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Wayne James Eaton


Funeral Services:

Wayne James Eaton (Jim), 79, of Duck Lake, went home to be with his Heavenly Father, while in Florida, on April 2, 2024. His joking, kindhearted and easy-going nature and always willing to lend a helpful hand is the legacy he left and will be missed, along with his love and devotion to his family.

Jim was born May 14, 1944, in Charlotte, MI, to Arlo and Margie Eaton. He attended Charlotte Schools and married his high school sweetheart, Sharyn (Kelly) in 1963. He began working for GM in 1964 and shortly after took classes at LCC to work skilled trades in tool grinding. After moving to Duck Lake in 1993, Jim was elected president of the Charlotte Landing Association where he served for 23 years. Jim and family enjoyed many summer days and holidays celebrating on the water, boating, skiing, fishing, pulling grandkids tubing and watching fireworks. Jim enjoyed serving his community as a volunteer fireman for the City of Charlotte for 20 years.

Upon retirement, after 40 years of service at GM, Jim and Sharyn wintered in Florida at their home in Lake Region Village. Throughout the years, he was extremely active in Horseshoe and Shuffleboard Club, showing his competitive drive along with being a good sport, always having a smile on his face and joking around with others. Jim was on the Dance committee and was voted Volunteer of the year in 2018 for helping with many projects and clubs when needed.

Jim is survived by wife Sharyn; son, Wayne J. Eaton, Jr.; son, Scott (Wanda) Eaton; daughter, Lisa (Jon) Villanueva; daughter, Heidi (Jason) Crocker; 11 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; brothers, Jack (Pam) Eaton and Tom (Doris) Eaton. He was preceded in death by his parents.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held at Charlotte Assembly of God on Sunday, May 19, 2024. Visitation is at 3 p.m. followed by service at 4 p.m.

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Joel Jacob Epstein


Funeral Services:

Joel Jacob Epstein of Olivet, Michigan and Hallandale, Florida died on December 30, 2023 after a long illness.  He was 86.

Joel was born in the Bronx, New York on April 13, 1937, the son of Samuel Epstein (1905-1995) and Beatrice Epstein (1906-1990).  On August 26, 1962 Joel married Julia Ann Gertler, the daughter of David Gertler (1903-1982) and Ruth Gertler (1911-1997).  Joel and Julia had two children, Roy Michael Epstein of Olivet, Michigan and Victoria A Epstein of Portland, Oregon.

Joel received his BA from Queens College and his MA from the University of Michigan.  He earned his doctorate from Rutgers University specializing in European history. He then taught history at Newark College of Engineering until the family relocated to Olivet where he was a Professor of History at Olivet College from 1968 until his retirement in 1999. He loved his years of teaching especially his Holocaust and Vietnam classes. He was also a published author having written several articles on the teaching of the Holocaust and a book about the political career of Francis Bacon. One of the many highlights of his teaching career was an exhibit on Anne Frank that he worked for years to bring to Battle Creek, MI.

He was a caring and loyal husband and father to Julia, Roy, and Victoria. He loved his family and his students. Some of his many other enjoyments included The Traverse City Film Festival, traveling the world, cooking, gardening, classical music, theatre, golfing, solving crossword puzzles and swimming in the pool at his Florida residence. He was a longtime member of the Olivet Lions Club.

Joel is survived by his wife, Julia; his two children, Roy and Victoria, and his son-in-law, Matthew Wilcox.

Please join the family for a Celebration of Life to remember and honor Joel on Sunday, May 19 at 2:00 p.m. at The University of Olivet Cutler Student Center, Community Room, 200 East Cottage Street, Olivet, MI 49076.

Arrangements were entrusted to Kempf Family Funeral and Cremation Services, 723 US Hwy 27 N Marshall, Michigan 49068. Please visit to view the online obituary, to sign the online guest book or to leave the family condolences.

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Phyllis Jean Jarvis


Funeral Services:

Phyllis Jean Jarvis, 79, a loving wife, mother, grandmother, and community support, died peacefully surrounded by her family at home on Friday, May 3, 2024. Phyllis was born December 14, 1944, the daughter of Rolland Lee and Mildred Inez (Pratt) Baker. She grew up in Vermontville and was honored to be the Maple Syrup Queen one year. She graduated from Maple Valley High School in 1962 and soon after married Duane Allen Jarvis on June 5, 1964. Phyllis devoted her life to her family, raising three children and volunteering for Hayes Green Beach Hospital for 18 years. She worked in the kitchen at the Masonic Temple, serving food during events and service club meetings. Phyllis and her mother took special occasion cake baking classes, and for years professionally made beautifully sculpted wedding cakes.

Phyllis loved sports. She kept stats on all teams, both professional and collegiate. Her family loved talking sports predictions with her. She loved time spent outdoors, especially gardening her extensive flowerbeds behind their house on Henry Street. Phyllis enjoyed a very close relationship with her grandchildren and could often be seen with a grandson in tow, whether it be volunteering at the hospital, bowling, or anywhere about town. Her family will remember Phyllis as quiet, but the voice of the family.

Phyllis is survived by her husband of nearly 60 years, Duane Jarvis; daughters, Diana (Lenard) Hudson and Heather (Robert) Hopkins; son, Allen (Wendy) Jarvis; grandchildren, Tyler Hopkins, Austin Hopkins, Kaleb Jarvis (Caitlyn Ellis), Paris Hudson, and Kaitlyn Jarvis; and a great-grandchild on the way. She was predeceased by her parents and her brother, Roger Baker.

Friends are encouraged to support Phyllis’ family at visitation and funeral services. Funeral services were held on May 9, 2024 at Pray Funeral Home with Pastor Charles Jenson officiating. Visitation was on Wednesday, May 8, 2024 at Pray Funeral Home, and one hour prior to the service. If desired, the family suggests memorial contributions to the American Cancer Society. The family is in the care of Pray Funeral Home, Charlotte.

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Larry Mynhier


Funeral Services:

Larry Mynhier, known to many folks as S.C. passed away on May 2, 2024, in Eaton Rapids, Michigan. He was scheduling a fishing trip somewhere, sometime soon with his fishing pals.

He was born August 17, 1949, in Angola, IN, to the late Harold “Stub” Mynhier and Joan (Jo-ann Phillips) Mynhier. He grew up with a big brother, the late Jerry Mynhier, a younger brother, the late Eric Mynhier and a younger sister, Jane Dilts (Bruce). He graduated from Prairie Heights High School, attended Glen Oaks Community College in its founding year and received a bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University. He received his life degree from the University of Vietnam.

Larry married Janice (Fuhrer) Mynhier in 1975. Together, they had two loving daughters, Mandy Marie Mynhier-Lake (Gordon) and Carrie Mynhier (Tom Milham). After their divorce, Janice and Larry did not remain friends.

For the past 39 years, Larry cherished his relationship and marriage with Kathie Vaught. Larry loved going out with his bride to check out new or just different restaurants. He is survived by daughters by love, Stacey Vaught (Jim Macauly) and Shana (Jeff) Holden.

Larry was affectionately known to some of his grandkids as Grandpa Truck. He enjoyed attending his grandchildren’s extracurricular events, including soccer games, theater performances and dance recitals and birthdays.

Larry is survived by seven grandchildren in birth order, Claire, Grayden, Morgan, Porter, Lorelei, Spencer, Emmett. He has a large extended family.

He was full of laughter and wit, though some laughter came from raw jokes and a little of the wit was gentle. During his 74 years of life, he used many unique phrases from his boyhood time on his grandparents (Claude and Delsie) farm. He was raised in the second home on the farm with Stub and Joan.

Larry loved fishing! He would go fishing every time there was someone to go with. If his friends were not available, the family (Kathie, Stacey and Shana) were drafted for a fishing trip. He loved to fish with his friend, John Wood and will probably see him soon (whether it is a hot place or not). Larry also did a lot of deer hunting as he loved the taste of venison-no trophies, you can’t eat the antlers.

His career in state government was always in an area to assist people, collect their unpaid wages or to operate the weatherization program. He always loved the work but did not enjoy some of the people he worked with. He took an early retirement at 52 years of age.

His second career was representing Santa Claus, getting everyone to visit and tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas. Larry did this for 18 years enjoying the thousands of children, but some of the parents and grandmothers were put on the naughty list. HO! HO! HO!

Later in life as he matured, he started making sawdust in his pole barn. He enjoyed making things for his family like birdhouses, Christmas ornaments, trees of life and more.
While the boat was docked on Larry’s life, he will remain in your thoughts (maybe some of you lucky ones will have a picture of him). We will think of him every time we see someone in a boat, fishing or experience ooh ooh that smell, and every year when you see the man in the red suit. HO! HO! HO!

No flowers, NO funeral, he wanted to be cremated (in preparation just in case he goes where it’s hot). Maybe a memorial sometime, maybe not. Take a kid fishing.
This obituary was drafted by Larry, one of his final wishes was to share his own life story.

Arrangements were entrusted to the Mills Funeral Home, Shelly-Odell Chapel in Eaton Rapids. To leave condolences for the family, please visit our website

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Stella Burnette Montgomery


Funeral Services:

Stella Burnette Montgomery, 89, a woman of devout Faith and dedication to family, died peacefully at home with Jeff and Karen by her side on Thursday, April 25, 2024. Stella was born July 30, 1934, in Detroit, the daughter of Amos Jasper and Martha Ellen (Walker) Morgan. Stella married the love of her life, John Angus Montgomery on November 15, 1952, and the two happily raised two sons. Stella served 27 years as secretary to the Board of Education in Charlotte. Throughout the years, John and Stella enjoyed annual summer family camping trips, golfing, a memorable trip along Route 66 to California, and wintering in Orlando, FL. They were both devout Baptists, and Stella was an active bible student, Sunday school teacher for over 20 years, and instrumental in the Leader of Life Group. She volunteered in missionary work for 10 winters in Florida, and throughout her life gave away countless Bibles. Stella will be remembered as a true servant of the Lord, and loving wife, mother and grandmother, and friend.

Stella is survived by her son, Jeffrey (Karen) Montgomery of Charlotte; grandchildren, Jordan Montgomery, BreAnna (Justin) Bray, and Johnathan (Juli) Montgomery; 3 great-grandchildren, Asher, Maggie, and Lydia; sister, Joan Morgan; and her nieces, nephews, and extended family. She was predeceased by her husband, John Montgomery; son, Robert Montgomery; sister, Emma Gilbreath; brother, Ronald Morgan; and her parents.

Friends are encouraged to support Stella’s family by sharing memories on her Tribute Page at Funeral services were held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, April 29, 2024, at First Baptist Church of Charlotte with Pastor Peter Kroll officiating. Interment will take place in Bosworth Cemetery in Olivet. The funeral was webcast so you may watch it from any computer, smartphone, or mobile device that has internet access. Go to, click on Stella’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 the First Baptist Church of Charlotte. The family is in the care of Pray Funeral Home, Charlotte.

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Melvin Duane Lilly


Funeral Services:

Melvin Duane Lilly, 77, of Charlotte, Michigan, passed away peacefully April 20, 2024, surrounded by family.  He was born on June 19, 1946, in Lansing, the son of Harry and G. Esther (Warner) Lilly.  Duane graduated from Charlotte High School with the Class of 1964. While in high school, he was actively involved in FFA where he served as the reporter, and in his senior year, the chapter’s Vice President.

At a young age, he held down two jobs, working at Barker Building of Mulliken during the day and General Motors in the evening.  Duane was a lifelong farmer and a 38-year General Motors Machinist at Fisher Body Lansing.  His real passion was farming, but he loved everything about nature, hunting, looking for mushrooms, and even cutting wood.  When he wasn’t outside you would find him in the barn tinkering on a project, manufacturing a part, or making repairs on fellow farmers’ equipment.

Duane was known for having a soft spot for the farm kittens, creating nicknames for family members, and socializing with anyone who happened to stop by.  On any given day, you might find him out on a crop tour around the neighborhood driving well below the speed limit or at an auction looking for a bargain.  He enjoyed finding deals whether it be at an auction, local garage sale, or out pawn shopping with his sons-in-law looking for any kind of bargain.  While most would have classified his special roadside finds as junk, he was reluctant to get rid of items that could be used for a future project.  Duane was sentimental, hard-working, willing to help others at the drop of a hat, and truly valued relationships with friends and family.

Duane is survived by his wife of 36 years, Susan (Roth); “The Kids”, Chanda (Lilly) and Todd Aves, Lorinda and Jim Frederick, Russell and Erika Bierschbach; grandchildren, Chloe, Claire, Megan Sue, Virginia Kate, James Brian, Christian, Julia, Chloe; brother, Doug Lilly; and his nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Darwin; infant sister, and nephew, Rob.

Funeral services were held on Wednesday, April 24, 2024, at the Burkhead-Green-Kilgo Funeral Home with Pastor Charles Jenson officiating. The family received friends on Tuesday at the funeral home. Burial will take place at West Carmel Cemetery.

Those desiring may make contributions in Duane’s memory to Eaton Community Palliative Care 2675 S. Cochran Road, Charlotte, MI 48813.
To view Duane’s obituary online or to leave a condolence for the family please visit

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Martin Rachilla


Funeral Services:

Martin (Mart) Rachilla, 80, of Charlotte, went to be with his Lord on December 12, 2023.

Mart was a naturally talented man, there was nothing he could not fix or create. From bringing junk cars back to original glory, to carving a masterpiece out of a hunk of wood. His carvings amazed, even master carvers, and won many awards for their realistic details.

Mart was an avid hunter and fisherman, and let none of his catch go to waste, making jewelry and creating art out of ‘throwaway’ pieces of bone, teeth, and hide.

He recently started racing lawn tractors on weekends, and had just perfected his racer to winning status.
Mart will be greatly missed.

Mart is survived by his wife, Sharon; Sons: Marty (Jill) Rachilla, Brinton (Dawn) Rachilla; Stepchildren: Rick Ells, Valerie Ells, and Tara (Jim) Geller. Along with 10 grandchildren and 23 great grandchildren.

Memorial service will be held on May 11 at Chester Gospel church at 2 p.m., Pastor Dennis Weeks presiding.

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Shirley Ann Couzens


Funeral Services:

Shirley Ann Couzens, a true woman of God, died on Tuesday, April 30, 2024, after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s. Shirley 85 was born on August 27, 1938, in Jolley Springs, TN the daughter of Robert and Gracey (Stephens) Thomas. She was a 1956 graduate of Lansing Eastern High School. Shirley worked at the MSU 4-H Youth Programs Office retiring in 1982. On September 10, 1982, Shirley married Donald B. Couzens and together they spent the next 41 years creating lasting memories. Her two sons, Mark, and Michael brought so much joy to her life, and she was so proud of all their accomplishments. She was a devoted member of the New Hope Community Church.

Shirley is survived by her husband, Donald; sons, Mark Alan (Sheri) Sleep, and Michael Roy (Claire) Sleep; stepdaughter, Teri Lynn (Pat) McNea; eight grandchildren, Rachel, Brianne, David, Jeff, Nichole, Nic, Jack, and Brooke; and four great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her parents; and siblings, William (Margaret) Thomas, Mary (Harvey) Moore, Robert “Buck” (Betty) Thomas, Wanda (Jim) Bott, Emma (Lex) Chumley, and Halbert (Jewel) Thomas.

Friends are encouraged to support Shirley’s family by attending services or sharing memories on her Tribute Page at A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, May 11, 2024, at 1:00 p.m. with Pastor Victor Williams officiating at the New Hope Community Church in Charlotte. If desired, the family suggests memorial contributions to the Alzheimer’s Association or the New Hope Community Church. The family is in the care of Pray Funeral Home, Charlotte.

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James Lee Carroll


Funeral Services:

James “Jimmy” Lee Carroll, a man that from birth was dealt many lifelong challenges but was able to overcome so much. Jimmy, 62, of Kalamazoo was born on February 23, 1962, the son of Leo and Margaret (Pennington) Carroll. He was born three months premature and from birth was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, doctors told his parents that he would not live to his fifth birthday. Jimmy lived his entire life non-verbally, but was able to communicate with his eyes and facial expressions. Even with the challenges that he faced he was always happy and smiling. During his younger years Jimmy was an artist and loved making paintings with the use of his mouth. He was also able to operate a computer and his wheelchair by his mouth. Jimmy was also known as being a collector of pens. It is believed that he has collected a pen from every doctor’s office/business that he has visited throughout his lifetime. For 20 plus years Jimmy took part in different case studies at Western Michigan University to help better understand Cerebral Palsy. He also loved going out and about with his caregivers. Even if it was just a quick trip to the coffee shop, it made his day. Jimmy’s sisters believed that if Jimmy could speak, he would have said how he was proud of his ability to communicate non-verbally in a verbal world. They also stated that for the first time in his life he can now do something that he has never done, walking alongside his parents in heaven. Jimmy beat the odds, touched many lives and will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

Jimmy is survived by his sisters, Jeanette (Doug) Aspinall, Jackie (Duane) Collier, and Julie (David) Brooks; several nieces and nephews; and his loving care that he received from his family at Community Living Options Home on Chelten Ave. in Kalamazoo. He was predeceased by his parents.

Friends are encouraged to support Jimmy’s family by sharing memories on his Tribute Page at A private family graveside service will be held at Wilcox Cemetery in Nashville. If desired, the family suggests memorial contributions to St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital. The family is in the care of Pray Funeral Home, Charlotte.

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Keith E. Bazaire


Funeral Services:

Keith E. Bazaire, of Parrish, Florida., formerly Charlotte, Michigan passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on April 24, 2024 at the age of 85. He was born on July 31, 1938 in Isabella County, the son of Henry and Wilma Bazaire. Keith grew up in Barryton, Michigan, and along with his 3 siblings, helped his parents run and maintain the family farm, which instilled in him a work ethic that would serve him well throughout his life.   Keith lived a long and fulfilling life with his wife of 64 years, Connie (Carter) by his side, they were married on June 24, 1961 at the First Congregational Church in Charlotte, Michigan.  After graduating from Barryton High School in 1956, Keith went on to study Chemical Engineering, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1960 from Michigan State.  He would later attend Ohio State University, where he earned a Master’s degree in chemical engineering, and shortly thereafter, Keith began his career at Dow Chemical in Midland, Michigan, as a Plastics Engineer.

A new professional opportunity was presented to Keith in 1968, when his father-in-law, Theo Carter (of Charlotte) asked Keith to join him in the retail grocery company that he founded, known as Carter’s IGA.  Keith accepted Theo’s offer, and the two, along with trusted and loyal associates, would begin building a successful chain of grocery stores in the Mid-Michigan area.  Upon Theo’s retirement in 1980, Keith would reside over the company as the President and CEO for the next 20 years, ultimately guiding the company to a 21 retail store operation throughout the State of Michigan.  Keith served on several Board of Directors positions over the years, which included Oven Fresh Bakery in Grand Rapids, Michigan Grocers Association, and Independent Bank. Keith also served as the President of the Charlotte School Board, 1981.

After three decades of service and guidance, Keith retired from Carter’s, Inc. in 1999.

Keith and Connie enjoyed many years of traveling with their life-long friends, Larry and Sonnie Cody of Charlotte. Keith and Larry both earned their private pilot licenses in 1988, and would later purchase a Cherokee Piper airplane together, which they used to fly around the State of Michigan and beyond attending summer and fall festivals, trips to Mackinac Island, etc.  Keith, Connie, and the Cody’s would discover, and fall in love with a spot on the island of Maui, Hawaii, that they returned to on vacation for many years.  Over the years, friendships were made on the Island, and Maui always held a special place in Keith’s heart.

Later in life, Keith would grow a passion for gardening and landscaping, and would spend countless hours planting and maintaining his butterfly garden, and tropical flowering plants at his home in Florida.

Keith always cared deeply about his family, friends, neighbors, and his community.  He will be missed beyond measure, and the memories he created will forever be cherished.

Keith is survived by his wife Connie; son’s Jeffrey, Kevin, and Michael (Erron Sparks); grandchildren, Allison (Bill) Bazaire, Carter (Lincy) Bazaire, Ty (Kristin) Pion, Brooke (Daniel) Miller; great grandchild, Hazel; sister, Jeanette (Lance) Natsch; brother, Gary (Beverly) Bazaire.

Keith was preceded in death by his father, Henry; mother, Wilma; father-in-law, Theo Carter; mother-in-law, Atha Carter; and brother, Bill.

Family and friends are encouraged to support Keith’s family by sharing memories on his Tribute Page at
A graveside service for family and friends will be held at Maple Hill Cemetery, Charlotte, Michigan, Summer 2024.  The family is in the care of Pray Funeral Home, Charlotte.

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