On May 21, 2023, we lost a great man. Hershel Copeland was born on January 30, 1951, in Martin, KY to Walter and Avene (Mullins) Copeland.
Left behind to mourn him are his loving wife of 40 years, Connie; sons, Scott, Mike (Missy), Joe (Dawn), Jesse (Cathy), and Cody; grandchildren: Isabelle, Dylan, Tom, Mike, Lindsey Beaulieu, Tristian Roc, Shylo, Austin, Riley, Zoey and Ava; and great-granddaughter, Lakelynn Roc. He is also survived by his brothers and sisters, Danny (Sharon), Fred (April), Vivian, Vechel (Jim), Vicki; and sister-in-law, Sue. Hershel was preceded in death by his parents; son, Donnie; brother, Dwayne; and sister, Violet.
He left us far too soon, but we all feel incredibly grateful and blessed to have had him for as long as we did. He loved his wife, sons, and grandchildren with everything he had and then some, and we all knew it. We love you Daddy, Dad, Grandpa and Papa.
Doris Jean Taylor
Doris Jean Taylor, an inspiring teacher and friend to everyone, died May 23, 2023. Doris, 90, of Potterville was born January 25, 1933, in Lansing to Lawrence Romanek and Dorothy Marguerite (Hagarty) Romanek. Doris’ first husband, James Edward Darrow I, passed away after only three years of marriage. Later that month, their son James Darrow II was born. Doris met her second husband, Alton Taylor, when she asked him for help changing a flat tire at the gas station. He made mention that he was an apprentice carpenter and she asked if he would build some cabinets in her garage. The rest is history, and they welcomed a second son, Steve Taylor. Doris earned her master’s degree from Michigan State University and was an accomplished art teacher, earning the Michigan Art Association award on multiple occasions. She worked as a traveling art teacher in Eaton Rapids and Lansing covering 17 different schools. Doris was proud of traveling across the state and teaching art to an entire school in a single day. She truly enjoyed her students, as she could inspire many of the difficult students to become great art students. Doris inspired many students to become art teachers themselves. She often used stuffed animals as models to teach drawing. In her younger years during her leisure time, Doris enjoyed camping at Silver Lake near Traverse City with family and friends. She later enjoyed visiting her cottage at Lake Mitchell in Cadillac. She could never quite master water skiing, rather, she mastered drinking the lake water instead. Once at the cottage she was able to venture to one of the numerous casinos that were within driving distance, where she enjoyed playing the slot machines. Doris also enjoyed reading (especially the Outlander Series). During her time at Holt Senior Care & Rehab, Doris was known as the sunshine of the facility. She was also the luckiest winner there, earning her the title of Bingo Queen. Family meant the world to Doris; in recent years she loved her Sundays with her granddaughter Sam.
Doris is survived by her sons, James (Wanda) Darrow II, and Steve (Sharlene Hamilton) Taylor; grandchildren, Sam Darrow and James Darrow III; and brothers, Larry Romanek of Crystal Falls, Michigan and Robert “Robby” Romanek of Mesquite, Nevada. She was preceded in death by her parents and husbands, James Darrow and Alton Taylor; sister, Vivian Crowe; and brother, Ronald Romanek.
Friends are encouraged to support Doris’ family by attending services or sharing memories on her Tribute Page at www.prayfuneral.com. Visitation was Wednesday, May 31, 2023, at Pray Funeral Home. Funeral services were Thursday, June 1, 2023 at Sycamore Creek Church in Potterville with Pastor Mark Aupperlee officiating. The funeral was webcast so you may watch it from any computer, smartphone, or mobile device that has internet access. Go to www.prayfuneral.com, click on Doris’ tribute, then click on Photos and Videos from your computer (or Media from your smart phone). If desired, the family suggests memorial contributions to the American Cancer Society or the Sycamore Creek Church. The family is in the care of Pray Funeral Home, Charlotte.
Alice Marie Williams
Alice Marie Williams, a compassionate and dedicated public servant, passed away on May 26, 2023, leaving behind a legacy of kindness, love, and invaluable contributions to her community. Born on September 15, 1928, to Louis and Lela (Rolfe) Day, Alice was one of eleven children, growing up on Bradley Road in the outskirts of Charlotte, Michigan.
On April 4, 1946, Alice embarked on a beautiful journey of love and partnership when she married Harold Williams. Harold lovingly described her as “the love of his life,” a sentiment that encapsulated the deep bond they shared throughout their years together. Alice possessed a spirited nature and an unwavering willingness to assist anyone in need. Her spunky personality endeared her to all who crossed her path.
Within the comfort of her home, Alice found joy in the art of baking. Her chocolate chip oatmeal cookies became legendary, delighting her family and friends with their comforting flavors. Another household favorite was her homemade pie, which she would bring to the table uncut, playfully handing the knife to her loved ones, saying, “Don’t blame me if you don’t get a big enough piece, cut it yourself.” This gesture not only showcased her culinary expertise but also her desire to create moments of shared joy and togetherness.
Alice’s dedication extended beyond her home and into her community. For an impressive 30 years, she served as the Walton Township Treasurer, leaving behind an indelible mark on the township and Eaton County. Alice was not only a public servant but also an advocate for progress. She embraced the incorporation of computers into the bookkeeping for the county and the township, initially showing some reluctance. However, upon completion of the project, she acknowledged, “Why didn’t we do this sooner.” Her foresight and open-mindedness greatly benefited the efficiency and effectiveness of local governance.
Amidst her numerous interests, Alice nurtured her love for flower gardening, cultivating exquisite iris and peony blooms. Her green thumb was matched only by her passion for cooking, creating delectable dishes for her family and friends. However, her true joy in the kitchen lay in baking birthday cakes for her children and grandchildren. Her promise to them was simple yet profound: “Whatever you want, whatever flavor, whatever icing you choose, I will make it.” Her love and thoughtfulness shone through in every confection she created.
Alice’s commitment to making a positive impact extended beyond her official duties. She dedicated her time and energy to assisting with activities at the Doris Klaussen Development Center in Battle Creek, where her youngest son Lynn attended. From lending a helping hand during the annual Special Olympics to supporting various initiatives, Alice’s presence brought comfort and joy to those around her.
Alice Marie Williams will forever be remembered for her unwavering love for her family, her dedication to public service, and her warm and generous spirit. Her passing leaves a void in the hearts of all who had the privilege of knowing her. As we grieve her loss, let us also celebrate her remarkable life and the lasting legacy she leaves behind.
Alice is survived by her devoted husband, Harold; her loving children, David Williams and Lynn Williams; grandchildren, Scott Williams and Deanna Miller; great-children Madison Williams, Jersey Gaedert, Simon Miller, Nathanael Miller, and a community grateful for her selflessness. May her soul find eternal peace, and my her memory continue to inspire us to extend a helping hand and embrace the joys of life, just as she did. Rest in peace, dear Alice Marie Williams.
Friends are encouraged to support Alice’s family by attending visitation on Friday, June 2, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Funeral services honoring Alice’s life will be Saturday, June 3 at 11:00 a.m. with Pastor Charles Jenson officiating at Pray Funeral Home. Family and friends are also encouraged to share memories on Alice’s Tribute Page at www.prayfuneral.com. 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 Alice’s tribute, then click on Photos and Videos from your computer (or Media from your smart phone). If desired, the family suggests memorial contributions to Special Olympics. The family is in the care of Pray Funeral Home, Charlotte.
Denise Ann Williams
Denise Ann Williams “Grandma Cookie,” 64 of Charlotte, the glue that held her family together, died peacefully at home after a courageous battle with cancer on Monday, May 29, 2023. Denise was born July 9, 1958, in Charlotte, the fourth of five children of Max and Peggy (Parker) McConnell. Her parents both grew up as only children, so they wanted a big family, and not only did they have a large family, but they made family and friends the heart of everything. Whether it was making syrup on the McConnell Family Farm, summer trips in the station wagon to Houghton Lake where the McConnell, Kleinfelt and Wells families rented a house together, or simply the 20 minutes they would all sit down together for dinner every night with no distraction, the family was always doing things together. Growing up with family at the heart of everything, it’s no surprise that Denise continued many of these traditions and has a family that continues to show love and friendship to all they know.
Denise was a 1976 graduate of Olivet High School. She married young and had two sons, Jarrod and Anthony (Tony) Schultz. While some relationships don’t work out, there is often a bigger plan for our lives that we can’t predict and Denise met her second husband, Mark Williams and the two became inseparable. Mark and Denise were married January 18, 1990, in Las Vegas, and later added twin sons, Kevin and Kyle to their family. Denise’s family enjoyed the tradition that her mother had started, family meals every day where they would sit together for at least 20 minutes with no distractions and enjoy the delicious homemade meals she prepared (Denise was a fantastic cook). The family also enjoyed trips to Ludington to visit Denise’s mother and stepfather, Cedar Point adventures with nearly lifelong friend Shawn Beam, and camping trips with dear friends Roger and Diane Moening.
Some of Denise’s favorite activities included flannel Friday (or any opportunity to wear her favorite flannel shirt), spring syrup making at the McConnell Family Farm, bowling (she started in 1976 and belonged to the WIBC 600 club and USBC), playing softball (she was on a league for many years), golf, and family cornhole tournaments. Denise could often be found around town playing DJ trivia, DJ BINGO, helping with projects at the Eagles and American Legion, or just enjoying a beverage with friends. She had very fond memories of adventures that were made possible by their dear friend, Joe Kane, including flying around the country to work at auctions for JJ Kane, and a special trip to the Orange Bowl one year. Denise loved football and was a huge Michigan State fan, as well as the Kansas City Chiefs.
Denise is survived by her husband of 33 years, Mark Williams; sons, Jarrod (Koda Newland) Schultz; Anthony (Rachel) Schultz; Kevin (Kelsey) Williams; and Kyle (Jennelle Petras) Williams; eight grandchildren, Spencer (Brianna Truax) Schultz, Brayden Schultz, Brooke Schultz, Kayla Bailey, Dalton (Shy) Fraley, MiKayla Fraley, Gavin (Sierra Lunsford) Church, and Wynn Williams; great-granddaughter, Kynzlee Schultz; siblings, Randy (Karen Morehouse) McConnell, Debbie (Robert) Kinney, Jim McConnell, and Kent (Carrie) McConnell; many beloved nieces and nephews; step-father, Butch Hartley; her beloved JJ Kane family; and many extended family members. She was predeceased by her dad, Max McConnell in 1983 and mom, Peggy Hartley in 2019.
Friends are encouraged to support Denise’s family by attending services wearing your favorite flannel shirt for her Friday at 5 Party or by sharing memories on her Tribute Page at www.prayfuneral.com. Visitation was Friday, June 2, 2-5:00 p.m. at the Charlotte American Legion. Her Life Celebration followed at 5:00 p.m. at the American Legion with Daniel O. Sowles officiating. The service was webcast so you may watch it from any computer, smartphone, or mobile device that has internet access. Go to www.prayfuneral.com, click on Denise’s tribute, then click on Photos and Videos from your computer (or Media from your smart phone). Denise specifically requested no flowers, instead donations can be made to American Legion Post 42. The family is in the care of Pray Funeral Home, Charlotte. Denise had a special message to share with her friends and family, always remember, “Every day is a gift!” Her friends will tell you, the world is a better place because of the gift we had in our friendship with Denise.
Carleton (Sprink) Sprinkle passed away Saturday, May 6, 2023 in Bradenton, Florida. He was born in Charlotte, Michigan, June 2, 1935, to Carl and Maybelle (Young) Sprinkle. In 1962 he married the love of his life, Marilyn (Hill) Sprinkle. Sprink grew up in Eaton Rapids, MI. With his family, he spent summers at Duck Lake. He graduated from Eaton Rapids High School Class of 1953. He furthered his education by attending Michigan State University. During that time, he had the privilege, as a bandsman in the Michigan State Marching Band, of going to play at their Rose Bowl game in 1956. MSU won! He was an avid Michigan State fan all his life. He later enlisted in the US Army, serving in Germany, where he played in an Army Band. When he returned stateside, he became an Insurance Adjuster working for many years for Auto Owners Insurance Company. Sprink was a member of Albion First United Methodist Church and a member of Kiwanis for 50 years. As a twelve-year-old he became a caddie at Duck Lake Country Club. This fostered his love for golf. Some of his 11 holes in one were at Duck Lake where he was a member for almost 50 years. Sprink and Marilyn were fortunate to spend many retirement winters in Palmetto, Florida.
Surviving to cherish his memory are his wife of 60 years, Marilyn, as well as their children: Susan (Jerry) Rugg and Stephen Sprinkle; grandchildren: Ashley (Derrick) Begley, and Andrew (Gabbie) Rugg; great grandchildren: Ryan, Bryson and A.J.; and sister: Linda Jaglois. He was preceded in death by his parents, Carl and Maybelle Sprinkle, and his older sister, Barbara.
A Celebration of Sprink’s life will be held Sunday, June 11 at the Albion First United Methodist Church with visitation from 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. and a service at 2:00 p.m. A gathering will be held at Duck Lake Country Club after the service. Memorials may be made to the charity of your choice.
Charles Allen Cooper
Charles Allen Cooper of Eaton Rapids, MI peacefully passed away on May 30, 2023, at the age of 73. Born on September 21, 1949, in Jackson, MI, Chuck spent his formative years in Eaton Rapids, where he attended Eaton Rapids High School class of 1967.
Chuck’s passion for music led him to become a member of the bands Paupers and the Illusionists. He was drafted into the United States Marine Corps where he proudly served from 1969 until 1971 and was a member of the Marine Corps football team.
After his military tenure, Chuck embarked on a 30- year career with General Motors. He was active with the Springport youth football program where he made a memorable impact on numerous kids throughout his time there.
During his retirement years, Chuck embraced the community of Kissimmee, FL. He actively participated in the local VFW, lending his support through funeral honors and volunteering for parade detail.
Chuck leaves behind his wife of nine years, Penny Cooper; his daughter, Nikki Cooper; his son, Gabe (Crystal) Cooper; one granddaughter, Hannah Jolls; brother, Lyle “Frank” (Lou) Cooper; sister, Patricia Andrews; and numerous nieces, nephews, extended family, and friends who will forever treasure his memory.
A memorial visitation was held on Friday, June 2, 2023, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Skinner Funeral Home, Eaton Rapids Chapel. The family plans to organize a celebration of life in early July, with a specific date and time to be announced. For those desiring, memorial contributions may be made to the Eaton Rapids VFW Home in honor of Chuck. To share memories or leave online condolences please visit www.SkinnerFuneralHomes.com.
Kenneth Gene Kowalk
Kenneth Gene Kowalk of Eaton Rapids, passed away May 30, 2023, at the age of 78. He was born in Lansing, MI, December 9, 1944. Ken retired from GM in 2004 after 37 years, and was a master of all trades, including building houses and restoring cars. He was a member of the Falcon Club of America and the Fairlane Club of America.
Ken is survived by his wife, Dorothea Kowalk; son, Kenneth Kowalk of Waldorf, MD; siblings, Gretchen (Roy) Kunkel of Eaton Rapids, Brian Miller of Eaton Rapids, James (Carol) Miller of Eaton Rapids, Deborah Miller of Charlotte, Kurt Miller of Springport, Barrie (Stan) Latoski of Eaton Rapids, Yolanda Anicola of AL; several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his mother, Jean Anicola and stepfather, Clare Miller.
Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Tuesday, June 6, 2023, at the Mills Funeral Home, Shelly-Odell Chapel, 518 S. Main St. Eaton Rapids, MI 48827. Visitation will be Monday from 6-8 p.m. and Tuesday one hour prior to the service. Burial of cremated remains with full Military Honors will take place at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Eaton Community Palliative Care, 2675 S. Cochran Rd., Charlotte, Mi 48813. To leave condolences for the family, please visit our website, www.millsfuneral.com.
Martha Alice Proteau
Martha “Marti” Alice (Powers) Proteau, 81, of Charlotte, died peacefully at home surrounded by her family on Sunday, May 21, 2023. Marti was born August 15, 1941, in a neighbor’s house in Lee Township, MI, the daughter of Lansing Ray and Jennovee (Williams) Powers. Martha grew up on Duck Lake, where she met the love her life at 10 years old, a boy named Robert Gene Proteau, who lived on the other side of the lake. They attended Olivet High School together as sweethearts, and after graduating in 1960 they married a few months later on July 17. They enjoyed 49 years together before he passed in 2009. Bob and “Myrtle Mae” (as Bob affectionately called her) raised four children, all of who survive her: Luann Shepherd, Debbra Heinze, Alan Proteau, and Peggy (Ray) Needham. Also surviving are six grandchildren, Jacki, Kimi, Sara, DJ, Samantha, and Jayde; and six great-grandchildren, Josh, Aiden, Lilly, Lorelei, Sawyer, and Ty. She is also survived by her special in-laws, Jim and Sheryl Proteau; special niece who took care of her, Janice Powers; and many other nieces and nephews.
Marti worked at Walmart in Charlotte for 28 ½ years before retiring a few years ago. “Miss Martha,” as she was affectionately known to shoppers and staff alike, served in many roles throughout her tenure, including Cashier and Customer Service Manager. She loved getting to go to work every day and shared her joy with all who encountered her. Many believed her to be the most hugged employee in the history of Walmart.
“Mom” made all of her family feel like the most import people in the world, a kindness that acquired her many additional honorary kids and grandkids who she loved unconditionally. She was one of ten children born to her parents, all of who predeceased her: Bethel, Gloria, Wayne, Melvin “Bub,” Betty Lou, Goldie, Lansing, Jakie, and Christina. She was also predeceased by her parents and her parents-in-law, Al and Marjorie Proteau.
Friends are encouraged to support Marti’s family by attending services or sharing memories on her Tribute Page at www.prayfuneral.com. Visitation was on Tuesday, May 23, 2023, at Pray Funearl Home. Funeral services were on Wednesday, May 24, 2023, at Pray Funeral Home. The funeral was webcast so you may watch it from any computer, smartphone, or mobile device that has internet access. Go to www.prayfuneral.com, click on Marti’s tribute, then click on Photos and Videos from your computer (or Media from your smart phone). Memorial contributions may be made to the family in care of Debbra Heinze. The family is in the care of Pray Funeral Home, Charlotte.
Eric Flancher passed away on May 22, 2023, as the result of a tragic motorcycle accident with another vehicle. Born November 23, 1989, in Crystal Fall, Michigan, Eric grew up in Eaton Rapids and spent his early days equally involved in both academics and athletics – you would never know whether to look for him in the weight room or the library. He played varsity football in addition to running cross country and track (2008 state runner-up in the 4x800m relay). After graduating from ERHS top-10 in his class, Eric elected to serve his country in the United States Marine Corps. A member of the Lava Dogs (1st Battalion, 3rd Marines), his four years of service as a Machine Gunner included two combat tours in Afghanistan. Following his honorable discharge in 2012, Eric returned to the Lansing area to spend time with family and began working as a security guard at Sparrow Hospital. Having previously received his Associate Degree from Lansing Community College, Eric graduated with honors from Davenport University in December 2022, obtaining his Bachelor of Business Administration. He will be remembered as funny, charming, humble, and well-liked by all who knew him. Ever the ambassador of physical fitness, self-discipline, and education, Eric was a role model not only to all his siblings, but to everyone he met. If he wasn’t working out, you could find Eric reading a book, taking his cat Jameson for a walk, or playing Old School Runescape. He thoroughly enjoyed spending time with his family, hanging out with his many friends, and watching his favorite shows and streamers.
Eric leaves behind his mother, Jane (Scott) Paradis; father, Steven (Isabelle) Flancher; older sister, Stefanie; younger brothers, Jonathon (Samantha) and Nathan; step-siblings, Zach (Morgan) and Raquel Ray; uncles, Jim (Lori) Busakowski and Chet Busakowski; maternal grandmother, Carol Busakowski; and good friend, John (Kate) Szafranski.
He was preceded in death by his maternal grandfather, Chester Busakowski and his paternal grandparents, Bruce and Theodora “Cookie” Flancher.
Memorial services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Thursday, June 1, 2023, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 807 St. Mary Blvd, Charlotte, MI 48813. Visitation will be Wednesday from 5-8 p.m. at the Mills Funeral Home, Shelly-Odell Chapel, 518 S. Main St., Eaton Rapids, MI 48827, with a Rosary prayed at 7:30 p.m. Visitation will continue at the church Thursday from 10-11 a.m.
Memorial contributions may be made to St. Vincent de Paul Charities at St. Mary’s Catholic Church or the Capital Area Humane Society. To leave condolences for the family, please visit our website, www.millsfuneral.com.
Sharon Jeanne Williams
Sharon Jeanne Williams of Eaton Rapids passed away April 21, 2023 at the age of 88. She was born in Lansing, Michigan, September 3, 1934, the daughter of Harold and Marion Owen. Sharon lived in Eaton Rapids, Michigan until she married the love of her life, Richard Williams, in 1951.
She attended Lansing Community College where she earned her nursing degree as an LPN in 1972. She was employed by Sparrow where she retired in 1996.
She was a devout Christian attending Pennway Church of God in Lansing until she moved to Apache Junction, Arizona, in 1998. There she attend3ed and was very active at Christian Community Church and Family of Faith Bible Church.
Sharon loved traveling, golf, bowling, singing in the church choir, crocheting, and last but not least, baseball.
She is survived by her children: son, Michael (Angela) Williams of Montrose, CO; daughter, Cheryl (Roger) Morrison of Eaton Rapids, MI; four grandchildren: Chad, Chelsea, Jessica, and Trisha; six great-grandchildren: Zach, Kensley, Lilly, Skylar, Harley, and Everly; brother, Tom Owen of Eaton Rapids; and many extended families.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Richard Williams; sister, Shari Clough; brothers, William Owen and David Owen; and granddaughter, Shena Esper.
A Graveside Memorial will be held at 1:00 p.m. Friday, June 16, 2023 at Maple Ridge Cemetery in Holt, Michigan.