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12-31-2020 Obituaries

LAURIE DAWN PRADON On Friday, Dec. 25, 2020, Laurie Dawn Pradon, mother of two children and two grandchildren, passed away at age 70 in Mishawaka.

Laurie was born on Oct. 5, 1950, in Watervliet, MI to Lois and Don Rose.

She spent several years abroad in her youth, before returning to Michigan and graduating from Hartford High School in 1968, finally moving to Indiana to be closer to her daughter and grandchildren. During her working career, she worked in finance and healthcare, spending many years at Memorial Health Systems, then Ireland Road Medical Group, and particularly enjoyed her time at OBGYN Associates.

Laurie loved musicals, and attended any musical production or touring Broadway performance that came her way. An enthusiastic supporter of her grandchildren, she never missed a marching band performance, football game, or theatrical production and shared their love of football (although rooting for different teams). A woman of firm opinions, where she stood on any debate was clear as evidenced by many varied and lengthy family Thanksgiving dinner table discussions.

Laurie is preceded in death by her parents and her brother, David. She is survived by two children, Micael and Stephanie, her beloved grandsons Jacob and Noah, and her sister, Sharon, along with several nieces. A Celebration of Life Service will be held at a later date.

Palmer Funeral Home – Bubb Chapel, 3910 North Main Street, Mishawaka, Indiana 46545 is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be directed to the Pradon family at

She will be missed and remembered fondly.

JOHNIE SANSOM JR. Johnie Sansom Jr., our dad, 92, of Coloma, received the greatest Christmas gift ever when he slipped into the Eternal presence of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 2020, surrounded by his loving family.

Services celebrating his life will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021, at the Apostolic Tabernacle, 1881 Greenly, Benton Harbor with Bishop Billy Long officiating. Visitation will be from noon until time of service at the church. Cremation will follow the service. Memorials may be made to the Apostolic Tabernacle in Johnie’s name. Arrangements are by the Fairplain Chapel of Florin Funeral Service in Benton Township. Please share memories, messages and photos at

Johnie Sansom Jr. was born Oct. 29, 1928 in McCarr, Pike County, Kentucky to John and Elizabeth “Betty” (Gibson) Sansom. On June 28, 1952 he married the love of his life Gretna Oma Blankenship. They were married in Williamson, WV. Shortly after marriage they moved to Chicago where they resided for 15 years before moving to Southwest Michigan. They have lived for 53 years in the Coloma area. The past couple years he has called Royalton Manor in Royalton Township his home.

Johnie was a hardworking individual. He was first employed in the Coal Mines of Kentucky and then he was employed for the railroad as a track inspector where he walked the tracks six miles each day inspecting and driving spikes. His latest employment was for Bendix / Bosch Corporation in Lincoln Township where he retired in 1991 after 20 years. Johnie was also a minister of the Gospel which was his first love for many years.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 66 years, Gretna Oma (Blankenship) Sansom in 2018.

Johnie is survived by five sons, Dexter (Delia) Sansom of Bridgman, Randall (Debby) Sansom of Bridgman, Danny (Maxine) Sansom of Coloma, Dennis Sansom of Watervliet, and Johnny (Darla) Sansom of Goodletts, TN. He is also survived by a brother, Earling Sansom, a sister, Geraldine Conroy, a sister-in-law Deloris Blankenship, and a whole host of nieces and nephews, and many great friends. He leaves behind to cherish his memory 23 grandchildren, 34 great-grandchildren, 22 great-great-grandchildren.

He was a great man of Prayer, Faith and Character, a true Disciple of Jesus Christ. May the world follow his example of loving God and loving people. John 3:16 For God So Loved the World that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not Perish but Have Everlasting Life.

DAVID W. ELLIOTT David W. Elliott, 72, of Sonoma, California, passed away at home Wednesday, December 23, 2020. Cremation has been held.

Mr. Elliott was born Oct. 7, 1948. He graduated from Coloma High School in 1966 and Michigan State University in 1970. He worked for a time with his father at Elliott Farm Equipment in Coloma.

Survivors include: his wife, Sharon Horton, whom he married August 7, 1999; three daughters, Amy Shultz of Whitestown, Indiana, Stephanie Perez of Placerville, California, and Meghan Elliott of San Francisco, California; and two step-daughters, Emily Horton, of London, England, and Laural Horton of Traverse City, Michigan; ten grandchildren, Solomon, Xochitl, Russell, Anna, Jeremiah, Jacob, Fedlaine, Nico, Eliana and Sofia.

In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate contributions in his name to The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration. Link Duggan’s Mission Chapel in Sonoma, CA is assisting David’s family with arrangements, visit

JACKIE RAY HESS Jackie Ray Hess, 70 of Covert was called home Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020 at Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo.

A service celebrating his life was held Tuesday, Dec. 29 at Duffield & Pastrick Family Funeral Home in Coloma. Burial followed in Fish Cemetery in Covert. Donations in memory of Jack may be made to the Covert Fire Station EMS Training or the Covert Police Training Program. Those wishing to leave an online message of remembrance may do so at

Jack was born Sept. 23, 1950 to Alfred and Hazel (Kendall) Hess of Moberly, MO. He was the youngest boy of 10 children. He married Mary (Shearn) Hess Dec. 5, 1969 in Newark, OH where they started their family of four children. They moved to Coloma in 1984, where he was the owner and operator of Jack’s Excavating & Trucking, LLC and JH Mobile Home Moving Services, LLC.

Jack was a pillar of the Covert and Coloma communities, where he was always giving back. Whether it was giving to families in need or popping in with donuts for the fire department or township hall. He was awarded Lion of the Year and an honorary member of the Son’s of Amvets. His home was always open to family and friends, where he had many gatherings. Jack was always the life of the party and will be missed by many.

He is survived by his four children, Tracy Looney, Arnold (Sonya) Hess, Hazel Hess, and Christina (D.J.) Clayton, all of Coloma; seven grandchildren, Joshua & Becca, Tre’Michael Ray, Zanye, Zackary, Bridget & Mason, Kristofer & Kristen and Erin & Nick; eight great-grandchildren, Jackson, Callum, Kolten, Reagan, Scarlett, Eli, Landon and Hunter Ray. Also surviving is a brother, Big Al (Val) Hess; a sister Barbara Johnson, and sister-in-law, Pam Hess, many nieces and nephews, and his devoted companions Dawn Alspaugh and Lucky Duck.

He is preceded in death by his parents Hazel & Alfred and Oris & Marion; his wife Mary in 2018; his brothers & sisters, Paul, Doris, Melvin, Patty, Bobby, Wayne and Junior.

EVELYN P. KIMBROUGH Evelyn P. Kimbrough, 95, of Coloma, passed away Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020 at The Willows in St. Joseph.

Due to the current pandemic, private family services will take place followed by burial next to her husband Ed at St. Paul’s Cemetery in Watervliet. Duffield & Pastrick Family Funeral Home in Coloma is assisting the family. Memorial donations in Evelyn’s honor may be given to Caring Circle Hospice or the Alzheimer’s Association of Michigan. Those wishing to leave a message or share a memory with the family online may do so at

Evelyn was born Nov. 18, 1925 in Manila, Arkansas to Alfred and Lousette (Walker) Thompson. She graduated from Manila High School in 1946 and then moved to the Coloma area where she worked on a farm. Later that year, on Nov. 2, she married James “Ed” Kimbrough, who had followed Evelyn from Arkansas to Michigan. Evelyn loved to golf and was a member of the Paw Paw Lake Golf Club. She was also a church member and sang in the choir at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Watervliet. The family would like to thank the staff at The Willows for the wonderful care they provided for Evelyn during the past eight years.

Evelyn is survived by her children, Phyllis (James) Boyle of Coloma and Barbara Wier of Seaford, Delaware; four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband Ed; her sister Dorothy McFarlin; and brothers Andy, Jerry and James Thompson.

REVA JANET KNIGHT Reva Janet (Buskirk) Knight, age 90, passed away peacefully at home on Dec. 21, 2020 surrounded by her children. She was born July 5, 1930, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the only child of Reta (Gilleo) and Fred Peake and Everett Buskirk. She married the love of her life, Frederick Knight of Martin, Michigan on March 12, 1947, and celebrated 61 years of marriage before his passing in 2008.

Reva loved her Knight brothers and sisters and took joy in expanding that family with six children of her own. The memories are endless of brother/sister vacations, Sandy Pines, family camping trips, golfing, fishing, card games, and dinner gatherings. Her children grew up with all the love of their aunts, uncles, and cousins as she wanted them to have an abundance of family in their lives.

Reva is known by many for having made their delicious cakes for their special occasions. Her children will always make her special recipes as she was the mom that always welcomed her children’s friends to the dinner table. She leaves a legacy of recipes; favorites include holiday cinnamon rolls, racetrack sloppy joes, and family potato salad. For many years, Reva worked in the cafeteria of Red Arrow Elementary School – always a “mom” feeding hungry children good food.

Reva attended His Place: Cathedral of Faith and was baptized in Jesus’ name as she now rests in the arms of her Lord. Her life was a living example of an amazing wife and mother.

Reva is survived by her children: David and Mary Knight and Roger Knight of Hartford, Diana Zeller of Arizona, Debra Collins of Coloma, Fred and Gale Knight of Lawrence, and Robert and Kathy Knight of Dorr.

She is preceded in death by a son at birth, Gordon Leroy and her husband Frederick Knight. Reva was blessed with 17 grandchildren, 35 great-grandchildren, and six great-great-grandchildren, all of which she loved deeply.

The family has entrusted Calvin Funeral Home in Hartford with arrangements and celebrated her life with a private service on Saturday, Dec. 26, 2020. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to His Place: Cathedral of Faith, Covert, or Caring Circle Hospice of Lakeland, St. Joseph. Those wishing to leave memorial condolences for the family may do so at

ESTHER BALLARD RICHMOND Esther Ballard Richmond, of Hartford, was born March 17, 1929, in Onondaga, MI, the daughter of Dwight and Evabelle (Byrum) Ballard.

Esther passed away at the age of 91, on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020, at Bronson LakeView Hospital in Paw Paw. After graduating from high school, Esther attended and graduated from Michigan State College (now Michigan State University) in 1950. She was part of the extension staff of the college, teaching young women how to become better homemakers. Esther was united in marriage with Russell Alfred Richmond on June 13, 1953. She was a substitute teacher for many years, teaching in the Hartford Public School system and helping her husband on their farm. Esther was a longtime member of the Hartford Federated Church, now known as the Hartford Bible Church.

Russell passed away on May 8, 2010. Also preceding her in passing was her sister, Nancy Ballard.

Esther is survived by her four children: Gary Richmond of Hartford, Lee (Randy) Richmond of Shoreview, MN, Ann (Keith) Fisher of Toledo, OH, and Amy (Rob) Pohutski of Livonia. Esther is also survived by nine grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; a brother, James (Carolyn) Ballard of Holland; three nephews, and a niece.

Due to current restrictions, the family will hold a private service in Maple Hill Cemetery in Hartford, where Esther will be laid to rest next to her husband. Pastors Benjamin Williamson and Keith Fisher will conduct the service. In lieu of flowers, please give to either the church or to a charity of your choice. The family has entrusted the Calvin Funeral Home with arrangements. Those wishing to leave memorial condolences for the family may do so at

LARRY DANIEL SQUIRES Larry Daniel Squires, 82, of Hartford passed away Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020 at Bronson Methodist Hospital, Kalamazoo.

Larry was born July 7, 1938, in Bellevue, the son of Donald and Virginia (Day) Squires, both of whom precede him in passing. Also preceding him were three children: Jeffrey Squires, David Higbea and Donna Bower Squires and one sister, Bonnie Hodges Squires.

Larry graduated from Bellevue High School in 1957. He served his country in the United States Air Force from 1958-61, while also attending Air Reserve Survival Training in Reno, NV. He served his community on the Battle Creek Police Department from 1962-67 and as a detective for the Michigan State Police from 1968-92, serving as Sergeant of the Fire Marshal Division. He was formerly a member of the Hartford Public Schools Board of Education, the Hartford Fire Board and served as president of the Hartford Athletic Boosters. He enjoyed giving back to the community, volunteering his time with Habitat for Humanity, Project Santa in Bangor and with hospice.

Larry is survived by two sons, Todd Squires and Donald (Amy) Squires; a step-son, Phillip (Denise) Higbea and numerous grandchildren. Larry has been cremated, and no public services will be held. The family has entrusted the Calvin Funeral Home with arrangements. Those wishing to leave memorial condolences for the family may do so at

Death Notices

Shirley Elaine Hall, 82, of Hartford died Dec. 26, 2020. Calvin Funeral Home, Hartford Joanne M. McDonnell (Ely), 86, of Sister Lakes died Dec. 24, 2020. Clark Chapel and Cremation Services, Dowagiac Marchele “Shelly” Polashak, 55, of Benton Harbor died Dec. 21, 2020 at Bronson Methodist Hospital, Kalamazoo. Duffield & Pastrick Family Funeral Home and Cremation Services Eric Weston, 41, of Hartford died Dec. 21, 2020 at home. Calvin Funeral Home, Hartford


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