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ies in 1952
                                                            Hartford Michigan

        Click here to return to the to Obituary Index

Please email the webmaster if you have obituaries of people who have lived in Hartford Michigan, or was active in the Hartford-Keeler community, at some time during their lives. To find a specific obituary, use the  Search Our Site  feature, also located on the left menu of every page.  The Obituary section was started January 30, 2008 and current obituaries will be posted as they become available.  Obituaries are from the local newspapers, unless otherwise noted.  If you have an obituary notice (or learn of the passing away of someone who lived in Hartford at one time) of a former Hartford resident from a newspaper away from the Hartford area, please send it. Past obituaries will be added as time permits.  Death notices are also posted in the HHS graduate database.
Note:  if you have a good or different photo to insert with present or past obituaries for the History of Hartford website and email newsletters, please click here to email them unedited directly to the webmaster.  If you don’t have a scanner, send photo by US Mail to Emma Thornburg Sefcik, 59320 62nd St., Hartford MI  49057.

Many requests are made for obituary notices and this is a good genealogical resource, as well as providing obits to extended family members who may not have an original.  Searching previous year obituaries (mainly prior to 2003) requires a good deal of time.  If you found this to be a valuable resource and would like to be a sponsor toward keeping the obituaries page updated, send donations to History of Hartford Obituaries, Emma Sefcik, 59320 62nd St, Hartford MI  49057.  Since the History of Hartford website is a voluntary effort, your contribution is much appreciated.

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Virginia Gifford
(Mrs. Guy Gifford),
69, Dies Saturday;
Life Long Resident

     Funeral services were held at 2 p.m. Tuesday for Mrs. Guy Gifford, 69, who died Saturday [July 12, 1952] morning at Watervliet Community hospital. The Rev James Rogers, Plainwell, former Methodist minister here, officiated and burial was in Maple Hill cemetery.
     Mrs. Gifford was a lifelong resident of Hartford. She was born Virginia Garland, in 1883, the daughter of Frank and Emile Garland. She was married at Bangor to Guy Gifford in August, 1903.
     Mrs. Gifford was a member of the Order of Eastern Star and the local Art Study class. For 30 years she was vice  president of the Kirchen and Gifford. Co. and took-an active part in the company until stricken with a heart ailment a few month’s ago.
     She is survived by her husband, Guy; two sons, Lee and Harlan; a brother, Victor, all of Hartford; a sister, Mrs. John Branch of Grand Rapids, and four grandchildren.
     Pallbearers were Jack Smith, John Smith, Milton Weed, Dr. Leo Latus, Jay Johnson and Paul Richter, Jr.


                    Roof Collapse Kills Hartford GI in Korea

                                                    Pvt. Edward Smithley, 20, in Army Two Years, Victim of Mishap at Battlefront


 Word was received here this week of the death of Pvt. Edward Smithley in an accident in Korea on July 29 [1952]. He is the first Hartford soldier to lose his life while serving in the Korean war.
     According to a telegram from the War department received by Pvt. Smithley’s wife, the former Mary Lou Robinson, we was killed when sandbags on a roof of a front-line bunker in which he was sleeping fell on him.  Excessive rain had made the sandbags too heavy for the roof supports, the telegram said.  It was not reported whether there were any other soldiers in the bunker with Smithley.

Pvt. Smithley was 20 years old and had been in the army just a few days less than two years.  He was a military policeman in Korea but recently transferred to the infantry and was in the front lines at the time of his death. He had been overseas since February, 1951.

   Smithley had attended Hartford high school and entered the army Aug. 2, 1950. He was married Aug. 12, 1951. His wife is making her home with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Myrl Robinson.
     Pvt. Smithley is survived by his wife, and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Melvin Smithley, and several brothers and sisters, Mrs. [Louise] Almiron (Bud) Robinson, Tony, Roy, Peg, James, and Jan [Janie], and his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Harold, Marion Ind.
     The telegram which Mrs. Smithley received from Washington said that a letter of more detailed explanation would follow.  Possible arrangements to return the boy to Hartford are awaiting receipt of the letter.

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Information for this web site was gathered from personal interviews, newspaper articles, scrapbooks, personal photo albums, and other documented materials - many available to the public at the Hartford Public Library or Van Buren County Historical Museum.  Please report any typographical errors, updated information, or incorrectly stated information to the webmaster for correction.  Reprinting for personal and instructional purposes is permitted, however, unauthorized commercial reprinting of this information or unauthorized linking to photos-pictures on this site is strictly prohibited without written permission from the webmaster. 

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HartfordHistory Icon - Hartford MI

Pearls In Our Past - Hartford Michigan
A Pictorial History of Hartford Michigan
Emma Thornburg Sefcik
Competent Secretarial Service
History of Hartford Michigan
Copyright © 2000 - All rights reserved.

Revised: March 23, 2009