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                        Obituaries in 1997

                                                      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 community, at some time during their lives. To find a specific obituary, use the  Search Our Site  feature located on the left menu of every page.  This page 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 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 would be a good genealogical resource, as well as providing obits to extended family members who may not have an original.  Searching for obituaries from previous years (mainly prior to 2003) requires a good deal of time.  If you have 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.

Email the webmaster with any correction of errors that may have occurred in the original newspaper obit.

Nadine J. MCLAUGHLIN – Age 66, of Hartford, formerly of Otsego, died Tuesday, November 11, 1997 at her home after a lengthy illness.
     She was born July 22, 1931 in Otsego to John and Bessie (RANDALL) GREN. She co-published the Shopper’s Guide with her husband, Bill for 26 years. She was a member of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church of Hartford, and an avid bowler and bingo player.
     Surviving are her husband, Bill whom she married February 7, 1948 in Otsego; children, Mike MCLAUGHLIN of Rochester, NY, Linda (Ron) LANGSTON of Stevensville, Ron (Cindi) MCLAUGHLIN of Benton Harbor, Patti (Gerald) DYCHE of Paw Paw; several grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents; 3 brothers; and 3 sisters.
     Visitation 6-8 p.m. this evening at Calvin Funeral Home Hartford, MI
and 2-4 and 6:30-9:00 pm. Thursday at the Winkel Funeral Home, Otsego, where the Rosary will be recited Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 10:00 a.m. Friday, November 14, at St. Margaret Church, Otsego, with Bishop Paul V. Donovan, Celebrant. Burial in St. Margaret Cemetery, Otsego. Memorials may be made to Hospice of Van Buren County or West Michigan Cancer Center, Kal.

Arvon McKinley Collins, 96, of Watervliet, died Nov. 2, 1997 at Golden Place in St. Joseph.
     Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 5, 1997 at Hutchins Funeral Home in Watervliet, with the Rev. Len Schoenherr officiating. Visitation will be held one hour prior to service on Wednesday at the funeral home. Interment will be in Crystal Springs Cemetery in Benton Harbor. Memorials may be made to the First United Methodist Church of Watervliet, of which he was a member.
     Mr. Collins was born Sept. 13, 1901, in Pipestone Township, to the late Albert and Clara (Bailey) Collins. He attended the Collins School and graduated from Eau Claire High School in 1920. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Michigan Agricultural College in 1924 and received a M.A. degree from the University of Michigan in 1945. He was principal at Hartford High School for 21 years, retiring in 1964. He was a life member of Henry Chamberlain Masonic Lodge No.308 F&AM; life member of Eastern Star No.232; member of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite Club; member Low 12 Club; member of the Michigan Education Association; member of Berrien County Retired Teacher Association; and a member of North Berrien County Historical Society.
     On June 25, 1927 in Eau Claire, he married Ruth (LaPlant) Collins. She preceded him in death in 1986.  Survivors include: two daughters –  Mrs. Donna (Roland) Hays of Coloma and Mrs. Yvonne (Max) Brand of Fort Wayne, Ind.; nine grandchildren; and 16 great-grandchildren.

Myrtle M. Dyer, 93, of Hartford, Michigan passed away Saturday, August 23,1997, at County side Nursing Home in South Haven, Michigan.
     Funeral services were held at 2 p.m. Tuesday, August 26, at Calvin Funeral Home, Hartford. Visitation was held from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Monday at the funeral home. Interment was at Maple Hill Cemetery, Hartford.
     Myrtle was born [to
Charles & Dora Belle Srackangast Robinson] September 2,1903, on a farm on the north side of Hartford. She loved to tell the story about, when she was a little girl, sending a letter to Santa Claus asking him for a toy stove and a pan with a lid on top. On Christmas morning, she received a miniature cast iron stove, a pan and a lid, which she still had.  Since that day, Christmas and Santa Claus had been a very big part of her life.
     She was married on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1924, to Raymond Dyer. They lived and worked on a farm on the south side of Hartford, and he preceded her in death in 1959. Myrtle was also lovingly referred to as "
The Popcorn Lady" from her 25 years of service at the Heart Theater in Hartford.
     Myrtle had many hobbies, including a collection of thousands of Santa Claus cards dating back to 1903. She also loved sending cards and letters to friends and family, including letters to soldiers during World War II and the Korean War. Another hobby of Myrtle’s was writing poetry, which included poems for anniversaries, birthdays, and on the births of her great-grandchildren.
     Survivors include: three children — William (Virginia) Dyer, Robert (Eleanor) Dyer, and Nancy (George) Huffman; seven grandchildren — Karol (Donald) Kvorka, Jamie (Carol) Dyer, Richard (Pamela) Dyer, Denis (Dawn) Huffman, Janet (Joseph) Camilleri, David Huffman, and Annette (Dave) Huffman-Krause; 12 great-grandchildren—Kristine and Kimberly Kvorka, Krystal Dyer, Andy and Tim Dyer, Kyle and Jami Huffman, Joshua and Ty Huffman, Brianna Huffman, and Emma and Anna Camilleri.

Life in a Little Town
(one of Myrtle’s favorite poems)

I like to live in a little town
Where the trees meet across the street;
Where you wave your hand and say, "Hello",
To everyone you meet.
I like to stand for a moment
Outside the grocery store
And listen to the friendly gossip of
The folks that live next door.
For life is interwoven
With the friends we learn to know
And we hear their joys and sorrows
As we daily come and go.
So I like to live in a little town
I care no more to roam.
For every house in a little town
Is more than a house, It’s home.


NOTE:  Myrtle was a 1923 Hartford High School graduate.

Parnelli K. Gregory, 34, of Paw Paw, formerly of Hartford, beloved husband, father, son and friend, died Friday, July 25, 1997 at Lakeland Medical Center, St. Joseph.
     Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, July 28, 1997, at Hartford Federated Church, with Pastor Timothy Nyhuis of the Hartford Federated Church presiding.  Burial will be at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Paw Paw.  Visitation will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. today at Calvin Funeral Home, Hartford.  Memorial contributions may be made to the Gregory Children’s Trust Fund.     Mr. Gregory was born June 12, 1963, in South Haven to Roscoe and Irma (Calabrese) Gregory.  He was a member of Hartford Federated Church.  For the past two years he was employed at Whirlpool Corp., Benton Harbor Division and formerly was employed by Patterson Printing, Benton Harbor for nine years.
     Survivors include his wife, Ellen (Kawka) Gregory, whom he married Aug. 27, 1988, in Paw Paw; a daughter, Briana Gregory at home; his mother, Irma Gregory of Hartford; and many dear aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews.  He was preceded in death by his father, Roscoe Gregory, in 1985.

The following article appeared in the Herald Palladium:

Paw Paw man dies in crash

      A 34-year-old Paw Paw man died Friday after a two-car head-on collision on westbound Interstate 94 in Benton Township, according to a township police press release.
     Parnelli Keith Gregory died in a 9:15 a.m. crash after his westbound pickup truck collided with an eastbound car that had crossed the median near the Interstate I-96 junction, sergeants Michael Krugh and Kim Fowler said.  The driver of the eastbound car, Roger Gibbs of Hartford, was taken by Medic I to Lakeland Medical Center, St. Joseph.
     Gibbs was reported in fair condition, as hospital spokeswoman said.  The accident remains under investigation.

Note:  Parnelli was a 1981 Hartford High School graduate.

Anna Cecelia Chidester, a lifelong resident of Hartford, Michigan, died Tuesday, April 1, 1997, at her home.
     A private graveside service was held Friday at Maple Hill Cemetery, Hartford.  Arrangements were made by Calvin Funeral Home, Hartford.  The family has asked that any memorials be made to the Hartford United Methodist Church.
     Mrs. Chidester was born on August 5, 1909.  She was co-owner of Mi-Ladies Dress Shop in Hartford from 1954 through 1978. 
     Survivors include:  Her only daughter, Dona (Chidester) Sherman, and her son-in-law, Leroy Sherman of Hartford; a sister, Mrs. Wilma Strong of Brethren, Michigan; her only grandchild, Cindy (Sherman) Booth of Dowagiac, Michigan; two great-grandchildren  –  Jason Booth of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Sara Booth of Dowagiac; and numerous nieces and nephews. 
      She was preceded in death by:  her husband, Donald Chidester, in October 1972; a brother, Louis Gay; and a sister, Maxine (Gay) Tomsa.

Myron Barrows Dowd died on Feb. 17, 1997. He was 81 years old. He was born June 28, 1915, in Hartford, Michigan, to Arthur J. Dowd and Amy B. Reynolds-Dowd. He was residing at Lake View Continuing Care Center in Lawton, Michigan.
    There will be a memorial service for Myron at noon on Saturday, Feb. 22, at the Hartford Federated Church. A luncheon will be provided after the service.
     Myron married Ailsa Elizabeth White in 1946. They remained happily married until her death in 1995.
     For much of his life he worked in partnership with his brother, Arthur Dowd, on the Dowd Orchards farm, west of Hartford. He served briefly on the Hartford school board during the late 1950s. He was active in collective bargaining efforts on behalf of asparagus growers and did similar work in the mid-1960s with the Michigan Cherry Growers Association. He served as the 1961 president of the Michigan State Horticultural Society. From 1962 to 1977, he was the general manager of Shafer Lake Fruit Inc. Throughout his life, he was an active member of the Hartford Federated Church.

NOTE:  Myron was a 1932 Hartford High /school graduate.

Philander James Avery, 89, of Hartford, Michigan, died Saturday, January 25,1997, at Bronson Methodist Hospital, Kalamazoo, Michigan.
     The funeral was held at 11a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 28, at Calvin Funeral Home, Hartford. District Elder James Sumners officiated.  Burial followed in Maple Hill Cemetery, Hartford. The family received friends from 6 to 8 p.m. on Monday at Calvin Funeral Home.
     Mr. Avery was born August 24, 1907, in Meade, Kansas, to Thomas and Martha Avery. He retired from Farm Bureau of Hartford after 31years of service and also was a retired farmer.
     Survivors include: his wife, Margaret, whom he married on August 3, 1933, in Hutchinson, Kansas; a son, Richard Avery of Paw Paw, Michigan; a daughter, Suzan Lachman of Flushing, Michigan; five grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. He was preceded in death by a daughter, Roberta Bean, on July 12, 1984; nine brothers; and one sister.

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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Pearls In Our Past - Hartford Michigan
A Pictorial History of Hartford Michigan
Emma Thornburg Sefcik
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History of Hartford Michigan
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Revised: March 23, 2009