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12-19-2019 Tri-City Area Obituaries


The Rev. Raymond Barth went home to God on December 16, 2019. He was born July 17, 1941 and is the son of Raymond Barth Sr. and Ethel (Knuth) Barth. He attended school in Milwaukee, Sacred Heart, Hales Corners, WI; and Loyola University in Chicago. For many years he was a Brother in the Order of St. Augustine (known as Brother Bernard). He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1985 for the Diocese of Kalamazoo.

Fr. Barth served as an associate pastor in several parishes, including St. Joseph (St. Joseph, MI), St. Joseph (Battle Creek), and St. Joseph (Watervliet). He also served as a pastor of St. Ambrose and Our Lady of Great Oak Parishes (Delton), and then for fifteen years as Pastor of Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish in Bridgman.

Fr. Barth’s family includes two sisters, Donna and Barbara, and four brothers, Donald, Walter, Richard, and Michael; 21 nieces and nephews, and he is preceded in death by a sister, Judith. Visitation was at Hutchins Funeral Home on December 18, 2019, followed by a Scripture Service with Fr. Arthur Howard presiding. Bishop Paul Bradley will be the Principal Celebrant of the Mass of Christian Burial celebrated at 11 a.m. on December 19, 2019, at St. Joseph Church in Watervliet, followed immediately by a committal at St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery.


Patricia A. Hutchinson, 96-1/2 of Naples, Florida, formerly from St. Joseph and Watervliet, Michigan, Beverly, Palos Park, and Chicago, Illinois, died peacefully at Avow Hospice in Naples on December 14, 2019. She was born in Chicago, IL on August 7, 1923 to parents James and Margaret Dohney.

Pat graduated from St. Bernard’s grammar school, Academy of Our Lady (Longwood), and then obtained her bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Mount Mary College in Milwaukee. She wrote a new school song “Fair Alma Mater” and composed her own music. After graduation Pat taught school.

In November of 1944, Pat married Bob Hutchinson. Together they raised eight children. Pat started her volunteer work at Little Company of Mary Hospital and the Caritas Society. Other leadership work included AAUW, Symphony League, High Cliff Terrace Garden Club, Monday Musical, Krasl Art Center, Town & Country, Project Success, Mecca, Watervliet Garden Club, Paw Paw Lake River Ventures and helped organize the Auxiliary at the Community Hospital in Watervliet. Pat loved watching sailing, football, basketball and golf. She was an avid fan. In 1972 the family moved to Paw Paw Lake in Watervliet. Pat was a founding member of the Paw Paw Lake Yacht Club as the “in house” piano player for over 60 years. She entertained at the Old Marco Inn, Erin’s Isles and was asked to play in the many music spots around Naples. Music, family and friends were her life. She wrote, “I need to play to be happy. This is such a priority to me that everything else seems simple. I play for myself. If others like my music, I am happy I can share it. My music is me”.

Her husband Robert A. Hutchinson preceded her death in 1974. She had eight loving children. Preceding her was Robert I. and James D. and her good friend Harold Siler. She is survived by Patricia M. (Susan Kaiser), Margaret, Donald (Sandra), Carolyn, Thomas, (Kristina) and Daniel. She is grandmother of Jeff (Holly), Carl (Shelene), Andrew (Catherine), James, Elizabeth (Andrew) and David and great-grandmother of Silvana.

Pat was a very generous, social and fun-loving person, admired by many. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Paw Paw Lake Yacht Club in her honor. Please send to PPLYC, P.O. Box 44 Coloma, MI 49038. A Mass will be held August 9, 2020 details to follow. A celebration of life will be held this summer at the PPLYC. To send a condolence to the family please visit


Longtime Bainbridge Township Supervisor Leonard C. (Larry) Smith Jr. died December 10, 2019 at Hanson Hospice Center after a brief battle with cancer. He was 86. A Celebration of Life Service will be held on Saturday, January 11, 2020 at 4:00 p.m. at Fairplain Presbyterian Church, 210 W. Napier Avenue, in Benton Harbor. Visitation will be at the church where friends may call from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. prior to the service. Memorials may be made to the Hanson Hospice Center or Area Agency on Aging – Campus for Creative Aging. Friend wishing to send a condolence may do so at the guestbook at Arrangement entrusted to Starks & Menchinger Chapel.

He is survived by his wife, Pat; daughters Kim Edinger of St. Joseph; Vicki VandenBerg of Grand Rapids; and Laura Sparks of Boulder, CO; seven grandchildren (Kristin, Jaclyn, Emily, Anna, Hannah, Michael and Betsy); two great-grandchildren (Owen and Eva); and a sister, Sharon Pittman, of Chicago. He was preceded in death by his brother David. A native of Chicago, Larry and his parents moved to a farm on Napier Avenue in 1951. Larry later built a home next door where he and Pat raised their family. Larry was a fruit farmer, and was especially known for his apple crops, which were always put to good use as the family annually would gather to make applesauce with a portion of the harvest. Larry met Pat while both were attending Lawrence College in Appleton, WI, but they transferred to Michigan State for their upper class years. Larry graduated from Michigan State in 1951 with a degree in horticulture. Smith served as supervisor of Bainbridge Township for more than 30 years. At the time of his retirement, he was the longest serving township supervisor in Berrien County. After leaving that post, Smith continued to serve as township assessor. Larry got his start serving the public when he served as board president of the former Spinks Corners School Board. He was twice president of the Michigan Townships Association, and he served on the board of the Area Agency on Aging for 31 years. Larry was also an avid sailor, and even served as commodore of the St. Joseph Yacht Club – while never owning a boat! Larry was a member of the Fairplain Presbyterian Church, and served on its building and grounds committee for several years. While he never preached politics, Smith was a Republican through and through. As one longtime GOP county official once remarked: “Larry carried a lot of water for the elephant over the years.” Larry had a myriad of professional associations and hobbies, and in each he had countless friends. Whenever there was a gathering of one sort or another – be it a state fruit growers meeting or political convocation or hobby convention – at the center of most groups was a big guy in a button down blue dress shirt with a crewcut talking with friends or turning strangers into friends with an attentive ear and kind words. Aside from his family, one of his greatest passions was trains, and model railroads in particular. He was part of a model railroad club which began in Benton Harbor in the 1960s, and he later was an integral part of a round-robin group of model railroaders who would work and operate each other’s layouts. He was quick to share his knowledge of trains with others. Another love for Larry was sports. When one thinks of the classic diehard Cubs’ fan, Larry would be near the head of the line, along with Pat. They attended games at Wrigley Field as often as they could, and when they couldn’t journey to the north side of Chicago, the TV would be tuned to the Cubs. When the Cubs finally broke the 71-year jinx of the billy goat in 2016, Larry was ecstatic he no longer had to tell acquaintances “wait ‘til next year!” Larry’s loyalty to the Cubs was unquestioned, but the Bears and Black Hawks as well as the Benton Harbor Tigers, held special places for him, too. However, sharing the #1 spot in his heart was Michigan State University, and especially the Spartans’ athletic teams. After graduation, both Pat and Larry continued to “bleed green.” The couple went to many MSU football games with a group of Twin Cities friends, starting with a tailgate and then the game itself (although a number of the wives would end up shopping at nearby Jacobson’s department store instead of going to the game). Win or lose, it was a fun and cherished time to be together with friends and family. Larry’s passion for MSU continued when he, along with a core group of Spartan faithful, decided there needed to be an outlet for fans of the Green & White in the summer. But they didn’t want a stuffy and pricey alumni outing. “What do Spartan fans want?” he asked. “Beer and steak.” That was the genesis of the Spartan Steak ‘n’ Suds outing every June, which Larry co-chaired for years. The event turned into what MSU officials called the largest annual alumni outing in the U.S. Many Berrien County residents who graduated from other universities would routinely attend the MSU event, citing the laid back and fun atmosphere. As someone who asked not to be identified noted: “If you weren’t a friend of Larry Smith’s, it’s only because you hadn’t yet met each other.”


Our beloved oldest Sister (Susie) entered into Eternal Heaven on Thursday December 5, 2019 at St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She was 65 at the time of her death. Susie was the first born child to Maurice and Delores Kietzer on July 7, 1954 in Watervliet, Michigan. Being the first born child she set the path for all of her siblings to follow. She knew from the time she was in second grade that she always wanted to be a nurse. After graduating from Dowagiac Union High School in 1972, she continued her education into the nursing program. She received a Diploma of Nursing Degree from Grady Memorial Hospital School of Nursing 1973-76. Core curriculum studies were done at Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia.

Her first nursing job after graduation was at Watervliet Community Hospital, Watervliet, Michigan. She was one of the first participants of a four-year scholarship being offered from Watervliet Community Hospital. She worked for Community for almost 10 as the House Supervisor or in the Critical Care Unit. She loved her job but felt there were more challenges to be met and left Watervliet to continue her nursing at Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She worked a short time with Borgess when they decided to move to Texas where she worked at the Texas Heart Institute in Houston, Texas. But missing her family she came closer to home and settled in Plainfield, Illinois where she retired in 2002 from Loyola University Hospital, Chicago, Illinois. On July 14, 1979 she married the love of her life Hipolito “Paul” Hernandez Medina and they spent almost 40 years together. When she was not working her and Paul traveled to many places and her family all laughed hearing her tell the stories from those trips. But one of her favorite things she loved was making Christmas cookies and she would turn that into a weekend of baking, laughing, and bringing the family together to reminiscence. Paul preceded her in death on December 7, 2014 in Sebring, Florida. She is also preceded in death by her parents: Maurice Kietzer, September 2017 and Delores Kietzer 2018, and one sister Karen Jane Kietzer, April 1965. She is survived by her sisters Kathy (Larry) Wise; Christine (Art) Sedlar, Darcy (Lee) Kietzer-Dennison and one brother, James (Sandy) Kietzer. She is also survived by many nieces, nephews, step-children, step-grandchildren and step-great-grandchildren that there are too many to count. She loved them all very dearly and was the best aunt/ grandma/ sister to all that entered into her life. She was cremated and there will be no memorial service. Her ashes will be interred in her final resting place in Florida beside her husband Paul at a later date. Memorial donations may be made to Watervliet Community Hospital Scholarship Foundation, Watervliet, Michigan. Please put Lorraine (Susie) Medina’s name in the memo.


Kenneth F. Umphrey, 86, of Sylvania, Ohio, passed away unexpectedly Friday, Dec. 6, 2019, at his residence. He was born on July 9, 1933, in Coloma, to Lewis M. and Mildred (Krieger) Umphrey. Kenneth married Carolyn Meyer on July 14, 1956, and together they raised three daughters.

Kenneth graduated from Coloma High School in 1951, attended agriculture short courses at Michigan State University and took various business classes at the University of Toledo. He grew up on the family centennial fruit farm. He joined the U.S. Army in 1955 as a radio operator. He began working in the propane gas business in 1959, retiring from Amerigas Propane Co. as a plant manager. He was active in the Ohio L.P. Gas Association in various positions, including president. He was a long-time active member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, where he served as an elder. Ken sang in church choirs for 60 years and was a member in a barbershop chorus and quartet. Kenneth and Carolyn traveled throughout the United States and overseas, visiting Greece last year. He loved fishing, downhill skiing and golfing. He volunteered for the Jamie Farr/ Marathon Classic LPGA Golf Tournament for over 20 years. He and Carolyn were “snowbirds,” spending winters in Davenport, Florida. They spent 33 years enjoying the “lake life” at their cottage on Pine Canyon Lake in Angola, Indiana, where they entertained their family and friends often. Ken is survived by Carolyn, his loving wife of 63 years; daughters, Karla (Randy) Ries, Lori (Scott) Saunders and Terri (Robert) Goldmann; grandchildren: Jocelyn (David) Steffes, Brian (Molly) Saunders, Alan Saunders, Shari Saunders and Matthew Goldmann; and brother, Virgil Umphrey. He was preceded in death by his parents; siblings, Ermine Umphrey, Lolita Piedt and Boyd Umphrey; and grandson, Craig Ries. The funeral service was held at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Toledo, Ohio on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019. Entombment is at Highland Memory Gardens. The family suggests contributions to Good Shepherd Lutheran Church or a charity of their choice. Online condolences can be made at Cards may be sent to Mrs. Carolyn Umphrey c/o Tri-City Record, P.O. Box 7, Watervliet MI 49098.

Death Notices

Stacy L. Jones, 48, of Coloma died Dec. 6, 2019 at home in Niles. Duffield & Pastrick Family Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Coloma

Betty P. Mathis, 70, of Watervliet died Dec. 8, 2019 at home. Duffield & Pastrick Family Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Coloma

Ray L. Evans, 82, of Coloma died Dec. 6, 2019. Starks & Menchinger Chapel and Cremation Services, St. Joseph

Roy J. Nicholson, 72, of Three Oaks died Dec. 11, 2019 at Hanson Hospice Center, Stevensville. Boyd Chapel – Pike Funeral Home, Bridgman

Timethy W. Bullock, 47, of Coloma died Dec. 10, 2019 at Bronson Methodist Hospital, Kalamazoo. Purely Cremations – Starks Family Funeral Homes and Cremations Services, Benton Harbor

Mylisa Lynn Bryant, 51, of Philadelphia MS, former area resident, died Dec. 12, 2019 at home. John E. Stephens Chapel, Philadelphia MS

Ralph A. Kaczmarek, 69, of Cape Coral FL, formerly of South Haven, died Dec. 15, 2019. Filbrandt Family Funeral Home, South Haven

Charles F. Martin, 96, of Coloma died Dec. 17, 2019 at Hanson Hospice Center, Stevensville. Starks & Menchinger Chapel and Cremation Services, St. Joseph


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Barbara Nord, 86, of Watervliet, died June 17, 2024 at Corewell Health Hospital, St. Joseph. Hutchins Funeral Home, Watervliet John L. Martin, 93, of Coloma, died June 14, 2024 at home. Starks & Mench


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