04-30-2020 Tri-City Area Obituaries


Ralph C. “Chuck” Dewey, 79, of Coloma, passed away on April 28, 2020 at Caretel Inns of Lakeland in St. Joseph.

Cremation has taken place. A memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Chuck’s memory may be made to Coloma American Legion and Coloma Rod and Gun Club. Those wishing to leave a message or share a memory with the family online may do so at www.duffieldpastrick.com.

Chuck was born June 22, 1940 in Benton Harbor to Ralph and Agnes (Mikowski) Dewey.   He graduated from Benton Harbor High School in 1959 and served two years in the Army at Ft. Bragg in North Carolina. Following the service, he attended Green’s Barber College and went on to own Chucks Barber Shop in Coloma until he retired in 2002 after 39 years. Following retirement, he continued to cut hair from home for his older customers, making sure to always take care of those that were sick or in the hospital.  Outside of work, Chuck loved collecting gum ball and slot machines, picking up anything old from garage sales, and building bird houses in the garage.

Chuck and his wife Sharon (Zielke) were married on Sept. 14, 1963 and raised four children together. He was very much a family man. He loved spending time and playing with the kids as they were growing up and with the grandkids when they came along. Together, he and Sharon would travel in their R.V., visiting all of the states except two. For many years they would travel to Florida for the winter and when they were on the road, he would love to stop at flea markets and antique shows. Chuck has such a big heart, was always ready to help or do anything for anyone and will be missed by many.

Survivors include his wife Sharon, his children Dina (George) Molter, Greg Dewey, Gavin (Nikkole) Dewey and Jason (Elisabeth) Dewey; five grandchildren Ashtynn (Sean) DeYoung, Jacob Molter, Paige and Quinn Dewey and Charlotte Dewey and his brother James (Sharon) Dewey.

Chuck was preceded in death by his parents, his younger sister Margaret Ann and his great-granddaughter Lucille DeYoung.


Constance Eileen Saurbier went to be with her family in heaven on April 27, 2020.  She was 77.  She was born in Watervliet on March 28, 1943.  She graduated from Coloma High School in 1961.  She and William “Wild Bill” Saurbier, a well-known Watervliet police officer, were married on June 24, 1988.  She lived in Millburg for 32 years.

Connie enjoyed interior decorating and caring for her cats.  She loved jungle cats, Elvis Presley music, and staying in touch with friends and family on Facebook.  She worked at South Elementary School in the mid 1980s.  She was good at the technical aspects of computers and excelled at game play.

Connie is survived by her mother, Mary Lawson of Coopersville; sisters, Pat (Al) Leverton of Coopersville, Kay Lawson of Coopersville, Marilyn “Sue” (David) Nestell of Spring Lake, MI; her son, Christopher (Susan) Brown of TN, and many cousins.

Connie is preceded in death by her husband Bill Saurbier and her father Kenneth Lawson.

Hutchins Funeral Home in Watervliet is assisting Connie’s family with cremation. No service will be held. Donations would be appreciated to Animal Aid, 717 St. Joseph Drive, St. Joseph, MI 49085. You are invited to leave a message of comfort for Connie’s family at hutchinsfuneral.com.


Vanessa’s life began August 29, 1957 in Benton Harbor, Michigan.  She was a lifetime area resident. Vanessa worked for Memorial Hospital both as an x-ray technician and housekeeping; she also owned her own cleaning business for many years.  When she wasn’t working you could find Vanessa playing bingo, trying her luck at the casinos, baking or gathered around a table playing Farkle with family.  Her greatest joy was spending time with her family which includes: five children, John Yakel, Everette (Suzy) Gaston, Rashonda (Jason) Fuller, Melody (Elvis) Christopher, and James (Karen) Gaston; 17 grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; her significant other Tony Edge; three sisters, April Christopher-Lucker, Spring Johnson, and Summer Smith; and many nieces and nephews.

Vanessa died Sunday, April 26, 2020 at Lakeland Hospital, Watervliet.  Her dad Henry Christopher, mom Betty (Alsup) Voit, and two sisters, Debbie Harry and Harriett Christopher precede Vanessa in death.  Hutchins Funeral Home in Watervliet is assisting Vanessa’s family with cremation and a service celebrating her life will be held when we can all gather together safely.  You are invited to leave a message of comfort for Vanessa’s family at hutchinsfuneral.com.


Rita Renee Collins, 60, formerly of Stevensville, Michigan, passed away on Saturday, April 25, 2020, in London, England. She was born December 15, 1959, in St. Joseph, Michigan, to the late William Smithers and his wife, Patricia Mensinger.

Rita was a free spirit since she kept escaping her crib as a toddler. She was always fun to be around, but she did nothing the easy way. Although she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Speech Therapy at Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas, she discovered she didn’t like working with speech, so, she worked at other caregiving jobs, instead. She defended underdogs to the point of being one, but the only addiction she had was her cigarettes… and reading (especially Stephen King). She also loved role-playing games and rock music. She hated the sun—it was always either too hot or deceptively cool, in her mind.

In the year 2000, she met the love of her life, Mark Collins, on the Internet. She moved to London and married him. He was her rock through breast cancer, which she overcame. Shortly after her 60th birthday, her notoriously bad memory got worse. She was soon diagnosed with a brain tumor, unrelated to the breast cancer. She was in the hospital, taking chemotherapy, when she contracted Coronavirus. Within days, she was gone.

Left to miss her are her husband, her mother, her three children—Angela Lauderdale, Sarah Holt and Stephen Holt; nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild; her sisters, Teresa Smithers and Donna Stephens, and her brother, Steven Smithers.


Long time Hartford resident, Betty “Jeanie” Burlingham passed from this life Friday, April 24, 2020. Jeanie died surrounded by love in her home that she loved in rural Bangor.

Born to Guy and Edna (Thomas) Estes in Manila, Arkansas, April 15, 1943, she moved to Hartford at an early age. Jeanie had five children, 15 grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren.

Jeanie is survived by her loving husband Daniel Burlingham Jr., son Joe Deckard (Becky), daughter Felicia Scott, bonus son Daniel Burlingham III, and bonus daughter Shawntelle Adler (Jeff Adler); sisters May Linderman, Triva Montgumery (Frank), Fay Waldrop (Brad), Sharon Asaro; and brother Dale Estes.

She was preceded in death by her parents, son Charles Tim Deckard, son Steven Deckard, daughter Katrina Johnson, and brother Boyd Estes.

Due to the pandemic no funeral service will be held. As to Jeanie’s wishes her remains will be cremated. A future memorial luncheon will take place.

If anyone would like to make a donation in her name please do so to the Hartford Library or the Hartford American Legion. The family has entrusted the Calvin Funeral Home in Hartford with helping with arrangements. If anyone would like to send the family a condolence you may do so at http://www.calvin-leonardfh.com.


Barbara’s life began November 28, 1939, in Manila, Arkansas. Barbara spent most of her life in Watervliet where she worked at Rexall for a time and also ran the cosmetology counter at Walgreens.  She loved filling her time working in her flower gardens.  Barbara loved her church family and was a very active member of Plymouth Congregational Church in Watervliet until health issues got in her way.

Barbara’s greatest love was her family which includes: five children Brenda Langston of Texas, James (Cheryl) Baker of Berrien Center, Susan (Ron) Schaefer of Nevada, Karen West of Watervliet, and Phyllis (Tim) Baldwin of Watervliet; numerous grand, great-grand, and great-great-grandchildren; a brother John Shipley; and many nieces and nephews.

Barbara died Friday, April 24, 2020, at The Willows Assisted Living in St. Joseph.  Her loving husband Robert Baker, a son Robert Baker, son-in-law John West, parents Homer and Ethel (Broglin) Shipley, step-mother Geneva Shipley, and siblings Makie, Ruby, Dennis, Wayne, and Harold precede Barbara in death.  Hutchins Funeral Home in Watervliet is assisting Barbara’s family with cremation.  When we are able to gather safely Barbara’s family will celebrate her life.  You are invited to leave a message of comfort for Barbara’s family at hutchinsfuneral.com.


Idell Nichols, 92, of Coloma, went home to be with her Lord and Savior on April 23, 2020. Idell was a beloved wife, sister, mother, grandmother and left this earth with loved ones at her side.

Idell Fredrick was born on March 9, 1928 in Russellville, Ala.  Years later, while walking to work in Booneville, Mississippi, she met a handsome taxi driver named Donald Nichols. The two married in 1946 and eventually moved to Coloma, Michigan to raise their family. They continued to spend winters later in life at their second home in the peaceful countryside of Corinth, Mississippi.

Some of Idell’s most cherished moments in life were the days she spent with her children and grandchildren. Some of her favorite past times were baking Christmas cookies with her grandkids, weekly shopping trips with her daughter, Shelia, tending to her flower gardens, and making homemade jam from fruit grown in the backyard.  Idell was a devoted member of Midway Baptist Church in Watervliet, and enjoyed hosting weekly Sunday dinners after church with her family. She was also a talented seamstress and enjoyed making beautiful one-of-a-kind quilts for her grandchildren.

Idell is survived by her husband of 73 years, Donald Nichols; her sister Glena (Jay) Johnson of Ashville, Ala.; children Chana (Robin) Kniebes of Coloma, Donald Jr. (Ann) Nichols of Watervliet, Diann (Bill) Pudell of Bellingham, Wash.; son-in-law Larry Darling of Hartford; nine grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her daughter Shelia Darling, her three sisters and two brothers.

Idell loved her family deeply and will be missed by all who knew her.  A private burial service with family will take place at Harris Cemetery. Memories can be shared at www.duffieldpastrick.com.


Born in Coloma on January 8, 1936, he died February 28, 2020, in Seattle Washington, of Alzheimer’s disease. The son of Dwight and Ruth Koerner Horton of Watervliet, he graduated from Watervliet High School in 1954 and enjoyed reuniting with high school friends on trips to Michigan. After four years of active duty in the Navy he continued his education on the GI Bill at Kalamazoo College, and did graduate work in communications at Ottawa University, Kansas.

His adventurous spirit led him to work as a communications specialist in several areas of the United States, in Viet Nam and on the White Alice early warning system in Alaska and Iceland. As a child in WWII he had lived in Port Orchard, WA while his father worked at the Bremerton Shipyard. That influenced his move to Seattle with his wife and child after graduate school.

With his second wife, Jean, he traveled to more than 20 countries. He joined her in Scottish and forestry activities, acting as membership chairman in two organizations. He was an early enthusiast of computers, took classes, and solved compute problems for his wife and friends. He loved to repair things and made one washer-drier set last for 30 years.

Frank is survived by wife Jean, son Jeremy, stepsons Andrew and Alan Bolton and their families, and his sisters Diane Nelson of Jenison, Michigan, and Ruth Ann Millhouse of Sebring, Florida, and several cousins, nieces and nephews.

There will be a memorial service on the Washington coast in late summer.

Death Notices

Patricia Irene (Stanley) Reynolds, 89, of Coloma died April 25, 2020 at home. Purely Cremations – Starks Family Funeral Homes and Cremation Services, Benton Harbor

Bruce G. Burnett, 59, of Eau Claire died April 25, 2020 at home. Duffield & Pastrick Family Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Coloma

Barbara Mae Lumley, 78, of Lawrence died April 23, 2020 at home. Calvin Funeral Home, Hartford

Donald Gerlach, 84, of St. Joseph died April 22, 2020 at home. Starks & Menchinger Chapel and Cremation Services, St. Joseph

Rosalie Ann (Warman) Faultersack, 82, of Coloma died April 22, 2020 at Lakeland Medical Center, St. Joseph. Purely Cremations – Starks Family Funeral Homes and Cremation Services, Benton Harbor

Nancy P. Hogue, 60, of Watervliet died April 21, 2020 at Lakeland Hospital, Watervliet. Duffield & Pastrick Family Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Coloma

Bonnie A. Daisy, 71, of Dowagiac died April 20, 2020 at home. Clark Chapel and Cremation Services, Dowagiac

Mary “Diane” Nespital, of St. Joseph died April 18, 2020 at home. Starks & Menchinger Chapel and Cremation Services, St. Joseph


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Death Notices

Gerald Fricke, 92, of St. Joseph died July 25, 2021 at home. Starks & Menchinger Chapel, St. Joseph Elizabeth Kurbis, 77, of Coloma died July 25, 2021 at Lakeland Hospital, Niles. Starks & Menchinger