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Obituary for Howard Yoder, 69

Howard Yoder, age 69, of London, Ohio, passed away on May 19th, 2024. Howard was born in Plain City, Ohio to Enos and Amanda Yoder on May 5th, 1955. Howard worked alongside his family farming and operating a saw mill. He also drove a city bus for COTA for 36 years and competed in many international bus rodeo competitions; being a member of a team winning the Grand Championship May 5, 2015. Howard was also an avid collector and restorer of John Deere equipment and implements; enjoying traveling to tractor shows and building a network of friendships, with fellow enthusiasts, across the country.

Howard was a long-time member and Deacon of Big Darby Baptist Church. He will be remembered as a good Christian man, loving husband, father, and grandfather.

Surviving family members include his wife, Joy Yoder; Son Jason Yoder/wife Lindsey; Daughter Rachel Taylor/husband Corey; Son Michael Yoder/wife Kaile; Son, Levi Yoder/Katllyn; 11 grandchildren; and a large extended family within OH, IN, and IL.

A visitation will take place on Friday May 24th, 2024, from 2-4 PM and 6-8 PM at the United Bethel Mennonite Church 11342 Lafeyette Plain City Road. Plain City, Ohio 43064. Funeral services will be held on Saturday May 25th, 2024, at 11 AM also at the church.

In lieu of flowers, family is requesting donations be made to Big Darby Baptist Church in Howards memory. Please visit www.fergusonfuneralhomeinc.com to offer a special memory. Ferguson Funeral Home Plain City, Ohio is honored to care for the Yoder family.


Obituary for Beverly Gray, 77

Beverly J. Gray, 77, of Huntsville, passed away Sunday, January 7, 2024.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Beatrice and Sherman Chamberlain; a sister, Wanda Alverez; and a sister-in-law, Lucy Krause.

Leaving behind those that loved her dearly is her husband of 52 years, Bill Gray. Others include loving in-laws, Larry and Kathy Gray, Greg and Terri Gray, Debra Williamson, Janie Lawson, Larry Krause; and niece, Renee Peavler; along with other nieces and nephews.

Beverly was a long-time dedicated member of Huntsville Christian Church since 1970, serving in several capacities throughout her many years there. Her last joy of service, along with Bill, was as greeters, being the first smile people received when they entered church. Beverly became a Christian and was baptized in her teens at the Lincoln Baptist Church in Huntsville.

She graduated from Lee High school in 1964 and received her associate degree in Paralegal from Faulkner University. She had a long work history at GE, working on the Saturn space program and many other projects. She retired from Intergraph in 2017.

Her passion for reading often left the library shelves lacking offerings while she was busy learning new things.

Travel and adventure were an integral part of her life with Bill, as they not only traveled internationally, but spent many hours traveling and camping in their motorhome across the country. She was always up for challenges, loved ziplining, and took on a challenge to plow with a team of horses on an Amish farm in Illinois. She loved returning to their honeymoon location in Gatlinburg to celebrate their anniversary every 5 years and ride the sky lift together again.

Tractor shows and parades became another passion, as she proudly drove her John Deere 430 tractor through parades and tractor shows, which also enhanced their love of travel.

Their walking club, the Capital City Wanderers, was a constant highlight of their years as they not only made lifetime friends but created yet another passion for Beverly and Bill. While walking many designated club walks with their other members, they also struck out on their own and walked many cities along their travels.

In 2019, together they walked 21 state capitals and DC east of the Mississippi and followed up with 12 Midwest states capitals in 2021/2022 and fulfilled her lifetime dream of walking up the Crazy Horse Monument in South Dakota.

Beverly's quiet demeanor and smile will be missed by so many and has left a legacy of kindness and companionship.

Funeral arrangements are being handled by Berryhill Funeral Home of Huntsville, with services held at the Huntsville Christian Church at 171 Indian Creek Rd NW, in Huntsville, with her minister, John Lancaster officiating.

Visitation beginning at 1pm with funeral services at 2pm on Sunday, January 14, 2024. Interment will follow the service at Huntsville Memory Gardens.

Nephews serving as Pallbearers are: Chris Gray, John Gray, Lee Krause, Loren Krause, David Lawson, Rob Peavler and Colby Williamson.

In lieu of flowers, donations in her honor to her favorite charity, St. Jude's Children Research Hospital is greatly appreciated. Donations can be made through: www.stjude.org.

Obituary for Steven Lewis Alkire, 69

Steven Lewis Alkire, 69, of Lexington, Missouri, passed away February 8, 2024, at St. Luke's Hospital in Kansas City, after a six-month battle with cancer. A visitation will be held on Monday, February 12 from 6 to 8 p.m., and the funeral will be held on Tuesday, February 13, at 11 a.m. both at Sweeney-Phillips & Holdren in Warrensburg. Burial will be in Memorial Gardens.

Steven was born to Omar B. and Betty Lamb Alkire on October 28, 1954, at the Warrensburg Medical Center. He was married to Mary Kate McKean in Warrensburg on August 7, 1976.

Steven graduated from College High School in Warrensburg in 1972. He played football for the Colts and was active in FFA. He attended the University of Central Missouri before beginning a 40-year career in the construction field. He was a well-respected heavy equipment operator in the Kansas City area who was a member of Operating Engineers Local 101 and ended his career with Redford Construction.

After retirement in 2016, Steven enjoyed his farms, helping his friend Eddie Bracken with cattle, and working on tractors. He was an active tractor puller, winning many competitions, including the 2023 MSTPA in the 10500 Hot Stock Class. He won the Missouri State Fair pull several times.

Steven loved anything John Deere. Although Missouri was home, he enjoyed travel to the national parks of the West, Alaska and Las Vegas. He enjoyed watching the Lexington Minutemen, the Chiefs and Royals, college basketball and working at his son's high school academic competitions.

Steven was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Dennis Alkire. He is survived by wife Mary Kate and son Bryan, of the home; sister, Connie Unrein and husband Tim; brother, Ronnie Alkire and partner Terry; sisters-in-law Meryl Lin McKean and Lynn Alkire; niece Kimberly Stull, husband Ryan and son Reed; niece Kris Carlgren, husband Brett, children Tyler and Kyanne; nephew Deke Alkire, wife Sarah and daughters Audrey and Darcy, along with other family members and many friends. Steven's quiet strength, dedication and devotion will live on through them.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Lexington Hall of Fame for Career Achievement or Crest Ridge School Clothes Closet for student needs. Contributions may be left in care of the funeral home or mailed to Mary Kate Alkire.

Obituary for Steve Vander Ziel, 61

Steven Mark Vander Ziel, age 61 of Lowell, passed away Saturday, October 28, 2023. He was preceded in death by his father, Henry Vander Ziel. Steve is survived by his wife, Joan Vander Ziel; children, Amy (Foster) Hovey, Andy Vander Ziel, Melissa (Matt) Rozelle, Kelly (Alex) Repke, Kyle Vander Ziel; grandchildren, Noah Hovey, and Baby Rozelle; mother, Yvonne Vander Ziel; brother, Paul (Ann) Vander Ziel; and many nieces and nephews.

Our heavenly Father called Steve home unexpectedly on Saturday, October 28, 2023. Throughout his life, everything Steve did was from the ground up: the dairy farm, his house, pond, barn, tractors and businesses. Out of high school, he started a dairy farm with his parents and brother. Then, he worked on building a loving 35-year marriage and raising a family. He was proud of and cherished each of his unique 5 kids. In the family he had the mentality of "figure it out" - go drive that excavator or back up this trailer - because he knew we could do it; it came from a deep love of family and a desire for his kids to succeed in life. His engineering mind prompted many projects that brought the family together and which he used to teach many life lessons. In business, he believed in treating people how they would want to be treated - with integrity, honesty, and respect. He tried to be fair in business deals, one of his favorite sayings was, "pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered." Steve built a successful business from the ground up that has reached people all over the world. He served the Lowell community on the township board for many years. In his later years, he ventured first in John Deere tractors and then any brand as long as it was "pre-30". He lived by the mentality that if someone built it, he could fix it. That is exactly what he did; he brought home "tractors" in crates and after a while they would drive out of his barn under their own power. He created a tight knit community of tractor friends which he thoroughly enjoyed. Steve was always two feet in for all of life and his gas tank was always empty. He will be greatly missed by many.

For those who may not know, Steve was the namesake at Vander Ziel Machinery. He founded the company after buying a package of machinery for the farm. He kept a few items and sold the rest. He was a man who believed deeply in getting his hands dirty and leading by example, he built the business on the Christian values of honesty, integrity, and respect. Steve had a gift for planning not just to step two or three but usually to step ten or fifteen. Our family has surrounded his vision and have been involved in the business since the beginning. Still to this day the family is very involved in everyday operations.

As many may know, in his later years Steve used his engineering mind to restore old tractors, in his mind the older the better. He would reverse engineer parts even when he didn’t have the original. His ingenuity and ability to solve a problem brought Vander Ziel Machinery to where we are today.

Visitation will be held from 5-8pm on Thursday, November 2, 2023, at "The Barn" 12166 52nd St. Lowell, MI 49331. A portion of 52nd St will be closed for the visitation - proceed through the closure and park on the road. Funeral Services will be held at 11 am on Friday, November 3, 2023, at NorthPointe Christian Schools, 3101 Leonard St. NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525. Memorial contributions in lieu of flowers can be made to NorthPointe Christian Schools (NPC Foundation in memory of Steve VanderZiel), 3101 Leonard St. NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525 or Lowell Township for the Parks (Steve VanderZiel Family Endowment Fund), 2910 Alden Nash SE, Lowell, MI 49331.

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