April 18, 2018

Elena L. Waukazoo, Died April 14, 2018

Elena L. Waukazoo
Died April 14, 2018

PESHAWBESTOWN - Elena L. Waukazoo, 69. of Peshawbestown, died April 14, 2018 at home.

Elena was born on July 27, 1948 in Peshawbestown, Michigan.  She was the daughter of John A. Swanson and Sylvia J. Waukazoo.  She was a proud member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.   Elena along with two siblings lived in foster care with the Elliott Family in Buckley, Michigan.

She went into the service in 1966 and served as a United States Marine.  Throughout her career she spent time in Vietnam and Okinawa, and then continued within the Criminal Justice Department in San Diego, California.  After retiring she moved back home to Peshawbestown, Michigan in 2002.  

Elena is survived by her siblings, James (Lois) Waukazoo, Patricia E. Putney, Clifford “Jack” Swanson, and Ellie (Tim) Germaine and many nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents; siblings, Sylvia, John, Rosemary, Tom McKwein, Laurita K. Drake, and an infant, Richard.

The funeral service was held at April 20 at the Martinson Funeral Home of Suttons Bay. Burial will be Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia.  

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April 14, 2018

James R. Gafner, Died April 8, 2018

James R. Gafner
Died April 8, 2018

CEDAR – James Ray Gafner, 67, of Cedar, passed away Sunday, April 8, 2018 at MediLodge of Leelanau surrounded by his loving family.
James was born Aug. 31, 1950 in Escanaba, the son of Rudolph and Elizabeth (Levesque) Gafner. 
As a young man James served his country in the U.S. Navy.  He became a Corpsman and rose the rank of Petty Officer First Class and honorably retired after sixteen years of service.
After his service James drove truck with his friend and pet parrot, Fred.  James taught Fred some colorful language and sayings on those trips.  He was a member of the Olde Virginia Primitive Rifleman organization (ovpr.org) where he loved 1900’s style camping with no modern devices.
James was a fan of tie-die t-shirts, the Grateful Dead and all types of music.  He was a huge Detroit Tigers and Red Wings fan.  James treasured cookouts and spending time with his family.
James is survived by his daughter, Kimberly (Glenn) Jackson; two sisters, Judy Bizeau, Tina (Keith) Jackson; two granddaughters; Kayla (Ashley) Windnagle, Samantha Nasca; a great grandson, James Wareham; and many loving nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Rudy Gafner.
Private family services have been held.
Memorials may be directed to Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758516, Topeka, KS 66675-8516.
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April 12, 2018

Stuart W. Knapp, Died March 30, 2018

Stuart W. Knapp
Died March 30, 2018

SUTTONS BAY – Stuart William Knapp, 55, of Suttons Bay, passed away Friday, March 30, 2018 at Munson Medical Center.

Stuart was born Feb. 5, 1963 in Coffeyville, Kansas the son of Charles and Elizabeth (Weiss) Knapp.

He graduated from Field Kindley High School of Coffeyville and earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois Chicago and his master’s degree in information systems from Golden Gate University in San Francisco.

Stuart was a gifted artist.  He had the ability to play music by ear on piano and guitar.  Stuart was also a good writer he composed lyrics to his own songs and poetry.  His passion for art took him to Europe where he developed the skill of painting in oils and pastels. 

Blessed with a warm and charming personality, he had an innate empathy and sincere care for others.  Stuart became his mother’s caretaker in her last years.  Over time he served as caretaker for many older friends.  

Stuart is survived by his siblings, Stephen Knapp, Sally Knapp Buchanan (Dave); his nieces and nephews, Marysa, Weslee (Jennifer), Alexandria and Janna Knapp, Trey Buchanan; and his cousins, Andy Richardson (Brooke) and Susan Richardson Young (Bruce).

He was preceded in death by his parents.

A graveside service at Beechwood cemetery will be planned for this summer. 

Memorial donations may be directed to Fishtown Preservation Society, PO Box 721, Leland, MI 49654. 

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April 11, 2018

James R. Grant died April 10, 2018

James R. Grant
Died April 10, 2018

LAKE LEELANAU - James Robert Grant, 78, of Lake Leelanau, passed on Tuesday, April 10, 2018, surrounded by his loving children.

Jim was born April 14, 1939 in Traverse City, the son of John and Jeanette (Schaub) Grant. He was raised on the family farm in Lake Leelanau by his parents. He graduated from St. Mary School, Lake Leelanau, in 1957. He earned a Civil Engineering degree from the University of Michigan. Jim married his sweetheart, Dorothy Rink, on May 13, 1967 at Immaculate Conception Church of Avon, Ohio.

After marrying Dorothy, they moved to San Fernando, CA, where he started his family and worked for the State of California in the Water Resources Department for 5 years. He and his family then moved back to Lake Leelanau to take over the family farm with his brother, Joe. 

Jim had a passion for farming and planting seeds in soil and hearts. His ability to nurture the best out of everything living, especially his children and grandchildren, was among his greatest accomplishments. He pioneered many advances in the farming industry. His home was adorned by many gardens and swing sets filled with beautiful roses and children.

In addition to his loving wife of 51 years, Jim is survived by his five children, Marlene (John) Searles, Dennis (Marsha) Grant, Stephen (Rebecca) Grant, Marita (Daniel) Somero, Daniel (Sandra) Grant; siblings, MaryAnn (Jerome) Kolarik, Jane (Dick) Strang, Matt (Jolie) Grant, Joe (Laurie) Grant, Monica (Larry) Cornell, and Ann Hohl; sisters-in-law, Phyllis Grant and Diane Grant; 21 grandchildren, Madeleine, Abigail, Isaiah, Jared, Scott, Ashley (Aaron) Helwig, Shawn, Hanna, Thomas, Emily, Jessica, Elizabeth, Benjamin, Christopher, Lindsey, Joshua, Anthony, Andrew, Patrick, Mary and Anne.

He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, David and William; sister-in-law, Laura Grant; brother-in-law, William Hohl; and grandchildren, Michael and Sarah.

Visitation will be held on Sunday, April 15 from 4 to 8 p.m. with a 7 p.m. rosary at St. Mary of the Assumption, Lake Leelanau. The funeral mass will be celebrated on Monday, April 16 at 11 a.m. with visitation one hour prior, also at the church. Burial will be at a later date at St. Mary Cemetery. Fr. Bryan Medlin will serve as celebrant.

Memorials may be directed to St. Mary School, PO Box 340, Lake Leelanau, MI 49653 and/or mass intentions.

Please share thoughts and memories with Jim’s family below or on our Facebook page.

April 7, 2018

Thelma "Jo" E. Herman, Died April 4, 2018

Thelma “Jo” E. Herman
Died April 4, 2018

SUTTONS BAY – Thelma “Jo” Elaine Herman, 65, of Suttons Bay, passed away on Wednesday, April 4, 2018 at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital with her loving family by her side.

Jo was born March 11, 1953 in Dearborn the daughter of Milton and Patricia (Wilcox) Vingsness.  She married Mark John Herman on March 31, 2001 at the Central United Methodist Church of Traverse City.

With family spread out across the country, Jo kept family connections close.  From regular phone calls, to always sending cards for special occasions, she kept her finger on the pulse of family happenings.  She loved spending time with her grandchildren in outdoor adventures and cheering at their hockey games.

Jo was a giving lady who always thought of others before herself.  A master gardener, she tended to a beautiful garden of flowers and produce, and volunteered her gardening skills at several locations throughout Leelanau County.

Jo is survived by her loving husband of seventeen years, Mark; her mother, Patricia; her children, Connie (David) Elenich, Scott Mickelson, Tina (Matthew) Groleau; her siblings, Rita (Dan) Meadows, Ed (Jennifer) Vingsness, Donna Tomlinson, Doug (Jill) Vingsness; and her grandchildren, Ryan and Paul Elenich.

She was preceded in death by her father, Milton; a brother, Ron Vingsness; former spouse, Dale Mickelson; mother-in-laws, Fran Mickelson and Mary Alice Herman; and a brother-in-law, Ben Tomlinson.

Visitation will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 11 with the Rosary to be Prayed at 7 p.m. at the Martinson Funeral Home of Suttons Bay.  The mass will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, April 12 at St. Michael’s Church of Suttons Bay.  Burial in St. Michael’s Cemetery will be held at a future date.  Father Leonard Paul will serve as celebrant.

Memorials may be directed to Leelanau Conservancy, PO Box 1007, Leland, MI 49654 and/or Botanical Gardens, 1490 Red Dr., Traverse City, MI 49684 www.thebontanicgarden.org.

Please share condolences and memories with Jo’s family below or at the funeral home Facebook page:

April 6, 2018

Glen B. Herman, Died April 4, 2018

Glen B. Herman
Died April 4, 2018

SUTTONS BAY – Glen Bernard Herman, 60, of Suttons Bay, passed away on Wednesday, April 4, 2018 at his home with his family by his side.  Glen suffered from COPD and congestive heart failure.  He fought hard but ultimately God took mercy on his tired body and called him home.

Glen was born on July 22, 1957 in Traverse City, the son of Ralph and Betty (Rose) Herman.  On June 7, 1997 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Leland, he married his soul mate and love of his life, Rosalie A. Steffens, who survives.

Glen worked hard all his life beginning with his father’s strawberry fields as a young boy.  After graduating from Suttons Bay Public Schools, he went on to work at Hilltop Farms, Alka Tool and Die and Carpenter Enterprises/Eagle Picher.

Glen enjoyed hunting, fishing (his boat seemed to attract those fish!), camping (he was a master s’mores roaster!), bowling, morel mushroom hunting, gardening, canning vegetables and Sudoku puzzles; he would seek out the hardest ones.  He loved his family, adored his grandchildren and believed passionately in “creating memories.”

In addition to his wife of 20 years, Rose, Glen is survived by his mother, Betty Herman, his children, Denise Herman, Barry Newman, Jennifer (Kenneth) Stevens, Brenda King, and Rebecca (Isaak) Bos; grandchildren, Kelsie, Hayden, Lilly, Raelyn, Ellie, and Odin; siblings, Gary (Sue) Herman, Ralph (Gay) Herman, Ronnie (Aileen) Herman, Randy (Paula) Herman and Logan Stallman; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his father, Ralph, and brothers, Ricky and Bernard Herman.

Visitation will be held on Friday, April 13 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Martinson Funeral Home of Suttons Bay with the Rosary to be prayed at 7 p.m.  The mass will be celebrated on Saturday, April 14 at 11 a.m. at St. Michael the Archangel, Suttons Bay.  Burial will be at a later date at St. Michael’s Cemetery.  Fr. Leonard Paul will serve as celebrant.

Memorials may be directed to Father Fred Foundation, PO Box 2260, Traverse City, MI 49685 and/or The Salvation Army, PO Box 5228, Traverse City, MI 49686-5228.

Please share condolences and memories with Glen’s family below or at the funeral home Facebook page:

Jillian E. LaFray, Died March 14, 2018

Jillian “Jill” Eileen LaFray
Died March 14, 2018
Jill was born in Brighton, England on September 30, 1943 to parents John Arthur Ellis and Joan Mary Ellis (Sida).  On the morning of March 14, 2018, at MediLodge (Tendercare) in Suttons Bay, Jill passed away at the age of 74 and went to a better place.  She is survived by her sons, John Olszewski and Matthew Olszewski (Corry); grandchildren Dean and Hannah Olszewski; sisters Dianne Gentz (Ron), Donna Ellis Thornthwaite (Robert) and Janet Elling (Jim) and an abundance of nephews, nieces and cousins near and far.
Jill and her mother soon left England and immigrated to Canada in 1944.  Her father joined them in St. Johns, New Brunswick at the end of his Canadian army service in World War II.  The family moved to Wyandotte, Michigan in 1955 where Jill attended Wyandotte Public Schools. Jill graduated from T. Roosevelt High School (RHS) in 1961.  Being the eldest of 4 girls, Jill was a kind and loving sister as she helped her parents with household chores and the care of her younger siblings. She enjoyed singing in St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church Choir and RHS’s A cappella Choir.
During her teenage years, Jill reveled in pizza parties, rock & roll music and dancing with friends.  After graduation, she went on to attend Eastern Michigan University.  Upon her first marriage to Thomas Olszewski, she began her banking career as a teller for Wyandotte Savings Bank, where she ended up becoming a branch head teller.  With Tom, she had 2 boys, John and Matt.
Jill was a person who John and Matt were always proud to call their mother.  She always did her best at raising her sons and finding activities to broaden their lives, whether it was racquetball, skiing or hockey.  She was an ardent Hockey Mom, taking her son Matt to hockey practices, games and tournaments throughout his early years and through high school.  She volunteered to be team manager for several of Matt’s teams and was also one of the loudest fans in the stands.  She always gave a lot and accepted little in return. 
In August of 1983, Jill married Jerry LaFray.  Along with her two boys, they moved to Canton, Michigan.  Some years later, she and Jerry moved permanently to their home on Big Platte Lake in Honor, Michigan.  Jill soon began work as a loan officer and in customer relations at Central State Bank, finally retiring at the age of 62.
Jill received great pleasure in giving her time and sharing her professional experience as a volunteer.  She was a Treasurer for the Benzie County Garden Club and for the Paul Oliver Hospital Auxiliary.  Jill also volunteered her time at the hospital gift shop for years.  She was well liked at work and by her neighbors, loved as a good friend and was a helpful, supportive daughter and caregiver to her mother.   
Jill and Jerry enjoyed their lakeside life as well as winter travels to Alabama, Florida and beyond.  Entertaining their many good friends and hosting their annual Super Bowl parties gave them great joy.  Jill dearly loved the visits from her sons and their families.  Both Jill and Jerry’s immediate and extended family members were always welcome anytime at their home.  She often expressed how fortunate she felt and had enormous gratitude and love towards the family and friends she had in the life she shared with Jerry.  Jerry died in March of 2017, at the age of 86.
Until Jill became ill, she excelled in creating and having fun throughout her life with both family and friends.  Jill suffered from invasive squamous cell carcinoma and progressive supranuclear palsy.  Jill’s family would like to thank the Tendercare staff for the excellent care given to Jill over the past year and a half.  A big thank you goes out to her extended family and friends who advocated for, helped and visited Jill.  In addition, Hospice of Michigan provided kind and professional care for Jill during the last four months of her life. 
Cremation has taken place and John and Matt are planning a Celebration of Life for Jill to be held at a later date.
Condolences and/or donations for memorials may be directed to Matthew and/or John Olszewski, 3219 Alderdale Drive, Sterling Heights, Michigan 48310, or email for Matt at m-c_olszewski@comcast.net, and John at tiredpuppyone@yahoo.com
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Dorothy Witkop Von Holt, Died April 3, 2018

Dorothy Witkop Von Holt
Died April 3, 2018

OMENA – Dorothy May (Witkop) Von Holt, 93, of Omena, passed away Tuesday, April 3, 2018 knowing she was loved and awaiting the love of those who have gone before her.
Dorothy was born Oct. 15, 1924 in Leelanau County the daughter of Ray and Ada (Coleman) Witkop, and the sister of older brothers, Kenneth and Paul Witkop.  Except for her travels, she lived all her life in the county.
Mom grew up in Suttons Bay attending the “Stone Schoolhouse” and graduating at the age of 16 with a scholarship for her ability on the violin to Interlochen School for the Arts.  However, the sudden death of her father and WWII changed the course of her life.
At 17 she moved to Ferndale, MI to work in the N.A. Woodworth National Aircraft Works factory where she was soon in charge of inspecting some of the most critical parts of the Flying Fortress Bombers.  She continued throughout the war as one of the original Rosie the Riveters.
At the end of the war, she returned to Suttons Bay working at Frigid Foods where she met her future husband, Ronald “Bob” Von Holt.  They were married Oct. 12, 1949 and were never separated until his death in 2003.  They settled on the Von Holt family farm in Omena and raised a variety of fruits throughout the years, finally settling on one crop, cherries, which continues today after five generations.  Mom loved being a full-time partner with dad in running the farm, and she continued well into her 80’s in some capacity on the farm with her son, daughter-in-law, and grandson.
Mom was an avid deer hunter, spending many years traveling “up north” with dad to set up camp for deer season.  She loved to fish Bass Lake, hunt for morels in the woods, and pick wild blueberries in the U.P.  She was a true outdoors person.  Mom also had a love for animals, and they for her.  Whether she found them, or they found her, the house was filled with pets, including pet crows that she taught to speak.
Mom was a talented and passionate bee keeper.  She ran over 100 hives and loved gathering up a swarm.  She rarely ever got stung.
We all enjoyed her baking skills.  Fresh donuts and cookies and breads were a daily occurrence, but oh those pies!  Her pies were humbly award winning.  Her Christmas tins of cookies were known throughout the neighborhood and county; “everyone gets a tin.”
Mom and dad spent many years traveling in the U.S., making many friends along the way.  They spent most of their late years in Gulf Shores, Alabama.  No matter where they traveled, they rarely missed a day of fishing.
Mom’s greatest joy though was her grandchildren.  They spent many years on the farm with her, enjoying their summers and learning about gardening, baking, sewing, fishing, the joys of nature, and working on the farm.
Dorothy is survived by her son, James (Eugenie Scott) Von Holt, and daughter, Sandra (Doug) McCoy; her grandchildren, Sonja (Todd) Morton, Jaime (Dan) Bardenhagen, Wyatt (Stephanie Fineout) McCoy; and her great-grandchildren, Daniel and Justin Bardenhagen, Stephanie and Zachary Morton, and Douglas “Dougie” McCoy.
She was preceded in death by her parents, and her brother Paul Witkop in infancy, and also her brother Kenneth.
A private family memorial will be held at the family farm during the cherry blossom time in May.
If you would like to remember Dorothy, memorials may be directed to Hospice of Michigan, 10850 E. Traverse Highway, Suite 1155, Traverse City, MI 49684.
Condolences may be shared with Dorothy’s family below or at the funeral home Facebook page:

Basil F. Lewis, Died April 4, 2018

Basil F. Lewis
Died April 4, 2018

NORTHPORT – Basil Frederick Lewis, 91, passed away Wednesday, April 4, 2018 at the Northport Highlands.
Basil was born Aug. 2, 1926 in Eaton Rapids, MI the son of Frederick and Elsie (Hervey) Lewis.  On June 18, 1949 in Paw Paw, MI he married Florence Jean (Kobe) Lewis, who survives.
As a young man Basil served his country in the US Army Air Corps seeing service during WWII.  Afterwards he worked for the Checker Motor Company in Kalamazoo, retiring after twenty-five years of service.
Basil had gasoline in his veins and a wrench attached to his hands.  He had love of restoring antique cars and working in his garage.  Whenever the family had to look for him, the garage was the first place to look. 
If he wasn’t fixing cars he was reading about them or sometimes reading about history.  Basil had a quick wit and was always ready with a corny joke.
Basil is survived by his wife of sixty-eight years, Florence; a son, Larry Basil, a daughter, Nancy J. (Daniel) Fowle; four grandchildren, Todd (Jessica), Jordan and Stuart (Erin) Fowle, John Lewis, and four great grandchildren, Nathan, Natalie, Danielle and Eliza Fowle.
He was preceded in death by his parents, a daughter-in-law, Fay Stilz; and his siblings, Lionel C. Lewis, Gilbert C. Lewis, Diana Welbaum and Frederick U. Lewis.
Services will be announced in at a later date.
Condolences and memories may be shared with Basil’s family below or at the funeral home Facebook page:

April 3, 2018

Donald W. Maki Died April 1, 2018

Donald W. Maki

Died April 1, 2018

SUTTONS BAY - Donald W. Maki, 68, of Suttons Bay, passed away at his home on April 1, 2018.

He was born on Aug. 29, 1949 in Detroit, the son of Wm. O. and Violet (McLeod) Maki, who preceded him in death.

Don proudly served his country as a member of the US Army, 25th Infantry “Tropic Lightning” Recon Division in Vietnam, earning Two Purple Hearts, Combat Infantry Badge and Vietnam Service Ribbon.  His experience in Vietnam had a profound effect that followed him throughout his life. 

Don was proud of his career with the USPS working as a Postal Carrier in Livonia and eventually retiring from the Post Office in Traverse City. 

He was a true Michigander who loved living “Up North”.  His happiest times were spent in the UP and on or near any one of Michigan’s Great Lakes.  Music played a great role in his life and his eclectic choices ranged from Motown to Mozart…Charlie Pride to Itzhak Perlman.

He is survived by his children, Derek (Lara) Maki of Lake Orion, and Amy (Craig) Latta of Ann Arbor; four grandchildren, Natalie and Ethan Maki, Lauren and Gabe Latta; siblings, Gary (Debbi) Maki of Ypsilanti, and Maria (Brian Smith) Maki of Paw Paw, and his “Brother from Another Mother” Robbie (Liz Mullarkey) Bryson of San Diego, CA.

Cremation has taken place.  A small family gathering will be held at a future date.

Memorials may be sent to Cherryland Humane Society, 1750 Ahlberg Dr., Traverse City, MI 49696 or to an animal shelter of your choice.

Condolences and memories may be shared below or on our Facebook page.

Patricia A. Bussey Died April 2, 2018

Patricia Ann Bussey

1936 ~ 2018


Pat Bussey died at home in Omena, Michigan, on Easter Monday, April 2, 2018 at the age of 82.

Pat was a devoted wife and nurturing mother.  She will be remembered for her encouragement, her hospitality, quiet and gentle spirit, grace, creativity, ingenuity, pragmatism and perseverance.  She made gourmet meals, grew spectacular gardens and decorated her home with elegance.  Some of the many things she enjoyed were family events, traveling with friends, bird watching, reading and playing cards. She was a devout member of Saint Kateri parish.

In 1936 Pat was born in Omena to Frank and Mary (Betty) Kalchik.  In 1955 she married Marlin Bussey of Northport.  They lived many years in Midland, Michigan and then Ohio before returning to Omena in 1987.

Pat is survived by Marlin her husband of 63 years, her children Karen Bussey, Piper (Jim) Fountain, Dan (Ann) Bussey, Lynda Lawton, Mike (Terrie) Bussey, Greg (Sarah) Bussey, and Kelly (Scott) Bitner, as well as 22 grandchildren, 27 great-grands and 1 great-great grand. She is also survived by her brother Ralph (Nancy) Kalchik and sister Joanne (Allan) Dalzell.  She is preceded in death by her parents Frank and Mary, brothers Ron (Joan Tenbrock) Kalchik and Jerry (Nancy) Kalchik, and a grandson.

The memorial mass will be held at 11 am on Monday, April 23 with the Rosary to be Prayed at 10:30 am at St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish of Peshawbestown.

Memorial donations may be sent in Pat's name to Mother Teresa House, PO Box 13004, Lansing, MI 48901.

Arrangements are with Martinson Funeral Home of Leelanau.

Theodore Sotak Died April 1, 2018

                                 Theodore M. Sotak
                                  Died April 1, 2018

BINGHAM TOWNSHIP - Theodore Mark Sotak, 64, of Bingham Township, went to be with the Lord Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018.

Ted was born March 10, 1954 in Lakewood, Ohio, the son of Theodore Bernard Sotak and Shirley Ann (Gfell) Sotak.  On August 5, 1995, in St. Mary’s Church in Lake Leelanau, he married Susan Kay (Williams) Sotak, who survives.

Ted was a certified public accountant by education and continued that work when he moved to the Traverse City area in 1983.  He transitioned to the Petroleum Industry in the early 90's.  He went from the office to the field and found his passion.  After commuting for a number of years from Traverse City to Oklahoma he and Sue moved to the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area where he excelled as a drilling consultant and mentoring trainees.  He retired in the fall of 2015 and they moved back to Leelanau County.

He  enjoyed being a University of Michigan sports fan and singing Karoake.  He loved his family, especially his grandchildren who wanted to be Papa Ted's partner at lawn games, especially Corn Hole.

Ted was a good sport and didn't mind being teased.  Towards the end of his life, he let all the burdens and worries of life go.  He spent his last month renewing his faith and telling friends and family how much he loved them and appreciated them.

Ted is survived by his wife of twenty-two years, Susan; his mother Shirley; five children, Rebecca S. (Christopher) Belanger, Mary C. (Jeremy) Steck, Brian J. (Erica) Peplinski, David C. Peplinski, Christopher M. (Heather) Sotak; two brothers, Terrence (Judi) Sotak, Thomas (Jodie) Sotak; sixteen grandchildren, Christopher “Jake”, Isaiah, Joshua, Levi, Elijah and Gianna Belanger, Claire, Luke, Mark, Teresa and Margaret Steck, Nora, Torin and Theron Peplinski, Nicholas and Emily Sotak.

He was preceded in death by his father, Theodore, on Jan. 8, 1993.

Visitation will be held from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. with the Rosary to be prayed at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 4, at the Holy Rosary Church of Cedar.  Visitation will also be held at 10:00 a.m., one hour prior to the mass of at 11 a.m. on Thursday, April 5, also at the church.  Burial in Mt. Calvary Cemetery will be announced in the spring.  Father Christopher Jarvis will serve as celebrant.

Memorials may be directed to Mass Intentions; Autism Society of America, www.autism-society.org, and/or Ed and Irene Fleis Education Fund, www.edandirenefleiseducationfund.com

Condolences and memories may be shared with Ted’s family below or on our Facebook page.

March 31, 2018

George A. Basta Jr., Died March 29, 2018

George A. Basta Jr.
Died March 29, 2018

BEULAH - George Aldrich Basta Jr., 89, of Beulah, formerly of Leland, passed away Thursday, March 29, 2018 at Munson Hospice House.
George was born on Dec. 27, 1928 in Oak Park, IL the son of George A. Basta and Julia M. (Storkan) Basta.  On June 15, 1957 in Northport he married Eloise (Anderson) Basta who preceded him in death on March 4, 2008.
He was a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and earned an M.B.A. from Northwestern University.  George spent two years in the Finance Corps of the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict.  In 1955, he joined Ryerson Steel in Chicago and spent 14 years in sales assignments.  The Basta family moved to Traverse City in 1969, and George spent 10 years in retail business with his brother-in-law, George W. Anderson, in Leelanau County.  He finished his work life with twelve years as Controller of E&J Supply in Traverse City.
George was a member of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Beulah.  He was a long-time Treasurer of the Leland Township Public Library, President of the Leelanau County Chamber of Commerce, and a board member of Leelanau Memorial Hospital.  He was a member of the Leland Country Club and, for 12 years, the Suttons Bay Rotary Club.
His favorite pastimes were sports, playing bridge, travel, and fine dining.  George loved planning excursions almost as much as taking them.  The happiest excursions were marrying Eloise and Sue!
George is survived by his second wife, Sue; a daughter, Julia M. (Galen) Walter of Leland, a son, William J. (Wendy) Basta of Allentown, three grandchildren, and two great grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his first wife, Eloise; a brother, Robert E. Basta, and a son, Douglas A. Basta.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 7 at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Beulah.  Private family burial in Beechwood cemetery will be held at a later date.
Memorials may be directed to St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, 8190 Lincoln Rd, Beulah, MI 49617 and/or Charity of One’s Choice.
Condolences and memories may be shared with George’s family at below or at the funeral home Facebook page:

March 19, 2018

Ralph A. Steimel, Died March 17, 2018

Ralph A. Steimel
Died March 17, 2018

SUTTONS BAY – Ralph Alphonsus Steimel, 90, of Suttons Bay, passed away Saturday, March 17, 2018 at home.

Ralph was born Feb. 23, 1928 in Suttons Bay in the apartments behind today’s Ice Cream Factory.  He was the son of the late Howard A. Steimel and Nellie (Borgerson) Steimel.  The Steimel’s, along with the Walter’s and Kohler families, were some of the original settlers of Suttons Bay; with all three families originating from the same town in Germany.

He was the son of a commercial fisherman and at a young age was introduced to fishing on their property at what is today’s Suttons Bay swimming beach near the Marina.  He began trapping at an early age to make extra money.  Ralph always regretted not buying a camera when he was young so that photos of his father’s docks, boat and ice houses could have been passed onto his family.

Ralph graduated from Suttons Bay Schools valedictorian of his class and attended Central Michigan University.  He retired from Consumers Energy after 40 years of employment in the Accounting Department.  Ralph continued to love the outdoors through his adulthood making time to hunt and fish and taking annual hunting trips to Wyoming with his wife and sons.  His sons and grandchildren credit him with teaching them all they know about hunting and fishing.  He continued his outdoor life well into his eighties, going alone in his aluminum boat casting lines in Suttons Bay and other area lakes or creek fishing.

He loved organizing picnics and enjoying the company of family.  Ralph never forgot a birthday or mailing holiday cards.  Ralph would make a special Easter Egg for his kids, even into their adult years.  He was a Detroit Tigers fan and enjoyed watching every game he could on TV.  In recent years he stayed active with weekly Polka Dances at the Leelanau Sands Casino.

Ralph loved his dogs, especially his dog “Skip”.  He was a life-long member of St. Michael’s Church of Suttons Bay and long-time usher.  Ralph was a man whose character was based on faith, family and being a personal example of doing the right thing to his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Ralph is survived by his children, Kathy (Craig) Omo, Allen (Marjorie) Steimel, Mark (Shelly) Steimel; his grandchildren, Amy (Adam) Rodriguez, Daniel (Tammy) Hazel, Megan (Benjamin) Aubry, Nicholas Steimel, Jason Steimel; his great grandchildren, David Ranta, Eddie Monske, Otto Monske, Isaac Monske, Jose Rodriguez, Alexis Rodriguez, Benjamin Hazel, Kadence Hazel and Eleanor Aubry.

He was preceded in death by his first wife, Florence (Reicha) Steimel, their infant daughter, Eleanor Steimel; his second wife, Eleanor M. (Johnson) Steimel in 1998, his sister and brother in law, Edna (Lloyd) Zeilman; and a special friend, Patricia Johnson Frisk.

Visitation will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. with the Rosary to be prayed at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 23 at the Martinson Funeral Home of Suttons Bay.  The mass will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 24 at St. Michael’s Church of Suttons Bay.  Burial will be announced in the spring.  Father Leonard Paul will serve as Celebrant.
Memorials may be directed to St. Michael’s Church, PO Box 9, Suttons Bay, MI 49682.

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March 17, 2018

James F. Niessink, Died March 14, 2018

James F. Niessink
Died March 14, 2018

SUTTONS BAY - James Frederick Niessink, 73, of Suttons Bay, passed away Wednesday, March 14, 2018, at his home with family at his side. Jim was born on July 4, 1944 in Detroit, the son of Richard and Katherine (McCoy) Niessink.

Jim graduated from Portage High School in 1962 and spent summers working for Van’s Garage in Leland.  A graduate of Albion College (BS, Physics, 1966) and University of Michigan (MS, Aeronautical Engineering, 1969), Jim was a member of a Grumman Aircraft team, in New York, designing the cockpit of the F14.  Jim returned to Leelanau County where he made use of his mechanical abilities working with Kropp Well Drilling, Gillespie Enterprises (Beaver Island), and various machine shops in northern Michigan. When Electro-Optics Technology, Inc moved to Traverse City in 1992, Jim became their technology designer.  In 2013, Jim was awarded a patent for one of his designs. 

An avid aviator, Jim flew his Cessna 170 for pleasure, sometimes work, he particularly loved making trips to the Manitous, Beaver and North and South Fox Islands.  Together with his first wife, he owned property on South Manitou, where he maintained the island’s grass airstrip.  In an effort to avoid city traffic, he would often make the quick flight from Suttons Bay to Traverse City, when EOT was located near the airport. 

Jim leaves a legacy of his music.  His voice, guitar, and banjo abilities were well known throughout the Grand Traverse Region.  Jim was a single act at The Keller (Shields Restaurant) and at Bill’s Dills.  He also played Dixie Land with the Back Room Gang on and off for 20 years.  Most recently, Jim and his close friend, John Rutherford, hosted a weekly musical gathering at Dick’s Pour House, in Lake Leelanau. 

Jim delighted in his granddaughters’ love of the arts and shared his engineering expertise with Suttons Bay youth as a mentor with their Robotics Team, working with them on several award-winning designs.  His generosity was admirable, his talents unmatched, and his genuine kind and calm nature will be sorely missed.

Jim is survived by his wife, Mary; his son, Geoffrey (Annie) Niessink; grandchildren, Abby and Olivia Niessink; his brother, John (Kathy) Niessink, and his apple-chasing dog, Harvey.

Per Jim’s wishes, cremation has taken place and private family services have been held.

For family and friends, a celebration of Jim’s life and music will be held on Saturday, June 23rd from 3-7pm at Jim’s home.

Those wishing to give a gift in Jim’s name, please direct it to St. Mary’s School: PO Box 340, Lake Leelanau, MI 49653

Condolences and memories may be shared with Jim’s family below or at the funeral home Facebook page:

March 13, 2018

Marie T. Richards, Died March 11, 2018

Marie T. Richards
Died March 11, 2018

TRAVERSE CITY – Marie Therese Richards, 91, of Traverse City and formerly of Suttons Bay, passed away Sunday, March 11, 2018 at Munson Medical Center.

Marie was born on Dec. 14, 1926 in Detroit, the daughter of Alphonsus and Anna (Ruetz) Baumann.  On Aug. 21, 1948 in Detroit, she married her loving husband of 67 years, Donald Lloyd Richards, who preceded her in death on Sept. 15, 2015.
Marie attended St. Mary's High School of Redford.

She then attended and graduated from Marygrove College and continued on to achieve her Master’s Degree in Education.  Marie briefly taught at Immaculate Conception School in Detroit.

After moving to Suttons Bay in 1966 Marie then taught at St. Michael's School.  She then taught at Suttons Bay Public Schools until she retired in 1991.  Marie and Don enjoyed traveling, boating around Suttons Bay and winter trips to Florida.

Marie is survived by her four children, Joanne M. Brown, Janet L. Pugh, Thomas E. Richards, Donald Paul Richards; nine grandchildren, Brian, Maria, Mike, Randy, Jonathan, Erica, Meghann, Allison, and Katelin; eight great-grandchildren; a brother, Charles J. Baumann; and sister, Pauline A. Wright.

Visitation will be held on Friday, March 16 from 4 p.m. to the 7 p.m. rosary at Martinson Funeral Home, Suttons Bay.  The memorial mass will be celebrated on Saturday, March 17 at 11 a.m. at St. Michael the Archangel, Suttons Bay.  Burial in St. Michael’s Cemetery will be at a later date.  Fr. Leonard Paul will serve as celebrant.

Memorials may be directed to St. Michael’s Church, PO Box 9, Suttons Bay, MI, 49682

Condolences and memories may be shared with Marie’s family below or at our Facebook page: