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Ronny Merlington

Ronny Merlington

Ronny Merlington

 Ronny R. Merlington, 76 of Cedar Springs, died Sunday, April 13, 2014 at Spectrum Health-United Memorial Hospital. Ronny was born September 1, 1937 in Pierson, MI the son of Robert and Ruth (Madison) Merlington. He graduated from Sand Lake High School in 1955 and received a Bachelor degree from Michigan State University. He taught school in Sand Lake for 2 years and then for the next 36 years for Cedar Springs Public Schools. He was a coach for 20 years for football, basketball and baseball. In addition to his dedication as an educator, he had a passion for public service. He served as a Cedar Springs Council Member, Mayor Pro Tem, and Mayor. He was a member and chair of the Zoning Board of Appeals for 25 years. He was a member of Squadron 287 of the Sons of The American Legion and an officer and Detachment Commander of the entire state of Michigan and National Executive Committee Man. In retirement, he was a licensed trainer and enjoyed his horses and harness racing with his wife, Shirley. He was an avid hunter for his entire life and had a perfect record on successful deer hunts. Surviving are his wife, Shirley Ann (Misner); children, Dominic (Christine) Merlington, Robert (Amy) Merlington; grandchildren, Rebekah Merlington, Robert Burmeister, Kristofer Merlington, Ethan Robinson, Elizabeth Robinson; brother, Russel (Patricia) Merlington; sister, Rosalynn Wall; many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his brother, Rex Merlington and sister, Rosanne Morris. The family received friends Tuesday, April 15 at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs where services were held on Wednesday, April 16. Pastor Mary Ivanov officiating. Interment Elmwood Cemetery, Cedar Springs. Memorial contributions may be made to the Cedar Springs Museum, Cedar Springs Public Library, or the Cedar Springs Community Food Pantry.

 

 

 

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Too good to keep to ourselves

Grace-ChurchPastor Kevin Reed

Grace Evangelical Free Church

4714 13 Mile Rd, Rockford

 

 

 

Galatians 4:4-7: 4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba,Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. (NIV)

 

If you have placed your faith in Jesus, then you have a story. The Bible uses some amazing words to describe your story. Words like:

Redeem, which means to buy back from something.

Adoption, which means to welcome into a family by choice.

Sonship, which means you are no longer a slave but an actual child of the living God and, if a child, then an heir, which means you have a rightful claim to all the possessions of your Father!

And, most importantly, abba, which means that the Almighty God of the universe lets you climb up into his lap and call him daddy!

Our story goes something like this:  “Once I was a slave to my sin, but God sent his son to die on a cross and shed his blood, in order to buy me back from the penalty and judgment of my sin. By putting my faith in Him, he chose to welcome me into his family and make a son who has an inheritance, instead of a slave who has nothing. And most of all, he allows me to call him my Dad, as he promises to watch over and care for me all of my days.”

Now that is an amazing story! That is a story that is just too good to keep to ourselves!  Yet, many Christians do just that. They have a story that is so amazing and so wonderful, and it has the power to change the life of all those who hear it, and they keep it to themselves. If you are a child of God, then you have a story to tell that is far too wonderful and life-changing to be kept to yourself. You come in contact with people each day who need to hear this amazing story of a God who loved them so much he sent his son to redeem them and adopt them into his family. But if you aren’t going to tell them, then who will? God has placed special people into your life that he wants you to share this “too good to be true” story with. So why aren’t you sharing it with them?

At this time of the year, people are more receptive to the Gospel message than any other time, and they are more apt to come to church with you these next two Sundays than any other Sunday (besides Christmas) throughout the year. So, why not step out on a limb and tell someone about Jesus? Why not invite them to church on Easter Sunday? Why not step out of your comfort zone? After all, the good news about Jesus is just too good to keep to ourselves.

 

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Betty Jo Stults

In Loving Memory of 

Our beloved Mother, Grandma & Great-Grandma

Betty Jo Stults

November 4, 1938 to April 13, 2012

 

Until We Meet Again

 

Those special memories of you

will always bring a smile

if only we could have you back

for just a little while

Then we could sit and talk again

just like we used to do

you always meant so very much

and always will too

The fact that you’re no longer here

will always cause us pain

but you’re forever in our hearts

until we meet again

 

Deeply missed by your

Loving Daughter Cheryl and Son-in-Law Greg, and their family

Greg Jr., Pam, Samantha, Courtney

Roger, Tasha, Adrian, Ryan

Alicia, David, Corey, Tayla

Kristina and April

 

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Dean Richard Chapman

In loving memory of 

Dean Richard Chapman

October 24, 1966 to April 10, 1986

 

I wonder?

 

I wonder what it would be like if you were still with us

I wonder what your life would’ve become

I wonder if your dreams would have come true

I wonder if you’d be a successful architect

I wonder if you’d still be playing basketball

I wonder if you’d have more kids and how many

I wonder what kind of father you’d be

I wonder how all our lives would be different

I wonder if I’ll ever see you again

I wonder if you’ll remember me

 

Even though I only got to spend 13 years of my life with you in it, and it’s been 28 years since your death, I still miss you and wish you were here.

 

Love, 

Your little sister, 

Belinda

aka Boleggia Wart Knee

 

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JOHN E. FORTUNA

John E. Fortuna, II age 73 of Belmont, died Friday, April 4, 2014 at Spectrum Health – Butterworth Campus. John was born January 20, 1941 in Grand Rapids, Michigan the son of John and Nina (Griffin) Fortuna. He worked in Tool & Die and served an apprenticeship at Lear Siegler and then worked at Knape & Vogt, Auto Die and retired from General Motors on 36th St. in 2006 after 25 years. Surviving are his wife, Sally (Morris); children, John E. III and Jeannie, Jerry, Cindy (Fortuna) and Doug Ellinger; grandchildren, Lindsey and Griffin Fortuna, Riley, Ashton, and Triston Cherry; 1 step granddaughter, Megan Ellinger; mother, Nina Fortuna; sister, Joan and Bill Goss. He was preceded in death by his son Rick in 1991 and his father in 1997. The family received friends Tuesday, April 8 at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs where services were held Wednesday, April 9. Pastor Chuck Smith officiating. Interment Elmwood Cemetery, Cedar Springs. Memorial contributions may be made to Spectrum Health Hospice and Pallative Care, 4500 Breton SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49508.

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs

 

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ARLENE RIECKMAN

15-obit-Rieckman-webArlene Rieckman (nee Wilson), age 82, of Cedar Springs, died Sunday, April 6, 2014. She was preceded in death by her children Patricia Rieckman and James M. Rieckman and a sister Patricia Petersen. Surviving are her daughters, Debbie Riddell of Middleburg, Florida; Mary Curler (Jerry) of Newaygo; six grandchildren, Michelle (Edward) Ross of Rockford, Kenneth (Kevin) Curler-Panter of Grand Rapids, Lindsey (Christopher) Robbins of Belding, Justin (Stacey) Riddell of Middleburg, Florida; Melissa Adams of Virginia Beach, Virginia and Lauren (Jason) Gay of Middleburg, Florida; her great grandchildren, Kayla, Christian, Maggie, Jamar, Josiah, Sariah, Rylee, Dominic, Madison, Jaylen, Kyle, Courtney; six brothers, Owen (Shirley), Fran (Nancy), Richard (Barbara), Larry (Paula), Tom (Claira) and Mike and two sisters, Dixie (Jerry) Kooienga and Barb (Barry) Philipp; many nieces and nephews and her beloved dog Jazmin. Friends may meet the family from noon until time of the service at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 15 at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. Per her wishes cremation has taken place. Memorials may be given to one’s charity of choice.

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike, Cedar Springs

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Carroll Shelby Graves

C-OBIT-GravesCarroll Shelby Graves passed away at his home in Cedar Springs, on Wednesday, April 2, 2014.  Carroll was born on December 12, 1935, in Rockford, MI the son of Shelby Leigh and Floy Althea (Hammer) Graves.  He will be sadly missed by his children:  Debra Slates (Stanley) of New Era; Deanna Saut (Randy) of Claysville, PA; Pamela Benedict (Randall) of Cedar Springs; Douglas Graves (Ellen) of Grand Rapids; Patricia Miller (Roger) of Sparta; Denise Collins (Paul) of Sand Lake; Melissa Hekkema (Mike) of Norton Shores; and Denise Graves of Sand Lake.  He will also be sadly missed by his 25 grandchildren, 34 great-grandchildren, his sister Shirley Grover, and his long-time companion, Patricia Thome.  Carroll was preceded in death by his wife of 47 years, Suzanne (Baribeau); and his sons Timothy Graves and Mark Graves. He served in the U.S. Marine Corp during the Vietnam War. Carroll was a tool and die maker, and retired in 2000.  He spent many years serving his church, Mary Queen of Apostles in Sand Lake, and his community.  As a young man he was active with the Rockford Jaycees and was the Rockford Scout Master.  He was involved with the Rogue River Art Association.  He was a member of the Knights of Columbus for 32 years, attaining the level of 4th Degree, serving for many terms as the Grand Knight, and also as the District Deputy.  Carroll very much enjoyed boating, fishing, camping, traveling, oil painting, and spending time with his large family. The family received friends Friday, April 4 at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. Mass of Christian Burial is Saturday at Mary Queen of Apostles, Sand Lake. Rev. Fr. Lam Le celebrant. Interment Rockford Cemetery with military honors by the U.S. Marines. In lieu of flowers please make donations to the Huntington’s Disease Society of Western Michigan.

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs

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Spring (time) cleaning

Pastor Craig T. Owens

Calvary Assembly of God

810 17 Mile Rd, Cedar Springs

www.cscalvary.orghttp://craigtowens.com

 

 

 

Now that it appears that—let’s cross our fingers—Spring has finally sprung, many people will be throwing open the windows, airing out the house, and cleaning up some things that have accumulated over the long, icy winter. Ah, yes, the annual rites of spring cleaning!

One place that lots of things accumulate is our schedule. Between sports schedules, church activities, music lessons, grocery store trips, making meals, parent-teacher conferences, birthday parties, and so many other things, our schedules are packed chockfull.

In our relationships love is typically spelled “t-i-m-e.” So if you don’t have enough t-i-m-e to express your love, perhaps some spring cleaning is needed.

A few things to remember:

(1) Time is finite. You cannot call a time-out, you cannot bank up some time for another day, you cannot slow down the clock. Once you commit to something, that time is gone forever.

(2) It’s okay to say “No.” A friend of mine recently shared this thought: Whenever you say “Yes” to anything, there is less of you and your time for something else. So make sure your “Yes” is worth the “less.” If the “less” is t-i-m-e with your loved ones, please say a guilt-free “No, thank you.”

(3) Make your “Yes” mean yes. If you do decide to commit to something, then honor your commitment. Jesus said, “Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’” (Matthew 5:37). And wise King Solomon warned, “It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it” (Ecclesiastes 5:5).

(4) Time is your servant, not the other way around. Make your time work for you; don’t be a slave to the clock. A good indication that you’re the slave and not the master is that feeling like you are always running late for everything. Cut out some non-essentials like TV time or countless Facebook hours so you can make t-i-m-e for what’s really important.

Happy Spring (time) Cleaning!

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Kingdom curriculum

by Ronnie McBrayer

by Ronnie McBrayer

 

Once upon a time the animals organized a school. They adopted a curriculum of running, climbing, swimming, and flying. The duck was excellent in swimming and flying, but was extremely poor at running, so he had to drop swimming and stay after school for additional practice. This gave the duck’s poor, webbed feet calluses, so he became only average at swimming.

Meanwhile, the rabbit started at the top of the class in running, but had a complete mental breakdown because of so much make-up work in swimming. The squirrel was excellent in climbing, but when her flying teacher made her start from the ground rather than from the treetops, her grades in all subjects plummeted.

The maverick in the school was the eagle. He was stubborn, independent, hardly a team player, and gloated in climbing class that he could beat everyone else to the top of the tree, but he always used his own way to get there. The prairie dogs stayed out of the school altogether because the administration would not add digging to the curriculum.

At the end of the year, none of the animals did very well. An unusual eel that was an exceedingly good swimmer, but that could also run, climb and fly just a little, had the highest cumulative score. He was selected as the valedictorian though his grades were barely above average.

I love that story. Always have. It teaches a lesson so easily forgotten or ignored: Nobody can be great at everything. But everybody can do something exceptionally well. Every person has his or her gift, his or her calling, his or her God-given ability. When it is properly employed, it works like magic. When it is not, or when we all try to do everything, it’s a disaster.

My experience in the church is that we often force individuals “to be something they aren’t,” demanding that everyone do everything. We create fine “animal schools” that foster frustration, shame, and false competition. Everyone ends up tepidly average, and we fail to allow individuals to develop their unique gifts and callings.

We are all gifted differently and radically so; and people must be allowed to explore, expand, and enhance their distinct talents. People must be given space and place to “to their part,” whatever part that is. It’s a principle that works, not only in the animal kingdom, but also in the kingdom of God.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, pastor, and author. His newest book is “The Gospel According to Waffle House.” You can read more at www.ronniemcbrayer.me

 

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Vern & Linda Baker

50th Anniversary

C-50ANNIV-Baker1

C-50ANNIV-Baker2

Vern & Linda Baker

 

Married on April 3, 1964, Vern and Linda (MacEachron) Baker, of Cedar Springs, celebrated their 50th anniversary. Their children are; Heidi and Doug Tackmann, Rich and Jennifer Baker, Eric and Kim Baker. Their grandchildren are; Austin and Katie Tackmann, Ethan and Nicole Baker, Avery Baker, Zachary and Zoey Paletta, Marc and Rachael Destine and great-granddaughter Ava Destine.

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