Vicky L. Lettimore
Vicky Lynne Lettimore, age 70, of Charlotte, passed away peacefully at her home surrounded by her family on Sunday, December 6, 2020. She was born July 11, 1950, in Lansing the daughter of Edward and Victoria Morse. Vicky graduated from Lansing Sexton High School with the class of 1968. On July 11, 1969, she married the love of her life, Walter Anthony Lettimore Jr. Vicky cherished her family and enjoyed watching her grandsons play sports. She was a wonderful baker and made many beautiful cakes throughout the years. She always looked forward to her family’s many camping and fishing trips.
Vicky is survived by her husband of 51 years, Walter; daughters: Victoria L. Lettimore of Charlotte, Dawn (Chad) Stanley of Charlotte, Shannon (Mike Foster) Lettimore of Potterville; grandchildren: Lora Kirkbride, Jordan Jackson, Earl Long IV, Jayden Jackson, Josh Wilson, Carter Jackson, Hunter Stanley, Michael F. Foster; great granddaughter, Avery Kirkbride; brother, Dawayne (Karen) Morse; sister-in-law Patricia (David) Garrison; and multiple nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents; brother Edward G. Morse; grandson, Anthony Kirkbride; and great grandson, Noah Combs.
A private funeral service was held on Thursday, December 10, 2020, at the Burkhead-Green-Kilgo Funeral Home. Due to the funeral service being private and for immediate family only the service was livestreamed at listentochurch.com/listen/bgk.
Those desiring, may make contributions in Vicky’s honor to the American Diabetes Association.
To view Vicky’s obituary online or to leave a condolence for the family please visit burkhead-green-kilgo.com.
Donald D. Balmer
Donald Dale Balmer, age 77, of Dimondale passed away Thursday, December 3, 2020. He was born in Lansing. Don was a devoted father, brother, and friend of many. He loved hunting, fishing, camping, and was a member of the Oldsmobile Outdoor club. He studied at Devry Institute and became a Journeyman Electrician for Oldsmobile in Lansing.
Don is survived by his children, William James Balmer and Kevin Balmer; and his brother, Lyn Balmer. He is the grandfather of Alicia, Liam, and Cole. Preceding Don in death was his loving wife, Margaret (Maggie) Balmer.
A private viewing was held at Vickers Funeral Home in Leslie.
Mary Jane Schriner
Mary Jane Schriner, 87, of Olivet, died November 10 after a quick and deadly battle with COVID-19. Mary Jane was born November 8, 1933 in Decatur, Michigan, to Raymond and Mildred (Mead) Ashcraft. She lived on a farm with seven brothers and sisters on the western edge of Fort Custer in Battle Creek, where she attended the Martin school. In 1949, the family relocated to a farm outside of Olivet.
In 1954, she married Newton Delbert Schriner of Peoria, Illinois. The following year, they built their own home where she resided until her death. During that time, Newt and Mary Jane had six children: Vickie Sue (Jim) Ashley, Richard Allen (Carole) Schriner, Micheal Lee (Cheribeth) Schriner, Kenneth Martin (Karen) Schriner, James Kelley (Stacey) Schriner and Timothy Dean (Zada) Schriner.
In 2009, Mary Jane and the family were reunited with her eldest daughter, Nancy (Jay) Hoppe. Nancy told us, “I was found after 56 years, and she loved me. Mom walked with the Lord, and she conquered many hardships because she believed God would help her along the way.” When Nancy brought her four children and 13 grandchildren to the first family reunion, she was shocked to see the size of her family. “I felt so happy that you accepted me,” she said. Of course, it was a gift both mother and daughter had hoped for; proof that their love never faded.
Mary Jane was never one to work only one job. She began her working career as a baby-sitter, caring for the many children who stayed on the farm while their parents worked. She became a prepper in a canning factory. She was a waitress at the Bib and Tuck and line worker at Owens-Illinois. She was employed at St. Regis paper and later became a machine operator at Airway Manufacturing. She worked as a custodian at Olivet Community Schools while at the same time worked as “The Dump Lady” for Walton township and caregiver for Crestview Adult Foster Home (the latter two for more than 20 years). In addition, she baked wedding cakes.
Mary Jane was no stranger to hospitals and survival. In the 1960’s, a car accident nearly took her life; a month later she returned home after surgery for an infection, as a metal hair curler had penetrated her skull. Three times she battled three different types of cancer, and three times she had surgery on other parts of her body- yes, she was tough!
Her daughter Vickie said, “She may have been the Dump Lady but to so many she was Grandma Mary Jane. Her love for people and animals was her ministry; she believed that it was her obligation to greet people with a smile, not complain, and bring a little happiness to others just by being friendly.” Vickie added, “the clients at Crestview knew through her mannerism that Grandma Mary Jane had their best interests at heart, treating them as she treated her own family.”
Mary Jane loved to travel and often took along a few extra kids. She made a point of watching the sporting events of her children and grandchildren and rarely missed their plays, concerts, or recitals. She collected Barbies, piggy banks, and chicken figurines. She was an ambitious baker and made sure the family always had plenty of birthday cakes and Christmas cookies. In addition, she spent time with her grandchildren watching Family Feud and Hallmark movies, picking blueberries, or baking pies. She was a talented seamstress, often opting to make a doll or outfit for a gift instead of buying it.
Mary Jane made sure her family and friends had all the things money could not buy. For many years she shared evening chats with her mother and Grandma Polly (Laverne) Janousek. She was generous, humorous, and compassionate. She made time for many friends (too numerous to name here), and telling jokes about red hair were life-long themes for her and her siblings. Her lightheartedness inspired her youngest son, Tim, to say, “We Gingers had to stick together.” As one granddaughter and her husband wrote to Grandma, “We love you for the ninja star throwing, beer pong playing, gun-shooting, wonderful and beautiful woman that you are.” Another granddaughter called her the glue that held the family together.
She was preceded in death by her parents; husband Newton (2006); sister Laurie Lorraine Ashcraft; and brothers Donald Edward Ashcraft and Robert Eugene Ashcraft. Her sister, Loretta Mae McGillis, of Olivet, also died from complications due to COVID-19 on November 27, 2020.
She is survived by her brother Raymond Alexander Ashcraft, Jr. of Nashville, Mich.; sister Ruth Ann Phillips of Inverness, Fla.; brother Kenneth Paul Ashcraft of Lansing, Mich.; 45 grandchildren; 51 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild.
A celebration of Mary Jane’s life will be held later in the spring or summer when people can safely gather outside. Donations can be made to St. Jude Children’s Hospital or The Shriners Children’s Hospital.
The family asks that readers wear a mask, wash hands often, keep social distancing, and treat COVID-19 as the killer that it is.
To view Mary’s obituary online or to leave a condolence for the family please visit burkhead-green-kilgo.com.
Marilyn J. Crittenden
Marilyn Jean (Medcoff) Crittenden, a fiercely independent woman who wanted it “done right,” died December 7, 2020 at the age of 85. Marilyn was born December 17, 1934 in Lansing, Michigan to Edward and Freda (Wolfe) Medcoff. She graduated from Charlotte High School in 1954 and then married her sweetheart William Critenden on July 31, 1954. Together they raised four children on their farm, and Marilyn became an active 4H leader. She loved learning new things and sharing with others, including crocheting, knitting (her family says she could make anything), and keeping her mind active by taking classes. She was a beloved teacher’s aide at Galewood Elementary and other Charlotte schools for over 25 years before she retired.
Marilyn is survived by her children Beverly (Patrick) Day, Pamela Cary, Gary (Diana) Crittenden, and Daniel Crittenden; 12 grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren; siblings Richard (Debbie) Medcoff, Lyle (Jean) Medcoff, and Tom Harshman; brother-in-law, Robert Buonodono; and many nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her husband of 61 years, Bill; son-in-law, Michael Cary; siblings, Duane Medcoff, Phyllis Buonodono, and Robert Harshman; and her parents.
A private graveside service will be held, and a public memorial will be held in the Spring of 2021. If desired, contributions are suggested to Sparrow Hospice. Friends are encouraged to support the Crittenden family by sharing memories of Marilyn on her tribute page at PrayFuneral.com.
The family is in the care of Pray Funeral Home, Charlotte.
Theo K. Savage
Theo Kay Savage, considered a legend by many, who dedicated his life to serving his community, and the countless youth that entailed, went to be with the Lord on Friday, December 4, 2020. Theo, 78, of Mulliken, was born September 2, 1942, the son of Phil and Letha (Lunn) Savage. He attended Loucks School through the eigth grade. He later went on to attend Charlotte High School. In high school Theo joined the FFA as a freshman. In his senior year Theo was awarded the State Farmer of the Year award. Farming meant the world to Theo, at one point he farmed close to 1,000 acres. In the 80s farming took a rough turn and Theo used his truck driving skills that he accrued from his farming and started driving semi for Meijer. He would retire from Meijer in 2006 after 20 years of driving truck. On January 4, 1998 Theo married Laurie Sinclair. Theo was a man that volunteered when needed. He served as an usher and a youth group counselor for the Nashville Baptist Church. In the community Theo has served on numerous boards; Eaton County Fair board for 35 years, treasurer for the Loucks School for 18 years, Eaton County Struttin Toms, a chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation for 15 years, Lakewood Wrestling club board, and also the Roxand Township Board of Review. Theo just recently received the Michigan Association of Fairs and Exhibitions Zone 1 Volunteer of the Year award in honor of his devoted and valuable service. In 2018 Theo was a recipient of the Fair board’s prestigious Emerald Award for his service to the youth through the Eaton County Fair and most recently was honored with the dedication of a building in his name, “The Theo Savage Exhibition Center.”
When Theo was not serving the community, he had a strong love for hunting. He hunted just about anything from deer, bear, turkey, racoon, elk. If you could hunt it, then Theo pursued it. Over the years Theo has developed a large network of hunting buddies. Every year he would host his hunting family at his house for a bear hunters get together. Everyone that knew Theo knows that he always had a story to tell. He was a man who was one of a kind. Theo never met a stranger. Above all Theo loved and cherished his family.
Theo is survived by his wife, Laurie Savage; children, Rebecca (Geno) Roberts, Phil (Chris) Savage, Carrie (Nathan) Hause, Lisa Volz, and Staci (Alex) Lowe; 11 grandchildren, Taylor, Trevor, Tegan, Mitch, Julia, Brooklyn, Breslyn, Caleb, Morgan, Brady, and Austin; 1 great-grand-daughter on the way, Aidyn Jerlene; brother, Bruce (Carmella) Savage; numerous beloved extended family members; and his hunting buddies. He was predeceased by his parents, Phil and Letha.
Friends are encouraged to support Theo’s family. Visitation was Tuesday, December 8, 2020 from 1 to 8 p.m. at Pray Funeral Home. His funeral service was for family only. It was always Theo’s wish to have his funeral at the Eaton County Fairgrounds. There will be a future Celebration of Life for Theo at the fairgrounds when it is safe to do so.
If desired, the family suggests memorial contributions to The Eaton County Fairgrounds, checks payable to ECAS (Eaton County Agricultural Society). Friends and family are encouraged to share memories of Theo on his tribute page at PrayFuneral.com.
The family is in the care of Pray Funeral Home, Charlotte.
Murray “Mule” Marsh died saving puppies from a burning building. Well, maybe not. We all know how much he loved telling stories. Saying goodbye to a man like Murray is hard because he was larger than life. He was a presence in more ways than one. Physically, you couldn’t miss him. His shoulders alone cleared the way in many crowds. Many of you may have seen more of him than you wished to at the dinner table but as he would say, “If you don’t like it, don’t look.” His style was one of a kind. Yes, he was a physical legend, but his personality shone even brighter. Murray was an honest, kindhearted, hardworking, generous man who was also a little stubborn sometimes – okay, all the time. He was someone you trusted that you could call on when you needed a lift or a laugh. His humor was unbridled and often told jokes at your expense and we loved it. He’d often steal your milk when you weren’t looking or shift the car into neutral from the passenger side just to see the look on your face when you noticed what he’d done.
He was a wonderful son, husband, father, grandfather, and a devoted friend. He was a retired welder for General Motors, an Army veteran, a township official, and champion weightlifter, and a very proud farmer. He was a simple man. He travelled the world but always found home to be his favorite place. He took great pride in caring for the people and land around him and he was never without a four-legged buddy by his side. He taught us so much about life and when we look to the future without him, we will find ourselves asking, “What would Murray do?”
With Murray you knew exactly where you stood because he did not waste his time. When he loved you, he really loved you, and you knew it. Murray leaves behind countless individuals whose lives will not be the same without him, including his wife of nearly 60 years, Betty; his daughters, Terri (Dean) Hanton, Jerri (Jeff) Blust, and Kelli (Col. Mike) Shreves; eight grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and his brother, Morris (Joan) Marsh; and many very close friends. He was predeceased by his parents, Garry and Jackie Marsh. We will miss him every day, but will remember him whenever we smell the scent of fresh-mowed grass or enjoy some butter pecan ice cream.
A memorial service will be held at a later date. Friends are encouraged to support Murray’s family by sharing memories on his tribute page at PrayFuneral.com.
The family is in the care of Pray Funeral Home, Charlotte.
Bernard LaDuke, Jr.
Bernard LaDuke, Jr. (Bernie/Beanie) left this world, in the arms of the love of his life, his wife Seidy, on November 5, 2020, in San Vito, Costa Rica. Born in 1949, a landslide caused by relentless hurricane inspired rain loosened the soil behind their home and took their lives, destroying their home.
Bernie graduated from JW Sexton in 1968 and lived away from Lansing most of the rest of his life, although returning frequently to visit family and friends. He and Seidy recently celebrated their 25th anniversary in Costa Rica, their home for many years. They were loved by many around the globe and their generosity and kind spirits will remain in the memories of those of us who loved them.
Bernie is survived by his mother, Alice (Billye), previously of Potterville; sister, Donna; and three daughters, Blythe, Morning Star and Alicia. He was predeceased by his father, Bernard, Sr.
John S. Carpenter
John S. CarpenterRead More
John Sanford Carpenter, age 93, of Lake Odessa, formerly of Charlotte and Vermontville, passed away peacefully at home with his children by his side on Monday, December 7, 2020. John was born in Grand Ledge, Michigan on September 15, 1927. John was the 11th of 14 children born to Frank J. Carpenter and Susan A. (Church) Carpenter. He had ten brothers and three sisters. John was the last remaining brother. John lived in Eaton Rapids, Charlotte, Vermontville, Woodland and his final resting place was Lake Odessa. John worked many different jobs and retired from Oldsmobile in 1989. John married Patricia Amon (Winnie) on July 7, 1972. Pat predeceased him on November 21, 2004. John was a very proud grandparent. He was an outdoorsman who hunted and fished with his many nephews who he adored. His story telling, impish wit and smile will be sorely missed. John is survived by his stepchildren, Nancy A. (Ronald) Carpenter and Dean Winnie who after all the years, considered him their father. John is also survived by his grandchildren, Lisa (Andy) Garvic of Dayton, Ohio, Lori Carpenter of Des Moines, Iowa; great-grandchildren Evangeline (Evy), Marin and Luka; many nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be held at a future time.
William D. Whitaker
William Dennis Whitaker, of Eaton Rapids, passed away December 5, 2020 at the age of 50. Bill was born in Eaton Rapids, March 21, 1970, the son of William Axley and Claudia (Hasty) Whitaker. He graduated from Eaton Rapids High School in 1988 where he played football, earning first team all-league as a nose guard and was also an undefeated wrestler as a freshman. Shortly after graduating from high school, he began working with Spartan Motors where he would continue to work for 29 years. Bill was experienced, knowledgeable and very well respected by his co-workers. He was the kind of guy that could be put in any position and excel. Bill was a member of the Missaukee Conservation Club and the Poker Nuts Poker League. He enjoyed playing Texas Hold ‘Em, pool, going to the casino, and hunting. Being a Ford man, he also enjoyed motorcycles and car shows. Bill first and foremost had a great love for his family and his precious daughter, Stacie, who he spoiled with love every day of her life. The time they all spent at the family home in Lake City will hold precious memories for years to come.
Bill is survived by his mother, Claudia; daughter, Stacie Whitaker of Lansing; sister, Shelley Dutzy of Warren; brothers, Kevin (Jenni) Whitaker of Texas, Michael Whitaker of Eaton Rapids, Steven (Dawn) Whitaker of Eaton Rapids; several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his father, Axley; brother-in-law, Gene Dutzy and his beloved 22-year-old dog, Rally.
The family will hold private funeral services at the Mills Funeral Home, Shelly-Odell Chappel in Eaton Rapids. For those who would like to view Bill’s funeral, it will be posted on his obituary page with the funeral home after Dec. 12, 2020. Those desiring may make memorial contributions to Hospice House of Mid-Michigan. To place online condolences, please visit millsfuneral.com.
Bereada Houston, of Eaton Rapids, Mich. passed away on Wednesday, December 2, 2020 at the age of 74. Bereada was born on June 16, 1946 in Albion, Mich. the daughter of Harmon and Bernice (Lafferty) Robinson. She was raised in Olivet, Mich. where she attended school and went on to receive her degree as a licensed practical nurse from Lansing Community College. Bereada worked as a nurse in Dimondale, Eaton Rapids and retired from Sparrow Hospital in 2009. She was a longtime member of the Grace Free Will Baptist Church in Albion, an active volunteer at Eaton Community Palliative Care in Charlotte and active at the Eaton Rapids Senior Center. Bereada enjoyed bargain hunting and garage sales, sewing, traveling, tending to her flowers, and, most of all, spending time with her family. She was extremely strong willed and resourceful and could always see the potential in people and projects. Her joy for life and optimism for the future was a great example to her family.
Bereada is preceded in death by her parents; brother, Gene Robinson; and sister-in-law, Evelyn Robinson. Surviving are her husband, Dean Houston; children, Pam Wolf (Todd), Kae Rochester, Deena (Scott) Bunce, Jodie (Trevor) Gruesbeck, Vernon (Kristin) Mulkey, Jr., Shyla (Paul) Houston-Powell, Deana Vess; 16 grandchildren; 10 great grandchildren; brothers, Charles (Judy) Robinson, Larry (Sheila) Robinson; Lum Robinson and numerous nieces and nephews.
Funeral services were held at 11 a.m. on Friday, December 11, 2020 at Grace Freewill Baptist Church in Albion. For those desiring, memorial contributions may be made to Eaton Community Palliative Care or Grace Freewill Baptist Church in memory of Bereada. To share memories or condolences, please visit SkinnerFuneralHomes.com.