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Archive | Obituary

Ruth L. McMullen

Ruth L. McMullen 87 of Cedar Springs, died Sunday, November 12, 2017 at Metron of Cedar Springs. Ruth was born July 17, 1930 in Elmhurst, IL the daughter of Clarence and Olga (Gorling) Yeaw. She was active at the Cedar Springs Senior Center for many years and enjoyed playing cards, games, bingo and puzzles. Surviving are her children, Karen Bansen, David (Sherry) Patterson, Steven (Theresa) Patterson, Ray (Van) Patterson; 11 grandchildren; many great grandchildren; sisters, Elizabeth (Louis) Hartesvelt, Marian Yeaw. The service was on Wednesday, November 15 at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. Pastor Scott Sloan officiated. Interment Elmwood Cemetery, Cedar Springs. Memorial contributions may be made to Faith Hospice.

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

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Donald D. Cooper

Donald D. Cooper “Coop” of Sparta, Michigan, age 68, passed away on Saturday, November 4, 2017.  He was born to Royal and Ruth (Joslin) Cooper on October 10, 1949, in Grand Rapids, MI.  Donald enjoyed hunting, fishing, muscle and classic cars, gardening, and spending time with friends and family.  Donald is survived by his beloved significant other of over 7 years Nancy Sowerby; Nancy’s family Michael, Patrick, Patrick and Jailyn, children Randy Cooper and Chris (Kristine) Cooper; grandchildren Cameron, Ethan, Trenton, Devon (Austin), Chance; great-grandson Anthony, siblings Ken (Deb), Helen (Steve), Jo-Ann (Dave), Nancy, and Dale, and loving dad Royal Cooper.  He was preceded in death by his mother, wife Jeanne Cooper, and dog Maggie.  There will be a time of visitation from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 8, 2017, at Pederson Funeral Home, 127 N. Monroe Street NE, Rockford, MI 49341.  The funeral service for Donald was celebrated at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, November 9, 2017, at Pederson Funeral Home.  Pastor Bruce Wilson officiated.  There was a one hour visitation prior to the service.  Those wishing to offer expressions of sympathy may make a memorial contribution to Shriners Hospitals for Children, 2900 Rocky Point Dr., Tampa, FL 33607 or Spectrum Health Hospitals Fred and Lena Meijer Heart Center, 100 Michigan St. NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503.

Arrangements by Pederson Funeral Home, Rockford, www.pedersonfuneralhome.com

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BETTY JEAN KILTS

 

Betty Jean Kilts, 86 of Grant died Saturday, November 4, 2017 at Spectrum Health – Butterworth Campus from injuries sustained in an automobile accident. Betty was born May 20, 1931 in Sand Lake, Michigan the daughter of Nathan and Rachel (Simmons) Wall. Betty and her late husband, Norman had owned and operated the “Chicken Coop” a popular dance spot in the 1960’s. She retired from Keeler Brass in the early 1990’s. Betty was an active member of the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church and had been a member of the Order of Eastern Star. She enjoyed cooking and was known for her famous Mac & Cheese and Banana Cake. She loved music, playing croquet and dice and had enjoyed her cottage on Berry Lake in Cadillac. She was very active and driven and was the glue that held her family together. Surviving are her children, Diane (Dan) Christie, Rick (Ruth) Kilts, Connie (Joe) Watson, Liane (Dennis) Drier; 9 grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; special friend, Vance Miller and his children, Becky (Jack) Kokx, AJ Miller; sisters-in-law, Lois Kilts, Barbara Wainright; many nieces and nephews; family friend, Penny VanDenHout. She was preceded in death by her husband, Norman in 2000; 4 brothers and 2 sisters. The family greeted friends Tuesday, Nov. 7th at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs where the service was held Wednesday. Pastor Karen Sorden officiating. Interment Solon Township Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church.

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

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PETER JOHN LENAU

 

Peter John Lenau 62 of Sand Lake, passed away November 1, 2017 at his home. Peter was born August 18, 1955 in Grand Rapids, Michigan the son of William and Damienne (Simonin) Lenau. His favorite job was working in radio. He also worked in sales and advertising. He loved sports and was very musical playing trumpet and enjoying karaoke. Peter especially loved watching his own children and grandkids participate in all of their sport and musical activities, but above all his intense passion for Christ was his primary purpose in life. He is survived by his wife, Beth (Giddings); children, Rachel, Melanie, Anna, Jotham (Kati), Jeremiah (Joanna), Jamin, Meghan (Del) Alexander, Julia and Abigail; 10 grandchildren, Payton, Quinn, Kolten, Sophia, Vivian, Violet, Jonas, Simon, Del and Elijah; father, William; brothers, David and Bernie. He was preceded in death by his mom, Damienne; son, Jason; brother, Steven and sister, Mary. Services were held Saturday, November 4 at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. Memorial contributions may be made to the family to help with funeral expenses.

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

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GARRY RUNYON

 

Garry Runyon age 71 of Cedar Springs passed away October 31, 2017 at Metropolitan Hospital. He was born Dec. 10, 1945 in Grand Rapids the son of Wilbur and Mildred (Tucker) Runyon. Garry worked at various jobs which included the Rockford Papermill, Cedar Springs Stamping and Mico Industries. He enjoyed camping, fishing, hunting. In 1970 he married Phyllis Runyon who survives. Also surviving are a daughter, Anita Bartholomew of Sparta; two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren; one brother, Rex Runyon of Howard City; three sisters, Cathy Runyon of Morley, Laurie Bowen of Cedar Springs, Loretta Hawley of Gowen and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers, Duane and Walter and a sister Ruth.  Memorial services will take place on Saturday November 11 at 1 p.m. at the American Legion in Cedar Springs.  The family will greet friends from Noon until time of services.

Arrangements by Heckman Funeral Home, Howard City

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THEODORE JOHN LANINGA

Theodore John Laninga, “Ted”, passed away Monday, October 30, 2017 at 11:30 a.m. Ted was preceded in death by his sister, Wanda and his mother, Marilyn Laninga. Surviving are 5 daughters, Skye, Veronica, Beth, Rosie and Kathy; six grandchildren, Jacob, Theodore, Lisanna, Raven, Dylan and Lilly; brothers, Bob and Jim; sister, Verna; and multiple extended family members. Ted was honest, hard-working, self-sacrificing and a die-hard Star Trek fan. There will never be another person who could fill his shoes. As he would say “Hugs and Kisses, Bye”.  An informal luncheon to say “Goodbye”  was held on Wednesday, November 1st from 12:00-3:00 p.m. at his home in Sand Lake. Those wishing to make a donation in Ted’s memory may do so to Skye Woodcock or Rosie Laninga; all donations will be used to provide his headstone.

Arrangements by Hessel Cheslek Funeral Home, Sparta

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TROY DUANE PETERSEN

Troy Duane Petersen, age 50 of Cedar Springs, passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday, October 25, 2017. Preceding Troy in death are his grandparents, Irving & Myrtie Petersen and Frank & Ada Castle and a nephew, Anthony Petersen. Troy is survived by his parents, Duane & Connie Petersen of Cedar Springs; son, Shawn Petersen of Berkley; sister, Kim Rockinger of Cedar Springs; brothers, Jeremy (Kelly) Petersen of Alto, Aric (Amber) Petersen of Cedar Springs; nieces, Sailor Rockinger, Nautica Rockinger, Bianca Petersen, Avery Petersen all of Cedar Springs, Ada Petersen of Alto; nephews, Brayden Petersen and Owen Petersen, both of Alto and many aunts, uncles, and cousins along with lots of special friends. Troy loved to be outdoors. It didn’t matter if he was hunting, fishing, watching a sporting event or at the mud bogs, if he was outside and in the sun, he was having fun. Troy enjoyed watching sports, especially football and NASCAR, going downhill skiing and riding his snowmobile. However, Troy’s favorite thing was spending time with his friends and family, especially his nieces and nephews. Visitation with Troy’s family was held on Monday, October 30, 2017 from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. at Faith Lutheran Church in Sidney. Memorial services for Troy were held at 11:30 a.m. on Monday at Faith Lutheran with Pastor John Autio and Pastor Greg Cooper officiating.

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ROY ELIJAH BILLS

Roy Elijah Bills, 81, of Howard City, Michigan, went to be with the Lord October, 24, 2017 after a long, courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. An artist, a home builder, and all-around people lover, Roy left behind many friends and family members who remember him with love. He was a story teller who loved to tell jokes. Each year, he gave away hundreds of jars of pickles, tomatoes and freezer jam to everyone in town, family members, and anyone who dropped by for a visit. Roy was a great and respected man, husband, father, brother, uncle, grandfather and great-grandfather. Roy is survived by first wife of 25 years, Ann E. (Wright), mother of his children: daughter Rachel A. Bills (Ed Tusing), son Leroy (Yog) and wife (Kathy) and daughter Melody Mazurek. He married Arlene (Force), his wife and partner for 38 years. Arlene brought four sons into the marriage whom Roy loved. They are: Dennis (Cheryl) Force, Don (Cindy) Force, Dave (Lisa) Force, Scott (Toni) Force. Roy has 14 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. Surviving also are three of Roy’s siblings: Louise Culver, Luella Ludlow and Lorraine Moore (Phil). Preceded in death are siblings: Robert, Wayne, Raymond, Ray, Loretta Scram and Roger. Roy wanted everyone to know that his life-long best buddy, Bill Spence, was by his side through his illness and the last days of his life. For more information and stories about Roy, visit the Heckman Funeral Home web site. Family received visitors at Heckman Funeral Home, 225 E. Edgerton St., Howard City, MI, on Friday, Oct. 27 from 6-9 p.m. A funeral service was held at the VFW hall in Howard City, 1001 Ensley St. at 11:00 a.m. Interment to follow at Reynolds Township Cemetery, W. Almy Rd. in Howard City. A meal was served afterward at the VFW hall. In lieu of flowers, family requests donations be given to the VFW or Faith Hospice.

Arrangements by Heckman Funeral Home, Howard City

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GREGG F. GUNNELL

Gregg F. Gunnell, 63 of Durham, North Carolina passed away Wednesday, September 20, 2017 at Duke University Hospital. Gregg was born July 19, 1954 in Grand Rapids, Michigan the son of V. Fred and Carollee (Crane) Gunnell. He graduated from Houghton High School in 1972 and the University of Michigan with a PhD in Biological Anthropology and Geology. He was the director of the Division of Fossil Primates at Duke University Lemur Center, Durham, North Carolina. Gregg spent more than 40 years studying fossils hidden in layers of rock for clues to what kinds of animals lived there, what they looked like and how they changed over time. He first fell in love with fossils as a teenager, when his uncle took him to a quarry to look for trilobites. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in anthropology in 1976 and 1979, and completed a doctorate in anthropology and geology in 1986, all at the University of Michigan. After finishing his Ph.D., he worked for more than two decades alongside his graduate advisor Philip Gingerich as coordinator of the vertebrate fossil collections in Michigan’s Museum of Paleontology. While an undergraduate at Michigan, he went on his first expedition to Bighorn Basin in northwest Wyoming to dig for mammal bones in the approximately 50-million-year-old rocks. Over the next four decades he would spend several months a year looking for fossils in far-flung places including Wyoming, Indonesia, Pakistan, Sumatra and other locales. Armed with screens and chisels and often crawling on all fours, he was able to recognize the knobby shape or textured surface of a single worn tooth or bit of jawbone in seemingly barren rock. At night, Gunnell and his colleagues would sit in the camp cook tent identifying and cataloging the day’s fossil discoveries. “Gregg was astonishing in this respect,” said paleontologist Jonathan Bloch of the Florida Museum of Natural History, who got his start collecting fossils in Wyoming with Gunnell in the early 1990s. “He could identify mammal species based on partial teeth with only one or two cusps remaining.” It was grubby, trying work. Those who accompanied him in the field recall waiting in international hotels for days for collecting permits, enduring long, bumpy drives through the backcountry and watching dust storms obliterate their makeshift camps. Known for his warmth and dry sense of humor, “Gregg could lighten the mood on the hottest, dustiest, most awful fossil-less days in the field,” said Northeastern Illinois University professor Lesa Davis, who worked alongside Gunnell for eight summers in Wyoming in the 1980s and 1990s. He was often the breakfast cook, “a particularly thankless job of getting up before everyone else in the morning to cook for 12 or so cranky people,” Davis said. “When he wasn’t in the field he was globe-trotting to museums in Europe or Africa, discovering fossils in drawers passed over again and again by others who hadn’t recognized their significance,” said Gunnell’s former student Doug Boyer, now a faculty member at Duke. His frequent travels to museums and dig sites took him to every state but Rhode Island and more than 30 countries. Much of Gunnell’s early career was focused on primates, but his work took a turn in 2000, when he traveled to Tanzania as part of an international team of scientists invited to excavate an ancient lake bed. There they found the fossil skeleton of a tiny thumb-sized animal that turned out to be a bat, dubbed Tanzanycteris. Thus began Gunnell’s research on the origin of bats, delicate-boned animals he was attracted to, he said, because their rarely preserved fossils “interest nobody.” He became accustomed to dispelling myths about these misunderstood creatures. “Bats are not blind,” Gunnell told an audience at Canada’s Royal Tyrrell Museum in 2016. “And the last place they would ever want to be is in your hair. Trust me.” Gunnell joined Duke in 2011 to take the helm of the Duke Lemur Center’s Division of Fossil Primates, a collection that today contains roughly 32,000 fossil specimens from Egypt, Madagascar, Colombia and Wyoming, ranging from 55 million to 500 years old. Some specimens are represented by a single tooth, a bit of jaw or a partial skull, others by complete skeletons. Housed in an unassuming brick building at 1013 Broad St., two miles from the heart of campus, the collection is widely considered one of America’s most important resources for the study of primate evolution. Colleagues describe Gunnell as pivotal to enabling more students and scholars to use the collection, the life’s work of the late paleontologist Elwyn Simons. Under Gunnell’s leadership, use of the collection increased more than five-fold. He would even invite researchers to stay at his house to save money on lodging while visiting the fossils from abroad. He also won multiple grants, including one from the National Science Foundation to make 3-D scans of the fossils and put them online, thus making them available free of charge to anyone with internet access, without having to travel to Durham. Gunnell edited three books and published more than 120 scholarly papers, not only on bats and early primates but also on ungulates, pangolins, carnivores, snakes, lizards, fish, and geology and stratigraphy. “Gregg had no care about awards, personal gain or fame,” said University of Michigan paleontologist Bill Sanders, Gunnell’s friend and collaborator for over 30 years. “He did science for the right reasons — for the thrill of discovery and the desire to find things out, to learn about the natural world.” Along the way he supported and encouraged a generation of students. His colleague Erik Seiffert of the University of Southern California noted, “the field of vertebrate paleontology would literally be smaller if it had not been for Gregg taking so many students under his wing and giving them the opportunities and encouragement that they needed to move forward and be successful.” “Gregg took a bunch of us into some of the toughest collecting anywhere and taught us how to find fossils where they were few and far between,” said Gunnell’s longtime friend John-Paul Zonneveld, now a paleontologist at the University of Alberta. “I’m honored to have been part of that group.” Surviving are his parents, Fred and Carollee Gunnell; sister, Katie (Daniel) Webber; nephews, Corey (Maureen) Webber and daughter Casssandra; and Coleton Webber. A memorial service will be held Saturday, November 11 at 11:00 a.m. at the United Methodist Church, Cedar Springs. The family will greet friends at 10:00 a.m. Pastor Karen Sorden officiating. A luncheon will follow in the fellowship hall. Private interment Solon Township Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Duke University Division of Fossil Primates online at http://lemur.duke.edu/discover/division-of-fossil-primates/ or mail to Duke Lemur Center, 3705 Erwin Road, Durham, NC 27705. Make check to Duke University and place, “in memory of Gregg Gunnell” in the memo line. 

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, 

Cedar Springs.

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CLARENCE L. MILLER

Clarence L. “Moose” Miller age 80 of Sand Lake, died Tuesday, October 24, 2017 at his home. Mr. Miller was born January 26, 1937 in Detroit, Michigan the son of Roy and Catherine (Newville) Miller. He graduated from Montrose High School and was a member of their Football Hall of Fame. He served in the U.S. Army from 1956 – 58 and retired from AC Delco in Flint after 32 years of service. Moose enjoyed fishing, hunting, golfing, camping and cooking. Surviving are his wife, Maxine (Frey); children, Ron (Julie) Miller, Lyle (Brian) Miller; stepchildren, Colette Bergman, Dolores (John) Nagelhout, Kevin (Joann) Parker; 11 grandchildren; 19 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, 3 brothers and 1 sister. The family will receive friends Thursday from 6-8 pm at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs where the service will be held Friday 11:00 a.m. Visitation will be held Friday at 10:00 a.m. Pastor Darryl Miller officiating. Private family interment Crandall Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Spectrum Health Hospice.

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

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