, 64, died of a pulmonary embolism on July 19th in Three Rivers. Karen was born in Vicksburg on December 8, 1954, the daughter of George and Ethel (McElvain) Hatfield. Karen was living on the family farm with her parents and six brothers and sisters until 1965, when her father passed away. They sold the farm and moved to Vicksburg. While moving in, her mother sent the 11-year-old to the neighbor’s house to use the phone. Upon returning home, Karen declared that she would marry the boy that lived across the street. They grew up together as high school sweethearts. She graduated from Vicksburg High School in 1973. On September 21, 1973 she married Timothy Kevin Sabin at the Wakeshma Baptist Church. Karen is survived by her children, Jennifer (Arthur) Roberts and Justin (Hope) Sabin; grandchildren Arthur, Carson, Addison, Jeremy, Alyssa, Sissa and Vanessa; brothers and sisters and their spouses Roy and Alice (German) Hatfield, Judy (Meyers) Hatfield, Don and Judy (Erskin) Hatfield, Doris (Hatfield) Tyler, Mike and Sue (Brookman) Hatfield, Cathy (Queen of the no-bakes) Hatfield, Lloyd and Claudia (Sabin) Jackson and Scott and Cathy (McKinnon) Sabin. She was preceded in death by her parents and son Jeremy; her in-laws Milford and Norma (Hardwick) Sabin, a brother, George Hatfield II; nephew George Hatfield III; and brother in law Walt Tyler.

Max Ray Spealman, 82, Scotts, died July 21 at Kairos Dwelling in Kalamazoo. He was born in Fulton on May 9, 1937, the son of Gerald J. and Fay (Waits) Spealman, and was a lifetime resident of the area. He graduated from Vicksburg High School and served in the Army National Guard. Max was married to Sheila A. Moored on Feb. 19, 1956 in Vicksburg. Max was the head of maintenance for KVCC and later for the Hinman Company of Kalamazoo, and was known to be able to fix almost anything. He enjoyed travelling, camping, bowling, and golf in his spare time. Max is survived by his wife, Sheila; daughters Janice Glenn of Kalamazoo and Judy (Andrew) Radtke of Traverse City; grandchildren, Kristen (Joey) Hall, Melissa (Brent) Wheat, Douglas (Piper) Radtke, Karrie Glenn, and Jeremy Radtke; great-grandchildren Job, Silas, and Sophie Hall, Zachary, Reagan, and Evan Wheat, Corban, Declan, and Adelaide Radtke, and Maxxwell Glenn; a sister, Maxine Irving; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; a son, Jerry Spealman; and sisters, Jean Homan, Geraldine Decker, and Joyce Lewis. Donations may go to Crossroads Missionary Church or to Kairos Dwelling. Visit his page at


Yvonne M. Booth (Drake), Vicksburg, died June 19 at Rose Arbor Hospice. Yvonne was born September 1, 1947 in New Castle, Ind. to Eleanor Smith and George Drake. She was the oldest of three children. Yvonne graduated from Vicksburg High School in 1965 and shortly after married Ron Prosser. Soon their first daughter, Wendy, was born, followed 11 months later by Janet. Later in life she married Wayne Booth and went back to college where she earned a medical assistant degree. Yvonne was preceded in death by her mother, Eleanor Smith, and her two dearest friends, Sandy Dorbin and Wendy Britton. She is survived by daughters Wendy (Steve) Pheils and Janet (Jim) Mendocha; siblings Keith (Chantel) Drake and Gail Munn; nieces and nephew Kim Hoffmaster, Tammy Munn, Ciara Hoffmaster, Haley and Drew Nye, and Ellie Hoffmaster-Six; former husband Wayne Booth and step children Brian (Stacy) Booth, Brenda Stevens, and Cary (Cheryl) Booth. She is also survived by her beloved grandchildren, Brianna VanCamp, Paul Pheils, Matthew and Michael Mendocha, Jeremy and Justin Followell, Lindsey Cowan, Lance and Amber Brunt, Rachel, Jacob, Artem, Sergei and Ana Booth. Donations may go to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.

Donna Fornoff, Lawton, formerly of Vicksburg, passed away surrounded by family June 2. Donna was born March 10, 1959 to Richard and Florence (Smith) Noel. Donna is survived by her husband, Dave Fornoff; children Tyler and Haley; many grandchildren; siblings Christine Brown and Richard Noel; nephews and a niece Mike Dailey, Matthew Dailey, and Collette Holden; and several great nieces and nephews including Kaylen Holden, Skyler Holden and Tessa Keeler. She was preceded in death by parents Richard and Florence Noel and mother-in-law Gloria Fornoff. Donna’s service was held on Thursday, June 6, at McCowen and Secord Family Funeral Homes, Rupert-Durham Chapel. Please visit her page at Donations may go to American Diabetes Association.

Thomas Kelley, 74, Vicksburg, passed away June 24. Tom was born on August 23, 1944 to Elmer and Donna (Truax) Kelley in Kalamazoo. Left to cherish his memory are his wife of 52 years, Vickie; his son, Tom (Mychi) Kelley, and his grandson, Michael. Also surviving are his sisters, Sharon (Greg) Kilburn and Mary Beth Barret; his sister-in-law, Ruth Kelley and brother-in-law, Keith Sutton, as well as several nieces, nephews and cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents, his in-laws, Jose and Jesusita Escamilla; siblings Patrick Kelley and Michaeline Sutton. Tom graduated from Vicksburg High School in 1963. He served his country proudly in the United States Army. He enjoyed being on the lake and entertaining family and friends. Tom was active in his church and with the Knights of Columbus. He was an animal lover, especially with his favorite cat, Lucy. Please visit his page at Donations may go to St. Martin of Tours Parish.

Michelle Paulette McCowen, 53, Portage, passed away June 23. Michelle was born on April 23, 1966 in Fort Wayne, Ind. to Joe and Carolyn “Sue” (Rice) Tiernan. She graduated from Western High School in Jackson and went on to become a certified nursing assistant. Michelle worked at Bronson Medical Hospital in Kalamazoo as an emergency department technician for 15 years. She loved staying up late watching movies, perfecting her amazing goulash and lasagna recipes, and telling stories around the campfire. She loved animals and accumulated 88 of them over the years. Michelle is survived by her parents, Joe and Sue Tiernan; children Meghan Karle of Brooklyn, Madison Burns of Chicago, Mackenzie McCowen of Vicksburg, Joey McCowen of Vicksburg, and Stephen McCowen of Vicksburg; a sister, Tine (Paul) Prinzi of Clinton Township; niece Kadra Prinzi of Clinton Township; and best friend Mary Wilson of Kalamazoo. She was preceded by sisters Kendra and Shawn Marie Tiernan; and a nephew, Caden Prinzi. Donations may go to Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Janet Rae Pheils, 84, Schoolcraft, died June 13. Janet was born in Sturgis to Daryle and Ruby (Harris) Pheils. The oldest of three, she grew up on the family farm in Howe, Ind. Shortly after the birth of her son, Steven, she moved to Schoolcraft. After retirement from Newhouse Printing Supplies, she delivered Meals on Wheels, and worked every Thursday at the Schoolcraft Auto Auction. Janet was preceded in death by her parents, Daryle and Ruby Pheils, great nephew Nick Hensley and brother-in-law Merl Hensley. She is survived by her son, Steven (Wendy) Pheils, her grandchildren, Brianna VanCamp and Daryle Paul Pheils; her sister, Beverly (Keith) Schraeder; her brother, Daryle Frank (Gail McClish) Pheils; nephew, Scott Hensley; nieces Michelle (Jeff) Todd and Sandra (Tom) Capps. She is also survived by great nieces and nephews Danielle Hensley, Kyle (Mckayla) Todd, Carly Todd, Sam Todd, Thomas Capps and Ryan Capps.

William Richard (Dick) Rafferty, 86, passed away June 8. Son of John and Lorena Rafferty, he was born December 15, 1932 in Kalamazoo. Upon graduation from Schoolcraft High and WMU, he was a teacher and coach in Schoolcraft for over 30 years, and was named to the Michigan High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame. He served on the Village Council and Schoolcraft Community Schools Board of Education. He is survived by his wife Nancy, children Richard (Mary) Rafferty, Kathleen Dixon, Donald (Janice) Rafferty, James (Toni) Rafferty; grandchildren Dianna (Chad) Coley, Cullen (Ashley) Dixon, Cormac Dixon, Jack and Ian Rafferty, Jozie and Drew Rafferty; great granddaughters Kylie and Kinsley Dixon; many nieces, nephews, and extended family. Visit his page at Donations may go to First Presbyterian Church of Schoolcraft.

Shirley M. Sharp, 90, Vicksburg, passed away peacefully at her home June 14. She was born in Schoolcraft, on July 17, 1928, the daughter of Lawrence and Alice (Downey) Beebe. She was one of eight children. Shirley worked at Sutherland Paper Company and also at Vicksburg Schools as a cook. Shirley was married to Quincy Sharp on Jan. 28, 1950, and together they farmed and raised three boys, Eddie (Dee Chriscoe) Sharp, Craig Sharp, and Jeff Sharp. She was blessed with eight grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren. She is also survived by two brothers, Carl (Irene) Beebe and Ronald “Gus” (Mary) Beebe, and by her best friend, Sarah Evans. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Quincy; and by five siblings. Donations may go to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan or to Advanced Illness Management at Bronson Methodist Hospital. Visit her page at

Iva Joyce Snyder, 98, Fulton, passed away June 26. She was born February 13, 1921 in Brady Township, the youngest of Charles and Muriel (Buss) Stuck’s six children. In 1938, she graduated from Athens High School as valedictorian. On May 11, 1941, she married Richard Snyder, who died in 1975. She was also preceded in death by her parents, a son Philip; great granddaughter, Kaylee Mendham; brother, Milton (Ruth) Barnes; sisters, Laura Growth, Eola (Perry) Barnes, Nora (Harold) Wise, Charlotte (Winston) Rice. She is survived by her two daughters, Carol Brigance and Linda (John) Wyant; one son, Steve Snyder; two grandsons, Timothy LaPlante and Jeffery LaPlante; two granddaughters, Aimee (Dan) Mendham and Nicole (David) Furgason; five great grandchildren, Joshua LaPlante, Tanner Mendham, Jacob Mendham, Jacob LaPlante, Eli Furgason, a brother and sisters-in-law and many nieces and nephews. Visit her page at Donations may go to Southern Care Hospice and/or the Fulton Christian Church.

Jackie Terpstra, 69, Vicksburg, passed suddenly while visiting family in Colorado June 18. She was born in Vicksburg to Nellie Bergeon on June 10, 1950. She was raised by adoptive parents Russell and Shirley Franks. While working at Tully Enterprises, she met Jeff Terpstra. They married December 1, 1989. Jackie is survived by her husband, her son, Bob Adams (Stacey); brother-in-law Bradley Terpstra, grandchildren Laura Adams (Eric), Nikki Price (Kareem), Bobby Adams (Heather) and Dakotah Adams. She is also survived by her great grandchildren Heaven, Skei, Anthony, Tristin, Stormy, Haiden, Trinten, Paeyton, Jai’lea, Alei’a; siblings Jim Ames, Linda Butler, Randy Franks, Greg Franks, Tom Franks, Kimberly Kiser, Janice Bergeon Sparks, Charles Bergeon and Fred Bergeon as well as her special daughter in law, Edith Adams. She was preceded in death by her mother, Nellie Bergeon; her adopted parents, Russell and Shirley Franks; brother Lloyd Clark and sister Diane Barker. Visit her page at


Cari Virginia Benko, 34, Vicksburg, formerly of Mt. Olive, Ill., passed away May 13, after a year-long battle with cancer. She was born June 5, 1984 in Staunton, Ill., to Mary Ann Taylor Hagerman and the late Oscar Virgil Hagerman of Mt. Olive. She married Andrew James Benko on September 29, 2007 after graduating from from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale with a bachelor of science degree in business and administration. She also earned her private and commercial pilot licenses as well as an instrument rating. She was a homemaker, homeschool teacher and chestnut farm operator. She enjoyed cooking, gardening, entomology and being outdoors. Memorials may go to her children through Becker and Son Funeral Home. Survivors include her husband, Andrew, and children Evan, Terra and Althea Benko of Vicksburg, sisters Jennifer Monke (husband Nate and son Oliver) of Mt. Olive, Ill. and Erica Minton (husband Randy) of Spokane Valley, Wash. She was preceded in death by her father, Oscar Virgil Hagerman and niece, Anna Dolores Monke. Condolences may be left at

Betty Jane (Zausch) Braymer, 94, passed away May 19 of cumulative heart congestion with little pain and family at her side. Betty was born in St. Louis, MO on Jan 8th, 1925 to Alphonsus and Evelyn Zausch. Betty had an older brother, Al and twin younger siblings Larry and Florence. Betty’s siblings all preceded her in death. Betty was the wife of Donald George Braymer. Don and Betty have lived the past 32 years on Sunset Lake and resided the previous 28 years on Gourdneck Lake in Portage. They were married on August 8, 1945 and were inseparable for nearly 74 years. Betty had 4 children and is survived by her spouse Don Sr. and 3 children, Don Jr. (Carol) Braymer, Kathy (Charlie) MacDonald and Bill (Susan) Braymer. David (Kate) Braymer passed away 13 years ago. Betty is survived by 13 grandchildren, and 11 great grandchildren. Visit her page at

John W. Brown, Sr., passed away after a brief battle with cancer on May 10, surrounded by his family. John was born in Kalamazoo, on September 4, 1935 to Jay Brown Sr. and Lola (Rowley) Brown/Bauer. He grew up in the Oakwood area and graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School in 1953. In 1960, John opened Park Lane Florist in Vicksburg, where he developed a longtime following of customers and friends. His artistry with flowers and care for others was evident in each arrangement. He was an active member of the Vicksburg Rotary Club and was a member of the Vicksburg Village Council in the 1980s. He maintained Park Lane in various locations throughout southwest Michigan for over 40 years with a dedicated following of many who cherished his work. When John wasn’t working, he loved to be out golfing with his friends. A Portage resident and longtime business owner, John was preceded in death by his wife, Jill, in 2015, his parents, a brother, Charles Riddle, a sister, Betty Buddemeyer, and a brother, Jay Brown Jr. He leaves behind four children, Constance Brown Hammond, John Brown, Jr., Tina Brown (Hassan Al Jubran), and Robert Brown (Maureen Brown), grandchildren Ashley Brown, Jasmine Moskalik, Jessie Sadiku, Maizie and Hailey Brown, and a great-grandson, Joseph Franzone. John requested his ashes be scattered at his favorite lake. Donations in John’s memory can be made to Rose Arbor Hospice.

Alberta Chesser
, 88, Vicksburg, passed away May 12. She was born to Albert and Gladys (Ryan) Hudson on February 9, 1931. She married Ray Chesser on March 21, 1948 and settled in Vicksburg. Once their sons were grown, she returned to work at Stewart Sutherland where she was happily employed for more than 20 years. Well-liked by her clients and co-workers, she made a life-long friendship with Jan Applebey who worked there and was also her next-door neighbor. Outgoing and friendly, Alberta never lacked for people to accompany her on local shopping trips or activities. She is survived by her sons, Kenneth (Vicky) Chesser, of Vicksburg; Kevin (Sherry) Chesser, of Vicksburg; eight grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren, and several special nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her loving husband, Raymond, in 2014 and her siblings, Mary Boucher, Doris Boucher, Dan VonSchriltz, and Betty Lou VonSchriltz. Visit Alberta’s page at Donations may go to Kairos Dwelling.
Jackie Coburn, 89, of Concord, Calif., passed away April 23. She was born June 18, 1929 in Saco, Maine, the daughter of Hazel and Ralph Lamb. On August 31, 1946, she married Donald Coburn, who preceded her in death. She worked in Saco, Maine at Sweetser Children’s Home, a residential home for emotionally disturbed children, for 18 years. After that she was a bank teller and then a manager in Portland, Maine. She was a member of the Eastern Star and Red Hat Organizations. She became a basketball referee when her two daughters were in high school. She is survived by daughters Donna Parker (Don) and Patti Bowen (Mike) of Vicksburg, grandchildren Tatum Odell (Brian), Sommer Priester (Jammie) and Shane Bowen (Selena), great-grandchildren Brayden Odell, Courtney and Audrey Zielinski, Jaxon and Megan Priester, Evan and Olivia Bowen; and a great-great- grandson, Mason Faulk. She was cremated and will be buried in a double urn with her husband, the love of her life, in a military cemetery.

Cynthia Ann Corey, 74, Portage, passed away April 26. She was born to Raymond and Helen Glowaczewski on October 8, 1944. She met a young serviceman named Allen Eugene “Gene” Corey. They were married on November 5, 1966 and made their home in Gene’s hometown of Vicksburg. Due to Gene’s work, their family moved quite frequently. Over the years they lived all around the country, which gave their three daughters amazing and varied experiences. Cynthia is survived by daughters Karen (Jeff) Schaffer of Illinois, Kristine (Jeff) Keiser of Portage and Diane (Steve) Wester of Portage; nine grandchildren and one great-grandson. She is also survived by her brother and sisters-in-law, Glen “Herb” (Alice) Corey of Union City; Jerry (Susan) Corey of Dowagiac; Larry Corey of Cassopolis; Joyce Corey, of Colorado; Dennis Corey and Randy (Jodi) Corey, both of Dowagiac. She was preceded in death by her husband, Allen Eugene “Gene” Corey. Visit her page at Donations may go to Rose Arbor.

Lani Duane Diamon, 72, Schoolcraft, passed away May 8, due to heart disease. Born in Kalamazoo, he was the son of the late Clare and Virginia Diamon. In 1980, he married Margie (Adams) Nooney, and together they loved three sons, Phillip, Sean (Kristin) and Joseph (Jessica). Lani worked primarily as a resident care aide at the Kalamazoo State Hospital, and drove a school bus for Schoolcraft Community Schools. He enjoyed baseball, softball, pool, and most of all, spending time with his family. A real character, Lani had a large collection of dad jokes and enjoyed telling stories. Lani is survived by his wife and children, his three grandchildren, sisters Vicki and Teresa (Herbert), and Aunt Virginia (Marv); numerous nephews, nieces, cousins and dear friends. A celebration of life will be held at 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 23 at Nob Hill Bar & Grill in Kalamazoo.

Robert Frank Drahos, 85, passed away peacefully May 4, at Brookdale Assisted Living in Portage. He was born on July 31, 1933 at Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo. Bob grew up on the east side of Kalamazoo and graduated from Kalamazoo Central in 1952. While in school, he excelled as an athlete, pitching a no-hitter. After graduation, he went to work at Allen Electric, Buck Tool Company and Maro Incorporated. He was married to Nancy Kaiser in 1955. He became a co-owner of Valley Press Printing in Portage. In 1983, Bob agreed to relocate to North Carolina as part of a Maro Precision expansion. Bob finished his work career and retired from Walter Kidde Aerospace in 1997. Upon retirement Bob and Nancy moved back to Vicksburg. In July 2016, Bob and Nancy moved into Brookdale Assisted Living where he was better able to meet her needs. Throughout his life Bob enjoyed fishing, traveling with his family, gardening, and tending to his meticulous lawn. Bob was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Sarah, and his beloved sister, Jeannette. He is survived by his wife, Nancy, of Portage; sons Michael (Patricia) Drahos of Sherburne, N.Y. and Joel (Karen) Drahos of Webster, Wis.; daughters Chris (Craig) Arms of South Haven, Karen (Rickey) Ray of Vicksburg; grandchildren Joshua (Raquel) Willison, Dottie (Rob) Bittner, Joshua Drahos, Emily Drahos, Corey (Ashley) Ray, and Andria (Dale Warner) Ray; great-grandchildren Teagan, Brooklyn, Tyler, and Alex. Donations may go to Lakeland Reformed Church. Condolences may be expressed to the family at

Josephine “Jo” Gray, passed away April 28 after a short illness. She was born on June 30, 1934. She had resided in Scotts for over 60 years. She was preceded in death by her husband, Paul “Barney” Gray in May 2011. She is survived by her daughters, Christine Osborne of Jonesborough, Tenn. and Susan Gray of Hastings, Mich., sisters Joann Binegar and Jackie Talbert; grandsons Brian and Kevin Osborne; six great-grandchildren and other loving extended family. She requested cremation. A private service will be held at a later date with burial in Gilson Cemetery. Donations may go to the Cancer Center of Southwest Michigan or the Ronald McDonald House. Visit her page at

Thomas Michael “Tom” Millard, 77, Mendon, died peacefully at his riverside home May 22. He was born in Three Rivers on Dec. 29, 1941, the son of the late Kenneth A. and Mercedes A. (Truckey) Millard. Tom graduated from Mendon High School in 1960. He was married to Karen Osgood on Dec. 12, 1970 in Mendon. Tom was a professional truck driver. More recently he was the proprietor of Crossroads Auto Sales of Centreville and a representative for Country Clipper Mowing Equipment. Tom was recognized for being in the top 10 percent for 12 of the last 13 years for all Country Clipper dealerships. Tom was married to Louise Weinberg on March 2, 1990 in Louisville, Ky. She survives along with daughters, Nikki (Colby) Furey and Traci Millard, both of Mendon; granddaughters Ashley and Ella Millard; grandson Devyn Furey; stepchildren Shane (Vanessa) Leech and Melissa Leech; step-grandchildren Kaden and Kaleah Leech; a sister, Kathy Stump of Leonidas; brothers, John (Mary Jane) Millard of Caledonia and Kenneth (Kathleen) Millard of Indian River; several nieces and nephews. Donations may go to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan. Visit his page at

Dennis Osterhouse, 75, Vicksburg, passed away May 18. Dennis was born on June 25, 1943, in Battle Creek, to George & Leora (Root) Osterhouse. A private memorial service has taken place. Dennis’ family includes his wife of 18 years, Julie; stepchildren Jody (Mike) Tuinier, Deborah Gay; Chris Ringler; several grand and great grandchildren as well as several cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents. Dennis grew up in Galesburg and attended local schools. He worked as a custodian at the Galesburg-Augusta School system until he retired in 1989. He loved animals, especially his dogs CB and CJ. Dennis was a great mechanic and loved Nascar and all things racing. He was an avid bird watcher and reader but lived for his grandchildren and great grandchildren. Visit his page at Donations may go to the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

John R. Ranes, 65, Vicksburg, passed away May 10. He was born to Johnny and Shirley (Miller) Ranes on February 19, 1954. He grew up in Galesburg, graduating in 1972. He went to work for Checker Motors for 20 years. He left for K&D Environmental and later bought Country Food & Beverage in Vicksburg. He called Indian Lake his home for many years. He will be remembered for his kind heart, warm spirit, and ability to model a lifetime of hard work providing for the family he loved. John is survived by his wife, Linda; children Jimmy (Sondra) Strong, of Sturgis; Angie (Justin) Smith, of Scotts; Mendy (Dave) Witt, of Vicksburg and Pam (Shawn) Sackett, of Scotts; and 14 grandchildren. He is also survived by his father, Johnny Ranes; siblings Shirlene Ranes, of Kalamazoo; Jerry (Sheri) Ranes, of Galesburg; Mike (Becki) Ranes, of Battle Creek; and Doug Ranes, of Kalamazoo. Visit his page at Donations may go to the Chapman Memorial Church of the Nazarene, Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan or West Michigan Cancer Center.

Keith Ritter, 67, Schoolcraft, passed away at Borgess Pipp Hospital May 20. He was born in Vicksburg on August 8, 1951 to Edwin and Alois (Anderson) Ritter. Keith married Linda (Kasperek) Ritter on May 17, 1975. They recently celebrated their 44th anniversary. He retired at age 58 after a 34-year career at Upjohn/Pfizer. He enjoyed tending his garden, tracking current events and rooting for all things University of Michigan. Keith’s family includes his sons, Jeffery (Fernanda) Ritter and Bradley (Kimberly) Ritter; his three cherished grandchildren, Graham, Eliza and Leonardo; nieces and nephews Michael and Nicholas Shirk, Mia and Nicholas Kasperek; and his sister, Elaine Shirk. He was preceded in death by his parents, Edwin and Alois Ritter. A private interment will take place at a later date. Donations may go to the American Heart Association or the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Visit his page at

Timothy Francis Shook, 63, formerly of Fulton, died March 21 in Miami, Fla., where he had resided the past 35 years. He was born in Battle Creek on Oct. 4, 1955, the son of Robert and Adele Shook. Tim graduated from Vicksburg High School in 1973, and later earned his bachelor’s degree from WMU. He was a project manager for real estate development and commercial construction. He was a former member of the Florida Philharmonic Chorus. Tim is survived by siblings Lynette (Mike) Wilson of Leonidas, Christopher (Katherine) Shook of Kalamazoo, Stephen (JoEllen) Shook of Springfield, Va., Marianne (Joe) Kuiper of Mattawan, Maureen (David) Simms of Milford, Robert G. Shook of Allegan, Lawrence (Darla Cook) Shook of Battle Creek, Pauline (Mark) Giacobone of Schoolcraft, and Kathleen (Steve) Waldron of Schoolcraft; many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and an infant brother. Visit his page at

Bertha Denney Smith, 95, Fulton, died May 29. Bertha was born on March 14, 1924 in Marion, Ind. to Frederick and Goldie (DeHoff) Denney. The family moved to Michigan when she was five. She attended school in Mendon, Moore Park and Schoolcraft. On September 13, 1947, Bertha married Clyde Blackburn Smith, Jr. in Ohio. The couple made their home in Fulton. She was employed by Haas/Leer Corporation in Mendon, the Kellogg Co. and Eaton Corporation in Battle Creek, the greenhouse in Vicksburg and Lamb Knit in Colon. Survivors include her children, Elizabeth VanSickle of Bellevue, Joseph (Arleen) Smith of East Leroy, John Smith of Colon, Margaret Rance of Fulton and Charles (Debbie) Smith of Dowling; siblings, Mable (Elwin) Holtz of Fulton, Patricia Carter of Marshall and Dolores “Dolly” (Bruce) Loker of Vicksburg; sisters-in-law Darlene Denney of Athens and Doris Denney of Wetmore, Mich.; brothers-in-law Richard (Suzie) Smith of San Diego, Calif. and Ronald (Barbara) Smith of Pine, Colo,; 21 grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren, with two more on the way; and many nieces and nephews. Bertha was preceded in death by her husband of 60 years, Clyde, in 2008; a son, James Smith; grandson, Andrew Smith; siblings Alma Guthrie, Arthur Denney, F. Dale Denney, William Denney, Doris Denney, Peter Denney and Mary Denney; daughters-in-law Jan Smith and Belinda Smith; and son-in-law Marvin VanSickle. Donations may go to the Fulton Christian Church Women’s Fellowship. Visit her page at

David Allen Thomas, 60, Scotts, passed away April 23. David was born on May 1, 1958 in Lincoln, England. He is the son of Gordon and Marian (Rawson) Thomas. He attended Vicksburg schools. He worked for over 30 years for Woolf Excavating and operated heavy equipment. He is described as unique, kind of a hippie, caring person who would do anything for anyone. He enjoyed fishing and hunting, as well as spending time with his good friend, Gary Peterson, processing meat. Although he had a few motorcycles and was considered a big bad biker, he didn’t ride very much. He had a soft spot for his rescue dog, Schaffer, a yellow Labrador retriever he cared for deeply that had been dropped off in the country by his home. David is survived by his mother, Marian Thomas; children Rachel Thomas and Luke (Katie) Thomas, both of Scotts; a grandson, Tustin Scott; a sister, Melanie (Kevin) Tyler, of Vicksburg; and his dog, Schaffer. He was preceded in death by his father, Gordon Thomas. Visit his page at Donations may go to a charity of choice.

Eugene (Gene) Gilman Toornman, 87, Long Lake, passed away May 10, surrounded by his loving family. Gene was born on October 22, 1931 in Kalamazoo, to John Henry Sr. and Cornelia (Gilman) Toornman. Gene was a 1949 graduate of Kalamazoo State High School. He served in the U.S. Navy Air Corps from 1951-1955. During this time, he was an accomplished boxer, representing both the U.S. Navy and the city of Kalamazoo. In 1955, Gene started working at the Upjohn Company in Portage and then decided to pursue a college education to advance to a higher position within the company. Gene graduated from Western Michigan University with a degree in industrial engineering. He continued his career as an engineer at Upjohn until his retirement in 1988. He enjoyed his 30-year career, never taking a sick day. In 1961, Gene married Marie (Boekeloo) Toornman. They celebrated 56 years of marriage. Gene enjoyed telling his six children and many grandchildren stories from his youth. These stories included valuable advice and life lessons. Gene was interested in classic automobiles and restored several during his retirement. His biggest project and accomplishment was restoring a 1937 Lincoln Zephyr, which he generously donated to the Gilmore Car Museum. Gene was preceded in death by his wife Marie, daughter Carrie Toornman Kimble, his brothers John Toornman Jr. and James Toornman. He is survived by his son Tom (Cathy) Toornman, daughters Tammy Guzzo, Deborah Toornman, Laurie (John) Hare, and Penny Major. Gene is also survived by several nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Donations may go to local hospice services, Salvation Army, Loaves and Fishes, or a local charity of one’s choosing.

Helen Mildred Waterhouse, 91, Portage, passed away April 24 at Bickford of Battle Creek. Helen was born on February 14, 1928 in Oshtemo Township, the daughter of Thomas and Maude (Harvey) Branch. Helen was a graduate of Mattawan High School. On May 6, 1950, she married Edward Waterhouse. They enjoyed over 60 years of marriage. Helen was a Godly woman who served the Lord faithfully her entire life. She was a member of Lord of Life Lutheran Church of Portage. She especially loved her quilting club, where they made hundreds of quilts that have been sent throughout the world. She worked in the insurance field for over 46 years. She retired from the Garrett Agency after being there for 35 years. Helen is survived by her children, Thomas Waterhouse and Sue (Richard) Pitts, both of Indiana; Mark (Rita) Waterhouse of Battle Creek; and Bryan (Karen) Waterhouse of Vicksburg; 12 grandchildren, six great grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, Edward. A memorial service was held at Lord of Life Lutheran Church on April 24. Burial of her ashes will take place at Fort Custer National Cemetery at a later date. Please visit Helen’s webpage at Those who wish may make contributions to the Lord of Life Lutheran Church, Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan, or Bickford Cottage of Battle Creek.