Ezekial (Zack) E. Pauls, age 27, of Seymour, MO (formerly of Charlotte, MI) died on Tuesday, January 31, 2023, at his residence.
Zack was born on May 19, 1995, the son of Melody and the late Benjamin Pauls. He was raised in Eaton Rapids for a short time and then Charlotte, and attended Charlotte Public Schools, graduating in 2014. Zack was a member of the Boy Scouts of America and earned Eagle Scout status. He received a varsity letter for football. He was an avid tabletop gamer and earned the wood-worker of the year award.
Zack was a unique and kind man. His heart filled to the brim with love, empathy, justice, and the need to make everyone smile. Every time he made any of us laugh, Zack did it with everything he had – as with all things he did in life. His creative mind, gentle soul, and urge to push everyone to be their best selves – these were just a few of the wonderful qualities that were Zack. Describing him doesn’t seem to do justice to how truly wonderful he was. He deserved to grow, to do everything he could to better the world for his fellow man, as well as sharing his beautiful creations and his truly amazing thoughts. He loved and was loved by so many. Wherever he is, I know he is smiling and mastering his battle strategies. Keep our battle brother in your thoughts. “Each new day is a victory.” “May humanity unite to right the tyranny of chaos.”
Zack is survived by his mother, Melody Pauls; sister, Anne Marie Pauls and brother-in-law, Alex Esch; grandparents, Roy and Penny Therrien, Judy Pauls, and Molly Harmon.
He was preceded in death by his father, Benjamin Pauls; and his grandfathers, Jeffery Harmon and Harlen Pauls.
A Memorial will be held on Saturday, February 11, 2023, from 2-4 p.m. in the lower half of the VFW Post 2406 facility, located at 695 Lansing Road, Charlotte.
Dorothy Jones, age 93, of Bellevue, Michigan, passed away on Wednesday, January 18, 2023.
Dorothy was born in Detroit, Michigan on April 14, 1929, to James Vasil and Essie (Judd) Vasil. She graduated from Bellevue High School, class of 1947. She worked as a bookkeeper for Felpausch in Bellevue for 34 years, retiring in 1997.
Dorothy is survived by her children, Ron (Sue) Olmstead, David (Robin) Olmstead, and Jim (Laurie) Olmstead; ten grandchildren; fourteen great-grandchildren; and one nephew. She was preceded in death by her parents, James and Essie Vasil; her husband, Ed Jones Sr.; her sister, JoAnn Hodges; and her daughter-in-law, Ann Olmstead.
A celebration of life will be held on April, 14, 2023 at 12:00 Noon at Kempf Family Funeral and Cremation Services, 205 N. Elizabeth St., Bellevue, Michigan 49021 with visitation starting at 11:00 a.m. Burial will follow at Hillside Cemetery in Kalamo, Michigan.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be given to The AC Flower House or The Bellevue Fire Department.
Please visit https://www.kempffuneralhome.com to view the online obituary, sign the guest book, and leave messages for the family. For assistance with memorials please visit the funeral home.
Katherine Marie Hoyt
Katherine Marie Hoyt of Eaton Rapids was called Home on February 1, 2023, at the age of 64. Katherine was born in Lansing, MI, September 5, 1958, the daughter of Gerald and Beverly (Stockenauer) Pennell. She graduated from Everett High School in 1976. Katherine had numerous hobbies including rock collecting, canning, and going to garage sales. She enjoyed being outside doing all kinds of activities and taking care of her garden. The obvious joy in her life was spending time with her grandchildren.
Katherine is survived by her children, Josie (Heath) Mackey of Hanover, Donald (Jennifer) Hoyt III of Eaton Rapids, Jerry Hoyt of Eaton Rapids, Sandra Sturis of Grand Rapids; grandchildren, Aaron and Chandler Mackey, Donald IV, Jacob, Allison, Maxton and Tobin Hoyt, Max Sturis; sisters, Vickie (Donald) Gross of Lansing, Karen (John) Crawford of Lansing; several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents and husband, Donald Hoyt II.
A Rosary and prayers will begin at 1:00 p.m., Saturday, February 11, 2023, at the Tompkins Township Hall, 9999 Tompkins Rd., Rives Junction, MI 49277. with a luncheon and fellowship following at 2:00 p.m. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Arrangements were entrusted to the Mills Funeral Home, Shelly-Odell Chapel. To leave condolences for the family, please visit our website, www.millsfuneral.com.
Ella Mae Evert
Carl V. Reck Jewelry lost their biggest customer on January 26, 2023. Ella Mae Evert was born February 18, 1937, in Charlotte, MI to Frank and June (Glover) Aseltine. Ella was a Clerk for the State of Michigan Department of Social Services for 25 years, retiring in 1997, and the first ever clerk to receive the state Employee of the Year award. Ella married Paul Evert in December of 1961, and together they raised their family with lots of adventures including camping trips, hunting for Petoskey and Pudding Stones, and visiting nearly every state park in Michigan. With an extreme passion for beautiful things, Ella loved tending her flower gardens and provided her church with beautiful floral arrangements for 22 years. She also loved her jewelry and crocheting beautiful afghans to share with friends and family. With a big heart, she also enjoyed her pets that became her children after her children were grown, including her beloved dog, Bingo, and cat, Pepper.
Ella is survived by her children, Frank (Rae Jane) Cortright, and Nina Evert; little brother, Allen (Anne) Aseltine; and dear friends Carol (Scott) Pruden. She was predeceased by her husband, Paul Evert; her parents; sisters, Irene VanLiew and Anna Dickinson; and brothers, Elmer, Lynn, John, Cecil, and Donnie.
Friends are encouraged to support Ella’s family by attending services or sharing memories on her Tribute Page at www.prayfuneral.com. Funeral services were held Wednesday, February 1, 1:00 p.m. at Pray Funeral Home in Charlotte with Pastor Tim Potter officiating. If desired, the family suggests memorial contributions to Pawsabilities Rescue or Elara Caring Hospice. The family is in the care of Pray Funeral Home, Charlotte.
Randy Gene Whitcomb
Randy Gene Whitcomb, age 67, of Bellevue, Michigan, passed away on Friday, January 20, 2023, with family by his side in the comfort of his home.
Randy was born in Owosso, Michigan on April 15, 1955, to George Sr. and Shirley (Springs) Whitcomb. He grew up in Bellevue and worked on the family farm from a young age. Randy was known to be a character during his teenage years; just ask one of his six siblings. In 1973 Randy graduated from Bellevue High School and in 1975 he married his loving wife Deborah Sue (Clift) and they shared 48 wonderful years together raising their three children in their Bellevue home.
Randy was employed by Rock Tenn Company in Battle Creek, Michigan for 38 years (1974-2012). He served 19 years as a volunteer firefighter with the Bellevue Community Fire Department and was a member of the Bellevue Conservation Club over the years.
Randy enjoyed snow plowing the neighborhood on his quad at 5 a.m., mowing lawns on his John Deere tractor, hunting, fishing, boating, playing cards and golfing with family and friends in his leisure time. He will be dearly missed by all.
Randy is survived by his loving wife, Deborah; his children, Garett (Char) Whitcomb and Amy (Phil) Rigelman; his grandchildren, Michael (Tawni) Makley, Torey (Sarah) Makley, Chandler (Lauren) Adams, Levi Rigelman and Andrew Rigelman; his five great grandchildren; his siblings, Gary (Evelyn) Whitcomb, Peggy (John) Masters, Ron Whitcomb, Dan (Jayne) Whitcomb; sister-in-law Brenda (Andy) Harrison; and many nieces and nephews.
Randy was preceded in death by his parents, George Sr. and Shirley Whitcomb; his son, Brian Clyde Whitcomb; his brother, George Jr. Whitcomb; his sister, Sue Whitcomb; his niece, Janet Whitcomb; his in-laws, Clyde and Letha Clift; his sister-in-law, Lisa Clift; and his great nephew, Ford Andrew Flower.
Cremation has taken place and a memorial service to celebrate Randy’s life will be held in the spring.
Memorial contributions can be made to the Bellevue Fireman’s Fund (115 E. Jackson St., Bellevue, MI 49201).
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Daniels Funeral Home-Nashville conveniently located at 9200 E M-79 Nashville, MI. For further details please visit our website at danielsfuneralhome.net.
Fern L. Burkett-Starr
Fern L. Burkett-Starr, 90, of Charlotte, formerly of Bellevue, died January 30, 2023, in Lansing. She was born June 26, 1932, to Mark and Alta (Moore) Berry of Bellevue, Mich. She received her GED from Bellevue High School in 1972. Fern farmed most of her life raising feeder pigs. She also worked part-time at the dime store in Bellevue and the Gambles store in Charlotte. She volunteered at Hayes Green Beach Hospital for over 15 years.
Fern married Robert C. Burkett on September 3, 1949, and they were together for 52 years. She then married Gerald Starr on May 5, 2005, and they were together for 14 years.
Fern is survived by her children: Glen Burkett of Bellevue, Helen (Gary) Vedder of Charlotte, Kenneth (Debby) Burkett of Bellevue, David (Barbara) Burkett of Bellevue, Sally (David) Bivens of Bellevue, and Mary (Jeff) McKillop of Bellevue; her sister, Katherine Anderson of Battle Creek; her step-children: Dennis (Karen) Starr of Charlotte, Kathy (Jim) Pion of Olivet, Tim (Sherry) Starr of Charlotte, Mark (Cheryl) Starr of Charlotte, Karen Southward of Charlotte, Daniel (JoAnn) Starr of Adrian, Chris (Shelly) Starr of Charlotte, Mary (Doug) Campbell of Olivet, and Jimmy (Lisa) Starr of Eaton Rapids; 14 grandchildren, and 41 great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by Robert C. Burkett; Gerald J. Starr; siblings: James Berry, Frank (Stub) Berry, Frances Root, Helen Manning, Carol Ann Newberry, Evelyn Parker Glassner, Mable VanOrman; daughter-in-law, Elberta Burkett; grandson, Kevin Burkett; granddaughter, Angela Burkett; great-grandsons, Evan Burkett and Liam Abbott; and step-son-in-law, Tony Southward.
Visitation was Friday, February 3, 2023, from 4:00-7:00 p.m. at Kempf Family Funeral Home, located at 723 US HWY 27 North, Marshall, MI 49068. Visitation will also take place from noon to 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 4, 2023, with the funeral service at 1:00 p.m. Interment will follow at Hillside Cemetery in Kalamo Township.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Bellevue Fireman’s Fund or the American Cancer Society.
Alain K. Davis
Alain K. Davis, a passionate mother and wife, caring, loving, supportive and fiercely loyal, left us on Thursday, January 26, 2023. The beloved wife and partner of Colin Davis II and mother of Blake Duane, Marleigh Alain and her unofficial son, William Moore, departed this world and left us in pain and shock to mourn and ask why.
The daughter of Larry and Kay Serven, Alain was born in Battle Creek, Michigan on November 8, 1976. She leaves behind her sister and brother-in-law, Kristina and Christopher Langmaack; nephew, Cameron and his wife, Skyler Langmaack; niece, Kirsten Langmaack with her partner, Martin Fabrik; as well as her father and mother-in-law, Colin and Nancy Davis; sister-in-law, Angela Joslyn; her extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins plus her dog and sidekick, Ruger.
Those left behind are struggling to understand this sudden and tragic loss, but all recognize she truly was one of the good ones. Ever fearless, she was up for whatever activities that included her husband and kids, family, and of course her friends. For Alain everyone was her friend, and she would lead, guide and persuade everyone to join in. If in doubt, she could be very clear on everyone’s role and her expectations of them. She was well known for her parties and made sure everyone’s birthday was their special holiday. Her birthday was a day to celebrate as her dad always made her favorite meal – fried bologna and homemade french fries. Everyone enjoyed her New Year’s parties with games- even if they had to put their faces in whipped cream to find the bubble gum then be the first to blow a bubble and whomever got the honor of shooting her grandpa’s gun at midnight! Her seafood boils were a favorite, where she would prepare the food and she and Colin would spill it out on a long table for everyone to enjoy. She made sure her family was celebrated and knew how much she loved them on Valentine’s, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day, 4th of July at Silver Lake Dunes, and every other holiday of the year. She was particularly angry though that her “Black Friday” and 24 hours (or more) of straight Christmas shopping with her sister Kris and others was ruined by stores closing and the economy. Yes, she did take that personally as that was one of her pleasures and she wanted to continue that tradition. Traditions were very important to her. If you were fortunate enough to have her in your life you know what a void, she leaves behind. For her family, especially Colin and the kids along with special friends, Steve and Kaci, Cam and Amanda, BJ and Katie, Mike and Mallory, Chad, Scot, Chuckie and Jason and so many more, every day was better with her in it. She loved you all with a passion that only Alain could share. To say she embraced life fully doesn’t say it all and we know her greatest regret is leaving Colin, Blake, Marleigh and William whom she loved so deeply. Everything she did she poured her entire self into, and she worked hard so that each one around her would know how much she loved them; her foremost thought was to be sure that her family was on the right path. It would be her expectation that everyone continues that work for her. Col is devastated but with the love, support and help of family and their many friends, he will continue her work.
Soar high Lanie, we know you are watching over us!
“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal; love leaves a memory no one can steal.”
You are encouraged to support the family by attending services or sharing memories of Alain on her tribute page at www.PrayFuneral.com. Funeral services were Thursday, February 2, 11:00 a.m. at Pray Funeral Home with Laura Cooper officiating. 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 Alain’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 Elle’s Place. The family is in the care of Pray Funeral Home, Charlotte.
Winifred Jean Bearup
Winifred Jean Bearup (nee Crooks) passed away on January 27, 2023, in Charlotte. She was born August 28, 1920, in Allison, Colorado and grew up in Telluride and during the Depression, in Durango, the daughter of native Coloradan Edna Biggs Crooks and Frederick Crooks, a Scottish immigrant who came to the U.S. at the age 17 in search of foundry work with the mines.
Jean graduated from Durango High School in 1938 and worked at a pharmacy for the following year to save money for nursing school. She entered the Denver Mercy Hospital School of Nursing in 1939 and graduated as a registered nurse in 1942, signing up for military service the month before graduation. While waiting for the Army’s orders as to when and where to report, she worked as a floor nurse at Durango Mercy Hospital for six months before reporting for duty in January 1943.
She was commissioned as an Army Second Lieutenant at Fort Carson, Colorado where she immediately was assigned to the base hospital caring for soldiers injured during maneuvers. She served in this capacity for eight months before signing up for overseas duty and was transferred to Fort Jackson, South Carolina in September 1943. Here, too, she was assigned to the base hospital caring for injured and ill soldiers. During this time, her overseas unit formed, the 165th General Hospital. She and her unit, composed of 30 doctors, 50 nurses and 220 enlisted men, departed New York Harbor aboard the British troopship HMS Scythia in early September for a twelve-day crossing to Cherbourg, France which had been liberated by Allied forces only six weeks earlier. During her Atlantic Crossing, German submarines were twice detected, causing evasive action.
Jean’s unit was the first to arrive directly in France, all previous Army units having first arrived in the British Isles. The 165th promptly erected a tent hospital 25 miles south of Cherbourg. Within a week, Jean’s hospital was receiving heavy casualties from Operation Market Garden, the battles for Brest and Aachen, the sieges of German-held areas in Brittany and, ultimately, the Battle of the Hürtgen Forest and the Battle of the Bulge. Jean was assigned as the sole nurse for a 40-cot post-operative tent ward, saying she never once had an empty bed for her first six months with the 165th. The heaviest single event casualties arriving at her hospital were the survivors of the sinking of the SS Leopoldville troopship in the English Channel on Christmas Eve 1944 which resulted in over eight hundred lives lost. Jean worked two days without rest caring for many of the one thousand survivors. Ironically, her future husband, one of the uninjured survivors of the torpedo attack on the convoy, gathered the soldiers under his command to re-group on a hillside only a few miles from her tent hospital.
With the war in the European Theater now beyond the German border, Jean’s unit was moved eastward to Verdun in March 1945, at which time she was promoted to First Lieutenant. When V-E Day was declared in early May, the 165th was decommissioned and Jean boarded a troop train for Marseilles for re-staging and re-training as part of a new hospital unit being formed to go to the Pacific Theater. It was there that she met Captain Stuart Bearup and, after a four-month courtship, they were married on October 16, 1945 in Fontvielle, France by the 66th Division Chaplain. The couple had a five-day honeymoon on the French Riviera. The Army sent Stuart back to the States while Jean was reassigned to the 81st General Hospital back in Verdun. While there, the Army decided to return Jean back to the States as well in late December 1945.
The newlyweds first made their home in Lansing while Stuart completed his degree at MSU and then moved to Charlotte where he became a partner in the Charlotte Insurance Agency. After the war, Jean brought three children into the world and by the mid 1950’s she was hired as a floor nurse at Hayes Green Beach Hospital where she served for 22 years before being appointed Director of Nursing, a post in which she served eight years before retiring. Jean and her husband travelled extensively both before and after their retirements, including returning to the French chateau where they were married thirty years earlier. They went to Europe several times as well as Africa, took cruises in the Caribbean and visited several points around the United States, including many return trips to her beloved Colorado. Jean was also an active partner in her husband’s numerous trips and conferences as part of Rotary International. She was for many years active in the General Federation of Women’s Club-Charlotte, the church choir of the Lawrence Avenue Methodist Church and in her nineties spent a day each week on the campus of Michigan State University mentoring international graduate students at Friendship House MSU. Her most prized activities throughout her life were as Mother, Grandmother and Great Grandmother. Throughout her long life, she was quietly proud of her service to her country during World War II.
Even at 102, Jean was able to live in her own home in Charlotte until October when she was admitted to the Eaton County Health & Rehabilitation Services facility. Although declining and ill, during her four months there she was a delight to the caregivers and made a special point to value and thank each one individually every day.
Jean was preceded in death by her husband of sixty years, Stuart; her parents, Frederick and Edna; and her brothers, Russell and William. She is survived by her children, Pat (Gary) Webber (St. Cloud, Minnesota); George (Pat) Bearup (Traverse City); and Richard (Judy) Bearup (Charlotte); as well as her precious grandchildren Stuart, Grant, Brooke, Jay, Kate, Jessica and Ted. She had eight great grandchildren, Owen, Archer, Willa, Sutton, Winifred, Benjamin, Abbigayle and Zackery. She is also survived by Lawrence & Carol Fields (Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina) who were like a son and daughter to her; and Charles Schaefer (Charlotte) who was also like a son; and by her beloved nieces, Colette Ferran (Los Angeles) and Carol Bearup (Surprise, Arizona); and nephew, Duncan Crooks (Canton, Ohio).
A memorial service celebrating Jean’s life will be held in June at Pray Funeral Home. Once a date is finalized, it will be shared on Pray’s website. Those wishing to share a memory or words of tribute to Jean, do so on the website at www.PrayFuneral.com. For those wishing to consider donations in Jean’s memory, donations may be made to Friendship House MSU, Maple Hill Cemetery, Lawrence Avenue Methodist Church or Sparrow Eaton Hospital.
Mark Valentine Esterhai
Mark Valentine Esterhai, age 64, of Eaton Rapids, MI passed away on Thursday, January 26, 2023, after a courageous battle with ALS. Mark was born on February 14, 1958, in Pawtucket, Rhode Island the son of Louis and Elizabeth (Paterson) Esterhai. He moved to Eaton Rapids in the early 1960’s where he was raised at the VFW National Home and went to school with the class of 1975 and received his diploma in 1981. Mark worked at Nava Stone Company in Cement City as a brick manufacturer and was the first licensed riverboat captain in the state of Michigan. His passion was captaining riverboats and he drove for many years as the captain of the Michigan Princess out of Lansing. He was an avid fan of NASCAR, college football, music, golfing and taking long drives with no particular destination in mind. Mark loved hosting reunions and parties at his home especially for his family and extended VFW family.
Mark is survived by his wife, Susan (Brandt) Esterhai; daughter, Amber (Jason Church) Esterhai; “adopted” daughter, Gabby Rugg; brothers, Rob (Rae) Esterhai, Stephen Esterhai; sisters, Betty (Bill) Steele, Andrea Larson and several nieces, nephews, beloved friends and extended VFW family.
A memorial service will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 31, 2023 at Skinner Funeral Home, Eaton Rapids chapel with visitation starting at 11:00 a.m.. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the family in care of Susan Esterhai to help cover final expenses. To share memories or leave online condolences please visit www.SkinnerFuneralHomes.com.
Mary Jean Daniels
Mary Jean Daniels of Saginaw, Michigan passed away on Tuesday, January 24, 2023, at Island City Assisted Living, surrounded by her loving family. She resided in the Eaton Rapids area for the past 10 years. She was 96 years old. Mary Jean Townsend was born on June 22, 1926, in Saginaw, the only child to the late George L. and Josephine (Pump) Townsend. She was raised in Saginaw for her early life, and her later school years she lived in Detroit. Mary Jean graduated from Cooley High School, Class of 1944. With formal education completed, she worked for a Department of War Office. Her family then moved to Midland and Mary Jean worked for Dow Chemical and met her husband, Vitold “Vic” Daniels from New York. Two years later, they were married at St. Brigid Catholic Church, Midland on February 7, 1948. They moved to Munster, Indiana and Vic worked in Chicago. While living there Vic took ill and died on July 9, 1953. After Vic’s death, Mary Jean moved back to Saginaw to be close to her parents. She worked as a travel agent and had several secretarial jobs including working for Equitable Life for 25 years. Mary Jean was a faithful member of St. Dominic Parish – St. Steven Catholic Church. Mary Jean volunteered with the READ Association at a local elementary school. She loved to spend time in her flower gardens, sewing, golfing, bowling, caring for her kitties, and spending time with her family, friends and especially with the “Girls Night Out” group. Her biggest travel adventures were to Alaska and Austria.
Mary Jean will be dearly missed by her children: Gary (Patricia) Daniels of East Lansing; Barbara (Russell) Hicks of Eaton Rapids and Karen (Brian) Habeck of Midland; 10 grandchildren: Maggie, Matthew, David, Katrina, Erin, Kristin, Tara, Amy, Jeffrey and Monica Jean; and eight great grandchildren.
A funeral service for Mary Jean was held at 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 1, 2023, at the Deisler Funeral Home, 2233 Hemmeter Rd., Saginaw, MI 48603. Pastoral Associate, Sharon Wahl officiated with entombment following at Oakwood Mausoleum.
In lieu of flowers, those planning an expression of sympathy may wish to consider a donation to Humane Society of Saginaw County. Please share your thoughts and memories with the family through www.DeislerFuneralHome.com.