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Obituaries

Donald L. Stiver, Jr.

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Funeral Services:

Donald L. Stiver, Jr., 75, of Merritt Island, Fla., passed away March 31, 2019. He was born June 9, 1943, in Alexandria, La., to the late Donald, Sr. and Ann Stiver. Donald graduated from Charlotte High School, and then attended Michigan State University. He then enlisted in the United States Army, served a tour in Vietnam, and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel after 20 years of honorable service. While in the Army, he attended the Navy Test Pilot School. After retirement he was an avid airplane builder and pilot as a member of the Experimental Aviation Association. He received his bachelor’s degree in economics from St. Martin’s University and his master’s in systems management from USC. After his career in the Army, Donald worked for several government contractors (FMC, Lockheed Martin and DRS).

He is survived by his wife, Phyllis; children, Carri F. (James) Grady of Viera, Fla., and Sarah C. Stiver of Alpharetta, Ga.; grandchildren, Katherine E. Banks-Smith (Travis) and Matthew D. Banks. Donald has one brother and three sisters.

The Funeral Mass will be celebrated at noon on Saturday, April 6, 2019, at St. Mary Cathedral in Lansing. The Rite of Committal will follow in St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery in Lansing. His family will receive friends beginning at 11:30 a.m. at the church. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Arrangements are by the Estes-Leadley Greater Lansing Chapel. Online condolences may be left for his family at EstesLeadley.com.

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Ellen C. Kays

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Ellen Christie Kays passed away on April 2, 2019 at Pardee Hospital in Hendersonville, N.C., following a short illness. Ellen was born June 22, 1934 in Dowagiac, to Arthur and Hazel Moore Kays, who predeceased her, as did her brother, Morey Kays.

Ellen spent the majority of her life in Lansing before moving to Hendersonville in 2014. She dearly loved the State of Michigan and her two cats, Taco and Lollipop.

Ellen was a legal secretary for some years but spent most of her career in the office of the Governor of Michigan.

She is survived by her sister, Beth (John) Saurer, of Englewood, Fla.; brother, Paul Kays of Hendersonville; and sister-in-law, Neva Kays of Harbour Heights, Fla.; plus several nieces and nephews.

Ellen’s life will be honored with a graveside service at Maple Hill Cemetery in Charlotte at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, April 9, 2018.

In lieu of fowers, the family requests donations to Best Friends Animal Society at bestfriends.org.

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Aleta B. VanAuken

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Aleta B. VanAuken, 98, of Vermontville, died Sunday, March 10, 2019 at her home. Aleta was born in Battle Creek on September 10, 1920, the daughter of the late Alston and Beatrice (Harrington) Penfold. She was raised in the Battle Creek, and attended local schools there. Her family relocated to the Nashville area while she was in high school, and she graduated from W.K. Kellogg High School in 1939.

Aleta spent her working career at Kellogg’s, where she served the company in many capacities throughout the years. The majority of her career, however, Aleta worked in the shipping and packing departments, retiring in 1981 after 26 Years with the company. Along with her husband Donald, the couple enjoyed fishing, gardening, and traveling together. Aleta was also an extremely talented seamstress, who enjoyed making clothing for her family.

Aleta is survived by her daughter, Tina Miracle; son, Tom (Teresha) VanAuken; sister, Thelma Linsley; five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren

She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Donald; sons, Donnie and Terry VanAuken; son in-law, Dennis; and brother-in-law, Lloyd Linsley

Funeral Services were held at The Daniels Funeral Home in Nashville on Saturday, March 16, 2019, with Pastor Joe Benedict officiating. Interment took place immediately following the funeral service in Wilcox Cemetery in Nashville.

Memorial contributions can be made to the family of Aleta VanAuken.

Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the Daniels Funeral Home in Nashville. For further details, please visit danielsfuneralhome.net,

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Ruth M. Umbarger

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Ruth Marion Umbarger of Eaton Rapids passed away March 18, 2019 at the age of 92. Ruth was born in Springport on August 7, 1926, the daughter of George and Mary (Price) Mock. She was a graduate of Eaton Rapids High School Class of 1944 and was a member of the Ladies Auxiliary 80thDivision WWII Veterans Association. Ruth worked at Horner Woolen Mills for four years and later retired from Owens-Illinois in Charlotte after 24 years of service. She enjoyed watching baseball, quilting, traveling and listening to music. She particularly liked this poem, “God saw the road was getting rough. The hills were hard to climb. He gently closed your weary eyes and whispered, ‘Peace be Thine.’”

Ruth is survived by her daughters, Sue Ellen Thurston of Traverse City, Sally (Douglas) Knorr of Traverse City; sons, Keith (Carol) Umbarger of Holt, Kerry Umbarger of Eaton Rapids; seven grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; half-sisters, Bonnie (LeRoy) Beagle of Eagle, Celia (Raymond) Ainslie of Empire, Sharlene (Dan) Winslow of Eaton Rapids, Becky Mock of Grand Ledge; half-brother, George (Geneva) Mock of Eaton Rapids; sister-in-law, Louise Mock of Eaton Rapids; several nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Howard Umbarger; sisters, Fern Caldwell, Grace Firebaugh; brothers, Kenneth and Neil Mock; and half-sister, Patricia Trumble.

Funeral services were held Friday, March 22, 2019 at Mills Funeral Home, located at 518 S. Main Street in Eaton Rapids. Interment followed in Oakwood Cemetery.

Those desiring may make memorial contributions to the Eaton Rapids Historical Society.

Please visit millsfuneral.com to place online condolences.

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Caroline R. Nelson

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Caroline R. Nelson, born on August 12, 1930, died on March 13, 2019 with her family by her side. She married Oliver Nelson on September 1, 1948. They are from the Rudyard and Pickford areas of the Upper Peninsula and moved to lower Michigan, where they raised their family. Together they had purchased the Chance School House in Vermontville, and lived there until their deaths. She was a member of the Nashville Baptist Church and had volunteered at Pennock Hospital for 18 years.

She is survived by her children, Earl, Karen (Earlyn) Huff, Robert (Louise); twins, Christine (Henry) Bouthiette and Christian (Lisa), James (Toni), and Helen (Jim) Misner; as well as many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great great-grandchildren; many nieces and nephews; her brothers, Charley (Margaret) Izzard, Verne (Margene) Izzard and Duane; and her brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law.

She is preceded in death by her husband, Oliver Earl Nelson; her parents, Nelson and Fannie (Vincent) Izzard; her brothers, and sisters-in-law, Wesley (Irene) Izzard, Carl, Claude (Eleanor) Izzard, and Russell (Bernice) Izzard.

Funeral services were held at The Nashville Baptist Church on Monday, March 18, 2019, with pastors Lester DeGroot, and Deano Lamphere officiating. Interment took place at Woodlawn Cemetery in Vermontville.

Memorial contributions can be made to The Nashville Baptist Church.

Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the Daniels Funeral Home in Nashville. For further details, please visit danielsfuneralhome.net.

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Lawrence J. Munro

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Lawrence J. Munro, 87, of Olivet, passed away on the family farm March 16, 2019 in Olivet. He was born on June 27, 1931 in Lansing to A. Hugh and Margaret (Fassbender) Munro. Larry attended Charlotte High School, graduating in 1948. After high school Larry pursued a career in the newspaper business. A short time later, however, he returned to the family farm. Larry joined the Navy where he served his country from 1956 to 1960 between the Korean and Vietnam wars. He served as a Radioman on the USS Toledo. That service led to Larry being stationed at the Naval Communications Station in Adak, Alaska. He finished his Naval career at the Naval facility at Pacific Beach Washington. Larry returned home again to the family farm south of Charlotte to raise cattle. At that time he also went to work for the United States Postal Service, starting as a clerk, moving up to postal carrier, and then serving as Postmaster at several post offices, including Olivet, until his retirement in 1987. In 1974 Larry married Clarinda “Cindy” Thompson.

Many people will remember Larry as a quiet gentleman with a warm smile. He was a devout member of St. Mary Catholic Church in Charlotte. He was one of the regular workers on church projects, most often alongside his wife, Cindy as they prepared the many lunches and dinners that followed funerals and other events at the church.  Above all, Larry was proud of his family and his farm. Larry died in the house that he and Cindy had built on the back side of the family farm where he had resided since the 1940s.

Lawrence is survived by his wife, Cindy; their two daughters, Paula Randall, and Sandra (Timothy) McCarn; three grandsons; two granddaughters; one great-grandson; and his brother, Alan (Carol) Munro.

He was preceded in death by his sister, Margie Metz.

A funeral Mass for Larry was celebrated Thursday, March 21 at St. Mary Catholic Church in Charlotte, with Rev. Father Dwight Ezop officiating. Burial took place in Dowling Cemetery in Dowling, Mich.

Family and friends are encouraged to share remembrances and condolences online in Lawrence’s tribute page at PrayFuneral.com.

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Tracey L. Moreno

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Tracey Lee Moreno, of Lansing, passed away Saturday, March 9, 2019 at the age of 52. Tracey was born March 12, 1966 in Lansing, and was the eldest of four children and the daughter of Juan Moreno and Connie Hampton.

Tracey is survived by her mother; father; her sons, Dustin Rice and Corey Rice; grandchildren, Trenton Rice and Corey Rice Jr.; and her sisters, Brandy Moreno of Eaton Rapids, Darla Moreno of Lansing; and her brother, John Moreno of Eaton Rapids. She also has many aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews.

Tracey was preceded in death by her sister, Angela Moreno; her grandparents, Pablo and Martina Moreno, and Lewis and Cornelia Horton.

A celebration of life/memorial service will be held and announced at a later date. The family is grateful for the condolences, but asks that in lieu of flowers that donations be made to help cover costs of the cremation and the memorial service; via a gofundme account.

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Barry D. Hensel

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Barry Dale Hensel, 56, of Charlotte, passed away Sunday, March 17, 2019. He was born July 19, 1962, in Connellsville, Penn., the son of Edgar and Maxine (Soisson) Hensel. Barry lived the majority of his life in Michigan, but never forgot where he came from and never stopped rooting for his favorite team, the Pittsburgh Steelers. To say that he will be greatly missed does not begin to describe the loss felt by his friends and family. Barry’s personality was larger than life and he always made those around him laugh with one-liners, comebacks, and running gags. But he was much more than a jokester. Barry cared deeply for those around him. He always had questions for you because he truly wanted to know how you were doing and if he could help. If he could help, he would do anything, from lending a hand to lending his truck. Barry would even give you the shirt off his back, just as long, of course, as it was not his Steelers shirt.

Barry is survived by his siblings: Cheryl (James) Margeson of Charlotte, Deborah A. Hensel of Charlotte, Kevin (Betty Horner) Hensel of Connellsville, Todd (Maryann) Hensel of Connellsville; nieces and nephews: Mary Margeson, Jennifer (Brad) Stanke, Wesley (Kristin) Margeson, Steven (Angel) Hensel, Nicholas (Kaitlin) Hensel, Timothy (fiancée Lauren Urie) Hensel; special friends: Julie Horner and Kenadie Horner; several great nieces and nephews; aunt, Virginia “Jeannie” Northrup.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

A visitation will be held on Saturday, March 23, 2019, from 10 A.M. to 12 P.M. at the Burkhead-Green-Kilgo Funeral Home, Charlotte. Graveside services will take place at the Greenridge Memorial Park in Connellsville, PA.

Those desiring, may make contributions in Barry’s honor to the American Cancer Society or the American Diabetes Association.

To view Barry’s obituary online or to leave a condolence for the family please visit burkhead-greenfuneralhome.com.

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June Grundstrom

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June Grundstrom passed away on March 4, 2019 in Charlotte at the age of 92. June was born on October 18, 1926 in Charlotte, the only child of Augustus Little and Laura Dell Whitaker.

She is survived by her children, Chuck (Jan) Grundstrom, Sandy (Bob) Kirk, and Randy Grundstrom, all of Charlotte. She was blessed with seven grandchildren, Anthony, Meg, Randy, Angela, Eric, Tia, and Sarah, and will be dearly missed by nine great-grandchildren, McKenzie, Connor, Isabella, Nicholas, Hannah, Emma, Lauren, Gage, and Stella.

In keeping with her wishes, cremation has taken place, and there will be no additional services at this time.

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Bernice I. Eaton

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Bernice “Bernie” Irene Eaton, 88, of Vermontville, the woman known for her wild finger nail polish, completed her legacy on Monday, March 18, 2019. Bernice was born in St. Johns on August 27, 1930, the daughter of Amos and Edna (Schneider) Mull. Following graduation from Charlotte High School in 1949 Bernie began her working career at a curtain factory in Grand Rapids, followed by Wilcox Gay, Michigan Magnetics and Carefree working on the line and later as a janitor. After retiring from Carefree, Bernie worked at McDonalds in Potterville. She was dedicated to her work and received numerous awards for her perfect attendance. Bernie married Keith Eaton on May 27, 1950 and together spent the next 30 years together until his passing in 1980. Traveling was a big passion for Bernie, she traveled all across the world and her favorite destination was Hawaii. Bernie also enjoyed fishing; on the pier in Ludington was her favorite spot. She lived next to the Kalamo Hillside Cemetery and would take daily walks around the cemetery. During the summer she would take lemonade to the maintenance men at the cemetery. Bernie made numerous trips each day to her “favorite” places. These places were Taco Bell, Burger King and also Admiral gas station where she would put $5 of gas into her car each day.

Bernice is survived by her loving family; daughter, Jackie (Terry) Yesh of Bellevue; three grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; brother, Ronald (Joyce) Mull of Belton, Mo.

Bernice was preceded in death by her husband, Keith; parents; brother, James Mull; and her significant other, Robert Wyble.

A private family graveside service will be held at Kalamo Hillside Cemetery.

If desired, the family suggests memorial contributions to Michigan Children with Special Needs Fund.

Friends and family are encouraged to share memories of Bernie on her tribute page at PrayFuneral.com.

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