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02-28-2019 Tri-City Area Obituaries

JANICE ROINE (FREIER) WHITCOMB Janice Roine (Freier) Whitcomb, 79, of Stevensville passed away on Feb. 19, 2019, at her favorite place in the world – her home. Janice was born in Benton Harbor on April 25, 1939, to Albert and Hertha (Klug) Freier. After graduating from Coloma High School in 1957, she worked many years at Clark Equipment Company in Benton Harbor, ultimately becoming the first female expediter in the company. She finished her working career doing what she loved most – being a crew leader at Twixwood Nursery in Berrien Springs.

The youngest of three children, Janice grew up on the family farm in Coloma, where she developed a love of gardening. Every summer, she planted a garden in her backyard where she grew various vegetables and berries. Janice loved to share the fruits of her gardening with her family, friends and neighbors. She also mastered knitting and crocheting, making many handmade gifts for her family and friends over the years. Janice found great joy in giving to others. She loved her pets and animals, including wildlife. Janice will be greatly missed and always remembered for her hard-working commitment to her family, gentle spirit and compassion. Janice was a loving mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She leaves to cherish her memory: her daughters, Stephanie (Harry) Jones of Reno, Nev., Michele (Mark) Froehlich of Watervliet and Nicole (Steve Walker) Gelinas of Spicewood, Texas; grandchildren: Jillian (Nick) Brown of Sedro Woolley, Wash., Joy (Mitch) Corts of Portage, Mich., Cole Gelinas and Chloe Gelinas of Spicewood, Jerad Froehlich of Benton Harbor and Jaime Gurley of Watervliet; great-grandchildren: Finley Brown, Sloane Corts, Adeline Froehlich and Alyvia and Natalie Gurley; brother, Jerry (Carlene) Freier of Benton Harbor; and several beloved nieces and nephews. Janice was preceded in death by her parents; stepfather, Ed Andres; sister, Carolyn Jeanne Hurd; niece, Holly Craig; and nephew, Jeff Hurd. Per Janice’s wishes, cremation has taken place and there will be no public services. Arrangements have been entrusted to Purely Cremations – Starks Family Funeral Homes and Cremation Services, Benton Harbor. Memorial donations may be made to Berrien County Cancer Service or The Humane Society of Southwestern Michigan. Those who wish to leave a condolence online may do so at www.purely

VERDA RUTH (ROOT) WALLACE Verda Ruth (Root) Wallace was born on February 6, 1933 in Hartford, the third child of nine born to Glenn and Mary Irene (Jordan) Root. Because her parents were usually gone during the day, she was the one who took it upon herself to make sure her younger brothers and sisters got up for school and had something to eat that day. When she started kindergarten, the teacher immediately noticed how smart she was and moved her to the first grade. She had just turned 17 when she proudly graduated from Hartford High School in 1950, excelling in the secretarial classes.

As soon as she graduated, she was hired as a typist at the county welfare office (next to what is now the Van Buren County Historical Museum.) It was a good job for a young woman. But, there was this good looking guy from the south who had started working at the construction company located next door to her home on Marion Avenue. After knowing each other only a few months, she and Thomas Wallace eloped November 3, 1951. They drove through a blizzard to get to the justice-of-the-peace in Paw Paw. In 1953 the kids started coming. First the only girl, Rhonda, sixteen months later Thomas Richard, eleven years after that Jeffrey and lastly the baby, Timothy. Mom quit her good government job to stay home devoting herself entirely to being a wife and mother. She reentered the workforce in 1960 as the secretary at the newly built Red Arrow Elementary School where she worked for several years. Over her working life she was employed by the local State Farm Insurance agent, Hartford Police Department, and then the Lawrence Police Department. She always had a soft spot in her heart for children and gladly assisted in a Kindergarten class at Red Arrow Elementary as a foster grandparent, working there for 15 years until she was 83. Verda loved Christmas, but only if there were young children to share it with. Everyone in her family remembers her as a really good cook. Many of her recipes have passed down now through two generations – especially her homemade noodles. She fought and survived two bouts of cancer. Recently, in her own words, she “was so lucky I’ve lived.” Verda passed away Tuesday, February 19, 2019 in her sleep at home, just two weeks after her 86th birthday. She is survived by her children Rhonda (Daniel) Fillmore of St. Joseph, Richard Wallace and Timothy Wallace both of Hartford, and Jeffrey Wallace of Ohio; grandchildren Aaron (Deborah) Fillmore, Jacob (Stacy) Fillmore, Melissa Wallace, Matthew (Nicole) Wallace, and Vanessa Wallace; 14 great-grandchildren Claire and Grace Fillmore, Gabriel Wallace, Tyler and Lucas Fillmore, Jesse, Preston and Cameron Wallace, and Aaleyah and Micah Wallace; sister Carol Root; brother Gerald (Judith) Root; sister-in-law Cecilia Root; and numerous nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her parents; husband Thomas; siblings Betty Hadley, Donald Root Sr., Richard Root, Roberta Weber, and in infancy Delhia Grace Root and Arden Root. A memorial gathering of family members will be held at a later date. Those wishing to leave memorial condolences for the family may do so at

Death Notices David A. Jackson, 62, of Coloma died Feb. 19, 2019 at home. Purely Cremations – Starks Family Funeral Homes and Cremation Services, Benton Harbor Eugene E. Miston Sr., 87, of Fountain MI, former area resident, died Feb. 18, 2019. Wyman Funeral & Cremation Services, Scottville MI Andrew “Andy” Koshar, 54, of Watervliet died Feb. 19, 2019 in Kalamazoo. Hutchins Funeral Home, Watervliet Janice Roine (Freier) Whitcomb, 79, of Stevensville died Feb. 19, 2019 at home. Purely Cremations – Starks Family Funeral Homes, Benton Harbor Ingeborg “Inge” Hewitt, 91, of Benton Harbor died Feb. 18, 2019. Starks & Menchinger Chapel and Cremation Services, St. Joseph


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