Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those that we've lost in our community.  We have a list of resources that may be able to help you during the grieving process.  They are posted in the right column of this page.

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OBITUARIES
John W. Lott age 52 of Gaines passed away Monday, September 18, 2017 at his home. A memorial service will be 5:00 PM Monday, September 25, 2017 at Watkins Brothers Funeral Homes, Durand Chapel. Deacon Rod Amon will be officiating. Family will receive friends from 1 PM until the time of the service. Online condolences may be sent at www.watkinsfuneralhomes.com


Evan Stuart Gardner, age 21 of Durand, passed away on Saturday, September 16, 2017 as the result of a motorcycle accident.  Funeral services will be held on Saturday, September 23, 2017 at 11am at Watkins Brothers Funeral Homes, Durand Chapel, Pastor Eric Johnson will officiate.  The family will receive visitors at the funeral home on Thursday, September 21, 2017 from 5-8pm and again on Friday, September 22, 2017 from 1-4pm.  Online condolences can be shared with the family at, www.WatkinsFuneralHomes.com


Eula Jean Ellsworth, 85, of Durand, died Wednesday, September 13, while hospitalized in Lansing. She suffered a stroke September 3 at home and was receiving intensive therapy to recover until her condition deteriorated and lead to her death.

She was born October 7, 1931 in Durand, the daughter of Charles and Ruth Nelson. A lifelong Durand resident, she married Arthur Ellsworth July 11, 1953.They lived in the same house just west of Durand for the last 62 years, celebrating their 64th wedding anniversary this summer.

She worked 28 years as a cook in the Durand Area Schools hot lunch program. Following the retirement of her mother from the position in 1974, Jean became head cook in the Durand High School hot lunch program. She remained in that position until her retirement in 1993. Jean was a volunteer emergency medical technician for the Durand/Vernon Area Ambulance Service for many years. She was an auxiliary member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Chapter in Durand.

She is survived by her husband, Arthur; twin sons Michael, and wife Laurie, of Bancroft, and Jeffrey, and wife Susan, of Lansing; daughter, Carol Keyes, and husband John, of Owosso; Grandchildren Justin Keyes of Owosso; Steven Keyes of Henderson; Shelley Schultz, and husband Andy, of Morrice; Jarrad Ellsworth, and wife Stacy, of Durand; Alison Ellsworth of Clarkston; and Sarah Thrubis, and husband Jim, of Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is also survived by great grandchildren Ella and Ethan Schultz of Morrice and Audrey Ellsworth of Durand. Also surviving is one brother, Charles Nelson Jr. of Durand.

Funeral Services will be Monday, September 18 at 1 p.m. in the Watkins Brothers Funeral Home, Durand chapel. Rev. Ray Strawser will be officiating. A funeral luncheon will follow at the Dutch Hollow Golf Course in Durand. Family will receive friends on Sunday from 2-6 PM.

The family requests the in lieu of flowers, mourners make a donation in Jean’s name to the charity of their choice.


Janet M. Young, age 77 of Durand, passed away Tuesday, September 12, 2017 at the Hospice House of Shiawassee County.  A private family service was held. The family is being served by Watkins Brothers Funeral Homes, Durand Chapel.

Janet was born June 12, 1940 in Owosso to the late George and Veronica (Heeney) Bowles.  She attended St. Paul High School in Owosso, graduating in 1958.  On February 23, 1963 she married Roy Young in Owosso and together they raised 3 sons.

Janet was a volunteer with the DVA for many years.  She was a member of St. Mary Catholic Church in Durand, the Durand VFW Women's Auxiliary and the Durand Eagles Auxiliary.  She enjoyed golfing and her card clubs.

Janet is survived by her husband of 54 years, Roy; 3 sons: Kurt (Sam) Young of Georgia, Scott (Kelly) Young of Florida, David Young of Durand; 3 grandchildren: Haleigh Young, Mya Young and Hannah Goul; siblings: Donna Sheldon, Marion Bean and Gerald Bowles as well as many nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents; 3 brothers: Tom, Raymond and Bernie Bowles and a sister, Geraldine Bowles.

Memorial contributions given in Mrs. Young's name are suggested to the Hospice House of Shiawassee County.  Online condolences may be shared with her family by going to www.watkinsfuneralhomes.com


Betty Jean Shook age 95 of Durand passed away Monday, September 11, 2017 at Genesys Hospital in Grand Blanc. Funeral Services will be at 11:00 AM Friday, September 15, 2017, at the First Baptist Church of Durand. There will be an hour of visitation preceding the funeral.  Pastor Russell Park will be officiating. The family also will receive friends on Thursday from 4-7 PM at Watkins Brothers Funeral Homes, Durand Chapel.
Betty Eddy was born June 29, 1922 in Durand, a daughter of Lemuel and Bernice (Dodge) Eddy. On May 15, 1947 she married Bert Shook, and they were married for 70 years. She was a lifelong member of the First Baptist Church of Durand. She volunteered for the Red Cross blood drives for 30 years. Betty also was a nurses aide for Chevrolet Manufacturing in Flint until she had children. She was a homemaker after that time.

Betty is survived by her husband, Bert Shook; children, Greg Shook and Doug (Viji) Shook; grandchildren, Jeff, Scott, and Jason Shook; great grandson, Cody Shook and best friend, Wanda Lamphere. She was preceded in death by her brothers, Clyde and Richard, and sister, Geraldine.

Online condolences may be made at www.watkinsfuneralhomes.com


Betty J. Shepard age 90 of Durand passed away Wednesday, September 6, 2017 at The Lodges of Durand. A memorial service will be 11:00 AM at the Gaines United Methodist Church on Saturday, September 16, 2017. Rev. Eric Johnson will be officiating. Family will receive friends one hour prior to the service. Arrangements are being handled by Watkins Brothers Funeral Homes, Durand Chapel.

Betty was born April 26, 1927 in Pleasant View, UT a daughter of John and Eunice (Deem) Pitman. On June 29, 1946 she married Duane Shepard. They were members of the Gaines United Methodist Church. Betty was a past Den Mother for Boy Scouts of America, 4-H Leader, a school bus driver and Sunday school teacher. She enjoyed Golfing, gardening, painting, ceramics, knitting, crocheting and she enjoyed doing seamstress work.

Betty is survived by her husband, Duane Shepard; children, Michael (Bonnie) Shepard, Larry (Dawn) Shepard and Patricia Shepard; 6 grandchildren; 9 great grandchildren; sister, Susan Briscoe; and brother, Jack Pitman. She was preceded in death by both of her parents and her brother, Raymond Pitman.

Memorial Contributions in Betty's name are suggested to the Gaines United Methodist Church. Online condolences may be sent at www.watkinsfuneralhomes.com.


Mary Ellen (Wyon) Palmer age 59 of Bancroft passed away Monday, August 28, 2017 at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. Funeral services will be 11:00 AM Friday, September 1, 2017 at Watkins Brothers Funeral Homes, Durand Chapel. Pastors Don White and Russ Merrill will be officiating. Burial will follow to Yerian Cemetery. Family will receive friends on Thursday from 3-8 PM.

Mary Ellen Mogg was born November 4, 1957 in Owosso, a daughter of William and Nellie (Braley) Mogg. On December 21, 1979 she married Henri Wyon. On November 17, 2002 he preceded her in death. On July 7, 2007 she married Doug Palmer. Mary and Doug were members of the Lennon Lions Club and Vittles for Vets together. She enjoyed taking care of friends and family, helping veterans and donating to children in need. Prior to her retirement, she had been employed by the Owosso School System for many years as a paraprofessional working with special education children.

Surviving Mary is her husband, Doug Palmer; children, April (Don) Reidsma, Rachida (Gator) Woodward, Tracy (Brent) Nelson, Michelle (Ben) Quake, Salley Palmer, Brian (Dawn) Palmer, Michael (Michelle) Wyon, Scott Palmer, James (Danielle) Palmer and Rebecca Gibson; 24 grandchildren; 8 great grandchildren; and brothers, William, David (Anna) and Sam (Cheryl). She was preceded in death by her first husband, Henri Wyon; both parents; 2 sisters; 1 brother; 1 grandson; and 1 great granddaughter.

Memorial Contributions in Mary's name are suggested to the Lennon Lions Club. Online condolences may be sent at www.watkinsfuneralhomes.com


Laura K. Spence age 54 of Gaines, passed away Sunday, August 27, 2017 at her home. Funeral will be 11:00 AM Thursday, August 31, 2017 at Watkins Brothers Funeral Homes, Durand Chapel. Pastor Steven Wood will be officiating. Burial to follow to Love Joy Cemetery. Family will receive friends on Wednesday from 2-8 PM.

Laura Kay Jones was born March 22, 1963 in Flint, MI a daughter of Chester and Doris (Gilman) Jones. On December 1, 1984 she married Richard Spence. She was a member of the Durand Lioness Club and the First Congregational Church of Durand. She enjoyed cooking and being around her friends and family. She was actively involved in her children's sports and band for school. She loved her children very much. Prior to her retirement, she worked for Dayton Hudson Department store in Flint for many years. She also worked for the Durand school systems as a paraprofessional for several years.

Laura is survived by her husband, Richard Spence; children, Cassandra (Shawn) Maynard and Candace (Bradley) Aldrich; grandchildren, Alara, Tristan, Henry and Rosalie; brothers, Bruce (Sue) Jones and Larry (Marlene) Jones; brother-in-law, Michael (Nancy) Spence; sister-in-law, Karla (Steve) Waldron; nephews, Derek and Ryan; niece, Taylor; and many aunts, uncles, cousins, and very good friends. She was preceded in death by both of her parents.

Memorial Contributions in Laura's name are suggested to the First Congregational Church of Durand or the Durand Volleyball Team. Online condolences may be sent at www.watkinsfuneralhomes.com


Alexander Thomas Rushka, age 82, of Lennon, passed away on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 at his home.  Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Monday, August 28, 2017 at 10:30am at St. Mary Catholic Church in Durand, Rev. Fr. Jonathan Perrotta will celebrate with burial to follow in Hillcrest Memorial Gardens.  The family will receive friends at Watkins Brothers Funeral Homes, Durand Chapel, on Sunday, August 27, 2017 from 2-4pm and 6-8pm.  The Rosary will be prayed at 7pm, Sunday evening at the funeral home. 

Alexander was born in New York, New York on July 25, 1935 to the late Alexander Thomas and Mary Anna (Pavlica) Rushka.  Alexander served his country faithfully in the United States Navy from 1952 to 1956.  On June 20, 1969 he married the late Doris Eva Young in Caro, Michigan.  Alexander retired from General Motors as a Journeyman Pipefitter. 

Mr. Rushka is survived by his children; Christopher (Karen) Rushka and Shawn (Lisa) Rushka.  His grandchildren; Aimee (Jason) Monroe, Kristin Rushka, his namesake, Alexander Thomas Rushka III, Ashley (Shaun) Merry, Corey Crossnoe, and his great-granddaughter, Annabelle Simpson. 

He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Doris on December 8, 2008, and his mother and father in-laws, John and Alta Young.

Memorial contributions in Mr. Rushkas name are suggested to the St. Mary Catholic Church of Durand. 

Online condolences can be shared with the family by going to www.WatkinsFuneralHomes.com


Mary L. Baker age 91 of Nashville, TN formerly of Lennon passed away Sunday, August 20, 2017 at her home in TN. Funeral service will be 11:00 AM Friday, August 25, 2017 at Watkins Brothers Funeral Homes, Durand Chapel. Rev. Barb Benjamin will be officiating. Burial to follow to Yerian Cemetery. Family will receive friends on Thursday, from 2-4 and 6-8 PM.

Mary was born October 13, 1925 in Wyandotte, MI a daughter of Harrison and Bertha (Parks) Cordell. On September 30, 1944 she married Donald Baker. He preceded her in death in 2010. They were members of the Lennon United Methodist Church together.

Mary is survived by her children, Diane Baker of Nashville, TN and Linda (Don) Bagley of Reno, NV; grandchildren, Jodi (Rodd) Rummel and Donald Bagley III; 4 great grandchildren; and brothers, Frank Cordell and Harry Cordell. She is preceded in death by her husband, Donald Baker; daughter, Kathy Baker; granddaughter, Kristin Snow; and 6 siblings.

Memorial Contributions in Mary's name are suggested to the Lennon United Methodist Church. Online condolences may be sent at www.watkinsfuneralhomes.com


Joseph G. Evans age 82 of Corunna passed away Sunday, August 6, 2017 at The Lodges of Durand. There are no services at this time. Arrangements are being handled by Watkins Brothers Funeral Homes, Durand Chapel. Online condolences may be sent at www.watkinsfuneralhomes.com
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