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Big Rapids Daily News
Obituaries Archives for 2017-03

William “Bill” Cody Marsh, 94, of Paris

William “Bill” Cody Marsh, age 94 of Paris, passed away peacefully, Friday, March 17, 2017 at the Reed City Hospital.  He was born on October 8, 1922 in Detroit the son of Joseph William and Nellie (Cody) Marsh.  Bill graduated from Redford High School in Detroit.  He joined the United States Army and was honorably discharged in 1947. 
Bill retired from Michigan Consolidated Gas Company where he was employed for 31 years.
He loved the outdoors and enjoyed hunting, fishing and golfing. Bill liked visiting with his friends and family, who dearly loved him.  He was a member of St. Anne Catholic Church in Paris.
Bill is survived by his wife of 61 years, Corinne Marsh of Paris; a son Edward (Angie) Marsh and two granddaughters; Olivia and Megan Marsh all of Royal Oak; a daughter, Corinne Anne Alexander of Pueblo, Colorado and several grandchildren. 
A Mass of Christian Burial is being planned to take place at St. Anne Catholic Church in Paris later this spring. Service time and date will be announced when set. Cremains will be buried at Maple Grove Cemetery in Munising this summer. 
Memorial contributions in Bill name may be made to Spectrum Health Hospice.  Envelopes may be obtained at the Daggett-Gilbert Funeral Home in Big Rapids where arrangements have been made.


Wilda Shaw, 90, of Reed City

Wilda Shaw, 90, of Reed City passed away March 17, 2017.  Wilda is preceded in death by her parents Pearl and Sylvester Holmes; husbands William Shaw and Don Nelson; children Daniel and Shirley; sisters Aletha, Doris and Vesta; brothers Wendall, Doyle, Wayne and Sherman; grandson Kip; great-granddaughter Autumn, and great-great grandchildren Isabella and Lane.  
She is survived by her daughter Linda (Richard) Roberts; sons Bill (Jean) and Thomas (Terry) Shaw; grandchildren Tammy, Gina, Bradley (Beth), Daniel (Mindy), Justin (Christine) and Thomas Jr. (Heather); great-grandchildren Jason, Joshua, Jeremy, Tiffanie, Amber, Alex, Kodie, Jerrod, Braden, Brooklyn, Daniel Jr., Dezurea, Andrew, Dillon, Paul, Calvary, Thomas III, Benjamin and Josiah; great-great grandchildren, Katie, Alieza, Remington, Rydyn, Blake, Alivia, Mackenna, Lucy, Tanner, Jaxon, Parker, Aiden, Owen and Able. 
Her long life was filled with having fun and loving her family and friends.  There will be a memorial Saturday, March 25 at the First Baptist Church, Reed City at 1:00 p.m. with a fellowship time following.


Katherine A. “Toots” DeJonge, 70, of Big Rapids

Katherine A. “Toots” DeJonge, age 70 of Big Rapids, passed away Saturday, March 18, 2017 at her home.  She was born May 16, 1946 in Hull, Iowa, the daughter of Jack and Nellie (Moerman) Rodibaugh.  Katherine married Charles DeJonge on October 8, 1964 in Beaver Dam Reformed Church and together they raised their family in Lake County.  Katherine and Charlie later moved to Mecosta County in 1986. 
She was employed by Reed City Hospital as a Nurse’s Aide.  Katherine then began her 40 year career in the educational field as an Administrative Assistant for the Superintendent.  She also served on the Board of Education for the Baldwin Community Public Schools and worked closely with secondary special education.  Katherine enjoyed gardening, canning, and cooking.  She was of the Protestant belief. 
Katherine is survived by her husband of 52 years, Charles DeJonge of Big Rapids; two children, Doug DeJonge and Janice TenBrink; mother, three sisters, six grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her father, mother-in-law, father-in-law, eldest sister, and great-grandson.
A memorial service will take place 11:00 a.m. Saturday, April 1, 2017 at the Daggett-Gilbert Funeral Home in Big Rapids with Pastor Devon Herrell officiating.  The family will greet friends one hour prior to the service (from 10am to 11am) Saturday at the funeral home. 
Memorial contributions may be made in Katherine’s name to the family to be distributed to charities that Katherine chose (Mecosta County Commission on Aging – Transportation or Equipment, Make-A-Wish Foundation of Michigan, or Big Rapids AmVets Post 1941). 


Elton K. “Ott” Gingrich, 87, of Big Rapids

Elton K. “Ott” Gingrich, 87, of Big Rapids, passed away on March 16, 2017 at the Brook surrounded by his loving family.  He was born in Reed City, the son of Royal E. and Faye (Ulrey) Gingrich.
Ott graduated from Reed City High School in 1947.  He graduated from Ferris Institute in 1951 where he starred in football, basketball and golf.  Ott spent his retirement years promoting Ferris. He earned a master’s degree in Education from Michigan State University.  He served as principal at Caro High School for 25 years.  Ott loved people and served in many community organizations.
He is survived by Helen (Fairman) , his wife of 66 years, four children; Patrick (Sue) of Diamondale, Mary (Jon Donnell) of Sarasota, FL, Carrie (David Christianson) of Carmel, IN and Peter of Scottsdale, AZ, three grandchildren, Josie, Gunnar and Elton plus one great granddaughter, Lu.
Ott was preceded in death by his parents and one brother, Carroll Gingrich.
A memorial service for Ott will be announced in the Pioneer for a date later in the Spring.


Dr. Thomas G. “Tom” Cook, 83, of Big Rapids

Dr. Thomas G. “Tom” Cook, 83, of Big Rapids, passed away on Saturday, March 18, 2017.  He was born March 11, 1934 in Negawnee, MI, the son of Walter and Mildred C. (Davey) Cook.  Tom earned his bachelor’s degree from Northern Michigan, his Masters and PhD degrees from Michigan State.  He served as Dean of the College of Education at Ferris, retiring in 1991.
Tom is survived by Judy, his wife of 62 years; three daughters, Kerry (David) Milarch, Kelly (Matt Silvern) Cook, and Kammy (Brian) Hearld; five grandchildren, Jared (Jennifer) and Jake (Amanda) Milarch, Mica and Wyatt Cook Silvern, and Kameron Herald, plus three great-grandchildren, Tyler, Kayla and Vivienne Milarch.  Also surviving is one brother, Walter Cook, of Marquette.
A memorial gathering to celebrate Tom’s life will be announced for a later date.  Arrangements are by the Mohnke Funeral Home in Big Rapids. 


Joan J. Koss, 81, of Stanwood

Joan J. Koss, age 81 of Stanwood, passed away Tuesday, March 14, 2017 at home.  She was born July 13, 1935 near Kalamazoo the daughter of Martin and Doris (Kietzman) Knobloch.  Joan graduated from Comstock High School.  She married her High School Sweetheart, Frank Koss on May 7, 1954.  Together they made their home in the Kalamazoo area where Joan stayed very busy as the mother of four little girls. In 1968 Frank secured employment with the Michigan Wisconsin Pipeline and the family moved to the Stanwood area.  Joan was an avid golfer, a sport she enjoyed sharing with Frank for many years.  She was a devout member of Chapel of the Lakes Lutheran Church and Dorcas Guild.
Joan is survived by her four daughters, Penny (Bernie) Brenner of Stanwood, Terri Koss of Florida, Karla (Randy) Snavley of Big Rapids, Ruth (Roger) Wrench of Howard City; seven grandchildren, Bernard (Nicole) Brenner, Robert (Cortney) Brenner, Phillip (Nate) Brenner, Shallen (Alan) Beatty, Courtney (Donald) DePew, Jessica (Luke) Austin, Benjamin  Snavley; eight great-grandchildren; several nieces, nephews and friends, including her dear friend, caregiver and companion, Sarah Fairfield.
Joan was preceded in death by her parents, her beloved husband of 60 years, Frank D. Koss on July, 7, 2014; three brothers, Jack, Rex and Dale Knobloch and two sisters, Norma Becker and Ruth Knobloch.
Funeral services will take place 12:00 p.m. (noon) Friday, March 17, 2017 at Chapel of the Lakes Lutheran Church, 9407  90th Ave, Mecosta with Reverend Richard W. Collin officiating.  The family will greet friends on Thursday (today) at the Daggett-Gilbert Funeral Home in Big Rapids from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and one hour prior to services at the church on Friday.  Interment will be at the Stanwood Cemetery. 
Memorial contributions in Joan’s name may be made to Spectrum Health Hospice.


Jess Clarence Vliet, 89, of Big Rapids

Jess Clarence Vliet, 89, of Big Rapids, Michigan passed away March 10, 2017, in Leesburg, Florida. Jess was born in Detroit, Michigan to Leda and Jess Vliet. At the age of three, Jess and his family moved to the outskirts of Big Rapids where he went to school and worked the family farm. He graduated from Big Rapids High School in 1945 and then moved to Grand Rapids where he worked in the meat industry. In 1964, Jess proudly joined the Big Rapids Police Department and worked as a patrol officer until 1971 when he was promoted to detective. One of his many achievements as detective was being asked to join Region 8, a multi county investigative unit. He retired in 1989 after 24 years of distinguished service.


In 1974, Jess married Ruth Rood. They spent many happy years traveling the continental United States. Their last trip to Alaska was a particularly happy and enjoyable one. Jess was an avid hunter, bowler, and fisherman. He was also a lifetime member of the Fraternal Order of the Eagles 2535.


Jess is survived by: wife Ruth Vliet of Leesburg, Florida; daughter Shelly (Jim) Robinson of Mulliken, Michigan; sisters Alice Jane Anderson and Nancy Horan of Big Rapids, Michigan; grandson Kyle Robinson of Owosso, Michigan; step children Lynn Kruger, Alto, Georgia; Bobbie Melton, Orlando, Florida; David (Cathy) Melton, Orlando, Florida; Carla Wheeler (Randy), Big Rapids, Michigan; and three step grandsons: Brad (Jessica) Melton, Ormond Beach, Florida; Greg Melton, Severn, Maryland; and Juston (Stacy) Jones, Winter Garden, Florida and many nieces and nephews.


A private visitation at 1:00 p.m., March 16, 2017 at the Mohnke Funeral Home in Big Rapids.

A graveside service will be held. Jess will be laid to rest by his parents in Pine Plains Cemetery per his wishes.

A Celebration of Life will be held from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m., on April 15, 2017 at the Fraternal Order of Eagles 2535 in Big Rapids, Michigan, 18631 16 Mile Rd, Big Rapids, MI 49307.


Durwood T. Andrews, 71, of White Cloud, formerly of Big Rapids

Durwood T. Andrews, 71, of White Cloud, formerly of Big Rapids, joined his parents, brother and Heavenly Father on Friday, March 3, 2017.  He was born on October 13, 1945 in Lakeview, Michigan, the son of Dale and Bertha (Jacobson) Andrews.
Durwood graduated from Big Rapids High School in 1963.  Immediately following high school, he enlisted in the United States Air Force.  He served at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas as a Military Policeman, as well as Kincheloe Air Force Base in Michigan.  Durwood was an expert furniture refinisher and restoration specialist. For years   he operated Davis Bridge Refinishing.  He loved to hunt and fish and he loved people.
Durwood is survived by his wife, Susie, three children; Darin (Kim) of Stanwood, Carla (Kenny) Carter of Pennsylvania, Jed of Big Rapids and five grandchildren; two stepdaughters, four step grandchildren plus one step great grandchildren.  Also surviving are four sisters; Dalela (Robert) Tiedeman of Las Vegas, Deah (Robert) Cole of Grand Rapids, Delphine (Kevin) DeFever of Big Rapids and Danora (Mike) Startz of Big Rapids plus several nieces and nephew.
He was preceded in death by his parents, one brother, Dexter and Dexter’s wife, Linda.
Funeral services  for  Durwood will be at 2:00 p.m., Thursday, March 9, 2017 at the Mohnke Funeral Home in Big Rapids.   Visitation will be from 1-2:00 p.m., prior to the servies.  Memorial contributions may be made to American Diabetes Association or The Children’s Miracle Network.


Peter Jacob Grant, 83, of Big Rapids

Peter Jacob Grant, 83, of Big Rapids, passed away Saturday, February 25, 2017, at his residence.
He was born August 7, 1933, in Detroit, the son of Paul and Catherine Grant.  During the Korean Conflict, Peter served as a paratrooper with the U.S. Army. 
For many years, he owned and operated his own roofing business.  For 32 years, he was married to Patricia (nee DeCook) who preceded him in death in 2002.  Peter is survived by 4 children, 12 grandchildren, 9 great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews.
Per his request, cremation has taken place, and memorial services will be held later this year.  Memorial contributions in his name may be made to the American Cancer Society.  Care and arrangements have been entrusted to the Mohnke Funeral Home in Big Rapids.


Janet L. Katke, 87, of Big Rapids

Janet L. Katke, 87, of Big Rapids, passed away Wednesday, March 8, 2017, at her home surrounded by her loved ones.
She was born January 1, 1930, in Big Rapids, the daughter of Hugh and Beulah (Kirvan) Bell, and grew up on the farm at Bell’s Corners near Rodney.  In 1948, Janet graduated from Mecosta High School, and on September 4 of that same year, she married Richard Katke. 
Janet lived most of her adult life in the area, although Dick’s work led them to Illinois, Oklahoma, and other parts of Michigan for several years.  In 1992, they returned to Round Lake to enjoy their retirement years.  She and Dick were longtime members of the First United Methodist Church in Big Rapids.
Janet was a loving wife and mother, dedicating her time, energy, and love to her family and friends, and was always there when someone needed help.  She is survived by her daughters Sue Ann McConnell and Mary Katke-Gillum, both of Big Rapids; her granddaughters MacKenzie Gillum, Michelle (Scott) Kolp, and Angela (Kevin) Endres; her great-grandchildren Ryan and Courtney Kolp, and Austin Endres; and several nieces and nephews.  Janet was preceded in death by her husband Richard on August 29, 2010, their son Hal, her sister Grace Willett, and her brothers John, Max, and Dale Bell.
Funeral services will be 11:00 a.m., Monday, March 13, 2017, at the First United Methodist Church in Big Rapids, with Pastors Rick Kiekinveld and Rebecca Morrison officiating.  Burial will be in the Highland View Cemetery.  Janet’s family will greet friends on Sunday, March 12, from 2-4 p.m. at the Mohnke Funeral Home, and prior to services on Monday at the church.  Memorial contributions in her name may be made to Evergreen Terrace to benefit the residents there, with envelopes available at the funeral home.


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