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Jameson Roy Mather was born on Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at 12:20 pm to parents Sean and Stephanie Mather (Mentzer). He weighed 7 pounds, 12 ounces, and was 19.5 inches long. Jameson went to be with his heavenly Father at 12:45 pm the same day. Jameson has given us a lifetime of love during his short time on Earth. Jameson’s paternal grandparents are Jeff and Sandy Mather of Cedar Springs, Michigan and his maternal grandparents are Jim and Kim Mentzer of Overisel, Michigan.

The Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation provided a volunteer photographer to capture precious images of Jameson in the hospital. In lieu of flowers, we would be pleased to have you support their mission to help other grieving parents through their remembrance photography at nowilaymedowntosleep.org. A funeral service will be 11:00 am, Saturday, September 27, 2014 at Overisel Reformed Church 4706 142nd Avenue, Holland, MI 49423. Reverend André Batt will be officiating. Burial will be in Overisel Cemetery. Visitation will be from 9:30 – 11:00 am prior to the service at the church. To sign an on-line registry or leave a memory please visit www.dykstrafuneralhome.com.

Arrangements are by Dykstra Funeral Home – Downtown Chapel


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Arrow Danford Peters, 94, of Brunswick, Missouri died on September 18, 2014 at the Brunswick Nursing Home. Graveside services will be held at Elliott Grove Cemetery, Brunswick, Missouri,  Monday, September 22, 2014 at 1:30 P.M. Reverend Jonathan Rice and Reverend Bill Gamber officiating. He was born on May 6, 1920 at Laingsburg, Michigan, the son of Daniel and Bernice Miller Peters. He was married Dorthy Jean Bell on January 22, 1941 at Laingsburg, Michigan. Dorthy preceded him in death on July 5, 2014. He and Dorthy were former residents of Poplar Bluff, Missouri  and Cedar Springs, Michigan. He had worked as an automobile mechanic for several automobile dealerships. He was an avid hunter and fisherman and enjoyed gardening. He was a member of the Brunswick Baptist Church and had taught young adult Sunday School classes in several churches over the years. He is survived by his daughter, Ruth Rice and her husband Herbert of Brunswick, Missouri; three grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. He was also preceded in death by his parents, one brother, one sister and two half-brothers. Memorials may be made to: The United Indian Mission for the Broken Arrow Ranch, and may be left at or mailed to: Breshears Memorial Chapel, 207 W. Broadway, Brunswick, MO 65236.

Arrangements by Breshears Memorial Chapel


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The Pearl of great price

By Ronnie McBrayer

By Ronnie McBrayer

John Steinbeck’s literary genus is well known, but not many have read his penetrating little book called The Pearl. Steinbeck’s story begins with a poor Mexican pearl diver named Kino. He happily ekes out a living for his wife and son with a little canoe and a thatch hut on the beach.

When Kino’s child is bitten by a scorpion, his world is turned upside down, for he does not have enough money to pay a doctor to treat the child or a priest to pray for him. At this moment, Kino discovers a pearl as big as his fist: The “Pearl of the World,” the most incredible treasure the village has ever seen.

Now Kino will be rich. His son will be healed. Life will be transformed. But, things don’t work out that way. Greed takes over the village. Thieves attempt to rob him. Kino’s friends grow psychotically jealous. Kino begins to spend all his energies protecting his treasure.

In the end Kino loses everything: His home, his child, his little canoe by which he made a living, and his ability to escape to a better life. He and his wife stand on the shoreline and heave the evil pearl back into the ocean.

Steinbeck’s little story is about far more than a poor Mexican diver. It a tale of human nature; it is about getting what one wants, only to discover that the fulfillment of that desire is one’s undoing.

We all enter this world as treasure seekers. The search is intrinsic, natural, and good. Jesus spoke of it in a way that Steinbeck copied: We are searching for the “Pearl of Great Price,” that invaluable treasure of the soul worth more than all the world.

The glitch is that many of the things we seek are detrimental to us and to the world. My guess is that the majority of our suffering is the direct result of our improper and misguided searches. To quote an old country song, we go “looking for love in all the wrong places.” And when we go looking in all the wrong places, we end up with all the wrong outcomes.

But it’s never too late to find satisfaction. We just have to turn our attention to the true treasure of the soul, the Pearl of Great Price. We just have to search in the right place, and almost magically, we end up with the right results.

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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Marguerite L. Fifield

Marguerite FifieldMarguerite L. Fifield 93 of Pierson, died Friday, September 19, 2014, at Spectrum Health United Memorial Campus, Greenville. Mrs. Fifield was born March 1, 1921 in Sand Lake, MI, the daughter of Robert and Esther (Anderson) Flintoff. She was preceded in death by her husband, Harold, in 1986; daughter-in-law, Mary; and grandson, Wayne. She enjoyed bingo, quilting and puzzles. Surviving are her children, Robert and friend Lynn, Richard (Alice), Bonnie (Gary) Woodruff, Gary (Dixie), Jim (Sherry), Roger (Nance), Mary (Rix) Robinson, Gerald, Wayne (Terri), Janet (Gerald) Skelonc, Nancy (Jeff) Olsen, Dennis, Donnie, Patty (Jack) Price, Mark (Annette); 33 grandchildren and spouses; 63 great-grandchildren; 6 great-great grandchildren; several nieces and nephews. The family will receive friends Tuesday, Sept. 23 at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs, where services will be held Wednesday at 11:00 am. Pastor Joel Cooper officiating. Interment Pierson Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Friends of the Michigan Veterans Home.

Arrangements by Bliss Witters & Pike Funeral Home.

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Why we need children

Courtland-OakfieldUMCPastor Robert Eckert

Courtland-Oakfield United Methodist Church

10295 Myers Lake Ave., Rockford


Among the first stories you’ll come across if you read a Bible from the beginning concerns a man named Abraham and his wife, Sarah. Part of their story is a promise God makes to them that they will be the matriarch and patriarch of an entire nation. “I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore,” God says in the story.

However, at age 100 and 90, respectively, Abraham and Sarah are skeptical; in fact, they fall down laughing. But in this tale what is impossible for mortals turns out to be possible for God who does just as God promised. Sarah conceives and bears a son and celebrates his birth with a different kind of laughter: “Sarah said, ‘God has given me laughter. Everyone who hears about it will laugh with me.’”

We all know how an infant’s coo or a child’s smile can soften the hardest heart. But children mean more to our world than sentimental warm fuzzies. Children are the counterbalance to disappointment, cynicism, and regret. Unfortunately, the scales tip disproportionately toward pessimism when the seniors outweigh the juniors, a trend we have seen in this country, as the baby boom, following World War II, with its average of 25 births per 1,000 population between 1945 and 1959, tapered off to 16 or fewer births per 1,000 population since 1972 (http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0005067.html).

I’m not maligning folks at the upper end of the age continuum, I just turned 60 myself, but when a person can reasonably conclude that he/she is somewhere in the final 25 percent of his/her life, impending loss produces grief; grief breeds anger and depression; and the anger and depression of unmet expectations and unfulfilled goals is frequently expressed in variations of the lament that everything is worse than it ever was and the country is going to hell.

When one of my now adult sons was a child, there was a day he went to great lengths to turn his bedroom into a mini-theater, created and gave tickets to his parents and brothers, and put on a one-boy show. It was delightful. God gave me the gift of laughter and with it reasons to be optimistic and joyful. Recently his young son, with sword in hand, announced, “I’m a pirate; I’m here to steal your golden balloons!” It was another gift of laughter; another reason to hold on to hope.

Children give all of us a reason for living, a reason for being productive, honorable, charitable, and faithful. But, please don’t read anything into this from your own perspective on the several issues that fall under that nebulous heading of “family values.” I’m not making a political statement here. And please don’t take offense; it is not my intent to disrespect anyone who is uninterested in having children nor to be insensitive to anyone unable to have children.

It’s just that I was listening to the news on my car radio today, wondering whether everything is worse than it ever was, when I caught the smile on the face of the girl in the car next to me as she waved and giggled with the child in the seat beside her and found myself thinking, “along with fresh air and clean water, we desperately need children.”


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M. Jean Pratt Chulski

C-OBIT-chulskiM. Jean Pratt Chulski, 91 of Cedar Springs, passed into life eternal on Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at Clark Retirement Community. Jean was born April 28, 1923 in Courtland Township, MI the daughter of Eugene and Jennie (Robson) Benham. Her parents, brothers, Nan and Leon; sisters, Marion Ward, Marjorie Mulford, Marie Opperman Cain and Jane Rice, as well as nephew, Gilbert Rice preceded her in death. Jean attended Benham School and graduated from Cedar Springs High School Class of 1941. She married a south Courtland boy, Ross Pratt in July of 1946 and he preceded her in 1976. Ross and Jean had four children, Jan (Duane) Ellis, John (Patty) Pratt, Mary (Jack) Tinholt, Joan (Dennis) Karn; nine grandchildren and their spouses; five great grandchildren. After Ross’s death, she married Karl Chulski in 1982 and he preceded her in 2002. She is also survived by his children, Lois (Harrison) Brigham, Karl (Maria) Chulski, Mark (Val) Chulski; Karl’s grandchildren and great grandchildren; numerous cherished nieces, nephews and friends. Jean was a longtime member (66 years) of  the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church. The family will greet friends Sunday from 2-4 and 6-8 pm at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. Her funeral will be held Monday 11:00 am at the United Methodist Church, 140 S. Main St, Cedar Springs. Pastor Steve Lindeman officiating. Interment Courtland Township Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, Clark Retirement Community or Emmanuel Hospice.

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C-Engage-JohnsonFeighnerMr. and Mrs. Nort and Kelly Johnson are pleased to announce the engagement of their daughter, Kaitlin Elizabeth Johnson to Alexander Christian Feighner, son of Catherine Griesmer and Charles Feighner. The couple will be united in marriage on December 13, 2014 and will reside in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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25th Anniversary




John and Barb Wiles of Cedar Springs are celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary on September 23, 2014. John and Barb were married on September 23, 1989 and have two children, Luke Wiles and Meredith Wiles.

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C-obit-SmithBruce O. Smith 74 of Cedar Springs, died Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at his home. Bruce was born April 25, 1940 in Lakeview, Michigan the son of Olin and Lucille (Christensen) Smith. He was a millwright and had retired from Federal Mogul (Sparta Foundry) in 2000. He was a member of the Hungerford Saddle Club and the Flat River Tractor Pullers. Surviving are his wife, Sharon, whom he married on Oct. 20, 1961; sons, Scott A. Smith and Randy B. Smith; granddaughter, Abigaile; brother, Dennis Smith; several nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be held at a later date. Memorials may be made to Spectrum Health Hospice, 4500 Breton SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49508.

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


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Leonard E. Gould, 89 of Cedar Springs, died Friday, September 12, 2014 at home. Leonard was born April 27, 1925 in Courtland Township, Michigan the son of Forrest and Rose (Schumacher) Gould. He was a veteran of World War II serving in the U.S. Army, and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. He was a Farmall tractor mechanic, heating and cooling serviceman and had been assistant chief for the City of Cedar Springs Fire Department. Leonard was a lifetime member, over 65 years, of the Glen Hill American Legion Post, Cedar Springs. Surviving are his wife, Thelma (Ball), whom he married on June 18, 1948; children, Beth A. Gould-Phelps, Bruce E. (Deborah) Gould, Douglas A. Gould; 10 grandchildren; 27 great grandchildren; brother, Ralph Gould; sister-in-law, Adeline Rusche; brother-in-law, George LeValley; several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, sisters, Marjorie Gould, Marian Smith, Marie Keene; and a grandson, Derek Gould in 1980. The family greeted friends Tuesday, Sept. 16 at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. The service was held Wednesday 11:00 am at Courtland-Oakfield United Methodist Church. Pastor Robert Eckert officiating. Interment Courtland Township Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the Courtland Oakfield United Methodist Church. God Bless Our Troops!

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


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