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Margaret E. Blythe

Died: Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Age: 86
Blythe, Margaret E.; of Oxford; January 27, 2016; age 86. Margaret is the loving wife of the late Dale Blythe; beloved mother of Bill (Barbara) Foren, Randy (Linda) Foren, Steve Foren, Melinda Langdon, Tom (Kathy) Blythe, Daleann (Rhonda) Blythe and Dawn (Bob) Neely; dear grandmother of 21; great grandmother of 14; and sister of Stuart Lucas. She was a longtime member of the American Legion Auxiliary Post #233. In her spare time, Margaret enjoyed finding hidden treasures at garage sales and swimming in the many Michigan Lakes. Funeral Services were held on Saturday, January 30, 2016 at 11am at SPARKS-GRIFFIN FUNERAL HOME, Lake Orion. Memorial reflections may be shared at

Irene Wensley

Died: Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Age: 84
Irene D. Wensley, of Oxford, passed away on January 26, 2016. She was 84.

Loving mother of James (Rosemary) and Daniel Wensley; dear grandmother of Julia and Jeremiah Wensley; also survived by many nieces and nephews; preceded in death by her eight siblings.

Irene retired from the State of Michigan.

She was very kind and generous and will be missed.

A funeral service was held January 30 at Modetz Funeral Home, Orion. Suggested memorials to St. Jude Children’s Research.

Online condolences can be made by visiting

Jerry Limbert

Died: Monday, January 25, 2016
Age: 82
Jerry V. Limbert, 82, passed away Monday, January 25, 2016 from cardiac arrest at St. Joseph Medical Center in South Bend, IN. He is preceded in death by his beloved sister Joan Bonnell, brother Jack Limbert, and his parents Victor and Cordelia Limbert. 

Jerry was born October 3, 1933 in Muncie, IN, the youngest of the family.

He graduated from Muncie Central High in 1951, earning prize money for his senior class trip by winning a jingle-writing contest for a local radio station. Next to Titanic lore and playing the piano, radio would soon become his life’s obsession.

While earning his B.S. degree at Ball State Teachers College (later Ball State University), Jerry got an offer to run the school’s WBST radio station. He stayed on long enough to not only update the station’s antenna system, but to additionally earn his M.A. in 1956. In addition, he was a frequent performer in the summer seasons of Ball State’s Little Shoestring Theatre during the 1950s and early 1960s.

In Oxford, MI, he met his future wife Mary Murrish, Oxford High’s Secretary, while teaching the school’s seventh and eighth grades from 1957 to 1964, building lifelong friendships with many of the students he taught. Jerry and Mary soon began dating while co-directing the high school and junior high plays and musicals, as well as publishing the school’s newspaper “The Oxford Echo.”

They eventually married in February 1964, and remained married for more than 50 years. Interviewed in 2014 by C.J. Carnacchio for the Oxford Leader, Jerry said the secret to his happy marriage was dedication. “Look out for each other and be considerate.”

In 1964, Jerry accepted a dream position in South Bend, IN at WETL-FM, the newly created (and quite experimental) radio branch of the South Bend Community School System.

For 35 years, he combined the passions of teaching and radio production by creatively interpreting K through 6th grade lessons into a series of broadcasts for school system teachers.

As the writer, producer, director and recording engineer, Jerry also produced & directed extended radio dramas for WETL’s “Radio Workshop”.

In addition, Jerry also recorded radio and TV commercial voice-overs for local and national markets. He joined the Indiana Broadcast Pioneers in 2010.

Jerry retired in 1999, beginning a glorious and well-earned phase of relaxation, full of piano playing, record buying, music listening, movie watching and antique-shop-frequenting. He gave lectures on the HMS Titanic and radio history at libraries and care centers in the area.

Jerry is survived by wife Mary Limbert, daughters Mary Beth (Vince) Dominello & Jennifer (Bruce) Lundeen, son Michael (Jennifer) Limbert, and grandchildren Emily and Matthew Lundeen.

He is also survived by many loving nieces, nephews and relatives, as well as former students and colleagues from a life dedicated to teaching, education and mentorship.

A celebration of his life and humor will be planned for this upcoming spring, so don’t touch that dial, folks...

For those preferring a memorial gift, donations are requested in his name to Pet Refuge, 4626 S. Burnett Dr., South Bend, IN 46614 (574-231-1122).

Arrangements were made at the Halbritter Funeral Home in Niles, Michigan.

Virginia R. KOOP

Died: Sunday, January 24, 2016
Age: 91
KOOP, Virginia R.; of Clarkston; formerly of Grand Blanc; January 24, 2016; age 91; preceded in death by her husband Elmer and her infant son Wayne; mother of Larry (Barbara), Carol (David) Tucker, Jerry (Diana) and Ronald; survived by six grandchildren, many great grandchildren and one great great grandson; sister of Dean (Barbara) Hosner and Eleanor Moberly. Virginia was formerly a bus driver for Oxford schools. Friends may visit at Lewis E. Wint & Son Funeral Home, Clarkston Thursday 4 – 8 pm. Funeral service Friday 10:00 a.m. at the funeral home. Interment Oxford Township Cemetery. Memorials may be made to First Baptist Church of Clarkston for the food pantry. Online guest book

Ralph T. Bethards

Died: Sunday, January 24, 2016
Age: 90
Ralph T. “Windy” Bethards; of Lake Orion; age 90; passed away January 24, 2016. Ralph was preceded in death by his beloved wife Rose. He is the loving dad of Antonia “Toni” (Dan) Scandalito and Tubio “TJ” Bethards; dear grandpa of Dennis (Teresa) Smith, William (Jessica) Smith, Johnathon and Haley Bethards, Barbara Joy Dorman and the late Jennifer Ann Smith; great grandpa of Tess Ann Smith; and brother of the late Raymond Bethards.

Ralph was a U.S. Army Veteran and was retired from the National Twist Drill. He was a lifetime member of the NRA, member of the Knights of Columbus #4764 in Lake Orion, former Scout Leader; and an avid Matchbox Car Collector.

Funeral services will be held on Friday, January 29, 2016 at 11am at Sparks-Griffin Funeral Home, Lake Orion. The family will receive friends on Thursday from 2-4 and 6-8pm. Interment White Chapel Cemetery. Reflections may be shared by visiting

Mary Beck

Died: Sunday, January 24, 2016
Age: 97
Sister Mary Fidelis Beck died January 24, 2016 at the Dominican Sisters of Peace Motherhouse in Oxford. She was 97.

She was born November 8, 1918 in Brookside, PA. to Paul and Jeanne Guillaume and named Louise Pauline Beck.

She entered the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine de’ Ricci of Elkins Park near Philadelphia, PA, on April 30, 1945 and professed her vows on Feb. 13, 1948.

Sr. Mary Fidelis lived and worked at the Dominican Retreat House at Elkins Park for 62 years where she transformed the 42-acre estate with landscaped gardens, heritage trees, flower beds, and greenhouses.

Thousands of retreatants would bring home a plant from her greenhouse as a remembrance of retreat along with a word of encouragement from Sr. Fidelis.

The community closed the retreat house in 2006 and relocated to Maria Hall at the Sisters of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Danville, PA. Sr. Fidelis brought with her the same dedication to nature and created beautiful flower and vegetable gardens there.

In March of 2013, Sister moved to the Oxford Motherhouse when her community merged with the Dominican Sisters of Peace. Sister continued to serve as the horticulturist for the grounds there.

A woman of great simplicity and commitment to Dominican life, Sr. Fidelis was deeply devoted to the beauty of the natural world, its healing properties, and the capacity of natural things to speak of God’s glory.

Survivors include many nephews and nieces, relatives, and friends, and especially the Sisters she lived with in community.

A funeral Mass was held Jan. 26 at the Oxford Motherhouse of the Dominican Sisters of Peace in Oxford. Arrangements care of Modetz Funeral Home in Orion.

Memorial gifts in Sr. Fidelis’s memory may be submitted securely online or mailed to Dominican Sisters of Peace, Office of Mission Advancement, 2320 Airport Dr., Columbus, OH 43219-2098.

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Margaret Neeson

Died: Friday, January 22, 2016
Age: 86
Margaret Jane Neeson, of Oxford, went home to be with the Lord on January 22, 2016. She was 86.

Preceded in death by her beloved husband Vern Neeson and daughter Jane Gasaway. She was the loving mother of Theresa (James) Bologna, Vern (Deborah) Neeson Jr., Annette Neeson, and Joseph (Paula) Neeson. Also survived by 9 grandchildren: Nicholas (Marianne) Gasaway, Alton, Aaron, and Jared Barnett, Andrew (Shana) Neeson, Edward (Andrea) Neeson, Ben and Catherine Cole, and Molly Margaret Neeson; five great-grandchildren, her sister Maryann Podzikowski and many loving nieces and nephews.

Mrs. Neeson was most recently a resident in the Lake Orion Nursing Center where she received wonderful, loving care.

A funeral mass took place Jan. 25 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Lake Orion. Interment at Ridgelawn Cemetery.

Memorials may be made to St. Joseph Catholic Church.

Velma Jean Powell

Died: Thursday, January 21, 2016
Age: 80
Velma Jean Powell; of Lake Orion; passed away January 21, 2016 at 80 years of age. Velma is the beloved wife of Alfred for 61 years; loving mother of James, Alfred Jr. (Debbie), Bruce (Sandy) and Daniel (Lauri); dear grandmother of Melissa, Stefanie, Heather, Bruce II, Matthew, Daniel II and Connor; and great grandmother of 6.

Funeral services will be held on Thursday, January 28, 2016 at 11am at the Baptist Bible Church, 1100 S. Baldwin Road, Oxford. The family will receive friends on Wednesday from 2-4 and 6-8pm at Sparks-Griffin Funeral Home, Lake Orion. Interment Square Lake Cemetery. Reflections may be shared by visiting

Earl Edwin Sparks

Died: Thursday, January 21, 2016
Age: 95
Earl Edwin Sparks May 6, 1920 - January 21, 2016

Colonel Earl “Duke” Sparks, USAF (Retired), 95, died in White Lake, Michigan on Thursday, January 21, 2016. Duke was born May 6, 1920 in Topeka, KS. He grew up in his beloved St Joseph, Michigan. In high school Duke was active in sports, football, basketball and track and was team football captain in 1938. In 1940 Duke enlisted in the Army Air Corps, was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1943. During WW2 he flew missions over Europe in a B-24. He then flew the B-47 in the Strategic Air Command and was a Command Missile Officer. He retired in 1963 as Deputy Chief of Staff for the 8th Air Force. He then went on to work in four companies including IBM in marketing executive positions. He retired for a second time in 1990 at age 70. He loved gardening and spending time with family and friends. Duke is survived by his loving wife of 42 years, Marjorie; children, Monty, Daniel, Dianne, Jack Sparks and stepson Robert Voorhees. His eldest son, Michael, predeceased him. He was blessed with nine grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren. Friends and family will always remember Duke’s gentle spirit and caring heart, always an “officer and a gentleman”. He will be greatly missed. He will be interred at Riverview Cemetery in St Joe. At the Colonel’s request there will be no services. He was a very humble gentleman.

Doris "Jean" Cox (Mellick)

Died: Monday, January 18, 2016
Age: 83
Doris Cox (Mellick) of Oxford preceded in death by her husband Lyle; mother of Pat (Jim) Crean, Mike Coad & Terri (Ernie) Darnall; step mother of Brett (Alicia) Cox & Rick (Judy) Cox; also survived by 12 grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren; preceded in death by grandson Shane Cox & sister Judy Adams; Jean retired as secretary at Waterford schools and formerly attended Ortonville Baptist Church. Friends may visit at Lewis E. Wint & Son Funeral Home, Clarkston Friday, January 29th from 2 p.m.-8 p.m. with a memorial service at 5:30 p.m. Inurnment at a later date at Great Lakes National Cemetery. Memorials may be made to

Alzheimers Association or MI Humane Society.

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