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Charles Allen Cooper

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Funeral Services:

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.

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Kenneth Gene Kowalk

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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.

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Martha Alice Proteau

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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.

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Eric Flancher

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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.

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Sharon Jeanne Williams

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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.

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Betty Jane Gulliver

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Funeral Services:

Betty Jane Gulliver, 77, of Clarklake passed away from cancer, March 25, 2023 at Manatee Memorial, Bradenton, Florida. Betty’s family and friends will gather for visitation Thursday, June 1, 2023 from 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. at Eineder Funeral Homes – Brooklyn Chapel and Friday, June 2, 2023 from 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. at Brooklyn Presbyterian Church. Her funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, June 2, 2023 at Brooklyn Presbyterian Church, 160 N. Main St., Brooklyn, Michigan. Pastor Tami Recob will officiate.
Betty was born on January 6, 1946, in Trenton, Michigan to Henry and Marion (Skidmore) Steward. She married her college sweetheart, Ted Gulliver, whom she met on a blind date at Western Michigan University, 55 years ago. She will be remembered as having lived a wonderful life. Betty attended Wyandotte Roosevelt High School where she was homecoming queen in her junior year. She earned her degree in Special Education from Western Michigan University where she belonged to the Delta Zeta sorority. Betty was like a mother to her special needs’ classroom; using her great personality to make her classroom one that the students loved. She had a knack for working with her classes. She took her “kids” to Michigan’s first Special Olympics, held in Kalamazoo in 1969. She continued to volunteer for the Special Olympics for many years. Her personality helped make her a good wife, caring and kind mother that had a terrific sense of humor and was a good role model. Betty continued to play in a golf league that started in Manchester over 60 years ago. She helped bring back the Columbia Central High School musicals and produced them for many years, providing another place for the students to learn and excel. Betty even acted in a few plays at the Potter Center with her husband and daughters. She made it fun for every group she was part of, such as her book club (who actually read the books); she volunteered with the local Red Cross for a time; the Red Hat group, The Universalist Unitarian Church of East Liberty, and she looked forward to Thirsty Thursdays and the comfort of old friends. She and her husband spent much of their recent years as caregivers for each of their two daughters. She was known to be a very kind and good friend. In her later years, she found a special “family” at her Winterset home in Palmetto, Florida where she loved to lead the decorating of the clubhouse for Christmas and to line dance. Betty was truly loved by all who knew her; and her brilliant, constant smile with eyes that truly sparkled will be greatly missed, especially by her husband Ted.
Betty is survived by her loving husband, Ted; sister, Marie (RC) Wallace; mother-in-law, Nina Gulliver; sisters-in-law Christine (Keith) Pople, Charna (Bob) Welch; brother-in-law Gary (Debbie) Gulliver; nephews, Mike Vick and Mark (Tammy) Vick, John Welch, Keith (Blerina) Pople, Zach (Kim) Gulliver, Nick Gulliver; nieces, Laura (Devin) Benford, Kim (Chad) Porter, Alexis Gulliver, and Jessica Gulliver. She is preceded in death by her parents, Henry and Marion Steward; and daughters, Anne Reed and Katie Clark. She will be remembered fondly by so many more, including the residents of Florida’s Winterset Resort, and Clark Lake residents, along with scores of Michigan friends, and her extended family.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Universalist Unitarian Church of East Liberty, 2231 Jefferson Rd., Clarklake, MI 49234 or Educational Foundation for Columbia Schools, P.O. Box 126, Brooklyn, MI 49230. Please leave a message of comfort for Betty’s family or sign her guestbook at www.EinederFuneralHomes.com.

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Harold Alan Degner

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Harold Alan Degner, 75, of Dimondale, died on Saturday, May 20, 2023. Harold was born on October 14, 1947, in Lansing the son of Roy and Dorothy (Thompson) Degner. Upon graduating from high school Harold enlisted in the Air Force where he served during Vietnam, once he returned home, he would then serve in the Air National Guard. Harold worked as an Electrician for Fisher Body for 40 years before his retirement in 2007. He also was a volunteer fireman in Potterville for several years. In his free time Harold enjoyed watching westerns, target shooting, and being with his dogs. His biggest enjoyment in life was growing up on the family farm and being able to cruise around the property on his scooter.
Harold is survived by his son, Shawnn; grandchildren, Elizabeth, and Christopher; siblings, Jerry (Jamie) Degner, and Emma (Louie) Trowbridge; sister-in-law, Pat Degner; and many cousins, nieces, and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents; and his brother, Roy Degner.
Friends are encouraged to support Harold’s family by attending services or sharing memories on his Tribute Page at www.prayfuneral.com. A visitation will be held on Wednesday, May 31, 2023, from 11 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at Pray Funeral Home in Charlotte. A graveside service will be held at 1:30 p.m. at Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens in Lansing with Pastor Charles Jenson officiating. If desired, the family suggests memorial contributions to the Wounded Warrior Project. The family is in the care of Pray Funeral Home, Charlotte.

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Ark J. Hampton

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Ark J. Hampton of Charlotte, a guy with a big heart and a big sense of humor, died May 15, 2023, at the age of 75. Ark was born April 14, 1948, in Prestonburg, KY to Benjamin and Vernie (Prater) Hampton. Ark served in the Army during Vietnam and returned to get an Associate degree. Over the years he held many different positions, including a salesman for Sundance Home Sales and the place he worked last, Northwest Tire. Always acting from the heart, Ark was often helping others and putting others first. He loved being a jokester too, sometimes over-the-top with his pranks and jokes but always with good humor. Ark was very proud of his family and encouraged his kids and grandkids in all they did. He always stood up for others, for what was right, and was willing to lend a hand and “just do it.”
Ark is survived by his wife, Connie Hampton; son, John (Carol) Moreno; daughters, Darla (Scott) Moreno-Ream and Brandy Moreno; grandchildren, Corey Rice, Matt Kreis, Danielle Wood, Dustin Rice, Garrett Rice, and Marissa Moreno; four great-grandchildren; siblings, Hershel Hubbard, Thomas Hampton, Ben Hampton, Chillie Hampton, Lucy Wright, and Sally Johnston. He was predeceased in death by his parents, Benjamin and Vernie Hampton.
Friends are encouraged to support Ark’s family by sharing memories on his Tribute Page at www.prayfuneral.com. A Celebration of Life is being planned for a later date. If desired, memorial contributions are suggested to the family. The family is in the care of Pray Funeral Home, Charlotte.

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Alice Sartin LaDuke

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Alice (Billye) Sartin LaDuke lived a full and happy life. Her native intelligence, strength and resilience sustained her through her 94+ years.
Born in Springdale, Arkansas in 1928, she was the last survivor of a family of eleven.
She moved to Lansing, Michigan after WWII and found a job at the local Walgreens where she met the man who changed her life, Bernie LaDuke. They fell in love, married in 1946, and moved into their first home, a remodeled garage, where they lived and raised their two children until the late 60s. During this time, she pinched pennies, cooked, sewed and raised their children, along with a few others. She was ambitious, energetic and imaginative, and Bernie adored her. She was always looking for new opportunities. In the 50s, it was constructing and operating a Tastee Freeze on land adjacent to their home. Afterward, she completed beauty school and Bernie added a shop to their home. She operated Billye’s Beauty Shop in Maple Grove until they decided to build in Potterville in the late 60s.
Together, they built their dream home on 10 acres on M100. Billye was next to Bernie all the way – hammering studs, hanging drywall and shingling the roof. They worked all day and after dinner went to work on the new house. They moved in 1968 and lived there happily until Bernie’s death in 2007. Billye continued to carry on until 2019 when declining health made it too difficult to remain.
They made a lifetime of memories and gave their children, Donna and Bernie Jr., unconditional love, support and wonderful childhoods. They grew up healthy, happy and productive adults, likely unaware how lucky they were to have parents who loved them and adored one another. The greatest gift a child can receive is a stable and loving home and Donna and Beanie had one.
Over the years, Billye ran the home while working various jobs including bank teller, pocket protector manufacturer, cosmetologist, artist and woodworker.
She and Bernie were true partners for over 61 years. After his retirement from Oldsmobile, they started a crafts business and worked together creating, constructing and decorating everything from ornaments to furniture. They were always happiest when busy and working together toward a shared goal. Over these years they also managed to take dance lessons, join square dance clubs, entertain at home and travel the US with a small house trailer or a camper on their pickup truck.
Bernie retired early and with both kids grown, they enjoyed almost 30 years together post retirement. After his death, she became an active member of the Eaton County Senior Center where she enjoyed playing Euchre and Cribbage.
In 2019, Billye moved to Tulsa to live near her daughter, independently, in a wonderful senior community where she once again reinvented herself. Leaving their home of 40 years was not easy, but she adapted to apartment living at Cedarhurst, loving the staff and surviving COVID and lockdowns.
She and Donna were always exceptionally close, but grew even more devoted through her remaining years. Bernie Jr. and his wife, Seidy, were tragically killed in a landslide in 2020 and Billye passed on May 6, 2023 in her Tulsa home.
Billye will be remembered for her great sense of humor, kind spirit, friendship and devotion to her family. Her life was full and long, she was much loved and will be missed.
She is survived by her daughter, Donna; three granddaughters: Star, Alicia and Blythe; five grandchildren and one great granddaughter; along with Maisie Jane, the best dog ever and much loved by her Granny. She also leaves many nieces and nephews and is especially grateful for the love and support of Dale and Diane LaDuke who were always there for her, always.
At her request, there will be no service, but she will once again be next to Bernie in mid-Michigan later this summer.

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Marilyn Rose Beardslee

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Marilyn Rose Beardslee passed on May 9, 2023, at home in Mesa, Arizona, after a short battle with cancer. Her husband Niles, son Tomas, and daughter Sandra were there to ease her into heaven.
Marilyn was born in Hillsdale County, Michigan. She married the love of her life, Niles Beardslee in Dimondale, Michigan on January 31, 1953. They were married over 70 years. They raised four children on their farm in Vermontville, Michigan: Steven Beardslee; Sandra (Griffith) and husband Rick, from Harrison, Michigan; Tomas and wife Sharon of Vernon, Arizona. Marilyn was preceeded in death by son, Tracy Beardslee of Roundup, Montana; her beloved brothers, Gerald ‘Jake’ Michael of Mesa, Arizona and Richard and Kenny Hicks of Dimondale, Michigan. Beth Kerwin is also a loved family member.
Marilyn enjoyed many hobbies and activities throughout her life. Niles and Marilyn were a part of the ‘Bud’s Duds’ square dance group in the 1970’s and she made her own dresses for their events. They enjoyed traveling by auto and ocean cruises and stays at their lake home. Sewing, canning, gardening, needlework and much more were just a part of her many interests. Just recently Marilyn was teaching her niece, Anna Rowden, how to tat.
Her grandchildren where the light of her life, and her eyes would literally twinkle each and every time she would see them. Marilyn has 15 grandchildren, 29 great-grandchildren and three great great-grandchildren.
Cremation took place in Mesa, Arizona. Her wishes are to be interred in Montana alongside of son Tracy in the Bull Mountains. Upon Marilyn’s request, no service will take place at this time.

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