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Karen S. Bedell

Karen S. Bedell died Tuesday, March 24, 2020 at the age of 71. She was born April 7, 1948 in St. Johns the daughter of Norman and Barbara (Green) Moinet. Karen was a graduate of Rodney B. Wilson High School in St. Johns, Class of 1966 and continued her education at Lansing Business University. She was a member of First Baptist Church in St. Johns and enjoyed quilting. On August 12, 1967 she married Theodore “Ted” Bedell Sr. and he survives her.

Also surviving are two daughters, Kimberly (Mike) McCurley and Rebecca (Greg) Bemis; one son, Ted (Sonia) Bedell Jr.; nine grandchildren; four brothers, Norman (Sharon) Moinet, Michael (Brenda) Moinet, Robert (Leanette) Moinet, and James (Elaina) Moinet and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents.

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, private services will be held and a Celebration of Life Service will be held at a later date. The family was assisted with these arrangements by Keck-Coleman Funeral Home.


William E. Freel

William E. Freel, age 79, of St. Johns, MI, passed away Wednesday, March 25, 2020, at his home.

Due to current circumstances a Memorial Service will be held by the family at a later date.

William was born in Tawas, MI on April 24, 1940, to Norton and Faye (Vance) Freel. William married Kathleen J. Ankney on December 21, 1984, in Lansing, MI. He served in the U.S. Army as a special marksman. William worked for GM Warehousing for over 30 years; he retired in January 2000.

He is survived by his wife Kathleen, and children: Lynn Freel, Harold Freel, Julie Keyes; his siblings: John Freel, Karla Brown, and Jerry Freel. He is also survived by his grandchildren: Vance Freel, and Andrew and Amelia Keyes. William is preceded in death by his parents and his sister Judy Pfahl.

The family is being served by Smith Family Funeral Homes – Osgood Chapel, St. Johns, MI.


Mary Brower Japinga

It is with great sadness that the family of Mary Brower Japinga announces her death from complications of Alzheimer’s on March 23, 2020. Mary was a life-long Michigander who was born on May 2, 1940 and was raised in Grandville, Michigan.

Mary married her high school sweetheart, Doug Japinga. According to family legend, Mary first heard about Doug in the girl’s bathroom in high school. One of the girls commented that she heard Doug Japinga kissed like a movie star. When asked about the accuracy of that statement years later by her daughters, Mary coyly said, “I don’t know, I’ve never kissed a movie star.” Doug and Mary were married for 58 years.

The couple moved to St. Johns, Michigan, and raised two children. Mary was known for many things, but her kindness stands out. Much to the dismay of her girls, her excellent pies never seemed destined for the family, but were baked for people in need. Mary also was an enthusiastic fund raiser for the March of Dimes and the American Cancer Society. As a stay at home mom, she volunteered to care for the sick kids of her friends who were teachers, rescued kids from the nearby elementary school when unexpected snow days cropped up so they could wait in the warmth (with hot chocolate!) until their parents could pick them up and participated in the helping hands program where a sign with a hand placed in the window let kids know that the house was a safe place to go in case of an emergency.

Mary loved words, whether they were on a Scrabble board, in books or the dictionary. She was hands down the best speller in the family. Doug recounted a time early in their marriage when they had few nickels to rub together, but some of those went to a fabulous dictionary. Yes, the same dictionary Mary frequently had her daughters take off the bookshelf and “look it up” rather than spell the word for them. Mary shared her love of reading with her children and frequently could be persuaded to extend bedtime for “one more story.”

She also enjoyed playing cards. Although she never admitted it, she and her close friend, Jo Ann Rosengren, were accused of rigging games by developing a scheme to somehow alert each other of what card to play through the house vents. Of course, this story was spread by Frank Rosengren and Doug, who frequently lost card games to their female partners.

After her kids were older, Mary and Doug started a business, Sports Imprint and soon after opened a store, the Sports Section. Mary grew the business with her husband. She managed the store and loved being around the kids and teens who frequented the store.

Mary and Doug retired to Kewadin, Michigan. While there, they reunited with friends from St. Johns and made new friends in the area. Mary, always one for celebrating and enjoying a party, loved the monthly gathering of her friends. They were also able to spend many evenings enjoying the sunsets over lake Michigan from their dream house.

Mary is survived by her husband Doug, her daughters Dawn (Japinga) Wilson and Kim Japinga (Carl Hartmann), her grandchildren, Sarah and Scott Wilson (Jessica Myers), her brother Howard Brower, her sister and brother-in-law Dave and Terre (Japinga) Balkema and many wonderful nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, Clarence and Gertrude Brower, sister Ruth (Brower) Frazine and her brothers Earl and Arthur Brower.

Due to COVID 19, the family has decided that gatherings are not safe and thus will not be holding a funeral at this time. In lieu of flowers, donations to the March of Dimes or the American Cancer Society would be appreciated.
Arrangements are in the care of Covell Funeral Home, Elk Rapids, Michigan.


Margaret Schaeffer-Murphy

Margaret Schaeffer-Murphy, 64, passed away peacefully at home in St. Johns on March 23rd, 2020 after an intense battle with cancer.

Margaret was born in Norwood, Massachusetts to John and Peggy Schaeffer and graduated from Sharron High School in Sharron, MA and then received an Associates Degree from Dean College in MA. Margaret was a fiercely dedicated mother and grandmother. She would often get up after just a few hours of sleep to make sure her children and grandchildren made it to school on time. She was a voracious reader, particularly John Grisham and Steven King. She was a lover of the arts, studying drama at Dean College, and passing on this appreciation to her children. On February 3, 2017 she married Bradley Murphy in St. Johns, MI.

She is survived by her husband, her children Sarah, Kate, Nora, John, and Ariel, grandchildren Trinity, Hayden, and Kaylyn, and sisters Patricia, Eileen, and Mary. She joins her mother, father, and grandson William. Memorials may be given to the charity of the donor’s choice.

A memorial service will be arranged at a future date. The family was assisted with these arrangements by Keck-Coleman Funeral Home.


Dorothy June Andrus

Dorothy June Andrus died Sunday, March 22, 2020 at the age of 98. She was born May 26, 1921 in the family farmhouse on south Balcom Rd. near Ovid, MI. She was the born the youngest of five children to William and Edith (Davis) McMaster. Dorothy was a lifelong member of the St. Johns Seventh Day Adventist Church and a retired Federal Mogul employee.

She enjoyed crocheting, knitting, ceramics and most of all reading. She loved animals especially dogs. She and her husband had four dogs that were like children to her. Dorothy loved spending time with her family especially her grandchildren later in life. On April 16, 1965 she married the love of her life, Earl L. Andrus and he preceded her in death in March of 2017.

Surviving are two daughters, Rita (Jennings) West of Ovid and Teala (John) Moon of St. Johns; three stepchildren, Rodney (Annette) Andrus, Darrell (Carol) Andrus and Carlton (Connie) Andrus all of St. Johns; seventeen grandchildren; 23 great grandchildren and five great great grandchildren. Also surviving are two special nieces, Beverly Saxton and Doris Walters, who were like sisters to her. She was also predeceased by a son, William Besko, two grandsons, Craig and Greg Andrus and son in law, Jack Sodman Sr.

The family would like to thank the staff at Hazel Findlay Manor for the exceptional care they have given her over the last four years and they suggest memorials be made to Hazel I. Findlay Country Manor. Private services have been held. The family was assisted with these arrangements by Keck-Coleman Funeral Home, St. Johns.


Kathlyn Irene Elliott

Kathlyn Irene Elliott died Saturday, March 21, 2020 at the age of 88. She was born July 30, 1931 in Lansing, MI the daughter of Rasmus and Ingrid (Anderson) Prince. Kathy grew up in Lansing, attending Lansing Everett High School where she met the love of her life, Richard C. Elliott (aka Dearie) which affectionately became their name for each other. Kathy and Dick were married on June 25, 1950 starting a love that has lasted just shy of 70 years.

Over the years Kathy and Dick made their house a home in Lansing, St. Johns, Lakeview, Zephyrhills, FL and back to Lansing. They wintered in Florida for 30 plus years and participated in square dancing, many card games and countless other activities with their many friends. Kathy was the stamp lady, Avon lady and Apple lady (at the Lansing City Market and their own orchard in St. Johns). She crocheted many stove bibs in her day and she LOVED her games. Many games were played on the deck at the lake and her grandkids all have great memories of those good times. Kathy had 29 lives and a beautiful smile – which we all miss. “Dearie” was our dad’s hobby, and he was hers.

Surviving is her husband, Richard; three children, Linda (Ray) Enright of St. Johns, Robert (Cathy) Elliott of Lansing and Cheryl/Sherry (Melvin) Frazier of Lansing; seven grandchildren, Candace, Casey, Robb, Scott, Jeff, Lindsay and Katie; they were blessed with eight great grandchildren, Jace, Brandon, Dane, Devon, Lawson, McKenna, Harper, and Conrad; two sisters, Alice (Robert) Alleva and Marilyn (Wayne) Kubat and one brother, Robert (Priscilla) Prince. She was preceded in death by her parents and a sister, Gladys Backus.

The family is planning a private service at this time with a public Celebration of Life at a later date. Memorials may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association or the American Diabetes Association. The family would like to thank the staff of The Willows at East Lansing for the great care and support during these past few weeks/months. McLaren Hospice of Lansing also helped our mom (and dad) tremendously, and for that we are thankful. Addie’s Acres also gave mom great care during her stay there as well. We know she is at peace now and with her Lord. As mom would say…”To each their own”.

The family was assisted with these arrangements by Keck-Coleman Funeral Home, St. Johns.


Nancy Ann Hufnagel

Nancy Ann Hufnagel, age 77, of St. Johns, MI, passed away Friday, March 20, 2020 at Sparrow Health Systems, Lansing, MI.

Due to the current circumstances a private family Funeral Service will be held. A Memorial Service will be held at a later date and announced as soon as the information is available. Burial will take place at Most Holy Trinity Cemetery, Fowler, MI.

Nancy was born in St. Johns, MI on March 17, 1943, the daughter of Vernon and Rita Sackrider. She graduated from St. Johns High School with the class of 1961. On August 25, 1962 she married Tom Hufnagel. Tom passed away on October 12, 2018.

Nancy retired from MSU as a departmental secretary after many years of service. She loved gardening, sewing and traveling. Nancy was very close with her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She cherished the time she spent with them. Nancy and Tom had a very strong faith and were members of St. Joseph Catholic Church. Nancy was involved with the Ladies Guild where she volunteered for many community events.

She is survived by daughters: Patty and Steve Baxter, Carol Boak and Jeanette Dubendorf; brother Arthur and Gerri Sackrider; sister Marlene Freelan; grandchildren: Brandi, Erin, Nathaniel, Megan, Alex, Monica, Derrek, and Trevor; honorary grandson Tommy; great grandchildren: Clara, Delilah, Amelia, AJ, Zoey, and Bentley. She is also survived by many brothers and sisters in law, nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, husband Tom, daughter Dawn, sister Shirley and brother Charles.

Memorials may be made to the wishes of the family. The family is being served by Smith Family Funeral Homes – Osgood Chapel, St. Johns, MI.


Leora M. Kaiser

Leora M. “Lee” Kaiser, age 91, of St. Johns, MI, passed away Thursday, March 19, 2020, at Burcham Hills, East Lansing, MI.

Cremation has taken place and a private service with immediate family will be held.

Leora was born in Rapids City, MI on August 2, 1928, the daughter of George W. and Gladys G. (Bechstein) Harris. She was a graduate of Elk Rapids High School. Lee married Paul F. Kaiser on June 15, 1951, in Lansing, MI; Paul passed away on January 21, 2011. They were blessed with almost 60 years of marriage.

Lee worked at Melba Beauty School as a manager in Lansing for 28 years. She enjoyed reading, knitting, crocheting, sewing and cooking. Lee loved spending time with her family. She was the last member of her Harris family to pass.

She is survived by her son Steven Kaiser, 3 daughters: Karen Syroka, Jill and Randy Hurst, Lisa and Floyd Koerner III, 10 grandchildren: Carmen and Dan Woodbury, Angie and Jay DeGarmo, Nikki Kaiser, Sgt. Derek Syroka, Jesse and Brooke Hurst, David and Nicole Hurst, Jared Hurst, Christopher and Andrea Koerner, Amy and Jake Ridsdale, Tracey and Chasity Koerner. She is also survived by 14 great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents, siblings, husband Paul, and son in law Patrick Syroka.

Memorials may be made to the American Alzheimer’s Association. The family is being served by Smith Family Funeral Homes – Osgood Chapel, St. Johns, MI.


Divorce decrees filed on March 16, 2020

Gillis, Paula J. / Gillis, Heath M.

Phan, Erika Minh-Chau / Phan, Calvin

Podolan, Angela Christine / Podolan, Richard James