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Matilde R. Silvas


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Matilde “Matt” R. Silvas, 79, of Charlotte, passed away on October 15, 2018. He was born on February 26, 1939, to Pedro and Felicitas (Rodriguez) Silvas in New Braunfels, Texas. His family of eleven moved to join the Rodriguez cousins who had made their home in Michigan. He married Linda Whitinger on July 29, 1961. Matt was fun, generous, happy, helpful and willing to help whenever and wherever he could. Matt and Linda’s family grew by four, and each of those children had friends who thought of the Silvas house as their own. Their welcome sign was always visible, and the pair were thought of as Mom and Dad by many. There were multiple cousins on both sides of the families, and they meshed often for gatherings. Picnics, tug-of-war, annual Cedar Point trips, go to the lake trips. A carful and caravan was always the Silvas way of traveling. Matt was a hard worker from the moment he left school until he retired from Fisher-Body. He worked hard so he could play hard. He loved to golf, and he loved his Detroit Tigers. He installed a pool in their backyard so his family could swim, but more importantly so extended family and friends could come on over to swim and share a cookout. His love for his family, beginning with Linda has come first, then the children, and then he absolutely adored his grandchildren, great, and great-greats. He was the kind of papa/uncle who spoiled kids by not really meaning “no,” and no harm/no foul. He fiercely loved his family out loud, like a magnet to steel.

Matt is survived by his wife, Linda; children, Jodie (Steve) Driver, Rob (Michelle) Silvas, Amy (Aaron) Sawatzki and Angel (Eric) Bartlett; grandchildren, Jennifer (Thomas) Hoffman, Kenny (Annalesha) Silvas, Todd (Sarell) Driver, Rikki (James) Shepherd, Randi Sawatzki, Rob (Kayla) McElhaney; great-grandchildren, Martina and Landon Hoffman, Devin and Drake Silvas, Aubrie and Kameron Driver, Madeline and Gemma Shepherd, Stevie and Raelynn Sawatzki, Ellie Mae McElhaney; and a great great-granddaughter on the way, Dylan Rae; siblings, Mary Cruz, Sid (Dora) Silvas, Pete (Maria) Silvas, Bruce Silvas, Jobie Moist; in-laws, Cruz Silvas, Teresa Silvas, Wilma Campbell, Leila Whitinger, John (Sue) Whitinger; countless extended family, and lovingly known as “Favorite Uncle Matt,” his many nieces and nephews would throw down to claim they were his favorite.

Matt was predeceased by his parents; and brothers, Pedro, Juan, Frank, David; and life-long cousin and cherished friend, Joe Rodriquez; in-laws, Sherrie Silvas, Lucille Tuckey, Marion Whitinger, Norman Campbell.

Memorial services will be held on Tuesday, October 23, 2018 at 11 a.m. at Pray Funeral Home in Charlotte. Visitation will be held Monday, October 22, from 5 to 8 p.m. at Pray Funeral Home.

If desired, the family suggests memorial contributions to Alzheimer’s Association.

Friends and family are encouraged to share memories and condolences on Matt’s tribute page at

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Helen L. Bly


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Helen Lucille Bly, a kind, gentle, and loving family matriarch, died October 12, 2018. Helen, 97, was born September 15, 1921 to John and Atha (Schneckenberger) Grimes, and lived her entire life in Charlotte. A CHS graduate in 1940, she married Kay Charles Bly on October 24, 1941 in Charlotte, and together they created a beautiful, loving home and family. She loved cooking and baking, especially molasses cookies, which she enjoyed sharing with company in her home. Talented in the garden, Helen enjoyed flower gardening, as well as vegetables that she would can for her family, always striving to be the best homemaker ever. Helen also loved camping in Harrison, trips to Florida, writing in diaries, and putting together puzzles. She was an excellent role model for her children and grandchildren, she loved her family and they adored her.

Helen is survived by her children, John (Brenda) Bly, and Rebecca (Richard) Fain; grandchildren, John Kay (Lisa) Bly II, Chuck (Kelly) Fain, Elizabeth (Paul) Lee, and James Kay Bly; great-grandchildren, Stephanie, Ashley, Scott, Kaycee, Taylor, Brendan, and Grant; as well as seven great great-grandchildren.

She was predeceased by her husband, Kay in 2003; infant sister, Mary Louise, brother, Dick (Delores) Grimes, and her parents.

Funeral services were held Wednesday, October 17, at Pray Funeral Home in Charlotte.

If desired, the family suggests memorial contributions to Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Friends and family are encouraged to share memories of Helen on her tribute page at

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Ross A. Reed


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Ross Allen Reed, 74, of West Branch, Mich., passed peacefully into the arms of his Lord and Savior on Tuesday, October 16, 2018.

Ross was born to Gerald and Nina Reed, in Battle Creek, Mich. on November 20, 1943 and was raised in a loving family in Vermontville, a close-knit community where he met and married his high school sweetheart Izetta Jane Boyer.

Ross and Izetta were married on August 4, 1963. They began their married life stationed in San Diego, Calif. while Ross served in the US Navy during Vietnam on the USS York Town. In 1966, they moved to West Branch to create a home and raise their family. Ross was an athlete and avid outdoor sportsman. He also played an active role in the church and in the community. A loving husband and father, he was committed, above all, to raising his children to know the love of Jesus Christ, joyfully singing in his church choir for 26 years. Ross was a lifelong example of hard work and perseverance in any role he undertook, whether personal, professional or in the community where he served on the West Branch City council. Ross took great pleasure in watching and teaching his grandchildren the importance of God, family, and commitment and loved seeing them enjoy life through their childhood activities and at his home on the lake. In later years, he felt blessed to greatly enjoy 15 years of retirement sharing life and laughs with the love of his life, Izetta and beloved friends and family, often while traveling, on the golf course or playing cards.

He is survived by his wife, Izetta (Boyer) Reed; children, Denise (Neal) Niswonger and Eric (Tricia) Reed; his sister, Kay (Mitch) Vader; and his five grandchildren, Lauren Niswonger, Courtney Reed, Zoe Niswonger, Alec Reed and Delaney Niswonger.

Visitation at Steuernol & McLaren Funeral Homes in West Branch will begin on Sunday, October 21, 2018 from 3 to 8 p.m. The funeral service will be on Monday, October 22, 2018 at Ogemaw Hills Free Methodist Church at 11 a.m., with visitation starting at 10 a.m. Pastor David Kurtz will officiate. A graveside service will be held on Tuesday, October 23, 2018 at Meadowbrook Cemetery in Mulliken at 11 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Wounded Warriors Project.

Online condolences can be shared at

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JoAnn Teichman


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JoAnn (Smalley) Teichman, of Charlotte, passed away Tuesday, October 9, 2018, at Golden Days AFC in Charlotte, which had been her home for the last five years. JoAnn was born May 4, 1938, in Charlotte to Kenneth and Merna Helen (Green) Smalley. She graduated from Potterville High School in 1956. Jo’s work as a secret shopper allowed her to travel extensively. She was well known by truckers and law enforcement officers as “the Happy Cooker” at Mary’s Truck Stop, where she worked as a cook for many years.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Paul Teichman; her parents; brothers, Francis J. (Smoky) Smalley, John Smalley and Kenneth Smalley, Jr.; and sister, Bernadine May Raines.

Jo is survived by nieces and nephews, Jim Smalley, Doug Smalley, Linda (Smalley) Amey; Christine (Smalley) Lake, Melody (Smalley) Townsend, Steve Smalley, Cindy Raines, Sandy (Raines) Davis and Brian Raines.

A memorial service will be held at Golden Days AFC, 1493 N. Cochran Avenue in Charlotte on Saturday, October 13, 2018, at 1 p.m. Please come and share your favorite stories and some of Aunt Jo’s favorite jokes.

To view Jo’s obituary online or to leave a condolence for the family, please visit

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Tony L. Ames


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Tony Lee Ames, a quiet, caring, and creative man, died peacefully on October 9, 2018 at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.  Tony, 60, of Charlotte, was born July 1, 1958 in Charlotte to Melvin and Eleanor (Bennett) Ames. Tony was an amazing cook. One of his specialties was Shrimp Alfredo. He also had a quirky sense of humor, and loved to entertain people. Tony was a factory worker, working for General Aluminum, then later found his passion as a truck driver for Auto Zone. Some of his many hobbies include, traveling with his son to BMX races, woodworking, fishing, snowmobiling, and playing softball on co-ed leagues. Cedar Point was a favorite destination of Tony’s, he loved taking his family there and they cherish the memories made together.

Tony is survived by his wife of almost 40 years, Kellie Jo; daughter, Heidi (Greg) Ide; son, Jeremy Ames; two grandchildren, Austin and Nevaeh; siblings, Cindy (James) Nichols, Tommy (Shonda) Ames, Sam (Sadie) Ames, and Beth (Chris) Eberhard; and his cat, Gary.

He was preceded in death by his father, Melvin Ames; mother, Eleanor Ottgen; stepfather, Ralph Ottgen; mother-in-law, Audrey Schray; son-in-law, Kurt DeMuth; and his beloved pet cats, Whiskers, Tigger, and Daisy.

Friends are encouraged to support Tony’s family at visitation and funeral services.

Funeral services were held Friday, October 12, at 1 p.m. at Pray Funeral Home in Charlotte, with Pastor Charles Jenson officiating. Visitation was prior to the service on Friday, October 12, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

If desired, the family suggests memorial contributions to the family (Kellie Ames) to help with Tony’s medical bills.

Friends and family are encouraged to share memories of Tony on his tribute page at

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Diana K. Coats


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Diana Kay Coats passed away October 4, 2018 at the age of 71 after a long, courageous battle with cancer.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Leon and Gladys Coats.

Diana is survived by her sister, Wendy (Bob) Sanders; niece, Kami Sanders; and nephew, Corey Sanders.

A graveside service will be held at a later date.

If desired, memorial contributions can be made to Eaton Community Palliative Care.

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Mary J. Howe


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Mary Jane Backofen Howe (Jane), 82, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, October 9, 2018, with loved ones by her side. She was born January 29, 1936, in Brookfield Township, to Shorty and Dorothy (Williams) Wolf. She married Maynard (Freck) Backofen in February of 1953, and raised four children with him. After Freck’s passing, she reconnected with and married George Howe. She worked various jobs and retired from the Wesley Credit Union in 1997 as the CEO. She was very involved in her faith community, the Peace Lutheran Church in Charlotte. Jane truly lived life to the fullest through simple pleasures; traveling, visiting with friends and family, bowling, and crocheting. Jane had an uncanny ability to reach people in a deep and positive way and an unobtrusive way of sharing her remarkable wisdom.

Jane is survived by her children, Jack (Susan) Backofen, Maynard (Sue) Backofen, Jodi Backofen and Sally (Annie Lange) Backofen; sisters, Joan (Duane) Royston, Judy (Bud) Faynor; grandchildren, Maynard (Andy) Backofen, Jessica Backofen, Alicia Backofen and Jason (Taylor) Backofen; and a multitude of stepchildren, step-grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews and cousins whom she loved dearly.

Family, friends, and others whose lives Jane touched are invited to Pray Funeral Home in Charlotte to celebrate her life. Visitation is Sunday, October 14, 2018, from 5 to 7 p.m., and funeral services are Monday, October 15 at 3 p.m. with Pastor Tom Ott officiating. Interment will follow at Perry Cemetery.

If desired, the family suggests memorial contributions to Eaton Community Palliative Care or Peace Lutheran Church in Charlotte.

Friends and family are encouraged to share memories of Jane on her tribute page at

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Robert W. Johncock


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Robert William Johncock, 88, of Olivet, passed away Tuesday, October 9, 2018. He was born January 15, 1930, in Orangeville Twp., Barry County, Mich., the son of Chester and Mabel Johncock. Robert went on to serve his country in the United States Navy during the Korean Conflict. On December 31, 1952, he married June Francis Kunkel in Charlotte. Robert spent the majority of his life working as a farmer and sheep shearer in and around the Olivet area. He had a passion for people and enjoyed helping others with their remodeling and construction projects. After his retirement Robert enjoyed spending time at his home in Frostproof, Fla. Robert was a lifelong Lutheran and belonged to congregations in Michigan.

Robert is survived by his wife, June; children, Susan (David) Moody of Olivet, Steve (Diane) Johncock of Bellevue; grandchildren, Elizabeth Moody, Jonathan (Michaela) Moody, Nathan Moody, Joseph Moody, Nehemiah Moody; great-granddaughter, Isabelle Rose Moody.

He was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Ethyl Simons.

A memorial service will be held on Thursday, October 18, 2018, at 11 a.m. at First Lutheran Church, 550 E. Shepherd Street in Charlotte, with Pastor Jim Eggert officiating. The family will receive friends on Wednesday, October 17, 2018, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Burkhead-Green-Kilgo Funeral Home and one hour prior to the service at the church on Thursday.

To view Robert’s obituary online or to leave a condolence for the family, please visit

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Gerald L. Greenfield


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Gerald L. Greenfield, 83, of Bellevue, passed away peacefully Tuesday, October 2, 2018 surrounded by his loving family. He was born in Charlotte on April 23, 1935, the son of Ralph and Ethelyn (Cook) Greenfield.  Gerald graduated from Bellevue High School. He married Lea H. Beckner on October 16, 1954. Gerald was on the Bellevue Fire Department for 55 years and was a member of the Bellevue Conservation Club.

Gerald is survived by his loving wife, Lea of 63 years; children, Victoria (Richard) Glidden, Cathy (Larry) Smith, Todd Greenfield; five grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; one brother; and six sisters.

He was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Gladys.

In accordance with his wishes, cremation has taken place. A celebration of life will be held at the Bellevue Conservation Club, 8484 Greenfield Highway in Bellevue, on Sunday, October 14, 2018, from 3 to 7 p.m.

The family requests memorial contributions be directed to the Bellevue Fire Department, 115 E. Jackson St., Bellevue, MI 49021.

Friends and family may send condolences or share a memory at

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Hunter R. Robirds


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Hunter Reese Robirds, a very kind and intelligent 2017 graduate of Potterville High School, died unexpectedly on Saturday, October 7, 2018 in Charlotte. Hunter, 19, of Charlotte, was born December 22, 1998 in Lansing, the son of John Robirds and Barbara Merritt. He played trumpet in the high school band and was a National Honor Society member. Throughout his life, he enjoyed family trips up north to his grandparents’ home each summer with his cousins, Taylor, Morgan, Trevor, and Payton, and he had a passion for videogames. He worked at Wendy’s each summer, where he made many close friends. Following high school, he attended Central Michigan, where he was currently studying engineering and working in the school cafeteria. Many will remember Hunter’s gentle nature and sarcastic sense of humor, his love for animals, and his devotion to his family.

Hunter is survived by his father, John Robirds; mother and stepfather, Barbara and Breck Searle; stepbrother, Dylan Searle; grandparents, Stanley and Mary Merritt, Bob and Beverly Searle, and Joyce Russell; and many aunts, uncles, and cousins.

He was predeceased by his grandfather, Leaman Robirds; and cousin, Kyle Ducharme.

Funeral services were held Thursday, October 11, 2018 at Pray Funeral Home in Charlotte, with Rev. Jim Codde officiating.

Friends and family are encouraged to share memories of Hunter on his tribute page at

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