Nilah Maye Farmer
Nilah Maye Farmer of Elk Rapids, Michigan passed away peacefully at home on Friday, June 19, 2020, still young and joyful at heart. She was born in Circleville, Ohio on August 11, 1923 to the late Jesse Harold Wilson and Elpha Beatrice (Siniff) Wilson.
Growing up, she spent every weekend dancing to her father’s band and liked to say she was raised on the dance floor.
Nilah graduated from Grant Hospital Nursing School in 1945 and joined the Navy as a nurse (Ensign). Nilah and her late husband Joseph Irwin Farmer, a Naval Lieutenant JG, met while she was stationed on Mare Island during World War II. They fell in love dancing at the officer’s club. They were married on October 26, 1946.
Nilah and Joe started their family in Dayton, Ohio. They moved seven times finally landing in Birmingham, Michigan. Nilah continued her nursing career at Providence Hospital and later retired from Beaumont Hospital of Royal Oak.
Nilah and Joe began visiting northern Michigan shortly after World War II and eventually bought a small cottage on Elk Lake. Their life was filled with dancing, entertaining, traveling, summers on Elk Lake, and love for their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and all those called “family by love, not blood.” She was the rock of the family.
They retired in Elk Rapids, where Nilah’s warmth, openness, and wicked sense of humor helped her build a close and caring community. Their home was always filled with family, friends, neighbors, and, one by one, the neighbors’ cats. She was just as comfortable on the dance floor in her pearls as she was doing household repairs, constructing slabs for the dock, and doing the heavy lifting in her excellent garden.
Her faith was the foundation of her life. Nilah didn’t preach kindness and acceptance; she led us by example of how one should live this life on earth. Throughout her life, even while on hospice, Nilah was the epitome of living with grace, kindness, acceptance, love, faith, and most of all JOY.
The family thanks the staff of Munson Hospice Care for their kind, loving, and highly professional care. Nilah passed away surrounded by family and friends, knowing that her life and world were filled with love. We were blessed to have you as our mother, Grandma, Great-Grandma, Aunt, teacher and friend. We know you are in the arms of Jesus.
In lieu of flowers, Nilah would prefer donations to the Elk Rapids Community Cupboard or the youth at Elk Rapids First Presbyterian Church, where she loved to help her daughter teach Sunday School.
There will be a memorial service at Elk Rapids First Presbyterian Church (date to be determined). There will also be a Celebration of Life (date to be determined). Her ashes will be interred with her parents in Darbyville Cemetery in Pickaway County, Ohio.
Nilah was also preceded in death by her sister, Lillie Margaret (Robert) Glover; brothers, Jesse Y (Tony) Wilson and Byron Ned (Rusty) Wilson. She is survived by daughter, Catherine Farmer; sons, Robert (Rose) Farmer and William Farmer; grandson Jesse Farmer; “daughter by love,” Debra (Charles) Brown; “granddaughter by love,” Breanna (Colin) McEwan, and “great-grandchildren by love,” Branwen, Oriana, and Cael McEwan.
Penny Lou Zimmerman
Penny Lou Zimmerman of Williamsburg, Michigan passed away unexpectedly on May 27, 2020, one week after her mother, at Munson Medical Center in Traverse City. Penny was born to Leo and Nancy (Wright) Zimmerman in Traverse City, Michigan on July 14, 1968. Penny grew up in Rapid City, Michigan. She attended school in Rapid City and graduated from Kalkaska High School.
Penny enjoyed playing card games, board games, biking, kayaking, fishing, and camping. She loved making s’mores while camping “It’s a Rule.” Penny loved the outdoors. She was a talented artist and sang in the choir at the Williamsburg United Methodist Church. She also liked traveling around the U.S. with family and friends.
Penny worked at Hope Village for over 20 years. She started as an aide then moved up to activities director. She enjoyed hearing/talking to the residents about their life stories and working with the staff of Hope Village.
Penny was a very kind, loving and generous woman. She is greatly missed. Penny Lou was preceded in death by her mother, Nancy Lou (Wright) Zimmerman on May 20, 2020.
Penny Lou is survived by her father, Leo Zimmerman Sr.; siblings, Sue Zimmerman, Steven and Trudy (McMichael) Zimmerman, Leo and Nancy (Diehl) Zimmerman, Jr.; nephew, Leo and Andee (Hall) Zimmerman III; nieces, Bethany and Yun Zhou, Brianna Zimmerman; great nieces, Anya (Hall) and Lyanna Zimmerman. And her special friend, Ralph Louis Sprague. Penny Lou and her mother Nancy Lou are laid to rest together.
Herbert C. Dawson
Herbert C. Dawson, 72, of Central Lake, Michigan, died June 17, 2020 after a brief illness. He was born on July 15, 1947 in Charlevoix, Michigan, the son of Charles and Nola (Bennett) Dawson.
Herb went to Central Lake Public Schools and was a member of the Central Lake VFW. He joined the US Army and served in the Vietnam War. He was a lifelong truck driver, often traveling across the country. He spent seven years in Alaska, also driving trucks there. In his spare time Herb enjoyed fishing. He also enjoyed old cars and finally bought himself his dream – a 1957 Red Chevy.
Surviving Herb are his mother, Nola Belle Dawson; his son, Charlie Dawson, of Fairbanks, Alaska; grandsons Dakota (Claire) Dawson, of Fairbanks, Alaska, and Austin (Karlee) Dawson, of Honor, Michigan; granddaughter, Serena Dawson, of Fairbanks, Alaska; two great grandsons, Jon and Walker Dawson; and a great grandbaby on the way. Also surviving are his sisters, Barbara Dawson, of Kewadin, Michigan; Betty Langschwager, of Bay City, Michigan; Bonnie (James) Trojanek, of Kewadin, Michigan; Lucinda (John) Guiton, of North Carolina, and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father, Charles Dawson in 2016.
Graveside services with military honors will be held at a later date in Lakeview Cemetery, Torch Lake.
Arrangements have been handled by the Central Lake Chapel of Mortensen Funeral Homes. Please sign Herb’s online guestbook www.mortensenfuneralhomes.com.
Neil Edward Leiter
Neil Edward Leiter, 90, of Rapid City, Michigan, formerly from Chicago East Side, passed away on Thursday, June 4, 2020 at his home with his loved ones at his side.
Neil was born on November 22, 1929 in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Verner and Ethel (Gehrt) Leiter.
Neil retired from Valley Mould and Iron, Chicago, as a maintenance superintendent and returned to Michigan thereafter. Neil was a loving father, brother, grandfather and great grandfather and loving uncle to his family.
He is survived by Richard (Kathy), Sandra (Chuck), Linda (TJ), Barbara (Kenny), Kenneth, Patty (John), Mary (Don) and Kathy (Gene). He is also survived by one sister, Laverne.
Neil enjoyed having get-togethers and being with his family at the home he built in Rapid City.
He was preceded in death by his wives, Rosetta and Dorothy; brother, Marvin; and parents, Verner and Ethel.
A private burial service will be held at Southern Cemetery in Central Lake. The date will be announced in the near future.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to your local humane society.