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Obituaries Archives for 2015-07

Delores Jean Cole of Reed City

Delores Jean Cole of Reed City passed away Sunday, July 26, 2015 at her residence. She was 76.


She was born June 2, 1939 in Lincoln Township to Raymond and Ruth (Knapp) Rhodes and attended LeRoy Agricultural High School. On April 22, 1961 she was married to LaVern Cole. She is survived by her husband LaVern Cole, son Jeffrey (Ruth) Cole, daughter Marilyn (Jim) Hicks, 4 grandchildren, and 3 great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents Raymond and Ruth Rhodes, and her brothers Marvin and Arvid Rhodes.


Funeral services will be held at 11:00 A.M. Thursday, July 30, 2015 at the Pruitt-Livingston Funeral Home in Reed City with Pastor Tim Fagan officiating. Burial will take place at Pinora Township Cemetery. Visitation with the family will be from 3-7 P.M. Thursday, July 29, 2015 at the funeral home. A memorial contribution may be made in her name to the Osceola County Commission on Aging.


Dennis Dean Day of Breckenridge

Dennis Dean Day, age 69, of Breckenridge, passed away Sunday afternoon, July 26, 2015 with family at his side at Schnepp Senior Care & Rehab. Center, St. Louis, Michigan. Dennis was born May 11, 1946 in Detroit, Michigan the son of James and Dorothy (LeVasseur) Day. He was united in marriage to the former Audrey Florey on June 13, 1992 in Ludington, Michigan. Dennis was a very active volunteer for the Gratiot County Commission on Aging and Happy Days Racing. He was a foster parent for Midland County, for over 20 years. Dennis was a very avid hunter; he enjoyed traveling all over the United States and Canada to chase his big game, he also enjoyed fishing, and eating blackberries. But most of all he cherished and enjoyed spending time with his family. He will be dearly missed.


            Dennis is survived by his loving wife of twenty three years; Audrey, children; Carmen (Joe) France of Coleman, Roger (Chris) Day of Vestaburg, Penny (Chris) Day of Midland, Roger Hollenbeck of Coleman, Melonya Cook of Bradford, OH, Laurie (Tyler)Willman of Hemlock, Penny (John) Cole of Bluffton, IN, Jodie (Frank) Salvatore of St. Louis, Tamara (Dan) Horvate of Chesaning, Wendy Day of Midland, Brittney Day of Midland, Catherine Day of Chesaning, Andrea Day of Corunna and Shayna Day of Breckenridge, numerous  grand children and great-grandchildren, brothers and sisters; Frank (Theresa) Day of Canton, Nora Tucker of Gladwin, Norman (Jan) Day of Gladwin and Linda Day of Mio, many nieces and nephews and a special friend; Marty Cunningham. Dennis was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Jim Day.


            Memorial Services for Dennis will take place Wednesday, July 29, 2015 at 4:00 P.M. from Pine River Church of God, 9970 N. Crystal Rd., Vestaburg, MI  48891 with Pastor John Cole to officiate. There will be a 1 hour visitation prior to the service. Those planning a memorial contribution are asked to consider the Gratiot County Commission on Aging.



Paul Martin "Marty" Roshak of Big Rapids

Paul Martin “Marty” Roshak, age 75, of Big Rapids passed away Saturday, July 25, 2015 at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids. He was born on July 12, 1940 in Tiltonsville, Ohio, the son of Paul and Betty Jo (Kyre) Roshak.

Marty retired from Michigan Consolidated Gas Company in 1995 after 33 years. He is survived by Sue, his wife of 53 years; two sons, Martin (JoAnne) Roshak of Big Rapids and Jeffrey (Bernice) Roshak of Grand Rapids; three grandchildren, Chelsea (Chris) Kauffman, Alyson Roshak, and Elizabeth Roshak; plus four great grandchildren, Gabriel, Malachi, and Laila Kauffman and Toby Proctor. Also surviving are five brothers and sisters, Mary Jo Puskus, Ricky, Eddie, And Bill Roshak, and Betty Lou Morris. Marty was preceded in death by his parents; one brother, John Roshak; and one sister, Bonnie Roshak.

A time of prayer and sharing of memories will be at 7:00 pm, Wednesday, July 29, 2015 at the Mohnke Funeral Home in Big Rapids. His family will greet friends beginning at 4:00 pm. Memorial contributions may be made to Our Brothers Keeper at PO Box 1142 Big Rapids, Michigan 49307 or Alcoholics Anonymous with envelopes available at the funeral home.


Betty M. Doxtater of Big Rapids

Betty M. Doxtater, age 88 of Big Rapids, passed away Friday, July 24, 2015 at her grandson’s home. She was born February 5, 1927 in Wyandotte, the daughter of James and Mildred (Crawford) Cook. Betty graduated from Howard City High School in 1945. She married her husband, Howard Doxtater Sr. on June 7, 1945 and together they raised nine children in Grant Center. After Betty’s children were grown she began her career in home health care.

She was a lifetime member of the Big Rapids Unit #18 - Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary, the Roger Heights VFW Auxiliary Post 4102 and the International Association of Rebekah Assemblies. Betty loved everything about nature; gardening, animals and especially horses.

She is survived by nine children, Howard Doxtater Jr. of Belding, Elaine Bradley of Grand Rapids, Betty (Larry) VanSolkema of Remus, Stephen (Joyce) Doxtater of Big Rapids, Merry (Timothy) Hitchens of Florida, Donna (Steve) Collins of Paris, Beverly Sadam of Evart, Doreen Hansen of Big Rapids and Mark (Teri) Doxtater of Stanwood; many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

Betty was preceded in death by her husband, Howard Doxtater Sr.; parents, brother, two sisters and three grandchildren.

Funeral services will take place 7:00 p.m. Monday, July 27, 2015 at the Daggett-Gilbert Funeral Home in Big Rapids with Pastor Bruce Peterson officiating. The family will greet friends prior to the service from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and from 6:00 p.m. until the time of service at 7:00 p.m. on Monday at the funeral home.

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


Pauline Luella Montague of Reed City

Pauline “Polly” Luella Montague of Reed City passed away Tuesday, July 21, 2015 at Metron Hospital of Belding, Michigan. She was 77.


She was born July 22, 1937 in Cadillac to Russell and Geneva (Jefts) Gilchrist and was a 1956 graduate of Reed City High School. On June 23, 1956 she was married in Reed City to Datus Montague who survives. Polly was employed for over 23 years at the Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital as a member of the dietary staff. She was a member of the Reed City Garden Club, Osceola County 4H, Troop Leader for the Reed City Area Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts, and the Reed City High School Band Boosters. She is survived by her husband Datus Montague, daughters Dawnetta Montague, P.J. (Jack) Jeffrey, Lori Manack, Angela Montague, Jennifer (Edward) Saxton, and Kathy (Jeff) Stein; 8 grandchildren; 6 great grandchildren; brothers Gordon (Gayle) Gilchrist, and Jack (Betty) Gilchrist. She was preceded in death by her son Datus Allen Montague, her parents, and two sisters.


Funeral services will be held at 11:00 A.M. Friday, July 24, 2015 at the Pruitt-Livingston Funeral Home in Reed City with Pastor Twyla (Montague) Stanifer officiating. Burial will take place at Ashton Cemetery. Visitation with the family will be from 2-4 and 6-9 P.M. Thursday, July 23, 2015 at the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made in her name to the Alzheimer’s Association.


Elsie Vandyke of Newaygo

Elsie Vandyke age 96 of Newaygo passed away June 29 at Transitional Health in Fremont.


No services will take place as cremation has taken place.


John Milzarski of Howard City

John Milzarski age 57 of Howard City, passed away on July 19, 2015 at his residence. He was born Sept. 5, 1957 in Grand Rapids, the son of Adam and Betty (Pocze) Milzarski. During his working years he worked for the Kent County Road Commission as a mechanic, for 36 years. John loved hunting, fishing and cooking, but most of all spending time with family.


In 1977 he married Barbara Anes, who survives. Also surviving are his children; Ted (Kate) Milzarski of AZ, Jennifer (Tony) Stumpo of Grand Rapids, Daniel Milzarski of Howard City, two grandchildren, brothers Bill (Ann) Milzarski of Grand Rapids, Mike (Maureen) Milzarski of Canadian Lakes, his mother in law Marie Anes, sister in laws Sandy (Sam) Hodges, Diane (Bob) Flannery, brother in laws Jerry (Patti) Anes and Jim Anes, several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents.


A visitation for Howard took place on Wednesday evening July 22, 2015 at the Heckman Funeral Home in Howard City.


M. Michele "Michi" Willison of Big Rapids

M. Michele “Michi” Willison, 76, of Big Rapids, passed away into the arms of her Savior and best friend Jesus on Saturday, July 18, 2015, at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids.

She was born June 30, 1939, in Detroit, the daughter of Francis and Janet (Skae) Gallaudet, and graduated high school from Georgetown Visitation Academy in Washington, DC. In 1962, Michi married George Van Kula, Jr., and they moved to Big Rapids, where she has lived since.

Throughout her life, Michi was devoted to serving her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. She was active through her church, and served as an advocate for those in need. She gave selflessly of her time, talents, and treasures.

Michi married Robert Willison in 1986, and a short time later they built their dream home in Norwich Township which became known as Shiloh Pines. After his passing in 2001, she opened the doors to their home as a retreat for clergy and laypeople alike to relax and unwind, hosted prayer meetings, and offered respite for the weary soul.

Michi is survived by her children George (Cathy) Van Kula of Radner, PA, Susan Owens of Big Rapids, Charlie Van Kula of Holland, Katy (Todd) Slater of Reston, VA, David (Marlo) Van Kula of Raleigh, NC; 12 grandchildren, Elizabeth, Anna, Charlie, Kati, Lucy, Hannah, Megan, Abigail, Ian, Emily, Nick, and Isaac; 4 great-granddaughters; 2 sisters, Janet “Jeff” (Ralph) Sturges and Andree “Andy” Anderson; 1 brother Thomas (Gail) Gallaudet; and her many in-laws, nieces, and nephews. She was also preceded in death by her son-in-law Rex Owens, her brother Edson Gallaudet, and her brother-in-law Roger Anderson.

Funeral services will be 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, July 22, 2015, at Trinity Fellowship Church in Big Rapids, with Pastors Gregg Shewan and Joseph Cottle officiating. Burial will follow in the Hungerford Cemetery in Norwich Township. Michi’s family will greet friends from 4-7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 21, at the Mohnke Funeral Home in Big Rapids, and at the church after 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday. Memorial contributions in her name may be made to Eagle Village, with envelopes available at the funeral home.


Audrey Lyons of Big Rapids

God, creator of all living things, blessed Thomas and Elsa Wilber with a beautiful daughter, Audrey Jeanette, on the 12th of February. Brothers Ward and Roy and sister Gladys spent their lifetime building strong family ties with Audrey that revealed love for each other and love of family. Audrey was born later in her parents’ life, with her siblings off starting their own families, leaving much responsibility to Audrey with helping her parents on their farm in Stanwood. At just a young age, she learned to drive the workhorses, standing behind them on the wagon, while her father worked on foot in the field. Audrey loved her life on the farm but illness with her mother brought the family to a new home in the Village of Stanwood where she lived the rest of her life. As a teenager, she enjoyed living in town, going to town hall dances and free movie night–shown outdoors in downtown Stanwood–every Saturday night during the summer. Audrey's first big trip was her Senior Trip to Chicago with her fellow graduates.

When World War II was in full force, Audrey, as well as other women of that time, were called to factory work. She was employed at Denham's Manufacturing in Big Rapids where she learned to weld fins for bomber planes. She worked alongside her lifelong friend, Wilm (Wilma) Koehn Beak. Not long after, she met her husband of nearly 62 years, Gordon Lyons. Only a few months into their new life together, Audrey and Gordon were called home to help care for her mother. She cared for both her mother and father until they passed away in their home. Together, Audrey and Gordon cared for family and friends in time of need while raising their three beautiful children: Sueann, Thomas, and James. Always proud of their family and of their home, many, many cherished memories came to be. Near the end of Gordon's life, Audrey cared for him in his illness, keeping him home, as he wished, until he passed away.

Audrey enjoyed her employment at the Stanwood Telephone Company working on the switchboard and her 30 years at Ferris State University in the library where she loved working with the students and her fellow employees, especially her dear friend Joan Boroff. She also served in many volunteer positions in her community. Audrey had a sentimental heart, and she treasured her devout Methodist upbringing, her family and its rich family history, and the many friends she made throughout her life. She loved her birds, her flowers, pictures set out of her family to look at, and cherished every card sent to her, never read only once. Her grandchildren were her pride and joy. She celebrated every part of their lives with them. She was young at heart and was interested in hearing about others and their lives. Audrey was always current in the day’s events by reading articles and listening to the news. She knew what fashions were "all the go" and enjoyed watching the Tigers and any basketball game she could find.

Audrey passed on from this earth Sunday, July 19, 2015, at Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital to eternal life in heaven with Jesus her Savior. She was ready for this passing and told her children not to be sad. “I have lived a good long life,” she said, “there’s a time to be born and a time to die and I’m ready to go home.” This confidence that there is a place prepared for her in the Fathers’ mansion has helped her family with their loss. We will miss her so very much but our hearts are overflowing with her love, devotion to God and family, and her infinite wisdom.

Audrey is survived by her children: Sueann (Kenneth) Walz, Thomas (Wendy) Lyons, James (Valerie) Lyons; grandchildren: Heather Walz, Erin Walz, Jason Lyons, Shane (Char) Lyons, Jennifer (Jesse) Grenoble, Jaclynne Bishop, John Lyons, Ana Lyons, and Renae Lyons; great-grandchildren: Jack Tay, Amelia Tay, Quinn Sacalis, Beau Sacalis, Nora Lyons, Carson Lyons, Connor Lyons, Camden Lyons, and Kara Grenoble; and cherished nieces and cousins.

Audrey was preceded in death by her husband Gordon Lyons; brothers, Ward Wilber, Roy Wilber; and sister, Gladys Harkins Bolton.

A celebration of her life will be on Thursday, July 23, 11:00 AM, at Northland United Methodist Church, Stanwood, with Pastor Gary Bondarenko and Pastor Emmett Kadwell officiating. Visitation will be Wednesday, July 22, 2:00-4:00PM and 6:00-8:00PM at Daggett Gilbert Funeral Home in Big Rapids. Memorial contributions may be given to Northland United Methodist Church.


Betty Jane Rasmussen of Edmore

Betty Jane Rasmussen, age 92, of Edmore, passed away on Friday, July 17, 2015 at Spectrum Health’s Kelsey Campus in Lakeview, Michigan. Betty was born on March 10, 1923 in Edmore, the daughter of Leon Carl and Inez Jane (Elliott) Hatinger. She was raised in Edmore and graduated from Edmore High School Class of 1941. On May 14, 1943, Betty married RJ Nye at the Edmore Methodist Church. They spent thirty one years together until his passing on September 20, 1974. Betty met and married Wilbert Rasmussen on August 28, 1976 at the Edmore Lutheran Church. Wilbert preceded Betty in death on December 17, 1987.Betty loved animals, playing bingo, playing cards, but she especially enjoyed the time she spent with family.


Betty is survived in death by her children Sandra (John) Perkins of Edmore, Bonnie (William) Roth of Grand Rapids, RJ (MaryAnn) Nye of Edmore; one step-son Chris (Mary Jo) Rasmussen of Clifford Lake, Stanton; grandchildren Pam (Todd) Brooks, Jonelle (Bill) Ball, John (Shannon) Perkins, Betty (Michael) Roth, Kristie (Jim) Hollingsworth, Nicole (Pat) Sandro; two step-grandchildren Gina Roth, Pam (Marty) Buschle and family; great-grandchildren Shane, Shanda, Jenae (Mike), Alyssa, Jakob, Javon, Jonah, Mikey, Emily, Caroline, Megan, and Macy; one great-great-grandchild Holly; step-grandchildren Mike (Sonja) Rasmussen and family, Jodie (Al) Percha and family, Amy (Tom) Clark and family, Ryan, Paige and families; and many nieces, and nephews.


Betty was preceded in death by husbands’ RJ Nye and Wilbert Rasmussen; parents Leon and Inez Hatinger; three brothers; and four sisters.


Services for Betty were held on Sunday, July 19, 2015 at 2:00 P.M. at the Brigham Funeral Chapel in Edmore, Michigan. Memorial contributions in Betty’s memory may be made to the Home Township Library or to the Edmore VFW Post.


Evelyn Gonser of Morley

Evelyn Gonser, 88, of Morley, passed away Thursday, July 16, 2015, at Spectrum Health Blodgett Hospital in Grand Rapids.

She was born August 29, 1926, in Sandoval, IL, the daughter of Frank and Minnie (Williams) Parker. In 1944, she married Roy Gonser, and they lived in Benton Harbor for most of their lives until moving to Morley in 1995. Evelyn attended church at Christian Life Ministries in Big Rapids.

Evelyn is survived by her daughter Sandra (Tom) Linn of Morley; 2 sons, Frank Gonser of Rogers Heights, and David (Barbara) Gonser of Texas; 18 grandchildren; 1 brother Donnie Parker; 2 sisters, Lois Closson and Ruth Cravens; and many great- and great-great-grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband Roy in 1995, a son Larry Gonser, and 2 daughters, Gloria Markham and Patricia Okay.

Private family services will be held, with interment to be at the Higbee Cemetery near Morley. Memorial contributions in her name may be made to Christian Life Ministries Church, 428 West Ave., Big Rapids, MI 49307. Arrangements are entrusted to the Mohnke Funeral Home in Big Rapids.


Elizabeth L. "Betty" Preston of Chippewa Lake

Elizabeth L. “Betty” Preston, passed away unexpectedly on Friday, July 17, 2015 at the age of 86. She was born on May 17, 1929 in Durand, Michigan to Ronald and Agnes (Boehnlein) Delehanty. Betty graduated from Durand High School in 1947. On July 13, 1949 she married Robert Preston and they raised their family in Durand and Grand Blanc before making Chippewa Lake their home in 1968. From 1968 to 1973 Betty and Robert owned and operated B&B Grocery in Chippewa Lake. Betty was always busy taking care of people and lending a helping hand.

She is survived by two sons, James of Flushing and Michael of Chippewa Lake; two daughters, Carla (Foster) Vredenburg of Chippewa Lake and Mary Sisco of Rodney; two brothers, Lloyd and Daniel Delehanty; 11 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren, 3 great-great-grandchildren; and many step and extended family members and friends.

Betty was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Robert; an infant son Mark Preston, a brother Mark Delehanty and great-granddaughter, Samantha Rose.

Cremation has taken place and her family is planning a private time of remembrance at a later date.

Memorial contributions in Betty’s name can be made to the American Cancer Society. Arrangements and care were entrusted to the Daggett-Gilbert Funeral Home in Big Rapids.


Clara "Bobbie" Jankowsski of Stanwood

Clara “Bobbie” Jankowski, age 76, of Stanwood, passed away Thursday, July 16, 2015 at her home with her beloved family at her side. She was born on January 4, 1939 in Cedar Springs, to Eli and Dorothy (Butts) McNees. Bobbie married Tom Jankowski Sr. on August 11, 1956 in Cedar Springs and they spent most of their married life in Stanwood. She was the cook at Stanwood Elementary School for 29 years. Bobbie actively participated at the Mecosta County Senior Center, where she helped with bake sales, yard sales and enjoyed playing bingo and cards. She loved to go to blue grass festivals and the Buckley Steam Engine Show.

She is survived by; six sons, Thomas S. Jr. and wife Michelle of Stanwood, Bob and wife Cindi of Rodney, Wayne and wife Roxanne of Stanwood, Daniel and wife Pam of Big Rapids, Ted and wife Julie of Stanwood and Tony Jankowski of Stanwood; 18 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; two sisters, Jean Engstrom and Margaret (Bruce) Longcore; one brother, Earl (Arlene) McNees; numerous nieces and nephews and close friends, John (Barb) Turner, Grace Dukavas, Tilly Smith, Joe Marek, Jan Harman and Lloyd Higley.

Besides her parents, Bobbie was preceded in death by her husband Tom Jankowski Sr.; a grandson, Casey Jankowski; and four sisters and five brothers.

Funeral services will take place 11:00 a.m. Monday, July 20, 2015 at
the Daggett-Gilbert Funeral Home in Big Rapids with Pastor Gordon Tower officiating. Burial will be at the Stanwood Cemetery.


Eugene Vincent Kailing of Marion

Eugene Vincent Kailing, age 43, of Marion passed away Wednesday, July 15, 2015. He was born on August 24, 1971, the son of Joseph and Lauralye (Jones) Kailing.

Eugene graduated from Marion High School. He liked tinkering with mechanical things. He always helped people without asking for anything in return. Eugene loved family and especially enjoyed his grandchildren. He also loved to fish.

Eugene is survived by his wife, Jamie; one brother, Andrew (Katrina) Jones; one son, Casey Kailing; seven stepchildren, Annette Gilley, Danny Brent, Shannon Riffe, Sheila Brent, Barb Lewis, Clarence Brent, and Kristopher Dimond; twelve grandchildren, seventeen great grandchildren; plus four nieces.

He was preceded in death by his mother and one daughter, Ayla.

His family will greet friends from 1:00 to 3:00 pm on Sunday, July 19, 2015 at the Mohnke Funeral Home in Big Rapids. Memorial contributions may be made directly to his family.


Theresa Ann Rodibaugh of Morley

Theresa Ann Rodibaugh, age 62, of Morley, AKA Wonder Woman, shared her last breath on earth on Wednesday, July 15, 2015 with Kevin, her husband of 41 years. Her last years of life were not a cancer story, but a love of life, learning to love each day like it is your last mission. Theresa loved spending time with family, kayaking, gardening, camping, and cooking. Her true passion was pottery and canning. She was a retiree of the Big Rapids School system and self-employed potter.

She is survived by her husband, Kevin; one son, River Rodibaugh; one daughter, Nature (Drew) Bleeker; and two grandchildren, Autumn and Raine. Also surviving are two brothers, Ralph (Toni) Dallier and Roy Dallier; and one sister, Rosy (Sam) Weatherwax. She will be especially missed by her sisterhood, Lisa Woods, Deb Tanis, brother-in-law Kurt Rodibaugh, and friend Lana VanAlstine.
Theresa was preceded in death by her parents, Ralph and Betty Dallier; and mother-in-law and father-in-law Jonathon and Norma Emmons.

Theresa and family would like to thank all of the staff at Lacks Cancer Center and Susan P. Wheatlake Cancer Center for all of their knowledge, compassion, and support. Special thanks to Dr. Scott, Donlyn, Rachael, Amber, Dan, and the late Pickleman Ron.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Lacks Cancer Center, Susan P. Wheatlake Cancer Center, or Artworks of Big Rapids.

A celebration of Theresa’s life will be from 1:00 – 4:00 pm, Wednesday, July 29, 2015 at the Big Rapids Eagles.


Phillip L. Knapp of Paris

Phillip L. Knapp, age 46 of Paris, passed away Wednesday, July 15, 2015 at his home. He was born February 20, 1969 in Grand Rapids, the son of Larry and Gayle (Zierleyn) Knapp.

Phil is survived by his wife Marjorie Knapp of Paris.

A graveside service will take place 10:00 a.m. Friday, July 17, 2015 at Ashton Cemetery in Ashton (Lincoln Township, Osceola County).

Memorial contributions may be made in Phil's name to the Daggett-Gilbert Funeral Home.


Brian H. Coe of Big Rapids

Brian H. Coe, age 56 of Big Rapids, passed away Sunday, July 12, 2015 at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids unexpectedly due to an illness. He was born July 6, 1959 in Stoneham, MA, the son of Erwin and Elizabeth “Betty” (Boyd) Coe. Brian graduated high school from The Greater Boston Academy in 1979. He earned an associate degree from Ferris State University and an Associate Degree in Airplane Mechanics from Lansing Community College.

Brian had many talents and used them at the various positions he held throughout his working life; most recently he was employed in Big Rapids as a commercial beekeeper. Brian loved dogs and was a member of the American Plott Association. He enjoyed hunting bear and mountain lions.

Brian is survived by his parents, Erwin and Betty Coe of Big Rapids; sister, Laureen “Laurie” (Brett) Hahn of Eaton Rapids; brother, Bradlee (Amanda) Coe of Rio Rancho, NM; six nieces and nephews, Cameron, Devin, Elyssa, Carly, Emilee and Zeona.

A memorial service will take place 3:00 p.m. Saturday, July 25, 2015 at the Daggett-Gilbert Funeral Home in Big Rapids. The family will greet friends one hour prior to the service at 2:00 p.m. Saturday at the funeral home.

Memorial contributions in Brian’s name may be made to the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center.


Norma Jean Brzezinski of Reed City

Norma Jean Brzezinski, 77, of Reed City passed to a new life on Tuesday, July 14, 2015. She was born on August 30, 1937 in Highland Park, Michigan, the daughter of William H. and Ruby (Peterson) Olson. She worked many years in medical care at Reed City Hospital and Mecosta County General Hospital. Norma Jean was an active member of Reed City Church of the Nazarene. She enjoyed knitting, crocheting, walking with friends, and antiquing. Norma Jean loved her pets.

Norma Jean is survived by four children, Vivian (Gary) DeVivo of Big Rapids, Charmaine (Matt) Brenner of Rapid City, Walter “Tom” (Kathy) Brzezinski of Reed City, and Christine (Charley) Switzer of Paris; seven grandchildren, Alex DeVivo, Jacob (Christa) Brenner, Emily (Andrew) Stump, Daniel (Dee) Brzezinski, Jason (Kaitlyn) Brzezinski, Makenzie and Zane Switzer; three great grandchildren, Elsa Brenner, Henry Stump, and Rylee Brzezinski.

Norma Jean was preceded in death by her parents; her husband of 51 years, Walter Brzezinski, who she lovingly cared for during the final ten years of his life; and one brother, William Olson.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 am Saturday, July 18, 2015 at the Reed City Church of the Nazarene with Pastor Chris DeMott officiating. Her family will greet friends beginning at 10:00 am. Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Michigan or Reed City Church of the Nazarene.


Michael Alan Sanford of Big Rapids

Michael Alan Sanford, age 49, passed away on July 11, 2015. Michael was born April 26, 1966 in Midland, to Gustave Roser Sanford and Ardis (Tibbits) Sanford. Michael served his country with honor as a United States Marine. While in the Marines, Michael was recognized as ‘Honor Graduate’ at the elite Scout Sniper School. He performed exceptionally at all levels throughout his distinguished service. Michael loved the outdoors, he was an avid hunter, and loved to fish. Beyond all accomplishments, Michael was loved and respected by hundreds of people; he had a big heart and always looked out for others.

Michael is survived by his father, Gustave of Big Rapids, and several brothers and sisters to include Scott Sanford of Sugarloaf, PA, Brian Sanford of Paris, Kerry Sanford of Paris, Dee Sanford of Waterford, S.T. Sanford of Saginaw, Grace Hayner of Freeland, John Sanford of Freeland, Leila Schaffer of Hope, Denise Brandt of Saginaw, Mary Ries of Brant, Gus Sanford of Freeland, Jim Sanford of Saginaw, and Mark Geeting of CA. Michael is also survived by his ex-wife of many years, Connie Cusimano of Big Rapids, and his step children Nick and Shane Fry. Michael was a loving uncle to dozens of nieces and nephews. Michael was preceded in death by his loving mother, Ardis (Tibbits) Sanford, his beloved sister Lenette Fuentes and brother, Kevin Sanford.

A memorial service will take place 12:00 p.m. (noon) Saturday, July 18, 2015 at the Daggett-Gilbert Funeral Home in Big Rapids with Pastor Bruce Peterson officiating. The family will greet friends from 10:30 a.m. until the time of service at noon on Saturday at the funeral home.


William Lee Zuidema of Reed City

Born January 7, 1947 to Jake and Marian (Dykehouse) Zuidema in Kalamazoo and was a 1965 graduate of Plainwell High School. In 1965 he was inducted into the United States Navy and served aboard the U.S.S. Francis Marion until 1969. On November 7, 1969 he was married in Kalamazoo to Linda M. Bullard who survives. After returning from military service, he attended Ferris St. College and graduated in 1971 with a degree in Electrical Power Technology. He was employed with Wolverine Electric Power Supply Co-Op for 28 years until his retirement in 1999.


He was an avid outdoorsman and enjoyed hunting and fishing. He is survived by his wife Linda Zuidema, children: Stacey (Gerry) Boushelle and Bret (Courtney) Zuidema, grandchildren: Jacob Boushelle, Lily Boushelle, Carter Zuidema, and Peyton Woodbury, parents Jake and Marian Zuidema, siblings Judy (Dennis) Gaulder, Ralph (Priscilla) Zuidema, Jack (Sue) Zuidema, and many nieces and nephews.


Funeral services will be 12:00 P.M. Friday, July 17, 2015 at the Pruitt-Livingston Funeral Home in Reed City, with Pastor Tim Fagan officiating. Burial will take place at Mt. Ever Rest in Kalamazoo. Visitation with the family will be from 4-7 P.M. Thursday, July 16, 2015 at the Pruitt-Livingston Funeral Home. Memorial contributions may be made in his name to Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids.


Richard "Dick" Stieg of Reed City

Richard “Dick” Stieg, age 75, passed into new life on July 12, 2015. Richard demonstrated his devotion to life and family by surviving cancer for two years before passing away at his farm in Reed City. Dick was born in Reed City to Glendon and Marcella (Kersey) Stieg on April 11, 1940. He was preceded in death by his mother, Marcella and brother, Garry.


Richard is survived by his wife of nearly 48 years, Linda (Leusby) Stieg and his 2 daughters, Rebecca Stieg and Marcie Stieg-Williams (Eli) and 3 grandsons, Isaac, Owen and Wyatt Williams and one grand-daughter, Willow Stieg-Boyer. He is also survived by his Father, Glendon Stieg, age 97, and his brothers, James (Sharon), Louis (Rose), and sisters, Dolores (Terry) Holmes, and Dianne (John) Wirth, and sister in law, Sherry Stieg, and half sister, Susan Stieg, all of Reed City. He is also survived by 7 brother-in-laws, and 7 sister-in-laws on his wife’s side, along with many nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews.


Dick grew up farming and continued to find great joy in farming over his lifetime, often alongside his brothers and father. Dick and his wife Linda worked together as 4-H leaders in Osceola County for 19 years. After retirement, Dick began raising Standard Bred Horses and it brought him and his family and friends joy to celebrate with him, his many successes in cart-horse racing.


Richard was also known in the community for his love of athletics and he assisted his nephew Jesse Kailing, in coaching the Reed City High School boy’s basketball team for 10 years. He was also frequently seen on the sidelines encouraging his grandchildren in athletics or whatever it was they chose to do. Dick was also a member of the United Methodist Church in Reed City.


Dick served in the US Army as an SP4 from 1963 to 1965. He worked for Cooper Industries as a machinist in Reed City for 13 years before going to work for Micron Manufacturing in Walker, MI as a foreman. Richard retired in 2003 and has since focused on farming and helping care for his grandchildren and enjoying his many friends and family.


Visitation will be on Wednesday at the United Methodist Church in Reed City from 2-4 and 6-8, with the funeral to be held at the church on Thursday at 1:00, with a luncheon to follow the service.


Memorial contributions can be made to the Susan P. Wheatlake Cancer Center or to the United Methodist Church in Reed City.


Phyllis Ann Hinojosa of Grand Rapids

Phyllis Ann Hinojosa, age 63, passed away Sunday, July 12, 2015 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Phyllis was born on December 31, 1951 in Owosso, Michigan the daughter of Carroll and Delores (Loveless) Studer. Phyllis was united in marriage to Hector Hinojosa on March 13th, 1971 at Sacred Heart Parish in Birch Run, Michigan. She enjoyed fishing, knitting, gardening and doing embroidering and puzzles. Phyllis especially enjoyed spending time with her family. She was very active with helping with the retreat at Cursillo Movement with St. Margaret Mary Alacoque Church.


Phyllis is survived by her loving husband; Hector, children; Brian (Kari) Hinojosa, Christina Hinojosa and Suzanna Hinojosa all of Edmore, grandchild; Hollie Hinojosa of Edmore, brothers; Larry (Alice) Studer of Montrose and Paul (Melissa) Studer of Lansing and sisters; Helen Lamrock of Clio and Sharon Studer of Flushing. Phyllis was preceded in death by her parents and a son Joseph Allen.


Funeral Mass will take place Wednesday, July 15, 2015 at 1:00 pm at St. Margaret Mary Alacoque Church, Edmore, Michigan with Fr. Dominic Tirkey to officiate. There will be visitation 2 hours prior to the service also at the church. Those planning a memorial contribution are asked to consider the “Wishes of the Hinojosa Family” To share an online condolence please visit: www.brighamfuneralchapel



Louise Kinney of Morely

Louise Kinney , 91 passed from this earthly home into the Lord’s arms on Thursday July 9. Louise was an active participant in the lives of her family, church and community. She taught Sunday School, had girl scout troops, served on many church boards, was a Rebekah, a member of the Morley Village Board and always willing to lend a helping hand or listen to others concerns and offer counsel while raising 5 children and running a successful grocery store. Many in Morley considered her a trusted friend.


Louise was preceded in death by her parents, Dean & Nellie Barnes (Kehl), her husband of 48 years Herman Kinney, her brother Lyle Barnes, son-in-law Richard Barringer and grand son Charles Barringer. She will be greatly missed by her children: Joe and Donna Kinney, Phyllis Imhoff (Tom Steendam), Delores Barringer, Mary & Don Hoogerhyde, Janet and Nathan Moore, her sister Lelia Hoeppel, 6 grand children and 8 great grand children.


Visitation will be on Sunday July 12from 6 to 8 pm and funeral services will be Monday July 13 at 11:00 am at Heckman Funeral Home in Howard City. Burial will be at the Aetna Township Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to The Alzheimer’s Foundation or Hospice of Michigan at the funeral home.


Marilyn Dipzinski of Lake Isabella

Marilyn Dipzinski, age 78 of Lake Isabella, passed away Thursday, July 9, 2015. Mass of Christian burial will be held Monday, July 13th, at St. Michael Catholic Church in Remus, at 11:00 AM. Marilyn’s family will greet friends and relatives at Janowicz Family Funeral Home in Remus on Sunday evening from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM with a scripture service at 7:30 PM, and again at the church on Monday from 10:00 AM to the time of Mass. Fr. Aaron Ferris will officiate with burial to follow at St. Michael’s Cemetery.

Marilyn was born November 27, 1936, the daughter of Frank and Lillian (Thompson) Buchholz. She married the love of her life, Ernest, on November 3, 1956 and together the two grew their family to include seven children. After living in the Davison and Mt. Morris areas for many years, Ernest and Marilyn decided to move to Lake Isabella after they retired.

Marilyn enjoyed golfing, bowling, listening to music, making cross-stitch pictures and gardening. She was a wonderful mother and grandmother known to be nurturing and supportive. Marilyn was very proud of her family and never missed a concert, sports event or Birthday. She was a woman of great faith who taught her children about prayer and forgiveness.

Loving, caring, independent and stubborn were all words used to describe Marilyn.

Left to cherish her memory are her husband of 58 years, Ernest; son, Ernest Paul Dipzinski; daughters, Pamela Dipzinski, Janet Cohron, Theresa (Alex) Gutierrez, Kaye Paladino and Beverly Benedict; 12 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Sadly, Marilyn was preceded in death by her parents; grandson, Max; infant daughter, Karen and four siblings, Ronnie, Bill, Louise and Carol.




Donald Keith Parker of Ashton

Donald Keith Parker of Ashton passed away July 9, 2015 at his residence. He was 80 years old. Don was born November 29, 1934 in Reed City to Howard W. Parker and Edna (West) Brown. He was raised in Reed City and was a 1952 graduate of Reed City High School. On August 16, 1952 he maried the love of his life, Arlene Joyce (Howell) Parker.


He was employed for 12 years with Miller Industries of Reed City before going to work for the Michigan- Wisconsin pipeline where he worked for another 20 years until his retirement in 1981. Don spent his retirement years as an avid hunter, trapper, and fisherman and enjoyed spending time woodworking. Donald and family have been longtime members of the Ashton United Methodist Church. He loved spending time with his wife, Arlene, and supporting his children and grandchildren in their sporting events and musical ventures. Most of all, he was the greatest husband and the best father and grandfather. Don is survived by a loving family – his wife of 63 years, Arlene Parker of Ashton; their children Luanne (Tom) Vaughn of Tustin; Don (Terri) Parker of Reed City; Sherry (Rick) McDonald of LeRoy; 11 grandchildren: Jackie (Shawn) Wright of Redondo Beach, CA; Craig (Linda) Meyer of Lake Odessa; Jessica (Trevon) Cole of Fife Lake; Cortney (Ben) Robertson of LeRoy; Ben Parker of Lyons, CO; Matthew McDonald of Boyne Falls; Myranda McDonald of LeRoy; Mitchell McDonald of LeRoy; Sara Vaughn of Six Lakes; Amanda Fitzgerald of Sheboygan Falls, WI; Adam Hassler of Sheboygan Falls, WI; 8 great- grandchildren: Gweneth, Jemma, Lulu, and Arrow Cole of Fife Lake; Paige Robertson of LeRoy; Zander Hassler or Sheboygan Falls, WI; Taylor and Gabriel Rassmussen of Sheboygan Falls, WI; siblings: Jalane Stone of St. Petersburg, FL; David (Barb) Agin of Clearwater, FL; Dale Howell of LeRoy; 7 nieces & nephews: Dana (Carol) Parker of Ashton, Pam Parker of Reed City, Debbie (Donnie) Lange of Standwood, Wayne Parker of Grand Rapids, Ricky Leverock of St. Petersburg, FL, Walter Ryan of St. Petersburg, FL, and Brian Stone of St. Petersburg, FL.; and his church family at Ashton United Methodist Church. He was preceded in death by his parents Howard and Edna Parker; brother Douglas Parker; sister Jerrianne Baldwin; nephew Howard O. Parker; mother and father in law Otha And LuLu Howell; brother-in-law Vern Howell; and sister-in-law Ellen Holmes.


Funeral services will be held at 1:00 P.M. Tuesday, July 14, 2015 at the Pruitt-Livingston Funeral Home in Reed City with Rev. Scott Loomis officiating. Burial will be at the Hersey Village Cemetery. Visitation with the family will be Tuesday, July 14, 2015 at the funeral home from 11:00 A.M. until start of services. Memorial contributions may be made to the Ashton United Methodist Church.


Jerome Henry Gregory of Rodney

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.


Gordon Lee Knopf of Big Rapids

Gordon Lee Knopf, age 66, passed away unexpectedly on July 6, 2015 in Grand Rapids. Gordon was born on June 11, 1949, in Big Rapids to Lawrence and Donna Belle (Mumah) Knopf. Gordon graduated from Big Rapids High School in 1967. He married Julia Ann Williams in 1968 and they made their home in Big Rapids where they raised their children. Gordy was an avid sportsman and fisherman. He loved sports especially the Detroit Tigers and coaching little league for many years. Gordy was close to his entire family, especially his four grandchildren which he adored. Gordon worked in the grocery business for 35 years at Giant. He started at age 16 as a bag boy and made his way up to meat manager.

He is survived by his wife Julia; one son, James (Jenny) Knopf of Big Rapids, one daughter; Jennifer (Donald) Maginnis of Big Rapids; four grandchildren; Lauren and Leah Maginnis, Emma and Fredrick Knopf; Five Brothers; Larry (Linda) Knopf of Gaylord, Jon Knopf of Rodney, Denny (Deb) Knopf of Big Rapids, Fred (Mary) Knopf of Sears, Tim (Deb) Knopf of Dover, OH; one sister Sally (Mike) Depew of Big Rapids.

He was preceded in death by his parents, one brother; Daryl Lyn Knopf and sister in law Lyddie (Douglas) Knopf.

In celebration of Gordon’s life there will be a memorial gathering at Daggett-Gilbert Funeral Home, in Big Rapids on Monday, July 13, 2015 from 5:00-8:00 p.m.


Brenda Kay Dyer of LeRoy

Brenda Kay Dyer, formerly of LeRoy, passed away Friday, July 3, 2015 in Wyoming, Michigan. She was 72. She was born September 20, 1942 in Reed City to Melvin and Mariam (Steinhaus) Dyer and was a 1960 graduate of LeRoy High School. She was employed with the Osceola County Sheriff’s Department as an administrator before becoming employed with the Saginaw Police Department as a records technician until her retirement in 2006. Brenda enjoyed snowmobiling, ceramics, and arts & crafts.


She is survived by her children: Brent (Shannon) Vander Haar, Jodi (Tim) Meeuwenberg, Traci (David) Stoppa, and Peter (Michelle) Vander Haar; grandchildren: Allyson, Travis, Erica, Nathan, Matthew, Joshua, Jake, and Mya; brother David (Lois) Dyer; and her nieces Danyelle, Marci, and Laura. She was preceded in death by her parents Melvin and Mariam Dyer.


Funeral services will be 1:00 P.M. Tuesday, July 7, 2015 at the Pruitt-Livingston Funeral Home in Reed City with Chaplain Gloria Hart officiating. Burial will be at the Maple Hill Cemetery in LeRoy. Visitation with the family will be at the Pruitt-Livingston Funeral Home on Tuesday, July 7, 2015 from 11:00 A.M. until the start of services. Memorial contributions may be made in her name to Hospice of Michigan.


Donelda Idessia Boyd Wiseman of Big Rapids

On July 4, 2015, Donelda Idessia Boyd Wiseman passed away peacefully at home. As a life-long conservationist she was surrounded by her family, birds singing, and the sounds of outdoors.

She came into this world on November 29, 1927 in Pellston, Michigan, the daughter of Ralph and Mildred (Flood) Kilpatrick. The family moved locally where she attended elementary school in Pogy and Hersey before entering Big Rapids High School, where she graduated in 1946. Donelda worked in Grand Rapids for awhile after high school then returned to the Pogy area where she married Bruce Boyd on October 1, 1949.

As a farmer’s wife Donelda raised and showed Arabian horses, was a 4-H leader for her children, nieces, and neighbors and promoted an understanding of the importance of planting trees and respecting nature. She later attended Central Michigan University where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, followed by a Masters Degree. She taught elementary school in the Reed City School system for 20 years exposing young minds to more than just what they were taught in books. She would take her classes on field trips to her house where the students would ride a horse, take a nature hike and learn about gardening. Donelda had a green thumb that could grow about anything, whether a tomato or beautiful flowers. She was a prolific canner and shared with friends and neighbors many jars of pickled beets or her own creation of some fruit-flavored jam. As a strong environmentalist, she planted trees by the thousands turning many sand hills into pine forests. She would encourage everyone to plant trees and bushes that would provide bird cover. Then later in life she began planting fruit trees, turning her front yard into an orchard.

After the passing of Bruce in 1985, Donelda married Paul Wiseman on November 4, 1988. They were members of Christ Harvest Ministries and very involved in the church community activities. Her faith was very important to her and she would happily discuss the bible with anyone, but always kept an open mind. She was an avid reader and would welcome discussions on books and if you had not read a particular book she liked she would buy you a copy. Donelda also was known to be ready to travel (anywhere) at the drop of a hat. She counseled many young people who came to her for advice and even some who did not, always having pretty strong opinions on a variety of subjects. She was generous with funding and support for those who advocated a worthy cause, in particular the support of kids going to SpringHill or Cran-Hill youth camps. Donelda was always quick to contribute her famous deviled eggs to any potluck or family gathering. Her doors were always open, making her peaceful country home a respite for many to stop by regularly and enjoy a cup of coffee.

Surviving are her husband, Paul (Wug) Wiseman; children, Ronca Boyd, Carla Boyd (Phillip) Erlewine, Jon (Barb) Wiseman, and Rex (Nancy) Wiseman; her sister Ruth (Kilpatrick) Deits. Donelda loved to spend time with her grandchildren and take them on trips in her motor home or do craft activites where messes were welcomed. She has seven grand children: Erica Erlewine (Micah) McLaughlin, Adrienne Erlewine (Derek) Shiels, Elizabeth Wiseman (Mark) Solis, Kathryn Wiseman (Ken) McLeod, Justin Wiseman, Rob (Jenilee) Olson, Kristy Olson (Scott) Thompson, and Kerry Olson. She delighted in her great-grandchildren as well as many nieces and nephews. Donelda was also preceded in death by her sisters Arthea (Kilpatrick) Metcalf and Marilyn (Kilpatrick) Proctor, and two infant siblings.

Funeral services will be 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, July 7, at the Mohnke Funeral Home in Big Rapids, with Pastor Lynn Winans officiating. Burial will be in the Highland View Cemetery. Donelda’s family will greet friends at the funeral home today (Monday) from 5-7 p.m., and prior to services on Tuesday. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Spectrum Home Hospice, The Arbor Day Foundation, or SpringHill Camp, with envelopes available at the funeral home.


Audrey Rose Congdon of Howard City

Audrey Rose Congdon, one year old daughter of Mitchell L. and Tara L. (Kailing) Congdon, passed away unexpectedly at home, Thursday July 2, 2015. She was born April 11, 2014 in Jacksonville, Florida and was living in Howard City Michigan.

Audrey is survived by her loving parents, Tara and Mitchell Congdon and her big brother Garrett Congdon all of Howard City; maternal grandparents, Frank Kailing of Big Rapids, Kimberly and Michael Kilmer of Howard City; paternal grandparents, Dale Congdon of Paw Paw, Dani Davis of Gulfport, Mississippi; maternal great-grandparents, Samuel and June Straub of Rodney, Norman Kailing of Big Rapids; paternal great-grandparents, Carolyn (Larry) Keller of Montana and several aunts, uncles and cousins.

Although Audrey was here with her family and friends for a short time she will never be forgotten and forever loved.
Audrey was a bright, beautiful baby girl filled with such love and laughter. She could always make you smile with her great big grin and fill your heart with great memories. She was always on the move, chasing her big brother and enjoying herself. She was always smiling, giggling, laughing bringing joy to all of those around her. She will be deeply missed and always remembered in her loved ones hearts. We love you baby girl and always will.

Funeral services will take place 1:00 p.m. Tuesday, July 7, 2015 at the Daggett-Gilbert Funeral Home in Big Rapids with Pastor Ken Krause officiating. Burial will be at Mount Carmel Cemetery in Big Rapids. The family will greet friends at the funeral home on Tuesday at 12:00 p.m. noon (one hour prior to services).


Daniel L. Botek of Barryton

Daniel L. Botek age 68, of Barryton, passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday, July 1, 2015, immediately following one of the best days of fishing in his life. He was born on February 2, 1947 in Lansing to Anton and Leona (Baird) Botek. Dan graduated from Mason High School in 1965 and entered into the United States Army in 1966. He was honorably discharged following his tour of duty in Vietnam as a Sergeant in 1969.


On June 8, 1968 Dan married Judy Bigler and they made their home in the Lansing area. Although he and Judy divorced they still remained close friends and were an active part of each other’s lives. They remarried in April of this year. In 1986 Dan moved to Barryton where he has resided ever since. Dan was an avid fisherman, bowler and golfer. He was a transplant recipient and participated in the Translant Olympics where he was one pin away from winning a gold medal in bowling. Dan was instrumental in helping set up an annual golf tournament with the Road Runner’s in Barryton to raise money for those in need.


His life will be remembered by the family he held dear to his heart: his wife, Judy Botek; his children, Dean (Margaret) Botek of Stanton and Michelle (Erik) Kulkoski of Middleton; ten grandchildren, Samantha, Sara, Shelby, Shauna, Nicholas, Alex, Logan, Tyson, Heath and Annika; two great-grandsons Leo and Nate; two brothers, Robert and Harry of Barryton; three sisters, Linda (Elton) DePue, Diana (Mark) Halvorsen and Judy (Wayne) Allen all of Carson City; and many nieces, nephews and close friends. Dan was preceded in death by his parents and his step-father Dean G. Henderson who raised him.


A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, July 6, 2015 at the Daggett Funeral Home in Barryton with Pastor Tom Doherty officiating. In lieu of flowers memorial donations can be made to the Barryton Road Runners.


Helen L. Heyart of Canadian Lakes

Helen L. Heyart , age 78 of Canadian Lakes passed away Tuesday, June 30, 2015 at Spectrum Health, Big Rapids., MI. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held in her honor Monday, July 6th at 11:00 am at St. Michael Catholic Church in Remus with Father Aaron Ferris as celebrant. The family will greet friends at church starting at 10:00 am until the time of services.

Helen was born August 8, 1936, the daughter of Harold and Rhea (Short) Swart. Helen was raised in Flint, Michigan, and graduated from high school in 1955. On July 24, 1965 she married Major Richard T. Heyart U.S. Air Force MSC at Wurtsmith Air Force Base, MI. Since he was serving in the Air Force, they traveled and lived in various locations throughout Europe and the United States. They settled in their current home at Canadian Lakes in 1999.

Helen was a hard worker, and loved to bake, making cookies for enlisted personnel and delivering them personally. She enjoyed taking spontaneous road trips, researching genealogy, and was and avid reader, especially enjoying mystery, history and Louie L’Amour books.

Left to cherish her memory are her husband, Major Richard T. and son Richard J. of Canadian Lakes, and two sisters; Nellie Swart and Martha Franklin, both of Arizona. Also surviving are many nieces, nephews, and great nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by both parents, brother George Swart, and sister Olive Swart.

Those desiring may direct memorial contributions to a charity of your choice in Helen’s name. Envelopes will be available at the church.



Vena Mae Fitzner of Lakeview

Vena Mae (Drier) Fitzner, age 85, of Lakeview, passed away July 1, 2015 at Twin Oaks Retirement Home in Gowan. She was born December 13, 1929, the daughter of Fred and Edna Drier and was raised in Wakefield along with eight brothers and sisters. She later moved to the Detroit area to work as a professional secretary. In 1949, she married Donald J. Fitzner and spent the next sixty one years with him on the Fitzner farm until his passing. She was a stay at home mom and also a longtime secretary for the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church and the Hough-Pontius VFW Posts Ladies auxiliary.


Vena Mae is survived by sons Paul (Deb) Fitzner and Jeff (Mary) Fitzner; sister Betty Rinehart; grandchildren and great grandchildren; several nieces and nephews and special family friend Barb Davis.


Vena Mae was preceded in death by her husband Don Fitzner; daughter Jeanne Fitzner; infant sons Bruce Lee and Brad Alan; sisters Evelyn Drier and Ruth Johnson; brothers Elmer, Ben, Charlie, and Ralph Drier; and infant brother Joseph Drier.


Graveside services for Vena Mae will be held at Riverside (Pine Twp) Cemetery in Langston on Monday, July 6, 2015 at 3:00 P.M. with Reverend Steven Voelker officiating. A luncheon will take place at the Pine Township Hall following the graveside service. 



Donna Claire Early of Barryton

Donna Claire (Daggett) Early, age 96, formerly of Barryton, Michigan, passed away in California on June 4, 2015. The eldest of three children, she was born on December 29, 1918, in Rockford, MI, the daughter of Jenny V. (Wingard) and Thomas C. Daggett. Donna graduated from Remus High School, in 1937. During WWII she worked at Willow Run in Ypsilanti where she met Thomas Edwin "Ed" Early. After they were married, they moved to Ed's home state of California and raised their three sons in Concord, California. After their retirement, they moved to Barryton, Michigan where Donna worked for Mid-Michigan Community Action Agency, sold real estate for Rose Johnson Realty and was an active member of the Barryton Methodist Church. In 2010, Donna moved back to California to be closer to her sons and their families.

She is survived by two sons, Matt (Laurie) Early of Brentwood, CA and Dan (Michelle) Early of Stockton, CA, daughter-in-law Beth Early of Colorado Springs, CO, eight grandchildren; Stephen, Danielle, Brian, Jason, Jennie Ann, Thomas, Robert, Melanie and six great grandchildren, Andrew, Anthony, Josiah, Arianna, Nova and Norah plus many nieces, nephews and cousins.

Donna was preceded in death by her husband Ed in 1988, son Tim in 2007, brother George Daggett in 1998, sister Phyllis O'Hara in 1993 and brother-in-law Robert O'Hara in 1990.


Jack Wilber of Stanwood

Jack Wilber, age 73, passed away peacefully at his home in Stanwood on June 30, 2015.


He was raised in Mecosta, the son of Gerald & Margaret (McClelland) Wilber. He served his country in the Army National Guard for several years and was honorably discharged. He is survived by his wife of 24 years, Carolyn; his children, Darin (Kim), Brian, and Bruce; three step children, Bob (Angie) Hayner, Kathy (Scott) Cox, and Deb (Kevin) Walma. He was also a grandfather to fourteen grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. Also surviving are his brothers, Curtis (Shane) of Big Rapids and Tom (Cheryl) of Matthews, North Carolina, along with several nieces, nephews, and cousins. He was preceded in death by his beloved mother Margaret Wilber and father Gerald Wilber.


The family will be having a celebration of his life at a later date.


Daniel J. Bronis of Big Rapids

Daniel J. Bronis, age 17, passed away on Saturday, June 27, 2015. He was born on November 29, 1997 in Big Rapids, MI to Vance and Valerie (Richter) Bronis. Daniel loved skateboarding, fishing, hunting and swimming. He looked forward to the thrill of snowmobiles, motorcycles and adrenaline. Danny’s biggest passion was his friends. He gave freely of his time and was always there to listen and offer advice. Danny had a positive attitude and outlook on life and was a good person to make you laugh. He attended the youth group at the Barryton Church of God when he was younger and most recently at Crossroads Community Church in Evart.

Danny is survived by his parents Vance and Valerie; and brothers, Nathaniel and David Bronis all of Lake. He has two grandmothers; Wava Bronis of Reed City and Maxine Rhodes of Lake; and numerous, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and friends that will continue to hold the memories they have close to their hearts.
Danny was preceded in death by grandfathers, Chester Bronis and Charles Webb.

Funeral services will be held at 12:00 p.m. (Noon) on Friday, July 3, 2015 at the Crossroads Community Church (110 S. Main St., Evart) with the family greeting friends at the church two hours prior from 10:00 to Noon.

The family will also greet friends from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 2nd at the Daggett Funeral Home in Barryton.

Memorial donations in Danny’s name can be made to SpringHill Camps in Evart , for underprivileged children.


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