Obituaries



John P. “Jack” Downing

I entered this world at home in Middleton, MI on April 2 1933, the fifth of seven children born to Chancey W. and Myrtle L. (Chamberlain) Downing. When I was 10 years old we moved to a farm in Pewamo where I grew up, went to school and graduated with the class of 1951.

In 1952 I married the love of my life, June Janes, of Ionia, MI. We were blessed with 4 wonderful children, 13 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren. We moved to St. Johns in 1952 where I went to work for Egan Ford Sales as a mechanic. In 1975 a partner and I bought the dealership and owned it until 1984, when we sold it to Frank Pauli. I worked for Frank until I retired in 1995. I continued to work for Frank, after I retired, driving cars.

I loved all sports especially St. Johns Redwings and P-W Pirates. I had the honor of being chosen to be the Honorary Redwing for two Homecoming parades. I enjoyed working and coaching the youth of the community. I was one of the founders of the St. Johns Little League program and the Clinton County Soap Box Derby. I was on the Board of Directors for the Clinton County Golden Gloves Boxing team, Vice President and President of the St. Johns Jaycee chapter where I won the Distinguished Service Award for service to the community.

I loved all kinds of hunting and fishing. I really enjoyed the family fishing trips to the cabin at Houghton Lake. I especially loved the turkey hunts with special friend John Williamson and the deer hunting trips to the UP with special friends Gordon Matter, Bob Lublow and Lou Richards: and in the later years, with son in law Mark Heibeck, grandsons Jason Heibeck and Ken Kendall and two very good friends, Lonnie Richards and Tony Miller.

I am survived by my wife of 67 years, June Downing, youngest sister Glenna (Downing) and her husband Ed Miller and many nieces and nephews; my children: Brenda (Downing) Munger and her husband Mike, Brian Downing and his wife Barbara, Becky (Downing) Stoddard and Barbie (Downing) Heibeck and her husband Mark; also my 13 grandchildren: Gina, Elissa (Joel) and Shawna, Michelle (Ken), Jacob and Morgan (Marc), Allison (Dan), Cody (Brandi), Casey and Emily, Jason (Molly), Jamie (Theron) and Britney. I was predeceased by my parents, brothers and their spouses: Eldon and Violet Jean (Perry) Downing, Reverend Kendall and Lillian (Dietrich) Downing, their son Reverend John Downing, and Eugene and Donna (Fox) Downing; also a sister and brother in law, Barbara (Andrew) Gager and infant sister Gloria Downing.

Well, it is time to sign off, I hear my calling. No goodbyes, just so long until we meet up later. God Bless you all.

Love, Grandpa Jack

Funeral services will be held 11:00 AM Monday, October 14, 2019 at Pilgrim United Methodist Church 2965 W. Parks Rd. St. Johns with Pastor Andy Croel officiating. The family will receive relatives and friends 2:00-8:00 PM Sunday, October 13 at Keck-Coleman Funeral Home, St. Johns. Jack has requested that any donations in his honor be made to The Sparrow Clinton Infusion Center or St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.


Mark Julius Wirth

Mark Julius Wirth, age 74 of Fowler, MI, passed away Tuesday, October 8, 2019. Mark was born in Fowler, MI on October 22, 1944 the son of Louis and Esther (Platte) Wirth. He was a graduate of Fowler High School with the Class of 1963. Mark married Harlene Adams on September 21, 1968.

Mark retired from Sealed Power in St. Johns in 1995. After his retirement he enjoyed farming for many years. Mark enjoyed hunting and spending time on the family property. Mark especially loved spending time with his family and friends. He will be remembered for his gift of story telling. He loved card parties and doing puzzles. Mark resided all of his life in Fowler, and was a lifelong member of Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Fowler.

He is survived by his wife Harlene Wirth; 3 sons: Tom and Tracy Wirth of St. Johns; Paul and Linda Wirth of Fowler; Mike Wirth of Houston; 4 grandchildren: Carly, Nolan, Alex and Macy; 3 sisters: Grace and Leroy Goerge of Fowler; Joyce and Neil Epkey of Fowler; MaryLou and Steve Thelen of Westphalia; brother-in-law Bob and Donna Halfmann of Fowler; sister-in-law MaryAnn Wirth of Fowler; brother-in-law Malcolm “Pat” and Carolyn Adams of Eaton Rapids; and sister-in-law Nancy and Clare Fox of Mt. Pleasant. Mark was preceded in death by his parents, brother Maynard Wirth, and sister Gladys (Wirth) Halfmann.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Fowler, MI, on Saturday, October 12, 2019 at 10:30 A.M. with Rev. Fr. Dennis Howard officiating. Burial will take place at Most Holy Trinity Cemetery, Fowler, MI. Visitation will be held on Thursday, October 10, 2019 from 6-8 P.M. and Friday, October 11, 2019 from 2-4 and 6-8 P.M. at Smith Family Funeral Homes – Goerge Chapel, Fowler, MI. A Rosary Service will be prayed at 4:00 P.M. on Friday at the funeral home.


Marilyn Joan Miller

Marilyn Joan Miller, age 80, of Ovid, MI, passed away Saturday, October 5, 2019, at Hospice House of Mid-Michigan, Lansing, MI.

Funeral Services will be held at Smith Family Funeral Homes – Houghton Chapel, Ovid, MI, at 1:00 P.M. on Thursday, October 10, 2019, with Pastor Judy Hazle officiating. Visitation will be held on Thursday from 11:00 A.M. until the time of the service at the funeral home.

Marilyn was born in Owosso, Michigan on November 1, 1938, the daughter of Kenneth and Harriet (Vautherot) Ordway. She graduated from high school in Alba, MI. Marilyn married Jack Vernon Miller on January 17, 1959, in Ovid, Michigan. Jack passed away in February of 2013.

Marilyn worked at Old Kent/Fifth Third bank in Ovid and St. Johns for many years. She enjoyed bowling on a league with her friends, watching Michigan State basketball games, and morning trips to the Ovid Cafe for coffee with friends. In her later years she enjoyed traveling on bus trips with friends and trips to the casino with her sisters. Marilyn knitted many blankets for her family and friends. She loved taking care of her family and enjoyed the time spent with her grandchildren. Marilyn was a member of the Red Hats Society and the Shepardsville United Methodist Church.

She is survived by daughter Sue and Don Strait of DeWitt, MI, sons Donald Miller of Ovid, MI; Jack Jr. and Moji Miller of DeWitt, MI; grandchildren Steven and Jessica Miller of Ovid, MI; Matthew Strait of Royal Oak, MI; McKayla Miller of Wyoming, MI; Kathleen Miller of Ovid, MI; Evan Miller of DeWitt, MI; Cameron Miller of DeWitt, MI; great grandchildren Renin Cole, Rebecca Miller, and Ryder Miller; siblings Roland Ordway of Alba, MI; Pat Milligan of Alba, MI; Sharon and Jerry Huffman of Elmira, MI; Barry and Kathy Ordway of Georgia; and special aunt Marion Louch of Corunna, MI. She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, and brothers Donald “Bob” Ordway and Jerry “Butch” Ordway.

Memorials may be made to Shepardsville United Methodist Church or Alzheimer’s Association. The family is being served by Smith Family Funeral Homes – Houghton Chapel, Ovid, Michigan.


Ronald Adelbert Patterson

Ronald Adelbert “Ron” Patterson, age 87, of St. Johns, MI, passed away Friday, October 4, 2019, at Sparrow Health Systems, Lansing, MI.

Funeral Services will be held at Smith Family Funeral Homes – Osgood Chapel, St. Johns, MI, at 11:00 A.M. on Wednesday, October 9, 2019. Burial will take place at Eureka Cemetery, Eureka, MI. Visitation will be held on Tuesday, October 8, 2019 from 2-8 P.M. with family present from 2-4 and 6-8 P.M. at Smith Family Funeral Homes- Osgood Chapel.

Ron was born in Greenbush Township, Michigan on May 21, 1932, the son of Dorrence and Irene (Webber) Patterson. He married Kathy Miller on September 23, 1978 in Mason, MI.

Ron retired from Federal Mogul Corporation in 1996. He went on to be an over the road truck driver for 7 years for many companies. Ron enjoyed farming, hunting, and was an avid Spartan and Detroit Tigers fan. Ron proudly served his country in the United States Air Force during the Korean War stationed in Alaska. He was a member of the American Legion Post #153, St. Johns, MI.

He is survived by his wife Kathy Patterson, children: Ron and Lynne Patterson Jr., Le Ann and Shawn LaFay, Carla Gates, Doug and Angie Hanna, and Mike Hanna. He is also survived by 12 grandchildren, many great-grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents and one sister Ardys Weaver.

Memorials may be made to American Legion #153 St. Johns, MI 48879. The family is being served by Smith Family Funeral Homes – Osgood Chapel, St. Johns, Michigan.


Barbara R. Dickman

Barbara R. Dickman, of Elsie, MI, formerly of St. Johns, MI, passed away Thursday, October 3, 2019, at the age of 87.

Funeral Services will be held at the Smith Family Funeral Homes – Osgood Chapel, St. Johns, MI on Monday, October 7, 2019 at 11:00 A.M., with Pastor Kathy Leydorf-Keck officiating. Visitation will be held on Monday from 10:00 A.M. until the time of service.

Barb was born on February 19, 1932 in Temple, MI, to Robert and Ruth (Nestle) Smith. She was the sister of Robert “Bud” Smith. On September 3, 1949, Barb started a yearlong engagement to Edmund F. Dickman. Barb and Ed were married on September 9, 1950. Together Barb and Ed raised five children. She took great pride in all five of her children for each of their accomplishments. Barb’s grandchildren were very important to her and she enjoyed the many visits from her grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. She spoke often of the many children she provided daycare for.

Barb also enjoyed bowling, camping, fishing, frequent trips to the casino, and followed high school theater competition. Barb was also a cancer survivor.

She is survived by her children: Jim (Krystal) Dickman of Brooklyn; Gwen (Dwight) Nash of Elsie; Nancy (Jerry) Fillwock of St. Johns; Bob (Keira Duvernoy) Braveheart of Interlochen; Tim (Laura) Dickman of Grand Rapids; 12 grandchildren, 24 great grandchildren, two great-great grandchildren and sister in law Wanda Smith. Barb was preceded in death by her loving husband of 61 years, parents Robert and Ruth Smith, and brother Robert “Bud” Smith.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Barb’s memory to a charity of the donor’s choice. The family is being served by Smith Family Funeral Homes – Osgood Chapel, St. Johns, MI.


Thomas A. Fabus

Surrounded by his family, Thomas A. Fabus died peacefully Thursday, October 3, 2019 at the age of 75. He was born June 22, 1944 in St. Johns, MI to John and Lena (Sedlar) Fabus. Tom was a member of St. Jude Catholic Church in DeWitt and a Vietnam era Army veteran. He enjoyed hunting, fishing and playing cards.

He was an avid DeWitt Panther sports fan attending many high school sporting events. Tom also enjoyed spending time with his family, friends and coffee group. He especially enjoyed being around his two granddaughters. Tom retired from General Motors Skilled Trades in 2003 with 42 years of service and was a member of UAW Local #652.

He is survived by his loving wife of 55 years, Audrey. He is also survived by his daughter, Angela and her husband, Scott Porter, of LaGrange, IL; son, Tom, of DeWitt; two granddaughters, Audra and Lila; two sisters, Marie (Jerry) Skaryd of Ashley, Karen (Richard) Maxa of St. Johns; one brother, Jerry (Janet) Fabus of Tennessee and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and brother John.

Private services will be held. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the American Lung Association or the American Diabetes Association. The family was assisted with these arrangements by Keck-Coleman Funeral Home, St. Johns.