The Schoolcraft Community Library is currently open for curbside service. Library patrons can reserve materials by phone, email or through the website. Curbside service is also available for faxing and copying.
We continue to monitor the public health updates and look forward to opening the library’s doors as soon as possible. We thank community members for their patience and understanding.
MiLibraryQuest Winter 2021 has begun. Private teenage detectives will attempt to stop a heist! These young sleuths will figure out the criminal’s identity and what he or she is stealing to prevent the crime and claim a reward. This activity runs through Feb. 14. Sign up or learn more at mi.gov/MiLibraryQuest. Prizes are awarded!
String Art Project registration has begun. The library is offering a Valentines String Art Craft for youth in grades 3-8. Please check the website and Facebook page @schoolcraftlibrary for more information.
Coming in 2021 is Village Voices, a bi-monthly social media engagement, allowing participants to respond to questions which provide input on future library events, programs and materials. Participants will answer questions like “What skill have you been hoping to learn but just haven’t had time? What is your New Year’s goal? Would an accountability group help you reach it? What skill could you share with your community? Which workshop sounds more like you: writing or design?” Check our website or Facebook page as there is more information to come!
The indoor dining ban in the State of Michigan was lifted Feb. 1, enabling our local pubs and eateries to reopen and serve customers in their establishments while following public health guidelines. The safety restrictions in place for many months have been difficult for many individuals and businesses.
Please support our local businesses in whatever way you are comfortable with and financially able. Most offer take-out, and many even provide home or curb-side delivery. Check with your favorite village eatery either online or by phone and investigate its options.
These businesses have supported community and school events. Let’s continue to support and encourage their operations.
On Nov. 15, three days after the Schoolcraft volleyball team beat Kalamazoo Christian to win its fourth consecutive Regional Championship, the MHSAA made an announcement: Every fall sport was being put on a three-week pause, no competition and no practice. Volleyball had just three games left to complete the entire season – state quarter-finals, semi-finals and the state championship. MHSAA on Dec. 29 announced that the fall season could resume practice Jan. 4. With just eight days of practice after being idle for weeks, the Eagles would face off against Calvin Christian in the quarter-finals at Loy Norrix High School. Two days prior to the game it was announced 50 fans per team would be allowed.
In the Division 3 state quarter finals, Schoolcraft jumped out to an early lead of 5-0, over Grandville Calvin Christian, with Kelby Goldschmeding serving and showing some great defense. Calvin was able to close the gap slowly with some unforced errors by the Eagles. Neither team looked like it had missed a beat with the weeks of delay.
Both teams were making some tremendous defensive plays but the front line of the Eagles, consisting of Kayla Onken , Maggie Morris and Anna Schupel, just seemed too powerful for the Knights. The Eagles were able to take game one, 25-16. In game two, Calvin Christian was able to break out a lead on the Eagles 7-3, but a hard kill by Schupel led to a five-point rally. The Eagles put some great teamwork together to take the game, 25-17.
Game three was the deciding one. Either the Eagles would punch their ticket to Kellogg for the second straight year to play in the state semi-finals, or they’d play game four. The Eagles were working on a 10-point run before the Squires head Coach Amanda Bremmer called a time out to give her girls a chance to catch a breath and calm down. The Eagles had other plans. They began to strike back, keeping Calvin Christian on its heels. With the score sitting at 20-8 Eagles, another time out called by Calvin Christian gave the Eagles the little breather they needed.
Game three ended on Maggie Morris’ kill and a score of 25-12, sending the Eagles back to the semi-finals for the second year in a row.
After their quarter-final win, the Eagles headed back to play at Battle Creek’s Kellogg Arena where they expected to play Valley Lutheran High School, a Saginaw team which defeated Royal Oak’s Shrine Catholic 3-0 in a Jan. 12 quarter-final. But 13 days before the scheduled match, Valley Lutheran was forced to forfeit the game due to a positive COVID test.
The Eagles continued to practice, following health guidelines.
For the second straight year, the Schoolcraft team prepared for a face-off with the Kestrels from Monroe St Mary Catholic Central. Last season’s championship had come down to a tie-breaker match that the Kestrels won 15-12. These two powerhouse teams first met in 2014; the Kestrels came out on top. The Eagles were hungry for payback.
Monroe started out tough in Set 1, stretching a 6-0 point run before Eagles Coach Onken called a timeout to give the team a breather. With a tremendous block by Anna Schupel, the Eagles were able to get some momentum, bringing the score up to 11-8 Kestrels. Monroe came back to add more points, stretching the score to 17-10. The Eagles found it hard to get a momentum going, especially at the net – the Kestrels front line blocked almost everything.
Set 1 belonged to the Kestrels as defense became a factor between these two teams. The Eagles came on late bringing the score closer, but the Kestrels won, 25-19.
Kelby Goldschmeding started off serving in Set 2, but the Eagles quickly fell behind 8-4. It seemed that wherever the Eagles hit the ball a Kestrel was there with a save. Soon, the Kestrels started to make some unforced errors, allowing the Eagles to work their way back a little. Unfortunately, the Eagles dropped Set 2, 25-14.
Set 3 was a championship set for Monroe St. Mary and a stay-alive set for Schoolcraft. The Eagles started with some success, making it 5-5. The Kestrels stretched the lead going on a 15-3 scoring streak, eventually defeating the Eagles 28-8 to claim back-to-back Division 3 titles.
Leading the Eagles was senior Maggie Morris with 9 kills, 2 digs, 2 blocks and an ace. Senior Anna Schupel added 6 kills and 2 blocks. Senior Kayla Onken had 3 kills, 15 assists, 6 digs, 1 block and 1 ace. Senior Allie Goldschmeding contributed 15 digs, 3 assists and Senior Kelby Goldschmeding added 15 digs and 3 assists.
After defeating Lawton to claim a third straight district championship and enduring a six-week state-imposed delay, the Schoolcraft Eagles football team needed to get ready to face off against the Titans of Jackson Lumen Christi for the third time since 2016.
Jackson had pulled off a 37-34 win in the District Championship at Schoolcraft. In 2019 the Eagles traveled to Jackson to face the Titans for the Regional Championship. They lost, 30-35. But 2020-21 was a different story, and just as exciting as the last two.
Playing at Macamly Field at Portage Central on a sunny day, the Eagles got their win and handed the Titans their first .500 season since 1988.
The first half of the game was a defensive battle; neither team saw the end zone until nine seconds before the end of the half when senior Alex Thole scored from 7 yards out. The extra point was wide and gave the Eagles a 6-0 lead going into halftime. A fumble from the Titans was recovered by the Eagles and led to a second score by Schoolcraft with a pass from Thole to Jimmy Downs. The 2-point conversion was successful from Brandon Newland to put the Eagles up 14-0. The Titans took just one play to add points off a 65-yard run from Basil Hampton. Jackson scored again, taking the game into the fourth quarter at 14-14.
With a perfect pass to Harmon DeVries, the Eagles opened it up to 21-14 – until Basil Hampton from Jackson took the ball 80 yards to the house and a 2-point conversion to give Jackson the lead, 22-21. After working their way down the field, sophomore Tagg Gott hit paydirt from 7 yards out. With a successful 2-point conversion pass to Harmon Devries, the Eagles took the lead again 29-22 with 5:53 showing on the clock. The Titans did everything they could to work their way down the field. On a long pass into the end zone from the Titans, senior Jett Gott stepped in front of the receiver to intercept the pass and seal the championship for the Eagles.
Coach Nathan Ferency told the team how proud he was by beating one of the best programs in the state of Michigan and earning the Eagles their first Regional Championship since 2001. He told the players and coaching staff to “enjoy this win for the day but tomorrow we are back at it and getting ready for the State Semi Finals.”
Four teams remained in the Division 7 hunt for the state football championship Jan. 16. One was Schoolcraft’s: The Eagles faced off against the Hornets of New Lothrop at Fenton High School.
The Eagles struck first, with senior Jimmy Downs taking the ball 87 yards down the sideline, the only score in the first quarter. But the Hornets went on a scoring streak and added three touchdowns combined with three two-point conversions. At halftime the Hornets led, 24-7.
With two more scores from the Hornets and a 36-7 lead, senior Jake Olvitt stepped in front of a pass, bringing some life back to the Eagles and making the score 36-13. In the fourth, Alex Thole found Harmon DeVries from five yards out. Jett Gott added the two-point conversion, bringing it yet closer at 36-21. That’s where the scored remained, sending the Hornets on to the Division 7 State Championship.
The Eagles ended the season at 9-2, scoring 441 points and allowing 170. The team secured its third straight district title and first regional title since the 2001 state championship team. The New Lothrop Hornets had not come that close to losing a game all season, scoring 485 points and only allowing 92. The Eagles will graduate 20 seniors this year.
Statistically, the game ended with the Eagles running 72 offensive plays to the Hornets’ 64. The Eagles netted 430 yards of total offense while the Hornets netted 456. Senior Alex Thole went 22/39 for 300 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Jimmy Downs carried the ball 6 times for 99 yards while sophomore Tagg Gott had nine carries for 37 yards. Jett Gott led the Eagle receiving corps with seven catches for 135 yards, Jimmy Downs had five for 67 and Harmon DeVries added three for 48 with one touchdown. Defensively, Brandon Newland led the Eagles with five tackles and Bryce VanderWeire had four with six assists and one tackle for loss.
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic was a hot topic at the Schoolcraft board of education’s January meeting, where multiple teachers weighed in their opinions of the current situation.
The board approved a resolution that will mostly “stay the course” on what the district was already doing to address the pandemic. The elementary school is continuing a five-day-a-week a.m. and p.m. schedule.
The district recently had a positive case with a teacher. Board President Jennifer Gottschalk confirmed quarantine procedures and contact tracing had already been done and the schedule for the elementary will remain unchanged.
For the high school and middle school, they will continue to offer an SCS Online and KVIC (KRESA Virtual and Innovative Collaborative) instruction model option. However, they have since transitioned out of a full hybrid model to a face-to-face Tuesday through Friday full day schedule effective Jan. 25. Mondays will be left for teachers to work with online classes.
The board heard concerns from teachers at all three schools in open comment time prior to their decision. Most of the teachers thanked the board for its efforts during a trying school year and said they wanted to get back to face-to-face. But they were also concerned about class sizes and moving too quickly to return.
High school English teacher Kimberlee Klocke said contact tracing had been effective early on, but she had concerns about teachers having to use unpaid leave if quarantining more than once. She is also worried full classrooms could make social distancing more difficult.
“It concerns me that we could now end up with higher amounts of students and staff needing to go into quarantine,” Klocke said. “But we also need to consider what that could do for athletics and also our extracurricular activities.”
Fifth grade teacher Sheryl Peterson said the plan they agreed to before winter break was changed upon their return. She also expressed concerns about rushing students back before nailing down some more details.
“We’re not against moving towards a plan to bring our students back to school more,” Peterson said. “And maybe this is a good blueprint that’s been developed. But we haven’t had time to really hash it out.”
Fourth grade teacher and Kristin Caroselli , president of the Schoolcraft Education Association, said the teachers and district had agreed on some non-negotiable conditions that were not fully being honored after they returned from break, mainly dealing with social distancing concerns.
“We’re not surprised by this, we know this is coming and we want it to be better,” Caroselli said. “We want to be back in school. But we don’t want to be back in school in an environment that feels unsafe.”
Other concerns were raised about the second strain of the virus, how quickly teachers could get the vaccine, over-packed special education classes and concerns about bullying due to mask wearing.
Superintendent Rusty Stitt responded by thanking everyone for their concerns, noting that 2020 and COVID-19 have been the biggest challenge of his career.
“I wouldn’t wish this on anybody,” Stitt said.
Stitt praised the staff for its dedication and passion for the job and said that he’s been meeting with other superintendents weekly to discuss the issues at hand. He said Schoolcraft’s decision to go back is in line with other districts in the county. He noted that while they were moving forward with this plan, things were not “set in stone” and could change if it didn’t feel right.
New Trustee Adam Haley inquired into what a “worst-case scenario” would be for numbers of students and distances between them in classrooms at the middle school. Middle School Principal Dave Powers said he’s met with with Facilities/Technology Director James Weiss and custodial staff and found it may be up to 19 in some classrooms. However, he believes it will be in excess of three feet of social distancing.
There’s another factor that may come into play. “We are expecting that there will be some students who will still choose to be full virtual,” Powers said. “That is going to reduce that number in any section.”
Powers said they have not had many issues with social distancing, even during lunch periods, and that they have had few problems with children wearing masks. Schoolcraft is going to be mandating mask use for now.
The board discussed hiring new staff for the middle and high school to help with the extra workload on teachers. The district is hiring at least two for the middle school. However, High School Principal Matthew Dailey says they don’t anticipate doing that in his building. The creative solution is to better utilize two substitutes for the rest of the year and to add the option for a seventh hour class before or after regular school hours. Teachers would get overage pay for teaching this hour and it would have smaller class sizes to avoid overcrowding in other parts of the day. They could also possibly have teachers start taking classes during their planning period if they so choose.
If the district does need to hire more staff, Stitt said they aren’t expecting any issues because they are expecting to receive more COVID-19 relief money from the state that will cover the costs.
Vice President Jason Walther said he’s had discussions with other districts who have had experiences similar to Schoolcraft’s, of isolated cases with no cases of transmission at school. He said his own discussions with the health department on the issue indicate most transmissions happen on personal and holiday time.
“In my mind, COVID’s not going away. Yeah, we have a vaccine coming, but we’re going to be dealing with this for a lot longer and we have to get back to some sense of normalcy as fast as we can,” Walther said.
Stitt noted that the board must reconfirm its COVID response plans every month no matter what because of the way the situation keeps changing. He said he may bring the board together at short notice to make decisions if the schedule needs to be changed because they’re falling behind in preparations. Stitt said he wants to stay with a four-day schedule for now because it allows teachers the time they need to also work virtually.
“I struggle right now personally with that five-day, just because we may have to pivot out of it,” Stitt said.
Rev. Harold Brown, 85, Vicksburg, died peacefully Jan. 16, 2021. Harold was born March 6, 1935 in Akron, Ohio, the son of Gerald and Margaret (Boger) Brown. While working at General Motors in Mansfield, Ohio, Harold’s destiny was changed by Cook Road Baptist Church, which encouraged him to pursue the ministry. Harold graduated from Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Mo. in 1968. He pastored a few churches in the greater Kalamazoo area and started the Kalamazoo Baptist Church. Harold loved to laugh and never passed up a good buffet. Harold was preceded in death by his wife, Nora, and siblings Mary Moats, Ronnie Brown, and David Brown. He is survived by his children, Terry Brown, Danny Brown, and Dale Brown; grandchildren Jennifer, Allyssa, Russell, Melinda, Crystal, Ashley, and Ty; great-grandchildren Hunter, Evan, and Drake; siblings Joe (Nancy) Brown, Bill (Lydia) Brown, Donald Brown, and Susan Sauer; and many nieces and nephews. Services have been held. Visit his page at BetzlerLifeStory.com. Donations may go to Maranatha Bible Baptist Church.
Jack A. Brown, 91, Portage, formerly of Plainwell and Vicksburg, passed away on Jan. 25, 2021. Jack was born on July 24, 1929 in Dayton, Ohio. He was the son of Sabert and Leslie (Truitt) Brown. On January 4, 1949 Jack married the love of his life, Ethlyn Miller and together they had three children: Janet, Lois, and Bill. Jack worked for over 40 years in Parchment for KVP as a machinist. He loved to fish, bowl, golf, and hunt. He was loving, mellow, humble, social and friendly. Jack and Ethlyn have had a special friendship with Bud and Marilyn Bekken for over 70 years. Jack is survived by his wife of 72 years, Ethlyn; three children: Janet (Warren) Wright, of Vicksburg; Lois (Derry) Sanford, of Vicksburg; Bill (Cindy) Brown, of Plainwell; six grandchildren: Laura (Mike), Doug (Chad), Thomas (Beth), Jacob (Bethany), Jodi (Dennis), Chad; 10 great grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents, two sisters and one brother. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.
Raylan Eugene Cubic, passed away on Jan. 24, 2021 after battling a severe congenital heart defect. Raylan was born on Dec. 28, 2020 to Thomas and Rachel Cubic of Vicksburg. Raylan faced these challenges with a resilience and fortitude that inspired all who knew his story. Raylan is survived by his parents, his twin sister, Lillian Michaela, and a host of family and other loved ones. A private service will be held, followed by interment at Harrison Cemetery where Raylan will be laid to rest among family. In lieu of flowers, Raylan’s family asks that donations be given to the family c/o Shirley Mroczek to be used to purchase small comfort items for other children in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. Visit his page at avinkcremation.com.
Rodney Clair “Rod” Decker, 59, Schoolcraft, died Jan. 4, 2021 at Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo. He was born in Vicksburg Nov. 23, 1961, the son of Allan R. and Geraldine M. (Spealman) Decker. He was a lifetime resident of Kalamazoo County. He graduated from Vicksburg High School in 1979 and later attended Kalamazoo Valley Community College. As a young man, he engaged in general farming and later worked at Portage Steel. For the past 25 years he had been employed at TDA Buddy in Kalamazoo. Rod was a member of the NRA and enjoyed target shooting. He was a MOPAR car enthusiast and looked forward to trips north for ice fishing and snowmobiling. Rod was married to Christine Shelton Sept. 23, 2016. She survives, along with sons Timothy Harger of Schoolcraft, Christopher Harger of Portage, and Aaron Harger of Schoolcraft; grandchildren Nathaniel, Ian, Avery, Joel, and Livia; sisters Tammy Decker and Karla (Bill) Hodge; brother Mark Decker; nephew Thomas (Rebecca) Decker; niece Jessica (Jeremy) Shepherd; and best friend Brian (Dorothea) Williams He was preceded in death by his parents. Visit his page at eickhofffuneralhome.com.
Myrna Lee Forsythe, 84, Vicksburg, died peacefully at Rose Arbor Hospice on Jan. 2, 2021. Myrna was born December 3, 1936 in Reynolds, Ill., the daughter of Dale and Marian (Hahn) Wynn. She graduated from Reynolds High School in 1954, where she met Delano “Del” Forsythe. They were married July 16, 1955, in 1966 moving to Vicksburg, where they raised their family. Both Del and Myrna enjoyed traveling and the company of friends and family. Myrna was a talented cook and seamstress, and she always kept busy crafting and letter writing. She was a member of the United Methodist Church and United Methodist Women. Myrna is survived by sons Dennis (Kathleen) Forsythe and Douglas Forsythe of Vicksburg; grandchildren Nicole Rayburn, Amanda (Matthew) Nixon, Elizabeth (George) Palat, Andrew Forsythe; great grandchildren Tyler Deau, Morgan Rayburn, Allyson Rayburn, Caleb Nixon, Chloe Nixon and one on the way. She is also survived by brother-in-law Charles (Kay) Dooley; sisters-in-law Paulita Forsythe and Sharon Wynn; daughter-in-law Gloria Forsythe; several nieces, nephews, cousins; and special friend Barbara Swarthout. Myrna was preceded in death by her husband; sons Allan Forsythe and a baby boy; her parents; brother Kelly Wynn; sister Joyce Wynn Travis; and brothers-in-law Dennis Dooley, Earl Dooley, and Gary Travis. Visit Myrna’s page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan c/o Rose Arbor.
Dave Morris French, 78, passed away peacefully at Rose Arbor Hospice in Kalamazoo Jan. 24, 2021 after a brief illness. He was a 1960 graduate of Schoolcraft High School where he played football as a left guard. After graduation, he joined the Navy and had a tour on the USS Constellation. He then met and married Joyce Ann Comstock in 1968. He worked for General Motors BOC stamping plant for 27 years and then worked for Western Michigan University, retiring after 10 years. After retiring, he enjoyed going to Bonita Springs, Fla. in the winter. Dave was a Mason and a 55-year member of the Kalamazoo Corvette Club. He loved old cars, car shows, road trips and garage sales. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Joyce; children David (Kathy) of Saline, Mich. and Dawn (Paul) Knieriem of Livonia, Mich.; seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild; brother Larry; several nieces and nephews, cousins and many friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, his brother, Ron, and his grandson, Andrew Knieriem. Donations may go to American Heart Association.
Gary Glenn Hammel, passed away peacefully after a courageous battle with glioblastoma on Dec. 24, 2020. Born in Kalamazoo on Jan. 20, 1951, Gary grew up working alongside his siblings and parents in the family’s multiple businesses, including Hammel Concessions. He graduated from Vicksburg High School in 1969 and later attended Western Michigan University. A natural athlete and outdoorsman, he enjoyed many sports, including golfing, fishing and hunting. In 1970, Gary joined the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety. He began his career as a patrol officer and was promoted to sergeant of the S.I.U from 1987 to 1990. In 1990, Gary became sergeant of the Criminal Investigation Division. Gary retired from law enforcement in 1997 after 27 years of service. In 1999, Gary and his wife relocated to Fort Collins, Colo., where they owned and operated their small business. Gary loved spending time with his family, hiking in the mountains and biking the trails. Gary was preceded in death by his parents, Robert C. Hammel and Eleanor R. Hammel. He is survived by his loving wife of 28 years, Judi. A beloved husband, father, grandfather, and brother, Gary is lovingly remembered by his daughters, Lauri Berry (James and Jamie Culver (Matthew), stepdaughter Stacie Barrett (John), stepson Ryan Gaudie (Amy), sister Lin Hammel, brother Richard Hammel (Theresa), and grandchildren Clara, Joseph, Mitchell, Mara, Samantha, Brooke, Lux and Jovi. Loved by his family and friends, Gary will be remembered for his calming presence, kind soul, keen sense of humor and impressive golf game.
Bruce W. Hedges, 62, Fulton, passed away Jan. 6, 2021. He was born April 30, 1958 in Allegan, the son of Chester and Ellen (Wright) Hedges. Bruce attended Allegan and Otsego schools. On May 20, 1975 he married Sue Leonard, and together they raised two children. He enjoyed riding his Harley and spending time with his family and friends. He could always be seen at his grandchildren’s sporting events and was their biggest fan. For 15 years he owned B&S Auto in Vicksburg. His family will remember him as being strong-willed and having a heart of gold. Bruce is survived by his wife of 45 years, Sue; children Mike (Melisa) Leonard of Vicksburg and Melissa Yant of Fulton; grandchildren Cody Leonard and Brandin Yant; siblings Donna (Mike) O’Connell of Allegan, Dave Hedges, Jr, of Plainwell, and Donnie (Clara) Hedges of Allegan; and several nieces and nephews. Bruce was preceded in death by his parents, David Hedges Sr. and Ellen Hedges, and brothers Chuck and Terry Stratton. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com.
Ann June Jung, 74, Scotts, formerly of Brown Deer, Wis., passed away Jan. 10, 2021. Ann was born on June 1, 1946 in Shorewood, Wis., the daughter of William and Ida (Burnside) Gschwind. She was a 1964 graduate of Granville High School. Ann married Clifford Jung Oct. 18, 1969 and together they raised three children. Ann enjoyed fishing, boating, shopping, baking and especially spending time with her family and grandchildren. She also enjoyed spending time with her friends watching Packer games at Spanky’s in Mequon, Wis. Ann is survived by her husband Clifford; children Brad (Beth) Jung, of Washington, Amy (Mike) McConnaghy of Portage and Andy (Carrie Ann Jung), of Wisconsin; and grandchildren Grace, Kate, Nick, Hailey, Lacey, Nolan, Spencer and Sydney. Ann will be laid to rest next to her parents at Resurrection Cemetery in Mequon. Visit her page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.
David E. Landrum, 79, Vicksburg, passed away unexpectedly Jan. 17, 2021. He was born Sept. 7, 1941 to John C. Landrum, Sr. and Donna (Shrock) Landrum in Elkhart and graduated from White Pigeon High School in 1961. While serving in the army in the state of Washington, he met his wife, Lorna. They moved their young family to Michigan, where they remained. Dave worked 25 years at General Motors (Fisher Body) in Kalamazoo, and after his retirement, held various positions in the Kalamazoo area. He volunteered with the Wakeshma Township Fire Department in Fulton. He enjoyed camping with their close friends, the Happy Campers, as well as fishing, especially with his grandchildren. Surviving Dave is his wife of 59 years, Lorna; children Lisa (Ed) Robleski of Little Elm, Texas, Rod Landrum of Murfreesboro, Tenn., Lauri (Kevin) Wiessner of Kalamazoo and Rick (Kay) Landrum of Portage. He will be dearly missed by his grandchildren and great-grandchildren Amanda, Danielle, Travis, Zach, Grace, Michael, Abel, Theo, Juliet and Phoenix.
Lee F. Phelps, 82, Schoolcraft, passed away Jan. 12, 2021. He was born May 8, 1938 in Schoolcraft, the son of Leon and Phyllis (Hice) Phelps. He grew up on the family farm, graduating from Schoolcraft High School. He honorably served his country from 1959 until 1961 as part of the 82nd Airborne Division and was stationed at Fort Bragg. While in the military he was very proud to play on the baseball team. Lee and Kay Sprowl were married June 15, 1963, in Colon United Methodist Church. They raised their sons on the farm they purchased in 1969, growing it from 80 to 440 acres. Lee leaves behind a legacy of faith, hard work and integrity. Lee was a member of the Edwards Corner Bible Church. He is survived by Kay, his wife of 57 years; Larry (Dawn) Phelps of Vicksburg; Buzz (Kristina) Phelps of Nappanee, Ind. and Kurt (Rachel) Phelps of Schoolcraft; grandchildren Andrew, Aaron, Adam, Jacob (Heather), Justin, Micah, Kayson, Gracie, Gentzen, Mark, Halle, and Stephen. Lee was preceded in death by his parents, Leon and Phyllis Phelps. Visit his page at avinkcremation.com. Donations may go to Edwards Corner Bible Church Building Fund.
Dena Julene Piper, 72, Schoolcraft, passed away on Dec. 31, 2020 in Kalamazoo. She was born in Kalamazoo on June 6, 1948, the daughter of LaVerne and Julia (Smith) Brown. She was preceded in passing by her parents, stepfather Harold Bent and brother Dale Brown. Left to cherish Dena’s loving memory are her husband of nearly 52 years, Terry Piper; children Eric (Heidi) Piper, Jared (Mary) Piper, and Dawn (David) Beltz; 12 grandchildren; two great grandchildren; siblings Verna (Phil) Maughan and Darl (Shirley) Brown and many cousins, nieces, nephews, and close family friends. Donations may go to St. Jude’s Research Hospital. Visit her page at mccowensecord.com.
Dennis J. Pound, 65, Vicksburg, passed away Jan. 8, 2021. Dennis was born on Feb. 1, 1955 in Kalamazoo, the son of Guy Douglas and Jean (Mandigo) Pound. Dennis is survived by his wife of 41 years, Diane; daughter Kimberly Pound; son Jay Pound; brother Doug Pound; sister Deborah Dornbos; and many nieces and nephews. Dennis was preceded in death by his parents, two nieces and a nephew. Dennis graduated from Vicksburg High School and Kalamazoo Valley Community College. A private family graveside service will be held at a future date. Visit his page at avinkcremation.com.
Ronald E. Sheely, 75, Portage, passed away Jan. 3, 2021. Ron was born on Jan. 5, 1945 in Camp Shelby, Miss. He was the son of Merritt and Viola (Carey) Sheely. Ron was a road inspector for the Michigan Department of Transportation. On June 6, 1987 he married his wife, Betty. He enjoyed watching the Detroit Lions. He will be remembered by his family for having a generous heart, independent spirit and strong-willed. Ron was preceded in death by his wife, Betty, and a granddaughter, Jennifer Hodgman. Ron is survived by his children, Michael (Elizabeth) Sheely, of Otsego; Keith Sheely, of Illinois; and Anthony (Tina) Sheely), of Grand Rapids; stepchildren Marty O’Brien; Clark O’Brien; March Wegeler; and Doni Anderson; many grandchildren and great grandchildren. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com.
Jeanne A. Tindall, 92, passed away with her family by her side Jan. 14, 2021, from COVID-19. She resided at Friendship Village in Kalamazoo and formerly lived on Indian Lake in Vicksburg. Jeanne was born March 24, 1928 in Kalamazoo, the daughter of the late Ralph and Gladys (Bollinger) Keller. Jeanne grew up in Kalamazoo with three siblings, the late Barbara (Otto) Hood, Jack (Kathy) Keller and Marian (Don) Scheid. On June 18, 1949, she married James L. Tindall. She received her Bachelor of Music from U of M in 1952. After Jim’s passing in 2011, she had a special friend, the late Dr. John Sinclair. Jeanne is survived by her children, Nancy (Thom) Jones of Kalamazoo, Ken Tindall (Beth DeWaters) of Kalamazoo, Scott (Shelley) Tindall of Vicksburg and Marilyn (Ken) Weichhand of Vicksburg; grandchildren Carrie (James) Langley, Paul Gerts, Steve (Sara) Weichhand, Lisa Weichhand, Timothy Tindall, Brad Tindall, Shawn Tindall, Luke (Eunice) Tindall; great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild; a brother-in-law, sisters-in-law and several nieces, nephews, and cousins. Donations may go to Ministry with Community.