Welcome West Branch High School Alumni Association West Branch, Michigan

CLASS OF 1943

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2012 SCHOLARSHIPS AWARDED-PAGE 1
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A.F. Lucas, Supt.
Mildred Blumenthal, Principal
Harold E. Gault Jr., Class President
Melvin M. Carl, Class Sponsor
Helen E. Burt, Class Sponsor
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Alta Jean Hall McPherson '43
Burt Parliament '42

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Jack Couture
Jan Dreszer
Arthur Hanes
Jane Parker Short
Terry Monaghan
Francis Cottle
Eugene Reinhardt
Joan Burt Reetz
George Smith
Calvin Reetz
Martha Shoemaker Smith
Eugene Morris
Glen Curtis
Bernice Hennen Shorkey
Calvin Hicks
Willard Wangler
Jean Rutledge McCauley
Geraldine Brindley Benjamin
Lois Thompson Crow
Ted Richardson
Betty Craft Rogers
Helen Mattson Smith
Pat Wallace Embury
Eugene Bennett
Arlee Byce
Arzell Clayton Stillwagon
Jack Gifford
Virginia Bradley Kerns
Edwin Gault
Tim Monaghan
John Nauman
Norine Valley
Joan Donovan Smith
Gerald Green
Amos Graves Jr.
Milton McGregor
Dorothy Stahlbush Ferguson
LaVerne Smith
Charles Hacht
Arlene Norris Robinson
Betty Jones Knapp
Edith Sutton
Alta Jean Hall McPherson
Elmer Kerblewski
Maxson Andrews
Jane Hansen Helm
Geraldine Kelsey Dunn
Ida Corwin
* * * * * * * * * *

Virginia M. Bradley Kern, Saginaw, MI Loving mother and grandmother passed away on Saturday, April 21, 2012 at Cartwright Care Center at the age of 86 years. The daughter of the late Harold and Arva (Gingell) Bradley was born on February 19, 1926 in West Branch. She graduated from Saginaw General Nursing School. Virginia married Richard L. Kern on May 28, 1949; he predeceased her on December 19, 2006. She retired from Saginaw General Hospital with over 40 years of service. Surviving are her children and their spouses; David (Lisa) Kern, Carmel, N.Y.; Debbie(John) Salow, Saginaw, MI; Darlene (Dave) Wente, Stamford, CT.; grandchildren; Kristi (Jeff) Dolan, Stephanie Salow, Greg Kern, and David Wente. She was predeceased by a granddaughter, Jennifer Lynn Salow. Funeral service will take place at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at W.L

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Geraldine L.  Kelsey Dunn, 92, passed away peacefully Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017, at the Villa at West Branch. She lived in West Branch for her entire life.

Geraldine was born Dec. 27, 1924, to Daniel and Fannie (Heistand) Kelsey in Flint. She graduated from West Branch High School with the class of 1943 and married Don Dunn on June 20, 1943. She was a member of the Edwards Community Church, worked as a caregiver and served on the Edwards election committee for many years. Geraldine enjoyed traveling to Florida for many years for the winter months. Geraldine did bookwork for Don Dunn Trucking and even drove the dump truck when needed.

Geraldine is survived by her daughters, Judy (Larry) Winter and Bonnie (Randy) Hector; son, Dick (Linda) Dunn; grandchildren, Jeff Winter, Steve (Kristi) Winter, Jason (Mackenzie) Dunn, Ryan (Christy) Dunn, Brent Dunn, Niklas (Erynn) Hector and Nathan (Stephanie) Hector; great-grandchildren, Tom (Dustin) Nesbitt, Aspen, Brandon, Easton and Morgan Winter, Reegan and Donovan Dunn, and Nathan Jr. and Sierra Hector; and great-great-grandchildren, Braylin and Colton.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Donald Dunn; parents, Dan and Fanny Kelsey; siblings, Leon, Floyd and Delores Kelsy Oliver; and grandson, Chuckie Terry.

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Geraldine Brindley Benjamin
December 17, 2016


Geraldine Magdeline Benjamin, age 91, passed away on Saturday, December 17, 2016 at her home in West Branch, MI.  She had lived in West Branch her entire life.  Geraldine was born to Fredrick and Mary (Hogan) Brindley in Selkirk, MI on September 11, 1925.  She was a member of the St. Joseph Catholic Church in West Branch.  Geraldine worked for General Motors for 38 years in the GMC Truck and Coach Plant in Pontiac, MI.  She enjoyed cooking, traveling, figure skating, ball room dancing, entertaining, and spending time with her grandchildren and great grandchildren.

 

Geraldine is survived by her children, Terry (Geraldine Newman) Benjamin of West Branch, MI, Larry Benjamin of West Branch, MI, and LuAnn (David) Zettle of West Branch, MI; grandchildren, Justin (Aarica) Benjamin, Geran (Theresa) Zettle, Robbie Redlawsk, and Ganae Zettle; great  grandchildren, Zander Benjamin, Makenzie Benjamin, and Dallas Zettle.  She is preceded in death by her parents, husband, and 13 brothers and sisters.

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Dorothy Stahlbush Ferguson

Dorothy Mae Ferguson, 86 of Gaylord died Monday, April 15, 2013 at her home.
Mrs. Ferguson was born in Detroit on June 3, 1926. 
Dorothy was a collector of Teddy Bears. She enjoyed taking care of others; she even made cards for the ill and played music with her husband at various nursing homes.
On June 12, 1949, she married Bryce Ferguson, who preceded her in death.
She is survived by her 3 sons, Dale of Gaylord, Donald (Sharon) of Zachary, Louisiana and Brent (Sandie) of Gillette, Wyoming; grandchildren, Craig, Sean, Collin, Josh, Kellie and Matthew; great grandchildren, Jimmy, Jessica, Ian, Cora, Hunter and Aiden; brother, Charles Stahlbusch.

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Amos Graves 1926 - 2015 Obituary Condolences Graves, Amos A.; age 88; of Kalkaska; passed away on Saturday, March 21, 2015 at KMHC – LTC. He was born on August 19, 1926 in Lansing, the son of the late Amos O. and Grace (Placher) Graves. Amos served our country during W.W.II as a Master Sergeant in the US Army. He was part of the Governors 20 Rifle and Pistol Team. Amos married his wife, Alice Schutte, on March 6, 1948 in West Branch. He was a truck driver by profession and after retiring he would transport veterans to appointments several times a week. Amos was very active in the Kalkaska VFW Post 8684 and was the Chaplin for many years and past Post Commander. He was a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association; CETA Board member; Alba Sportsman’s Club; lifetime member of Chief Okemos Sportsman’s Club; past member of the Coldsprings-Excelsior Twp. Fire Department; member of Big Brothers Assoc. Amos was a member of the Kalkaska Methodist Church and served in various capacities in the church. He was a very active member of the community up until late last fall. Always positive and trying to help someone else was the way Amos lived his life. Amos was proud to be an American and have served his country, community and family. Surviving Amos is his sisters, Ivah (Dennis) Sundholm of Panama City, FL and Gloria (John) Gambill of Dimondale; and many nieces and nephews. Preceding Amos in death was his dear wife, Alice; and sister.
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Allan Robert “Goober” Morris, age 64, passed away on Monday, October 19, 2015 in West Branch, MI. He was born to Robert “Whitey” and Mary (Fitzpatrick) Morris on July 22, 1951 in West Branch. Goober had been a resident of West Branch for all of his life. He married Mary Parkinson in West Branch on November 20, 1971. He retired from Star Cutter after 43 years of employment. Goober enjoyed riding his Harley with Mary, hunting, fishing, and spending time with his family. He especially enjoyed his grandchildren and riding around on the golf cart with them through the trails. He also enjoyed camping at Burt Lake and the Ogemaw County Fair.

Goober is survived by his loving wife of 43 years, Mary Morris of West Branch; daughter, Peggy (Tadd) Pier of Portland, MI; son, Todd Morris of West Branch; grandchildren, Zachary Pier, Cassidy Pier, and Drake Morris; sister, Darlene (Curt) Craven of Alto, MI; brother, Harry (Charlene) Morris of West Branch; sister, Rita Morris of TX; and several nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents and sisters, Valerie Morris and Joan Morris.

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Estella Arzell Stillwagon, age 91, passed away on Monday, August 17, 2015 at The Villa at Rose City. She had lived in West Branch, MI her entire life. Estella was born to John and Iva (Darling) Clayton in West Branch on May 7, 1924. She graduated from West Branch High School in 1943 and was a member of Edwards Community Church and Ogemaw Hills Free Methodist Church. Estella was very talented. She played the organ, piano, and the keyboard. She had been in a musical trio, duet, and quartet in the services at her church. She enjoyed crocheting, sewing, and baking. In her spare time she had sold Watkins, Avon, Rubbermaid, Tupperware, and worked as a cook at West Branch High School and the Tolfree Hospital and made pies for Brown’s Restaurant. She also worked at the Credit Bureau, State Savings Bank, the nursing home, plus she still had time to be a mother and housekeeper. Estella loved teaching bible school and spending time with her family.

Estella is survived by her children, Terry (Virginia) Stillwagon of Summerville, GA, Susan (Garry) Shore of Port Charlotte, FL, Paul (Patricia) Stillwagon of Westland, MI, Elizabeth (Donald) Dyer of Roscommon, MI, Rebecca (Dale) Shantz of Roscommon, MI, John (Joni) Stillwagon of West Branch, and Dave (Dawn) Stillwagon of West Branch; 18 grandchildren, 30 great grandchildren; brothers, Paul Clayton of AZ and Al Clayton of Owosso, MI; sisters in law, Dorothy Clayton and Allene Clayton both of West Branch. She is preceded in death by her husband, Clarence William Stillwagon Jr., parents, John and Iva, 5 brothers and 4 sisters. 
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Obituary for Joan Marie Ehinger

Joan Marie (Roller) Ehinger was born on August 2, 1934 in Keokuk, Iowa. She passed away peacefully on Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015 at home in West Branch, Michigan.

Joan lived in Keokuk for a short time until her family moved to Los Angeles, CA. where she graduated from Bishop Conaty High School in 1952.

On a family vacation to West Branch in 1955, she met a young man who would become her best friend and the love of her life. Gerald Ehinger and Joan married in 1956 and made their home in West Branch, MI. If you knew Joanie, you knew of her zest for life. She was an avid golfer and bridge player, and she loved making special baskets of treats for the sisters at St. Joe’s School. Joan was a movie buff. She spent many evenings watching old movies, but her absolute favorite was the Tom Selleck Jesse Stone series. She followed it with her nephew, Terry Ehinger, and she'd get such a kick out of it when he'd call to remind her a new one would be airing soon.

She often enjoyed having friends over for bridge parties and dinner parties; but, she was happiest when her family gathered around her big table in the kitchen on South Dam Road. Everybody was welcome and the dinners she prepared were phenomenal. The food was great, but the best part was sitting around that big table, telling stories and laughing late into the night.

Yet, there was so much more to Joanie than golf, bridge, cooking and fun. She taught us life lessons. Family always comes first. Always. She was devoted to her family. She was so happy when we were all together. She absolutely treasured her friends. She always told us girls how important our girlfriends would be in our lives. She taught us never to speak unkindly about people and she led by example. Faith was a really big part of each day for Joanie. “Don’t drive faster than your guardian angel can fly,” she always said. (And if you ever rode with her, you know she didn’t.) She taught us the importance of laughter---deep hearty laughter. We will miss that bright laugh of hers at our big table on South Dam Road.

She is survived by her loving husband and best friend Jerry Ehinger (who called her his “Little Turtle Dove” which always made her smile) of West Branch, MI; daughter Jeri M. (Neil) Davis of Beverly Hills, MI; daughter Catherine (Jon) Lenchner of Germantown, MD; daughter Susan (Rick) Valerio of Rockledge, FL; son John Ehinger of Vienna, VA; niece Linda Oaks Ehinger of Germantown, MD.

Grandchildren: Chad Davis, Trevor Davis, Tayelor Valerio, Alexandra Valerio, Victoria Valerio, Chase Valerio.

 
Junior "Jack" Gifford
(January 4, 1925 - October 22, 2013)



U.S. Veteran

Junior “Jack” Gifford passed on October 22, 2013 at West Branch Regional Medical Center in West Branch, MI. He was born at home on January 4, 1925 on the family farm in Rose City, MI. He had 4 brothers and 2 sisters and grew up working hard, surrounded by family. He loved to roam the woods looking for May flowers, lilies, and morals in the spring. He delighted in baby animals and the joy of little and grown children.

Jack and Gladys owned and operated the Rose City Shopping Center for many years and were vibrant members of the Rose City community. Prior to that, he was also a WWII Navy Veteran.

Jack is the son of Carl J. Gifford and Eva Earle Tennant. He is survived by his wife Gladys Gifford and his daughter, Deb (Craig) Maison; additionally by his siblings Wayne Tennant, Eleanor Zielinski, and Maxine Lauer. His legacy includes his grandchildren, Shawn (Sara) Maison, Jessica (Michael) Judd, and Terah (Todd) Grace, as well as great grandchildren, Sierra Maison, Scarlet Maison, Eva Judd and Iris Judd. Jack is preceded in death by his daughter, Ruth Marie Gifford, and brothers, Grant, Bob and Albert Tennant.

He was always there for family and friends and we all will miss him terribly. Losing him is like getting the roof ripped off our house. We will all need to be each other’s shelter in the time of tremendous loss.

Visitation at the Steuernol & McLaren Funeral Home in Rose City will begin on Friday, October 25, 2013 from 3-8:00 p.m. The Funeral Service will be at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday at the funeral home. Pastor Jody Coon will officiate.

Memorial Contributions may be made to Trinity United Methodist Church in Rose City, MI.

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Joan Burt Reetz
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Class of 1943

Robert E. “Whitey” Morris, age 87, passed away Tuesday, January 1, 2013 at Bortz Health Care in West Branch. Whitey was born May 8, 1925 to Charles and Adeline (Sirmeyer) Morris and had lived in West Branch for all of his life. He graduated from West Branch High School with the class of 1943. He was a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church, a long time member of the Knights of Columbus #2022 and he retired from the Ogemaw County Road Commission. Whitey enjoyed gardening, especially his flowers and he loved to travel, he knew every square inch of Ogemaw County and the surrounding counties. He also played Santa Claus for many years for area families and also for the residents of Bortz Health Care of West Branch for over 20 years.

Whitey will be lovingly remembered by his children Darlene and Curt Craven of Alto, Allan and Mary Morris and Harry and Charlene Morris both of West Branch and Rita and Bob Gynup of Arlington, TX, grandchildren Mike and Nancy Pekrul, Bob and Kristen Pekrul, Peggy and Tadd Pier, Todd Morris, Shawnelle and Jeff Dillard and Shane Morris, 10 great-grandchildren. Also surviving are his brother Burt (Phyllis) Morris of West Branch and his sisters- in-law Marie Smith, Mildred Brannigan and Theresa Slocum. He was preceded in death by his wife Mary (Fitzpatrick) Morris in 1999, his daughters Joan and Valerie, his son Micheal and his parents..

Visitation at the Steuernol & McLaren Funeral Home in West Branch will begin on Friday, January 4, 2013 from 3-9 p.m. with a Scripture Service at 7:00 p.m. and a K of C Rosary at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday, Whitey will lie in state at St. Joseph Catholic Church beginning at 10:00 a.m. until the time of the Mass at 11:00 a.m. Fr. Patrick Maher will officiate and burial will take place in the spring at St. Joseph Cemetery, West Branch.

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A special thank you to the staff of Bortz Health Care of West Branch for their compassionate and loving care.

 

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My father, a member of the class of '43, passed away on Dec. 7th.  I know he had kept up with some high school friends, so I thought it might be good to give the alumni association notice.  If there is someone else in charge of the class of '43 association could you please let me know?  I have attached an obituary, as well as part of a newspaper article from the '43 graduation that mentions my dad.  (He actually joined the US army.)  I have also attached a photo of the '43 graduating class.
Thanks so much,
Tim Dreszer
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Arlene Norris Robinson
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Arlene Norris Robinson
April 25, 1925-September 8, 2012
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Arlene E. Robinson age 87, of West Branch passed away Saturday, September 8, 2012 at The Brook in West Branch. Arlene was born in Churchill Twp., the daughter of Clare and Ada Norris. Arlene graduated W.B.H.S. in 1943. She married Elston Robinson on June 21, 1947 in West Branch. She had lived in West Branch since 2007, formerly of Prescott. Arlene was a member of Churchill United Methodist Church, Michigan Farm Bureau, and VFW Auxillary #3775. She also was a 4H Leader and volunteered for the Ogemaw County Fair and Hospice of Helping Hands. Arlene enjoyed ceramics, crafts, crocheting, gardening, cooking, and spending time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Arlene will always be remembered for her homemade dinner rolls and cinnamon rolls. The recipe was in her head from memory.

Arlene is survived by daughter, Kathleen (Jim) Jansen of Mayville, grandchildren, Kevin E. Jansen of Mayville, Christopher J. (Mindy) Jansen of Caro, Timothy A. (Valarie) Jansen of West Branch, great-grandchildren, Samantha, Elsie, and Aaron Jansen of West Branch, Madelyn and Cole Jansen of Caro . Also surviving is sister-in-law, Betty Robinson of West Branch, Gerrie Benjamin, life long friend of West Branch, and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by husband, Elston in 1993 and brothers, Maynard and Devere Norris.

Visitation at the Steuernol & McLaren Funeral Home in West Branch will begin Tuesday, September 11, 2012 from 2-9 pm. The funeral service will be on Wednesday at 11:00 am at the funeral home. Rev. Janet Larner will officiate.

Memorial contributions may be made to Churchill United Methodist Church or Heartland Hospice.

UNKNOWN ADDRESSES
 
Virginia Bradley Kern
 


DECEASED CLASSMATES

Geraldine Brindley Benjamin
(12/17/16)
 
Arlene Norris Robinson
(September 8, 2012)
 
Milton McGregor
 
Tim Monaghan
(January 10, 2011)
 
Jack Couture
(June 2009)
 
Betty Craft Rogers
(2007)
 
Maxon Andrews
(November 19,2007
 
Edwin Gault
(September 20,2006)

John Nauman
(March 12, 2006)
 
LaVerne Smith
 (April 4, 2005) 
 
Gerald Green
 (May 26, 2004)
 
Jean Rutledge McCauley
(2004)
 
Terry Monaghan
(May 21, 2003)
 
Ted Richardson
(1996)

Eugene Bennett
(1984)

Arlee Byce

Francis Cottle 

Charles Hacht

Jane Hanson Helm 

Lois Thompson Crow

Norine Valley Reed
 
Edward & Cleo Illig..St. Joe


Arlene E. Robinson
(April 25, 1925 - September 8, 2012)

Arlene Norris Robinson age 87, (graduated from West Branch High School in the class of 1943)  passed away Saturday, September 8, 2012 at The Brook in West Branch. Arlene was born in Churchill Twp., the daughter of Clare and Ada Norris. Arlene graduated W.B.H.S. in 1943. She married Elston Robinson on June 21, 1947 in West Branch. She had lived in West Branch since 2007, formerly of Prescott. Arlene was a member of Churchill United Methodist Church, Michigan Farm Bureau, and VFW Auxillary #3775. She also was a 4H Leader and volunteered for the Ogemaw County Fair and Hospice of Helping Hands. Arlene enjoyed ceramics, crafts, crocheting, gardening, cooking, and spending time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Arlene will always be remembered for her homemade dinner rolls and cinnamon rolls. The recipe was in her head from memory.

Arlene is survived by daughter, Kathleen (Jim) Jansen of Mayville, grandchildren, Kevin E. Jansen of Mayville, Christopher J. (Mindy) Jansen of Caro, Timothy A. (Valarie) Jansen of West Branch, great-grandchildren, Samantha, Elsie, and Aaron Jansen of West Branch, Madelyn and Cole Jansen of Caro . Also surviving is sister-in-law, Betty Robinson of West Branch, Gerrie Benjamin, life long friend of West Branch, and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by husband, Elston in 1993 and brothers, Maynard and Devere Norris.

Visitation at the Steuernol & McLaren Funeral Home in West Branch will begin Tuesday, September 11, 2012 from 2-9 pm. The funeral service will be on Wednesday at 11:00 am at the funeral home. Rev. Janet Larner will officiate.

Memorial contributions may be made to Churchill United Methodist Church or Heartland Hospice.



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Tim Monaghan, Class of 1943, age 85, passed away on Monday, January 10, 2011, surrounded by his family.  He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Beverly; five children, Steven (Audrey), David (Susan), Bryan (Kathy), Jane, Kelli (Chris Hoover); 16 grandchildren; 2 great grandchildren. Tim, as he was known, served in the Navy during WWII. After the war Tim attended Michigan State University where he received a bachelors and masters degree. Tim lived throughout Michigan in his professional career as a Civil Engineer, P.E. for the Michigan Department of Transportation. Tim led many engineering projects that changed the way we travel today throughout Michigan. After his retirement he worked for FEMA and held many different governmental positions. Tim loved his family, friends and neighbors. Memorial services will be held on Friday, January 14, 2011 at 11:00 A. M. at the First United Methodist Church with Reverend Ed Ross officiating. Visitation will be held at Wetherby Funeral Home on Thursday from 6-8 P.M. In lieu of flowers, please make contributions in memory of James Monaghan to the American Cancer Society or First United Methodist Church.
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John E. “Jack” Couture was born Dec. 18, 1924, in West Branch. He died at his summer home on Mullet Lake. He had been a resident of Rochester since 1960.

Jack graduated from West Branch High School in 1943 and Michigan State University With a degree in engineering. He was a plant engineer for General Motors, retiring in 1980. He was a charter member of Brookwood Golf Club and St. Irenaeus Catholic Church.

He was the beloved husband of Barbara Muir Couture, who married Jack on Dec. 20, 1947, and who preceded him in death May 8, 2007.

Surviving are four children and eight grandchildren. He was the brother of Frances Mann, Barbara Witzke, Mary Corriveau and the late Robert and Richard Couture.

Funeral services were conducted Friday, June 19, 2009, at St. Irenaeus Catholic Church, Rochester.

Memorial contributions may be made to Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, 426 Bay St., Petoskey, MI 49770.

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A note from Gladys Gifford...June 6th...'09
"Jack is still weak from chemo.
His cancer is gone!"
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