Obituaries



Harry Eugene Patterson

Harry Eugene Patterson, 91, of Ionia, MI passed away on Sunday, February 24, 2019. Harry was born on March 5, 1927. He married Mary Flint in Jamaica on April 7, 1996. He was a veteran of WWII, business owner of Patterson & Sons of St. Johns, MI, and a pilot.

Harry is survived by his loving wife, Mary Flint; his children, Woody (Sandy) Patterson, Scott (Kathy) Patterson, JW Patterson, Patsy Patterson, Steve (Linda) Flint, Chari (Joe) Coles, Bruce (Melanie) Flint, Kris (Tammy) Flint; and many grandchildren and great grandchildren. Harry is preceded in death by his parents, siblings, and his wife, Shirley.

There will be a private burial in the spring for family only. Memorial donations may be made in honor of Harry Patterson to Great Lakes Caring Home Health and Hospice. The family of Harry wishes to extend our sincere thanks to SKLD of Ionia for the special care provided to Harry.


Wesley Fletcher Stephenson, MD

Wesley Fletcher Stephenson, MD, age 95, recent resident of Waterloo, Iowa but long-time resident of St. Johns, Michigan, passed away on Tuesday, April 9, 2019. Wesley was predeceased by his first wife of 49 years, Grace Lucile (Ormston), and later by his second wife of 19 years, Verna Jean (Rodine).

Wesley was born in Benton Harbor, Michigan on October 29, 1923. He spent the majority of his life as a practicing physician in St. Johns where he and Grace raised their four children: Kristin (Jerry Weatherly), Kendra (Craig Puetz), Mark (Linda Stephenson) and Dale (Carol Stephenson).

Wesley is survived by two sisters, his four children, twelve grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren. His ashes will be interred at the family grave in the Colony Cemetery in Duplain Township, Michigan.

The memorial service for family will be private.


Richard L. Geer

Richard L.”Spike” Geer, 54 of Maple Rapids, MI passed away at Sparrow Hospital on Monday, April 9, 2019. Richard was born on October 3, 1964 in Carson City, MI the son of Thomas and Donna (Thompson) Geer. He graduated from Fulton High School and worked at Rogers Engine Shop and then at Mahle in St. Johns. He loved Race Cars and worked with Zack and Zayden Olger, he also loved Lawn Mower racing and his 1969 Camaro.

Richard is survived by his wife, Doreen “Dee” Humble, daughters Ashley (Wes Sherrill) Schreiber of St. Johns and Myriah (Rick) Benjamin of Elsie; sons, Camrin (Aubrey Waren) Geer of Maple Rapids, and Michael (Rachel) Humble of St. Johns; his father, Thomas Geer of Ovid; grandchildren, Richard, David, Ashton, Alivia Schreiber, Payton and Riley Sherrill Kaylen Mills, Khylee Mills, Jayla and Evie Benjamin, Contessa, Kaine, Dulcinea and Adalyn Humble; several brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews and cousins; uncle, Dwayne and Betty Thompson of St. Johns. He was preceded in death by his Mother, Grandparents and cousin, Wayne.

The family will receive friends and relatives at Keck-Coleman Funeral Home on Monday, April 15, 2019 4:00 to 8:00 P.M. A Memorial gathering will be held at the Maple Rapids Community Center on Saturday, April 13, 2019 beginning at 1:00 P.M. Following the service there will be a cookout at Bill Geer’s house at 1753 E. Steel Road in St. Johns. Memorials may be given to the family.


Arthur J. Motz

Arthur J. Motz passed away peacefully on Sunday, April 7, 2019 at the age of 99. He was born October 30, 1919 in St. Johns, MI where he farmed most of his life. Art was a gentle, kind and compassionate man with a wonderful sense of humor. He was an inspiration to all who were fortunate to have known him. Art was a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church and the Knights of Columbus. He deeply loved his family, faith and his MSU Spartans.

“Our Father didn’t tell us how to live; he lived, and let us watch him do it”.
“Grandpa is someone with silver in his hair and gold in his heart”.

Surviving are 3 children, Marilynn (Steve) Mc Dermott, Bill (Pat) Motz, and Scott (Stacie) Motz; ten grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren that he loved dearly; one brother, Jack Motz and sister-in-law, Harriet Motz. He was preceded in death by his dear wife, Rita Rose; daughters, Rosemary and Pam and son, Jerry; three sisters and three brothers.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 11:00 AM Saturday, April 13, 2019 at St. Joseph Catholic Church 109 Linden, St. Johns with Rev. Fr. Michael Williams officiating. Rite of Committal will follow at Mt. Rest Cemetery. The family will receive relatives and friends 4-7 PM Friday at Keck-Coleman Funeral Home , St. Johns. A Knights of Columbus Rosary will be prayed at 7:00 PM Friday at the funeral home. Memorials may be made to the Basic Needs Center in St. Johns or the Capital Area Humane Society.


Faye Viva Good

Faye Viva Good, 80, of St. Johns, MI passed away on April 3, 2019 after a courageous battle with lung cancer. Faye was born in Ithaca, MI on February 18, 1939. She also graduated from Ithaca High School. Faye was married to Phillip Good on April 23, 1960; they were married for over 58 years. They traveled throughout the country for Phil’s work and lived in the states of California, Texas and Florida before settling in Saint Johns in 1976.

Faye worked as an aide for St Johns Public schools for a number of years. She also worked in a doctor’s office in St. Johns for several years in addition to other clerical jobs throughout her life. She enjoyed going out with friends and playing golf. She also did volunteer work at St. Vincent store in St. Johns until recently, when her health started to deteriorate.

She was active in her boys lives and enjoyed participating in Boy Scouts as a den mother and attending scouting and school functions for her grandchildren as well. She was happiest entertaining family in her home and loved to cook.

Faye is survived by her husband Phil; sons Phillip Good, Dale (Cheri) Good; grandchildren Tasha Hatten Good, Tyler Hatten, Chad Good, Zac Good and Sydnie Good; great grandchildren Jadelynne Hatten and Ethan Hopkins; brothers Ed Shutes, Roger (Connie) Shutes; sisters Carla and Gracie; and many nieces and nephews along with other family and friends.

The Memorial Service will be held Saturday May 18, 2019 at 2:00 PM at Riley Funeral Home, 426 W. St Joseph St., Lansing, MI 48933. In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be given to Clinton County Relay For Life.


Phyllis Grace Nobis

Phyllis Grace Nobis, 89, passed away on Saturday, April 6, 2019. Phyllis was born August 3, 1929 to William and Lorna (Wessler) Witte in Arenzville, IL. On April 23, 1949 she married Carl A. Nobis in Arenzville and were married 53 years raising four children together. Phyllis worked as a secretary for the Clinton County Sheriffs Dept. for 20 years. She was a member of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Fowler and was a former member of the Clinton Memorial Hospital Auxiliary.

She is survived by her children, Jeffrey (Alice) Nobis, Terry (Ann) Nobis, Debra Mathews, and Chuck (Constance) Nobis; eight grandchildren, Matthew (Shannon) Nobis, Rachel (Jason) Gnegy, Ben (Stephanie) Nobis, Brooke (Trevor) Buys, Emily (Tom) Wolan, Sarah (Troy) Tahvonen, Taylor Nobis and Carlin (Casey) Eisler; thirteen great grandchildren, Jacob and Brooke Gnegy, Carter and Spencer Nobis, Bosley, Ascher, and Preston Buys, Cameron and Maxwell Nobis, Kellan and Sienna Tahvonen, Cashton and Cruze Eiseler; one sister, Ethel Witte and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband Carl, two sisters, Lorene Thies and Wilma Nobis, a sister-in-law, Nellie Nobis, four brothers-in-law, Paul Thies, Robert Witte, Paul and Walter Nobis and son-in-law, John Mathews.

A memorial service will be held 10:30 AM Thursday, April 11, 2019 at St. Paul Lutheran Church 329 N. Sorrell, Fowler with Pastor Paul Clark officiating. The family will receive relatives and friends 4-7 PM Wednesday, April 10 at Keck-Coleman Funeral Home , St. Johns and one hour prior the service Thursday. Memorials may be made to St. Paul Lutheran Church.


Patricia A. Saxton

Patricia A. Saxton, 96, of Ovid, MI, died on Saturday April 6, 2019. at the Royal Oaks Inn Assisted Living, in Thousand Oaks, California. She was born on August 9, 1922 in Detroit, Michigan and graduated from Ovid High School in 1941, she then went to work at GM Truck and Coach in Pontiac, Michigan.

On December 3, 1946, she married Edward Saxton in Pontiac, Michigan and after her marriage Pat relocated to Ovid with Edward. She worked at Vaughn’s Seed Company in Ovid for 20 years.

Survivors include her daughter, Janet (Paul) Mailhot of Thousand Oaks, California; grandsons, Cory Barrett, Scott (Kalyn) Barrett and great-grandson, Jack, of Lansing, Michigan. She was preceded in death by her parents, husband Edward, in 2009 and her daughter, Elaine Barrett, in 2012.

The family will receive friends and relatives at Keck-Coleman Funeral Home on Sunday, April 14, 2019, 3-7 P.M. Funeral services will be at 2:00 P.M. on Monday, April 15, 2019 with Pastor Kathy Leydorf-Keck officiating. Burial will be at Maple Grove Cemetery, Ovid, MI.

Memorials may be given to the United Church Of Ovid, 131 W. Front Street, Ovid, MI. 48866.


Leslie Eugene Whitford

Leslie Eugene Whitford, age 80 of Ashley, MI died Saturday, April 6, 2019 at the Ashley
Care Center surrounded by his family. Funeral services will be held at Bethel Mennonite Church, Ashley, MI on Thursday, April 11, 2019 at 11:00 A.M. with Pastor Zella Daniel officiating. The family will receive friends and relatives at Keck-Coleman Funeral Home, St. Johns on Wednesday, April 10, 2019, 2-4 and 6-8 P.M.

Leslie was born in Ashley, Mi on March 11, 1939 the first born son of Gene and Dorothy (Slagell) Whitford. He graduated from Ashley High School with the class of 1957 and studied agriculture at Michigan State University. On December 29, 1957 he married Marilyn Joyce Camburn and they raised three children on the farm near Ashley. Marilyn preceded him in death on April 29, 2013 after 55 years of marriage. Leslie worked at MMPA in Ovid for several years then Federal Mogul in St. Johns for 8 years on the midnight shift while farming and milking cows and running Whitford Wrecker Service which he started in the late 60s and continued to present. He also did backhoe work, installing septic systems, drain fields and any projects that involved digging. He sat on several boards, including Washington Township as Clerk, Gratiot County Board of Commissioners, and Gratiot County Road Commission. He was a past member of the Ashley Lions Club, and Volunteer for the Ashley Fire Department. He was proud to host training sessions for the Ashley Fire and Rescue, providing wrecked cars for the Jaws of Life and rescue program. He always wanted to help people.

Leslie was a member of the Bethel Mennonite Church, and also enjoyed attending the Pompeii U.M. Church and Chapin U.M. Church and East Washington U.B. Church. Leslie will be remembered for playing guitar and singing with family and friends, attending music jams all over Michigan and the UP. Never left his guitar home when traveling. He and Marilyn hosted the “Whitford Jam” for many years on their farm near Ashley where many came to camp for the weekend and enjoy great fellowship with Gospel and Bluegrass music, great food and hospitality. He will also be remembered for his fun loving pranks, playing jokes and picking on the people he loved. In recent years he truly enjoyed spending time with his special friend, Kathy Vandeusen.

He is survived by his children, daughter, Luanne Billings (Jim Dershem) sons, Eugene “Jose” (Brenda) Whitford, and Kelly Whitford all of Ashley, MI. Grandchildren, Matt Whitford, Sarah and Tony Siecinski, Rachel Billings, Ryan Billings. 4 Great grandchildren, Hannah, Garrett, Addyson and Peyton and a great grandson due in August. Also sister, Barbara Elaine (Gene) Slagel of Midland and brother Eldon (Ann) Whitford of Reed City and sister in laws, Judy Whitford of St. Johns, Lois Emery of Ashley Margaret Saylor of Okemos, and many special nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife, Marilyn, Parents in 2016, Brother Gary in 2014. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Charity of the Donor’s Choice, or consider the American Diabetes Association or any of the churches mentioned.


Margaret Ruth Dollarhite

Margaret Ruth Dollarhite, age 91, of Dewitt, MI, passed away Friday, April 5, 2019, at Gunnisonville Meadows, Lansing, MI.

Funeral Services will be held at Smith Family Funeral Homes – Osgood Chapel, St. Johns, MI, on Monday, April 8, 2019 at 11:00 A.M., with Rev. Dr. Brandon Dollarhite officiating. Interment will be held on Tuesday at 1:00 P.M. at Chapel Hill Cemetery, Lansing, MI. Visitation will be held on Sunday, April 7, 2019 from 4-7 P.M. at the funeral home.

Margaret was born in Elm Hall, MI on September 16, 1927, the daughter of Arthur C. and Pearl M. (Barnes) Ries. She graduated from Fulton High School with the class of 1945. On October 5, 1945, Margaret married Eugene C. Dollarhite in Lansing, MI. Together they shared 59 years of marriage prior to his death on October 16, 2004.

Margaret was a talented seamstress. She sewed from an early age making Barbie clothes to wedding dresses, even sewing clothing for many entertainers in Branson, MO. In her youth, Margaret delivered the GRIT newspaper on her bicycle all over the rural area in which she lived. She later worked for the Chrysler Trim Plant in Lyons, MI for 17 years. Margaret resided most of her adult life in DeWitt, MI and Highlandville, MO.

Margaret is survived by 7 children: Max “Marvin”, Todd (Marsha), Dean (Judy), Ronald (Deana), Debra, Randall (Debrah), and John (Judy) Dollarhite. She is also survived by 23 grandchildren; 38 great-grandchildren; and 4 great-great-grandchildren. Margaret was preceded in death by her parents and her husband.

The family would like to thank the staff of Gunnisonville Meadows and The Care Team Hospice for their excellent care of their mother.

Memorials may be made to The Care Team Hospice, 30600 Northwestern Highway, Suite 245, Farmington Hills, MI 48334. The family is being served by Smith Family Funeral Homes – Osgood Chapel, St. Johns, MI.


Buck Aaron Rockafellow

Buck Aaron Rockafellow, 38, of St. Johns, MI, passed away Monday, April 1, 2019.

Visitation will be held at Smith Family Funeral Homes – Osgood Chapel, St. Johns, MI on Saturday, April 13, 2019 at 12:00 P.M. followed by a Memorial Service at 3:00 P.M. with Pastor Timothy Thompson officiating.

Buck was born in Flint, MI on March 29, 1981, the son of Gary Dean and Lesley Clover (Spaulding) Rockafellow. Buck proudly served his country in the United States Army and was also active in fundraising for the Veterans Administration. Buck was a history buff especially interested in WWII. He had aspirations to become a teacher and had earned his certificate to substitute teach.

He is survived by mother Lesley Rockafellow, siblings: Christy Idle, Nicole Rockafellow, Jeremy Goodman, Jennifer Ash, Courtney (Jared) Murry, Colt (Sara) Illian, Tristen (Chelsea) Rockafellow, Elijah Rockafellow, and step father Norman Illian. He is also survived by aunts and uncles: Billie (Mike) Johnson, Cathy (Stacy) Whitener, Lee, Stan Rockafellow and Ann Sullinger, and many special nieces, nephews, cousins and very special friends. Buck was preceded in death by his father, sister Brittaney Rockafellow, uncle Keith Rockafellow, and aunt Marilyn Rockafellow.

Memorials may be made to Emmanuel House, www.emmanuelhouserecovery.org/donate.html (P.O. Box 28070, Detroit, Michigan, 48228) or the Buck Rockafellow go fund me account to help cover funeral expenses. The family is being served by Smith Family Funeral Homes – Osgood Chapel, St. Johns, MI.