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Joann Rita Wood

Joann Rita Wood passed peacefully on December 27, 2023, at the age of 79 in the comfort of her bed. She will be remembered for her toughness, creativity, humor, courage and braveness as she fought the good fight against cancer. She loved giving treats and crocheted gifts to the oncology staff at the Sparrow Ionia Hospital. They enjoyed her various holiday outfits and her infectious sense of humor.

Joann was born on October 3, 1944, to Clarence and Dorothy (Wohlscheid) Schneider in Pewamo. Joann was the 7th of their family of 13 children: Donnie (Mary Ellen), Carol (Vern) McQueen both deceased, Dolores (Larry Keiffer deceased) (Bob) Spitzley, Mike (Mary Ann), Sharon (Richard) Williams both deceased, Kay (Mark) Klein, Arlene (Tom-deceased) Bohen, Clair Schneider, David Schneider, Donna (Scott) McCloud, and Dottie Chesney. Joann and Fred were married on August 3, 1963, and she joined the Donald and Mary Ann Wood family: Patti McCrea – deceased, Bill – deceased (Janet) Wood, Kathy (Paul – deceased) Grantz, Micky (Kathy) Wood, and Jenny Shangraw.

Fred and Joann lived on the Wood family farm and eventually built a house at their pond. Fred passed away on December 6, 2022. Joann is survived by her three children, Steve (Brenda) Wood, Jackie (Tim) Nurenberg, and Ron (Selina) Wood, all of which reside in Pewamo. She loved her children, but her pride and joy were her grandchildren and great granddaughter: Rachel (Clinton) Korneffel, Erica (Evan) Foresman, Alyssa Nurenberg, Dakota Nurenberg, Jason (Rebecca) Wood, Nicki Wood, Katie Wood, Sara Wood, and Zachary Wood; great-granddaughter Amelia Korneffel.

Joann was always on the move. She was very artistic and painted anything she could get her hands on from canvases, saws, pan covers, and rocks. She painted several murals at her home. The highlight of Christmas was her hand painted Christmas ornaments. She crocheted, sewed, cooked and baked. When she could no longer paint, she started diamond art. Her granddaughters enjoyed monthly crotchet days with her. She loved a good game of Rummikub, scum, euchre, and dominoes. Back in the day, she loved to fish, cross country ski, play tennis and golf. She would use her putter to chip on the green and that move is known by some as “The Joann”. She loved to be outside tending to her various flower beds, taking the grandchildren on golf cart rides through “the jungle”, zipping around on her ranger looking for golf balls, and mowing her huge lawn.

She owned and operated The Truck Stop in Pewamo and then Wood’s Deli in Pewamo. She was an amazing cook and enjoyed critiquing restaurant meals. She was Fred’s secretary and errand runner which she did not get paid enough for. Joann loved spending time at their home at Houghton Lake, Arizona and then Florida.

Visitation will be held on Friday, December 29, 2023, from 2:00 to 8:00 P.M. at Smith Family Funeral Homes – Goerge Chapel in Fowler with a rosary prayed at 5:00 P.M. Mass will be held on Saturday, December 30, 2023, at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Pewamo at 10:00 A.M. with Fr. Darrel Kempf presiding. Joann will be taken to her final resting place at the cemetery followed by a luncheon at the St. Joseph Activity Center. Family and friends are encouraged to join the family to honor and celebrate Joann.

Memorials may be made to St. Joseph Catholic School – Pewamo or Sparrow Ionia Hospital. The family is being served by Smith Family Funeral Homes – Goerge Chapel, Fowler, Michigan.


Dortha M. Pierce

Dortha M. (Goetze) Pierce, a native of Ovid and a longtime resident of St. Johns, died peacefully on December 26, 2023 in St. Louis, Michigan. She was 94 years old.

Dortha was born on October 25, 1929 in Ovid, Michigan, the daughter of Clare and Hildred (Hamp) MacArthur and graduated from Ovid High School in 1947. Dortha had a sweet and sassy personality and a caring heart. She attended Grove Bible Church in St. Johns, drove school busses in St. Johns and DeWitt and worked as a cook at the Wheel Inn for many years.

For over 15 years, Dortha sang with the Mint City Jammers and she cherished Tuesday morning breakfasts with fellow music enthusiasts and friends at Swany’s. Dortha had a profound love for animals and was an avid collector who took delight in frequenting flea markets and garage sales. She cherished time spent with family and enjoyed camping together every weekend.

She is survived by her children, Jennie Jorae, Susan Ward, Karen (Brian) Grosnickle, Joseph Goetze; seven grandchildren, eleven great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, Gail Goetze; son, Gail “Will” (Sandee) Goetze; son-in-laws, Mark Ward and Jim Jorae; granddaughter, Jackie Jorae and grandson, Scott Jorae.

A Funeral Service will be held at McGeehan Funeral Home, 1500 Waterford Pkwy, St. Johns on Wednesday, January 3, 2024 at 11 AM with Pastor Brendan Holmquist officiating. Family and friends may visit the funeral home on Tuesday, January 2, 2024 from 2-7 PM or on Wednesday from 10 AM until the time of the service. Cremation to follow. Her ashes will be interred at Maple Grove Cemetery in Ovid. Memorial contributions may be made in her name to the Capital Area Humane Society, 7095 W Grand River Ave, Lansing, MI 48906

For further information please visit McGeehan Funeral Home, Keck-Coleman Chapel.


Bernice Karber

It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Bernice (Bea) Karber, loving and devoted wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and friend to all whose lives she touched after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease on December 21, 2023 at the age of 87.

She will be greatly missed and is survived by her husband William “Bill” Karber, Children: Kathi (Tim) Pioszak, Barb Karber, and Steve (Tracy) Karber. Grandchildren: Andy Pioszak, Greger (Jackie) Pioszak, Kayli (Ryan) Gimarc, Grayson (Mallory) Karber, Cassidy Rowan-Abrams and great – grandchildren: Arlo Gimarc and Alice Karber.Bea is also survived by her brother David Schafer.

Everyone who loved her will never forget her tenacity, wit and charm. Bea loved her family beyond measure. Her beautiful smile and genuine kindness were just two of her many special qualities that she brought to each and every day.

A Celebration of Bea’s Life will be held on January 11, 2024 at McGeehan Funeral Home, Keck-Coleman Chapel, 1500 Waterford Parkway, St. Johns, MI 48879, from 10:00 a.m.-11:45 a.m. Please bring your own memories to share during this visitation. Mass to follow at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 109 Linden St, St. Johns, MI 48879. Please join us for a shared meal at the K of C Hall, 1108 Old U.S. 27, St. Johns, MI 48879, after the celebration.


Helen Iris Studer

Helen Iris Studer passed into life eternal with Jesus, her Savior on December 22, 2023. She left behind a lifetime of memories for those who knew and loved her. Her presence with us will be missed, but we rejoice in the hope of seeing her again because of the resurrection of Christ.

Helen was born on January 4, 1933 to Robert Eugene Latson and Marie Alice Wakefield. She moved to St. Johns when she was 14, and was a part of the community for the rest of her life. She graduated from Rodney B. Wilson High School in 1951 and began working at the State Bank.

On April 16, 1955 she married Willard Carl Studer and the couple had three children: Brian, Wayne and Susan. She was a member of First Baptist Church for 70 years, and served in various capacities. She was also a member of Woman in Banking and continued to actively participate with the Class of 1951. She retired as a Branch Manager from Old Kent Bank in St. Johns in January, 1995.

She enjoyed entertaining her family and friends at the family cottage, fishing, snowmobiling, traveling, and shuffleboard. She also enjoyed music; playing the accordion, the organ and singing in the Women’s Ensemble. When she was younger, she was an avid roller skater.

She is survived by her three children Brian (Merry) Studer, Wayne Studer and Susan Studer; six grandchildren Nathan (Erin) Studer, Jacob (Tara) Studer, Megan (Ben} Meyering, Ben (Grace) Studer, Brent (Brittany) Studer, and Alexsis Studer; twelve great grandchildren Kyler, Max, Lucas, Lena, Nixie, Ellie, Westin, Jax, Aubrey, Xenos, Calvin, and Lanylee; and special cousins Harland Latson and Virginia Browne. She is preceded in death by her husband Willard after 62 years of marriage, also her father Robert Latson; mother, Marie Haight; step mother, Loretta Latson; brother, Albert Latson; niece, Cheryl Latson.

A memorial service will take place December 26 at 11:00 a.m. at First Baptist Church, St. Johns MI. A luncheon will follow. Committal service will take place at Eureka cemetery at 3:00. The family requests memorial contributions to First Baptist Church of St. Johns in lieu of flowers.

The family is being served by McGeehan Funeral Home, Keck-Coleman Chapel.