Latest obituaries

Rita Dorcas Hott

hott_ritaRita Dorcas Hott, age 85, of St. Johns, MI passed away Saturday, June 27, 2015 at Bella Woods AFC Home, DeWitt, MI. where she received wonderful care.

Funeral Services will be held at Smith Family Funeral Homes St. Johns, MI on Thursday, July 2, 2015 at 11:00 A.M., with Dr. Donald Ferris-McCann officiating. Burial will take place at Duplain Township Cemetery St. Johns, MI. Visitation will be held on Wednesday, July 1, 2015 from 6-8 P.M. at the funeral home.

Rita was born in Moscow Township, Hillsdale County, Michigan on December 6, 1929, the daughter of John Henry and Mary Harriet (Dawkins) Petro. She graduated from St. Louis High School with the class of 1948. On June 12, 1948 she married Max Lyle Hott in St. Louis, Michigan; Max died on May 3, 2015. Rita was a cook at St. Johns High School, a secretary for Clinton Bank and Trust, and then she went to work for Hazel Findlay Country Manor, St. Johns where she retired. Rita was a member of the Elsie Sewing Group, Duplain United Methodist Church and later the Elsie United Methodist Church and the United Methodist Women. She loved sewing and quilting. Rita resided most of her life in the rural St. Johns area.

She is survived by 2 daughters; Mary and Rod Kiger of Elsie, MI, Jan and Mark Knowles of Elmwood, Tennessee, 9 grandchildren, 19 great grandchildren, and sister Lettie Jessup of St. Louis, MI. Rita was preceded in death by her parents, daughter Diane Rivest, 6 sisters; Patricia Petro, Marguerite Hinsman, Helen Uhrick, Jessie Mapes, Mariam Randolph and Dawn Burnham, and 3 brothers; John, Paul and James Petro.

Memorials may be made to Elsie United Methodist Church. The family is being served by Smith Family Funeral Homes St. Johns, Michigan.


Blaine C. Lentz

lentz_blaineBlaine C. Lentz was born in the family home on November 24, 1924, in Benzie County, MI to Oliver and Mary (Smeltzer) Lentz. Blaine grew up on the family farm with his two sisters (Lucille and Virginia) and one brother (Dean) in northern Manistee County. He attended a one-room country school in northern Manistee County through the 8th grade, with 4 in his class then graduated from Bear Lake High School in 1942 with 29 in his class. In the winter of 1943 he attended Michigan State College (MSC) for one term.

Blaine worked on his parent’s farm until drafted into the Army in July of 1944. After 16 weeks of basic training at Camp Wheeler, GA, he was assigned to what was known as Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 309th Infantry Regiment, 78th Division and shipped out to Europe as a replacement. For those familiar with WWII history, Blaine served with that unit during what is commonly known as the Battle of the Bulge, the crossing of the Bridge at Remagen, and the cleanup of the Ruhr Pocket. His time in combat ended on April 17, 1945, after the surrender of the city of Wuppertal, Germany. In June 1945, he was transferred to a Quartermaster Depot where he served as the Mail Clerk until he was returned to the States with an Honorable Discharge from the Army on June 20, 1946. He returned to work on the family farm, and at odd jobs such as logging and at a fruit processing plant.

The best years of his life began when he met Belle in 1947, and they were married on Sept. 19, 1948. Their son Kenneth was born 1949, in Frankfort, MI. Blaine returned to MSC in September, 1950 to continue his college education and shortly thereafter their daughter Cynthia was born at Sparrow Hospital. Along with attending classes full time, he worked side jobs to pay the bills that the “G.I.” Bill didn’t cover. He was a man of many talents and trades working as a substitute milkman on Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays while at MSC. During summer breaks he worked full-time jobs such as at Atlas Drop Forge, Standard Ready Mix washing trucks and night watchman, John Bean Welding Shop as a welder, Oldsmobile Engine Plant as a machine operator. He did his student teaching in the fall of 1953 at Williamston High School and received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Agriculture and Natural Science with High Honors in Dec. 1953.

Blaine began what would become a lifelong passion of teaching. His first position was teaching Vocational Agriculture at Onaway, MI High School for one year then moved to Elsie, MI where he continued teaching Vo-Ag for 10 more years. To further his education he returned to his beloved MSC, renamed Michigan State University, to earn a Masters Degree in Education Administration which he completed in 1959 – again with High Honors. Soon after in 1960 their son Michael was born in St. Johns, MI, followed by their daughter Tonya in 1963. Blaine’s career at Elsie High School changed in 1965 from classroom teacher to High School Principal, and he continued to serve in that position at Ovid-Elsie High School until he retired in 1990.

Blaine and Belle lived in Elsie for 43 years and cherish their memories of the community, the school and all the friendships and acquaintances, both young and old. All four of their children graduated from Ovid-Elsie High School and most remain in this area. In 1998 they moved to St. Johns into a smaller more manageable home and to be closer to their children.

Blaine was an avid golfer and member of the Clinton County Country Club, Master Mason at Elsie Masonic Lodge #238, a member of the American Legion Post 502 in Elsie and St Johns Post 153, Life member of St. Johns V.F.W., Elsie Lions club, councilman for Village of Elsie for several years, active with Clinton County RESA for many years, and served a term on the Clinton Memorial Hospital Board and many other involvements.

Blaine was a humble man – a giver and receiver – who readily shared his life-long love of learning, his delightful sense of humor, his endless threads of common sense, his passion for life, friendships, and the natural world. He was a perfect representation of the common man with an uncommon sense of loyalty, honesty, compassion, and humility. He loved a good conversation.

He is survived by his loving wife Belle; sons Kenneth (Donna), Michael (Lauri) and daughters Cynthia (Kim) Brewbaker, and Tonya Myers; Grandchildren Angela, Jason, Kayla, Kaitlin, Courtney, Rick, Laurie, Kati, Logan, Emily; Great-grandchildren Bailey, Brandon, Blane, Scott, Brooke, Paige. Blaine was preceded in death by his parents Oliver and Mary Lentz, sisters Lucille Bovee and Virginia Smith, and brother Dean Lentz.

Funeral services will be held at Keck-Coleman Funeral Home in St. Johns on Thursday July 2, 2015, at 11:00 a.m. with Rev. Kathy Leydorf-Keck officiating. The family will receive friends and relatives at the funeral home on Tuesday June 30 and Wednesday July 1, 2:00-4:00 and 6:00-8:00 p.m. both days. Burial will follow at Mt. Rest Cemetery in St. Johns, MI. Military honors will be provided by the St. Johns Honor Guard. Memorials may be made to the St. Johns American Legion Post 153, 110 E. Walker St., St. Johns, MI 48879.


Gary McNamara

mcnamara_garyWhether you called him Gary, Butch, Hoss, Mac, Dad, or Grandpa, Gary McNamara passed away on June 24, 2015. He was born on July 4, 1946, in the yet untamed wilderness of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the second son of Clarence “Scoop” and Freida (LaVance) McNamara.

Hoss attended Tahquamenon Area schools in Newberry where his involvement in sports and social activities were the only reasons he went. After high school, he moved below the bridge to attend Besser Technological School at Alpena Community College where he studied welding and machining.

Butch worked at various places as a welder, but it was when he worked at R.E. Olds Diamond REO that he lived in Lansing and ended up meeting the love of his life. Gary was a real piece of work and she had to put a lot of work into him. He had to learn how to treat a lady right, how to see things in a different light, and how to be a family man. He must have been a quick study, because in a little less than a year from meeting, Gary married Joanne Miller on September 17, 1966 in Fowler.

Soon after, Gary was drafted into the army where he trained and served as a Specialist in Explosive Ordinance Disposal. After his enlistment, he opened a business. He owned and operated McNamara’s Welding & Machining in Fowler, MI, where he was renowned for being able to fix most any item that others wouldn’t even attempt. He repaired every kind of farm implement. He designed and built wood stoves. He fixed everything from hitches to axles to furniture. And he never turned away a kid who needed a lawn mower blade sharpened or a bike tire inflated. In the late 1980’s, Mac closed the shop and took a job with the State of Michigan.

He was a Correction’s Officer at MTU in Ionia and later at DRF in Carson City. Curiously, he got great satisfaction from taking out work crews. Because he always treated others how he wanted to be treated, the inmates worked hard for him and never gave him any trouble. He retired from the state in 1999. Gary kept busy in his retirement by holding other jobs as well. He loved driving the blue bus for Clinton Transit. He also received great pleasure from driving all over the state as a courier for Fuji film.

Throughout his life, Gary was a total sports fan. He sponsored many local sports teams. He enjoyed attending HS football games on Friday nights, as well as watching every kind of sport on TV, especially the MSU teams. The Spartans will forever have a fan on high.

Gary’s family meant everything to him. He loved spending time with his brothers and sisters and their families in the UP. There were family reunions, birthday celebrations, holiday parties, deer camp, and the annual Labor Day Corn Roast. He enjoyed seeing his grandchildren play sports, perform in dance recitals, pageants, and school concerts, and celebrating all the holidays. He received special enjoyment from giving the grandkids rides on his electric scooter.

Gary is survived by his loving wife, Joanne; son, Patrick McNamara of Springport, MI; daughters, Julie (Kory) Gould of Lakeview, MI, Teri (Roger) Skaggs of Ithaca, MI, Susan (Burt) Ramsey of Maple Rapids, MI, and Cheryl (Scott) Kus of Perrinton, MI; thirteen grandchildren; one great-grandchild; brothers, Clarence “Mick” McNamara, and Richard (Marie) McNamara; sisters, Annie Holbrook, and Patricia (Jack) Thomas; brothers-in-law, Alan (Sheila) Miller, Martin (Luann) Miller, Charles (Joanne) Miller; sister-in-law, Lois (Richard) Rodgers, and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Leslie Lyle McNamara; grandson, Spencer Ramsey; brother-in-law, Melvin Holbrook; sister-in-law, Beverly McNamara; and father and mother-in-law, Marvin and Julia Miller.

Funeral Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 am, Monday, June 29, 2015, at Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Fowler. The celebrant will be his nephew, Fr. Mathias Thelen. The family will receive friends on Sunday, June 28 from 2-4 pm and 6-8 pm with a rosary at 7 pm at the Goerge Chapel of Osgood Funeral Homes in Fowler.


Timothy “Tim” W. Bidelman

bidelman_timothyTimothy “Tim” W. Bidelman, 37, passed away June 23, 2015. He was born March 28, 1978 in Lansing, MI to Jerry and Gladys (Draper) Bidelman. He loved to be outdoors; hunting, fishing, and enjoying nature. Tim liked to watch NASCAR and bowled for many years. He worked for the Lansing Board of Water and Light for 10 years.

He will be lovingly remembered by his wife, Rebekah (Blizzard) Bidelman; his son, Hunter Bidelman; his daughter, Elliahna Bidelman; his parents, Gladys and Jerry Bidelman; his in-laws, Jan and Larry Blizzard; his siblings, Allison (Dan) Brown and Mike (Kelly) Bidelman; his brothers-in-law, Dan (Trishta) and Andy (Megan) Blizzard; his sister-in-law, Marisa (Jason) Kindel; his nieces and nephews, Austin and Mitchell Carr, Katelyn Bidelman, Joel Williams, Noah Blizzard, Olivia, Jordynn, and Miranda Kindel, Jackson and Henry Blizzard; and his aunts, uncles, cousins, and many close friends. He was preceded in death by his maternal and paternal grandparents, his Auntie Ann, and his special “mom”, Donna Nayback.

A memorial service will be held on Monday, June 29, 2915 at 3:00 pm at the VFW Post 671 Hall, 12250 Old U.S. 27, DeWitt, MI. Family will receive friends following the service until 6:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the family, for Hunter and Elliahna’s education. The family is being served by Gorsline Runciman Funeral Homes, DeWitt Chapel.


Clark S Gregory III

Clark S Gregory III “Seth” died very unexpectedly on May 25 in Maryland. He was 51. He was the son of Lynne [Laurence] Gregory and the late Clark S Gregory, Jr ‘Scotty” of St Johns.

Private burial services were held here in Michigan.

Seth was head golf professional at a Billy Casper PGA golf course in Maryland. He is survived by his mother, Lynne, his brother Scott and sisters Michele, MaryJane, and Maggie.


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