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Big Rapids Daily News
Obituaries Archives for 2016-01

Wanda Belle Esch of Remus

Wanda Belle Esch, 79, of Remus went home to be with the Lord, on Wednesday, January 27, 2016. She was born on June 25, 1936 to Chester and Lovina (Bell) Woodbury and in 1943 became Wanda Haney, child of Henry and Lovina Haney. She was preceded in death by her parents Henry and Lovina; husband, Wesley Esch who passed away in December of 2015; brother-in-law Lee (Luella) Dockham. She is survived by her children; Cathy (Jake) Spindler, Allen (Patty) Esch, and Jeffrey Esch; 6 grandchildren, Jason Warner, Heath Esch, Felicia Spindler, Casey Spindler, Arielle Esch and Trent Esch; 5 great grandchildren, Landon Warner, Auriana Flowers, AJ Flowers, Keegan Warner and Audicus Flowers; siblings, Luella Dockham,  Neil (Eathel) Haney, Michaelene (Larry) Tribe, Gail (Bill) Johnson, and Kevin (Gwen) Haney and many nieces, nephews and dear friends who will continue to hold her close to their hearts.


Wanda grew up in the Barryton area and graduated from Barryton High School in 1954. She married Wesley Esch in 1955. Wanda loved music and sang at weddings and various other community events including cantatas and church choirs. She also directed Junior Church Choir. Wanda was a member of the Barryton Church of Christ. She was employed as a switchboard operator at the Remus Phone Company, worked for the Six Lakes Post Office, Remus D&C Stores and baker at Loafers Glory in Blanchard. She will be dearly missed by everyone who knew her.

The family will greet friends Saturday, January 30th from 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Daggett Funeral Home in Barryton.


Funeral services will take place 3:00 p.m. Sunday, January 31, 2016 at the Barryton Church of Christ (18221 30th Ave., M66). Graveside services will take place in the spring at East Fork Cemetery, Barryton.


Memorial contributions in Wanda’s name can be made to Hospice of Michigan.



Floyd Thomas Glazier of Big Rapids

Floyd Thomas Glazier, age 80, of Big Rapids, passed away on Tuesday, January 26, 2016 at his home.  He was born December 29, 1935 in Big Rapids, the son of Carl and Loretta (Byrnes) Glazier.

In 1958, he married Lordine Kwapis, who preceded him in death in 2004.  In 2006 he married Janice Feyerabend, who survives.


Floyd started working as an iron worker. He then went on to join the IBEW where he retired from after thirty years.  In retirement, he had a Pilot car business which offered him an opportunity to travel.


Floyd was a member of St. Mary Catholic Church.  He was active in the Knights of Columbus, enjoyed membership in the River Valley Car Club, loved to square dance and attend Fiddlers Jamborees.  In earlier years, “Tom” was a big supporter of Boy Scout Troop 114.  He was an avid mechanic, welder, and sportsman.  His specialty was entertaining everyone he met with a story.  


He is survived by his children, Laurie Drews and Carl Glazier; grandchildren, Fred (Katie) Drews, Ken (Ashley) Glazier, and Kevin Glazier; five great-grandchildren; sisters, Nancy (William) Eddy and Linda (Richard) Luce; and sister-in-law, Patricia Glazier. 


Preceding him in death were a son, Ricky; sisters, Ilene Nichols, Roni Scott, and Alice Wimer; brother, Dick Glazier; and son-in-law, Alfred Drews.


A Mass of Christian Burial will take place at 11:00 am, Saturday, January 30 at St. Mary Catholic Church in Big Rapids with Father Michael Burt officiating. Family will greet friends on Saturday beginning at 10:00 am until the time of service. Visitation will be 2:00 pm until 4:00 pm and again from 6:00 pm until 8:00 pm on Friday, January 29 at the Mohnke Funeral Home.  Interment at Mt. Carmel Cemetery will take place in the spring.  In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the St. Mary Catholic Church or the St. Mary Parish Center.



Reva L. Clark of Goodwell Township

Reva L. Clark, age 88 of Goodwell Township, Newaygo County, passed away Monday, January 25, 2016 at home with her family at her side. She was born September 23, 1927 in Grand Rapids, the daughter of Henry and Gladys (Elwell) Howell. Reva married Virgil on September 14, 1946 and together they raised their family in Goodwell Township.


She was a longtime member of Stanwood Free Methodist Church where she was a supporter of their community missions. Reva was a member of the Woodville Birthday Club and was a foster parent in Newaygo County for over 40 years. She was always helpful; Reva knitted hats, mittens, and scarves for others in need and started the hot lunch program at the Pine View School.


She is survived by six children; V. Duane (Janet) Clark of Paris, SueAnn Reinmuller of Fremont, Ronald (Lynlie) Clark of Evart, Trudi Clark of Tustin, Kay (Dudley) Smith of White Cloud, and Joy (Nathan) Cook of Rothbury; many grandchildren and great-grandchildren; one brother, Jerry (Patricia) Howell of Paris; two sisters, Marie (Jim) Wright of Paris and Helen (Dan) Corey of Big Rapids; one brother-in-law, Josh Clark of Reed City; one sister-in-law, Lillian Clark of White Cloud; many nieces and nephews; plus numerous other children Virgil and Reva have raised.


She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Virgil in 2011; brother, Robert Howell; and sister, Dorothy Clark.


Funeral services will take place 11:00 a.m. Thursday, January 28, 2016 at the Daggett-Gilbert Funeral Home in Big Rapids with Reva’s nephew, Pastor Ronald Weller, officiating. The family will greet friends one hour prior to the service on Thursday at the funeral home.


Memorial contributions may be made in Reva’s name to an Autism charity that will be decided by the family at a later date.




Jeneva Mae 'Jenny' Ball of Paris

Jeneva Mae 'Jenny' Ball, age 79 of Paris, MI, passed away Monday, January 25, 2016. She was born February 19, 1936 in Dearborn the only child of Blake and Laura (Farnsworth) Sine. Jenny graduated from Cooley High School in 1954; later that same year, on April 24th, she married Frank Ball. Together they made their home in Detroit until moving to Paris, MI in 1970.


Jenny was an active member of the Paris Trail Blazers, Big Rapids Eagles Aerie #2535 Ladies Auxiliary and she enjoyed bowling on several local bowling leagues in Big Rapids.


Jenny is survived by her beloved husband of 61 years, Francis “Frank” Ball of Paris; two sons; Dennis (Donna) Ball of Hersey, Donald (Deborah) Ball of Tustin; two daughters, Kathryn (Thomas) Koneska of Kalamazoo, Ann (Doug Bell) Davis of Manistee; 13 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Jenny was preceded in death by her parents, her daughter, Laurene Ball in 1983 and a son, Allan Ball.


Funeral services will take place 11:00 a.m. Friday, January 29, 2016 at the Daggett-Gilbert Funeral Home in Big Rapids with Reverend Jo Bell officiating.  The family will greet friends Thursday, January 28th from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the funeral home. A spring burial will be at Crapo Cemetery near Paris.


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




Ruth V. Tonkin of Big Rapids

Ruth V. Tonkin, age 97 of Big Rapids, passed away Thursday, January 21, 2016 at the Spectrum Health Nursing Rehabilitation Center in Reed City. She was born March 18, 1918 in Grand Rapids, the daughter of Perry and Hattie (Warner) DePew. Ruth was a graduate of the Big Rapids High School.

She married Stanley Tonkin on September 10, 1958 and together they made their home and raised their family in Big Rapids. Ruth was a member of the Third Avenue United Methodist Church. She enjoyed knitting, sewing, and riding bikes with Stanley.  

Ruth is survived by her daughter, Joyce Donley of Paris; daughter-in-law, Carol Tonkin of Portland; six grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; 19 great-great-grandchildren; many nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband of 66 years, Stanley Tonkin on November 8, 2004; son, Phil Tonkin; infant son, Stanley Jr. Tonkin; son-in-law, Richard Donley; two brothers, Lawrence and Robert DePew; four sisters, Georgia Blanchard, Dorothy Hatfield, Maybel Cox, and Fern Tyner.

A graveside service will be held in the spring at Highland View Cemetery in Big Rapids.

Memorial contributions may be made in Ruth’s name to the Third Avenue United Methodist Church in Big Rapids.


Donna Marie Johnson of Canadian Lakes

Donna Marie Johnson of Canadian Lakes, passed away Tuesday, January 19, 2016 following a lengthy illness.

Due to Donna's wishes, cremation will take place with no service to follow.


Calvin E. 'Cal' Williamson of Stanwood

Calvin E. “Cal” Williamson, age 84 of Stanwood, passed away Monday, January 18, 2016. He was born October 2, 1930 at home in Evart, Michigan the son of Floyd E. and Florence (Bush) Williamson.


Cal graduated from Big Rapids High School. He began his military career in the Army National Guard and then served actively from June 29, 1954 to June 2, 1956 during the Korean War. Cal married Joan K. Churchill on July 8, 1961 in Pomona, California where they lived until moving to New York in 1966. Cal was employed by Monroe Community College and later at St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY until his retirement in 1992. Following Cal’s retirement, the family moved to Stanwood to make their home. Cal had been a member of the V.F.W. He enjoyed hunting, fishing and woodworking.


He is survived by his wife Joan of Stanwood; six children, Sandra Williamson of Howard City, Sharron Williamson from Rochester, NY, Donna Keech of Howard City, Richard (Debra) Williamson of South Carolina, Julie (Kenny) Gilchrist of Stanwood, Calvin Jr. (Liza) Williamson of Colton, NY; seven grandchildren, five great-grandchildren; Four sisters, Mary Holcom of Leroy, Nina Lee of Wisconsin, Betty Wilson of Laughlin, Nevada, Bev (Steve) Redding of Hudson, FL and many nieces and nephews.


Funeral services will take 3:00 p.m. Friday, January 22, 2016 at the Daggett-Gilbert Funeral Home in Big Rapids with Crista Olsson officiating. There will be Military honors under the auspices of the United States Army.


The family will greet friends on Friday two hours prior to services at the funeral home beginning at 1:00 p.m.


Memorial contributions in Cal’s name may be given to his family.



Norman A. Peterson of Big Rapids

Norman A. Peterson, 89, of Big Rapids, passed away Monday, January 18, 2016 at his home surrounded by family. Norm was born on March 23, 1926, in Big Rapids, the son of Karl and Mary (Biddlecome) Peterson, and graduated from Big Rapids High School in 1945. He joined the Army Air Corps during World War II before his graduation, and was stationed in Mississippi.

Following his discharge, he returned to Big Rapids, and in 1952 he married Jenny “Jean” Trimner. In his early years, he ran Peterson’s Standard Gas Station in Big Rapids, and then the Sunoco Station. Later he began working for the U.S. Postal Service, and retired as a rural mail carrier in 1985. Norm was the oldest living charter member of the Big Rapids Fraternal Order of Eagles #2535, and was also a member of the American Legion Post #98.

After his retirement, he enjoyed stopping by the Dairy Queen every afternoon to check up on things and then onto Bernie’s to meet with the coffee gang.

Norm was preceded in death by his wife Jean in 2011. He is survived by one daughter, Mary Ann (Joe) Mendenhall of Big Rapids; a son, Tom Peterson of Howell; three grandchildren, Joey (April) Mendenhall of Big Rapids, Michael (Julia) Mendenhall of Cedar Springs, and Katie Mendenhall of Cedar Springs; two great grandchildren, Tate Mendenhall and Callie Mendenhall; and several nieces and nephews. His grandchildren were the joy of his life and surely were one of the reasons that gave him the will to live such a long life. He also leaves behind the best neighbors anyone could ask for – Bill and Pat Newman – who have been his neighbors for 50-some years and always kept a close eye on him in his later years. Norm was also preceded in death by two sisters, Dorothy Avey and Judy Kolasa.

Funeral services for Norm will take place at 11:00 am on Saturday, January 23, 2016 at the Mohnke Funeral Home in Big Rapids, with Rev. Charles Schwartz officiating. Visitation will begin at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, and a spring burial will take place in the Pine Plains Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the Spectrum Health Cardiac Rehabilitation Center, or St. Mary Catholic School, with envelopes available at the funeral home.


Gordon M. Trute of Big Rapids

Gordon M. Trute, age 76, of Big Rapids passed away unexpectedly at home on Monday, January 18, 2016. He was born on June 27, 1939 in Muskegon, the son of William and Jacoba (Wolf) Trute.


Gordon loved his country.  He enlisted in the US Navy when he was 17 years old.  Gordon was proud of his military service.  He could talk about that and politics for hours.  Gordon was first to raise his hand for his Republican party.  He was an avid member of the Big Rapids Area Amateur Radio Club.


He is survived by Lynnda (Spears) Trute, his wife of 47 years; three daughters, Leslie (Robert) Lower of Tennessee, Joy Trute of Tennessee, and Laura Trute-Ruelle of Grand Rapids; seven grandchildren, Andrew, William (Woody), and Samuel Horn, Paul, Sean, and Nicolette Ruelle and Colsyn Van Galder. 


He loved his brother Karl’s children as if they were his own.  They are David, Steven, Chad, Mark (Donna) Trute, Michelle (Richard) Brooks, Tricia Trute of Muskegon and Lisa Forward of Florida.


Funeral services for Gordon will be at 11:00 am Friday, January 22, 2016 at the Mohnke Funeral Home in Big Rapids with State Representative Phil Potvin officiating. Visitation will be Thursday from 4:00 to 7:00 pm at the funeral home and again on Friday at 10:00 am until the time of service.  Memorial contributions may be made to the American Heart Association.


Charles Pleasant 'Chuck' Harper of Morley

Charles Pleasant “Chuck” Harper, age 60 of Morley, passed away Saturday, January 9, 2016. He was born January 22, 1955 in Grand Rapids the son of Charles M. and Beverly J. (Rice) Harper. Chuck had made his home in Morley for the past several years.


He is survived by his family including his four children living in Florida and Tennessee; three grandchildren; his seven sisters, Jane Guldi of Louisiana, Melba Winright of Minnisota, Martha Harper of Big Rapids,


Sandra Harper of Big Rapids, Patricia Harper of Big Rapids, Marie Harper of Reed City, Dana (Carl) Velting Morley and many nieces and nephews. Chuck was preceded in death by his parents.


A memorial luncheon will take place 4:00 p.m. Wednesday, January 13, 2016 at Sharon’s Country Restaurant, 10431 Northland Drive in Rogers Heights. There will be a prayer by Pastor Steve Finn and everyone is invited to bring a dish to pass.


Memorial contributions in Chuck’s name may be given to his family.



Marylou Gilroy of Rodney

Marylou Gilroy age 67, formerly of Manistique, passed away on Monday, January 11, 2016 at her home on Jensen Lake, Rodney, MI, where she has resided the last 25 years. Marylou was born on November 12, 1948 in Manistique to York and Bernice (Cody) Anderson. On December 8, 1973, Marylou married David Gilroy in Manistique where she owned and operated a salon called Beauty by Lucille and was a Century 21 real-estate agent for many years. When Marylou was able she enjoyed gardening, cooking, knitting, crocheting and attending the Barryton Church of God.


Marylou’s husband, David; son, Mitchell “Mitch” Gilroy both of Rodney; step daughter, Kelly (Eluid) Moya of Puerto Rico, their daughter Karla Moya; and one brother, David (Dixie) Anderson of Manistique; along with many extended family and friends will continue to hold the memories they have close to their hearts.

Marylou was preceded in death by her parents.


Cremation has taken place. A graveside memorial service is being planned for this spring at Fairview Cemetery in Schoolcraft County.


A memorial service will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 16, 2016 at the Barryton Church of God with Pastor Gary Bryan officiating. The family will greet friends from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. at the church.

Memorial donations in Marylou’s name can be given to the Mecosta County Senior Center (12954 80th Ave., Mecosta, MI 49332)



Laura B. Burr of Reed City

Laura B. Burr, age 84 of Reed City, passed away at her home on Friday, January 8, 2016 after battling Parkinson’s disease for several years. She was born on March 2, 1931 in Big Rapids, the daughter of Clifton and Margaret “Elizabeth” (Bolton) Fredrick. Laura married Spencer Burr on October 10, 1955 at the Big Rapids Hospital; together they raised their family in the Big Rapids and Paris areas.


She was known as the “flower lady” because of her extravagant flower garden. Laura collected teddy bears and bells. She enjoyed bird watching, raising chickens and her dogs.

Laura is survived by her husband of 60 years, Spencer Burr of Reed City; three children, Christine (Melvin) Cooley of Big Rapids, DuWayne (Carol) Burr of Hersey, and Clifton Burr of Rogers Heights; daughter-in-law, Linda (Gray) Norris; 11 grandchildren; many great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren; sister, Ardis Lowden of Big Rapids; aunt, Emma Bush of Big Rapids; and many nieces and nephews.


She was preceded in death by her parents; brother, John Fredrick; sister, Louise (Jay) Howe; son, Perry Gray; infant son, Freddy Gray; teenage granddaughter, Jessica Gray; and brother-in-law, Jim Lowden.


Upon Laura’s request, cremation has taken place and there will be no services.


Memorial contributions may be made to Spectrum Health Hospice. Envelopes may be picked up at the Daggett-Gilbert Funeral Home in Big Rapids.


Marian Louise (Cornell) Bigelow of Morley

Marian Louise (Cornell) Bigelow, 77, of Morley, passed away Saturday, January 9, 2016, at her home surrounded by her loving family  

She was born September 14, 1938, in Stanwood, the daughter of Raymond and Beulah (Cain) Cornell. On May 28, 1960, she married her devoted husband, Albert G. Bigelow, in Big Rapids. Together they have four living children, Jeffrey (Dawn) Bigelow of Lawrence, Linda Linnen of Granger, IN, Beverly (Dan) McLaughlin of Morley, and Patty (John) McAlindon of Ada.


Marian enjoyed spending time with her family and travelling across the United States to visit them. She was an avid reader and enjoyed sewing, making numerous Christmas tree skirts, Raggedy Ann’s, flannel pajamas, Halloween costumes, and quilts for many family members. Marian also spent numerous hours mending, patching, and hemming band uniforms for Morley-Stanwood Schools. She was well known for her baking of delicious pies, cakes, cookies, dinner rolls and breads. She also canned and froze gallons of produce from their large garden. Marian was an organizer who helped Albert with Aetna Township duties for over 32 years.


They are also survived by ten grandchildren, Denise (fiancé A.J. Yarbrough) Bigelow, Melissa (fiancé Nick Baggett) Bigelow, Jessica (Wes) McGinnis, Megan (Adam) Turner, Sarah (fiancé Luke Anglemire) Linnen, Michael, Erin, and Patrick McLaughlin, Courtney and Abigail McAlindon; 3 great grandsons, Ashton Dimock, Leo and Rockford Yarbrough. Also surviving are her mother-in-law, Alice Bigelow; brothers, David (Treva), Frank (Mary), John, Jim (Cindy), Larry (Ann), and Dennis (Diane) Cornell, and sisters Betty (Ed) Fountain and Diana Braden, along with many nieces, nephews, and cousins. Marian was preceded in death by her parents, Raymond and Beulah (Cain) Cornell, brother Daniel Cornell, sisters Frances Cornell Funk and Patricia Ann Cornell, and beloved grandson Travis McLaughlin.


Marian’s family will greet friends on Friday, January 15, from 4-8 p.m. at the Mohnke Funeral Home in Big Rapids. Funeral services will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 16, at the Rogers Heights Christian Church on Northland Drive, with Pastor David Watkins officiating. A luncheon will follow services at the church. Spring burial will be in the Aetna Township Cemetery in Morley. In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial contribution in Marian’s name to Spectrum Health Hospice.
Envelopes are available at the funeral home. 


Carolyn Swix of Stanton

Carolyn Swix, 77, of Stanton, passed away on Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016. She was born May 1, 1938 in Lansing, daughter of Lewis and Thelma (Marcy) VanBlaricom. Carolyn, a graduate of Sexton High School, married William A. Swix. They made their home in Lansing.


Carolyn worked for the Lansing School District as a teacher’s aide then transferred to the accounting department until she retired. They moved to Half Moon Lake near Stanton where she enjoyed watching birds and working jigsaw puzzles.


She is survived by four children, Stephen (Christine Daggett) Swix of Big Rapids, Terri (William) Fowler, of Sedalia, MO, Douglas (Julie) Swix, of Lansing, Diane (Kevin Roche) Swix Berry, of Lansing; two sisters, Marilyn Yelvington, of CA, Donna Benedict of Wayland; eight grandchildren, Amy (Joe) Peters, of Dansville, Angela Swix, of Chase, Allen (Cindy) Fowler of Hobart, IN, Erik Fowler, of Bowling Green, KY, Stephen (April) Swix, stationed at Hunter Army Air Field in Savannah, GA, India Berry, of Lansing, Grant and Meagan Swix, of Lansing; and two great-granddaughters, Rachel Peters and Natalee Swix.


Carolyn was preceded in death by her parents, her husband of 61 years, and her son, John L. Swix.

Funeral services will take place at 12:00 p.m., noon on Thursday, January 7, 2016 at the Barden Funeral Home in Stanton. The family will greet family and friends on Wednesday, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the funeral home.


Burial will be at Elm Hall Cemetery. Memorial contributions in Carolyn’s name may be made to White Pine Library, 106 E. Walnut St., Stanton, MI 48888 or to the charity of the donor’s choice.



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