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Maxine M. Fhaner


Funeral Services:

Maxine M. (Brooks) Fhaner passed away October 20, 2018 at the age of 91.  

She was preceded in death by her husband of 72 years, Robert C. Fhaner. 

Maxine was born and raised in Grandville, Mich., the daughter of Roy and Eva Brooks.  

She is survived by her son, Jerry (Eileen) Fhaner; daughter, Jill Krusell; granddaughter, Sally (Alex) Krusell; and great-granddaughters, Kidist, Aynalem and Tarikwa. Maxine worked at the Accident Fund in Lansing, moved with Bob to the Houghton Lake area for 35 years, where she worked for Kronner Pharmacy for many years. She loved to paint, do needlepoint, read and she did crossword puzzles daily. Her mind was sharp even to the end. Maxine and Bob returned to Eaton County in 2008, spending their last years near family and childhood friends.  

There are no funeral services being planned.  

Cards and condolences can be sent to Jerry Fhaner, 5134 Nellies Lane, Charlotte, MI 48813.

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Phillip H. Merrifield


Funeral Services:

Phillip “Phil” Herbert Merrifield, a man who enjoyed his morning coffee and, in the evening, an Old Milwaukee, died unexpectedly on Thursday, October 18, 2018. Phil, 73, was born February 17, 1945 in Grand Rapids to Herbert and Evelyn (Windquest) Merrifield. Phil enjoyed being outdoors; he took a strong pride in his yard and his garden. He loved having cookers in his backyard and having the entire family over. He also enjoyed hunting and fishing. Phil loved cruising the backroads in his black streaker van. He always told his children “if you’re kicking up dust you’re going too fast.” Phil had a strong passion for singing; every Thursday he could be found singing to the patients at the Eaton County Health & Rehabilitation Services. His love for singing was passed down to his children. Above all, Phillip adored his family. He never forgot a family member’s birthday and always treated you to a cake on your special day. 

Phil is survived by his loving family; first wife, Jane Merrifield-Gidner; children, Martha (Terry) Bryant, John Merrifield, Jack (Benita) Merrifield; grandchildren, Steven Bryant, Michael Bryant, Hunter Merrifield, Angel Merrifield, Arianna, and their mother, Tara Ankney; siblings, Roger (Marilyn) Merrifield, Rick (Linda) Merrifield; foster children, Tara Siler, Sean Brady, and Troy Brady. 

Phil was predeceased by his parents, and grandson, Joshua Bryant.   

Funeral services were held Tuesday, October 23, 2018 Pray Funeral Home in Charlotte, with Pastor Charles Jenson officiating.  

If desired, the family suggests memorial contributions to The Eaton County Health & Rehabilitation Services Activity Fund. 

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

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Daniel J. Nordenbrock


Funeral Services:

Daniel Joseph Nordenbrock, 87, of Charlotte, passed away Wednesday, October 24, 2018. He was born November 3, 1930, in Dayton, Ohio, the son of Joseph and Helen (Brunsman) Nordenbrock. Dan graduated from Connersville High School in 1949. After graduation Dan met the love of his life Mary M. Carey while serving in the United States Air Force. They were married on June 23, 1956. He then went on to earn his bachelor’s degree from Ball State University in 1961. Dan worked as a computer systems analyst for Care-Free Windows in Charlotte and retired after many years of service. Dan was an extremely handy person and could fix just about anything. He enjoyed reading and taking his dog, Timmy for his daily walks through Bennett Park. Dan was also a tireless volunteer for Eaton Community Palliative Care, Eaton County Health and Rehabilitation Services, and Meals on Wheels. Dan was also a great storyteller. He would often change them up from time to time, just to keep things interesting. 

Dan is survived by his wife of 62 years, Mary; children, David Nordenbrock of Grand Rapids, Martha Cooper of Grand Rapids, Ruth (Bob) Blameuser of Antioch, Ill., Joseph Nordenbrock of Grand Rapids, Sara (Ralph) Rounds of Hart, Danny Nordenbrock of Alpena, Kevin Nordenbrock of Antioch; eight grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; sister, Anne Carter of Florida; brother, Kenneth (Sally) Nordenbrock of Ohio.

He was preceded in death by his parents; siblings, Joan Smith, Willis Nordenbrock, Fred Nordenbrock, and Joe Nordenbrock.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Wednesday, October 31, 2018, at 11 a.m. at St. Mary Catholic Church in Charlotte, with Rev. Fr. Dwight Ezop celebrating. The family will receive friends on Tuesday, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Burkhead-Green-Kilgo Funeral Home. 

Those desiring, may make contributions in Dan’s honor to St. Mary Catholic Church, 807 St. Mary Blvd., Charlotte, MI 48813.

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

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Virginia Gilbert


Funeral Services:

Virginia “Jean” Gilbert, 79, of Charlotte, passed away peacefully Monday, October 15, 2018 surrounded by her loving family. She was born February 17, 1939, the daughter of Manual and Francisca (Baladez) Becerra in Cleveland, Ohio.  Jean was employed with General Motors until her retirement. On June 27, 1981 Jean married Gerald Gilbert in Charlotte at the Methodist Church. She enjoyed playing Bingo at the Charlotte American Legion and Firekeepers Casino. Jean and Gerald would get together with friends every Saturday to play cards; sometimes they would play during the week.  They traveled all over the United States with their motorhome enjoying time in Tennessee, Missouri, Las Vegas, and North Carolina.  Jean enjoyed cooking and baking especially for family gatherings.  More than anything she loved her family and her dog, Benji.  

Left to cherish her memory is her loving husband, Gerald of 37 years; children, James (Elaine) Salians; step-children, Debra Loudenbeck, Donna (James) Beaurdrie, Laurie (Michael) Becker, Gerald (Shannon) Gilbert, Jr.; 14 grandchildren; 21 great-grandchildren; three brothers; and one sister.  

Jean was preceded in death by her daughter, Linda Snater; parents; step-father, Rodrigo Vaquera; six brothers; and one sister.  

Funeral services took place at Kempf Funeral & Cremation Services in Marshall on Friday, October 19, 2018, with Father Dwight Ezop officiating. Interment followed the service at Floral Lawn Memorial Gardens.  

Memorial contributions may be directed to McLaren Homecare & Hospice, 2815 S Pennsylvania Ave. Ste. #4, Lansing, MI 48910 or St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 807 St. Mary’s Blvd., Charlotte, MI 48813. 

Friends may send condolences or share a memory at

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Pamela M. Gibson


Funeral Services:

Pamela Marie Gibson passed away in her home on October 23, 2018 at the age of 46 after a courageous battle with cancer.

She was preceded in death by her mother, Rosalie Gibson and her grandparents.

Pamela is survived by her life partner, Darrin Harmon; her children, Darrin Jr., and Anastasia Harmon; father, Terry Gibson, Sr.; siblings, Terry (Ted) Gibson, Jr., and Amanda Gibson; and many more family members.

Visitation will take place Thursday, November 1, 2018, from 10 to 11 a.m. at New Hope Community Church, located at 436 W. Harris Street in Charlotte. Funeral services will follow at 11 a.m., followed by a luncheon.

If desired, memorial contributions can be made to: Darrin Harmon, C/O John Boy Electric, 317 Hall St., Charlotte, MI 48813.

A special thank you to Joyce and Bill Gavaldon for their support through this troubling time.

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Matilde R. Silvas


Funeral Services:

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


Funeral Services:

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


Funeral Services:

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


Funeral Services:

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


Funeral Services:

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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