Vanessa J. Filkins
Vanessa J. Filkins
We said goodbye to our beloved, eldest daughter, Vanessa Jean Filkins, who died on September 20, 2020 in Austin, TX. She was the daughter of David and Brynda Filkins of Charlotte, MI. Vanessa was 40 years old, and had bravely battled metastatic breast cancer for three years. She died at home under hospice care. Vanessa loved living in Austin and was surrounded with love and care by her two younger sisters and a large group of supportive friends and adopted “siblings.”
She was delivered by a midwife in Philadelphia, PA, grew up in Cazenovia, NY, and Colorado Springs, CO, homeschooled through her entire education, and lived in Austin, TX for the last 20 years. She began her working career as a nanny and household manager for families with triplets. Later, she worked as a paralegal for a law firm, and subsequently as a project manager for a healthcare IT security firm. She always embraced a challenge.
Vanessa loved beauty of all kinds—art, dance, nature, music—and was quick to be ready for an adventure. She loved the outdoors, travel, hiking and mountain sunrises. She volunteered her time and poured much love into children in orphanages in Guatemala and Honduras. She was a leader and facilitator in the Not Back to School Camp in Oregon for many years.
Vanessa is survived by her parents; her sisters, Melissa Filkins and Allison Hagen; her grandmother, Patricia Van Skike; and many aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. Her grandfather, Bryan Van Skike, died four days after her and her paternal grandparents, Don and Jean Filkins passed away many years ago. Her full obituary can be read at EverLoved.com. Vanessa will be forever loved and dearly missed.
Bryan J. Van Skike
Bryan J. Van Skike
Our family mourns the death of Bryan Junior Van Skike, who died on September 24, 2020, in Sturgis, Michigan. He was 92 years old. Bryan was born at home in Holliday, Missouri. on October 25, 1927,delivered by the doctor who arrived in a horse and buggy. His parents were Reva Smith Van Skike and Harry Bryan Van Skike. Bryan’s childhood and youth were spent in Missouri, during the depression, where he worked hard at various jobs, and was surrounded by the love of a caring grandmother, Nellie Smith. Bryan was a graduate of Paris, Missouri High School, and later of the Iowa Institute of Telegraphy. In 1948, he married Nehemiah Allie Holst (known as Nickie) and they moved to Michigan for work. Bryan and Nickie were married for 26 years. His working career was filled with a variety of jobs, but in all of them he was a diligent, faithful employee. In Charlotte, he was best known for his service at the Post Office as the friendly clerk at the window for 24 years. He also worked as a telegrapher and station agent for the Grand Trunk Railroad, a city policeman, a school bus driver and the owner of Van’s Window Washing service. He loved American history and world geography. He was an avid reader. Bryan was a past Vice-President of and volunteered with Helping Hands Food Pantry here in Charlotte. He organized the Holiday Food Basket for many years. Additionally, he cared about and served Native Americans at Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Bryan facilitated groups of grieving children at Ele’s Place in Lansing. For many years, he was the leader of the men’s prayer breakfast at Big Boy restaurant. He was a faithful member of the Eaton Rapids Wesleyan Church, The Charlotte Free Methodist Church, and First Baptist Church of Charlotte. He raised his children in faith, discipline, and love. After the death of his wife, Nickie, in 1974, he married Patricia J. Clemens, the widowed wife of his friend, Richard. They have been married for 46 years, and Pat survives. Even though his last years were marked by the slow decline of dementia, he still recognized and loved his wife and children. Besides his wife, Pat, he is survived by Nickie’s children: Brynda (David) Filkins, Penny (Garth, deceased) Pickett, Nathan (Kathy) Van Skike, all of Charlotte; and Pat’s children, whom he considered his own: Linda (Larry) Hahn, Mary (Don) Houser, Katie Clemens, all of Sturgis, Michigan. His only brother, Jackie B. (Peg) Van Skike, of Iowa, also survives. Bryan was pre-deceased by his first wife, Nickie, and by sons, Monte Bryan Van Skike, and Brian Kills Crow Van Skike, daughter, Gretchen Nickie Van Skike-Campbell, and granddaughter, Vanessa Filkins. He has 13 grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. He was known as Grandpa to many others under his and Pat’s care. A memorial service for Bryan will be held on Saturday, October 10, 2020 at 2 p.m. at the First Baptist Church, 1210 S. Cochran Ave., Charlotte. Visitation with the family will be one hour before the service. For those who cannot attend in person, the memorial service will be livestreamed on Facebook on the First Baptist Church, Charlotte, MI Facebook page. The family is being served by Burkhead-Green-Kilgo Funeral Home. Bryan will be interred at Maple Hill Cemetery in Charlotte. Bryan would be happy if you would do a kind deed in his name or contribute to Helping Hands Food Pantry, 621 Jefferson St., Charlotte, MI 48813 in his memory. Bryan’s room was ready, prepared by God. We all rejoice because he is home in Heaven!Read More
Carmen C. Vasquez
Carmen Campos Vasquez of Huandacareo, Michoacan, Mexico passed away on September 26, 2020 at her home in Mexico at the age of 96. Preceding her in death are her son, Leo Vasquez and husband, Henry Vasquez.
Carmen was a member of St. Peter Catholic Church in Eaton Rapids. She lived in the United States for 42 years, 20 of which were spent in Eaton Rapids. Carmen worked for Fasco DC Motors and upon her retirement she moved back to Mexico where she lived the rest of her life.
Surviving are her adult children, Maria (Terry) Dolan of August, Mich., Hilda (Jorge) Guiza of Mexico, Dawn Vasquez of Lansing, Gary (Irma) Vasquez of Cypress, Calif., Geneva (George Mock) Vasquez of Eaton Rapids, Linda (Paul) Vincent of Lansing, James (Rachel) Vasquez of Jackson; along with 19 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren.
A catholic mass was celebrated on Sunday, September 27, 2020 in Huandacareo, Michoacan, Mexico.
Jane L. Custer
Jane L. Custer, age 92, of Alma, formerly of Six Lakes, passed away Monday, September 28, 2020 at Masonic Pathways in Alma. She was born January 30, 1928 in Eaton Rapids, Michigan the daughter of Wallace and Coral (Lindley) Swank. She was a 1945 graduate of Eaton Rapids High School and received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Western Michigan University. She would later earn a master’s degree in nursing.
Jane worked as a nurse with Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, Eaton Rapids Community Hospital, Kelsey Hospital and retired from the Mid-Michigan Health Department in 1990 after 40 years in nursing. She won a Michigan Medical Award for designing snaps on the arm of hospital gowns.
Jane was a member of the Amble United Methodist Church and Masonic Pathways, Doig Chapel. She served at the choir director for many years at Masonic Pathways. Jane was also a member of the Order of the Eastern Star.
Jane enjoyed knitting, crocheting, and doing needle point. She won numerous awards at county and state fairs for her knitting.
Jane is survived by her children, Keith (Kathy) Custer of Blanchard, Kenrick Custer of Linwood, Washington, Kevin (Ginny) Custer of Sterling, Colorado, Kathleen (Richard) Bowersox of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Kirk Custer of Cypress, Texas; nine grandchildren and many great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Charles in 2011, two brothers, John and James Swank.
Per Jane’s wishes cremation has taken place with memorial services to be held at a later date. Interment will be held in Hillside Cemetery, Entrican.
Those desiring, may make memorial contributions to Amble United Methodist Church, Masonic Pathways or Heartland Hospice.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of Lux-Moody-Wolfel Funeral Home, Alma. To view Jane’s obituary online or to leave a condolence for family, please visit
Peggy J. Gonser
Peggy Jean Gonser of Lansing, formerly of Eaton Rapids, passed away September 21, 2020 at the age of 79. Peggy was born in Lansing, August 10, 1941, the daughter of William and Bonnie (Barron) Massey. She enjoyed scrapbooking, making cards, sewing, quilting, traveling, genealogy and going to church functions. Peggy volunteered at the St. Lawrence Surgical Unit for many years, was the past president of the Mercy League and worked at MSU for 25 years. She was a former member of the First United Methodist Church in Eaton Rapids and a current member of the First United Methodist Church in Lansing, and a member of the Red Hat Society Scarlet Ladies.
Peggy is survived by her daughters, Cindy (Jon) Filley of Charlotte, Amy (Gary) Teague of Stockbridge; grandchildren, Bryan (Rachael Ayers) Filley, Heather (Jeff) Rolfe, Brandy Filley, Jessica (Frank) LaConte, Corinne Filley, Kyle Robbins, Garrett (Morgan) Teague; 13 great grandchildren; sisters-in-law, Beverly Frank, Flora Gilbert; several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Clarington Gonser Jr. in 1996; daughter, Debbie Gonser; brother, Charles Massey.
Funeral services will be held at 11 am Saturday, September 26, 2020 at the Mills Funeral Home Shelly-Odell Chapel in Eaton Rapids. Interment will follow in Rosehill Cemetery. Visitation will take place on Friday from 2pm – 4pm and Saturday one hour prior to the service. Those desiring may make memorial contributions to the Cumberland Closet or the First United Methodist Church food pantry, both in care of the First United Methodist Church, 3827 Delta River Drive, Lansing, MI 48906. Please visit our website to place online condolences, www.millsfuneral.com.
Allen Steele, of Eaton Rapids, passed away September 18, 2020 at the age of 69. Allen was born in Eaton Rapids, June 6, 1951, the son of William and Mary Squeek (Bollman) Steele. He loved being outdoors, hunting and fishing. Allen liked to participate in many groups and organizations but never joined, was a regular at the Wednesday night Eaton Rapids cruise-in, was an excellent cook and enjoyed traveling to the upper peninsula, especially the Mackinaw Bridge area. The greatest joys in his life were that of his family and they will miss him greatly.
Allen is survived by his mother; wife of 46 years, Linda Steele; children, Teresa Laudenslager of Eaton Rapids, Wayne (Kristin) Parsons of Bellevue, Tina (Brian) Barrett of Eaton Rapids, Valerie (Tim) Pancost of Charlotte, Todd (Nicole) Steele of Lansing, Allen J. (Missy Sumerix) Steele of Eaton Rapids, Kimberly (Scott) Felice of Eaton Rapids; 17 grandchildren; 4 great grandchildren; sister, Vickie Strader of Eaton Rapids; brothers, Cyril (Julie) Steele, William (Betty) Steele and Gordon Steele, all of Eaton Rapids. He was preceded in death by his father; sister, Versavene Steele and son-in-law, Eric Laudenslager.
A Celebration of Life took place on Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at the Eaton Rapids Conservation Club. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the family. Arrangements were entrusted to the Mills Funeral Home in Eaton Rapids. Please visit their website to place online condolences, millsfuneral.com.
Christine K. Holgate
Christine Kay Holgate, of Marquette, passed away in the UP Health Systems-Hospital in Marquette, September 20, 2020 at the age of 68. Christine was born in Big Rapids, Mich., February 26, 1952, the daughter of Vern and Lulia (Dowell) Holgate and came to Marquette as a young child.
She is survived by her sister, Marcia Holgate of Charlotte and niece Mrs. Kellery (Patrick) Francek of Farmington, Minn. in addition to other nieces and nephews. Christine was preceded in death by her parents and brother Gerry Holgate.
Private graveside services were held Thursday, September 24, 2020 at Rosehill Cemetery with Pastor Marty DeBow officiating. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Heart Association, 7272 Greenville Ave, Dallas, TX 75231. Arrangements were entrusted to the Mills Funeral Home, Shelly-Odell Chapel in Eaton Rapids. Please visit our website to place online condolences, millsfuneral.com.
Dale Lowe and Jean Lowe
Dale Lowe, age 81 and Jean Lowe, age 72 of Charlotte walked hand in hand into Heaven on Wednesday, September 16, 2020. They were loved by everyone who knew them and our only comfort is knowing they are together in the presence of the Lord they loved so much. They shared a great faith in God, an amazing love for family and for each other.
They are survived by their children, Tammy Lowe, Timothy (Barb) Lowe, Terry Michael Lowe, Ken (Robin) Hill, Teresa (Phillip) Myers, James (Aimee) Hill, Vicki (Don) Wenzlick and Sarah (Kyle) Coppernoll. They loved every minute spent with their 17 grandchildren and their 13 great grandchildren. Each one has special memories they will cherish forever.
The family will be accepting visitors on October 2 from 5-7pm and there will be a Celebration of Love held on October 3 at 2pm for family and close friends at Chester Gospel Church, located at 3744 W. Vermontville Hwy. in Charlotte. The service will be streamed live for those who are unable to attend at https://www.facebook.com/chestergospelchurch. Another gathering will be planned this summer so we can all be together to celebrate their lives and love.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to A New Beginning Pregnancy Center of Charlotte, Michigan.
June L. Leeser
It is with great sadness that the family of June Lawerence Leeser, 93, announce her passing. She was born to Warren and Fannie Lawerence in Plainwell, Michigan and passed away peacefully in Denver on September 3, 2020 with her husband of 72 years by her side.
She spent her childhood in her beloved hometown of Bellevue, Michigan where she graduated valedictorian from Bellevue High School in 1945. It was in high school that she started dating Russell E. Leeser and they would go on to marry on May 16, 1948 in Bellevue, Michigan. She worked and supported him as he went to college in Michigan. They would later live in Louisiana and Texas before moving to Littleton, Colorado in 1969. She always wanted to be a mom and they were blessed with the addition of Mark Warren to their family in 1959 and Kelly Lynn in 1961. She loved being a stay at home mom and support to her husband as he moved up the corporate ladder. Later in life, she cherished being an amazing grandmother and spending time with her grandchildren. She was a member of the Bellevue Historical Society. She also enjoyed listening to Russ play his saxophone, playing cards or dominoes, collecting things and working on her treasured scrapbooks and photo albums.
June will forever remembered by her loving husband, Russ (or as she called him, Pete) and children, Mark in Texas, and Kelly (Mike) Nichols in Greeley, Colorado. She is also survived by her seven grandchildren: Leah (Sean), Russell, Becky (Brian), Andrew, Allison (Esteban), Tyler (Meredith) and Grant. She also leaves behind five great grandchildren, two brothers-in-law, one sister-in-law and numerous nieces and nephews.
As per June’s wishes, there will be no services. She will be cremated and her ashes returned to Bellevue, Michigan.