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Big Rapids Daily News
Obituaries

Alan Harold Beamer, 67 ,of Big Rapids

Alan Harold Beamer, 67 ,of Big Rapids,  passed away peacefully after a courageous five year battle with Alzheimer's with his family and loved ones at his side on Friday, April 21, 2017 at home. He was 67 years old.
 
 He was born in Wyoming, Michigan to Harold "Doc" and Amelia Wilma Beamer and was a 1967 graduate of Rogers High School.
 
 He supported his family by working for the Big Rapids Public School System for 27 years as a teacher and 3 years as an administrator. In addition, he coached varsity football and girls varsity softball. Alan had a passion for education and for the children he taught. As Alan fought his battle with Alzheimer's he reminisced fondly about his days in the classroom.
 Alan was an avid hunter who enjoyed the outdoors and looked forward to yearly dear camp and his Canadian fishing trips. He enjoyed spending time with family and especially spending time camping and bonfires with his wife Mary Beth. Alan quarterbacked the 1968 undefeated Division II Ferris State College National Championship team.
 
He is survived by his wife Mary Beth St. Onge-Beamer: children Shelby (Jeff) Thomas and Stacey (Joe) Cargo: grandchildren Dakota Thomas, Connor Thomas and Mason Cargo: sister Sharon Malone.
 
A celebration of life will be held at a date to be determined.
 
Any contributions should be made to Hospice of Michigan or the Alzheimer's Association.

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William "Bill" Cody Marsh, 94, of Paris

William “Bill” Cody Marsh, age 94 of Paris, passed away peacefully, Friday, March 17, 2017 at the Reed City Hospital.  He was born on October 8, 1922 in Detroit the son of Joseph William and Nellie (Cody) Marsh.  Bill graduated from Redford High School in Detroit.  He joined the United States Army and was honorably discharged in 1947. 
 
Bill retired from Michigan Consolidated Gas Company where he was employed for 31 years.
 
He loved the outdoors and enjoyed hunting, fishing and golfing. Bill liked visiting with his friends and family, who dearly loved him.  He was a member of St. Anne Catholic Church in Paris.
 
Bill is survived by his wife of 61 years, Corinne Marsh of Paris; a son Edward (Angie) Marsh and two granddaughters; Olivia and Megan Marsh all of Royal Oak; a daughter, Corinne Anne Alexander of Pueblo, Colorado and several grandchildren. 
 
A Mass of Christian Burial is being planned to take place at St. Anne Catholic Church in Paris later this spring. Service time and date will be announced when set. Cremains will be buried at Maple Grove Cemetery in Munising this summer. 
 
Memorial contributions in Bill name may be made to Spectrum Health Hospice.  Envelopes may be obtained at the Daggett-Gilbert Funeral Home in Big Rapids where arrangements have been made.

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Wilda Shaw, 90, of Reed City

Wilda Shaw, 90, of Reed City passed away March 17, 2017.  Wilda is preceded in death by her parents Pearl and Sylvester Holmes; husbands William Shaw and Don Nelson; children Daniel and Shirley; sisters Aletha, Doris and Vesta; brothers Wendall, Doyle, Wayne and Sherman; grandson Kip; great-granddaughter Autumn, and great-great grandchildren Isabella and Lane.  
 
She is survived by her daughter Linda (Richard) Roberts; sons Bill (Jean) and Thomas (Terry) Shaw; grandchildren Tammy, Gina, Bradley (Beth), Daniel (Mindy), Justin (Christine) and Thomas Jr. (Heather); great-grandchildren Jason, Joshua, Jeremy, Tiffanie, Amber, Alex, Kodie, Jerrod, Braden, Brooklyn, Daniel Jr., Dezurea, Andrew, Dillon, Paul, Calvary, Thomas III, Benjamin and Josiah; great-great grandchildren, Katie, Alieza, Remington, Rydyn, Blake, Alivia, Mackenna, Lucy, Tanner, Jaxon, Parker, Aiden, Owen and Able. 
 
Her long life was filled with having fun and loving her family and friends.  There will be a memorial Saturday, March 25 at the First Baptist Church, Reed City at 1:00 p.m. with a fellowship time following.

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Katherine A. "Toots" DeJonge, 70, of Big Rapids

Katherine A. “Toots” DeJonge, age 70 of Big Rapids, passed away Saturday, March 18, 2017 at her home.  She was born May 16, 1946 in Hull, Iowa, the daughter of Jack and Nellie (Moerman) Rodibaugh.  Katherine married Charles DeJonge on October 8, 1964 in Beaver Dam Reformed Church and together they raised their family in Lake County.  Katherine and Charlie later moved to Mecosta County in 1986. 
 
She was employed by Reed City Hospital as a Nurse’s Aide.  Katherine then began her 40 year career in the educational field as an Administrative Assistant for the Superintendent.  She also served on the Board of Education for the Baldwin Community Public Schools and worked closely with secondary special education.  Katherine enjoyed gardening, canning, and cooking.  She was of the Protestant belief. 
 
Katherine is survived by her husband of 52 years, Charles DeJonge of Big Rapids; two children, Doug DeJonge and Janice TenBrink; mother, three sisters, six grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.
 
She was preceded in death by her father, mother-in-law, father-in-law, eldest sister, and great-grandson.
 
A memorial service will take place 11:00 a.m. Saturday, April 1, 2017 at the Daggett-Gilbert Funeral Home in Big Rapids with Pastor Devon Herrell officiating.  The family will greet friends one hour prior to the service (from 10am to 11am) Saturday at the funeral home. 
 
Memorial contributions may be made in Katherine’s name to the family to be distributed to charities that Katherine chose (Mecosta County Commission on Aging – Transportation or Equipment, Make-A-Wish Foundation of Michigan, or Big Rapids AmVets Post 1941). 

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Elton K. "Ott" Gingrich, 87, of Big Rapids

Elton K. “Ott” Gingrich, 87, of Big Rapids, passed away on March 16, 2017 at the Brook surrounded by his loving family.  He was born in Reed City, the son of Royal E. and Faye (Ulrey) Gingrich.
 
Ott graduated from Reed City High School in 1947.  He graduated from Ferris Institute in 1951 where he starred in football, basketball and golf.  Ott spent his retirement years promoting Ferris. He earned a master’s degree in Education from Michigan State University.  He served as principal at Caro High School for 25 years.  Ott loved people and served in many community organizations.
 
He is survived by Helen (Fairman) , his wife of 66 years, four children; Patrick (Sue) of Diamondale, Mary (Jon Donnell) of Sarasota, FL, Carrie (David Christianson) of Carmel, IN and Peter of Scottsdale, AZ, three grandchildren, Josie, Gunnar and Elton plus one great granddaughter, Lu.
 
Ott was preceded in death by his parents and one brother, Carroll Gingrich.
 
A memorial service for Ott will be announced in the Pioneer for a date later in the Spring.

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Dr. Thomas G. "Tom" Cook, 83, of Big Rapids

Dr. Thomas G. “Tom” Cook, 83, of Big Rapids, passed away on Saturday, March 18, 2017.  He was born March 11, 1934 in Negawnee, MI, the son of Walter and Mildred C. (Davey) Cook.  Tom earned his bachelor’s degree from Northern Michigan, his Masters and PhD degrees from Michigan State.  He served as Dean of the College of Education at Ferris, retiring in 1991.
 
Tom is survived by Judy, his wife of 62 years; three daughters, Kerry (David) Milarch, Kelly (Matt Silvern) Cook, and Kammy (Brian) Hearld; five grandchildren, Jared (Jennifer) and Jake (Amanda) Milarch, Mica and Wyatt Cook Silvern, and Kameron Herald, plus three great-grandchildren, Tyler, Kayla and Vivienne Milarch.  Also surviving is one brother, Walter Cook, of Marquette.
 
A memorial gathering to celebrate Tom’s life will be announced for a later date.  Arrangements are by the Mohnke Funeral Home in Big Rapids. 

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Joan J. Koss, 81, of Stanwood

Joan J. Koss, age 81 of Stanwood, passed away Tuesday, March 14, 2017 at home.  She was born July 13, 1935 near Kalamazoo the daughter of Martin and Doris (Kietzman) Knobloch.  Joan graduated from Comstock High School.  She married her High School Sweetheart, Frank Koss on May 7, 1954.  Together they made their home in the Kalamazoo area where Joan stayed very busy as the mother of four little girls. In 1968 Frank secured employment with the Michigan Wisconsin Pipeline and the family moved to the Stanwood area.  Joan was an avid golfer, a sport she enjoyed sharing with Frank for many years.  She was a devout member of Chapel of the Lakes Lutheran Church and Dorcas Guild.
 
Joan is survived by her four daughters, Penny (Bernie) Brenner of Stanwood, Terri Koss of Florida, Karla (Randy) Snavley of Big Rapids, Ruth (Roger) Wrench of Howard City; seven grandchildren, Bernard (Nicole) Brenner, Robert (Cortney) Brenner, Phillip (Nate) Brenner, Shallen (Alan) Beatty, Courtney (Donald) DePew, Jessica (Luke) Austin, Benjamin  Snavley; eight great-grandchildren; several nieces, nephews and friends, including her dear friend, caregiver and companion, Sarah Fairfield.
 
Joan was preceded in death by her parents, her beloved husband of 60 years, Frank D. Koss on July, 7, 2014; three brothers, Jack, Rex and Dale Knobloch and two sisters, Norma Becker and Ruth Knobloch.
 
Funeral services will take place 12:00 p.m. (noon) Friday, March 17, 2017 at Chapel of the Lakes Lutheran Church, 9407  90th Ave, Mecosta with Reverend Richard W. Collin officiating.  The family will greet friends on Thursday (today) at the Daggett-Gilbert Funeral Home in Big Rapids from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and one hour prior to services at the church on Friday.  Interment will be at the Stanwood Cemetery. 
 
Memorial contributions in Joan’s name may be made to Spectrum Health Hospice.

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Jess Clarence Vliet, 89, of Big Rapids

Jess Clarence Vliet, 89, of Big Rapids, Michigan passed away March 10, 2017, in Leesburg, Florida. Jess was born in Detroit, Michigan to Leda and Jess Vliet. At the age of three, Jess and his family moved to the outskirts of Big Rapids where he went to school and worked the family farm. He graduated from Big Rapids High School in 1945 and then moved to Grand Rapids where he worked in the meat industry. In 1964, Jess proudly joined the Big Rapids Police Department and worked as a patrol officer until 1971 when he was promoted to detective. One of his many achievements as detective was being asked to join Region 8, a multi county investigative unit. He retired in 1989 after 24 years of distinguished service.

 

In 1974, Jess married Ruth Rood. They spent many happy years traveling the continental United States. Their last trip to Alaska was a particularly happy and enjoyable one. Jess was an avid hunter, bowler, and fisherman. He was also a lifetime member of the Fraternal Order of the Eagles 2535.

 

Jess is survived by: wife Ruth Vliet of Leesburg, Florida; daughter Shelly (Jim) Robinson of Mulliken, Michigan; sisters Alice Jane Anderson and Nancy Horan of Big Rapids, Michigan; grandson Kyle Robinson of Owosso, Michigan; step children Lynn Kruger, Alto, Georgia; Bobbie Melton, Orlando, Florida; David (Cathy) Melton, Orlando, Florida; Carla Wheeler (Randy), Big Rapids, Michigan; and three step grandsons: Brad (Jessica) Melton, Ormond Beach, Florida; Greg Melton, Severn, Maryland; and Juston (Stacy) Jones, Winter Garden, Florida and many nieces and nephews.

 

A private visitation at 1:00 p.m., March 16, 2017 at the Mohnke Funeral Home in Big Rapids.

A graveside service will be held. Jess will be laid to rest by his parents in Pine Plains Cemetery per his wishes.

A Celebration of Life will be held from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m., on April 15, 2017 at the Fraternal Order of Eagles 2535 in Big Rapids, Michigan, 18631 16 Mile Rd, Big Rapids, MI 49307.

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Durwood T. Andrews, 71, of White Cloud, formerly of Big Rapids

Durwood T. Andrews, 71, of White Cloud, formerly of Big Rapids, joined his parents, brother and Heavenly Father on Friday, March 3, 2017.  He was born on October 13, 1945 in Lakeview, Michigan, the son of Dale and Bertha (Jacobson) Andrews.
 
Durwood graduated from Big Rapids High School in 1963.  Immediately following high school, he enlisted in the United States Air Force.  He served at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas as a Military Policeman, as well as Kincheloe Air Force Base in Michigan.  Durwood was an expert furniture refinisher and restoration specialist. For years   he operated Davis Bridge Refinishing.  He loved to hunt and fish and he loved people.
 
Durwood is survived by his wife, Susie, three children; Darin (Kim) of Stanwood, Carla (Kenny) Carter of Pennsylvania, Jed of Big Rapids and five grandchildren; two stepdaughters, four step grandchildren plus one step great grandchildren.  Also surviving are four sisters; Dalela (Robert) Tiedeman of Las Vegas, Deah (Robert) Cole of Grand Rapids, Delphine (Kevin) DeFever of Big Rapids and Danora (Mike) Startz of Big Rapids plus several nieces and nephew.
 
He was preceded in death by his parents, one brother, Dexter and Dexter’s wife, Linda.
 
Funeral services  for  Durwood will be at 2:00 p.m., Thursday, March 9, 2017 at the Mohnke Funeral Home in Big Rapids.   Visitation will be from 1-2:00 p.m., prior to the servies.  Memorial contributions may be made to American Diabetes Association or The Children’s Miracle Network.

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Peter Jacob Grant, 83, of Big Rapids

Peter Jacob Grant, 83, of Big Rapids, passed away Saturday, February 25, 2017, at his residence.
 
He was born August 7, 1933, in Detroit, the son of Paul and Catherine Grant.  During the Korean Conflict, Peter served as a paratrooper with the U.S. Army. 
 
For many years, he owned and operated his own roofing business.  For 32 years, he was married to Patricia (nee DeCook) who preceded him in death in 2002.  Peter is survived by 4 children, 12 grandchildren, 9 great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews.
 
Per his request, cremation has taken place, and memorial services will be held later this year.  Memorial contributions in his name may be made to the American Cancer Society.  Care and arrangements have been entrusted to the Mohnke Funeral Home in Big Rapids.

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Janet L. Katke, 87, of Big Rapids

Janet L. Katke, 87, of Big Rapids, passed away Wednesday, March 8, 2017, at her home surrounded by her loved ones.
 
She was born January 1, 1930, in Big Rapids, the daughter of Hugh and Beulah (Kirvan) Bell, and grew up on the farm at Bell’s Corners near Rodney.  In 1948, Janet graduated from Mecosta High School, and on September 4 of that same year, she married Richard Katke. 
 
Janet lived most of her adult life in the area, although Dick’s work led them to Illinois, Oklahoma, and other parts of Michigan for several years.  In 1992, they returned to Round Lake to enjoy their retirement years.  She and Dick were longtime members of the First United Methodist Church in Big Rapids.
 
Janet was a loving wife and mother, dedicating her time, energy, and love to her family and friends, and was always there when someone needed help.  She is survived by her daughters Sue Ann McConnell and Mary Katke-Gillum, both of Big Rapids; her granddaughters MacKenzie Gillum, Michelle (Scott) Kolp, and Angela (Kevin) Endres; her great-grandchildren Ryan and Courtney Kolp, and Austin Endres; and several nieces and nephews.  Janet was preceded in death by her husband Richard on August 29, 2010, their son Hal, her sister Grace Willett, and her brothers John, Max, and Dale Bell.
 
Funeral services will be 11:00 a.m., Monday, March 13, 2017, at the First United Methodist Church in Big Rapids, with Pastors Rick Kiekinveld and Rebecca Morrison officiating.  Burial will be in the Highland View Cemetery.  Janet’s family will greet friends on Sunday, March 12, from 2-4 p.m. at the Mohnke Funeral Home, and prior to services on Monday at the church.  Memorial contributions in her name may be made to Evergreen Terrace to benefit the residents there, with envelopes available at the funeral home.

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Kathleen Theresa (Martin) Blackburn, 48, of Big Rapids

Kathleen Theresa (Martin) Blackburn, 48, of Big Rapids, passed away Sunday, January 29, 2017.
 
She was born October 23, 1968, in Manchester, CT, the daughter of Clifton and Kathleen (Edgar) Martin, and graduated from high school in Havre, Montana in 1986.  In 1989, she married Howard Blackburn, and they moved to Big Rapids in 1997.
 
Katie was currently employed in sales with the Pioneer Group of Big Rapids and she was very active with Stage-M.  She enjoyed antiquing and going to flea markets, and loved reading and a “proper cup of tea”.
 
Katie is survived by her three sons, Spc. Aaron (Emily), U.S. Army, stationed at Ft. Drum, NY, Benjamin and Callum of Big Rapids; their father Howard Blackburn of Grand Rapids; her parents of Missoula, MT; siblings Christeen Maddi of Medford, OR, James Martin and Judith Martin of Missoula, Ewan Martin of San Diego, CA, Alice (Derrek) Larson, and Tim Martin-Bramsen (John) of Missoula; and several nieces, nephews, and cousins.  Katie was preceded in death by her brother Clifton Martin III.
 
A celebration of Katie’s life will be 5:00 p.m., Saturday, February 4, 2017, at the Mohnke Funeral Home in Big Rapids, with Rev. Jerena Keys officiating.  Katie’s family will greet friends at the funeral home beginning at 4:00 p.m.  Memorial contributions in her name may be made for Stage-M or the Special Olympics, with envelopes available at the funeral home.

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Sally A. Weipert, 51, of Miller Missouri, formerly of Big Rapids

Sally A. Weipert, 51, of Miller Missouri, formerly of Big Rapids passed away on Thursday, January 19, 2017.  She was born on October 26, 1965 in Big Rapids, the daughter of Tom and Sue Weipert.
 
Sally graduated from Big Rapids High School in 1983.  Prior to moving to Missouri, she had worked at Walgreen’s in Big Rapids for 18 years.  She had participated annually in the Relay for Life.  Sally was a lifetime member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church.  Her wish was to participate in the Gift of Life program upon her death.
 
She is survived by her father Tom; one brother Jim (Paula) Weipert of Big Rapids; one niece Elizabeth Weipert; one nephew Thomas Weipert; and her close friend Theresa Livingston.  Sally was preceded in death by her mother Sue in 2006.
 
A memorial mass celebrating Sally’s life will be announced for a later date.

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Gordon Roy Ellis, 74, of Hawkins, passed away on January 21, 2017

Gordon Roy Ellis, 74, of Hawkins, passed away  peacefully on Saturday, January 21, 2017. 
He was born on September 6, 1942 in Cadillac, Michigan, the son of  Richard C. and Donna Jean (Becker) Ellis. 
Gordy graduated from Big Rapids High School in 1961.  He married Beverly Kay Graham in 1964.  Gordy had worked at Garner Denver and Federal Screw Works in Big Rapids.  He married Sandra L. (Hatchew) Johnson in 1989.  Gordy enjoyed hunting, fishing and camping.
 He is survived by his wife, Sandra and his two children, Sherry (Loren) Merklinger of Reed City, Mike (Erin) Ellis of Lansing, is daughter, Candace Mayer of Big Rapids, three grandchildren, Jake, Marissa and Danielle Ellis and three step grandchildren, Kali Johnson, Heaven and David Mayes.  Also surviving are sister, Nancy Wittemore of Daytona Beach, FL and brother, Richard (Sue) Ellis of Kingman, KS.
Gordy was preceded in death by his parents.
Funeral services for Gordy will be 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, January 25, 2017 at the Mohnke Funeral Home in Big Rapids with Pastor Kim DeLong officiating.  Visitation will be Tuesday at the funeral home from 6-8:00 p.m.
 Interment will be at Martiny Cemetery in Rodney.
Memorial contributions may be made to Animal Rescue Coalition (ARC).

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Paula Jo Boochard, age 57, of Big Rapids passed away Monday, December 26, 2016

Paula Jo Boochard, age 57, of Big Rapids passed away Monday, December 26, 2016.  She was born September 15, 1959 in Big Rapids, the daughter of Robert and Marjorie “Peg” (Eastman) Boochard.

 

Paula graduated from Big Rapids High School in 1977.  She earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Ferris State College in 1981.  Paula was employed right out of college by American National Resources (ANR), now Trans Canada Pipeline, where she was still employed at the time of her death.  Paula was an avid bowler.  She was very interested in and volunteered for Veteran’s Affairs.  Paula’s nature was very positive.  She always looked for the “good” in every situation.

 

She is survived by her father, Bob; one sister, Robin (William) Fitzgerald of Traverse City; one niece, Breanna (Kyle) Soli and nephew, Neal Fitzgerald all of Traverse City.  Paula was preceded in death by her mother, Marjorie.

A memorial service for Paula will be at 1:00 p.m., Friday, December 30, 2016 at the Mohnke Funeral Home in Big Rapids with Reverend Kaye Patton officiating.  Her family will greet friends beginning at 12:00 noon until time of service.

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Violet Irene Cour, 83 of Big Rapids

Violet  Irene  Cour, 83, passed away on Wednesday, November 16, 2016 at the home of her daughter, Cindy Jones, in Big Rapids.  She was born on July 22, 1933 in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, the daughter of  Albert L. and Deretha (Wing) Durfee.
 
Violet is survived by her children; Linda (George) Novotny of Valparaiso, IN, David (Cathy) Hardy of Durand, MI, Patricia (Mark) Fribley and Cindy (Bill) Jones of Big Rapids; her step-daughter, Kathy (Ron) DeMott, step-sons, Arthur (Pam) Cour, all of Mecosta and Terry (Lynn) Cour of Evart, and 15 grandchildren and many great grandchildren plus several nieces and nephews.
 
Violet enjoyed playing dominoes and cards, making handmade crafts, crocheting and spending time with her family.
 
Violet was preceded in death  by her husband Art, her parents, brothers, Berdette and Boyd, sisters: Bonnie Welch Behrenwald   and Virginia Welch Kappler and her great granddaughter, Kyla Holt.
 
Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, November 22, 2016 at the Mohnke Funeral Home in Big Rapids with Pastor Charles Hewlett officiating.  Visitation will be Monday from 4-7 p.m.  Interment will be in Mt. Hope Cemetery in Mecosta.  Memorial contributions may be made to Heartland Hospice
 

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Ann Ruth (Tetzlaff) Westart, 77, of Big Rapids

Ann Ruth (Tetzlaff) Westart, age 77, of Big Rapids, passed away Monday, November 14, 2016.  She was born on April 11, 1939 in Big Rapids, the daughter of Arthur L. and Emma Marie (Swanson) Tetzlaff, Sr.

 

Ann graduated from Big Rapids High School in 1957 and earned her bachelor’s degree in 1975 and master’s degree in 1993 in accounting from Ferris State.  

 

Prior to college, she enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1958, serving until 1961.  While in the Navy she won the All Navy Women’s Tennis Championship, having her picture taken with General , later President, Dwight D. Eisenhower.  Ann worked in the accounting department at Ferris from 1987, retiring as Senior Staff Accountant in 2005. She volunteered in many capacities at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, her favorite being MOPS.

 

Ann stayed active in retirement participating in senior games, swimming, tennis and yoga.

She is survived by one daughter, Rhonda, of Henderson, NV; one granddaughter, Natasha (Art Tierce) Westart of McMinnville, OR; nine brothers and sisters, Jim Tetzlaff of Twin Falls, ID, Tom (Nancy) Tetzlaff of East Lansing, MI, Karin (Steve) Poulos of Deerfield, IL, Neil (Lillian) Tetzlaff of Reed City, MI, Ted (Carol) Tetzlaff of Grand Island, FL, Terry (Phylis) Tetzlaff of Clearwater, FL, Mary Kellogg of Gardner, KS, Art (Peggy) Tetzlaff of Big Rapids, MI, and Lynn (Terry) LeGrow of Ronan, MT; and many beloved nieces and nephews.

Ann was preceded in death by her parents and John L. Westart, the father of her daughter.

A memorial service for Ann will be at 12 noon, Saturday, November 19, 2016 at the Mohnke Funeral Home in Big Rapids, with Pastor John Bookshaw officiating.  Her family will greet friends beginning at 11:00 a.m.  

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Frances V. Spencer, 86, of Big Rapids

Frances V. Spencer, age 86, of Big Rapids passed away Thursday, October 20, 2016. 
 
Celebration of Life will be held at the AMVETS  POST #1941 in Big Rapids on Saturday, November 19th from 1-3 p.m.
 
 
 Memorial contributions may be made to Big Rapids AmVets Post 1941.

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John Ray Wright "Jack", 87, of Big Rapids

John Ray Wright “Jack”, age 87, of Big Rapids, went to be with his Lord, Monday, October 31, 2016.
 
Jack was born in Detroit on May 19, 1929, the son of George and Rose (Lavallee) Wright.  He was a U.S. Army Korean War veteran, and a lifetime member of the Big Rapids VFW Post 4102.  Jack retired after 39 years at Wolverine World Wide.
 
In June of 1953, Jack was married to Roberta Hoffman.  He will be greatly missed by his wife; their children, Ricky Wright of Hudsonville, Scott Wright, Denise Frye, Dianna (Jerry) Frye, Deb (Bill Spicer) Wright; 15 grandchildren; 26 great-grandchildren; and sister, Florence Elliot. He was preceded in death by his parents, 5 brothers, and two sisters.
 
Funeral services will be at 11:00 a.m., Thursday, November 3, 2016 at the Mohnke Funeral Home in Big Rapids, with Reverend Charles Hewlett officiating.  Burial will be in the Whipple Cemetery in Newaygo County. Jack’s family will greet friends at the funeral home from 3:00 - 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 2, and prior to services on Thursday.  Memorial contributions in his name may be made for the Big Rapids AmVets Post 1941, and may be left in care of the funeral home.

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Elinor Olive (Wenzelburger) Kirk, 94, of Big Rapids

Elinor Olive (Wenzelburger) Kirk, age 94, passed away peacefully at Royal View in Mecosta, MI on Wednesday, November 2, 2016 after a long illness.
 
She was born June 27, 1922 to Sara Olive (Confer) and Alfred Gottlieb Wenzelburger in Pittsburgh, PA.  Elinor met and married Frank Kirk in Pittsburgh on October 13, 1945. Frank and Elinor had a beautiful marriage and made many wonderful friends as they made homes in Pittsburgh, PA, Trenton, NJ, Minneapolis, MN, Merrillville, IN and Big Rapids, MI.  
 
Elinor was a valued employee of the Merrillville School Corporation for more than 10 years. She served as a secretary, office manager and a friend to the young students in the school. Elinor never met a stranger and she kept in close contact with her cherished friends throughout her long life. She led Boy Scout and Campfire Girl groups, was involved with church activities, led neighborhood women’s groups and loved having friends over for coffee or dinner.  
 
In the past few years, Elinor made her home at Royal View Assisted Living Community in Mecosta where she enjoyed the atmosphere, the caring professional staff and friends. Elinor was preceded in death by her parents and husband.  She is survived by her 2 children, Donald (Cathy) Kirk of Connersville, IN and Marilyn (Gregg) Shewan of Big Rapids; 6 grandchildren; 7 great-grandchildren; and brother, Harold (Pat) Wenzelburger of Paso Robles, CA.
 
Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, November 7, 2016 at Fellowship Christian Reformed Church in Big Rapids with Pastor Ken Krause officiating.  Visitation with the family will be from 9:30 a.m. to the time of the service. Memorial contributions may be made to Great Lakes Caring Hospice of Big Rapids or Fellowship Christian Reformed Church. Envelopes will be available at the church. Arrangements are entrusted to the Mohnke Funeral Home of Big Rapids.  

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Ila May Smith, 88, of Lawrence, formerly of Big Rapids,

Ila May Smith, 88, of Lawrence, formerly of Big Rapids,passed away Wednesday, October 26, 2016, at her residence.

 

She was born November 16, 1927, in Comstock Park, the daughter of Sidney and Bessie (Sheldon) Showers. 

 

Ila was raised near Big Rapids by her adoptive parents, William and Maude Stanslowski, and graduated from Big Rapids High School in 1945.  She lived in various places, returning to Big Rapids in 1995 until ill health forced her to move to Lawrence to be near her daughter in 2012.

 

Survivors include her daughter, Sandra Stine of Lawrence; 2 sons, Joseph Smith of Ohio and Samuel Smith of Big Rapids; 4 grandchildren; 6 great-grandchildren; a brother Earl Showers of Lansing; and several nieces and nephews.

 

Ila’s family will greet friends on Monday, October 31, 2016, from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. at the Mohnke Funeral Home in Big Rapids.  Burial will follow in the Highland View Cemetery.  

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Corinna J. Hankins, 54, of Hersey

Corinna J. Hankins, 54, went to be with the Lord on Wednesday, October 19, 2016.

 

She was born on October 29, 1961;  the daughter of Larry and Virginia (Warner) Hankins.

 

She is survived by her parents, daughter, Kandice Kidle and granddaughter, Jenna Kidle, her sister Lisa Brown of Clarkston, her brother, Scott Hankins of Waterford and niece; Charity Brown, nephews; Kevin and Edward Brown, all from Waterford, MI.

 

A private family memorial service will be held at a later date.

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J. Billy Draher, 58, formerly of Big Rapids, passed away on October 16, 2016

J. “Billy” Draher, age 58, formerly of Big Rapids, passed away on Sunday, October 16, 2016 at The McBride of Barryton Home, where the staff provided excellent care for over six years.  

 

Billy worked for the former University Chevrolet, then Gary Trimarco for many years as a detail man.  

 

He enjoyed gardening, and his computer. Billy is remembered as a “nice” person who never spoke negatively about anyone.

 

He is survived by brothers and sisters and extended family.

 

A memorial service for Billy will be at 2:00 p.m., Thursday, October 27, 2016 at Trinity Evangelical Free Church at 220th and Perry in Big Rapids.  Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Michigan.

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Gary D. Shellenbarger, of Big Rapids

Gary D. Shellenbarger, age 79, of Big Rapids passed away peacefully at home on Saturday, October 9, 2016 surrounded by his loving family.
 
He was born on July 14, 1937 in Saranac, Michigan.  He is the son of Claude C. and Phyllis (Lowrey) Shellenbarger.
 
Gary is survived by Gloria (Stovic) his wife of 53 years; two children, Tedd (Annette) Shellenbarger and Tracy Shellenbarger; 5 grandchildren, Shane (Maria), Sommer, Michael, Alex, and Kayleigh.  Also surviving are two sisters, Linda (Stewart) Travis and Diane Duflo.
 
He was preceded in death by his parents, one brother Greg Shellenbarger; and a niece, DeAnn (Hamp) Bautista.
 
Gary married Gloria in 1963 in Riverside, California.  He served 30 years in the United States Air Force, retiring in 1985.  Following his military career, they moved to Big Rapids where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Heavy Equipment Technology Education.
 
Gary loved sports.  He was a golden glove boxing champ at age 17, an avid football player in high school and the military and played until he was 40 years old.  He played hockey until he was 75 years old.
 
A memorial service will be at 11:00 a.m. Thursday, October 13, 2016 at Rogers Heights Christian Church at the corner of Northland Dr. and Park Rd with Pastor David Watkins officiating.  Gary’s family will greet friends beginning at 10:00 a.m.

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Ralph L. Morey of Big Rapids

Ralph L. Morey, age 76, of Big Rapids, met with Jesus on October 9th, 2016.
 
He was born October 23, 1939, in Remus, the son of Dale and Helen (Shadell) Morey, and graduated from Big Rapids High School in 1957.  Ralph served his country with pride in the U.S. Marine Corps, and he retired as a tradesman from Ferris State University, where he was employed for 30 years. 
 
Ralph loved the outdoors, and especially enjoyed hunting, biking, and being around and in water.  Even more, he loved to work, and it was the working that he put to use in Godly service of people, ministries, and relationships around the Mecosta County area for the better part of his retired career. 
 
On April 20, 1963, he married his one and only love, Linda (nee Wilkinson), who survives.   Also surviving are their children, Lesley (Matt) Zainea, John (Roxanne) Morey, and Jim (Brandi) Morey; 13 grandchildren; his brother Richard (Norita) Morey; and several nieces and nephews.  Ralph was preceded in death by two sisters, Shirley Waite and Sharon Burden.
 
A Celebration of Life Service will begin at 4:30 p.m., Thursday, October 13, 2016, at Trinity Fellowship Evangelical Free Church, 15085 220th Avenue in Big Rapids, with a dinner to follow.  Memorial contributions in Ralph’s name may be made to Cran-Hill Ranch, 14444 17 Mile Road, Big Rapids, MI  49307. 
 

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Ronald W. "Butch" Zuern of Big Rapids

Ronald W. “Butch” Zuern, age 48, passed away on Saturday, October 8, 2016.  
 
He was born on September 2, 1968 in Big Rapids, the son of Ronald D. and Roselea E. (Foust) Zuern.
 
Butch was employed as a general foreman for the Hydaker Wheatlake Company in Reed City.  He loved the outdoors and being with his family.
 
Butch is survived by Tara, his wife of eight years; seven children, Luke Van Alstine, Lauren Hutchinson, Keaton, Harlee and Ciara Zuern, Deziree Shaw, and Christopher Zimmer; plus, four grandchildren, Riley, Logan, Charlotte, and Elliana.  Also surviving are his parents, Ronald Zuern and Roselea Zuern; two sisters, Ronda (Sam) Macias, and Tina (Tim) Minkel; one brother, Wade (LeeAnn) Zuern; several nieces and nephews, plus special uncle, Paul Zuern, and cousin Doug Sharp.
 
A celebration of Butch’s life will be held from11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Saturday, October 15, 2016 at the Big Rapids Eagles Aerie 2535, 18361 16 Mile Rd., Big Rapids, MI.

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Ruth Ann Troff of Big Rapids

Ruth Ann Troff, 82, of Big Rapids, passed away Monday, October 3, 2016 at Altercare of Big Rapids.

 

She was born April 12, 1943, in Battle Creek, and moved to Big Rapids in 2009.  

 

Ruth Ann was very active with the Mecosta County Senior Center. Surviving are her sister, Mary Sautter of Big Rapids; her niece Deborah (Greg) Allen of Reed City; and her nephews Jack and David Childs.

 

Family graveside services and interment will be in the Hicks Cemetery near Battle Creek.  Memorial contributions in her name may be made to the Senior Center, or Spectrum Health Hospice, with envelopes available at the Mohnke Funeral Home in Big Rapids.

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Frank J. Tilmann, 63, of Big Rapids, passed away September 25, 2016

Frank J. Tilmannage 63, of Big Rapids, passed away September 25, 2016, at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids.

 

He was born January 31, 1953 in Reed City, the son of Carl A. and Doris A. (Schafer) Tilmann, and graduated from Reed City High School in 1971.  Frank earned his Bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Michigan in 1975, and then graduated with a Master’s degree in education from Eastern Michigan University.

 

Frank was an outdoorsman who loved to spend time at his cabin.  He was an avid hunter and fisherman, and an enthusiastic U of M football fan.  Most of all, Frank loved his family.   He attended the First United Methodist Church of Big Rapids.

 

Frank worked at various jobs, mainly in the building and construction trades.  For several years he taught for the Kent County Intermediate School District, and more recently, he retired from teaching at the Wexford – Missaukee Intermediate School District in 2013.  Frank formerly served as the secretary and treasurer for the Michigan Construction Teacher’s Association, and was also vice-president and treasurer for the local Michigan Education Association ISD.  Frank was a professional carpenter, and always had a project in the works.

 

In 2008, Frank married Julie Martin, who survives.  Also surviving are his children, Saul of Chicago, Sally (Eric) Fennessy of Belvidere, IL, and Scott (Eliese) of Sand Lake; 2 step-daughters, Kari Martin of Bozeman, MT, and Marilynn (Tony) Collette of Ypsilanti; 5 grandchildren, Abbigale, Allivia, Rebecca, Ethan, and Izzy; 2 brothers, Robert (Bobbi) of Jackson, MS, and Michael (Carol) of Hamilton, GA; 2 sisters, Alice (David) Jacobs of Hersey, and Martha (Tania Beliz) of El Granada, CA; and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.  Frank was preceded in death by his parents, his brother, Father Delvin Tilmann, and an infant brother and sister.

 

Funeral services will be 11:00 a.m., Thursday, September 29, 2016, at the First United Methodist Church in Big Rapids, with Pastor Rebecca Morrison officiating.  Frank’s family will greet friends from 5-8 p.m. on Wednesday, September 28, at the Mohnke Funeral Home in Big Rapids, and after 10 a.m. on Thursday at the church.  Memorial contributions in his name may be made to the church, or to the Renucci Hospitality House at Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, with envelopes available at the funeral home.

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Jackie Sue Rae of Big Rapids

Jackie Sue Rae, 58, of Big Rapids, passed away Sunday, September 18, 2016, at her residence.

 

She was born September 13, 1958, in Lansing, the daughter of Clarence and Josephine (Zubovich) Crouch.  On August 3, 1991, she married Robert E. Rae, and they moved to Big Rapids in 1995, where she had lived since.

 

Surviving are her husband Rob; 2 daughters, Sara of Big Rapids, and Katie of Mt. Pleasant; her siblings, Pat Kuheana, Nancy Matalski, Tim Crouch, and Jane Crouch; and several nieces and nephews.  Jackie was preceded in death by her parents, he sister Cindy Green, and her brother Larry Sanford.

 

Private family memorial services have taken place.  Arrangements are entrusted to the Mohnke Funeral Home in Big Rapids.

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Chuck V. Prill of Mecosta

Chuck V. Prill, age 61 of Mecosta, passed away Sunday, September 18, 2016 at home surrounded by family. A celebration of Chuck's life will be held Saturday October 1st from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM at his home in Mecosta (386 S. Cass St., Mecosta, MI 49332).

Chuck was born November 15, 1954, the son of Charles and Sally (Chrochere) Prill. He enjoyed gardening, landscaping and simply being outdoors. He was a great builder and delighted in all sorts of projects from remodeling to building sheds and everything in-between. He would often help his children with their home improvements as well as doing his own. Chuck always considered himself to be "old school", valuing family time (especially with grandchildren) and having a strong work ethic.

Friendly with a crooked sense of humor could describe Chuck in a nutshell. He had many people come to him when they needed to talk about something since he always had an ear to lend.

He will be greatly missed by his wife, Monica Prill; mother, Sally Drake; children, Jennifer (Richie) Vorhees, Joshua (Courtney) Prill, Jesse (Amanda) Prill, James (Shannon) Prill, Jason Prill (Kristy), Justin Prill and Julian Prill; siblings, Debra Scherbinski, Dawn Duley, Donald Drake and Jenny Clemmons and 16 grandchildren.

Chuck was preceded in death by his father and sister Lynn Kilts.

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Stephen A. 'Steve' Pyrett of Chippewa Lake

Stephen A. “Steve” Pyrett, age 62 of Marion, Ohio formerly of Chippewa Lake, passed away Friday, September 16, 2016.  He was born July 25, 1954 in Frankfort, MI the son of Jacob and Thelma (Lynch) Pyrett.  Steve graduated from Chippewa Hills High School in 1972 and married his high school sweet heart and the love of his life, Roberta Squires from Barryton.  They began their married life in Big Rapids, then moved to Grand Rapids where Steve graduated in Bio-med Technology.  After graduation, his career was in management and most recently as a crane inspector. 

 

Steve was a devout Christian and family man. He was always cheerful, smiling and quite the practical joker. He would help anyone in need. He was an avid fisherman and enjoyed being outdoors.  He enjoyed spending time with family, especially his children and grandchildren, whom he loved dearly.

 

Steve was a man of many talents.   He was known as “Mister Fix It”. He was a licensed ham radio operator. Steve had a love for music and was a bass player in various bands.

 

He is survived by his beloved wife Roberta of Marion, Ohio; four children,  Holly (fiancé John Cardinal) Sabo of Cleveland, Jacob Pyrett of Cincinnati, Stacy Geers of Kentucky and Beth (Adam) Fontanez of North Carolina; grandchildren Allie and Nick Sabo; Dustin and Zachary Geers; Nathan and Kayla Fontanez; his mother and step-father, Thelma and Orval Reed of Weidman; sister Karen (Joe) Donovan of Mt. Pleasant; step-sisters, Kathryn (Sylvester) Miranda of California, Linda (Darin) McGregor of Chippewa Lake, and Elizabeth (Wayne) Gorby of Coral, and many nieces and nephews. 

 

Steve was preceded in death by his father, Jacob Pyrett in 1969.

 

Funeral services will take place 1:00 p.m. Friday, September 23, 2016 at the Daggett-Gilbert Funeral Home in Big Rapids MI with Pastor Ken Krause officiating.  The family will have visitation hours at the funeral home two hours prior to services, from 11:00 a.m. to service at 1:00 p.m.

 

Burial will be at the Chippewa Lake Cemetery.  Memorial contributions in Steve’s name may be made to donor's charity of choice.

 

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Frances L. Odiorne of White Cloud

Frances L. Odiorne, age 79 of White Cloud formerly of Comstock Park, passed away Monday, September 19, 2016 at her daughter’s home.  She was born February 9, 1937 in Barryton, the daughter of Harrison and Beulah (Williams) Gardner.  Frances graduated from Barryton High School in 1955.  She married Robert Lindquist in 1957 at the Barryton Church of Christ and together they raised their daughter in Comstock Park.  Frances was employed by Home Insurance Company for 15 years until Robert passed in 1977. 

 

In 1980 she married Dean Odiorne and moved to Arizona.  Frances worked in the office of River Medical Inc., for 13 years and was a life member of the Parker Dam VFW Woman’s Auxiliary Post 10726.  Dean passed in 1987 and she moved back to Michigan in 2002 after her retirement.  At this time she volunteered at the Veteran’s Home in Grand Rapids for 13 years and was an active member at the North Park Presbyterian Church where she had served as an Elder.  Frances enjoyed reading, jigsaw puzzles, card games and attending Bible Studies.

 

She is survived by her daughter Wendy (Jack) Meeuwes of White Cloud; four grandchildren, Kerri Meeuwes, John Jr. (Sarah) Meeuwes, Barnaby (Roxy) Johnson, and Anthony (Angela) Johnson; eight great-grandchildren; brother, RJ (Nina) Gardner of Barryton; two sisters-in-law, Dorothy Gardner of Barryton and JoAnn Gardner of Chicago; several nieces, nephews, and cousins. 

 

Frances was preceded in death by her parents; first husband, Robert Lindquist; second husband, Dean Odiorne; three sisters, Evelyn Hatfield, Maxine Crawley, and Arbelle Archer; and three brothers, Harry, Harrison Jr., and Freddie Gardner. 

 

Funeral services will take place 11:30 a.m. Thursday, September 22, 2016 at the North Park Presbyterian Church, 500 N. Park St. NE, Grand Rapids, with Pastor Helen Havlik officiating.  The family will greet friends one hour prior to the service (at 10:30 a.m.).  She will be laid to rest at Fairplains Cemetery in Grand Rapids.

 

Memorial contributions may be made to the North Park Presbyterian Church Memorial Fund or Hospice of Michigan.         

 

Arrangements and care entrusted to the Daggett-Gilbert Funeral Home in Big Rapids. 

 

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John D. 'Jack' Spedoski of Stanwood

John D. “Jack” Spedoski, age 87 of Stanwood, passed away Monday, September 19, 2016 at Sweet Water Creek Adult Foster Care in Branch.  He was born January 28, 1929 in Grand Rapids, the son of Marks and Bridget (Whalen) Spedoski.  Jack graduated from Big Rapids High School in 1947 and began his lifetime career as a dairy farmer with his father and brother, Donald.  He was drafted into the United States Army, serving during the Korean War.  Jack was honorably discharged in 1952 and returned home to help on the farm.
 

He married Marianne Adams in April of 1975 and together they made their home near the family farm.  When Jack was younger, he was a catcher for Emmons’ Dairy fastpitch softball team.  Following retirement, Jack and Marianne enjoyed traveling to different countries.  He was a lifetime member of St. Mary Catholic Church in Big Rapids. 

 

He is survived by his wife, Marianne Spedoski of Stanwood; two stepchildren, Walter Adams of Peoria, Illinois and Belinda (Tom) Welch of Stanwood; three grandchildren, Nichole and Joshua Adams and Ilsa (Mark) Dean; six great-grandchildren, Gabriella, William, Alexandria, Kaleb, Logan, and Liam; sister, Noreen Gondre of Howard City; sister-in-law, Leona Spedoski of Stanwood; brother-in-law, Jack Hoisington of Stanwood; many nieces and nephews. 

 

Jack was preceded in death by his parents; two sisters, Marguerite Hoisington and Dorothy Spedoski; two brothers, Donald and Marks Spedoski.      

 

A Mass of Christian Burial will take place 10:30 a.m. Monday, September 26, 2016 at the St. Mary Catholic Church in Big Rapids with Father Douglas Braun officiating.  The family will greet friends one hour prior to the Mass at 9:30 a.m. at the Church. 

 

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, Michigan Parkinson Foundation, or the Charity of the Donor’s Choice.

 

Arrangements and care entrusted to the Daggett-Gilbert Funeral Home in Big Rapids.

 

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Edwin MacDonald Gault of Big Rapids

Edwin MacDonald Gault, age 86, formerly of Big Rapids, passed away at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans on Sunday, September 18, 2016.  He was born on July 17, 1930 in New Brighten, PA, the son of Wesley and Lillian Isabel (Russell) Gault.

 

Edwin served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War.  He earned a bachelor’s degree from Geneva College, Beaver Falls, PA and an MBA from Wharton University, PA.

 

His career included working for IBM, Remington-Rand, Honeywell, American Motors, and Oakland
University.  Edwin enjoyed being a church pianist/organist and playing for groups.

 

He is survived by his children’s mother, Yvonne Sara Kilbourne of Big Rapids; four children, Theodore Gault of Evart, Jean (Mark) Griffiths of Columbus, OH, Elizabeth (Michael Burdick) Morningstar of Big Rapids, and Dr. Judith (Karl Liedtke) Morse-Gault of Aurora, CO; plus, six grandchildren, Cory and Caitlin Griffiths, John Morningstar, and Erin, Julia, and Amanda Liedtke.  Also surviving are one niece, Dr. Laura Gault; two nephews, David and Kevin Gault; and great nieces, Sarah and Elena Bryden.

Edwin is preceded in death by two brothers, Peter and Thomas Gault.

 

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, September 21, 2016 at the Mohnke Funeral Home in Big Rapids with Reverend Jerena Keys officiating.  Edwin’s family will greet friends beginning at 10:00 a.m.

 

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Nicole Lee Hudson of Rodney

Nicole Lee Hudson, age 37, of Rodney, passed away Friday, September 16, 2016, at Spectrum Butterworth Hospital.  She was born on July 15, 1979 in Saginaw, the daughter of Ronald S. and Cynthia Marr Jr.

 

Nicole graduated from Big Rapids High School and earned an associate degree in nursing from Baker College.  She worked at local nursing facilities and for the American Red Cross.  She was a member of Resurrection Life Church in Big Rapids.  Nicole’s life was about helping others.  Upon her death she helped another person with the gift of sight.

 

She is survived by her parents; Ronald (Carol) Marr of Rodney, Cindy (Jeff) Baugh of Rodney; two children, Courtney and Caleb Hudson; one step son Ben Hudson; two brothers, Gary and Eric Marr, and her fiancée, James Hatchew.  Also surviving are her grandmother Esther Ball and 9 step brothers and sisters; Chris, Ryan, and Jordan Baugh, Genesis, Jan, and Christopher Dart, Jennifer (Chad) Gunn, Rebecca (Dan) Vallad and Susan (Brandon) Parsley.

 

Nicole was preceded in death by a son Zachary Hudson, and grandparents Fred Ball, Ron and Arlene Marr.

 

A celebration of Nicole’s life will be held from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., October 9, 2016 at the Big Rapids Eagles.

 

Memorial contributions may be made to her family.

 

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Mercy Jean Hazen of Barryton

Mercy Jean Hazen, was born 15 November 1931 in Merrill, Michigan, daughter of Paul and Clemence (Martens) Stenke, died Saturday, 17 September 2016 at her home in Barryton, Michigan.

 

Jean was raised in a Christian home and lived that faith every day of her life. She was a talented artist and shared her beauty with every life she touched.

 

Jean lived in Merrill, Ypsilanti, and Sandusky, where she met and married Donald Roy Hazen. They spent 61 years together, raising their children, including 40 foster children, and farming in Sandusky, Marlette, Grand Blanc, Shephard, Eaton Rapids, and Barryton.

 

Services will be held on Thursday, 22 September 2016 at 1:00 PM at the Lighthouse Free Methodist Church, 4395 20 Mile Rd, Barryton, MI, with Pastor Darwin Mowat officiating.

 

Visitation will be at the church, Wednesday, 21 September 2016 from 3:00 PM until 8:00 PM and Thursday at 12:00 PM until the time of the service.

 

In lieu of flowers, Jean asked that donations be made to the OLAH (Osceola League for Arts and Humanities) in Evart, Michigan, towards a scholarship or to the Lighthouse Free Methodist Church.

 

Jean leaves her Children: Ronald and Roberta Hazen, Deborah and Delbert Erwin, Michael and Terry Hazen, Fred and Kathy Hazen, Dawn and Dale Barber, Vicki Nun, Susie and Dick Goodman; 25 Grandchildren: Theresa Jewell, Carrie and Tracy Lowe, Jessica Roberts, Nate and Amy Hazen, Sam Hazen, Jane Boyden, William and Courtney Erwin, Rebecca and Tyler Flachs, Levi and Kay Hazen, Luke and Samantha Hazen, Ashley and PJ Doerr, Jennifer Hazen, Melinda and Ron Haines, Erik Barber, Melissa and Todd Jewell, Barbi and Greg Shock, Debbie and Ron Anderson, Mike and Kerri Bryant, Scott and Shannon Nunn, Allison and Tristan Trudel, Rhonda and Brad Holden, Ken and Michelle Goodman, Chris and Bev Diehl, Christy and Mark Hulker, Mariah and Rob Naples; 48 Great Grandchildren; 14 Great-Great Grandchildren; Sister Rebecca Schirmer; and Special Niece Joy.

Jean was preceded in death by her husband Donald; infant son, Mitchell; parents, Paul and Clemence Stenke; brother, William Cullen; infant grandson, Paul; and son-in-law, Jerry Nunn.

 

Graveside services will be held on Friday, 23 September 2016 at 1:00 PM at the Moore Township Cemetery, Moore Road, Snover, Michigan.

 

The Family wants to thank the very loving caregivers from Hospice of Michigan: Teresa, Nancy, Burt, Donna, and Sue. Their love and support helped all of us through these last few months.

 

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Charity (Bunker) Simpson of Luther

Charity (Bunker) Simpson of Luther went to be with her Lord on Wednesday, September 14, 2016. She was 100.

 

Charity was an employee of Stanley Home Products for over 50 years and also served as a waitress for many years. She enjoyed cooking and socializing with family and friends. She loved spending winters in Lake Wales with Roscoe, her husband of 50 years, who preceded her in death. Charity is survived by two sons, Denton of Luther, MI and Gary of Ravenna, MI, grandchildren Michael (Brenda) Grimm, Scott (Michelle) Grimm, Brian (Elizabeth) Grimm, Jacinda (Gerald) Reyers. Also surviving are 15 great grandchildren and three great, great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband Roscoe and her granddaughter Rebecca Grimm.

 

Funeral services will be held at 1:00 P.M. Monday, September 19, 2016 at the Pruitt-Livingston Funeral Home in Reed City. The family will receive relatives and friends 12:00-1:00 until the time of services. Burial will be at Pleasant Hill Cemetery.

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Boyd James Buerge, 73, of Colorado passed away July 21st.

Boyd James Buerge 73, of Aurora Colorado, son of the late Daisy Bell (Buerge) Hurst and Boyd John Buerge, passed away on July 21st, 2016 at the Parker Adventist Hospital in Colorado following a short illness.

 

He was preceded in death recently by his loving and devoted wife Joyce L. Buerge (June 20th 1941-August 13, 2015). Boyd was born in Reed City Michigan and attended Reed City High School, Ferris State College, and the University of Albuquerque.

 

Boyd married his high school sweetheart Joyce McChesney in 1962. They moved their family to Albuquerque NM in 1970 and to Denver CO in 1977. Boyd had a long and successful sales career working for Triangle Auto Sales in Big Rapids, Dunn & Bradstreet in Albuquerque NM, and the US T obacco Co. in Denver CO. Boyd was passionate about cars and sports. His hobbies included restoring cars, particularly Pontiac Firebirds, cataloging parts for cars, and watching the family’s favorite team, the Denver Broncos. Boyd eventually came out of retirement to work as an auto consultant at Walmart. Boyd is survived by his daughter Dana Buerge Peterson, son-in-law Todd Peterson and grandchildren Kyle and Jamie Peterson. His son Steven Buerge, daughter in-law Melissa Buerge, and grandchildren Benjamin, Ryan and Caroline Buerge all of Colorado. He is also survived by his sister Helen Hurst Johnson of Germfask MI, and brother Michael Hurst of Reed City MI.

 

A service for both Boyd and Joyce will be held at the Woodlawn Cemetery in Reed City on Friday September 23rd, 2016 at 2pm. A gathering for all will follow at The Depot located at 200 N. Chestnut St. Reed City MI 49677.

 

In lieu of flowers donations can be made in Boyd and Joyce’s name to the American Cancer Society or the Alzheimer’s Association. 

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Ronald Jay 'Bub' Orvis of Evart

Ronald Jay “Bub” Orvis, 59, walked on to his heavenly home on August 20, 2016 at Spectrum Health Blodgett Hospital after a hard fought battle with cancer. He was born June 26, 1957 in Mt. Pleasant.

 

He married Margaret Marr on September 1, 1990. He resided in Evart with his wife. He was preceded in death by his father, Harold Orvis. He is living on through his wife Margaret, Mother Joyce Sandell, Brother and sister-in-law Robert Dean and Glenna Orvis; his children, daughter Susan Hartnett, son Jamie Marr and fiancée Brooke Paul, son Christopher Orvis and girlfriend Mary Eymer, daughter Tonya Petri; grandchildren Mark Hartnett, Madison Hartnett, Danielle Hartnett, Dakoda Paul-Marr, Carter Orvis, Brycen Orvis, and great granddaughter Zoey Hartnett. Ron was a loving, generous soul that lived his life for his family, especially his grandchildren.

 

He enjoyed going for rides with his brother Dean. He loved his pets, Minka his cat and Penny his dog. He had a great soul that always provided for his family and anyone else in need. He was a proud member of the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe of Mt. Pleasant.

 

There will be a memorial service for family and friends at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 10 at McDowell Funeral Home in Reed City, with visitation beginning at 1:00 p.m.

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John Gerald Nee of Canadian Lakes

John Gerald Nee, loving husband, father, grandfather, and uncle, passed away Friday, September 2, 2016 at home in Canadian Lakes, MI at the age of 77. A memorial mass will be held in his honor September 23, 2016 at St. Michael Catholic Church in Remus, at 11:00 AM, with Fr. Tom Boufford as Celebrant.


John was born March 28, 1939, in Beloit, Wisconsin, the son of John and Doris (Hansberry) Nee. John graduated from Beloit Catholic High School, and subsequently earned both a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stout. He completed his Doctorate of Education from the University of Minnesota in 1973.
 

On February 4, 1967, John married his beloved wife, Kathleen Mary Walsh, and over the next few years, they added to their family with the birth of their two daughters. Throughout his life, John had an unwavering sense of responsibility for his family and in 1975, John and Kathy moved their family to Mt. Pleasant, Michigan where John began work as a Professor within the Department of Industrial Engineering Technology at Central Michigan University. John enjoyed a long and respected career, retiring as Professor Emeritus in 2008. His work and his students were both very important and he took great pride in the successes of his students upon their graduation and stayed in touch with many of them throughout the years.
 

In 2003, John and Kathy moved to Canadian Lakes, where they enjoyed the beauty of the woods and water and the camaraderie of many new friends.
 

Along with a love for his work, John enjoyed many other hobbies, including riding and refurbishing motorcycles. Friends, neighbors, and students could often find him in his workshop or garage working on making what was old, new again. His final and much loved acquisition was a 1983 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Regency. He enjoyed sharing the Oldsmobile at car shows and touring around West Michigan with his wife and friends as part of the Canadian Lakes Car Club.
 

John is survived by his wife of 49 years, Kathy; children Christine (Richard) Bradley, Lynn (Rikk Kolacz) Nee; grandson Nicholas Kolacz; brother Tom (Judy) Nee; many loved nieces and nephews; and good friend Dennis Parent. He was preceded in death by his parents.
 

In lieu of flowers and if so desiring, memorial contributions may be made to Spectrum Health Hospice and Palliative Care [The Spectrum Health Foundation, 100 Michigan Street NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503] or to the Patient Access Network Foundation [Patient Access Network Foundation, 1331 F Street NW, Suite 975, Washington, DC 20004].

 

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David Lubbinge of Chippewa Lake

David Lubbinge, age 57 of Chippewa Lake went to be with his Lord on Tuesday, September 6, 2016.  He passed away unexpectedly, with his wife of 27 years, Shelly (Austin) Lubbinge by his side. 

 

Dave graduated from Grandville H.S. and Grand Valley State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance.  David worked for Central Michigan Mental Health in Mt. Pleasant.

 

David was dedicated to his work and his family and enjoyed many years of outdoor activities with his wife and many special friends.   The one thing that anyone who knew him could agree on was that he was one of the very nicest men they had ever met.

 

David is survived by his wife Shelly, his sister, Rolinda (Dale) Baareman of Drummond Island, MI, his brother, Steven (Glory) Lubbinge of Grandville, his brother-in-law Charles (Julie) Austin, of Chippewa Lake and his sister-in-law Patricia Austin Davis also of Chippewa Lake.  His, Uncle Chris (Marilyn) Siebers of Caledonia and his Aunt, Martha Nydam of Hudsonville and his Step-Mother Jennifer Lawrence of Elk Rapids.

 

David and Shelly had no children of their own but have many nieces and nephews and very special cousins that were just as precious as children, grandchildren and great grandchildren to them.  Shannon, Debbie, Tucker, Peaches, Josh, Brianna, Jason, Kayla, Kevin, D.J., Charlee, Adam, Audra, Dick, Gavin, Grady,  Mike, Charlie, Mikey, Edie Moe, Joe, Will, Cierra, Aaliyah, Cody, Megan, Mark, Helen, Tehya, Mark, Norma, Josh, Julia, Jacob, Christopher, Tonya, Bryan, Sues, Brett and Katie.

 

David will be greatly missed by his family and friends.  He was preceded in death by his father, Roland Lubbinge, his mother Thelma Lubbinge and his beloved, Sammy.

 

There will be a celebration of David’s life at the Barryton Community Building on Saturday, September 10, 2016 from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

 

Memorial contributions in David’s name may be made to the charity of the donor’s choice.

 

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Leon J. Maxwell of Big Rapids

Leon J. Maxwell, age 60 of Big Rapids, passed away Monday, September 5, 2016 at Spectrum Health Meijer Heart Center.  He was born July 24, 1956 in Clare, the son of Patrick Sr. and Marcella (Bailey) Maxwell.  Leon attended Chippewa Hills High School.  He farmed his entire life on the family farm.  Leon enjoyed always having a dog, playing bingo, and visiting with his friends.
 

Leon is survived by his four brothers, Patrick II (Marilyn) of Canal Fulton, Ohio, Duane (Sheryl) of Spring Hill, Florida, Eugene (Janice) of Midland, and Randy (Sandra) of Rodney; many nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, and numerous friends.

 

He was preceded in death by his parents; sister-in-law, Jeanette Maxwell; niece, Sheri Maxwell; and nephew, Patrick Maxwell III. 

 

A memorial service is being planned for a later date.

 

Memorial contributions may be made in Leon’s name to the Chippewa Hills FFA Alumni, 3226 Arthur Road, Remus, MI, 49340. 

 

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Betty Mae Lewis of Big Rapids

Betty Mae Lewis, 92, of Big Rapids, passed away Sunday, September 3, 2016 at the Boardman Lake Glens Assisted Living Facility in Traverse City in the presence of her loving family.


Betty was born June 7, 1924, the daughter of Guy and Mae (Fitzgerald) Robison in Big Rapids.  She grew up in Big Rapids, where she graduated from Big Rapids High School in 1942.  Upon graduating, Betty worked at Hanchett Manufacturing. 
 

Betty married Jack Lewis in 1946.  Following retirement, Betty and Jack enjoyed winters in Largo,

FL.  They also were both very involved in community and civic activities.  Betty was very active in the Mecosta County Genealogical  Society and the Mecosta County  Historical Museum,  Mecosta County Fair and Ferris State Alumni Association.
 

She is survived by her daughtes, Mary Mieler (Jud Whitnell) of Tucson , AZ, Nancy (Jim) Schroeder of Traverse City, Linda Hood of Kent City;  5 grandchildren; Jacki (Rusty) Lenners, Emily Mieler, Jake (Kerra) Schroeder, Abby (Cory) Paquette, Hannah (James) Westphal, and  6 great grandchildren; Taryn and Josh Lenners, Keely and Wyatt Paquette, Bailey Westphal and Ethan Bowman. Also surviving are two sisters-in-law;  Shirley Totten and Ann Haight plus many cousins, nieces and nephews.


Betty was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Jack and siblings; Harley Robison, Edna Sigsby, Lois Robison, Fern Lane and Lawrence Robison.
 

A memorial service for Betty will be 11:00 a.m., Saturday, September 24, 2016 at the Mohkne Funeral Home in Big Rapids, with Reverend Jerena Keys officiating. Interment will take place at Pine Plains Cemetery.

 

Betty's family would like to express their appreciation to Hospice of Michigan and the entire staff at the Boardman Lake Glens Assisted Living Facility for the wonderful care she received during her time there.
 

Memorial contributions may be made to the Mecosta County Genealogical Society, P.O. Box1068, Big Rapids, MI 49307

 

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Dennis William Biller of Mecosta

Dennis William Biller , of Mecosta, passed away Monday, September 5, 2016 at home surrounded by his loving family.  Dennis was born on January 6, 1951 in Big Rapids, the son of Richard and Barbara (Cady) Biller.


He lived in the area his entire life.
 

Denny married Nila in 1986 and work for many years for MEAD MASONARY (Weidman).
 

He loved music and  playing the lead guitar.
 

He was preceded in death by his father.
 

Denny is survived by his mother, Barbara Biller and his wife, Nila, his children; Wayne (Teresa) Biller, Tracy (Rob) Wilber, Shawna (Frank) Miller, all of Mecosta, John (Bonnie) Cour of Lakeview, step children; Jim (Stacey) Thompson and Leon (Annie) Shaner, also surviving are 18 grandchildren and 1 great grandson, his brothers; Bob (Sherry) Playes, Dickie (Marilyn) Biller, Roger (Kathy) Biller and sisters; Vicky (Bill) Dexter and Christy Denslow, and many cousins, nieces and nephews.
 

A celebration of life will be  1:00 p.m.,Sunday, September 18, 2016, at the Mecosta VFW Hall.

 

Memorial contributions may be made in Denny's name to Hospice of Michigan.

 

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Lois M. Hatfield of Big Rapids

Lois M. Hatfield, 73, of Big Rapids, passed away  Monday, August 5, 2016, at the Brook of Big Rapids.

 

She was  born March 12, 1943 in Big Rapids, the daughter of  Edmund and Marquerite (Kietzmann) Ellefsen, and was a lifelong  Big Rapids resident.    In 1961, Lois graduated from Big Rapids High School, and continued her education as a graduate of the Butterworth Hospital School of Nursing and St. Joseph's College in Maine.
 

Lois was employed by Mecosta County Medical Center for 35 years, beginning as a Registered Nurse and ending as a consultant for the Birthing Center and Rehabiliation Center,and the Medical Arts building.
 

Her home was always open to family and friends.  Lois loved to travel, and had been to 46 states and most of the Canadian Providences with her late husband, William.  They traveled with a 5th wheeler on back roads to enjoy the countryside and many interesting people.  Their other retreat was a cottage they built where they spent hours on the water with friends.  For 30 years Drummond Island was their fall destination for several weeks of perch fishing with the  usual group of friends up there.
 

On March 31, 1962, at St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Big Rapids, Lois married William P. Hatfield, who preceded her in death on May 17, 2005.  She is survived by a son Mark and his wife Carla, 2 precious grandchildren, Chelsea (Joshua) Richardson, and Christina Hatfiled; 2 great-grandchildren, Colton and Kennedy Richardson; her sister -in-law, Alice Grosebeck;  nephews Matt and Mike Grosebeck; and brother-in-law, Bob Hatfield. Several cousins also survive as do  special friends, Norm  Kailing and Netty Cove, special neighbors Jim and Sandy Bowen and Eleanor and the late Jim Spedowski.  Lois was also preceded in death by an infant brother Gary and brother-in-law Merle Grosebeck
 

Funeral services will be at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, September 10,  2016 at St. Peter's Lutheran Church  in Big Rapids,with Pastor John Bookshaw officiating.  Burial will be in the Highland View Cemetery.  Lois' family will greet friends from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. on Friday, September 9, at the Mohnke Funeral Home in Big Rapids, and at the church after 10:00 a.m. on Saturday.  In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in her name may be made to St. Peter's Lutheran Church, or a charity of choice,  with envelopes available at the church or funeral home.  

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Trixie Carol Shepherd of Reed City

Trixie Carol Shepherd of Reed City passed away at her home Tuesday, August 31, 2016. She was 79 years old.

 

She was born July 9, 1937 to Frank and Vernie (Strait) Ziemba in Muskegon and was raised in White Cloud and attended White Cloud area schools. She was employed as a hairdresser in the Detroit area before moving to Lewiston where she owned and operated a handmade crafts store for 17 years. Trixie moved to the Reed City area after her retirement in 2000. In her youth, Trixie travelled with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus as a Hula dancer with other members of her family. She was a lifetime member of the Dearborn Heights VFW Post #78 Women’s Auxiliary and also a lifetime member of the Lewiston Moose Lodge #2495. As an avid fan of music, she loved to sing and was a self-taught player of numerous instruments including the guitar, organ, and accordion. Trixie was committed to helping returning members of the armed forces, and with help from sister members of the auxiliary, she constructed thousands of bookmarks and knitted afghan’s for wounded veterans for many years.

 

She is survived by her son Ivan Youngs, adopted daughter Amber, and foster children April, Diana, and Coral, sisters Rosalee (James) Armour, Kay (Paul) Bittner, Pat (Mike) Ensing, and Nola Green, brother Eddie (Barbara) Booker, grandchildren Sebastian and Lillianna, and her sister-in-law Marilyn Booker. She was preceded in death by her parents Frank and Vernie Ziemba, and her brothers Jerry Booker and James Booker.

 

Funeral services will be held at 1:00 P.M. Friday, September 9, 2016 at the Pruitt-Livingston Funeral Home in Reed City with Debra Stern officiating. Visitation with the family will be from 11:00 A.M. until the beginning of services.

 

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Gerald O. 'Jake' Stout of Morley

Gerald O. “Jake” Stout, age 69 of Morley, passed away peacefully Wednesday, August 31, 2016 at Spectrum Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids surrounded by his family.  He was born January 26, 1947 at home in Cedar Springs, the son of Bernard and Ruby (Bonnter) Stout. 


Jake graduated from Rockford High School.  He was drafted into the United States Marine Corps, serving during the Vietnam Era until his honorable discharge in 1967.  Jake returned to Cedar Springs and began his 35 year career at Michigan Wheel in Grand Rapids.  He also established “Jake Stout Propeller Repair” a shop he operated at his home for over 20 years.  He was very well known for the high quality work he took such great pride in. 


Jake married Judy Thompson on July 16, 1966 in Morley; they happily celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this year. 


Jake was a member of American Legion Post #554 of Morley, the River Valley Car Club, he was the Chief Union Steward at Michigan Wheel for many years and had attended the Northland United Methodist Church.  He enjoyed years of deer hunting with friends and family, but especially loved hunting with his two sons.


Jake is survived by his beloved wife Judy; two sons, Jeffery Stout, Jason (Heather) Stout all of Morley; a brother George (Sandy) Stout of Pierson and many special nieces and nephews.  He was preceded in death by his parents, his grandson, Jacob Stout, a sister, Lil Lanning; three brothers, Don, Chuck and Gene Stout and his mother and father-in-law, Beulah and Virgil Thompson.


Funeral services will take place 1:00 p.m. Saturday, September 3, 2016 at the Daggett-Gilbert Funeral Home in Big Rapids with Pastor Gary Bondarenko officiating.  The family will greet friends at the funeral home two hours prior to the funeral on Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.


Memorial contributions in Jake’s name may be made to the Northland United Methodist Church in Stanwood.

 

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Darwin 'Cush' Leo Cushman of Barryton

Darwin “Cush” Leo Cushman, passed away on Tuesday, August 30, 2016 at his home in Barryton at the age of 82. On October 12, 1933 he was born in Calhoun County to the late Leo and Lottie (Gibbie) Cushman. Darwin was raised in Olivet and graduated from Olivet High School in 1951. He entered the United States Army and was honorably discharged following the Korean Conflict.

 

Darwin married Grace (Syer) Miller on August 30, 1969 in Jackson, MI where he was a firefighter for 25 years. Upon retirement they moved to their home in Barryton where he was instrumental in maintaining the channels of Lost Lake. Darwin was a member of the Weidman American Legion, the Evart Eagles, and the last living charter member of the Barryton Road Runner Men’s Club.

 

Darwin is survived by the family he loved; his wife of 45 years, Grace; sons, Brian (Jeanne) Cushman, Michael (Barbara) Cushman, Charles Miller and Thomas (Lynn) Miller; twelve grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and many extended family and friends he’s met along the way.

 

Per his wishes cremation has taken place and no services will be held at this time. In his memory donations to the Barryton Road Runners Club would be appreciated. Arrangements and care have been entrusted to the Daggett Funeral Home in Barryton.

 

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