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Tag Archive | "Red Flannel Rod and Gun Club"



Robert Edward Townes, age 89, of Cedar Springs, Michigan, passed away Saturday, December 2, 2017 at Green Acres Cedar Springs. He was born May 23, 1928 in Cedar Springs, Michigan, to James and Maxine (Winters) Townes. Bob, as everyone called him, graduated from Cedar Springs High School in 1946 and served in the Navy. He held many jobs in his younger days. Some of these included serving under his father as a deputy police officer and driving for Bliss Funeral Home. He was a long-time employee of Michigan Wheel, retiring after 38 years of employment. In 1952, Bob along with his father, James Sr. and Edward Townes, created the Cedar Springs Red Flannel Rod and Gun Club and was a lifetime member. He was also a lifetime member of the Grand Rapids Steelheaders Association. He enjoyed many years of hunting and fishing, especially on Lake Michigan. He will be fondly remembered for his smoked fish. One of the best around! The community of Cedar Springs was very important to him. He spent many years coaching baseball and then could be found on the field or basketball court as an umpire or referee. His biggest commitment to his community was his dedicated service to the Cedar Springs Fire Department, retiring after 51 years of service. He passed this dedication to the Fire Department onto two sons and two grandsons. He loved to be a part of Red Flannel Days and enjoyed his last one on October 7th. There was always a pot of chili made for family and friends. Bob is survived by his devoted and loving companion, Delores Koopman; 7 children Christine Segard (Gordon “Doc” VanOtteren) of Cedar Springs and Grand Rapids, Victoria Cooper of Howard City, James Townes of Cedar Springs, Larry (Elaine) Townes of Six Lakes, Cheryl (Gordon) Pratt of Holland, Susanne (Rodney) Mosher of Cedar Springs, and Paul (Tami) Townes of Cedar Springs; he was blessed with 33 grandchildren, 46 great-grandchildren and 6 great-great-grandchildren, with one on the way; brother James Townes, Jr. of Reed City; many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends from Michigan and Florida. He was preceded in death by his loving wife of 49 years, Anna (Seaborn) Townes; parents; stepfather, Ed Grossman; sister and her husband; one granddaughter and one great-granddaughter. Bob attended the United Methodist Church in Cedar Springs, where his funeral will be held Thursday at 1:00 p.m. His family met with friends Tuesday 6-8 p.m. and Wednesday 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. Pastors Karen Sorden and Michael Shiery officiating. Interment with military honors at Elmwood Cemetery, Cedar Springs. He will be greatly missed by his family. His memory will live on through his acts of service and his love of family. The family would like to express their gratitude to the staff at Spectrum Health Hospice and Green Acres Cedar Springs, especially Sonya Lovell. Memorial contributions may be made to Cedar Springs Fire Department, Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, Spectrum Health Hospice or Green Acres Cedar Springs Activity Dept.

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

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Thorval “Bo” Nielsen honored at RF Rod and Gun Club


TOP: This plaque was dedicated in memory of Thorval “Bo” Nielsen at the Red Flannel Rod and Gun Club. BOTTOM: Don Boezwinkle (left) and Bob Townes (right) at the dedication ceremony for Bo Nielsen.

TOP: This plaque was dedicated in memory of Thorval “Bo” Nielsen at the Red Flannel Rod and Gun Club.
BOTTOM: Don Boezwinkle (left) and Bob Townes (right) at the dedication ceremony for Bo Nielsen.

Thorval “Bo” Nielsen

Thorval “Bo” Nielsen

By Judy Reed

The Red Flannel Rod and Gun Club, located at 7463 18 Mile Rd NE, recently held a ceremony in memory of lifetime club member Thorval “Bo” Nielsen, who passed away last year. They dedicated a plaque in his honor.

“It was in memory of the all the help and advice he gave for the buildings there,” explained Club founder Bob Townes. “We wouldn’t have them without him.”

Board member Don Boezwinkle and Townes led the event, where members talked about Nielsen.

Townes said he has fond memories of all the fishing trips on Lake Erie and Lake Michigan with Nielsen, and camping trips as well.

He noted that Boezwinkle had stories about hunting moose, elk and pheasant with Bo. Townes said the big rack of moose antlers over the club’s fireplace was from a moose Bo got on one of those outings.

Townes noted that Dick Capek bought a boxcar of damaged brick and that Nielsen paid him for it and went through it and used the bricks on the building at the Club.

“He was also instrumental in helping with the stone fireplace. It’s huge in regard to most—it fits a four-foot log,” explained Townes. “Jim Doyle and I salvaged huge stones out of the old depot that was torn down several years ago (from where the staging area is now at W. Maple and the White Pine Trail) and put them in the base of the fireplace. It’s nice that we could do that in memory of the old depot and Bo gave us advice on it,” he said.

The Red Flannel Rod and Gun Club was founded in 1952 by Townes, his father Jim Townes, and Jim’s brother, Edward Townes. The Club has approximately 40 acres of land, with Pistol, Rifle, Trap and Bow Arrow ranges.

For more information about the Red Flannel Rod and Gun Club, visit their website at http://www.redflannelrodandgunclub.com/.

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32C obit nielsenThorval “Bo” Nielsen, 81 of Cedar Springs, died Friday, August 7, 2015 at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. Bo was born September 29, 1933 in Cedar Springs, Michigan, the son of Vern and Lillian (Pritchard) Nielsen. He graduated from Cedar Springs High School and attended Davenport College. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. Bo attended the East Nelson United Methodist Church, was a member at the Cedar Springs Historical Society and active at the Museum, the Cedar Springs American Legion, and a lifetime member and very active in the Red Flannel Rod and Gun Club. He was a lifetime builder in the Cedar Springs area, enjoyed hunting and fishing, and loved his family and spending time with his sons. Surviving are his wife, Sharon (Buchholz) whom he married on December 6, 1958; sons, Brian (Deborah), Alan (Rhonda); grandchildren, Ryan (Molly), Lauren (Will) Buttars; great grandchildren, Kendall and Mason; brothers, JC, Walter (Helen), Ivan (Phyllis), Eugene (Shirley); sisters, Nina Middleton, Karen (Leonard) Deyman; in-laws, Otto (Marion) Buchholz, Alvin (Patricia) Buchholz, Joyce (Richard) Johnson, Lois Garvey; many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, one brother; one sister; and one brother-in-law. The family greeted friends Tuesday, August 11 from 6-8 pm at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs where the service was held Wednesday 11:00 am. Pastor Herb VanderBilt officiating. Interment with military honors at East Nelson Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, 25200 Telegraph Road, Suite 100, Southfield, MI 48033.

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

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Red Flannel Rod and Gun Club

By Fred Gunnell

The first organized Gun Club in the Cedar Springs area was identified as it is today: The Cedar Springs Red Flannel Rod and Gun Club. It has been very active around Cedar Springs for nearly 70 years providing community service in a wide range of activities.
The very first meeting of the club was in June 1952. Having no clubhouse, the members received permission from the school officials of the time to meet in a room at Hilltop School. Later, they met for some time in the new elementary addition of Hilltop. Several other buildings were utilized as meeting places during the early years of the club’s existence. The local police department provided its facility, which at the time was near the flowing well (at Maple and Main Street) and has now been demolished. The community building (at Elm and 2nd and now also gone) was also utilized for some time.
The first members, though small in number, 10-12 at best, worked diligently developing a set of bylaws that worked well for the times, and in fact, are still in place, although several amendments have been added to fit current times. The first set of bylaws was a page and a half, and the updated version is now many pages in length. A sign of the times, I suppose.
The first few members were Jim Townes, Ed Townes, Bob Townes, Fritz Townes, and Harold Brigham. Sometime later Randy Ream, Jerry Hall and Don Boezwinkle joined the club. Many others have been added to the roster over the years, but these three took on major leadership roles and continue to do so today. Other club members also provide leadership on special projects from time to time, which helps provide continuity in the activities of the club. Today club membership is about 70, and yes, we do have female members, thankfully.
As time went by, the club obtained the property on 18 Mile it is now housed on. With the help of Ed Townes and others, we were able to purchase 24-acres and later an additional eight acres for a total of 32 acres, according to Bob Townes. Ed Townes purchased some of this property for $700. The club paid him back $100 a year at 6 percent interest until the loan was paid off.
The original structure used for the clubhouse was moved there by the members and was 24 X 24 feet. Later a new clubhouse was built from trees on the property. Several club members convinced the city council to give the stone foundation of the demolished GR&I Railroad Station to the club and they constructed a fireplace from it. It was a labor of love and nice addition to the clubhouse.
As time went by, shooting ranges were added, a moving deer target, turkey shoot area and a trap house, which was a major project. An indoor archery range is now in place and used by many.
The club members have frequently volunteered their time and brawn for community projects, such as building cupboards, painting, and installing all the kitchen equipment in the community building.
For decades the club has been involved in and supported the Red Flannel Festival, and has also helped support organizations such as Little League, AYSO Soccer, Red Flannel Queen Scholarships, Tracks Magazine for CS fifth graders, Sportsmen Against Hunger, the Senior All Night party, and many other special requests.
On the Sunday following Red Flannel Day, the Queen and court are hosted at the club for a light lunch. An opportunity is offered to shoot some trap, and try their luck at the rifle and pistol ranges, and learn bow shooting. Safe use of the shooting devices is always covered, and the girls have proven to be attentive listeners and very accurate shooters.
At one time, the club had a fishing weekend for boys and girls on Cedar Creek, to teach kids how to fish. Ray Gordon, a civil engineer, showed the club members how to successfully dam up the creek from Main Street to just west of the flowing well drain pipe, so that the planted trout could not leave the stream until they were caught by the kids.
One of the largest events sponsored by the gun club is the yearly dream gun banquet. It’s open to all members and their families and the public at large. Attendees must purchase a yearly subscription of $90, and add another $20 for the banquet. Several hundred outdoor items are given out at the dinner as door prizes, and raffle tickets are sold for other prizes as well.
If one is interested in this gala event, seek out a member to purchase a subscription. Those interested in becoming a club member must be sponsored by another club member. Visitors are welcome at all regular meetings on the second Wednesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. Call 696-3711 for more info.

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