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01-24-2019 Tri-City Area Obituaries

WILLIAM CLIFFORD SMITH William Clifford Smith, 90, of Hartford, passed away Tuesday, Jan. 22 at Bronson Methodist Hospital, Kalamazoo.

William was born July 22, 1928 in Alto Pass, Ill., the son of William and Gladys (Phillips) Smith, both of whom precede him in passing. Also preceding him in passing are a son-in-law, David Ganus, and eleven siblings: Elsie, Floyd, Velma, Tony, Tom, Judy, Elma, Herbert, May, Lucille and Louie. William retired from Clark Equipment of Buchanan after 30 years of faithful employment. He was also loyal to his Lord, and was a faithful Evangelist. William married the former Offie Ridgway on Sept. 9, 1948. She survives, along with four children: Janet Ganus of Buchanan, William Thomas (Sue) Smith and Melody (Terry) Manning, both of Hartford and Mary Smith of Niles; nine grandchildren, numerous great-grandchildren and five step-grandchildren. He is also survived by two brothers, John Smith and William Smith. The family will welcome friends from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 24 at the Hartford Church of God, where a celebration of life service to honor William’s life will be held at 1 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 25. Pastor Bobby Simmons will officiate. In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to the Hartford Church of God. The Calvin Funeral Home in Hartford has been entrusted with the arrangements. Those wishing to leave memorial condolences for the family may do so at

FRANCES JOSEPHINE NELSON Frances’ life began February 5, 1930, in Berwyn, Illinois. She called Southwest Michigan her home for most of her life. For many years she managed Tri-City Village apartments in Watervliet. She enjoyed music be it listening or playing the piano. Frances also liked to read, sew, support Notre Dame Athletics, and was an excellent cook. She loved her church St. Joseph Catholic in Watervliet and was an active member in their Altar and Rosary Society and the Knights of Columbus Auxiliary for many years.

Frances’ greatest joy was her family which includes: three children Larry (Kathy) Nelson of Coloma, Gary (Denise) Nelson of Bainbridge Township, and Jackie (Barney) Hiler of Watervliet; eight grandchildren Nikki (Bob) VanSandt, Keith (Brandy) Hiler, Paul (Trina) Nelson, Kristina Nelson, Michele (Doug) Birmele, Mike Taggart, Heather (Bob) Morton, and Kevin (Hannah) Nelson; 13 great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews. Frances died Tuesday, January 22, 2019, at Pine Ridge Nursing Home. Her loving husband Robert Nelson, a son Robert Nelson, parents Joseph and Mary (Bartak) Tuka, and two sisters Lillian Hurley and Margaret Murphy precede Frances in death. Hutchins Funeral Home in Watervliet has assisted Frances’ family with cremation and a Memorial Mass will be celebrated Thursday, January 24, at 11:00 a.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Watervliet. Memorials may be made in Frances’ memory to St. Joseph Catholic Church or Caring Circle Hospice. You are invited to leave a message of comfort for her family at

CAMILLA JOAN “MILLIE” DIEBOLD Camilla Joan (Millie) Diebold, 87, of Hartford, passed away peacefully at her home on Friday, Jan. 18, 2019. A visitation for family and friends will be held on Saturday, Jan. 26 from 1:00-3:00 p.m. at the Calvin Funeral Home in Hartford. It will include an Order of the Eastern Star service and will be followed by a luncheon at the Hartford United Methodist Church at 425 East Main Street.

Family and friends can leave condolences or share fond memories online at Memorial donations can be made to the OES America Chapter #234 or Caring Circle Hospice. Camilla was born in Allegan on June 3, 1931 to Harold and Esther (O’Brien) Haight. The Haight family moved to Hartford in 1939, where Millie attended Hartford High School and was a graduate of the Class of 1950. After graduation, she worked at the family business on Main Street, “Haight Family Diner” and also worked as an office receptionist for Dr. A.L. Stagg, M.D. On October 25, 1952 she became a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, carrying on a long family tradition. She was an active member for many years.

Millie married John Martin (Marty) Diebold in Hartford on April 14, 1956. Theirs was the last wedding to be held in the Old Methodist Church on Main Street. They remained happily married for almost 60 years and built a home together on Oak Street where they enjoyed their expanding family and busy lives. Millie was a loving wife, and a devoted mother. She took pride in being a skilled and thrifty homemaker; never wasting a thing. Her pies were a true delight and her peanut butter cookies were a family favorite. She loved making ceramics, crocheting and sewing.

During the years her children were in school, she was involved in the PTA, served as a Girl Scout leader, and was a HHS Band Booster. For summer vacations she enjoyed family camping trips and being outdoors tending her gardens. Her later years were enjoyed maintaining an immaculate household, and receiving frequent visits from her grandchildren. In their spare time, Millie and Marty loved watching hummingbirds hover at her feeders, taking great care to keep them clean and filled. She never missed a season of feeding them. Her favorite hobby was to put together jigsaw puzzles. They brought her a lot of pleasure, and her grandchildren were always amazed at how quickly she finished even large challenging ones. She will be greatly missed by four remaining children: Deborah (Mark) Lightner of Hartford, David Diebold of Portage, Kirk Diebold of Hartford and Michael (Michelle) Diebold of Vicksburg; son-in-law Dennis Matthews of Coloma, and five grandchildren: Christie (Greg) Boxer, Jeff (Maggie) Fitzgerald, Steven Matthews, Adam Diebold and Sydney Diebold; as well as five great-grandchildren: Benjamin and Jackson Boxer, Katelyn and Holly Fitzgerald and Hannah Matthews. Millie is also survived by her sister, Shirley Koorhan of Mesa, Ariz., and her brother, Wally (Carol) Haight of Hartford and sister-in-law, Nancy Haight of Ionia; as well as many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her loving husband, John (Marty); her daughter, Linda Matthews; as well as her parents; brothers: George and Fred Haight and niece, Paula Haight. Death Notices Geraldine A. Bridges, 72, of Hartford died Jan. 12, 2019 at home. Purely Cremations – Starks Family Funeral Homes and Cremation Services, Benton Harbor Lisette Benson, 92, of Benton Harbor died Jan. 16, 2019 at Hanson Hospice Center, Stevensville. Starks & Menchinger Chapel and Cremation Services, St. Joseph Mark A. Thomas, 57, of Benton Harbor died Jan. 16, 2019 at home. Duffield & Pastrick Family Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Coloma Larry Lambrecht Sr., 74, of Dowagiac died Jan. 16, 2019 at home. Clark Chapel, Dowagiac Garold Duane Thibeault, 78, of Benton Harbor died Jan. 17, 2019 at home. Purely Cremations – Starks Family Funeral Homes, Benton Harbor Larry Griffin, 78, of Watervliet died Jan. 17, 2019 at Bronson Hospital, Kalamazoo. Hutchins Funeral Home, Watervliet Michael Westbrook, 51, of Coloma died Jan. 19, 2019 at home. Duffield & Pastrick Family Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Coloma


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