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Obituaries

Richard A. Smith

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Funeral Services:

Richard (Rick) A. Smith, 74, of Hesperia, Mich., formerly of Bellevue, passed away unexpectedly Friday, June 7, 2019 at his home. He was born September 16, 1944 in Battle Creek, the son of Lyle and Fern (Kinsey) Smith. Rick graduated from Bellevue High School, class of 1964. He married the love of his life, Rebecca McCandless on July 8, 1966. He was employed with Union Pump in Battle Creek for 43 years, known as Dick Smith by his coworkers. He was the Union President of the IATC, (International Assoc. of Tool Craftsman) for many years before retiring at age 63 in 2008.  

Rick loved the outdoors, animals, spending time with family and friends, and traveling. He enjoyed family trips to Alaska.  The most recent trip to Alaska included a family wedding on Mount McKinley. He enjoyed camping at Sleeping Bear Dunes and spending time at their cottage in Hesperia. Just six years ago it became their permanent residence where neighbors became friends, and friends became family. In his younger years he enjoyed golfing, hunting, and fishing.  

Richard is survived by his loving wife, Becky, of 53 years; children, Ginny (Mike) Durow, Jeff (Teresa) Smith; grandchildren, Ryan and Reese Durow; numerous great-grandchildren, nieces, and nephews and his Saint Huberts family.  He was preceded in death by his parents; and siblings, Bruce, Robert, Myrna Avery, Carroll, and Alvetta Lea.

Funeral Services were held at Kempf Funeral & Cremation Service in Bellevue on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. 

Rick says he really doesn’t need flowers and would prefer to help support local animals. Memorial donations in his name can be made to All Species Kinship, a nonprofit that cares about animals as much as Rick did. Checks can be mailed to PO Box 4055, Battle Creek, MI 49016 or donations can be made at allspecieskinship.org/donate. Memorial contributions may also be made to the organization of your choice. 

Online condolences and memories can be left at kempffuneralhome.com. 

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Irene L. Tooker

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Irene Louise Tooker, a loving mother, grandmother and great-grandmother peacefully passed Monday, June 10, 2019, surrounded by loved ones. Irene was born on March 26, 1941, in Gaylord, to Ephraim and Violet (Helwig) Brock.

Irene was the cornerstone of her family and loved by all. She enjoyed traveling with her husband and the many family vacations they took with their children and grandchildren. Her favorite was visiting her hometown of Gaylord. She was a longtime, devoted member of Mount Hope Church. Irene and her husband took pride in establishing and running their family farm. She will be remembered for the solid foundation and values on which her family was built. She was exceedingly generous, kind and genuine; the person the family turned to in times of joy and need. Irene had a warm personality and a sense of humor that could make you laugh even at the worst of times. Words will never be enough to describe what she meant to her family.

She was preceded in death by her husband and love of her life, Roger Tooker. They were happily married for 55 years. They raised three wonderful daughters, Julie (Robert) Hadley, Kelley (Allen) Coburn-Harris and Lori (Mark) Harris. 

Irene took great pride in her grandchildren, Nikki (Jeff) Schwarz, Bobbi (Brent) Elliott, Josh (Ashley) Harris, Angela (Dennis) Warren, Adam (Miranda) Coburn, Jessie (Eric) Villegas, Zach (Jenna) Coburn and Jake (Alyshia) Coburn. Her great-grandchildren were the sunshine of her life: Dylan; Sidena, Mackenzie, Tooker, Aubrey and Addy; Aubrey and Anistyn; Chase and Cooper; Elia; Sam; and Mickey. 

Irene is preceded in death by her parents; brothers, Alfred, Bill, Steve, Daniel and her sister Dorothy Beers.  

She is survived by siblings, Elizabeth Julson, Earldine Payton and Tom (Cheryl) Brock. 

Funeral services were held Thursday, June 13, 2019 at Mt. Hope Church in Lansing, with Pastor David Johnson officiating. Interment will take place at Strange Cemetery in Oneida Township. 

Those desiring, may make contributions in Irene’s memory to the Potterville Library, 150 Library Lane, Potterville, MI 48876.

To view Irene’s obituary online or to leave a condolence for the family, please visit burkhead-greenfuneralhome.com.

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Charlotte I. Jones

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Funeral Services:

Charlotte Ida (Heese) Jones of Charlotte, 2 Corinthians 5:8, 93, passed from time to Eternity at her residence in Charlotte, on June 7, 2019. Charlotte was born on March 22, 1926 in South Dakota, the daughter of German immigrants, Karl and Martha (Roeser) Heese. She grew up in Upstate New York and met her husband, Kenneth G. Jones (1917-2001), while attending college in East Lansing. Charlotte taught school for 43 years. The family would like to extend special thanks to Brendalee Pierce, who was dearly loved by Charlotte and whose expert care made it possible for her to remain in her house until the Lord called her home. Also, special thanks to Dr. Gamat Issacs and Barb Densmore of Visiting Doctors and Taelor Johns of Heartland Hospice. 

She is survived by her only child, Kay Ann Jones; grandsons, Herb and wife, Alanna, and Ken. 

Charlotte was preceded in death by her husband, Ken and four siblings.

Private graveside services will be held at Maple Hill Cemetery with Rev. Chuck Jenson officiating. 

Those desiring may make memorial contributions in Charlotte’s memory to Eaton Clothing and Furniture Center, 133 S. Washington St. Charlotte, MI 48813. 

Charlotte always remained true to her humble beginnings and helping others. The family wishes to share a special poem by an unknown author entitled, “The Rose Bud, It is only a tiny rosebud, a flower of God’s design, but I cannot unfold the petals with these clumsy hands of mine. The secret of unfolding flowers is now known to such as I. GOD opens his flower so easily, but in my hands they die. If I cannot unfold a rosebud, this flower of God’s design, then how can I have the wisdom to unfold this life of mine? So, I’ll trust in God for leading each moment of my day. I will look to God for guidance in each step of the way. The path that lies before me, only my Lord knows. I’ll trust God to unfold the moments, just as He unfolds the rose.” 

Arrangements were entrusted to the Mills Funeral Home, Shelly-Odell Chapel in Eaton Rapids. Please visit millsfuneral.com to place online condolences. 

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Marilyn K. Parr

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Marilyn Kay (Shultz) Parr, 77 of Potterville, passed quickly and peacefully into the arms of Jesus on Friday, June 7, 2019. Marilyn was born March 16, 1942 in Portland, Ind., the daughter of Charles and Freda (McLaughlin) Shultz. Marilyn graduated from Grand Ledge High School in 1960. Her favorite childhood memory was the time she spent with her horse, Suzie. In her early years she worked for Greens Apparel, Kroger, and LaBare Sand and Gravel. On June 18, 1983 she married Stanley L. Parr at their farm in Bellevue. Marilyn and Stan started driving bus in 1986 at Bellevue Community Schools. She was employed there until having to retire early, in 1995, due to a bus accident.  Marilyn enjoyed driving her bus and loved taking on extra bus trips with Stan. They would drive students to their sporting/miscellaneous events. She really enjoyed life on the farm with Stan. She loved working in her flowerbeds and garden very much. She and Stan taught Sunday school at church. They also had a senior citizen’s ministry they loved to run, called The Pioneer Kids. She was most proud of her family and would like to be remembered for loving the Lord, and her strawberry jam! 

Marilyn is survived by her children, Stacie (Mark) Gay, and David LaBare; grandchildren, Samantha (Kyle) Heuer, Kendra and Kimber Gay, Julia and Lacey LaBare; great-grandchildren, Rasheed and Kenan Milligan; Stan’s children, Debby (Ken) Burkett, Kathy Newton, Dave (Lori) Parr, along with all their children and grandchildren; and brother, Larry (Judy) Shultz.

She is pre-deceased by her parents; husband, Stan; and brothers, Paul and Dennis.

A funeral service celebrating Marilyn’s life was held at 11 a.m. on Friday, June 14, 2019 at Pray Funeral Home in Charlotte ,with Rev. Rich Mitterling officiating. Interment took place at Riverside Cemetery in Bellevue. 

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested memorial contributions be made to Pawsibilities Rescue in Olivet, in memory of her love for pets, especially her cats that she did not want to leave behind. 

Family and friends are encouraged to share remembrances and condolences online in Marilyn ‘s tribute page at prayfuneral.com.

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Doris L. Walker

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Funeral Services:

Doris Lee (Rolfe) Walker was born April 18, 1946, in Charlotte, to Leslie and Edna (McDonald) Rolfe. Doris grew up in Charlotte and attended Charlotte High School, graduating in 1964. The Charlotte High School library is where she met the love of her life, George Walker. They married July 10, 1965, and raised three daughters and had countless adventures together. 

Doris began her career as a cashier at Wrigley’s grocery store. From there she went to work at General Motors so her family could have more weekends together. Doris began working on the assembly line and would eventually transfer to the paint department as a Supervisor and Quality Control. Doris took an early retirement buyout in 1995 to spend more time with George who had already retired. When the kids had grown, they decided to spend more time doing what they loved – traveling. They were always exploring new areas and every winter you could find them in Port Charlotte/ Punta Gorda, Fla., spending time with their beloved friends. After George passed away in 2007, Doris continued traveling with girlfriends and family members to places such as Hawaii, California, Massachusetts and South Carolina, to name a few. 

Doris had a true passion for life and an adventurous spirit. She was a true friend to all those who knew her and would always lend a helping hand. She could usually be found at or near a pool chatting with and becoming fast friends with anyone she met. Many years were spent entertaining friends and family at pool parties on Otto Road. Doris was a loyal friend and loved being with her girlfriends, lunching with high school friends and spending time with her granddaughters. She loved all animals (except snakes) and could be found regularly rescuing animals such as turtles, squirrels, raccoons and feeding deer in her backyard. She taught us to not sweat the small stuff, be true to your word and when given the chance – always keep exploring. 

Doris passed away peacefully after a brief, but hard-fought battle with cancer on Sunday, June 9, 2019. 

She will be dearly missed by her daughters, Shawndee (Finley) Bolenbaugh of Dewitt, and Shena (Curt) Winslow of Solana Beach, Calif.; and her granddaughters Rachel Cook of Grand Rapids, Kara Bolenbaugh of Dewitt and Lila and Elle Winslow of Solana Beach. She is also survived by her sister, Diane (Douglas) Hamilton of Southfield; sisters-in-law, Barbara Rolfe of Kalamazoo, and Judy Kelley of Charlotte; and brother-in-law, Dennis (Cindy) Walker of Hastings, along with her cherished nieces and nephews and her beloved dog, Shrek. 

Doris was preceded in death by her husband of 42 years, George Walker; and her daughter, Shantell Lyn Walker-Cook; her parents; and her brother, Dale Rolfe.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, June 15, 2019, at 11 a.m. at Burkhead-Green-Kilgo Funeral Home, with Pastor Charles Jenson officiating. The family received friends on Friday, June 14, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the funeral home. Interment will take place at Union Cemetery.

Those desiring, may make contributions in Doris’s honor to the Helping Hands Food Pantry, 600 S. Cochran Ave., Charlotte, MI 48813 or Charlotte Community Library, 226 S. Bostwick St., Charlotte, MI 48813.

The family is in the care of Burkhead Green Kilgo Funeral Home and friends and family are encouraged to share memories of Doris at burkhead-greenfuneralhome.com.

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William Lorenz

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William Alexander-Draves Lorenz (Alex), 33, of Lebanon, Mo., formerly of Vermontville, passed away August 31, 2018 in Columbia, Mo. He was born December 26, 1984 in Hastings to Don and Penny (Byington) Lorenz. Alex became a world traveler at 2 when his family was stationed in Swabish Gmuend, Germany. He returned to Germany at 16 as an exchange student through Lions Club International. He joined the Missouri National Guard at 17 as a 12 Bravo Combat Engineer/Bridge Crewman. He deployed in 2004 as part of Operating Iraqi Freedom, where he earned the Presidential Unit Citation as well as other medals and awards. On January 20, 2004, he married Tasha Sue Rice, to this union one son, William Michael Lorenz was born.

He was preceded in death by his father-in-law, Darren Rice; honorary brother/cousin, Derek Byington-Lloyd; niece, Lilly Draves; grandmothers, Peggy Byington, and Dona Shifflette.

He is survived by wife, Tasha, and son, Michael; mother, Penny Byington; father and step-mother, Don and Shonda Lorenz; mother-in-law, Connie Rice, all of Missouri; siblings, Kenny Lorenz of Phoenix, Ariz., Desiree (Barry) Canterbury of Olivet, Scotty, Garrett (Samantha), Lena, Kara and Trenton Lorenz; stepsiblings, Reyna, Subrina, and J.T. Brown, all of Missouri; nephews, Raymond (Emily) Lorenz of Yuma, Ariz., Lucas, Henry, and Jesse; nieces, Brianna, Joni, Janessa, Joelyn, Abbigale, Alyce, Amelia, Rebecca, Iris and Hailey; grandfathers, Philip Byington of Vermontville, and William Draves of Brighton; his “Omi,” Bettty Draves of Brighton; and many aunts, uncles and cousins.

A service with military honors and burial will be held Tuesday, June 25, 2019 at 11:15 a.m. at Fort Custer National Cemetery in Augusta. The service will be followed by a luncheon at the Vermontville Community Center, located at 108 N. Main Street in Vermontville.

Donations can be made in Alex’s name to Walleye for Warriors, P.O. Box 129, Bay City, MI 48707, or walleyeforwarriors.com.

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Lona D. Houston

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Funeral Services:

Lona Denise Houston, 72, of Olivet, passed away Sunday May 26, 2019, at Oaklawn Hospital in Marshall. She was born March 18, 1947, in Charlotte, the daughter of Harold “Bud” and Betty (Owen) King. Lona graduated from Olivet High School with the Class of 1965. On July 22, 1978, she married the love of her life, John R. Houston in Eaton Rapids. They were blessed with nearly 41 years together. Lona was a faithful servant of her Lord and Savior. She was a devoted member of the Bellevue Church of Christ for many years. Lona’s family was very important to her. She cherished her children and grandchildren. Lona was always looking forward to the next family gathering. She enjoyed sewing dresses very much and was a member of the sewing group, Dresses for Hope. She and John also enjoyed traveling together throughout the United States. 

Lona is survived by her husband, John; children, Aaron (Casey) Harris of Kerrville, Texas, Jamie (Jeff) Kita of Olivet, Jason (Heather) Harris of Charlotte; seven grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; siblings, Ted (Sue) King of Bellevue, Ezzie (Jim Borton) King of Ovid, Jim King of Bellevue; aunt, Alice Owen of Ameilia, Ohio; and numerous nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents; granddaughter, Hannah Harris; sister, Linda (Doug) Klont; and several aunts and uncles. 

Funeral services will be held on Monday, June 3, 2019, at 10 a.m. at Burkhead-Green-Kilgo Funeral Home, with Jon Doty officiating. The family will receive friends on Sunday from 3 to 8 p.m. at the funeral home. Interment will take place at Oakwood Cemetery in Eaton Rapids.

Those desiring, may make contributions in Lona’s honor to the family to be split between her favorite charities. 

To view Lona’s obituary online or to leave a condolence for the family, please visit burkhead-greenfuneralhome.com.

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Esther J. Wyble

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Funeral Services:

Esther Jane (Robins) Wyble, of Charlotte, a kind, loving and devoted mother, grandmother and friend, died Sunday, May 26, 2019 at Eaton Community Palliative Care. Esther, 92, was born April 17, 1927, the daughter of James and Alpharetta (Smith) Robins. She graduated from Charlotte High School in 1945. In June of 1947 Esther married her sweetheart, Theodore, and together started their legacy until his passing in 2008. Esther is retired from 28 years as a fabricator. She had a heart of gold, which led her to devote her retirement to volunteering her time: to the county for 30 years, Hayes Green Beach Hospital, and the VFW. Esther crocheted afghans for veterans, her church and for her loved ones. She was known for her baking. Her famous peanut butter sheet cakes were very popular for everyone’s birthdays and special events. If you were lucky she would make you her mystery cake, where she would have you guess the off the wall ingredient that was added. Her other hobbies included reading, traveling, gardening (she had beautiful flower beds), and also spending time outdoors. Esther will be remembered for always thinking about others and devoting her time to others.    

Esther is survived by her children, Norman Wyble, Shirley Wyble, Sharon (Jack) Thompson; grandchildren, Norman (Heather) Wyble II, Autumn Murphy, Amber Matthews, Seth (Heather) Matthews; four great-grandchildren; and sister, Marvel Wyble. 

She was predeceased by husband, Theodore; son, Duane Wyble; eight siblings, and her parents. 

Funeral services were held Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at Pray Funeral Home in Charlotte, with Pastor Charles Jenson officiating.  

If desired, the family suggests memorial contributions to Eaton Community Palliative Care. 

Friends and family are encouraged to share memories of Esther on her tribute page at PrayFuneral.com.  

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David Foster

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Funeral Services:

David “Larry” Foster of Charlotte, an avid hunter and fisherman that could always find the best fishing hole, died May 25, 2019. Larry, 79, was born April 25, 1940 in Lansing to David and Agatha (Massey) Foster.  He worked at General Motors on the line, retiring several years ago. Larry loved being outdoors, all of his favorite activities revolved around that, including: hunting, fishing, gold prospecting, traveling to Colorado, Canada, Alaska and Hawaii, and even watching the outdoor channel on TV. He had a large collection of game trophies to enjoy while he was indoors. Sixteen years ago Larry had a change of heart and became a Christian, enjoying studying the Bible and praying with his wife, Barb, every day. Barb is comforted knowing she will see him again in Heaven.  Larry loved hugs and sharing his faith with others. Larry valued friendship, and if you were his friend he let you know he loved you.

Larry is survived by his wife of almost 27 years, Barbara (Shaver) Foster; children, David (Connie) Foster, Martin (Kathy) Foster, Joe Wheeldon, William (Beverly) Stone, Michael (Elisabeth) Stone, Diane (John) Wiley, and Toscha Klopp; 15 grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.  

He was predeceased by daughter, Sonja Crabtree; his parents; and a brother and a sister.

Friends are encouraged to support Larry’s family at visitation and memorial services. Memorial services are Friday, June 14, 2019, at noon at Pray Funeral Home in Charlotte, with Pastor Randy Royston officiating.  Visitation is two hours prior to service, from 10 a.m. to noon on Friday, June 14.  

If desired, the family suggests memorial contributions to New Hope Community Church. 

Friends and family are encouraged to share memories of David “Larry” on his tribute page at PrayFuneral.com.  

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Larry L. Sterle

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Funeral Services:

Larry L. Sterle, 73, died Tuesday, May 21, 2019 at the home he shared with his son outside Charlotte. Larry was born November 27, 1945, and raised in Mason, where he was a graduate of Mason High School. He served in the U.S. Army, and was a career letter carrier with the U.S. Post Office. 

He was married for over 46 years to Jacqueline “Jackie” Sterle, and was the loving father of Waylon, 50, and Shannon, 47.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph Sterle and Thelma (Rich) Sterle; sister, Joan (Sterle) Ammerman; mother-in-law, Dorothea Demery; and beloved wife, Jackie Sue (Toman) Sterle. 

He is survived by his son, Waylon Lee Sterle; daughter, Shannon Marie (Sterle) Patton and spouse, Joseph Patton; brother-in-law, Archy Ammerman; brother-in-law, Mark Turcotte and spouse, Susan Neill; as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

Larry was a serious reader of American and World history, of which he acquired a professorial knowledge. He was a passionate fan of Michigan sports, and enjoyed watching old movies, especially spaghetti-westerns and historical epics. In his retirement, he indulged in several driving trips, visiting locations from Civil War battlefields to Devil’s Tower National Monument. He enjoyed the company of his family, holiday meals, playing marathon sessions of Euchre, and was known to complete the Sunday New York Times crossword as if he was jotting down a grocery list. He was an intelligent, curious, kind and loving husband, father and friend.

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