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Archived Flag Flying Tributes

Archived Flag Flying Tributes are organized alphabetically by recipient's last name. Month and year of the tribute can be found at the bottom of each page. Information was current at the time of the tribute.

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Platoon Seargeant 

Rolla L. Anderson 

Rolla was the son of Clara Ann and William H. Anderson of Illinois. The last born of seven children, he was the last surviving member of his immediate family. His wife, Patricia, also preceded him in death.  

Rolla enlisted into the Marine Corp Reserves in 1941. He was assigned to a program the Marines had established for recruiting, educating and training future officers of the Corp. His active duty was from July 1, 1943 to November 15, 1945. Rolla was assigned to Western Michigan University for one year in the V-12 program. He was then transferred to Paris Island and on to Camp,LeJeune, NC for basic training. He spent an additional six months at Quantico, VA for Officers training. Rolla returned to Camp LeJuene where he and 18 other officers were chosen for assignment to Camp Montford Point. Rolla was an Adjutant of the Battalion and functioned as a Training Officer to the Marines stationed there. He remained in this position until he was instructed to report to Great Lakes Naval Station where he was discharged. Following his discharge, Rolla earned his BS Degree from Western Michigan University, followed soon by his Master’s Degree from the University of Michigan.  

Rolla began his teaching and coaching career at Marshall High School in 1945, and continued his distinguished career at Kalamazoo College where, during his tenure as Director of Athletics, Kalamazoo College won nine all sports trophies. Mr. Anderson was inducted into seven Hall of Fames. Mr. Anderson’s passion for athletics lead him to receive many varied awards, culminating with the Athletic Center at Kalamazoo College being named in his honor in 1980.   

Rolla was active in the affairs of the community and his church. He was a 65-year member at First Baptist Church serving on many committees there. He was also very involved in community, civic, and athletic associations.

Rolla has three daughters who survive: Julie Paulsen (Donald), Susan Van Dis (William), and Mary Pickell (John, III). He has seven grandchildren who survive him: Jill Paulsen Fitch (Warne), Bradley Paulsen (Jaime), Mark Paulsen (Jacquelyn), Andrew Van Dis (Emily), Daniel Van Dis (Lindsey), John Pickell, IV (Stefanie), Jeffrey Pickell. Rolla and Patricia’s beloved grandson, James Underwood Pickell preceded Rolla in death. Rolla and Patricia have 16 great grandchildren.    

Mr. Anderson was laid to rest with full military honors next to Patricia, his loving wife of 65 years, at Fort Custer National Cemetery, Augusta, Michigan. 

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3rd Class Petty Officer

Richard Barber


Richard was born in Detroit, MI on December 4, 1949 to Edward and Ruth Barber. A graduate of Plymouth High School Class of 1968, he soon joined the United States Navy where he served his country as a Radioman 3rd Class Petty Officer from 1969 to 1973. During his time in the military, Richard served in Viet Nam and was part of the ‘Brown Water Navy’ whose job it was to patrol the rivers and also pick up any South Vietnamese survivors. The ‘Brown Water Navy’ utilized Swift Boats (also known as PCF = Patrol Craft Fast) and also PBR’s (Patrol Boat River). Richard was stationed in Norfolk, Virginia at Little Creek Naval Base after Viet Nam.

Richard was united in marriage with Virginia (Burgie) Barber on March 2, 1974 and they celebrated 43 years of marriage. He attended college at Kalamazoo Valley Community College and Western Michigan University. He was employed as a Finance Officer with Kalamazoo County Family Court for 26 ½ years and retired in 2003. He was a life member of the V.F.W., Disabled American Veterans and annual member of the American Legion. He enjoyed golfing and spending time with his three grandchildren. He is survived by his loving wife Virginia “Ginnie” Barber; his daughter, Cynthia (Jerry) Dennany; grandchildren, Evelyn, Lazarus and Gabriel; his sisters Dianne Barber, Margaret Carter, Gayle Nelson; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and sister Alecia Barber.

 Mr. Barber was laid to rest in Fort Custer National Cemetery, Augusta, MI with full military honors.

Mr. Barber was honored the month of October 2018.



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Quartermaster 3 

 Robert A. “Bob” Baugher

Bob was born in Kalamazoo on September 13, 1931, the son of the late Al and Alice (Flick) Baugher. Bob graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School in 1949. Bob served in the United States Navy during the Korean War, where he completed four tours in Korea from January 3, 1951 until October of 1954. Bob’s most significant duty was aboard the USS H. W. Tucker. In 1955, Bob married Myra Long and they enjoyed 62 years of marriage. Myra joined Bob in eternal rest December 27, 2018. Three children survive, Teri Charlton of Lawrence, Michael Baugher of Lawrence and Bruce (Karen) Baugher of Paw Paw; five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. Bob was employed by National Water Lift for fourteen years and retired from the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Department after 20 years of service.

Bob was lain to rest with full military honors at Fort Custer National Cemetery, Augusta, Michigan.

Mr. Baugher was honored the month of April 2019.



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Staff Sergeant

Elmer Bonselaar

Mr. Bonselaar was born July 7, 1925, in Holland, MI the son of Henry and Ada (Boeve) Bonselaar and came to Kalamazoo in 1935. He served with the U.S. Army during WWII in France, the Rhineland, and Central Europe and was awarded the Silver Star Medal for Gallantry in Action when he voluntarily participated in a reconnaissance patrol into enemy lines. Mr. Bonselaar was also the recipient of 2 Bronze Battle Stars and a Purple Heart Medal. He resided in Bay City, MI from 1947-51, then returned to Kalamazoo where he was employed by Langeland Chapels until 1961. He was then employed as service manager by Art Post American Motors and later by Dick Loehr Auto Sales until his retirement. Mr. Bonselaar was a member of Southern Heights Christian Reformed Church where he served as Deacon. He also taught Sunday School for many years in Alamo Avenue Christian Reformed Church. On February 27, 1947, he was married to Virginia R. Langeland, who survives. Also surviving are three daughters, one son and spouses and their children, Kathleen and David Durian (Vicky, Bob, Steve), David and Carol Bonselaar (David, Lynne, Kristine), all of Portage; Nancy Lemmen Bonselaar (Michelle, Michael, Matthew) of Kalamazoo, and Ellen “Cricket” Hensley (Brock, Trey) of Portage; at the time of Elmer’s passing he was survived by one brother and three sisters and spouses, Julius and Cora Bonselaar of Kalamazoo, Wilma and John Bultje of Parchment, Josephine and John Razenberg of Kalamazoo, Hester and John Koning of Portage; his mother in law, Mrs. Laurine Langeland of Kalamazoo.

Mr. Bonselaar was laid to rest with full military honors in Fort Custer National Cemetery, Augusta, Michigan.

Mr. Bonselaar was honored the month of January 2019.


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Corporal 

Dale M. Brock


Dale was born November 24, 1931 in Kalamazoo to the late Troy and Bernice (Crowe) Brock. He was united in marriage to Gail Pratt on January 28, 1956. Dale was a lifelong member of Kalamazoo Free Methodist Church. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps from November of 1951 until 1954. Dale traveled the world while in the Marines. He was a top gunner, but after being asked to train in radio, he spent much of the war time on a Korean hill in a radio van. This change kept him safe, as none of the other gunners came home. Dale led a life full of faith, love, and adventure. He worked in the paper industry for over 40 years, eventually becoming superintendent, and spent two years in the African nation of Rwanda in the mission field with Gail and their young children. He helped build a hospital while Gail taught the children of the community at Happy Hill School. He was a true handyman who was always willing to lend his time and talents to helping others with construction projects. In fact, he built the family home. Hunting (bagging many deer), fishing, trapping, and watching his beloved Pistons and Tigers were some of Dale’s favorite hobbies, especially when done with family and friends. He was an avid sports enthusiast who over the years never missed an opportunity to watch his grandchildren play. Dale’s legacy will live on through loved ones and all the lives he impacted. Dale is survived by his wife, Gail Brock; children, Cameron (Dawn) Brock and Renae (Jim) Baumgart; 7 grandchildren; 10 great grandchildren; sister, Belva (Dan) Carr; and many nieces and nephews. Dale was preceded in death by a son, Brent Brock; siblings, Allen (Carol) Brock, Wilma (Syd) Hale and David (Dolly) Brock.

Dale was buried with full military honors in East Cooper Township Cemetery.

Mr. Brock was honored the month of May 2018.



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Airman First Class

Jeff Burkey

Jeff was born November 10, 1941 in Kalamazoo to the late Boyd and Theda (Finzer) Burkey. A graduate of Kalamazoo Central High School class of 1959, he later served in the U.S. Air Force at the Grand Forks Air Force Base as an aircraft mechanic until honorably discharged in September 1966. Jeff was employed at the Upjohn Company for 30 years. In 1986 he received the W. E. Upjohn Award as acknowledgement by both his customers and area engineers for his performance as a pipefitter. Jeff invested much energy towards the well-being of others, especially his family, and was always ready to help a friend or neighbor.

Surviving Jeff are his wife, MerriKay Oleen-Burkey; his children, Joel (Deborah) Burkey and David (Julie) Burkey and their mother Sally (Michael) Pickens; 5 grandchildren, Cole, Raeann, Madeline, Joseph, and Samuel; brother, Kim (Leilani) Burkey; niece, Brett (Nicholas) Toman; godson, Jeff Anderson; and other relatives and friends. Jeff was preceded in death by his parents, Boyd and Theda Burkey, and his in-laws, Stet and Jo Catton, and Walt and Virginia Oleen.

Jeff was laid to rest with full military honors at Fort Custer National Cemetery, Augusta, Michigan.

Jeff was honored the month of January 2020.



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Airman Second Class

Burt “Bud” Preston

Cilley, Jr.

Bud was born October 30, 1931 in Vicksburg, MI, the son of Burt and Geraldine (Hopkins) Cilley. Bud was a veteran of the United States Air Force serving from 1950-1954 during the Korean Conflict. While in the service, Mr. Cilley and his family were stationed in Fairbanks, Alaska, where Mr. Cilley used Morse Code to communicate weather reconnaissance information to pilots. He was President and owner of Lake Street Lumber Company. Bud was a member of the Second Christian Reformed Church. He served as elder and deacon at Grace and Heritage Christian Reformed Churches. He also served on the board of Park Village Pines, Kalamazoo Christian High School, Home Builders Association, Credit Managers Association, and Lake Alfred Ministries (Florida), and was a Westwood Little League baseball manager. Surviving are his wife of 65 years: Ruth (Dyksterhouse) Cilley; three children: Kenneth (Ann) Cilley, Karen (Joe) VandenAkker and Kimberly (Robert) Haveman; 14 grandchildren: Rachel (Alec) Kyser, Lydia (Kris Hammond) Cilley, Benjamin Cilley, Sarah (Erik) Furdero, Abigale Cilley, Rebekah VandenAkker, Daniel (Katie) VandenAkker, Julia VandenAkker, Anna (Andrew) Steendam, Leah (Brett) Krosschell, Nicole (Sean Kidd) Wright, Nathan Haveman, Katie (Luke) Zwart and Stacie (Ryan) Strayhorn; 13 great-grandchildren: Jessica, Autumn, Landon, James, Emersyn, Lillian, Arie, Lyla, Madelynn, Charleigh, Avis, Ember, and Adeline; a brother-in-law: Wesley Hauschildt; and several nieces and nephews. Preceding him in death were his parents and sister: Carla Hauschildt.


Mr. Cilley was laid to rest with full military honors at Fort Custer National Cemetery, Augusta, Michigan.

Mr. Colley was honored the month of September 2019.



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Seaman First Class

Eileene A. Cordell


Private First Class

Alfred Truman “Jack” Cordell

Eileene was born on October 4, 1923 in Detroit, MI, the daughter of Willard and Adele (Rohrig) Thompson. She graduated high school then joined the U.S. Navy during World War II, serving her country as a Seaman First Class (WAVE) stationed at the US Naval Barracks at Washington, D.C.

Eileene’s passions were baking for her family and enjoying her grandchildren. She also enjoyed traveling extensively with her daughter, watching football, NASCAR, golf and the Olympics.

Ms. Cordell was laid to rest with full military honors at Fort Custer National Cemetery, Augusta, MI

Jack was born December 18, 1924 in Washington to James D. and Edna (Gray) Cordell. A proud veteran, he served in the U.S. Army during WWII, stationed with the 3rd Division E-Company. Mr. Cordell survived the ally landing at Anzio, which he never spoke of in the years following the war.

Jack was a union sheet metal worker for over 32 years before retiring. He was a proud member with the Local 360 and Local 105, and a past officer with the AFL-CIO.

Mr. Cordell was laid to rest in a private cemetery in Redlands, CA.

Mr. and Mrs. Cordel were honored the month of June 2018.


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                          George E. Craven                         

Craven, George E. Sr. Sgt. Major, retired, was born September 21, 1940 in Shawnee, Oklahoma. He retired from the US Army with multiple awards for his work in the service as a sniper with multiple deployments in combat situations and wars. Additionally, he retired from the Department of Defense—where he worked for the Air Force as a civilian specialist and received awards for his dedication to his work on "special projects." Among the awards Mr. Craven received are the Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Army of Occupation Medal, Certificate of Achievement, and expert level recognition with the carbine, rifle, and pistol. George loved his family, wood working, and listening to audio books, he will be deeply missed by all his family and friends. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Marlene; his fathers; his stepmother; and a great-granddaughter. He is survived by his mother, Anna Louise; his wife, Evelyn; 6 children; 16 grandchildren; 28 great-grandchildren; 4 great-great-grandchildren; and several siblings and cousins.

Mr. Craven was lain to rest with full military honors at Fort Custer National Cemetery, Augusta, Michigan.

George was honored the month of          March, 2021

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Private First Class, E-3

Marlene Ann Craven

Marlene was born on August 2, 1940, in Kalamazoo, to Oscar and Donna (Armstrong) Thompson. Marlene was a strong-minded woman who believed that to honor ones’ country was the most important gift. She joined the U.S. Army at the age of 18, serving her country during the Vietnam War Era. Ms. Craven’s specialty during her service was in cartography. Throughout the years she continued working in various jobs for the military branches with the Department of Defense. Marlene enjoyed reading, listening to music, playing cards, and watching sports, but the most important part of her life was her family. Surviving are her four children Ruth Craven, George Craven, Jr. (Julie), Tambra Craven and Gina Craven; grandchildren Matthew Craven, Bruce (Crystal) Stewart; Anna (Charles) Nichols; Tabitha Craven; James Craven; Sarah Craven; Victoria and Jeremy; 19 great-grandchildren; a sister Mary Lou Tripp; nieces and nephews; by her ex-husband George (Evelyn) Craven and several other special family and friends. She was preceded in death by her parents, and by her siblings Ernest, Lloyd, George, Violet, and Virginia.

Marlene was lain to rest with full military honors at Fort Custer National Cemetery, Augusta, Michigan.

Marlene was honored the month of       February 2021.

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Corporal

Burl Andrew Davidson, Sr.

Burl Andrew Davidson, Sr. was born in Texas Township, MI on July 27, 1929 to Frederick and Trena (Blue) Davidson. Burl graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School. He vigilantly served his country, as a military policeman stationed at Fort Sheridan, Illinois, during the Korean War. After the war, Burl worked as a repair technician at Moore TV for over 40 years before he retired. He did not enjoy retirement, so he went to work part time as a delivery man for a local printing company for many years. He enjoyed getting out and meeting people. Burl’s whole life was spent in Kalamazoo, except during his military duty. He loved having his family over especially the grand and great-grand-children. Burl always made time for his hobbies which included restoring antique cars especially his 1937 Ford Pickup. He also enjoyed renewing his friendships at his army reunions in Wisconsin. Burl loved his family. He is survived by his two daughters Shirley (James) Davidson Fankhauser, Gail Davidson Moore; his daughter-in-law Kathleen Davidson; eight grandchildren William (Jen), Christopher, Hilary (James), Tammy (Tom), Robert (Ashley), Darcie (Jim), Kristine (Benjamin) and Burl “Andy” Davidson III; eight great-grandchildren William, Catherine, Genevieve, Jonathan, Austin, Grayson, Alan and Aria; a sister Florence Davidson Haney. Burl was preceded by his wife of 66 years, Mary Ellen (Vleugel) Davidson; his son Burl A. Davidson, Jr.; his parents Frederick and Trena; a brother Jack Davidson; and two sisters Naomi Davidson Ames and Jacqueline Davidson West.

Mr. Davidson was laid to rest at Fort Custer National Cemetery, Augusta, Michigan, with full military honors.

Mr. Davidson was honored the month of September 2018.


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Airman

John H. Drenth, Jr.

Mr. Drenth was born March 7, 1934, in Portage, MI, a son of John and Jenny (Nuismer) Drenth and had been a lifelong area resident.

John enlisted in the Air Force, serving in Korea, and continued serving in the reserves after his enlistment time was completed.

John was preceded in death by his parents; seven siblings; daughter, Suzanne Detienne; and a son-in-law, Michael Denaway. On June 21, 1955, John married the former Alta Hewson who survives. Also surviving are his children, Faye Drenth-Thurman and her husband, Jerry Thurman, Gayle Denaway, and John C. Drenth; five grandchildren; twelve great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.


Mr. Drenth was lain to rest with full military honors in Mr. Everest Memorial Park, Kalamazoo, Michigan.



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Signalman Third Class

Robert J. Durian

Bob was called to his eternal home by his Lord and Savior on January 20, 2018. He was born January 4, 1926 in Kalamazoo, the son of Dirk and Tene (Tillema) Durian and was a lifelong Kalamazoo resident. Bob served in the U.S. Navy for 2 years during WWII as a signalman aboard the USS Garrard. The USS Garrard was an attack transport that served with the US Navy during WWII. She carried men, cargo, and mail to various fleets and eventually transported liberated prisoners back to the states. Prior to his retirement, he was employed as an electrician with Engbers Electric. Bob was an active member of both Milwood and Grace Christian Reformed Churches, where he served in many capacities including several terms on the church council. He also served on the boards of the Kalamazoo Christian Schools and Park Village Pines. Bob had a great love of music. He used his voice to sing praises in many settings, including 63 years with the Singing Crusaders. He was a member of the first varsity basketball team of Kalamazoo Christian High School in 1941, and remained a loyal Comet booster for over 75 years. Bob loved his family and was a devoted Christian. On June 19, 1944, he was united in marriage to Jeanette DeVries, the love of his life for 73 years, who preceded him in death on September 26, 2017. He was also preceded in death by his parents, by his beloved son Ken Durian, and brothers Matt, Rich and Bill. Bob is survived by his children, David (Kathy) and Barb (Marc); daughter-in-law Diane; six grandchildren, Vicky (Al), Bob (Karla), Steve (Tammy), Kristy (Jeff) and Susan (Kirk), Chad (Sheri); 14 precious great grandchildren; in-laws Gerrie Durian-Napp, Carol Visser, Joyce (Harold) Alphenaar; several nieces and nephews.

Mr. Durian was laid to rest with full military honors in Fort Custer National Cemetery,

Augusta, Michigan.

Mr. Durian was honored the month of December 2018.


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Chief Warrant Officer 4 (CW4)

Herb Kenz

Chief Warrant Officer 4 (CW4) Herbert Kenz was born in St Ignace, Michigan on 2 July 1928. He graduated from Sault Ste. Marie High School in 1946 and attended Michigan College of Mining and Technology from 1948-1950. He transferred to Western Michigan University, College of Education where he earned his degree in Secondary Education in 1952. Mr. Kenz was a Distinguished Military Student in the Bronco Battalion and a Distinguished Military Graduate in May 1952, the second group of cadets to ever be commissioned through the WMU ROTC Program. He completed a Master of Arts Degree from the University of Michigan in 1963.

His military career spanned five decades from 1946 until 1988 and covered World War II and the Korean War. He served as an enlisted soldier in the occupation forces in Japan from 1946-1948 and then the U.S. Army Reserve from 1948-1950 in the Infantry Branch. In June of 1952, Mr. Kenz accepted a Regular Army Commission as a Quartermaster Officer and subsequently served nineteen months in Korea with the 8th Army Artillery as a Gun and Range Platoon Leader, Battery Executive Officer, and Battalion Maintenance Officer. He also served with the 622ned Military Police Company, 8th Army, in Kobe and Nagoya Harbor, Honshu, Japan investigating black market activities.

Upon his return to the United States, he completed the Army Procurement Course, the Quartermaster Company Grade Course and served as the Executive Officer for the ROTC Training Company at Fort Lee, Virginia. In 1956 Mr. Kenz resigned his RA commission and reentered the Active Reserve. In 1965 he applied for and received his Warrant. From 1965 to 1983 he was a member of the Army Reserve, 317th Medical Convalescent Center in Kalamazoo, the 334h - 323rd General Hospital (Attached) in Grand Rapids and the 401st Clearing Company in Kalamazoo. His final five years were spent as an Individual Mobilization Augmentee with Headquarters Command, 1st Army Headquarters, Fort Meade, Maryland. He retired in July 1988 with a full ceremony from the Army Reserves after a combined total service of 42 years.

His awards include two Meritorious Service Medals, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the Army of Occupation (Japan) Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Service Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the United Nations Medal and the Korean Defense Service Medal.

On the civilian side of his career, Mr. Kenz spent thirty years in education as a high school teacher and counselor, and as Associate Director of Student Financial Aid at WMU. He began his teaching career as a high school Social Studies Teacher and counselor at Harper Woods High School in 1958. In 1965 he was offered a job at WMU as the Director of Student Loans. In 1968 he became the Assistant Director of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships. In 1978 he was promoted to Associate Director and in 1984 he was assigned as Acting Director. In 1985 he resumed the Associate Director title until he retired from Western Michigan University after 23 years of service in 1988. He taught Government and Economics in the adult education program for the Kalamazoo Public School System for 11 and a half years while working full time at WMU.

Herb was married to the former Jean Gray of Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan. They had six children; Joe, Bill, Kathie, Debbie, Kevin and Kris. They have ten grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren at the time of this bio.         

                          Mr. Kenz was honored the months of May and June of 2017


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Corporal

Robert “Bob” Klimp


Bob was born on November 25, 1929 in Kalamazoo, MI a son of John and Madeline (Kloosterman). Klimp and was a lifelong area resident. Bob graduated from Calvin College and moved to California where he served 2 years in the United States Army. He returned to Michigan and began a career in accounting, retiring from The Kellogg Company after 29 years of service. Bob was a faithful lifelong member of Grace Christian Reformed Church where he served on the council. He also served on boards at Park Village Pines and the Kalamazoo Christian Schools. Bob enjoyed music and shared his baritone voice as a 25-year member of the Singing Crusaders Choir. As a lifetime avid golfer, Bob enthusiastically shared his skills and knowledge with all his children and grandchildren, and did so with a passion. More than anything, Bob was a family man who loved watching his grandchildren in sports, theater, and musical programs. He enjoyed family vacations and maintained a tradition of annual weeks at South Haven with his children and grandchildren. Bob's many friends meant the world to him. He and his loving wife, Rita, enjoyed spending time with their friends playing golf, meeting frequently for dinner, and traveling often throughout the years.

Bob was preceded in death by his parents, a brother, Thomas Klimp and a sister, Lorraine Matteson. Soon after his passing, his sister in law, Marge Plough, deceased. On October 10, 1959 Bob married the former Rita Plough, who survives. Also surviving are two daughters, Terri (Tom) Scheffers of Kalamazoo and Carla (Jim) VanDokkumburg of Grand Rapids; five grandchildren, Bryan (Michelle), Kristin (Carlos), Corey (Alyssa), Jameson and Elena; four great-grandchildren, Elliot, Bennett, Emi Kate, and Emery, and two nephews.

Mr. Klimp was buried with full military honors in Genesee Prairie Cemetery, Oshtemo Township, Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Mr. Klimp was honored the month of October 2019.



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Seaman First Class

Edward Leensvaart

Mr. Leensvaart was born in Denver, CO on January 21, 1926, the son of the late Willem and Lyntje (Lodder) Leensvaart. Mr. Leensvaart was seventeen when he joined the US Navy, serving his country during WWII aboard the USS Jason (ARH-1) in the Asiatic-Pacific Area. He was active in the liberation of the Philippines and received a World War II Victory Medal. After the war, he met and married his loving wife of 70 years, Roberta (Rosendale). They were blessed with the birth of their daughter, Jan, and she and husband, Roger, added to the family with three grandchildren, Timothy (Jamie) Klok, Kristin (Donn) Carlisle and Kimberly (Chris) Kakabeeke; the family grew with the addition of six great-grandchildren, Nathan & Brandon, Matthew & Ginny and Jack & Natalie; and many nieces and nephews. Mr. Leensvaart was a member of New Life Christian Reformed Church in Grand Junction, CO. He was preceded in death by three sisters and two brothers.

Mr. Leensvaart was laid to rest at Fort Custer National Cemetery with full military honors.

Mr. Leensvaart was honored the month of July 2018.



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Private Second Class 

 Grant A. Luther

Grant was born May 4, 1942 in Pontiac, Michigan the son of Arnold and Ethelyn (Smith) Luther. Grant was a high school graduate of Holly High and PROUDLY attended and graduated in 1971 from Michigan State University with a B.A. in Criminal Justice. Go Green! During the Vietnam War, Mr. Luther served as a medical lab specialist in Germany and France with the U.S. Air Force. He had been a Kalamazoo area resident since 1974 and was employed with Western Michigan University as a police officer before leaving in 1978 to be a stay at home dad. On May 8, 1976, he was united in marriage to Marilyn K. (Emery) Luther who survives. Also surviving, 2 daughters, Stephanie and Stacey both of Kalamazoo; 3 grandchildren, Tanner, Annika and Gabriel; 2 sisters, Diana and Patricia; an uncle; and several nieces, nephews, and cousins. While being a stay at home dad, he was hardly home. Grant spent six months as the night manager at the Grand Hotel on Mackinaw Island, worked with a local builder on construction sights and along with Marilyn spent many hours volunteering in the girls' schools. Grant worked many summers at the softball fields running and umpiring games and weekend tournaments. He was chosen to be an umpire for the 1987 Men's Modified National Tournament in Decatur, Alabama, where he turned it into a magical trip surprising his girls with a vacation to Disney World. Grant shared his love of traveling and volunteering with his grandkids, and was often found in one of their classrooms or at the school helping in some way. All 3 grandkids kept him busy running Grandpa's taxi and Grandma's daycare. Recently Grant could be located at a baseball diamond watching Gabe play travel ball or in the gym watching Annika play volleyball or calling Tanner to update him (or receive the update) on the latest Spartan team, as they shared their love for MSU.

Mr. Luther was laid to rest with full military honors at Fort Custer National Cemetery, Augusta, Michigan.

Mr. Luther was honored the month of May 2019.



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Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) U.S. Army

Roger D. Manning

Roger Dean Manning was born on January 21, 1939 in Jackson, MI a son of Walter and Cleola (Burger) Manning. Roger graduated from Garden City High School in 1957. He was class valedictorian, class president, president of the school’s chapter of the National Honor Society. He entered Albion College as an Alfred P. Sloan scholar in the fall of 1957. After two years at Albion as a pre-law student, he received a Congressional appointment to the United States Military Academy. Roger graduated from West Point in June of 1963 with a Bachelor of Science degree in general engineering. He remained in the US Army until his retirement as lieutenant colonel in August of 1985. During his more than 22 years in the military, Roger served at many duty stations across the U.S., Korea and Germany. He also served two separate one-year tours in Vietnam during the war – one as an advisor to Republic of South Vietnam military forces and one as commander of a U.S. 175mm gun battery. The major battles he participated in include: Junction City, Attleboro, and Hamburger Hill. Roger also earned a Master of Arts degree in history, a Master of Business Administration degree in finance and attended the Armed Forces Staff College. He served two separate three-year tours as an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at West Point and a tour as the Professor and Department Head of Military Science at Western Michigan University. After retiring from the Army, Roger became a professor at Western Michigan University Hayworth College of Business teaching finance, commercial law and business finance.

On July 20, 1968 Roger married the former Judith Joeline Johnson, and together they have three sons, Christopher P. (Rebecca) Manning of Elkton, MD, Kevin S. (Heather) Manning of Clarendon Hills, IL and Timothy J. (Jolene) Manning of Crystal Lake, IL; and eight grandchildren, Ryan, Collin, Liam, Teagan, Zoe, Logan, Charlotte and Luke.

Mr. Manning was honored the months of September 2017 - January 2018

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Clinton F. Martin

Clint served his country in the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division as a paratrooper from 1940-1945. He was honorably discharged from the Parachute School, Ft. Benning, Georgia. His military service was distinguished with the awarding of the American Theater Campaign Medal, and the American Defense Service Medal. Clinton was the sixth of eight children born to Harry and Zola Martin in West Virginia. He was preceded in death by his parents, first wife Helen of 62 years, a son Christopher, two brothers Leroy and Albert, four sisters Cozetta, Moselle, Jean, and Opel. He leaves behind his wife Jayne; two sons, Kerry, Mark and daughter, Melissa along with several grand and great grandchildren. Dr. Martin received his public-school education in West Virginia schools. He graduated from Kalamazoo College with a B.A. degree, earned his M.A. at WMU and B.A. in Theology degree from Trevecca Nazarene University. He attended Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary for one year and earned the PhD from the California Graduate School of Theology. He was bivocational in his life’s work, serving in the public schools as a teacher at all levels, elementary through college. He worked as a school psychologist in Battle Creek public schools for 23 years and in Montcalm County Intermediate schools for another 3 years. Dr. Martin also was employed by the Educational Science Division of U.S. Industries, Inc. as chaplain and psychologist. During these years Clint served churches as pastor, evangelism director and district evangelism trainer. He received Christ as Savior and Lord at the age of 21 years old and now awaits the rapture in Heaven. He worked as a pastor for three churches and state educational director. Clint received Christ as his Lord and Savior at the age of 21 years old, and now awaits the rapture in heaven.

Clint was lain to rest with a private graveside service at Ft. Custer National Cemetery, Augusta, Michigan.

Mr. Martin was honored July 2021.



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Private 

Lowell “Jerry” Mason, Jr.

Engineer, veteran, sailor, musician, cyclist, community volunteer, husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, Lowell Blake “Jerry” Mason, Jr. was born in Oak Park, Illinois on October 31, 1925. Jerry was the fourth child of Grace Fletcher Mason (Gilbert) and Lowell Blake Mason, Sr.

Growing up in Oak Park, Jerry was very close to his beloved mother. The family particularly loved to spend time at their cottage at the Indiana Dunes. During high school Jerry, a talented musician, led his own 15-piece dance orchestra, leading from the bass. He also played a mean ukulele.

After one year of college at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, Jerry volunteered to serve his country in World War II, spending 6 months in Army Ordnance in the ETO. After an injury in Germany brought an honorable discharge, Jerry matriculated at Purdue University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 1948.

A fortunate blind date led to Jerry’s marriage to Joan “Jo” Armour in June of 1949. After living in South Bend, Indiana for 6 years, Jo and Jerry moved to Kalamazoo to raise their 3 children Ann (1951), John Gilbert (1953) and Joan (1958).

Jerry was president and owner of Air Engineering & Conditioning Company. He was a proud Rotarian and received an Honorary Membership in 2017 marking his 60 years in Rotary and he served as president of Rotary in 1965.

Jo’s 1992 death in a car accident was a terrible blow to Jerry and their family. Turning for solace to a long-time friend who had also lost a beloved spouse, Jerry found joy again with Elizabeth “Betty” Upjohn. They were married in the First Congregational Church in 1993, surrounded and supported by their two families.

 A cardiac arrest in 2010 slowed Jerry down and kept him closer to home but he remained gregarious and upbeat. Jerry died peacefully at Wyndham West on the sixth of May with his family by his side. He was preceded in death by his parents, siblings Barbara, William and Nancy, first wife Joan Armour Mason, daughters Ann Mason and Joan Mason-Grant and grandson Blake Linell.

Jerry is survived by his wife Elizabeth Upjohn Mason, son John Mason, son-in-law Martin Mason-Grant (Linda Lucas), stepson Henry Upjohn (Martha Upjohn), and stepdaughters Florence Upjohn Orosz (Joel Orosz) and Amy Upjohn (Brad VandenBerg). His surviving grandchildren are Greg, Vivian, Jay (Leanne), Corey, Whitney (Richard), Margaret, Caroline (Steve), Anita (Charles), Marianna (Nate), Andrew, Bradley, Elyse and Charlie (Lisa).

Jerry was also blessed with great-grandchildren, Wallace, Matilda, Eloise, Jo, Ryan, Rylee and Jonah. Also surviving are many nieces and nephews.

Mr. Mason was honored the month of November 2018.



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 Kay Bruce Maxson

Kay Bruce Maxson of Galesburg, Michigan was born in Lowell, Michigan to Russell J. and Rosalie F. (Foster) Maxson.  Kay moved around a lot in his youth, but graduated from Lowell High School in 1951 and entered the United States Navy in February of 1952. Kay was assigned to the USS Oriskany beginning his military adventure. He proudly served his country during the Korean War but was particularly proud of the fact that he was aboard the Oriskany when she became the first aircraft carrier in United States history to navigate around Cape Horn (the southern tip of South America) on June 29, 1952. 

Kay and Marylin Hoag were wed on March 31, 1956. They immediately moved to Detroit so Kay could attend Wayne State University’s Mortuary Science School. Upon graduation in 1957, Kay and Marylin returned to Galesburg and remained there for the rest of their lives together.

Kay became a Boy Scout leader in Galesburg in 1958 and was still involved in Scouting until his last day with us. It is impossible to imagine how many young men’s lives he influenced since 1958. He was very proud that his son Jeff and grandson Jacob would follow his legacy in Scouting. In his words, “three generations in Scouting all at the same time.”

Kay continued his patriotism by starting to retire American flags that were unfit to fly about thirty years ago. That soon would evolve into flag history presentations as well. His family now has a collection of original and replica flags dating back to the Revolutionary War. His son Jeff, daughter-in-law Donna, granddaughter Kaylee and grandson Jacob have vowed to him that the tradition will continue, “always done with dignity and honor”.

Kay is preceded in death by his parents, his father-in-law Wendell, the love of his life his wife Marylin, three brothers Jack, Harold, Morris, one half-brother Dan, and one half-sister Bobbi. He is survived by daughter Lisa, son Jeffery (Donna), grandchildren Kyle (Gabe Rettaliata), Kaylin (Andrew), Jacob (Danielle Klaver), Kaylee (Charles), one brother David (Julie), one half-brother Tom (Paulette), and two half-sisters Darlene (Al) and Betsy (Bob).

Mr. Maxson was given full military honors at his memorial service, he chose to donate his body to the WMU School of Medicine to further the education of future healers.

Mr. Maxson was honored the month of November 2019.


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Airman First Class

Raymond Mitscher

Raymond was born December 28, 1930 in Kalamazoo, MI the son of Raymond and Ruby (Hill) Mitscher. He was a veteran and served in the U.S Air Force during the Korean War, where his most significant duty assignment was with the 434th Fighter Day Squadron, out of George AFB, California. His service decorations include the Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal and Good Conduct Medal. Ray earned an Associate's Degree from Western Michigan University and was employed for 47 years with James River until his retirement from there in the late 1990's. He enjoyed building dune buggies, fishing trips to Canada, and traveling across the country with his family. In 1952, Ray was united in marriage to his loving wife of nearly 68 years, Betty (Walling), who survives, also surviving are his children, Davina (Mark) Sheilds, David Mitscher; 4 grandchildren; 5 great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews. Ray was preceded in death by a daughter, Wendy Eldridge; and his sister, Ann DePew.  

A private graveside service with full military honors will be held at a later date at Ft. Custer National Cemetery, Augusta, Michigan. 



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Private 

Robert J. McConachie


Pvt. Robert James McConachie, of Detroit, MI, age 18, was killed in action on, or about, June 15, 1945, on Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands, Japan. McConachie was a member of G Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Division taking part in the assault of Japanese defensive lines on Kunishi Ridge. His body could not be recovered at the time of his death but his family was notified of his loss and received a letter signed by President Harry S. Truman. Records indicate that there were two U.S. Marines unaccounted-for from that battle. In 1987 skeletal remains were discovered on Kunishi Ridge and sent to the Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii. Since there were no name associations or detailed information about where the comingled remains were recovered, no identification was possible in 1987. Over the years the case went cold; however, with the advent of mitochondrial DNA testing and active procurement of family reference samples, the case was reopened in 2012. Over the next two years CIL specialists were able to identify some of the remains received as those of Pvt. McConachie. His family was notified of the CIL findings in July of 2014.  

Robert J. McConachie was awarded the Purple Heart Medal for wounds received in action against the enemy on June 15, 1945 on Okinawa resulting in his death; Combat Action Ribbon for service during WWII; Presidential Unit Citation awarded to 1st Marine Division for service on Okinawa during the period April 1 to June 21, 1945; Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal for service during the period November 12, 1944 to June 15, 1945; Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal with one bronze campaign star; WWII Victory Medal; Rifle Marksman Badge.

Mr. McConachie was laid to rest with full military honors on November 3, 2014 in Fort Custer National Cemetery, Augusta, MI. 


Mr. McConachie was honored the months of July and August, 2017.



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Lieutenant Colonel

Marjorie E. Meyer

Marjorie was born on September 3, 1930 in Detroit, MI, the daughter of the late Edwin and Marjorie (Beer) Keilholz. In 1952, Marjorie received her bachelor’s degree from Wayne State University before earning an M.A. in Library Science from the University of Michigan in 1954. She served as a librarian at the Peoria Public Library, as a medical librarian at the University of Michigan, a science librarian at Michigan State University, an Army librarian in Germany, a librarian at the Detroit Public Library, a law librarian at Howard and Howard in Kalamazoo, MI and a volunteer librarian at the Kalamazoo Public Library. During the Korean War, Marjorie entered the Women’s Army Corps and attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Marjorie worked to promote education for children, supported the use of Bookmobiles and was a firm advocate of women’s rights. She was a Member of Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Western Michigan University Dames, Bradley University Women’s Group, Peoria Art Guild, German Club and served on various committees at Bronson Place over the years. Marjorie had varied interests and passions, including genealogical research, a love for reading, knitting, travel, the arts, the beach and quality time spent with friends and family. Family members especially remember her enthusiasm for Scrabble and chocolate, the former, a game she won against anyone who dared play her, the latter she maintained was the fifth food group. On June 14, 1952 Marjorie married Charles E. Meyer who preceded her in death on December 18, 1992. She is survived by three children, Heidi A. Heiman of Farmington Hills, MI, Katrina E. (Chris) Vanas of Grand Rapids, MI and Karl V. Meyer of Plainfield, IL; and six grandchildren, Charles Meyer, Kurtis Meyer, William Meyer, Hannah Heiman, Zachary Vanas and Victoria Vanas.

Mrs. Meyer was honored the month of February 2018.

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Sergeant

DONALD LEE VERHAGE

‘Baby Huey’

Mr. Verhage was born on May 15, 1945 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. On June 24, 1966, he was married to Cynthia A. Wells. Don served in the US Navy Reserve and Michigan National Guard for several years. His primary specialties in the service were as a satellite system operator and food service specialist. Mr. Verhage received several commendations among which are the Professional Development Ribbon (2), Armed Forces Reservist Medal, Army Reserved Component Achievement Medal, and the Broadsword 3GS (12 years). He was employed by General Motors in Kalamazoo for 35 years until his retirement. Don volunteered at American Red Cross and United Way of Kalamazoo. He was a proud member of the N.R.A. (National Rifle Association) and enjoyed fishing and hunting. Don was active in the Oakwood Neighborhood Association helping to improve Kalamazoo’s Oakwood Neighborhood. He was also a member of Kalamazoo County R.A.C.E.S. (Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service) and City of Kalamazoo C.D.A.A.C. (Community Development Act Advisory Committee). Surviving are his wife of 51 years, Cyndy Verhage; their two children: Jennifer Verhage and Jason (Janis) Verhage; three grandchildren: Jonah, Eliana and Maci Verhage; sister-in-law: Pam (Bill) Ingraham; and several nieces and nephews. Preceding him in death were his mother: Leona (Miller) Verhage; brother: Alan Verhage (as a child); and two half-sisters: Barb Laurin and Evelyn Cole. 

Mr. Verhage was entombed with military honors at Mt. Ever-Rest Memorial Park, Westnedge Avenue, Kalamazoo, Michigan.

 

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Sergeant

Theodore “Ted” Weaver

Ted was born August 30, 1943, in Lancaster, PA, the son of Warren and Ada (Bucher) Weaver. He has been a Kalamazoo area resident since he attended WMU. During the Vietnam Era, Ted served in the United States Marine Corps. Ted received the Schanning Award from the 4th Bridge Company for his work as the company’s training non-commissioned officer. On June 23, 1967, he was united in marriage to Dorothy L. (Wellington) Weaver. He had a servant’s heart and found great pleasure in helping others. Ted was one of the prayerful saints who helped forge the foundation of The Bridge Church. His legacy will be honored there for many years. He was employed for several years as a financial planner, first with John Hancock Financial from 1967 to 1999 and then with The Wiser Financial Group from 1999 until his retirement in 2016. Ted was an avid sports fan, especially for his “PA teams”, the Steelers, Phillies and Penn State. However, he was much more of a fan of his children, grandchildren and great-grandchild. Surviving are his wife of 50 years, Dorothy L. Weaver; daughter Kalee Weaver; son Jeff (Melissa) Weaver; five grandchildren Alexis, Levi, Lydia & Landon Warren and Jackson Weaver; a great-granddaughter Camryn; a brother William (Alice) Weaver; and many other special family and friends. Ted was preceded in death by his father Warren Weaver and by a brother Ronald Weaver, his mother, Ada Weaver passed soon after Ted.

On September 4, 2017, Ted entered into his heavenly home. It is with confidence the first words he heard were, “Well done my good and faithful servant”.

Mr. Weaver was interred with full military honors in his beloved Pennsylvania.

Mr. Weaver was honored the month of August 2019.



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Corporal 

Basil R. Van Linder

Mr. Van Linder was born March 3, 1926, in Plainwell, MI the son of the late Clinton Van Linder and Pearl (Granger) Van Linder-Stevens. During World War II, Basil, who was only 17, joined the Marines, along with his older brother, Ronald, to proudly serve his country. With his Marine brothers, Mr. Van Linder found himself participating in the battle of Iwo Jima where he considered himself lucky to make it home when so many of his comrades did not. While on Iwo Jima, he fought as part of the 3rd Division, 2nd Battalion, 9th Regiment, Easy Company. He also served in Guam and China during his time in the Marine Corps. He loved America and was proud of his service; but like so many others, preferred not to talk about his wartime experiences.

After the war, he attended watch repair technical school and became a part-time watchmaker while his full-time job for several decades was working as a machinist for Winkle Machine Company/Kalamazoo Manufacturing. Basil enjoyed playing the banjo; was an avid golfer; and was a devoted and extraordinary husband and father. He studied Spanish and taught himself how to speak the language. On July 21, 1951, he was united in marriage to his loving wife of nearly 65 years, Dorothy R. Graham, who preceded him in death on February 1, 2016. He was also preceded in death by a grand-daughter, Jaime; brother, Ronald; and a baby sister, Charlotte. He is survived by his children, Howard (Janice) Holcomb, Sharon (Larry) Sincler, Karen (Peteris) Berzins, Marcia (Howard) Snyder; 6 grandchildren, Heather, Matt, Jesse, Miranda, Emilia and Jakob; and several great-grandchildren.

Basil had a wonderful sense of humor. He was a perpetual optimist who was always willing to lend a hand to anyone who needed it. Through his difficult final years he never gave up hope that he would get better. He took everything in stride. He never gave up on rehabilitation after his open-heart surgery or his broken hip, no matter how difficult it became. He was tough both physically and mentally and would always make the best of what life dished out. The event that gave him the most pause was the death of his beloved wife, Dorothy.

Mr. Van Linder was laid to rest beside his beloved wife Dorothy with full military honors at Fort Custer National Cemetery on February 24th of 2017.

Mr. Van Linder was honored the month of April 2018.



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Sergeant 

Calvin Vander Kooy

Mr. Vander Kooy was born on September 29, 1929 in Kalamazoo, MI, a son of Jacob and Gertrude (VanSomeren) and had been a lifelong area resident. Calvin entered the US Army in January of 1951. While in service to his country, Mr. Vander Kooy was stationed in Japan, where he drove a tank. He was honorably discharged in December of 1952.

Mr. Vander Kooy retired from Cadillac Uniform Company where he worked in sales and delivery. Calvin was a member of Third Christian Reformed Church, enjoyed traveling and sports. He was preceded in death by his parents, a sister, Marjorie Scheffers and a brother, Vern Vander Kooy. On July 16, 1953 Calvin married the former Marilyn VanderKlok, who survives. Also surviving are two daughters and their husbands, Susan (Roger) Visker of Elwood, IL and Sally (Bruce) Triemstra of Portage, MI; seven grandchildren; sixteen great-grandchildren; a brother and his wife, Donald (MaryJo) Vander Kooy of Kalamazoo, MI; and several nieces and nephews.

Mr. Vander Kooy was laid to rest in Fort Custer National Cemetery with full military honors.  

Mr. Vander Kooy was honored the month of March 2018.


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Memorial Chapel
|
622 South Burdick St.
| Kalamazoo, MI 49007
|
Tel: 1-269-343-1508
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|
411 East Centre Ave
| Portage, MI 49002
|
Tel: 1-269-343-1508
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|
3926 S. 9th St.
| Kalamazoo, MI 49009
|
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|
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| Climax, MI 49034
|
Tel: 1-269-746-4206

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