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C. Diane Messenger

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Funeral Services:

C. Diane Messenger, 84, of Bellevue died on Saturday, November 20, 2021, at The Oaks of NorthPointe Woods.
Diane was born on July 9, 1937, in Battle Creek to Fritz and Atha (Eldred) Gasser. She graduated from Bellevue High School in 1955. On December 26, 1956, she married Harold P. Messenger at the Bellevue United Methodist Church.
Diane was a home maker and stayed at home to help her husband on the family farm and raise her children. She is a member of the Bellevue United Methodist Church and The 20th Century Club. Diane was a 4-H Leader in Eaton County for many years. She was an avid seamstress and would enjoy making clothes for her family. Diane was also known for her cooking and would always make sure she had the recipe to share with anyone at the potluck.  She loved to do crossword puzzles, jig saw puzzles, and word search. Diane loved being in the car club and enjoyed traveling to Hershey, Pennsylvania for over 30 years and she enjoyed square dancing.
She is survived by her husband Harold; three children Linda (Norman) Franks, David Messenger and Donna (Kim) Smith; nine grandchildren; several great-grandchildren; and a brother Gary (Nancy) Gasser. She was preceded in death by her parents; two sister Marion Tirrell and Joyce Beiser; and a grandson David Messenger.
A private family service will take place at a later date. Memorial contributions are to the Bellevue Good Samaritan, 205 N. Main Street, Bellevue, MI 49021 or to the Bellevue United Methodist Church, 122 W. Capital Ave., Bellevue, MI 49021. Assistance with memorials is available at the Kempf Family Funeral and Cremation Services. Leave a personal message for the family and sign the online guestbook https://www.kempffuneralhome.com. Arrangements are entrusted to the Kempf Family Funeral and Cremation Services 203 N Elizabeth Street Bellevue MI 49021.

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Michael P. McKeon

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Funeral Services:

Michael Patrick McKeon age 65 from Bellevue, passed away on November 21, 2021. He worked as a Construction Superintendent Clark Construction. Arrangements are being handled by Pray Funeral Home, Inc.

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Layla K. Sands

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Layla Kaye Sands age 15, from Bellevue passed away on November 17, 2021. She was a High School student. Arrangements are being handled by Pray Funeral Home, Inc.

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Scott R. Nichols

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Scott Richard Nichols, 68, from Charlotte, Mich. Passed away on November 18, 2021. He was a tradesman at General Motors. Funeral was held on November 24, 2021 at Pray Funeral Home in Charlotte, Mich.

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Marianne L. Brown

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Marianne Louise Brown, 50, from Charlotte passed away on November 20, 2021. Marianne was a deli worker at Meijer’s. Private services will be held at a later date. Arrangements by Pray Funeral Home.

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Sarah R. McDermid

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Sarah “Sally” Racheal (Olmstead) McDermid passed away surrounded by loved ones in the comfort of her home on November 17, 2021. Sally was born on November 11, 1934, to parents J. C. and Lucie (Hamilton) Olmstead in Bellevue.
After graduating from Bellevue High School in 1953, Sally married her high school sweetheart David McDermid at Baseline United Methodist Church on August 22, 1953. Sally had many occupations over the years. She served as a waitress in area restaurants, was employed at Gates Grocery Store, drove bus for Bellevue Community Schools, was a paraprofessional at Bellevue Elementary and worked at Regional Medical Laboratory before retiring.
Sally loved the Lord and her church family. She was heavily involved with the Bellevue Alumni Association, band and athletic boosters supporting her children’s activities. She was always an avid reader, had a beautiful singing voice and enjoyed bowling, golf and traveling. For many years Sally enjoyed camping, especially with friends and family at Tri Lake Trails and Arbutus Lake. She was a fantastic cook and baker, known for her dinner rolls and loved to spoil her family with fresh homemade cinnamon rolls every Christmas morning.
Sally was preceded in death by her husband; brother, Everett Olmstead; sisters, Elizabeth Simon, Edna Spaulding, and Helen Jenkins. She is survived by her son, Jerold (Ann) McDermid of Angola, IN; daughter Susan (Terry) Swanger of Bellevue, MI; grandchildren, Megan (Kory) Young, Allison McDermid, David Swanger, Steven Swanger; great grandsons, Peyton Swanger and Bradley Young; and sisters, Ilene (Urban) McDonald, Alice (Michael) Palatas, and Sue (Paul) Wing.
Calling will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday, November 27, 2021, at Baseline United Methodist Church, 9617 Baseline Road, Battle Creek, MI 49017, with a memorial service to follow at 12 p.m. Private interment will take place at a later date in Hicks Cemetery of Battle Creek, MI. Memorial contributions are requested to Oaklawn Hospice Services, 13444 Preston Drive, Marshall, MI 49068 or https://oaklawnhospital.org/services/hospice/pages/make-a-memorial-donation-to-hospice/, Bellevue Volunteer Fire Department,115 E. Jackson St, Bellevue, MI 49021, or Baseline United Methodist Church, 9617 Baseline Road, Battle Creek, MI 49017. Arrangements have been entrusted to Kempf Family Funeral Homes, 205 N. Elizabeth Street, Bellevue, MI 49021. Please visit https://www.kempffuneralhome.com to view the online obituary, sign the guest book, or leave messages for the family.

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Jerri-Lou Gray

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Jerri-Lou Gray, a caring, loyal, and good friend to many, of Potterville, MI, died November 21, 2021. Jerri-Lou, 78 of Potterville was born June 8, 1943, in Lansing, MI to William and Helen (Brooks) Elya. As an honest and straight forward person, she was very proud of her children and grandchildren. Riding her Morgan horses was one of her favorite pastimes. Jerri-Lou was an avid supporter of her daughter’s sports and especially when her grandchildren bowled and participated in volleyball. She was passionate when it came to her family and their activities. She was also involved with the Athletic Boosters working the concession stand. Playing basketball with her family and using her “bear hug” defense was one of her best moves of the game. She retired from the Secretary of State after 27 years of service.
Jeri-Lou is survived by her spouse, Larry Gray; daughters, Kathleen (Jim) Bissett, Maureen (Travese) Bradley and Mary Gray; grandchildren, Austin Gray and Thomas and Christina Bissett; siblings, Elnora Fulger and William Elya, Jr. She was predeceased by her parents, William and Helen (Brooks) Elya.
Private family services may be held at a later date. Friends and family are encouraged to support Jerri-Lou’s family by sharing memories on her tribute page at www.prayfuneral.com. The family is in the care of Pray Funeral Home.

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Traci L. Borgman

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Traci Lea Borgman, 54, of Olivet, a kind-hearted woman of generosity and love for her family, died Sunday, November 21, 2021. Traci was born May 12, 1967, in Battle Creek, MI, the daughter of Robert Lynn and Shirley Mae (King) Hickey. She graduated from Battle Creek Central High School before settling into her lifetime of hard work and service to others. Throughout her early years, she worked in retail at Target and Walgreens, United Way, and Independent Bank in Olivet. From there she received her training to be a Medical First Responder, which she did alongside serving as ER Clerk at Hayes Green Beach Hospital in Charlotte for several years. Traci and Duane also owned and operated Castle Hill Water and Transport since 1996. She retired in 2005 and spent a few years working as a volunteer for Eaton County, as a Victim’s Advocate and court-appointed advocate for children. Above all, she was devoted to her family, planning parties and spending time together.
Traci is survived by her husband of 24 years, Duane Borgman of Olivet; sons, Christopher (Kim) Bayman of Albion and Matthew Clark of Coldwater; daughter, Jessica (Josh) Moore of Battle Creek; honorary daughters, Lara Nabholz of Germany and Erica (Tristan) Pifer; grandchildren, Caiden Lovejoy, Kiana Gibson, Connor Harris, Korbin Steele, and Paizlee Pifer; brother, Steve Hickey of Florida; best friend “sister,” Cheri (Larry) Noga; beloved aunts and uncles; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. She was predeceased by her son, Brandon James Hickey; her parents; and her brother, Gary Lee Hickey.
Friends and family are encouraged to support Traci’s family by attending services or sharing memories on her tribute page at www.prayfuneral.com. Funeral Services will be at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 27, 2021, at Olivet Congregational Church with Pastor Tom Surdenik officiating. Visitation will be from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. on Friday, November 26, 2021, at Pray Funeral Home, Charlotte, and 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 27, just prior to the service at the church. Interment will take place in Bosworth Cemetery in Olivet. The funeral will be webcast so you may watch it from any computer, smartphone, or mobile device that has internet access. Go to www.prayfuneral.com, click on Traci’s tribute, then click on Photos and Videos from your computer (or Media from your smart phone). Memorial contributions are suggested to the family in care of Duane Borgman. The family is in the care of Pray Funeral Home.

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Maurice “Skip” Dowding

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Funeral Services:

It is with a heavy heart that we share the news that Maurice “Skip” Dowding, the founder of Dowding Industries, passed away November 13, 2021, surrounded by family. He was 89 years young. Skip was born in Albion, Michigan on March 25, 1932 to Vern and Freda (Mohler) Dowding. He was the second of their five children. Skip graduated from Olivet High School in 1950. Due to his love of airplanes, he began flying in 1947 at age 15, before he even received his driver’s license. Three years after high school Skip joined the Army where he served two years in Alaska, at Big Delta Arctic Test Center as a communication specialist.
Skip fell in love with Alaska and didn’t want to leave! When his service ended in 1955, he decided to remain in Alaska where he worked for the City of Fairbanks. After his return he was employed by Olivet Machine Tool Engineering Company as a tool & die maker. He worked at several other small tool shops in the area before deciding he wanted to embark upon the journey of starting his own business. Skip had the idea, if he started his own company, he would have endless amounts of free time to spend hunting and fishing. Little did he know that his love for work would replace those activities! Skip started Dowding Tool Products in 1965; a small tool and die shop out of a local garage, then he moved to the Narrow Lake facility. His entrepreneurial spirit is what drove him to keep pursuing new inventions, that he hoped would better the world. He grew to have numerous manufacturing locations in Albion, Devereaux, Marshall, Springport, Battle Creek, Hiawatha (Iowa) and Dunn (North Carolina). In 1997 Skip consolidated the Michigan facilities into one plant in Eaton Rapids, Michigan. The business would continue to grow to include a campus of three production facilities and employ over 200 team members.
Skip’s love of flying was recognized both far and wide, as he logged over 14,000 hours traveling all over the United States. He absolutely loved to be in the clouds! He especially cherished his time spent flying and exploring the vast Alaskan wilderness with his younger brother, Roger who was a Bush Pilot. Skip was well-known for his mercy flights that helped numerous people be transferred to the necessary medical facilities, such as Mayo Clinic & Cleveland Clinic. He treasured his ability to share his love of flying by being a flight instructor where he was able to pass on his vast knowledge and experience while teaching hundreds of people how to fly. He maintained his pilots license and instructors rating up until the day he passed.
In 1956 Skip met the love of his life, Karen Norris, his sister’s best friend. They were joined in marriage on April 19, 1958. Skip and Karen built an incredible life and family! They traveled all over the world and lived life to the fullest. Their unconditional love and commitment to each other is a relationship goal for all of us to model. They were blessed with three children and were married for almost 64 wonderful years.
Skip was also known for his unwavering faith in God. He assisted numerous churches in the area to grow and flourish. Skip was known for his kind and generous heart. He was an eternal encourager and always saw the good in people. As so many heartfelt stories of his acts of kindness are flooding into the family. We realize even more, what a special soul he had. Skip lived a life of honoring God; in all ways and treated people with love and respect. His passion was to support various missions in their quest to spread Gods word.
The family has lost their cornerstone, the community has lost a visionary, and the world has lost an astounding man. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Skip have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Skip leaves behind a company that he dearly loved and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Dowding Industries. He left this world a better place. He was forever an entrepreneur and actively worked doing what he loved. In the last few years, he was working on developing a wheelchair that would help people stand, he was working on this project until the very end. Dowding Industries has a mantra that came directly from Skip, “we build people, not just parts”, which was based on his faith and love of God. That’s what he did for 56 years of business; he truly believed it, and more importantly he lived it every day of his life! Dowding’s tag line “Making an Impact, Leaving a Legacy.” is a true reflection of his time here on earth. We will honor his memory by dedicating ourselves to continuing the work he loved so much.
Skip was preceded in death by his parents, Vern and Freda Dowding, son, Mark Dowding, brothers, Roger and David Dowding. He is survived by his loving wife, Karen, his siblings Sam Dowding and Janice (Mitch) Johnson, daughters, Chris (Jeff) Metts and Mary Lu Dowding (Greg) Harris and Grandchildren Jamie (Monte) Collins, Shasta Delong, Johnny (Cassie) Knaggs, Victoria Wilson (Lex Osumenya) Ekaterina Harris, and Liam Dowding. He is also survived by great-grandchildren: Jaycob, Christian and Noah DeLong, Brock Bigger, Makena and Charlotte Collins, Amari Osumenya and Kamdyn Knaggs.
We are planning a celebration of Skip’s extraordinary life that will be held Tuesday, November 30, 2021 at Eagle Eye Golf Club, 15500 Chandler Rd., Bath Twp, Michigan. A service is planned for 2:00 pm and an Open House will follow from 3-6:00 pm. Charities that are closest to Skip’s heart are the following: Mission Educ-Arte, Cancun, MX and Soaring Unlimited Women’s Health and Birthing Center, Cap Haitien, Haiti. Donations can be made at the open house or mailed to Pray Funeral Home.

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Daryl R. Eaton

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Funeral Services:

Daryl Ross Eaton born October 2, 1962 in Eaton Rapids, Michigan to Carol Eaton and passed away from complications of Covid-19 on November 20, 2021. Daryl graduated from Eaton Rapids in 1982. He went on to work in manufacturing for Carefree in Charlotte and General Motors. Daryl was a big fan of Star Trek and Star Wars and enjoyed collecting. He was an avid movie goer and a master puzzle builder. Daryl was a very stubborn man who could be ruthless at family card games of Phase 10. Which would sometimes end in tears for some of his nieces! Every spring, he loved to go mushroom hunting in search of morel mushrooms with his family. For Sunday dinners at his mom’s house, Daryl was very meticulous about making the perfect homemade noodles for beef and noodles. He was looking forward to being a grandpa this year and will be dearly missed by his family. Daryl’s family will be able to take comfort in the fact that he was able to give the gift of life to another family and a piece of him will continue to live on.
He is preceded in death by his mother, stepfather, Paul Anderson and niece, Amanda (Hill) Gatica.
He is survived by his children, Darian (Alyssa Worden) Eaton, Delanie Eaton; his newborn grandbabies, Caspian Alexander Eaton, and Amber Jean Eaton; brother Eric (Susan) Eaton; sister, Belinda (Kevin) Hill; the mother of his children, Deb Becerra; nephew Justin Eaton, nieces, Ashley Gruesbeck, Cindy Beck, Brittney Hill as well as numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.
Funeral services will be held at 12:00 p.m. on Friday, December 3, 2021 at Skinner Funeral Home, Eaton Rapids Chapel. The family will receive friends at the funeral home on Thursday from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. For those desiring memorial contributions may be made to the family in care of Darian. To share memories or leave condolences please visit www.SkinnerFuneralHomes.com

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