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08-27-2020 Tri-City Area Obituaries


Rev. H. Devon Allen, age 77, of St. Joseph Township, died early Friday, August 21, 2020 at the Willows Assisted Living Facility under Hospice care, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Devon was born July 8, 1943 in Milan, TN to (Addie) Maurine and Homer Allen. He graduated from Jackson High School, TN in 1961; he received further degrees from Lambuth College, Jackson, TN (B.A.); Methodist Theological School, Delaware, OH (M.D.); Auburn University, Auburn, AL, (M. Ed.); and Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation, Washington, D.C.

He married Dot (Doris Woodruff), in Camptown, PA during an ice storm on Dec. 30, 1972; they were married for 48 years.

Devon served as Pastor of United Methodist Churches in Clinton, KY and Middletown, NY and of United Church of Christ Churches at Peace UCC in Stevens Point, WI and St. Paul’s UCC in Watervliet, MI.  He worked as a bereavement counselor at Florin Funeral Home and at Hospice at Home. After ministry, he was a member of Pilgrim UCC in Lincoln Township.

He is preceded in death by parents Homer and Maurine Allen.

He is survived by his wife, Dot Allen; sister Tina Spencer; niece Kelli Spencer and her children Eli and Tali; daughters Christen (Al) Kably, Alicia (Kyle) Ford, and Robin Becker; grandchildren Audrey, Seth, Elsa, Ben, Allison, Cassie (Hunter) and Nathan; and Robin’s grandchildren Owen and Elliana.  He is also survived by Merlin and Jackie Hauch, who were like grandparents to Christen and Alicia.

The family will observe a private burial in St. Paul’s Cemetery, Watervliet.

Visitation was held on Wednesday, Aug. 26 at Duffield & Pastrick Funeral Home in Coloma.  A joyful Celebration of Life will be held at Duffield & Pastrick Funeral Home on Monday, August 31 at 1:00 p.m.  Masks and social distancing will be observed per the family at both.

Memorial contributions may be made to the church of your choice; The Walk to End Alzheimer’s (donations to “Allen Family and Friends” team), or Hospice At Home (Caring Circle).  In lieu of flowers, we encourage you to walk wherever you are on Sept. 12 in honor of Devon.


Sharon’s life began October 10, 1950, in Three Rivers, Michigan.  She truly loved being a resident of Southwest Michigan.  Sharon’s favorite thing to do was to care for her family members; she was who everyone went to for a babysitter or just a helping hand.  She also enjoyed taking vacations, shopping, and being outside soaking up the sun.

She leaves behind a loving family to cherish her memory including: her husband of 53 years Darrell Goodson; two children Tracey (Pauly) Whiteman and Keith (Mendy Roberts) Goodson; six grandchildren Derrik (Alexis) Morris, Katie Morris, Dustin (Bryndle) Goodson, Amber Goodson, Bailey Blocker, and Matthew Treder; two great-great granddaughters Skylar Goodson and Aubree Yates; her mom Louise Jacobs; three siblings Mike Jacobs, Cathi Jacobs, and Bobby Jacobs; and many nieces and nephews.

Sharon died Friday, Aug. 21, 2020 at Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo.  Her dad Kenneth Jacobs precedes her in death.  Sharon was laid to rest Wednesday, August 26, with a graveside service at Fairview Cemetery in Watervliet.

Hutchins Funeral Home in Watervliet is assisting Sharon’s family with arrangements.  You are invited to leave a message of comfort for Sharon’s family at


Christopher Keech of St. Joseph played his final encore and passed away August 10, 2020.

A lifetime resident of Southwestern Michigan, Chris entertained us all with his talent as a musician and performer. His talent for music led him to teach, conduct, and share his talent both locally and around the world.

A Hartford High School graduate of 1983, Chris went on to serve in the U.S. Air Force, where he was chosen to perform in the prestigious ensemble “Tops in Blue”, traveling to bases around the country as well as various special events. One such event included a Detroit 4th of July celebration in front of over 500,000 people. Chris had such talent as a musician that he performed with such artists as The Temptations, Captain & Tennille, and Michael Bolton. Chris also took his talent for playing to perform on cruise ships traveling all across the globe.

After leaving the Air Force, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University and went on to become a music teacher and parapro in several schools throughout Southwestern Michigan, his most recent position being at Coloma Community Schools.

Chris’s musical talent led him to be chosen as saxophone section leader and co-manager for the St. Joseph Municipal Band over the last 33 years.

Chris’s wit, kind heart, and sheer talent will be missed by all who knew him, especially his family. His presence may be gone, but his music will carry on.

He was preceded in death by his parents, James and Ruth Keech, and infant brother, Kiplan Thomas Keech of Hartford.

Survivors include brothers, Timothy (Mary) of Kennewick WA and Matthew (Gaytha) of Hartford; sister, Rachel (John Daly) of Mattawan; aunts, Sharyn Robbins-Kuempel (Kenneth) of Sawyer and Barbara Keech of Eau Claire; five nephews; one great-nephew; one niece; and four cousins.

Chris has been cremated. The family will welcome friends from 1 to 8 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 27 at the Calvin Funeral Home, Hartford. A larger memorial celebration of his life will take place at a later date when current restrictions are relaxed. A private burial of his ashes will take place in Maple Hill Cemetery, Hartford. In lieu of flowers, the family asks memorial donations in Chris’ name be made to Coloma Community Schools to support a future music scholarship in his name. Those wishing to leave memorial condolences for the family may do so at


Don Edward Mills, 76, of Hartford passed away Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020 at Caretel Inns of Lakeland, Royalton Township.

Don was born July 16, 1944 in Watervliet, the son of Edward and Bessie (Hickman) Mills, both of whom precede him in passing. Also preceding him in passing are a son, Kevin Mills and a sister, Anna Lee Mills.

Don was formerly employed with Contech, LLC in Dowagiac. He was a lifetime member of the Van Buren Sportsman’s Club and served his community as a member of the Keeler Fire Department from 1986 to 1995.

Don is survived by three daughters: Marciella Mills of Gray Summit, MO, Tracy (Robert) Slinkard of House Springs, MO, and Angelia (Pete) Hernandez of St. Louis, MO; 8 grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren; and a brother, Myron Salnave.

As per Don’s wishes, cremation has taken place, and a memorial celebration of life will take place at a later date when current restrictions are relaxed. The family has entrusted the Calvin Funeral Home, Hartford, with arrangements. Those wishing to leave memorial condolences for the family may do so at


Robert “Bob” Taylor, 82 of Hartford, died recently at his home.

Bob was born March 3, 1938 in Chicago, Illinois to Herbert and Louise Taylor. He has one brother Herb Taylor also of Hartford.

Bob owned and operated Bob’s Hobby Shop in Downtown Watervliet and in Hartford since 1984. Bob’s love for toys and trains started when he was 7 years old. Before opening the toy store Bob was a licensed plumber, but his only real joy was to fix, buy and sell toys.

In 2005 the Watervliet DDA honored Bob’s Hobby and Collector Show for some 21 years of support for community events and organizations while operating Michigan’s largest hobby and collector shop. He was also recognized for shipping his 500th gift package to American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

There will be no funeral or visitation at this time. The family is being assisted by Calvin Funeral Home, Hartford with arrangements.

JOAN SMITH Joanie’s life began March 18, 1928, in Benton Harbor. She enjoyed being a lifelong area resident where she raised a family, worked and played. Joanie worked for over 30 years for Watervliet Community Hospital in Environmental Services.

Aside from being a wonderful citizen, and dedicated employee, she was a true friend to everyone who knew her. She was a wife, daughter, sister, aunt, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. For the almost 26 years I knew her, the lifelong friend we all knew and loved went by “Nana”. While some only saw her on her weekly trips to the Blue Chip, bingo, and the grocery store, I and my brother Nolan saw her daily. Nolan would lay on the floor listening to Nana’s Celine Dion CDs, while I would sit with her and watch her favorite shows. Everything from The Price Is Right, to her four hours of soap operas (and believe me, I was just as invested in those shows as she was), Little House on the Prairie, Bonanza, and Gunsmoke. Nana was one of the most important role models in my, and many others lives. The time I knew her, she stood no more than 5’4” but carried the attitude, and fighting spirit of a giant. Often referred to as “one tough old bird” she captured the true meaning of “she is little, but she is fierce”. The side of Nana that I and many others saw was that of a more kind, understanding woman. Although she was tough, she was just as quick to be gentle and caring. Nana had the best hugs, the best laugh, and best smile. She always knew when to crack a joke, as well as crack the whip. Hailing from the greatest generation, she always believed in “yes ma’am” and “no sir” but just as much, if not more believed in always saying “I love you” before you leave. Always a caring home with open doors, holidays were filled with just as much love and thought. The tables were filled with turkey, ham, sweet potatoes, and the absolute best deviled eggs. Much like the tables, our bellies were full of food, and conversations filled with joyous laughter. She leaves behind a loving family to cherish her memory including: two sons, Kenneth of Watervliet and Bill (Linda) of Florida; four grandchildren: Terri, Billy, Angie, and Christine; numerous great and great-great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews. Nana, mom, aunt, grandma, great-grandma, Joan, Joanie… she was known by all of these names, but most importantly, she was the best friend ANYONE could have ever asked for. She loved each and every one of us just as much as the last, and loved her community equally. Joanie died Monday, August 24, 2020, at Spectrum Lakeland Hospital in St. Joseph. Her husband James E. Smith, parents Nicholas and Evelyn Panagakos, and four siblings Bonnie, Athena, Elaine and Ted precede Joanie in death. Friends may visit with Joanie’s family Friday, August 28, from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. at Hutchins Funeral Home in Watervliet. Visitation will be followed by a graveside service in Watervliet Cemetery. You are invited to leave a message of comfort for Joanie’s family at

Death Notices

Mary C. Valdes, 68, of Coloma died Aug. 24, 2020. Duffield & Pastrick Family Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Coloma

Jesus Delarosa III, 17, of Hartford died Aug. 21, 2020. Calvin Funeral Home, Hartford

Norma Alene Daniel, 87, of Coloma died Aug. 15, 2020 at home. Filbrandt Family Funeral Home, South Haven


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