Garry Allan Briggs, 74, Vicksburg, passed away July 14, 2023. Garry was born February 21, 1949 in Kalamazoo, the son of Oliver and Jessie (Evans) Briggs. Garry attended Vicksburg schools until he left to serve in the U.S. Army. He finished his schooling after the war. He served from 1966 to 1969, earning a Vietnam Service medal with two Bronze Stars and National Defense Service Medal. He also earned a Vietnam Campaign Medal. When he returned home, he began a career in construction and maintenance. Garry loved his family and was very patriotic. Garry was preceded in death by his parents, Oliver and Jessie Briggs and brothers Larry and Ronnie Briggs. He is survived by his children, Garry (Koni) Briggs of Florida, Nicolle Lewis of Portage, Jamie Briggs of Portage, George Briggs and Jody Briggs of Portage; grandchildren Cody (Samantha) Briggs, Skylar Lewis, Emily Lewis, and Kaylee Polley; great-grandchildren Olive Briggs, Finnley Briggs, Theodore Briggs, and Kyle Deutscher, Jr. He is also survived by siblings Henry Eugene Briggs of Scotts, Connie Habdas of Grand Blanc, Virgil Briggs of Vicksburg, and Diana Martens of Vicksburg; sister-in-law Evelyn Briggs of Mendon, and numerous nieces and nephews. Garry has been cremated and will be buried with military honors at Fort Custer National Cemetery on Friday, August 4, 2023, at 2:30 p.m. Visit his page at amsfuneralhomes.com.
James Russell Cline, Portage, formerly of Schoolcraft, passed away June 22, 2023. Jim was born March 26, 1927, in Hartford City, Indiana to Harold Francis and Thelma Liona (Sample) Cline. Jim, a WWII veteran, had a long, wonderful life. He was preceded in death by his wife of 60 years, Barbara Ann Cline and an infant son, Joey Allen Cline. Jim is survived by children Debbie (Cline-Henderson-Bowman) and Randy Schippers of Three Rivers and Scott and Pat Cline of Schoolcraft; grandchildren David and Beth Henderson of Bristol, Indiana, Jennifer (Cline) and Greg Cabrera of Naperville, Illinois, Jessica (Cline) and Chris Izzi of Plymouth, Michigan, Joseph and Candice Cline of Orchard Lake, Michigan and Elizabeth (Bowman) and Chad Wright of Allegan; and great-grandchildren Michael, Matthew and Maya Izzi, Carter, Cole, Emerson and Anderson Cline, and Addison (Little Jim) Cabrera. A visitation and a memorial service will be held at the New Apostolic Church of Portage on August 9, with an 11 a.m. visitation and a noon service. Burial will take place at Fort Custer National Cemetery on August 9 at 3 p.m. Donations may go to the New Apostolic Church of Portage, Hospice Centrica or MediLodge of Portage. Visit his page at amsfuneralhomes.com.
Larry James Cole passed away July 9, 2023 at the age of 82, at Rose Arbor in Kalamazoo. Larry was born in Schoolcraft November 3, 1940, the son of Curtis and Mary (Sisson) Cole. He graduated from Schoolcraft High School with the class of 1958, where he played basketball, winning three districts and one regional championship. He married Mary Tobin in 1960. Together they had three children, Dawnn (Dean) Cole Decker; Michele (Robert) Cole Johnson; Curtis (Maxine Belino) Cole; 11 grandchildren and three great grandchildren with a fourth on the way. Larry graduated from WMU in 1962 with a bachelor’s degree in biology, geography, and physical education and began teaching at Rogers High School. Larry completed his master’s degree from MSU in 1966, returned to Schoolcraft, and served as the junior and senior high school principal and then superintendent. After earning another degree at WMU in 1974 as an education specialist, the family moved to Vicksburg where he served as superintendent. Larry was also a realtor and real estate developer, a member of the Schoolcraft Masonic Lodge 118 and the Vicksburg Rotary Club, and Schoolcraft High School Hall of Fame inductee. Above all else, Larry loved his family. Visit his page at amsfuneralhomes.com. Donations may go to the Vicksburg Community Schools Foundation.
Dennis R. Devito of Kalamazoo passed away July 9, 2023. Dennis was born June 16, 1954, in Kalamazoo, the son of Richard and Eleanor (Ruse) DeVito. He was a selfless man that put everyone before himself. His love language was putting a smile on anyone’s face, and he would go out of his way to help someone even if they didn’t know they needed his help. He never met a stranger and was able to talk about any random topic. He enjoyed spending time with family, whether it was watching his grandsons play sports or out fishing on the dock. He enjoyed hunting, riding quads up north, attending car shows, and going for boat rides. On May 28, 1977, he was united in marriage to his loving wife, Paula “Kay” (Bishop) who preceded him in death on August 3, 2018. He was also preceded in death by his parents. Dennis is survived by his children, Nick (Sandy) DeVito and Elizabeth (Jake) Bronson; grandchildren Louis and Salvatore DeVito; sister, Tina (Steve) Terry; and many nieces and nephews. Donations may go to the Borgess Heart Institute or the West Michigan Cancer Center. Visit his page at langelands.com.
Carol Lynn Graves of Schoolcraft was born August 23 1959, in Alma, Michigan. She graduated from Portage Central in 1977 and enjoyed many summers in Canada with her family. She had a passion for helping animals, always taking in and raising squirrels, baby birds, anything that needed love and attention. She also enjoyed ghost hunting and even enjoyed a trip to Mansfield Reformatory where they filmed Shawshank Redemption. Carol worked at Pullam/Noble processing, where she made car parts and became a supervisor. She traveled to Mexico where she helped the company and enjoyed relaxing in the sun. Until her sudden passing on July 15, 2023, Carol cared for her mother. Carol was preceded in death by her father Frank Wallace, son Chad Franks, and her two fur babies, Keebler and Fudge. Carol leaves behind many loving friends and family: her mother Marleen Wallace; son Josh Sager; daughters Lacey Sager and Lijana Halstead; grandchildren Colin Sager, Amelia Sager, Blake Sager, Emma Fanning, Nellie Halstead, Jude Halstead, Audrey Halstead, and Jack Halstead; brothers Robert Wallace and Brad Wallace; and several cousins. Donations may go to birdsandbeaks.org or the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan. Visit her page at amsfuneralhomes.com.
Cynthia “Cindy” Mae Hufford, 64, Schoolcraft, peacefully passed away June 24, 2023. She was born April 29, 1959 in Vicksburg to Gordon and Nancy (Crago) Bozell. Cindy graduated from Portage Central High School in 1977. She enjoyed cruising Westnedge in her red, silver-striped 1977 Camaro, where she met her husband, Dale Hufford. They married April 1, 1989. She found her life’s work in motherhood. She was an avid Raiders and U. of M. football fan. Her family’s main passion is stock car racing, and she attended their events with her bright orange blanket, video camera, and homemade popcorn. She was preceded in death by her father, Gordon Bozell, and her maternal and paternal grandparents. She is survived by her husband, Dale Hufford; children Allison (Matthew) Bainbridge of Marcellus, Tyler (Kaylee) Hufford of Vicksburg, and Ryan Hufford of Schoolcraft; grandson Oliver Bainbridge; mother Nancy (Crago) Bozell; sister Katie (Danny) Foote; brothers Andy (Debbie) Bozell and Jeff (Stephanie) Bozell; sister-in-law Sara Slack; brothers-in-law Paul Hufford, and Wayne Hufford; and several aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and friends. Visit her page at amsfuneralhomes.com. Donations can be made to Centrica Rose Arbor Place of Kalamazoo or City of Hope cancer treatment centers.
Todd Michael Kelly of Plymouth, Indiana, formerly of Vicksburg, died at home May 24, 2023, of sudden cardiac arrest. Todd was born to Allen and Patrecia Kelly March 7, 1962 in Kalamazoo. Todd graduated from Vicksburg High School, Taylor University, and Western Michigan University, where he received his master’s degree in social work. He married Jennifer Marie Davis on April 2, 1988. He was a social worker at South Bend Schools, Lifeline Youth and Family Services, White’s Residential and Family Services, Specialized Alternatives for Families and Youth (SAFY), and was currently employed at Elkhart Community Schools. He was an elder at Crossroads Evangelical Free Church for many years. He was passionate about raising belted Galloway cows at their home, Whippletree Farm, west of Plymouth, Indiana. Todd was a man of integrity, compassion, and had a great sense of humor. Todd and Jennie opened their home to many people over the years. Todd is remembered by his beloved wife of 35 years, Jennie; children Audrey (Eric), Caleb (Lauren), Eliza and Claudia; grandchildren Miriam and Michael Clark, and Kara and Natalie Kelly; mother Patrecia Kelly; siblings Scott (Sheril) Kelly and Kathy (Brad) Belcher; and numerous nieces, nephews and many who regarded him as their father figure. He is predeceased by his father Allen Kelly and his dear friend, Bob Read. Donations may be go to Coldwater Foundation. Visit his page at johnson-danielson.com.
Barbara June Kline, 96, Schoolcraft, passed away peacefully on April 16, 2023. June was born on June 6, 1926, in Schoolcraft, to Alvin C. Forsyth and Helen K. (Harrison) Forsyth. Growing up in a farming family just outside of Schoolcraft, June developed a strong work ethic and a deep appreciation for the simple pleasures of life. On November 28, 1945, June married Eugene H. Kline. June and Eugene were blessed with three children: Ray (Cindy) Kline of Sturgis, Barbara Savage of Ithaca, and Scott (Vickie) Kline of Burr Oak. June’s love extended to her grandchildren, Shane Kline, Rinea (Dave) Peterson, Kyle (Emily) Kline, Chasity (Ben Girard) Savage, Brandon Kline, Emily Kline, and Andrew Kline. She adored her great-grandchildren. June was a pillar of support for her family and actively participated in various community activities. After her husband’s passing, June moved back to Schoolcraft, where she worked at the Schoolcraft Bank and Norma’s Antiques, sharing her passion for unique treasures with others. She enjoyed indulging in crafts, tending her garden, quilting, attending auctions, and tracing her family’s genealogy alongside her sisters, Marilyn Fuller and Beverly Parsons. Donations may be made in June’s memory to Transitions Hospice. Visit her page at amsfuneralhomes.com.
Roger A. Kniss, 75, Schoolcraft, passed away June 25, 2023. Roger was born October 8, 1947 in Kalamazoo, the son of Edwin and Jeanette (Klosterman) Kniss. He graduated from Delton-Kellogg High School in 1966. He joined the United States Air Force and served from 1966 until 1970, earning the rank of sergeant. When he returned, he married Vera Marie (Smith) Kniss on June 21, 1971. For over 30 years he worked for Lear in Mendon. He was a baseball umpire for many years. Roger was a member of the American Legion Post 475 in Schoolcraft and was a past commander. He was also a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Schoolcraft and the Fraternal Order of Eagles #2303 in Three Rivers. Roger was preceded in death by his wife, Vera; son Roger A. Kniss, Jr; brother Dan Kniss; sisters Barb Hudson and Gail Aldridge and son-in-law Mark Barnebee. He is survived by his children, Tina Griffith of Vicksburg, Dawn Barnebee of Vicksburg, Edith Adams of Texas, Robin Major of Vicksburg, and James Tyler of Illinois; grandchildren Earl (Sara) Holbrook, Michanna Holbrook, Ashley Barnebee, Laura (Eric) Adams, Nicole (Kareem) Price, Bobby (Heather) Adams, Arden Major, Larissa Major, and Colt Tyler; and 18 great grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother, Donald Kniss; Laraine (Ron) Whiteaker and brother-in-law Jim Hudson; several nieces and nephews; and his special friend, Janet Bresson. Services have been held. Visit his page at amsfuneralhomes.com. Donations may go to Generous Hands.
Tamita R. Lee, 59, went suddenly to be with the Lord June 19, 2023, at her home. Tami was born December 5, 1963, the eighth and youngest child of Donald Bladen and Wayva (King) Bladen in Marion, Indiana. Tami and her family moved to Vicksburg when she was quite young. She attended Vicksburg Community Schools, graduating in 1983. She briefly attended God’s Bible School and College in Cincinnati, Ohio. She worked at McDonald’s in Schoolcraft where she remained as a crew member for 15 years. She married Richard Lee in the summer of 2006. She enjoyed reading and was artistic. Most recently, she and Richard were part of “Don’s Crew” bowling team at Airway Lanes. She worshipped at the Christian Pilgrim Church in Vicksburg. She is survived by her husband, Richard Lee; son Arman Bladen of Vicksburg; siblings Paul (Barb) Bladen of Ottawa, Illinois, Ken (Beverly) Bladen of Cedar Springs, Michigan, Jeffery (Cindy) Bladen of Indianapolis, LaDonna (Phil) Brunow of Vicksburg, Stefan (Sallie) Bladen of Kalamazoo, and Lydia (Rob) Raines of New Castle, Indiana; mother-in-law and sisters in law; and several nieces and nephews as well as great nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, Donald and Wayva Bladen, and oldest sister Tonya Bladen. Visit her page at www.amsfuneralhomes.com.
Rhonda Lynn Lyons, 58, Kalamazoo, formerly of Vicksburg, passed away peacefully on July 7, 2023, in her parents’ Vicksburg home. She was born April 18, 1965, on Easter Day to Eugene and Carolyn Lyons. After graduating from Vicksburg High School, Michigan State University, and the Landscape Architecture Overseas Study Program at Gloucestershire University in Gloucester, UK, she traveled to many European countries. Rhonda was a talented landscape designer and worked with local landscape companies and Greensward in Byron Center. She then developed her own design business. Rhonda was a researcher and arranger and loved the great outdoors, travel, hiking, and bicycling. She was a member of the Church at Queen Valley, Arizona. She is survived by her parents, Eugene and Carolyn Lyons; sister, Lorene Lyons Taylor (Scott) and brother Jason E. Lyons; daughter Adisyn Liby Lyons-Chipman; nephews and nieces Hayden Taylor, Forest Taylor (Kristin), Chantal Taylor (Ryan Smith), Dr. Heath Taylor, DC, Anya Lyons, and Brecken Lyons; and several aunts and uncles and cousins. She was preceded in death by sister-in-law Dr. Cerissa Lyons, DDS. Memorials may be sent for Adisyn Lyons’ college education. Rhonda was cared for by Centrica Care Navigators Hospice. Visit her page at amsfuneralhomes.com.
Faith Christine Rowe, 84, Kalamazoo, passed away July 8, 2023 at home. Faith was born June 21, 1939 in Kalamazoo, the daughter of William and Rosabelle (Tripp) Van Bommel. She was a graduate of Comstock High School and after completing nursing training, Faith worked for Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital, Battle Creek VA Hospital and then the Gilmore Substance Abuse Clinic. She enjoyed silk ribbon embroidery, birdwatching, hand sewing cards, crafts, drawing and cooking. She was a member of Haven Church in Kalamazoo. She enjoyed her family and traveling. Surviving are her children, Renee Dalton of Cadillac, Scott (Mary) Rowe of Fulton, and Eric Rowe of Kalamazoo; granddaughters Amanda and Kerrie; great-granddaughters Savanah and Kaylee; sisters Carolyn Bailey and Emily (Larry) Barr; and a loving church family and dear friends. She was preceded in death by a granddaughter, Jennifer; sister, Marsha Tiffany; nieces Julia and Shenna; and nephew Steven. Donations may go to Villalobos Rescue Center (Pit Bulls and Parolees) or ASPCA. Visit her page at redmondfuneralhomes.net.
Frances Arlene Snyder, 88, Vicksburg, died July 14, 2023 at Stone Ridge Adult Foster Care near Bellevue, Michigan. She was born in Kalamazoo July 19, 1934, the daughter of Bliss and M. Arlene (Moore) Sherman and was a lifetime resident of the area. She graduated from Vicksburg High School with the class of 1952. Frances was married to Norman D. Snyder in Kalamazoo in 2001. Norman passed away in 2019. Frances enjoyed talking with people. She had a remarkable memory of family history and events that occurred while she was growing up near Fulton. Although bedridden for many years in her Kalamazoo home, and later at her stay with Stone Ridge AFC, she stayed in contact with friends by phone and personal notes. Once a friend, always a friend seemed to be the rule in Frances’ life. Frances is survived by a son, Bryant Meacham; sisters Darlene Denney and Heather Hill; brothers Gary Sherman and Terry (Kitty) Sherman; brother-in-law Harvey Snyder; and nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents; son Keith Meacham; sister-in-law Gwen Sherman; and brothers-in-law Pete Denney and Thomas Hill. The family will receive friends for a time of sharing on Saturday, August 5, 2023, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Eickhoff Funeral Home in Mendon. Visit her page at eickhofffuneralhome.com.
Bradley John VandenAkker passed away unexpectedly at his home July 14, 2023. Brad was born January 3, 1981 to Lisa J VandenAkker. He graduated from Schoolcraft Community Schools in 2000. He enjoyed creating art, but his passion was in athletics, playing football, basketball, baseball, and running track and field. He was co-captain of his football, basketball and track teams. Brad married Melinda L (Douglas) VandenAkker on July 12, 2003. They celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary together just days before his passing. Brad enjoyed spending time with his family, and any activity that brought his family together made him happy and brought him joy. Brad leaves behind his wife, Melinda (Douglas) VandenAkker; sons Trent Bradley and Nolan Jeffrey VandenAkker; mother, Lisa VandenAkker; brother, Michael Melching; grandmother Shirley VandenAkker; aunt Julie VandenAkker-Arney; cousins Alexander (AJ) and Matthew Arney; mother-in-law Terri Douglas-Wheat; and many brothers and sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews, and extended family and friends. Brad was preceded in death by his sister, Amber Marie Melching, grandfather John A VandenAkker, and father-in-law Jeffrey S Douglas. Visit his page at amsfuneralhomes.com. Donations may go to the American Heart Association in Bradley’s memory.
Brian James Willoughby died peacefully and unexpectedly July 15, 2023 at his Vicksburg home. He had a kind and gentle spirit and his own brand of humor. He enjoyed spending time with his wife and children and felt much pride in all their accomplishments. He enjoyed watching sports, especially the Rams, Cardinals, and NASCAR. He liked reading history, watching movies, and playing Risk. Brian worked for over 25 years in the movie theater industry in Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, and Three Rivers. Brian was a graduate of Kalamazoo Central High School in 1985. He attended Adrian College, then received his bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University. On October 28, 2000, Brian married Stephanie (Smith) Willoughby, who survives. He is also survived by their children, Benjamin, Samuel, and Erin; father James (Deborah Search) Willoughby; sister Debora (Richard) Karnemaat; brothers, Scott (Yulia) Willoughby and Mark (Tina Newhauser) Willoughby; Stephanie’s parents, Susan and Eric Smith; brother-in-law, David Smith; nephews Ryan, Nathan, Zack, Sean; and nieces Sofia and Maddy. Brian was preceded in death by his mother, Marquita Willoughby, and stepsister Elizabeth Kordella. Donations may go to an education fund for the children, the Big Red Machine marching band or to the Kalamazoo Nature Center. Visit his page at amsfuneralhomes.com.