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Ida Merie Richter, 104 of Coloma, died on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023, at Pine Ridge Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Stevensville. Services will be held at a later date. She has been cremated. Arrangements are by the Davidson Chapel of Florin Funeral Service. Please share memories or messages at

Ida was born on Jan. 7, 1919 in Benton Harbor to Arthur and Edna Gilson. She was one of ten children. Ida loved to play games with her siblings and neighborhood children; especially playing baseball.

In her early years she worked for several companies and then McLellan’s Store. She loved working there behind the counter, playing records and selling candy and peanuts. One frequent customer, Russell Richter finally got the courage to ask her out. They married in 1949 and they celebrated 64 years of marriage.

Ida and Russell lived in Benton Harbor and eventually bought land in Coloma, and built a house. Ida worked for Leco Corp. for a couple years and helped her husband with Richter’s Wholesale Nursery, which they developed on the farm.

Ida was a member of the First Congregational Church in Benton Harbor and enjoyed being a Sunday school teacher. She was an avid reader, particularly of biographies, loved gardening, and crocheting. Ida also was quite the shutter bug and loved traveling and taking photos.

Ida believed strongly in the importance of an education, women’s rights, and the power of the vote. She never missed an election.

She was a caring, loving, empathetic person, who was a great listener. Family was very important to her and she looked forward each year to the Gilson Family Reunion.

Ida was preceded in death by her husband, Russell in 2014, her son James A. Dunning, her son Robert P. Dunning, her daughter-in-law Betty Dunning and nine siblings.

She is survived by her children, Steve Richter of Benton Harbor, and Lori (Craig) Mandenberg of Orland Park, IL; her daughter-in-law Carol Sue Dunning, her grandchildren, Michael Dunning, Michelle Brodock, Doreena Dunning, Donna Dunning, Darren Dunning, Devinnie Wysocki, James Dunning Jr., Kelly Bauer, Scott Dunning, Sara Gerdes, Abigael Mandenberg, many great-grandchildren, and several great-great-grandchildren.

The family would like to thank the staff of Pine Ridge for their care and kindness.


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