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Big Rapids Daily News
Obituaries Archives for 2015-06

Maxine Ruth German of Ashton

Maxine Ruth German, age 84 of Ashton, passed away Friday, June 26, 2015 at her residence.


She was born October 23, 1930 in Grand Rapids to Alonzo and Helen (Huggins) Pratt and was a 1948 graduate of Creston High School. On October 15, 1954 she was married in Grand Rapids to Robert Charles German who passed away in 2003. She was employed with the Grand Rapids Public Schools as a bus driver for special education students and as a “domestic engineer”.


Maxine enjoyed hot air balloons, bowling, casinos, bingo, reading, Sunday morning breakfast with friends, and 5th wheel camping. She is survived by her children: Pamela (Mark) Palfey, David German, and Patricia (Tom) Hawkins, 10 grandchildren, 12 great grandchildren, 4 siblings, a sister-in-law, and her dog Tah-Dah! She was preceded in death by her husband Robert Charles German, parents Alonzo and Helen Pratt, and sons Michael and Gerald German.


Funeral services will be 1:00 P.M. Wednesday, July 1, 2015 at the Pruitt-Livingston Funeral Home in Reed City with Rev. Scott Loomis officiating. Burial will be at Ashton Cemetery. Visitation with the family will be from 11:00 A.M. Wednesday, July 1, 2015 at the funeral home until time of services. Memorial contributions may be made in her name to the Hazy Acres farm.


Joyce Elaine Purchase of Luther

Joyce Elaine Purchase, age 81 of Luther, passed away peacefully at home on Wednesday, June 24, 2015. She was born January 6, 1934 in Cadillac to Howard and Bernice (Apsey) Smith. She was raised on the family farm near Tustin and attended Tustin area schools, graduating in 1951.


On April 15, 1955 she was married in Luther to Elwin “Spike” Purchase who survives her. After her children were raised, she became employed at the Mitchell-Bentley building in Cadillac continuing until her retirement in 1986. Joyce enjoyed her flowers, crafts, and bird watching. Most of all, she enjoyed being in the company of her family. The Purchase family would like to extend a special thanks to the Munson Home Health Hospice of Cadillac and to Lorraine Kanouse of Tustin.


She is survived by her husband Elwin “Spike” Purchase, children: Norman (Pam) Purchase, Cheryl (Tom) Kushmaul, Steve (Julie) Purchase, Rhonda (Gary) Banister, and Sheila (Don) Pline, grandchildren: Kellee and Ryan Purchase, Heather Meiers, Michelle (Nick) Howe, Sarah (Andy) Melius, Lisa Banister, Andrew and Ben Pline, a great grandchild Juniper Joyce Melius, and her brother Gordon Smith. She was preceded in death by her parents Howard and Bernice Smith, brother Kenneth Smith, sister Barbara Van Zee, infant sister Patricia Smith, grandson B.J. Meiers, and son-in-law Robert Meiers Sr.


Funeral services for Joyce Purchase will be private. Her final resting place will be at North Park Cemetery in Luther, MI.


Phyllis Ann Jernstadt formerly of Big Rapids

Phyllis Ann Jernstadt, age 78, of Saginaw, formerly of Big Rapids, passed away on Wednesday, June 24, 2015. She was born on February 24, 1937 in Big Rapids, the daughter of Martin and Mary (Eichenberg) Jernstadt. She graduated from Big Rapids High School and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Education in 1968 and a Master of Science degree in Occupational Education in 1991; both from Ferris State University.

Early in her career, she worked as a dental assistant for Dr. Harmon in Big Rapids then Dr. Najar in Grand Rapids. Phyllis started the dental hygiene and assisting program at Delta College, Saginaw 1967, retiring in 2003.

Phyllis was president of the Michigan Dental Assisting Association in 1973 and 1974. She held local office in the association throughout her career and had been the education chair for the last three years.

She is survived by one sister-in-law, Betty (Jim) Jernstadt; nieces and nephews, Bill (Shirley) Jernstadt, Dale (Mary) Jernstadt, Ollie (Mary) Irvin, Gail Weller, Dana (Angela) Irvin, Ace Jernstadt, Honey (Karl) Blemaster, JT Jernstadt, Carol Jernstadt, Marty (Angela) Jernstadt, and Anna Maier; her adopted son, Tony (Liliu) Bao; grandchildren, Tony Jr. (Shelly) Bao and Julia Bao; several great and great-great nieces and nephews; plus many cousins. Also surviving is dear friend, Sally Ross.

Funeral Services will be 11:00 am Monday, June 29, 2015 at the Mohnke Funeral Home in Big Rapids. Visitation will be Sunday, June 28, 2015 from 2:00 – 5:00 pm at the funeral home. Interment will follow Monday’s service at the Highland View Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the Mecosta County Animal Rescue Coalition.


Marcus N. Vanhala of Big Rapids

Marcus N. Vanhala, age 55 of Big Rapids, was born on August 8, 1959 in Tower-Soudan, Minnesota. He died on June 24, 2015 from pancreatic cancer at his home. He was baptized as an infant on September 6th and has lived under God’s grace for nearly 56 years. He graduated from Allen Park High School in 1977, attended Henry Ford Community College and later graduated from Central Michigan University in 1983. He married Julie Burmont on November 26, 1983 in Allen Park. Marc has worked as a teacher, youth minister, and driver education instructor these past 30 years. He obtained a Master of Arts Degree in Theology from Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa in 1987.

Marc is survived by his wife, Julie Burmont Vanhala of Big Rapids; three children, Michelle Vanhala of Ann Arbor, Eric Vanhala of Mt. Pleasant and Timothy Vanhala of Big Rapids; his mother, Charlotte Vanhala of Dearborn; three siblings, Susan (Patrick) Lukasik of Canton, Frederick (Elaine) Vanhala of Allen Park and Ann (Ken) Lonc of Ann Arbor; and eight nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father, Reverend Frederick Vanhala, and sister and brother in law, Janet and Matthew Donnelly.

In addition to a passion for bicycle riding, Marc assisted at Immanuel Lutheran Church in worship and education. He was a member of the Lions Club in Big Rapids, chaired the school improvement team at Big Rapids Middle School. Marc helped organize an East Coast Trip for 8th Grade Students at BRMS, co-created an award winning class entitled, “Choices and Challenges,” and encouraged students to understand themselves better through experiential learning activities. Marc taught driver education for the past 16 years, first with Big Rapids High School and in more recent years with Navigator Driving Academy. Marc assisted with the founding of Habitat for Humanity in Isabella County and traveled on several mission trips to build homes in Chattanooga and Boston. Along with his wife Julie and other members of Immanuel they helped create “Celebrate” and “Casual Family Worship.”

Marc touched many lives in many ways and he will be missed. We celebrate that he has arrived at his new home in heaven.

Memorial contributions in Marc’s name may be given to the Immanuel Lutheran Church.

Funeral services will take place 12:00 p.m. (noon) Monday, June 29, 2015 at the Immanuel Lutheran Church, 726 Fuller Avenue, Big Rapids, with Reverend Robert Garrels officiating. The family will greet friends from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Sunday, June 28th at the Daggett-Gilbert Funeral Home in Big Rapids and one hour prior to services on Monday at the Church.


David D. Raab of Paris

David D. Raab, 60, of Paris, passed away Monday, June 22, 2015 at Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital.

He was born October 18, 1954, the son of Arthur and Marian (Rainey) Raab, and graduated from Big Rapids High School in 1972. Following graduation, he joined the U.S. Army, and was stationed in Germany for most of his enlistment. After his honorable discharge, he later returned to the area, and worked as a self-employed carpenter for many years.

Dave is survived by his daughter Danielle Raab of Grand Rapids; his son Levi Raab of Paris; 2 grandchildren, Kade Skinner and Violet Williamson; 3 brothers, Leslie, Philip (Michele), and Ronald (Nena), all of Paris; I sister Deborah Shaw of Hesperia; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by parents and a brother Jerry.

A memorial gathering for Dave will be from 12:00 – 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 27, at the Mohnke Funeral Home in Big Rapids.


Robert Allen Ripley of Reed City

Robert Allen Ripley, age 68 of Reed City, passed away Sunday, June 21, 2015 in Paris, Michigan.


He was born May 22, 1947 in Reed City to Lyle and Nellie (Cornelius) Ripley and attended Reed City schools. On July 17, 1971 he was married in Reed City to Marie Eileen Phillips who survives. Robert was employed with the Tubelite Inc. in Reed City from 1969 until his retirement in 2003. He enjoyed the music of Loretta Lynn, attending Music In The Park events in Reed City, and spending time with his children and grandchildren.


He is survived by his wife Marie, sons Scott (Connie) Ripley and Michael Ripley, daughter Michelle (Richard) Dekubber, grandchildren Brittany “Babe” (Jeremy) Lease, Richard “Bub” Dekubber, Meggan “Boo” Dekubber, Jacob Ripley, and Austin Ripley. He was preceded in death by his parents Lyle and Nellie Ripley, brother Lyle Ripley Jr., and sisters Bonnie Ford and Joann Russell.


Funeral services will be held at 11:00 A.M. Thursday, June 25, 2015 at the Pruitt-Livingston Funeral Home in Reed City with Rev. Robert King officiating. Burial will take place at the Chase Township Cemetery. Visitation with the family will be from 4-7 P.M. Wednesday, June 24, 2015 at the funeral home.


Shirley Ward of Newaygo

Shirley Ward age 72 of Newaygo passed away June 18, 2015 at Gerber Memorial in Fremont. Funeral services will be held on Monday June 22, 2015 at 11:00 AM at the Heritage United Methodist Church with Pastor Steve Weinberger officiating. The family will greet friends at the church from 10 AM until time of services at 11:00 AM.


Mary M. Thon of Stanwood

Mary M. Thon, age 91 of Stanwood, passed away Monday, June 22, 2015 at home. She was born December 19, 1923 in Tulsa, OK, the daughter of Ralph and Jo (Castin) Philips. Mary graduated from Creston High School in 1942.

She married Simon Thon on March 2, 1946 in Grand Rapids and together they raised their family in Stanwood on the centennial farm. Mary enjoyed cooking and preparing everything from scratch. She was employed by the Morley – Stanwood Public Schools for over 40 years as the cook until she retired. Mary loved her family and was devoted to her children and grandchildren.

She is survived by her husband of 69 years, Simon Thon of Stanwood; three children, Tim (Robin) Thon of Morley, Tom (Kim) Thon of Stanwood and Susan (Wayne) Stafford of Stanwood; seven grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; two sisters-in-law, Marjorie Stout of Canadian Lakes and Lenora Thon of Stanwood; numerous nieces and nephews.

Mary was preceded in death by her parents; an infant son, Larry Thon; one brother and two sisters.

Funeral services will take place 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, June 24, 2015 at the Daggett-Gilbert Funeral Home with Pastor Paul LeRoy officiating. The family will greet friends from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Tuesday, June 23, 2015 at the funeral home. Burial will be at Stanwood Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Mary’s name may be made to Spectrum Health Hospice.


Ronald Neal Boyer of Reed City

Ronald Neal Boyer, age 66, of Reed City passed away on June 20, 2015, at home. Ron was born on August 19, 1948, in Reed City to Carl and Bernice Boyer. He graduated from Reed City High School in 1966. Shortly after, he was called to serve in the U.S. Army. Ron served nearly two years in West Germany assigned to the 144th signal corps A Company 4th Armored Division (1966-1968). He was a lifetime member of the DAV in Big Rapids.


Ron worked 36 years for the State of Michigan (M.D.O.T.). He worked as a highway and bridge inspector for 10 years before transferring to the state highway maintenance garage in Reed City where he worked as an equipment operator for 26 years, retiring in October 2002. He also owned and operated Boyer Monuments for 30 years.


On August 8, 1975, he married Rozella Hansen of Stanton. They have two daughters, Katrina and Rhonda. Ron was preceded in death by his parents, Carl and Bernice Boyer of Reed City, his brother, Daniel Boyer, of Reed City, and three sisters, Monzelle Freiberg of Big Rapids, Dorothy Kage and Lucille Boyer, both of Reed City. He is survived by his wife, Rozella, and daughters, Katrina (Timothy) Wanner and Rhonda (Christopher) Lockhart, all of Reed City. Also six grandchildren, Kody, Dallas, Sierra, Wyatt, Jared, and Jenelle. Also surviving is his brother Kenneth (Beth) Boyer of Reed City as well as nephews and nieces.


Ron enjoyed fishing for herring in the St. Mary’s River in the U.P. and deer hunting. He liked traveling around the U.S. and Canada. Visitation will be from 5:00-6:00 on Tuesday, June 23 followed by a funeral service at 6:00 at McDowell Funeral Home in Reed City. Graveside committal will be at 11:30 on Wednesday, June 24 at the Meida Cemetery in Lincoln Township.


In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be given to Hospice of Michigan, First Baptist Church of Reed City, or to missions.


Col. Jerome H. Gregory of Mecosta

Jerome Henry Gregory, 92, of Rodney, passed away on Sunday, June 21, 2015 in Big Rapids, just three months shy of his 93rd birthday. Jerome was born on October 15, 1922 in Rodney, the son of Ray and Emma (Vonglahn) Gregory.

During the Second World War, Jerome qualified as a pilot in the fledgling Army Air Force. As an Air Cadet in Montgomery, AL, he trained in the BT-13 Valiant. His training quickly led to an assignment in the B-24 Liberator as a flight instructor. For the duration of WWII, he trained B-24 pilots for the European theater. After a brief period in civilian life, he returned to the new United States Air Force and flew the B-29 Superfortress out of Lockbourne AFB in Columbus, OH. He was temporarily assigned duty in the territory of Guam, where he participated in early atomic weapons testing in the South Pacific. As the Cold War heated up, he was assigned to the Strategic Air Command flying in the B-47 Stratojet as an aircraft commander of a Combat Ready Crew pulling nuclear ground and airborne alert. He progressed to become a flight instructor and flight examiner in Standards and Evaluation. His duty stations were Little Rock AFB in Arkansas, Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, AZ and Lincoln AFB in NE. As the B-47 ended its operational service, Jerome was transferred to the Military Airlift Command at Travis AFB in California and qualified as an aircraft commander in the new long range cargo aircraft, Lockheed’s C-141 StarLifter. During the Vietnam conflict he flew many missions from California to Southeast Asia. He ferried supplies from the U.S. to the Philippines, Japan and Vietnam. On return trips, he carried the combat wounded and returning troops. Jerome served a one year tour of duty in Da Nang, Vietnam as the Commander of the Airlift Control Element ALCE) where he was awarded the Bronze Star. He amassed thousands of flying hours during his career and retired as a highly decorated full Colonel in the United States Air Force with 27 years of dedicated service to his country.

“The Colonel,” as he was fondly referred to by family and friends, retired to the family farm in Rodney where he raised cattle and field crops. He was a member of the B.P.O. Elks # 974 and the former Meceola Country Club.

Jerome was preceded in death by his wife of 69 years, Doris Jeanette First and his brother, Marvin D. Gregory. He is survived by his sister, Joanne (John) Emmons; and three loving children, Pat (Manuel) Escobar, Alan (Connie) Gregory; and Steve Gregory. In addition, he leaves a legacy of 11 grandchildren, many great grandchildren, and several great-great grandchildren.

His generosity, sense of humor, and strength of character will be missed.
Services will be held on Friday, July 10, 2015 from 4:00 to 6:00 pm at the Mohnke Funeral Home in Big Rapids. A military salute featuring an Honor Guard from the Wright Patterson AFB will immediately follow.


Gerald J. Underwood of Stanwood

Gerald James Underwood, 82, of Stanwood, passed away Saturday, June 20, 2015 in Grand Rapids after a prolonged illness. The devout Christian, avid hunter, and rifleman was born on March 25, 1933, the son of Percy and Athleen (Locklin) Underwood.

A Detroit native, Army veteran, and Oakland County business owner, Mr. Underwood was a graduate of Howe Military Academy in Howe, Indiana and the University of Michigan. He was a long time resident of Canadian Lakes after retiring from operating his family’s sand and gravel business in Oakland County.

Retirement years kept Jerry very busy while he pursued his many interests including blacksmithing, woodworking (notably crafting Shaker chairs) and traveling around the world. As a member of the Northland United Methodist Church, Jerry’s greatest passion during this time was serving God. He especially cherished his role as a Gideon in Central/Northern Michigan, passing out thousands of Bibles to people in Michigan and aboard.

“Jerry” is survived by his sons, Robert, Scott (Karen), and William (Lynne) Underwood; three grandchildren, Ashley, Chelsea, and Alexandria; and two great grandchildren, Aiden and Koen; and sister, Judith (Walter) Dietrich. He was preceded in death by parents; first wife, Donna (Landon); and second wife, Beverley (Doan).

Funeral services will be 11:00 am, Friday, June 26, 2015 at the Northland United Methodist Church, Stanwood, with Pastor Gary Bondarenko officiating. Interment will be in the Woodlawn Cemetery in Detroit. In lieu of flowers, charitable donations may be made to the Dementia Society of America (


James "Jim" David Moore of Big Rapids

James “Jim” David Moore, 54, of Big Rapids, passed away unexpectedly at home on Friday, June 19, 2015.

He was born August 9, 1960 in Big Rapids, the son of Harry and Clara Belle (Turk) Moore, and graduated from Morley Stanwood High School in 1978. For 20 years, Jim was employed at Thermotron in Holland. He was currently working in the Maintenance/Physical Plant at Ferris State University.

Jim enjoyed the woods, FSU Hockey, the Detroit Redwings and most sports in general. He had been active with his sons’ sporting events.

Jim is survived by Katy, his wife of 26 years; two sons, David Yskes of Battle Creek, and Eric (Jennifer) Yskes of Livonia; three grandchildren, Emma, Evelyn and Henry Yskes; one brother, Thomas (Connie) Moore of Cody, Wyoming; and a nephew, Steve (Eunice) Ward. He was preceded in death by his parents and one brother, Richard Moore.

Funeral services will be 11:00 a.m., Thursday, June 25, 2015, at the Mohnke Funeral Home in Big Rapids, with Pastor Rebecca Morrison officiating. Burial will be in the Pine Plains Cemetery in Colfax Township. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Jim’s name for Ferris State University Hockey may be left at the funeral home, where his family will greet friends from 4-6 p.m. on Wednesday, and prior to services on Thursday.


John Francis "Jack" McNamara of Big Rapids

John Francis “Jack” McNamara, age 85, died peacefully, surrounded by family, on June 18, 2015, following a brief illness. Jack was born on July 5, 1929, in Detroit, Michigan, to John Francis McNamara, Sr., and Gertrude (Beals) McNamara. He served his country honorably during the Korean War and came to Big Rapids in 1962 to join the faculty of Ferris State University, where he taught English and journalism and mentored countless students until his retirement in 1991. Jack also served as the “Voice of Bulldog Football” as its public address announcer at Ferris home games for more than three decades.

He is survived by his wife of nearly 59 years, Sally, and his children, Susan and Martin, both of Big Rapids, and Nancy (Nicholas Pittler) of San Francisco, California. Jack was a devoted grandfather to Brooke and Clayton McNamara of Grandville, and to Elyse, Paige, Devin, and Ava Rose McNamara-Pittler of San Francisco. Also surviving are his sister Kathleen Betanzos of Lansing, his brother Michael (Karen) McNamara of Newport Beach, California, and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his beloved sister Mary Frances McLaughlin, his niece and goddaughter Elizabeth Allard, and his grandniece Fiona Guthrie.

Jack will be remembered for his quick wit and sharp intellect, his pride in his Irish heritage, and his love of his family and friends. The family will greet visitors at St. Paul’s Campus Parish in Big Rapids from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Monday, June 22, with a scripture service beginning at 6:30 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, June 23rd, at St. Paul’s Campus Parish with Father Michael Burt officiating. The family will greet friends at church one hour prior to Mass.

Memorial contributions in Jack’s name may be made to Hospice of Michigan.


Suzanne A. Quilitzsch of Morley

Suzanne A. “Sue” Quilitzsch, age 48 of Morley, passed away Wednesday, June 17, 2015 at home with her family by her side. She was born November 4, 1966 in Pontiac, the daughter of James and Jeanette (Bartz) Amell. Sue was raised in Waterford and graduated from Mott High School in 1984. She attended Alma College and earned her Bachelor Degree in Education from Western University. Sue was employed by the Big Rapids Public School as the 7th and 8th grade teacher of Language Arts. She was a beloved teacher who had a profound influence on many students.

Sue married Eric Quilitzsch on August 11, 1990 in Waterford and together they made their home and raised their family in Morley. She was a devoted mother who loved her family and spending time with them. Sue enjoyed camping and boating with her family and attending her girls’ activities. She also liked to garden and decorate the house. Sue was a member of the Bethel Lutheran Church in Howard City for 14 years.

She is survived by her husband of 24 years, Eric Quilitzsch of Morley; two daughters, Megan and Ali Quilitzsch of Morley; parents, Jim and Jeanette Amell of Hubbard Lake; two brothers, Thomas (Nannette) Amell of Waterford and Steven (Jodie) Amell of Sand Lake; numerous nieces and nephews; mother-in-law, Dian McDonald of Big Rapids. Sue will be greatly missed by all who knew her.

Sue was preceded in death by her grandparents.

Funeral services will take place 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, June 23, 2015 at the Bethel Lutheran Church, 18669 West M-46, Howard City, with Pastor Steven Frentz officiating. The family will greet friends 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday, June 22nd at the Daggett-Gilbert Funeral Home in Big Rapids. Burial will be at Aetna Township Cemetery in Morley.

Memorial contributions in Sue’s name may be made to the Big Rapids Schools for supplies.


Linda M. Rasmussen of Big Rapids

Linda M. Rasmussen, age 58 of Big Rapids, passed away Tuesday, June 9, 2015 after a courageous battle with cancer. She was born July 26, 1956 in Big Rapids, the daughter of Orville Sr. and Evelyn (Prim) Rasmussen. Linda graduated from Big Rapids High School in 1974. She was employed by Frigidaire in Greenville where she lived for a few years. In 2000 Linda began living her dream of traveling the United States in her RV.

Linda is survived by three sisters, Judy (Roger) Winegar, Maxine McClelland both of Big Rapids and Carla McGee of Hobart, IN; three brothers, Orville Rasmussen Jr. of Grand Rapids, Rick (Cheryl) Rasmussen and Gary (Rennell) Rasmussen both of Big Rapids; many nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews; two great-great nieces and a great-great nephew.

She was preceded in death by her parents; brother, Theodore “Ted” Rasmussen; niece, Jana Winegar Pollaski Newman; and nephew, Richard “Ricky” Rasmussen.

Cremation has taken place and a Celebration of Life will be held 5:00 p.m. Friday June 26, 2015 at the Daggett-Gilbert Funeral Home in Big Rapids.


Tanya Michelle Nelson of Big Rapids

Tanya Michelle Nelson, age 42, of Big Rapids, passed away Tuesday, June 16, 2015 at Spectrum Health Rehabilitation Center in Reed City. She was born on May 29, 1973 in Big Rapids, the daughter of David and Dianne (Murrow) Nelson

Tanya graduated from the MOISD in 1994. She had worked for the Pioneer, Hope Network, Arby’s, Bennigan’s, Sporting News Grill, and, most recently at the new University Center at Ferris State.

She loved participating in the Special Olympics summer and winter games. Her favorite events were bocce ball, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing, always earning medals.

Tanya is survived by her parents; one brother, Kyle Nelson of Reed City; aunts; uncles; and cousins from out of state. She had a special cat named Snowflake. Everyone who knew Tanya commented on her beautiful smile.

Funeral services for Tanya will be 11:00 am Friday, June 19, 2015 at the Mohnke Funeral Home in Big Rapids with Pastor Gary deBock officiating. Her family will greet friends on Thursday from 4:00 to 6:00 pm at the funeral home. Interment will take place at the Highland View Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Area 5 Special Olympics, with envelopes provided at the funeral home.


Kathleen Marie Stevens O'Neill of Canadian Lakes

Kathleen Marie Stevens O’Neill, age 72, of Canadian Lakes passed away on June 16, 2015 at home surrounded by her family.

Kathy was born February 23, 1943 in Flint, MI to Robert Adams and Lois Adams Newberry.

She was preceded in death by her father Robert Adams; her step father Orville Newberry and her brother Pat Adams.

Kathy is lovingly remembered by her husband Dan; two daughters, Shannon (Brian) Delvaux and LaShawn (Jeff) Walker and their father Russ Stevens; her mother Lois Newberry; brothers Bob (Marilyn) Adams, Rod (Cathy) Adams; her beloved granddaughter Kathryn Delvaux; 4 nephews; several great nieces and nephews; a number of other special relatives and close friends.

She graduated from LeRoy High School and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Ferris State University. She also worked at Ferris in the Student Health Center, Optometry Clinic and the office of Student International Affairs where she retired from. One of Kathy’s greatest passions was volunteering at Hope Health Free Medical Clinic working with Needy Meds. She was also a proud member of the Honor Guard at American Legion Post 98. She was an amazing mother, wife and friend and loved spending time with her family. She also enjoyed gardening, baking and trying new recipes.

Memorial services will be conducted at 11:00 AM Saturday, June 27, 2015 St. Peter’s Lutheran Church located @ 408 W.Bellevue, Big Rapids, with Pastor John Bookshaw officiating. The gravesite blessing will be a private event for immediate family only.

The family wishes to extend their gratitude to those who cared for her during her illness, especially the nurses at Home Hospice of MI, Spectrum Home Health Care and our helpful and loving neighbors, Laura, Judy, John and Maria.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Hospice of MI at 400 Perry Ave., Big Rapids, MI 49307.


Yvonne Phillips of Hersey

Yvonne Phillips (Bonnie), age 75 of Hersey, MI, left this life on June 10, 2015 at the Meijer Heart Center, Grand Rapids, MI surrounded by her loving family.


Bonnie was born on June 23, 1939 to Edward R. and Emily (Smith) Roehler in Detroit, MI. She was married to Kenneth Phillips on June 25, 1955 in the city of Detroit. Bonnie was preceded in death by both of her parents, brothers Stewart Johnson, Edward Roehler, and Richard Roehler. Bonnie is survived by her devoted husband, Ken, her sister Nancy Swan of Orchard Lake, and her children; Kenneth E. (Roxanne) Phillips of Evart, Jo Ann (William) Webster, and William G. Phillips, both of Hersey, MI. She had 6 grandchildren, 17 great grandchildren, and 1 great-great grandchild. Bonnie owned and operated the former Phillips Upholstery with her husband for over 40 years, first in the suburban Detroit area, and later in Hersey, MI. Bonnie loved her work and always took great pride in creating a product that her customers would be able to enjoy for many years. She dearly loved all of her family and enjoyed the time she was able to spend with them. Bonnie was a member of the St. Paul Lutheran Church of Reed City and devoted her life to her Lord and Savior.


A celebration of life service will be held at 11:00 AM Friday, June 26, 2015 at the St. Paul Lutheran Church in Reed City (22275 4 Mile Rd., Reed City, MI 49677) with Rev. Dawn Pooley officiating. Visitation with the family will be from 10:00 AM Friday, June 26, 2015 until the start of services. In accordance with Bonnie's wishes, the family has requested that memorial donations be made in her name to the St. Paul Lutheran Church.


Henry F. Perry of Morley

Henry F. Perry, age 82 of Morley, passed away June 11, 2015 at his home.


Cremation will take place with a memorial service to follow at his home on July 11th starting at 11:00 AM.


Ronald Stanley Wiezorek of Mecosta

Ronald Stanley Wiezorek, age 71 of Mecosta, passed away at his home June 9, 2015. A memorial service will be held in his honor Friday, June 19, 2015, at Janowicz Family Funeral Home in Remus, at 11:00 AM. Pastor Randy Piatt will officiate. The family will be at the funeral home to greet friends from 10:00 AM to the time of service.

Ron was born June 15, 1943, the son of Vincent and Lorna (Dehn) Wiezorek. He was a fun-loving man with a passion for the outdoors and Budweiser beer. He enjoyed woodworking, boating, grilling and yard work.

Left to cherish Ron’s memory are his wife of 48 years, Marta; daughters, Teri (Tom) Reisner and Tami Wiezorek; brothers, Kenneth (Katie) and James; grandchildren, Ashley Reisner and Lauren Dodd; many nieces and nephews and his dog, Sammi.

Ron was preceded in death by his parents and beloved dog, Abbie.

Those desiring may direct memorial contributions to MUSH (Misunderstood Siberian Husky) to help with medical expenses for a special dog, Shadow at



Gerald (Jerry) Veeder Big Rapids

Gerald (Jerry) Veeder, 78, of Big Rapids passed away peacefully on April 4, 2015 with his wife Doreene and family by his side. Jerry was born August 1936 in Alma, MI and was the son of Lowell Veeder and Evelyn Johnson-Veeder of Alma, MI.

Jerry dedicated 37 years of his life to education ensuring students had the opportunity to succeed through education. Jerry graduated from Alma High School and began his journey in education obtaining his Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Michigan State University and his Masters in Industrial Education from Eastern Michigan University. Jerry began his career as a teacher in Waterford, MI in 1958 until a remarkable opportunity became available in Big Rapids in 1971 as Vocational Director for the Mecosta-Osceola Intermediate School District (MOISD) until his appointment as Assistant Superintendent for the Mecosta-Osceola Intermediate School District (MOISD). Jerry worked for MOISD for 24 years and his most notable contribution to the community is the Mecosta-Osceola Career Center which had a special place in his heart for twenty three years until his retirement in 1995. His drive, commitment and passion in the development of the skill center provided thousands of high school students the skills and foundation to embark upon a career.

Jerry was a member of numerous Professional and Community organizations which included the American Vocational Association, Michigan Council of Vocational Administrators, Michigan Industrial Education Society and the State Special Needs Committee. Locally, he continued his lifetime membership with the Elks Club since 1966 and was named Elk of the Year 1980-81, member of the Big Rapids Chamber of Commerce, first President of the Northwestern Public Employees Credit Union, member of the Big Rapids Lions Club, Mecosta County Builders Scholarship Committee and County Park Commission and the Special Education Committee of Central Michigan.

Jerry was a skilled craftsman and his legacy includes phenomenal woodworking projects treasured by his family, he enjoyed a variety of outdoor activities, camping and spending time with family and friends. Jerry and Doreene spent their retirement years split between Big Rapids and the warm climate of the Southwest enjoying their circle of family and friends who have come to know and love the gentle, respected, caring man.

He is survived by his loving wife Doreene of 56 years and his three children Susan Veeder-McClellan of Mesa, AZ; David (Christine) Veeder of West Olive, MI; Jodie Veeder of Aurora, CO in addition to his beloved grandsons’ Scott, Tyler, Eric, Mark and Cooper. Jerry is survived by two brothers, Warren (Gail) Veeder of Arizona and Dennis Veeder of Montana. Jerry’s extended family members include Dolores Fowler (sister-in-law) of Traverse City, MI; Kay Veeder (sister-in-law) of Sumner, MI and many nieces and nephews. Jerry was preceded in death by his parents Lowell and Evelyn Veeder; brother Gordon Veeder and Phyllis Veeder (sister-in-law)of Midland, MI; Robert and Marcia Staley (brother-in-law and sister-in-law) of Hale, MI.

Memorial service will be held at 11:30 a.m., Saturday, June 13th, 2015 at Mohnke Funeral Home.


Joyce Marlene (Maxon) Holsworth of Rodney

Joyce Marlene (Maxon) Holsworth, age 79, of Rodney, passed away Tuesday, June 9, 2015 at Altercare in Big Rapids. Cremation will take place with a private burial to follow Saturday, June 20 th , 2015 at Martiny Township Cemetery.

Joyce was born March 1, 1936, the daughter of Donald and Luella (LaVeque) Maxon.
She was the oldest of nine children. She worked at Wolverine Worldwide in Big Rapids for ten years, as a caregiver for many years in Stanwood and volunteered at Altercare as well. She spent most of her life in Rodney and was very involved with the Mecosta VFW and the Chippewa Lake Community Center. Yard sales, collecting pink depression glass, reading books and playing with her grandchildren were her favorite pastimes.


Selfless, giving, caring and loving were all words used to describe Joyce. She will be greatly missed by her husband of 60 years, Roy; children, Mark (Amy) Holsworth of Canadian Lakes, Deb Holsworth of South Bend, IN, Chris Holsworth of Beal City and Aaron (Janelle) Holsworth of Rodney; siblings, Bruce (Lori) Maxon, Don (Maxine) Maxon, Carol (Ron) Lintemuth, Claudia (Glen) Miller, Teresa VanVels (Jim Dennis) and Donna (Don) Whiteside; grandchildren, Chris Aaron, Courtney Marie, Tyler, Courtney Ann, Brandon, Manelle, Caleb, Roy Henry, Matthew and Kellie; three great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

Those desiring may direct memorial contributions to the family


Fred Charles Plath of Coral

Surrounded by his family, Fred Charles Plath age 87 of Coral passed away on June 11, 2015 in the same room in which he was born in 1927.


Fred was preceded in death by his parents Fred and Elizabeth Plath, his brother Donald Plath (Helen), sisters Marian Rowland (Bob), Maxine McDonald (Charlie), and Jean Plath. He was also preceded in death by his second wife Janice Plath in 1973. Surviving is his wife Kathleen to whom he was married for 35 years, his sister Phyllis Plath of Grand Rapids, children and their spouses Fred Plath (Joann) of Howard City, Robert Plath (Maritza) of Coral, Raymond Plath of Grand Rapids, Sharon Mumah (Rex), of Morley, Roger Garlick (Tracy) or Morley, Janie Buck (Phil) of Morley, Michelle Griffes (Greg) of Coral, Mandy Hyrns of Coral, several brothers in laws and sister in laws, 23 grandchildren, 14 great grandchildren, and nieces and nephews.


Fred farmed the land he grew up on for more than 50 years and had a passion for it. He worked as a mechanic at Blumberg’s garage and at the Coral Dog Food Factory. He also worked at various places as a hired farm hand and mechanic. Fred did a lot of custom combining and had a reputation for getting all the grain off a field. Fred began working in the maintenance department at Clark Nursing Home in Grand Rapids in March of 2000 and continued working there full time, logging several miles each day walking the halls until he retired in 2009 at the age of 82. He never understood why they had to bill those residents for him being kind enough to change a light bulb. At the time he retired, he was older than a number of the actual residents of the nursing home.


Fred loved his family, John Deere Tractors, a cold beer, sauerkraut, and something hot off the grill. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends.

Funeral services will be at The Heckman Funeral Home in Howard City on Monday June 15th at 11am A visitation at the funeral home will be held on Sunday June 14th from 2pm to 4pm and from 6pm to 8pm. Interment will be in the Reynolds Township cemetery. The family extends their sincere gratitude to the staff of Spectrum Health Hospice.


Douglas J. DeLisle Jr. of Mecosta

Douglas J. DeLisle Jr., age 37 of Mecosta, passed away unexpectedly, Tuesday June 9, 2015, at his home. He was born June 15, 1977 in Mt. Clemens. Doug was raised in Imlay City. In 1997 he moved, with his family, to the Canadian Lakes area.


Doug loved to hunt and fish. He was an accomplished deer hunter and had several beautiful trophy bucks displayed in his home.

He will be forever missed by his beloved family including his father, Douglas J. DeLisle Sr.; his grandmother, Wilma E. DeLisle both of Canadian Lakes; many aunts, uncles, cousins and dear friends.

Doug was preceded in death by his grandfather, John G. DeLisle; his great-grandparents, Roy G. DeLisle and Otis and Euline Vines.


A graveside service will be held for Douglas at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 13, 2015 at the Highland View Cemetery.


Joyce E. Luthy of Mecosta

Joyce E. Luthy, age 85 of Mecosta formerly of Big Rapids, passed away Tuesday, June 9, 2015 at Royal View Assisted Living. She was born November 12, 1929 in Adrian, the daughter of Ollie and Geraldine (Pocklington) Myers. Joyce graduated from Monroe High School in 1947. She married her high school sweetheart, Reverend Dr. E. Fred Luthy, on November 30, 1947 at the First Presbyterian Church in Monroe and together they raised their family in various locations as Fred pursued his theological degrees. Joyce loved being an integral part of Fred’s ministry at Reformation Lutheran Church in Coldwater from 1966-1971 and Immanuel Lutheran Church in Big Rapids from 1971-1987. Fred served as a Home Mission Developer for the American Association of Lutheran Churches for ten years and Joyce was always by his side. Fred and Joyce loved going on worldwide travels and especially loved their trip to the Holy Lands. Fred and Joyce retired in 1997 from ministering at a church, but never retired from their prayer ministry.

Joyce was a hard worker and held various jobs to put her husband through College at Huntington College and thru seminary at Wittenberg University. After Fred’s death, Joyce pursued further education and in 2010 she graduated from Liberty University with a degree in Biblical Studies. Joyce loved the Lord, her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and cherished the time she spent with her family.

The last few years were spent with amazing love and care from the friends and staff at Royal View Assisted Living and the family will forever be grateful. The family would also like to thank Great Lakes Caring Hospice and a very special thanks to Theresa Diehl and the Area Agency on Aging.

She is survived by her three daughters, Cheryl (James) Lorenz of PA, Carol Mentzer(Dale Krieder) of PA, Charlotte (Robert) Bongard of Stanwood; nine grandchildren, Tammy (Trent) Fowler, Todd (Stephanie) Weaver, Eric Luthy, Angela (Andy) Colyer, Matthew (Melissa) Osborne, Cody Ward (Patti Peterson) , Jake Lockerby (Melanie Aungst), Danielle (Lennie) Kogut and Josh Lockerby (Alicia Liske); 17 great-grandchildren; many nieces and nephews.

Joyce was preceded in death by her parents; husband of nearly 60 years, Reverend Dr. E. Fred Luthy on October 15, 2007; and son, Reverend Dr. F. Scott Luthy in August 2013.

A memorial service will take place at 1:00 p.m. Friday, June 19, 2015 at the Daggett-Gilbert Funeral Home in Big Rapids with Pastor Gerhard deBock officiating. The family will greet friends from 12:30 p.m. until the time of service at 1:00 p.m. at the funeral home.

Memorial contributions may be made in Joyce’s name to Royal View Assisted Living or Great Lakes Caring Hospice.


William (Bill) Duddles of Reed City

William (Bill) Duddles of Reed City, went to his eternal rest on June 6, 2015. He was 88.


Bill was born on January 18, 1927 to Clyde & Nella (True) Duddles. He served in World War II as an MP stationed in Vienna, Austria. He returned to the area and later married Alberta Westman in June 1948. She preceded him in death in May 2010. He retired from Tubelite (Miller’s Industries) where he was employed for over 40 years. He is survived and will greatly be missed by children Nancy (Robert) Clark, Quartz Hill, CA, Mark (Sharon) Duddles, Troy, MI, and Marcia (David) Stocker, Campbellsport, WI. Bill is also survived by a brother, Richard Duddles Sr. of Reed City, 12 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren, several nieces, nephews and friends. He was preceded in death by a daughter, Kathy Jo and siblings Laura Lundburg, James (Ham) Duddles, and Robert Duddles. He was a member of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Reed City and also a life time member of VFW Post 2964, Reed City & Member of the Loyal Order of Moose of Reed City.


During his life he enjoyed sports playing baseball, coaching and umpiring little league and playing golf and hunting. An avid reader and sports follower, you could either find him reading a new book or watching his favorite sports team. Bill always had a way to brighten our lives with his sense of humor. Ready to tell a joke or a comment to make you smile. He was always there to help in any way he could and would have given the shirt off his back to anyone in need. He will be missed by many.


Cremation has taken place and a memorial service will be held Saturday, June 13 at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Reed City at 11:00 a.m. Visitation with the family will begin one hour prior to the service. Burial and military honors will take place at the Woodland Cemetery in Reed City following services with a luncheon immediately afterward at the Reed City V.F.W. post #2964.


Rosemary (Porter) Dickinson of Big Rapids

Rosemary (Porter) Dickinson, age 74 of Big Rapids, died June 7, 2015 at home. Rosemary was born in Kalamazoo on August 22, 1940. She graduated from Onekama High School in 1958. Her formal education included a Bachelor’s degree in Business Teaching and a Master’s of Library Science both from Western Michigan University.

Rosemary worked at a number of schools in Michigan before coming to Big Rapids in 1968. She was hired to be the (then) Intermediate School Librarian. She worked until June 2003, when she retired after 40 years of teaching. She then volunteered for another 8 years.

Rosemary was married to Raymond Dickinson on June 4, 1966. They lived in Mattawan while Ray went to Western and finished his Masters in Library Science.

In October 1972, Suzanne Lynn (Dickinson) Carrick was born at the local hospital in Big Rapids. Suzanne was married to Jerry Carrick on September 9, 2000 and they reside in Howard City. Rosemary was a devoted and beloved mother and mother-in-law to Suzy and Jerry.
Rosemary and Ray hosted about 60 foreign students and teachers throughout the years. She was like a mother to many of her students, friends and neighbors. Three of their students were year-long foreign exchange students: two from Japan, and one from Germany.

During their life together, they traveled a bit in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Japan. Rosemary really liked San Antonio, TX, and was hoping someday to go back. They also enjoyed a long-distance train ride from Chicago to California where they met Ray’s Aunt Geraldine Johnson in Camarillo, CA. They also visited their friend Nobuko Ueda in Mountain View, CA.

They also traveled to England, and especially enjoyed seeing Stonehenge and the city of Bath. Rosemary, Ray Suzy and our second foreign exchange student from Japan, Hiroko Yamaguchi flew to Germany to visit the exchange student to be: Gesa Muller-Trollius. Finally, they made three trips to Japan, one in 1997, one in 2005, and one in 2007. Those trips were most memorable.

Rosemary was an avid reader and loved mystery novels. She also enjoyed working in her garden. Every night Rosemary prayed for those who have died, and those who are sick. It was a big part of her evening before she went to bed.

Rosemary was preceded in death by her parents, mother, Margaret Helen (Maxwell) Porter in 1981 and her father, Lucien F. Porter in 1968.

She is survived by her husband of 49 years, Raymond Dickinson of Big Rapids; daughter Suzy (Jerry) Carrick of Howard City; seven brothers and sisters, Linda Burns from Walker, Louis Porter from Okemos, Mary Helen (Richard) Brown from Mason, Thomas (Tina) Porter from Corunna, IN, Jean (Michael) Mucha from Byron Center, Ronald Porter from Grand Rapids, and Robert (Laurie) Porter from Bear Lake; numerous nieces and nephews, and over 50 cousins.

Rosemary attended St. Anne Catholic Church in Paris most recently, but also attended St. Mary Catholic Church and St. Paul Campus Parish in Big Rapids.

Visitation will be at the Daggett-Gilbert Funeral Home, south of Big Rapids, Thursday, June 11, 2015 from 2-4PM and 6-8PM. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Paul Campus Parish on Friday, June 12, 2015 at 11:00AM with Father Joe Fix officiating. Burial will be at St. Anne Cemetery in Paris.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Rosemary’s name to Project Starburst, one of her favorite charities.


Dale Darwin Carpenter of Big Rapids

Dale Darwin Carpenter, 81, of Big Rapids passed away on Wednesday, June 3, 2015. Dale was born in Grand Rapids on May 9, 1934, the son of Russell and Marion (Aemisegger) Carpenter and was a graduate of Rudyard High School. In 1952 during the Korean Conflict, he joined the US Navy, serving for five years. In 1957 he reenlisted with the US Air Force and served for 21 years, retiring as Master Sergeant from Kinchloe AFB in 1977. While serving in the Air Force, Dale worked for the Strategic Air Command and the Air Education and Training Command.

In 1978, Dale moved with his family to Big Rapids where he has lived since. He was a member of the American Legion Post 98 and the AMVETS post 1941.

Dale is survived by a daughter, Vickie Ingle of Peterburg, VA; two sons, Russell McMahon of Woodside, CA and Leif Carpenter of Salt Lake City, Utah; three grandchildren, Wendy, Margaux, and Darren; son-in-law, Larry Rogers of Mascoutah, IL; sister, Vivian Newton of Grand Rapids; as well as several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife Sally in 2002; daughter, Zoe Rogers in 2007; and sister, Marlene Zasadil.

Services for Dale will be 1:00 pm Thursday, June 11, 2015 at the Mohnke Funeral Home in Big Rapids with Pastor John Bookshaw officiating. Military honors will be under the auspices of American Legion Post 98 and AMVETS Post 1941. Memorial contributions for the Hometown Heroes Veterans Memorial Park may be left at the funeral home, where Dale’s family will greet friends beginning at 11:00 am Thursday.


James C. Jackson of Big Rapids

James C. Jackson, 55, of Big Rapids, passed away June 5, 2015, at his home with his family by his side.

Jim was born May 8, 1960 in Three Rivers, the son of James R. and Deloris (Dispennett) Jackson, and moved with his family to the Big Rapids area in the 70’s. In 1981, he married Susan Totten, and they have been together for 34 years.

Jim was currently employed at Big Rapids Products. He was also a mechanic affectionately known as “Lube Dog” who loved working on cars. Jim also loved hunting, camping, and the special times with his grandchildren.

He is survived by Susan; 3 sons, Michael (Betina) Jackson of Big Rapids, Eric (Trisha Corsello) Jackson of Paris, Daniel (Jennifer) Bressler of Las Vegas, NV; 8 grandchildren, Breanna and Lynndsay Jackson, Cara and Trenten Corsello, Xander Lewis, Jonas, Kylee, and Isabella Bressler; his parents, James and Amy Jackson; sisters Linda and Diane; brothers Mark and Doug; and several nieces and nephews. Jim was preceded in death by a son Benjamin Bressler Jackson, and his mother Deloris Jackson.

Visitation for Jim will be on Tuesday, June 9, from 5-8 p.m. at the Mohnke Funeral Home in Big Rapids. Private family burial will be in the Pine Plains Cemetery. Memorial contributions in his name may be made for Hospice of Michigan, with envelopes available at the funeral home.


Elden Foster Armstrong of Stanwood

Elden Foster Armstrong, 78, of Stanwood passed away on June 2, 2015 after a lengthy battle with a hereditary form of COPD. Elden was born on January 31, 1937 in Stanwood, Michigan to Alonzo and Ethel Armstrong. He attended school in Stanwood and Big Rapids, graduating from Big Rapids High School in 1955.

After graduation, Elden joined the United States Air Force with the hope of becoming a jet fighter pilot, but the USAF trained him as an aircraft mechanic and he worked on B-47 and KC-97 aircraft. He later went through electronics school and become an electronic counter measures technician on B-52 aircraft. Elden then went through an advanced electronics school and became a precision measurement equipment technician and supervisor.

While in the USAF he used the GI Bill and earned commercial pilot and flight instructor certificates with instrument and multi-engine ratings. In 1978 Elden retired from the USAF and moved his family to Michigan. He was employed at Ferris State University as a pilot and electronics technician and also worked as a commercial pilot and flight instructor until his health forced him to retire.

Elden loved to travel and visited all 50 states and most of Europe. He rode motorcycles for nearly 40 years. He was an avid hunter and fisherman and enjoyed hunting with antique rifles and muzzle loaders as well as recurve and long bows. Elden went on many fly-in fishing trips to Canada with friends and family. He was also an avid gardener and maintained a huge vegetable and flower garden.

In 1961, Elden married his wife Faye, who preceded him in death on April 26, 2015. He is survived by his daughters, Joyce (Tim Musolff) Armstrong and Peggy (Jay) Salgat; grandchildren, Matthew, Michael (Kayla), and Taylor Cousineau; and great-grandson, Jaxon. Also surviving are his siblings, Bernie Armstrong, Reva Slyter, Audrey Vining, Maxine Mowan, and David Armstrong; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his sister, Frances Shipley.

A private family gathering will be held at a later date. Elden and Faye’s cremains will be interred together at the Fairview Cemetery in Stanwood. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project at


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