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ies in 2000
                                                                    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.  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 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.
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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.

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Roy F. Kuehnle Sr., 80, of Weslaco, Texas, died Saturday, December 30, 2000, at Edinburg Regional Medical Center.
     Funeral services were held at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, January 5, 2001, at Guerra Funeral Home Chapel in Weslaco, with the Rev. Myron Ricketts officiating. Visitation was held from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on January 4. Arrangements were by Guerra Funeral Home, Weslaco.
     Mr. Kuehnle was born in Chicago, Illinois. He moved to Hartford, Mich. in 1967, where he resided on Van Auken Lake until moving to Weslaco in 1996. He had worked at Hartford Public Schools, retiring in 1982. He had been a winter Texan for 15 years before moving to Weslaco. He served in World War II in the Pacific and Guadalcanal area with the 497 AAA.
     Survivors include: his wife, Alice G. Varley Nelson of Weslaco; one daughter, Lois Dostal of Lemont, Illinois; one stepdaughter, Diane Goodwin of Santa Monica, California; one daughter-in-law, Sue Kuehnle of Hartford; one sister, Bertha Ann Flynn of Valparaiso, Indiana; nine grandchildren; and five greatgrandchildren. He was preceded in death by one son, Roy F. Kuehnle Jr., in 1998.
Loraine Leonard, 78, was found frozen to death at her residence at 430 N. Center Street.
     Mrs. Leonard, a widow, suffered from "Alzheimer’s and dementia," said Hartford Police Chief Paul Muinch. "The family had been checking on her daily but, due to the bad weather and deep snow, they didn’t make it over on the 13th."
     Muinch said a family member found her around 9:00 a.m. on the 14th and called 911 for assistance. A front-end loader was needed to plow through the deep snow to the rear of the residence, approximately 150′ from the roadway.
     "She apparently let her dog out and the door shut behind her," said Muinch. "When we arrived, the dog was curled up on top of her, trying to keep her warm." Muinch said, if the family member had not found her when they did, "The dog would have frozen to death shortly I’m sure."
     Muinch said the County Coroner listed "exposure" as the cause of death.
Ruth Williams Dowd, 85, died Sunday, December 10, 2000, at Lakeview Continuing Care, Lawton. 
     Services will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 14, at Calvin Funeral Home, Hartford, with Pastor Timothy Nyhuis officiating. Visitation will be held from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the funeral home. Burial will be in Maple Hill Cemetery, Hartford. Memorials may be made to Hartford Federated Church. 
     Mrs. Dowd was born July 16, 1915, in Essex Fells, New Jersey, the second child of John Williams Jr. and Hattie Windrich Williams. After her mother’s early death, she moved to the Midwest and was raised by her aunt and uncle, the late Elmer and Ava Williams. She graduated from Hartford High School in 1934, was an active member of Hartford Federated Church and Michigan Farm Bureau, and was awarded a Farm Bureau "Woman of the Year Award" for her many years of service. 
     Survivors include: three sons– Stanley (Sue) Dowd, Bruce (Katherine) Dowd, and Leslie (Kelly) Dowd; a daughter, Doris (Bill) Austin; 12 grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren; a niece, Sally Noble of Colorado; and a nephew, Douglas Williams of Colorado. She was preceded in death by: her husband, Arthur F. Dowd, whom she married November 14, 1936; and a brother, Howard. 
Note:  Ruth was a 1934 graduate of Hartford High School.

Elinor L. Wagner, 74, of Watervliet, died Monday, December 4, 2000, at her home. 
     Cremation has taken place. There was a graveside prayer on Wednesday in Coloma Cemetery. Memorials may be made to Hospice at Home, South Haven. Local arrangements were by Hoven Funeral Home, Buchanan. 
She was born to James and Anna Hathaway on March 5, 1926, and lived most of her life in this area. She married Charles F. Wagner on March 1, 1946. 
     Survivors include: three daughters — Diann (Bobby) Souders of Indiana, Vicki Lusk, and Kathleen Mooney of Hartford; one son, Charles A. of Stanwood; a sister, Genevieve Hartman of Springdale, Arkansas; a brother, Robert (Dawn) Hathaway of Scottsdale, Arizona; 12 grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren; many nieces and nephews; and special good friends. She was preceded in death by: her husband, Charles F. Wagner; her parents; a daughter, Carol Clifford; a sister, Myrtle; a brother, Roy; and a grandson, Bobby Charles. Elinor’s sister, Margaret, died 14 hours after she did. 
NOTE:  The Wagner family resided in Hartford on Haver Street for several years.
"Richard" Edward  Garner, passed away on November 24, 2000, in Tucson, AZ.  Born May 1, 1929, in Chicago, IL, he was 71.  Cause of death was listed as respiratory
failure due to chronic lung disease that could be attributed to long term excessive smoking.
     He graduated from Hartford High School in the Class of 1946 and immediately enlisted in the US Navy.  After serving 21 years active duty, he retired at the rank of Lieutenant.  His duty assignments took him throughout the world.  In the early days of the Space Program he served aboard the Aircraft Carrier Kearsarge which was assigned responsibility for recovery of the astronauts and the space capsules.
     After his retirement from the Navy, Garner owned and operated a television sales and service in California.  He later moved to Tucson after selling this business and joined the faculty of Pima Community College in the Electronic Department.  He eventually served as Department Chairman.  He retired from the College after 15 years.  He was an active member of the Fleet Reserve Association in Green Valley Arizona serving a one year term as that organization’s President.
     In addition to his wife, Dick is survived by his six children from an earlier marriage to Ruth Kimball.  He, also, is survived by his sister, Frances Garner Fredericks of Kalamazoo and Tucson.  He was preceded in death by his parents, Clarence and Louise Garner of Hartford and seven brothers and sisters.
     Cremation took place in Tucson.  His ashes were buried at sea in a formal Naval Ceremony.
Helen Marguerite Rice, 68, of Hartford, died Sunday, November 19, 2000.
     Memorial services will be held on Saturday, Dec. 2, at Midway Baptist Church, Watervliet. Donations may be made in her memory to Area Agency on Aging Region IV (Care Management Program) at 2900 Lakeview Ave., St. Joseph, MI 49085, in appreciation for all of the care and services provided for her.
     She leaves behind an amazing legacy of love and courage after battling MS for more than 50 years. She was a faithful prayer warrior, a devoted and competitive Phase Ten Card Player, and will be missed by her family and many friends.
     Survivors include: her children — Debbie (Lynn) Sims and Douglas (Patty) Rice of Homewood, Illinois, Floyd M. Rice Jr. of Texas, and Dawn (Guy) Bockover of Hartford; 12 grandchildren; many nieces and nephews; three brothers–Rev. Wendell Mullen, the Rev. Waldo Mullen, and Wayne Mullen; and a sister, Joan Mullen. She was preceded in death by: her parents, Stillman and Helen Mullen; and two sisters — Dorothy Mullen and Annie Atwater.
Jose R. Hernandez, 59, of Winter Haven, Florida, died Wednesday, November 8, 2000, at Winter Haven Hospital. 
     Funeral Mass of the Resurrection was offered at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 11, at Holy Spirit Catholic Church, with Father Frank Cerio as celebrant. Interment followed in Lake Wales Cemetery, Lake Wales, Florida. Friends called from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday Visitation was held from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at Johnson Funeral Home in Lake Wales, with a prayer vigil at 6 p.m. 
     Mr. Hernandez was born November 20, 1940, in Brownsville, Texas, and moved to Winter Haven eight years ago from Hartford, where he resided for 30 years. He retired after 30 years of service as a Supervisor for Bendix Automotive in Saint Joseph; was a UV moldier for General Graphics in Auburndale; and was a member of Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Lake Wales. 
     Survivors include: his wife, Maria Louise Hernandez of Winter Haven; a son, Michael Hernandez of Winter Haven; daughters–Sylvia Hernandez-Parkman of Greenville, Mississippi, and Kayla Lynn Parkman and Jessica Maria Parkman, both of Winter Haven; and a son, Jose Darrell Parkman of Winter Haven.

Clifford Martin Brown II, 63, of Baldwin, Michigan, formerly of Hartford, died Tuesday, November 7, 2000, at Veterans Administration Medical Center, Ann Arbor. 
     Funeral services were held at 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 10, at Hartford United Methodist Church, with the Rev. Ron Hansen officiating. Visitation was held from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Calvin Funeral Home, Hartford. Burial with military rites was held at 10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 13, in Fort Custer National Cemetery in Augusta. Memorial contributions may be made to the Hartford United Methodist Church JOASH Fund. 
     Mr. Brown was born December 3, 1936, in Moline, Illinois, the son of Lowell and Helen (Trigg) Brown, both of whom preceded him in death. He retired from Whirlpool Corporation in 1996, after 33 years of service. He was a U.S. Navy veteran; member of Hartford United Methodist Church; and Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY. He gave bird presentations at schools, state parks, senior centers, and churches; and was active with his family, grandchildren, and community. 
     Survivors include: his wife, Connie, whom he married on Dec. 2, 1961; a daughter, Tamara (David) Kling of Watervliet; a son, Clifford Martin Brown III of Kalamazoo; a grandson, Kendall Kling of Watervliet; a granddaughter, Brooke Kling of Watervliet; and five brothers–Christopher Brown and Doug Johnson, both of Illinois, and Dan Brown, Douglas Brown and Donald Brown, all of Michigan. 
Note:  Clifford was a 1956 graduate of Hartford High School.

Judith K. Klett, 50, of Decatur, died Saturday, October 28, 2000, at home. 
     Friends called from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 31, at Newell Funeral Home, Decatur, where private family services were held Wednesday, with the Rev. David Adams officiating. Cremation followed the services. 
     She was born April 4, 1950, in Batesville, Arkansas, the daughter of Warren and Norma (Deal) Malone. She was a very artistic person and enjoyed writing poetry. 
     Survivors include: a daughter, Carly M. Klett of Paw Paw; a son, Colin C. (Jillian) Klett of Decatur; a grandson, Hunter L. Klett; three sisters–Phyllis (Michael) Stielstra of Ludington, Michigan, Beverly (Michael) Cheshire of Hartford, and Shelia (Don) Closson of Riverside; and a brother, Michael (Debbie) Everett of Keeler.
NOTE:  Judith was a 1968 Hartford High School graduate.


Esther Mathilde Gourdie, 92, of Hartford, formerly of Mt. Morris, Michigan, died Wednesday, October 18, 2000, at her daughter’s home in Hartford. 
     Funeral services were held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 21, at Hartford United Methodist Church, of which she was a member, with the Rev. Ron Hansen officiating. Visitation was held from 10 a.m. until the time of the service. Burial was held at 3 p.m. at Flint Memorial Park in Mt. Morris. Calvin Funeral Home, Hartford, was in charge of the arrangements. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in her name to Hartford United Methodist Church JOASH Fund. 
     Mrs. Gourdie was born January 12, 1908, in Astoria, Oregon, the daughter of Ole and Berthine (Newgaard) Harem. She was former owner of Gourdie’s Grocery of Mt. Morris, with her husband, William; was a life member of OES El Said 28; and a volunteer for more than 12 years at Community Hospital, Watervliet. 
     Survivors include: a daughter, Maxine (Richard) Melvin of Hartford; three sons–William (Beverly) Gourdie of Traverse City, Barrett (Joan) Gourdie of Barrington, Illinois, and Bradford (Moreen) Gourdie of Apopka, Florida; 10 grandchildren; 20 great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by: her husband; a grandson, Douglas Melvin; and seven sisters and brothers. 


Virginia M. Snodgrass, of Palm City, Florida, formally of Hartford, passed away on October 14, 2000 in Martin Memorial Hospital, Stuart, Florida. 
     Cremation has taken place and the family asks if memorials are made please make them to the Kidney Foundation or the American Cancer Society or The Alzheimer Foundation.
     She was born in Muskegon on May 16, 1926 and was a life member of Order of Eastern Star Hartford Chapter and the White Shrine.
     She is survived by her daughter Karen (Eldon) Hallmark; four grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren-Kim (Joe) Pearce, Stefani and Seth of Stuart, Florida, David (Heidi) Hallmark, Coilin of Rhoda, Germany, Kyp (Melanie) Hallmark, Katy, Mackenzie, Teralyn, of Palm City, Florida, Steve (Kimberly) Hallmark, Andrew, Nickolas, Victoria of Port St. Lucie, Florida. She is also survived by two brothers. She was preceded in death by her husband of 54 years Clarence "Red" Snodgrass in 1999, her mother and father, two brothers, and two sisters.

Mary A. Smith, 83, of Covert, passed away Saturday, Sept. 30, 2000, at Metron of Allegan.
     A wake will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. Tuesday at the First Baptist Church, Covert, where funeral services will take place at 11 a.m. with the Rev. Sherman McClain officiating.  Burial will be in North Shore Memory Gardens, Hagar Shores.  The Bangor Chapel, D.L. Miller Funeral Home, is in charge of arrangements.
     She was born June 9, 1917, in Hartford, the daughter of Emerson and Mabel Lee.  Mrs. Smith was a retired school bus dirver for Covert Public Schools.  She had lived in the area all of her life, and was a member of the First Baptist Church, Covert, and the Eastern Star.
     Survivors include 10 grandchildren – Marvin Carrington, Gregory Carrington, Maryalice (Paul) Pyron II, Edward Barnes, Paul Barnes, Angela Copprue, Maracio Barnes, Shera Barnes, Jacoby Barnes and Roderrick Barnes; 19 great-grandchildren; one great-great-great-grandchild; a host of other relatives and friends.  She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Elbert "Dude" Smith; a daughter, Geraldine Barnes; and a grandson, Elbert Carrington.

NOTE:  Mary attend the 1936 Class of Hartford High School.

Nelda Dyer, 87, of Mattawan, died Thursday, March 23, 2000, at Rose Arbor in Kalamazoo.
     She was born Sept. 23, 1912, to Harold and Lou (Tappan) Barnes. Mrs. Dyer graduated from Hartford High School in 1931, and attended Western Michigan University for two years. On Oct. 21, 1933, she was united in marriage to Clarence Dyer, who preceded her in death in 1994. She and Clarence enjoyed many years of square dancing together.
     She is survived by a daughter, Susan (Robert) Spencer; two sons James L. (Patricia) Dyer of Howell, Mich., and Michael J. (Mary) Dyer of Mattawan; eight grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; a sister, Patricia (Ray) Sudeikis of Gobles; and many nieces and nephews.
     Visitation will be held Sunday from 3 to 6 p.m. at Betzler & Thompson Funeral Home, Paw Paw. Interment will be Monday at 1 p.m. at Hill Cemetery in Lawrence. Memorials may be made to Rose Arbor.


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