Obituaries

Barbara Ann Adams, 83, Vicksburg, died August 3, 2022 at Glen Arbor Hospice in Battle Creek. She was born in Clinton, Illinois on January 3, 1939, the daughter of Floyd and Opal (Mills) Miller. The family moved to the Vicksburg area in 1953, and Barbara graduated from Vicksburg High School in 1957. She married Billy Ray Adams on February 22, 1958. She worked briefly at the Upjohn Company, the Vicksburg Hospital, and for her father at the Texas Corners Hardware Store. Barbara loved to sew and quilt for family and friends. She visited many area craft shows with her Appliqués by Barbara. She and her husband enjoyed travelling the country to NASCAR races, going to the casino, and camping. They spent their winters in Port Lavaca, Texas. Barbara is survived by her husband of 64 years, Billy Ray Adams; brother Robert Miller; sister-in-law Sally (Tom) Reed; nephews Michael Miller and Chris, Aaron, Joe, and Matt Reed; niece Lindsey (Tom) Den Harder and their children, Blake and Luke. She was preceded in death by her son, Bradley Ray Adams in 2017. Cremation has been conducted. Her life will be celebrated at an open house on September 11 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Kline’s Resort Clubhouse. Donations may go to charity. Visit her page at eickhofffuneralhome.com.

Barry A. Bly, 75, Vicksburg, passed away August 18, 2022. Barry was born on November 26, 1946 in Flint, the son of Cleo “Van” and Pearl (Kelley) Bly. Barry’s dad was a traveling sales rep for Eckrich Meat and because of that he did a lot of traveling. This caused Barry to go to many schools and move around a lot. Barry always looked for the positive and enjoyed the experiences traveling provided and loved his childhood. He graduated from Kalamazoo Loy Norrix High School with the class of 1964. After high school, he graduated from Michigan State University with a business degree. He was employed with General Motors, and then worked for over 20 years at Borgess Hospital. He married Angel Kellogg on June 12, 1982. He enjoyed watching sports, playing golf, hunting, and fishing. His family will remember him as quiet, gentle, and witty. Barry is survived by his wife Angel; children Shannon Bly, Joe (Abby) Franklin-Bly of Kalamazoo, Matt (Jenn) Bly of Texas; grandchildren Kevyn, Pascal, Jordan, Caeleb, Daisha, and Ezra. He is also survived by his brother, Randy Bly, of Portage. Barry was preceded in death by his parents. Barry has been cremated. His ashes will be buried at the Vicksburg Cemetery. Visit his page at amsfuneralhomes.com.

Francis Bruystens, 87, Three Rivers, passed away August 1, 2022. Francis, “Fritz”, was born on July 20, 1935 in Chicago, the son of Herbert and Johanna (Gerritsen) Bruystens. Fritz loved the challenge of putting a puzzle together and owned a large collection of puzzles. Fritz also loved to go fishing, campin and work in the yard. He worked at Simpson’s Paper Mill in Vicksburg and other shops in the area. He was preceded in passing by his parents and siblings Olga Crossman and Charlie Bruystens. Francis is survived by his children, Mark Bruystens and Diane (Daryl) Grofvert; grandchildren Josh (Rebeca) Bruystens and Shelbe Bruystens; great grandchildren Jackson and Clarity Bruystens; siblings Herbie Bruystens and Carl (Judy) Bruystens; and many nieces and nephews. In accordance with Fritz’s wishes, cremation has taken place. Visit his page at amsfuneralhomes.com.

Harriet Louise Burch, 101, Schoolcraft, passed away on August 5, 2022. Harriet was born December 7, 1920 in Kalamazoo, the daughter of Roy and Maude (Null) Cobb. She graduated from Schoolcraft High School and married Uroyal “John” Burch. Harriet retired from Portage Public Schools as a transportation secretary and school bus driver. She was member of the First Presbyterian Church of Schoolcraft and Eastern Star. She was strong-willed and enjoyed needlework. Harriet is survived by her daughters-in-law Jackie Burch of Illinois and Betty Burch of Schoolcraft; grandchildren John (Kay) Burch of Schoolcraft, Mark (Karen) Burch of Arkansas, Tammy Rice of Schoolcraft and Roy (Connie) Burch of Illinois; great grandchildren Renee (Scott) Bragagnini of Schoolcraft, Blaine (Lia) Burch of Kalamazoo, Raygen (Jared) Knee of Schoolcraft, Rylee (Hannah) Rice of Three Rivers, Brooke (Kelson) Gettel of Battle Creek, Travis Burch of Colorado and Tyler (Elizabeth) Burch of Illinois; and great great grandchildren Lio, Lilliana, Remi, Ellexi, Callon, Mackenzie, Harrison, Weston, Blakely, and Barrett. Harriet was preceded in death by her husband and sons Dan and Jerry Burch. Visit her page at amsfuneralhomes.com. Donations may go to First Presbyterian Church of Schoolcraft.

Velma I. Cannell, 93, Vicksburg, passed away August 10, 2022. Velma was born January 6, 1929 in Guelph, Ontario, Canada to Harold and Gladys (Younger) Boles. She married Arthur F. Cannell on July 29, 1950. Because of Art’s employment, the young family relocated to the United States, and raised their family in St. Clair Shores. Following their retirement in 1983, they spent time in North Carolina and Florida before moving to Vicksburg, where she loved living. She was an avid reader and took great pride in winning one of Vicksburg District Libraries Summer Reading Program contests. Following the death of her husband Art in 2013, she lived in her own home, with family nearby. Velma was a very private person who lived an honorable life. She will be missed by family and friends. Velma is survived by sons Stephen (Marie), Donald, and Larry (Lori Heiden) Cannell; grandchildren Lisa (Kyle) Nirginakis, Emily (Raymond) French, Jonathon (Kate) Cannell, Marilyn Cannell, and Natalie Cannell; great-grandchildren Tory French, Kaylin, Lucas, Lily and Kevin Nirginakis, and Sean Cannell. Visit her page at amsfuneralhomes.com.

Kenneth C. Gorsline, 84, passed away on August 20, 2022. Ken was born in Vicksburg on December 18, 1937, the son of Carl Kenneth and Mindy Mabel (Smith) Gorsline. He graduated from Galesburg-Augusta High School in 1956. Ken proudly served in the US Marine Corps. He worked at Kalamazoo Manufacturing and in 1988 started his own business, Ken Gorsline Welding. For 44 years he was a volunteer with South County EMS. He enjoyed bowling, dancing, hunting, and his horses. Ken was a member of St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church. On May 13, 1961, he married Geraldine “Jerri” Ottney, who survives. Ken is also survived by his children, Theresa Gorsline, Kenneth Charles (Renee) Gorsline Jr., Julia (David) Markle and Jonathan (Jamie) Gorsline; grandchildren Paul (Miranda) Duis, William Gorsline, Angellea Gorsline, Samuel Herring, Darrell Markle, Holley Markle, Jared (Lauryn Mohney) Gorsline, Jordan Gorsline, Jonathan “JJ” Gorsline; great-grandchildren Amalia, Alaric, Natalie, Parker, Johnny, Emma; and several nieces and nephews. Ken was preceded in death by his parents, an infant son, Carl Paul Gorsline, and a brother, Carl Junior Gorsline. Donations may go to Centrica Care Navigators or St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church.

Juanita May Gregg, 91, Kalamazoo, passed away July 27, 2022. She was born in Kalamazoo February 15, 1931, to Leonard Ernest and Emma Arlene (Eastman) Goble. Juanita graduated from Galesburg High School in 1949 and KVCC. She worked as an accountant and at Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan. She is survived by her husband of 72 ½ years, Harry Lewis Gregg; daughters Judy Smith, Deborah (George) Goodsell, Patricia (James) Madison, and Dyrinda Voss; granddaughter-in-law Nancy Smith; grandchildren Jeffrey (Rene) Smith, Patrick (Lisa) Smith, Sarah (Peter) Ellis, David (Laurel Yoder) Goodsell, Joshua (Haley Newburry) Madison, Sergey (Taylor Fowler) Madison, Michael (Emily) Voss, Michelle Voss, and Brianna Dompke; great-grandchildren Katlin, Colton, Bryana, Hadlee, Hudson, Blake, Cora, Dean, River, Vera, Grace, Kennedy, Aiden, and Grayson; great-great-granddaughter, Piper; “sister” Mae Cutler; brother-in-law Roger Gregg; sister-in-law Joyce Adkins; and several nieces and nephews. Juanita was preceded in death by her parents; son-in-law Richard Voss; grandson Bryan Smith; and many siblings. Donations may go to American Heart Association or Shriners Hospitals.

Daniel Stephen Hendrick, 61, Three Rivers, died August 22, 2022 at Edgewood Manor where he has resided since 2008. He was born in Vicksburg July 28, 1961, the son of William John and Mary Frances (Mattheis) Hendrick. He graduated from Vicksburg High School with the class of 1979, then joined the U.S. Air Force serving in both Italy and Korea. Daniel worked at Summit Polymers and Kalamazoo Manufacturing. He was an animal lover and enjoyed arts and crafts, gardening, and hunting. Dan is survived by sisters Denise (Morris) Ballman of Three Rivers, Danine (Robert) Trattles of Kentucky, Debra (Curtis Holden) Hendrick of Arizona, and Delinda (Walter McDonald) Hendrick of Gun Lake; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, David Hendrick. Visit his page at eickhofffuneralhome.com.

Janet Noel, 89, Vicksburg, passed away on September 1, 2022. Janet was born November 13, 1932, to Theodore and Iva (Welch) Zimmerman. She graduated from Vicksburg High School in 1950. Janet worked in benefits for the paper mill and then Upjohn. She married Vernon Noel in 1950. Janet golfed and bowled. She liked outdoor games and just about any card game. She quilted, sewed, and loved to spend time with her family. She was a long-time member of Vicksburg United Methodist Church. She enjoyed traveling and visited many states and countries. She will be deeply missed. Janet is survived by her husband of 72 years, Vernon; children Walter Noel, Wayne Noel, Terri Solomon, Sherry (Kevin Chesser) Shoemaker and Steve (Gaylee) Noel; nine grandchildren, five great grandchildren, and five siblings, as well as several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents and five siblings. Services are scheduled September 7 at the Vicksburg United Methodist Church. Donations may go to the Alzheimer’s Foundation. Visit her page at amsfuneralhomes.com.

Debora Shelton, 68, Vicksburg, passed away August 18, 2022 with her family by her side. She was a very special woman who was loving and devoted to her family. She was outspoken, hardworking, proud, and genuine. Debora was preceded in death by her father, Darrell Hayden Bryant, and her brother, Darrell Bryant. She is survived by her mother, Audrey Bryant; sister Dawn (Rod) Bell; children Russell Shelton (Stacey Smith) and Amber Shelton (Raymond Taylor); grandchildren Ty Shelton, Skiy Ewing, Logan Ewing, Gage Shelton, several bonus grandchildren, and many aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews. Friends and family are invited to attend a Celebration of Life in Debora’s honor on September 24, 2022, at 2 p.m. at 15905 Portage Road, Vicksburg.

Robert Lee Sinclair, 95, Vicksburg, passed away July 30, 2022 at the Bowman Place in Three Rivers. Bob was born on Feb. 7, 1927 in Hannibal, Missouri, to Ernest and Etta (McNeal) Sinclair. He learned to work hard on the farm and graduated from Tilden High School in 1944. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on Feb. 27, 1945. Bob was honorably discharged at the end of World War II, reaching the rank of Seaman 1st Class V-6. He married Mary Callis on Sept. 29, 1950 in Rockford and moved to Vicksburg. Bob worked at Simpson Lee Paper Company for more than 30 years. He loved gardening, bird watching, auctions, history, country music, games, and traveling out West. Survivors include his wife, Mary; children Robert Jr. (Barbara) of Vicksburg, Brenda (Donald) Creager of Three Rivers, and Stephen (Mary Brown) of Katy, Texas; grandchildren Suzanne, Donald Jr., Stephanie, Robert III, Dawn, Adam, and Arden; 16 great-grandchildren and many loving nieces and nephews. Bob was preceded in death by his parents; brothers Floyd Sinclair, Ernest Eugene Sinclair, Russell Sinclair and James Sinclair; and sisters Rosetta Sokol and Kathryn Jennings. Donations may go to Schoolcraft Assembly of God or to Wounded Warrior Project.

Polly Laurene (Reed) Youngs, 88, passed away peacefully on August 4, 2022. Polly was born June 10, 1935. She married James O. Youngs on January 11, 1954, and they celebrated 58 years together. They had two sons, Reed and Greg, and adored their three grandchildren, Amy, Megan and Jim. Polly was employed in the transportation field for over 40 years. She was Jim’s biggest supporter during his county clerk campaigns. They enjoyed their time on Mackinac Island at the Governor’s Conference and yearly Michigan County Clerk’s Association Conferences. Polly will be remembered for her Christmas Open Houses, her wonderful cooking, and her generous spirit. She was a volunteer for the Vicksburg Lioness’ Club and South County Community Center, and she enjoyed her time with the Vicksburg Ladies Library. A celebration of life was held on August 18th, 2022, at the Zhang Senior Community Center in Portage. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Vicksburg District Library, Zhang Senior Community Center or Hospice (Centrica Care of Southwest Michigan).

Vicksburg council eyes Social District changes

By Jef Rietsma

Vicksburg’s Social District may undergo changes in hopes of fostering greater patronage.

Village council members were advised at an August meeting that further discussion about the downtown area designated as Vicksburg’s Social District can be expected at a Sept. 19 meeting.

Village Manager Jim Mallery said the situation is based primarily on recent conversations he has had with patrons of the Social District and businesses within its boundaries. He said feedback on the village’s Social District has been “overwhelmingly positive.”

In addition, Mallery said he has taken part in forums with his counterparts across the state. Discussions about social districts confirm Vicksburg is not alone in having what could be considered a successful district.

“It’s quite consistent what communities are seeing, first and foremost, that this is truly a positive economic tool for communities that have been engaged and put this in place,” Mallery said, hinting he may suggest the council consider extend the hours of Vicksburg’s Social District.

“It is a council item (and) if the council felt the need or desire, we would certainly recommend that we … put together local data and the impact it’s had on our community, and with that some options in front of the council.”

Michigan law permits local governments to create a defined district including liquor-licensed bars and restaurants and permits patrons to carry their beverages among the businesses. It includes Oswalt Park at the intersection of Prairie and Main streets.

Council President Tim Frisbie said he has been approached at various times about the Social District’s hours and limitations.

“We have a pretty good understanding of what everybody wants to do going forward,” he said.

Council member Ryan Wagner said he agrees it may be time to revisit the district and consider changes to benefit its patrons.

“A lot of folks on the chamber of commerce have approached me and echoed those same things,” Wagner said. “So, I think it’s time we do take a good look at it and task staff with bringing back a recommendation. I’d definitely like to see some proposed changes and recommendations.”

With that, Wagner made a motion for village staff to compile data and information, so the village council can consider updates and recommendations. Mallery will provide a summary of the information and likely make a recommendation.

The Social District’s hours are 4 to 11 p.m. seven days a week.

In other action, Mallery said work on improvements at Sunset Lake Park and Clark Park have been progressing. Sunset Lake Park is close to completion, while the Clark Park work will continue.

Also, Mallery said the village’s Aug. 9 Food Truck Rally drew more than 2,000 people.

“I think people are understanding we can pull these events off,” he said. “They’re family events. People are coming down, families, pets … Main Street and Prairie Street were designed for these events.”

Meanwhile, the village is preparing to host its 150th anniversary celebration Oct. 15. More information will be available in next month’s South County News.

Routines old and new

A shady and inviting path through the woods.

By Kathy Oswalt-Forsythe

Things have changed in my getting-ready-for-school routine. I’m not getting ready. I retired from teaching after spending most of my adult life in education.

I always wanted to be a teacher. I organized my dolls in neat rows, lecturing them on the ABCs and simple math. I occasionally corralled my little brothers, passing out pencils and lined paper, and practiced delivering directions to this lively, distracted crew.

I loved reading. History. Spelling Bees. The smell of crayons. Sharpened pencils.

I loved new sets of books. My teachers. A bumpy school bus ride.

My grandmothers were teachers. My mother was a certified teacher. I always traveled the teacher-in-training path.

From the time I was five years old, I have been going to school, getting children ready for school, or working in a school. Most of my educator friends have, too.

The whole cycle of our activities, family plans, and routines have revolved around the rhythm of the school calendar year. For the most part, it has been predictable and enjoyable. And then I loved teaching. I can’t imagine a more rewarding and challenging career.

So this retirement routine is all different. It is a frontier full of discovery for me. I know that change and adapting to it is a part of life. And it involves some recognition and acceptance of getting older. When did this happen?

My already-retired friends assure me I will love it — that I will look forward to and enjoy every day.

Many retired people I know say they don’t know how they ever had time to work. They volunteer. They join service organizations. They exercise. They create book clubs. They become more active in church. They travel more.

Some claim they don’t even keep track of the days of the week. That’s hard to imagine.

There are things I am looking forward to:

Driving north mid-week to enjoy October colors in Michigan.

Grocery shopping on Wednesdays and taking advantage of a senior discount.

Heading south to a warm, sandy beach in late January.

Attending a grandchild’s school program or chaperoning a field trip without scheduling a day off and creating sub-plans.

But there are also things I will miss:

I will miss my co-workers and our daily interactions and support for one-another.

I will miss the schedule. Each fall, greeting a classroom full of nervous teenagers. Getting to know them and planning for their instruction. Reading their writing and being a part of their lives.

I felt like my efforts were never enough. There was always more to be done. And then I often worried about them. I won’t miss that.

So I’m following a different path, writing a new chapter, and adjusting to a life without setting an alarm clock. I am having an extra cup of coffee in the morning, reading and actually finishing books, and scheduling more time with family and friends.

Yes, I think I will enjoy this new routine.

It’s a Fine Life.