11-03-2016 Tri-City Area Obituaries



Carol Joan Banasik, 88, passed away peacefully into God’s loving arms on Saturday, Oct. 29, surrounded by her devoted husband, Gordon, her loving children and their families at the couple’s home, Hazel Findlay Country Manor in St. Johns, Michigan. Joan and Gordon were married for 62 years. They lived in Watervliet for 56 years until they moved to St, Johns in January of 2015 due to health issues.

Joan was born Oct. 23, 1928, and grew up in Watertown, South Dakota. She was the daughter of Olga and Emil Mielke, who preceded her in death, as well as her brothers, Ramon and Bill Mielke, and aunt and uncle, Gena and Vern Arnsdorf. Joan graduated from Watertown High School. Following high school, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science at South Dakota State, where she was editor of State’s newspaper, The Collegian and wrote a column, Along the Mielke Way.

After college Joan worked as advertising manager for five years at The Redfield Press in Redfield, SD. Joan met Gordon Banasik of Langdon, ND, a North Dakota School of Science graduate, with four years in the Air Force, where he was employed as a printer and linotype operator at The Redfield Press. Joan and Gordon were married Aug. 15, 1954, at the United Methodist Church in Watertown.

After four years in Europe, Joan and Gordon wanted to return to the states with their two sons to purchase and publish a weekly newspaper. They considered newspapers in Wisconsin, northern Michigan, and New York. In March of 1959, Gordon and Joan purchased The Watervliet Record weekly newspaper from Winifred and the late Francis Case who published the paper for 68 years. Joan and Gordon immersed themselves in the Watervliet community both professionally and personally where they raised their five children. Gordon and Joan published The Watervliet Record (printed by Gordon with a hand press in the early years and then printed offset in the late 1960s) for 25 years.

Joan was an active member of the Watervliet First United Methodist Church and Coloma United Methodist Church. She was also active in MECCA and Watervliet Lioness Club. After the Banasiks sold The Watervliet Record in March of 1984, Joan served on the Watervliet School Board for 20 years. She was a certified board member, worked for the building of Watervliet Middle School, and so enjoyed attending Watervliet Public Schools’ activities. Joan’s greatest joy was spending time with her children and their families. Family highlights included Joan and Gordon’s 40th anniversary celebration, their 50th Double J anniversary trip with their children and their grandchildren, their 55th anniversary week-long Smoky Mountain vacation with their children and their families, their 60th anniversary party, and sharing many Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations with their children and their families.

Joan is survived by her husband, Gordon Banasik, her five children, Barry (Karen) Banasik of Wexford, Pennsylvania, Ben (Betsy) Banasik of Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, Barbara (Rick) Stock of Granger, Indiana, Bob (Sheila) Banasik of Coloma, Brad (MaryJo) Banasik of Okemos, her sister, Shirley Sikkink (Marv) of Casa Grande, AZ; sister-in-law, Mavis Mielke of Colorado; seven grandchildren, Vanessa and Grant Banasik, Coloma, Rebekah and Rachel Banasik, Okemos, Katie Banasik of Menomonee Falls, Chuck Zelie Jr., Rochester, NY, Heather Occhiuto, Cleveland Heights, OH; three great grandchildren, Anthony Occhiuto, Mayfield Heights, OH, Andrew and Erin Zelie, Palmyra, NY; and many nieces and nephews.


Hartmuth “Hardy” E. Wolfe, 85, passed away Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016 in Houston, Texas.

He leaves behind daughters, Candace MacMillen of Houston, Sandi Harris and husband, Gene, of Colorado Springs, CO; sons, Randall Wolf and wife, Lisa, of Lago Vista, TX, and Brian Wolf and wife, Eileen of Burbank, CA. He also leaves behind his grandchildren: Ryan Sommerhoff, Joseph Campbell, Justin Wolf and Jerod Wolf; and great grandchildren, Alexandra Wolf and Taylor Campbell; along with his brother, Harold Wolf; and sister, Vera Wolf.

His wife, Patricia predeceased him, as well as his stepdaughter, Patti Sommerhoff and her husband, Steve. His brothers, Herbert Wolf and Edward Wolf also predeceased him.

Hardy was the son of Edmund and Martha Wolf of St. Joseph, where Martha was a homemaker and Edmund owned Wolf Welding and Iron Works. Hardy developed his own welding talents, eventually opening and growing his own business, Wolf Ornamental Iron, in the Twin Cities area.

After graduating from Benton Harbor High School in 1949 and acquiring a master’s degree in music, Hardy joined the U.S. Army, where he performed in musical shows while traveling with Special Services. One highlight of those travels was performing on the Ed Sullivan Show.

Hardy relocated to Memphis, TN, where he played the violin professionally and began a recording company. He and his wife decided to return to the Michigan area some years later. The music performances continued and the Wolf Ornamental Iron business reopened. Hardy shared his music with various organizations, churches, many colleges and universities, corporate meetings, elderly care centers and children’s classrooms. Before he retired he assisted students in developing welding and shop skills at Lakeshore High School. He cherished the many “thank you” letters from organizations and students throughout the years.

We will love and miss our “Papa-Bear.” May his hands become nimble again and accompany the singers and musicians in heaven, singing praises to our God, our savior!



Dorothy Mae Mooney, 85, of Watervliet died Friday, October 28, 2016 at Ferny’s Assisted Living Facility in Niles.

Services celebrating her life will be held at 1 p.m. on Thursday, November 3, at the Davidson Chapel of Florin Funeral Service in Coloma.  Burial will follow in North Shore Memory Gardens.  The visitation will begin at noon on Thursday at the Davidson Chapel.  Please share memories, messages or photos at www.florin/net.

Dorothy was born on Sep. 12, 1931 in Bald Knob, AR to John and Nora Anderson.  She was a long time member of the Midway Baptist Church in Watervliet.  Her church was an important part of her life and she loved being involved with her faith.  Dorothy was a housewife and raised her family.

Her family includes her daughters, Marjorie Yeske of St. Joseph, Kay Ross of Coloma, Janice Dunn of Benton Harbor and Gwendolyn Mooney of Louisville, KY; her seven grandchildren, her nine great grandchildren and her many cousins.


Richard “Rick” Murray formerly of Southwest Michigan lost his battle of cirrhosis of the liver and cancer. He was a very strong fighter. He is a warrior and hero! Rick was a beloved husband, father Papa, brother, uncle “unc”, cousin and friend to so many of us who lived and admired him. He was selfless and a firm believer in Life and God.

Rick was the former owner of Murray’s Auto Repair and a member of the band “Trademark”.

He is survived by wife Laurel Murray of 12 years; children, Katelynn, Kristen, Scotti-Marie (Brandon) and Michael of Deland, Florida; grandchildren, Jaiden, Payten, Emily, Haley, Hunter and Brayden; sister, Karen (Rich) Aulich of Longwood and many, many nieces and nephews from New York to Florida and everywhere in between.

He was preceded in death by his parents Warren and Carol Murray, and his sister Donna Murray.

A celebration of life (Rickapalooza) was held October 29, 2016 in Deland, FL.

Death Notices

Doris I. Griffin, 76, of Coloma died Oct. 25, 2016 at home. Duffield & Pastrick Family Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Coloma.

Dick S. Johnson, 79, of Stevensville died Oct. 26, 2016 at Hanson Hospice Center in Stevensville. Starks & Menchinger Chapel and Cremation Services, St. Joseph.

William Andrew Sprunk Jr., 75, of Stevensville died Aug. 12, 2016 at home. Starks & Menchinger Chapel and Cremation Services, St. Joseph.

Larry Ivan Orr, 65, of California died Oct. 18, 2016.

Betty Ann Sundberg, 89, of St. Joseph died Oct. 28, 2016 at Caretel Inns of Lakeland. Starks & Menchinger Chapel and Cremation Services, St. Joseph.

Josef Bock, 87, of St. Joseph died Oct. 29, 2016. Starks & Menchinger Chapel and Cremation Services, St. Joseph.