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Tag Archive | "Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home"

Man takes own life after setting fire to home


 

This pole barn was completely destroyed in a suspicious fire Friday morning, May 18, 2018. Post photo by J. Reed

by Judy Reed

When Paul Schrier visited Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral home last Friday morning, he walked by a man sitting in his vehicle with the window down and gave him a friendly hello. He doesn’t remember if the man responded.

“I may have been the last person to talk to him,” said Schrier.

When he finished his business at the funeral home, Schrier noticed the man was still there in the parking lot as he headed over to Elmwood Cemetery to dig more holes for the Avenue of Flags. About 10 minutes later, Schrier heard a gunshot. When he looked to see what was going on, he saw the flashing lights of police at the funeral home. And then he heard another shot. What Schrier didn’t know was that this was the tragic end of the search for Bruce Bott, the 71-year-old Algoma Township man who had set his house on fire and burned his property earlier that morning, before ending his life in the parking lot of the funeral home.

A fire was set by the homeowner in the basement of this home on Algoma Ave. Post photo by J. Reed.

It started early Friday morning, May 18. According to Algoma Township Fire Chief Troy Guerra, they were toned out at 6:48 a.m. to a structure fire at 12131 Algoma Ave, between 14 and 15 Mile Roads. When they arrived on scene, they found the basement of the home on fire, as well as the pole barn. He said they sent out a second alarm on the pole barn fire to call in more aid. 

Guerra said they didn’t find anyone inside the home.

The fire also spread to a small shed behind the home, which was extinguished. The pole barn was destroyed.

The fire was deemed suspicious, and while firefighters from multiple fire departments battled the blazes, and the Michigan State Police investigated the fire, the Kent County Sheriff Department followed up on information they were given about a contentious divorce, in case the fire was deemed arson. The divorce between Bott and his wife was finalized April 30. So police began to search for Bott.

This shed near the home was also burned in the fire May 18. Post photo by J. Reed.

At approximately 9:30 a.m. the Kent County Sheriff Office received a call from Bliss-Witters & Pike funeral home in the 13000 block of Northland Dr NE. The caller reported a suspicious person who had just arrived at their facility. Dispatchers learned that Bott was sitting in his vehicle in the parking lot after dropping off a last will and testament to the funeral home.

The man was still sitting in his vehicle when officers arrived, but as deputies approached, they saw him shoot himself with a handgun. No shots were fired by responding deputies.

Bott was safely transported to Spectrum Butterworth with life threatening injuries. Shortly after 1:00 p.m., he was pronounced dead by medical staff at Spectrum Butterworth.

There were no injuries to the man’s ex-wife, who was not living at the home at the time of the fire.

 

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TONI R. BARNHILL


Toni R. (Felix) Barnhill age 59 of Cedar Springs, passed away Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at her home. She was born November 15, 1958 in Grand Rapids, Michigan the daughter of Earle and Della (Kloostra) Felix. She was a very loving wife and sister. Toni enjoyed playing games and knitting. She is survived by her husband, Larry Martin Barnhill; children, Tia K. (Curtis) LaCombe, Taylor L. Barnhill; grandchildren, Brant, Laurin, Alexander LaCombe and Diesel Jones; siblings, Mary Felix, Corinne (Lyle) Streeter, Charles (Julie) Wiersma; mother-in-law, Caroline Barnhill; brothers and sisters-in-law, William Barnhill (Levi), Mary (Jim) Reimert, Edward Barnhill and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents; siblings, Karen Puite, Frank Felix and Sally Heald. The family greeted friends Saturday, May 19 at Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. There was no funeral service. Memorial contributions to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.

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

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JERRY R. MOURER


 

Jerry R. Mourer age 74 of Pierson passed away Tuesday, April 17, 2018 at home. He was born in Rockford, Michigan on March 18, 1944, the son of Clyde and Laura (Phillips) Mourer. He enjoyed fishing, hunting and camping. He is survived by his loving companion of 34 years, Corinne Trader; children, Deborah Alonso, Laurie Ickowski, Michael Mourer, Tina Mourer; mother-in-law and father-in-law, Bill & Sal Brooms; 6 grandchildren; 9 great-grandchildren; several brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law and nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and siblings, Earl, Walter, Melvin and Ruby Mourer. The family met with friends 11 a.m. Monday with the funeral service following at 12 p.m. at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. Memorial contributions may be made to the charity of one’s choice.

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

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JOAN E. BEACH


Joan E. Beach age 85 passed away Wednesday, April 11, 2018 at Bishop Hills Elder Care, Rockford, Michigan. Mrs. Beach was born July 1, 1932 in Oxford, Michigan the daughter of Pearl and Essel (Peters) Bradley. After graduation from Oxford High School she received her degree from Cleary College, Ypsilanti, MI. She was a member of the Dexter Jaycettes and the Oak Grove United Methodist Church, Howell. She lived at Bishop Hills for 12 years and the staff and residents were like family to her. She played the chimes and loved to sing and play the piano. Surviving are her children, Susan (Brad) Binks, Cheryl (Kent) VanTimmeren, Bradley Beach, Tracy (Rod) Misner, Don (Melissa) Beach Jr., Steven Beach; 13 grandchildren; 6 great-grandchildren; brother, Richard (Daisy) Bradley; sister, Doris (Nick) Samudio; sisters-in-law, Phyllis Bradley and Eileen Bradley; many nieces, nephews and cousins. She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Don in 1989; brothers, Jack Bradley and Billy Bradley. The family greeted friends Monday, April 16th from 6-8 p.m. at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs where a memorial service has taken place at 7:00 p.m. with Pastor Ray Lanning officiating. A graveside service was held Tuesday, April 17th 12 noon at Lakeview Cemetery, Howell. Pastor Paula Timm officiating. Memorial contributions may be made to Interlochen-Kent County Scholarship, P.O. Box 199, Interlochen, MI 49643 or Kids Food Basket, 2055 Oak Industrial Dr., Grand Rapids, MI 49505.

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

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WILLARD B. ROWLAND


Willard B. “Will” Rowland age 69 of Grand Rapids, formerly of Cedar Springs passed away Thursday, March 8, 2018 at Harbor Hospice Poppen Residence in Muskegon. He was born in Grand Rapids on February 16, 1949 to Jack and Dorothy (Tompsett) Rowland. He attended Cedar Springs High School (Class of ’67), Ferris State College and Central Michigan University. Will worked in the automotive parts business and later for 12 years at a pharmaceutical company. He was a member of Teamsters Local 406. He is survived by a sister, Kathleen (Brian) Botbyl; brother, Jack (Ellen Bourke) Rowland and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Steven and Duane; sister-in-law, Mary Jean and special friend, Lee Van Stee. The family will meet with friends Saturday, April 21 from 1-3 p.m. at the Bliss Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. A graveside service will be held at 3 p.m. at Elmwood Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Spectrum Health Foundation, Pulmonary Excellence Fund in memo line or online at https://give.spectrumhealth.org/donation. 

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

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RICHARD D. TOMPKINS


Richard D. Tompkins, 65 of Cedar Springs, died Tuesday, March 27, 2018 at home surrounded by his family. Mr. Tompkins was born September 11, 1952 in Grand Rapids, Michigan the son of Richard and Barbara (Knoll) Tompkins. He enjoyed gardening, his tractors, hunting in the U.P., and hanging out with his brothers. He loved his grandkids and was known as grandpa candy. Surviving are his wife, Shirley (Miller); children, Brooke Scott & Marshall Dillon, Brian (Kelly) Tompkins, Bridget (Jeff) Johnson; grandchildren, Elly (Cody), Emma, Etta, Nick, JR, Ainsley, Autumn, Peter, Jase, Zach, Gracie, Abby; mother, Barbara Tompkins; sisters, Cheryl (Alfred) Dines, Nancy (Rocke) Pennington, Susie (Tim) Price; brothers, Jim (Patty) Tompkins, Ray (Yukiko) Tompkins, John (Denise) Tompkins; many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father and in-laws, Jarvis and Gladys Miller. The family will greet friends Saturday from 11:00 a.m. until time of service at 1:00 pm at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. Interment Solon Township Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the National Kidney Foundation.

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

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AUDREY E. EARHART


Audrey E. Earhart, 89 of Cedar Springs, died Tuesday, March 27, 2018 at her home. Audrey was born February 26, 1929 in Grand Rapids, Michigan the daughter of Edward and Letha (Kesler) Weaver. She graduated from Cedar Springs High School in 1945 and served her country in the Women’s Army Corps during the Korean War. She worked at the General Motors Alpine Avenue Plant for 30 years retiring in 1989. Surviving are a sister, Lily Fisher; brother-in-law, Edward Earhart; nieces, Jeanne Fisher, Susan Hood and Janie Ream; nephews, Edward Fisher and Greg Earhart; many great-nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband Ray in 1998; a brother Cedric Weaver and a very special nephew, Joe Fisher. A graveside service with military honors will be held Friday 11:00 a.m. at Greenwood Cemetery, Grand Rapids. 

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

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BURDETTE “BURLEY” HELENIUS


Burdette “Burley” Helenius passed away peacefully on March 24, 2018 after a lengthy illness. He was born October 4, 1946 in Grand Rapids to William and Ardella (Opperman) Helenius. He worked for General Motors for 36 years as a welder maintenance leader and was a skilled tradesman at heart. He was a veteran of United States Air Force and served in Vietnam from 1965 to 1967. He was an avid outdoorsman and loved nothing more than being out in the woods hunting or being in his boat, on the ice, or in the river fishing. He loved playing tennis, going bowling, and watching baseball and football. He is survived by his wife, Jeanne; his sons, Laars Helenius and Kyle (Dana) Helenius; his brother, Sidney (Nancy) Helenius; his step-siblings, Randy (Gloria) Crump, Diane (Walt) Dunbar, and Donna Korstange; six grandchildren, numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents, step-father, Ralph Crump; sister, Vawn Punches; step-sister, Linda Crump. The family met with friends Wednesday, March 28 at Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs where a memorial service is being held Thursday, March 29. Pastor Bruce Wilson officiating. Interment Rosedale Memorial Park. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society.

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

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SHELBY L. REYBURN


Shelby Laurence Reyburn was born on October 15, 1932, son of Shelby John Reyburn and Edith Burnap. He passed away quietly in his sleep Saturday, March 10, 2018. Larry graduated from Cedar Springs High School in 1950 and worked as a cashier for Meijer. He attended Davenport College in Grand Rapids before being drafted into the US Army. After basic training at Camp Atterburg, Indiana, he served as infantry in Korea, attaining the rank of Sergeant First Class. He married Janice Evelyn Blaesi on June 17, 1955. In 1956 he entered the State Police Academy in Lansing, Michigan, and after graduation served at Ionia, St. Ignace, and Ithaca as a trooper. He was promoted to Detective in 1969 and assigned to State Police Intelligence in Lansing. After his promotion to Detective/Sgt in that unit he transferred in 1972 to the Fire Marshall Division in Lansing. He was promoted again to Detective/Lieutenant in 1980. In 1981 he transferred back to the Intelligence Division and organized the W.E.M.E.T Drug team for West Michigan. Larry retired from the State Police in 1982. Farming was always close to Larry’s heart. He bought the family farm from his parents in 1968, grew apples, and moved there in 1976. When he retired, he and Janice entered the flower business, growing, drying, and marketing dried flowers, which they did for 20 years, as well as 2 acres of pumpkins. He grew a beautiful garden for family and friends, using it as the opportunity to work with his four grandsons who lived next door, training them to work hard and teaching many life lessons. Since 1984, he and Janice spent their winters at their home in Nokomis, Florida, where they were members of Covenant Life Presbyterian Church in Sarasota, Florida. In Michigan, they attended Blythefield Hills Baptist Church in Rockford, Michigan, but their true membership is in Heaven. Larry was excited and comforted to be moving to his new residence in Heaven with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Larry is survived by his wife, Janice, son Dean (Martha) Reyburn and daughter Joanne (Joseph) Pann. His grandchildren Nathanael, Noah, Aaron, and Andrew Reyburn, Jessie, Jacob, and Jebedia Pann, and 11 great-grandchildren. His grandson Joseph Pann and older sisters Genevie Penrose and Florence Yurich preceded him in death. Visitation is 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, March 15 at Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. Visitation at Blythefield Hills Baptist Church in Rockford, Michigan at 10 a.m. prior to the 11a.m. Funeral on Friday, March 16, 2018. In lieu of flowers send donations to Faith Hospice of Grand Rapids or BHBC missionaries.

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

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JOEL E. KINSEY


Joel E. Kinsey age 20 of Sand Lake, died Thursday, January 4, 2018 from injuries sustained in an automobile accident. Joel was born November 2, 1997 in Grand Rapids, Michigan the son of Jerry and Nicole (Frahm) Kinsey. He was a 2016 graduate of Tri-County High School and was presently serving as a LCpl in the U.S. Marines. He enjoyed hunting with his dogs and fishing. He loved chocolate and had a huge sweet tooth. Surviving are his mother, Nicole (Fernando Bernal) Kinsey; father, Jerry Kinsey; sisters, Naomi (Corey) Wesche, Jordan Kinsey, Sophia Bernal; brothers, Nickolas Kinsey, Ezra Kinsey; special friend, Brianna Hesselink; and extended family. The family will receive friends Thursday from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs where the service will be held Friday 10:00 a.m. Pastor Chuck Smith officiating. Interment St. Mary’s Cemetery, Sand Lake. Memorial contributions may be made to Spectrum Health NICU.

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

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