Monthly Archives: March 2016

Fox2Fannie A. Fox

June 12, 1929 – March 30, 2016


Fannie A. Fox, 86, of Monroe. Passed away at 5:35 a.m. Wednesday at Medilodge of Monroe.


Friends may call from 2 to 8 p.m. Friday at Rupp Funeral Home, where services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday. Rev. Kenny Goins and Rev. Eric Cook , Fannie’s grandson, will officiate. Burial will follow at Roselawn Memorial Park, LaSalle.


Fannie was born June 12, 1929 in Speedwell, Tennessee. She was the daughter of Charlie and Francis (Dunkin) Braden. She married Freddie Russell Fox May 24, 1973; he preceded her in death May 28, 2000.


She came to Monroe in 1948.


Fannie was a member of Kentucky Park Missionary Baptist Church. She loved attending church and was always willing to help in anyway that she could.


She is survived by her son, Charles Cook of Monroe; a brother, Dewey (Betty) Braden of West Portage County, Ohio; three grandchildren. Amanda Newton, Dawn Cook and Eric Cook and eight great grandchildren.


In addition to her husband; she is preceded in death by her parents, three brothers, Sherman, Harm and Clarence and four sisters, Lucy Kitts, Wanda Bunch, Alice Braden and Vinnie Tackas.


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FleemanLuther Fleeman

May 13, 1931 – March 27, 2016


Luther Fleeman, 84, of Flat Rock, formerly of Monroe, passed away on Sunday at 6:31 a.m. at ProMedica Monroe Regional Hospital.


Friends may call from 2 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Rupp Funeral Home, where services will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday.  Rev. Guy C. Ervin, pastor of First Christian Baptist Church, will officiate.  Burial will follow at Roselawn Memorial Park, LaSalle.


Luther was born May 13, 1931 in Harrogate, Tennessee.  He was the son of  Stearl and Annie (Cox) Fleeman.  He married Pearl M. Kennedy February 19, 1953 in Ft. Knox, Kentucky; she preceded him in death February 24, 1986.


He was employed by Ford Motor Company, Woodhaven Plant.


Luther serviced in the U.S. Army and was stationed at Ft. Knox.


He attended First Christian Baptist Church and enjoyed playing his guitar and singing for the residents of several area nursing homes.


Luther is survived by a son, Billy (Donna) Fleeman of Monroe; a daughter, Brenda (Louis) Dolan of Monroe; a step daughter, Nancy (Larry) Runles of Dundee; three brothers, Glen (Rosie) Fleeman of Harrogate, Tennessee, David (Nancy) Fleeman of Ohio and Arvil Fleeman of Maryville, Tennessee; Ethel Williams of Tazewell, Tennessee; six grandchildren, Tana, Anna, Christopher, Johnny, Richie and Deana, nine great grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren.


In addition to his wife, he is preceded in death a step daughter Marcia Rourke, a grandson Scott Rourke and several brothers and sisters.


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LovellGrace (Zion) Lovell

February 7, 1925 – March 25, 2016


Grace (Zion) Lovell, 91, of Monroe, passed away peacefully Friday March 25 at Medilodge of Monroe. Before entering Medilodge, she made her home with her son Ron and daughter-in-law Sue Zion.


She was born February 7, 1925 in Fonde, Kentucky to Sherman and Bessie (Hodge) Hammitte.


Grace was a member of the Stewart Road Church of God. For many years she was active in the church’s Ladies Willing Workers, and their Wednesday morning Prayer Group. She leaves behind a rich legacy in prayer and her faith in God.


She is survived by her three sons: William (Mitzie) Zion of Ocala, Florida, Ron (Sue) Zion of Monroe and Keith (Pam) Zion of Lambertville, Michigan, one step-daughter, Brenda Farris and one step-son, Rudy Sonnichsen; one brother, Kenneth Hammitte of Hamilton, Alabama; three sisters, Helen Ayers of Ocala, Florida, Carol Ellis of Richmond, Virginia and Arizona Schmidt of Zephyerhills, Florida, seven grandchildren, ten great grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.


In addition to her parents and two husbands, she was preceded in death by a daughter Evelyn Wylie, six brothers, James, J.B., Arlie, David, Tom and Elery Hammitte, and two sisters, Geneva Johnson and Hazel Keck, and one grandson Chad Zion.


Friends may call from 2 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Rupp Funeral Home. She will lie instate at 10 a.m. Friday at the Stewart Road Church of God with funeral services at 11 a.m. Rev. Dr. Joseph Byrd, lead pastor of the church, will officiate. Burial will follow at Roselawn Memorial Park, LaSalle.


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KohlerMonsignor Russell E. Kohler

November 12, 1943 – March 25, 2016



Born November 12, 1943 in Monroe, Michigan, Monsignor Russell E. Kohler was the son of the late Vernon A. and Mary E. (Kellison) Kohler. He graduated from Monroe Catholic Central High School in 1961. He entered his seminary studies at Our Lady of the Lake Seminary, Syracuse, Indiana and then transferred to Sacred Heart Seminary College, Detroit. He then enrolled at St. John’s Provincial Seminary in Plymouth, Michigan for graduate studies and took additional courses at the University of Detroit.


Msgr. Russ was ordained a Catholic priest at Detroit’s Assumption Grotto Church on Palm Sunday, April 15, 1973 by Bishop Joe Imesch and was assigned to St. Aloysius Parish, downtown Detroit from 1974-1980. He also served at St. David of Wales Parish and Patronage of St. Joseph in Detroit. He was Chaplain at Sinai and Grace Hospitals in Detroit between 1982-1991. In 1991 he was named pastor of historic Most Holy Trinity Parish in Corktown, Detroit and on July 1, 2012 he was also appointed pastor of Ste. Anne de Detroit serving both parishes concurrently. He also had served as Associate Pastor at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Grotto) Parish, Detroit. In addition, he served as administrator of St. Patrick Parish, White Lake; St. Joseph Parish, Detroit; and St. Charles Borromeo Parish, Newport. On December 5, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him Monsignor, Chaplain to His Holiness.


In 1974 he began working with cancer youth and established Pope John XXIII Hospitality House for cancer patients and was a director of Special Day Camps for youth with cancer and their siblings for over 30 years. In 1993 he helped create the Trinity Educational Foundation, which supports scholarships for inner city youth attending Most Holy Trinity School, founded in 1838. Msgr. Russ also organized, founded, and served as Chaplain of the St. Joseph of Arimathea Guild, an organization formed for the purpose of spiritually understanding the role of being a Catholic funeral director, and actively supported the St. Francis of Cabrini Clinic which provides medical and legal help for those in need.


He was appointed director of the Archdiocese of Detroit’s port ministry the Apostleship of the Sea by Cardinal Adam Maida in 1998. In 2009 he was appointed to the Michigan Board of Examiners in Mortuary Science by then Governor Jennifer Granholm and reappointed by Governor Rick Snyder, and also sat on the Automobile Theft Prevention Authority Board.


Msgr. Russ was a member and Chaplain of the Ancient Order of Hibernians for over thirty years. He graduated from the Schoolcraft Police Academy, serving as chaplain to the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department, Detroit Metro Police Emerald Society and to the area police group, the Choir Boys. His memberships included chaplaincies to the Inter-Lake Yachting Association, Detroit Yacht Club, Bayview Yacht Club (Detroit) Swan Boat Club, (Newport, Michigan), Sunken Sail Yacht Club, (Irish Hills), National Apostleship of the Sea, Friends of the Detroit Fire Boat, Maltese American Benevolent Society, Inc. of Corktown, Detroit,  Knights of Columbus, and member of the Board of the Fr. Clement H. Kern Foundation.


He enjoyed hunting, fishing, antiquing, music, collecting automobiles, Tiger Baseball, and boating. He especially enjoyed spending time at his homes in Harrisville and the Irish Hills. When not in the Detroit Metro area, Msgr. Russ could often be found celebrating Mass at St. Joseph Shrine in the Irish Hills when called upon.


Msgr. Russ is survived by three siblings, Jacquelyn “Jackie” Miller of Monroe, Polly (Douglas) Lovell of LaSalle, and Barney Kohler of Onsted; sister-in-law, Denise Kohler of Newport; nephews, Carey (Rosanne) Miller, Jeremy (Nicole) Lovell, Casey (Zoira) Lovell, Derek Didario, Kellison (Elizabeth) Kohler, and Kory Kohler; niece, Abbey (Douglas) Moran; and nine great nieces and nephews.


In addition to his parents, he was also preceded in death by an infant sister, Susan; brother-in-law, Alan Miller; and infant great-niece, Audrey Moran.


Family and friends may visit from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Rupp Funeral Home, Monroe, where a time of sharing will be at 6:30 p.m. Msgr. Russ will lie in repose Thursday at Ste. Anne de Detroit Parish at 2 p.m. where Bishop Donald F. Hanchon will celebrate Mass at 6:30 p.m. He will then lie in repose at Most Holy Trinity, Detroit at 2 p.m. Friday until his funeral Mass at 6:30 p.m. presided by Archbishop of Detroit, Allen H. Vigneron. Private interment services will be held at St. Charles Cemetery, Newport, where Monsignor Russ will be laid to rest with Rites of Committal offered by Bishop Hanchon.


In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are encouraged to Most Holy Trinity Church, Most Holy Trinity School, or Ste. Anne de Detroit Church, all care of 1050 Porter St., Detroit, MI 48226.


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Herman Carl Brett, Jr.

September 12, 1925 – March 22, 2016


BrettHerman Carl Brett, Jr., age 90, of Monroe, Michigan passed away on Tuesday evening, March 22, 2016 in his home under the care of ProMedica Hospice and his loyal caregivers.


Herman was born September 12, 1925 in Scofield, Michigan. He was the son of Herman C. and Alice L. (Zink) Brett, Sr. His early years included eight years of schooling at McGowan School and later graduating from Carleton High School in 1942. He was baptized and confirmed by Rev. Theo Dannecker at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Maybee, Michigan.


Joining the United States Navy in December of 1943, Herman was assigned to the USS Chester T. O’Brien, a destroyer escort. Known of late as ‘the hot shell man’, he was a World War II veteran who served his country and was honorably discharged in April, 1946.


On November 21, 1947, Herman married Dora E. Brooks with Rev. Theo Dannecker performing the ceremony. Sadly, Dora preceded him in death on August 23, 2015. Although he worked for six years at Ford Motor Company, twenty-five years as co-owner of Herm and Stan’s Friendly Mobil Service, and ten years as head custodian at Monroe Junior High School, his later years were most importantly devoted to lovingly and loyally caring for his wife as she coped with progressive dementia.


Herman was a member of Grace Lutheran Church where he was an usher. He was also a lifelong member of the VFW. reading, gardening, walking hand-in-hand with Dora on Macomb Street, and generally being a good neighbor are all activities that described Herman.


Herman is survived by his daughter, Dora Elizabeth “Becky” Brett of Monroe; a granddaughter, Shannon E. (Robert) Lahey of Perrysburg, Ohio; great-granddaughter, Jamie E. Lahey of Perrysburg; and step great-granddaughter, Alexis Lahey and step great-great-granddaughter Rory Jaiden Hillman of Bowling Green, Ohio. Additionally, Herman is survived by one sister, Donna J. Brett, several nieces including Sue A. (Steve) Kreps and a nephew, Brett J. Held, and a trusted and supportive friend, Bueford E. Campbell.


In addition to his parents and wife, Dora, Herman was preceded in death by their son, Herman Carl Brett, III; sisters Virginia Held and Sonya K. Brett; and brothers Emil J. Brett and Harold A. Brett.


Family and friends may visit from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday at Rupp Funeral Home where services will be conducted by Rev. Mark Witte, Pastor of Grace Lutheran Church at 11 a.m. on Saturday. Burial will follow at Roselawn Memorial Park, LaSalle. with military honors provided by VFW Post 1138, Monroe.


Memorial donations may be made to ProMedica Hospice, Grace Lutheran Church, or to a charity of the donor’s choice.


The family of Herman would like to thank ProMedica Hospice for the support and comfort given to him and the family as he transitioned from this world. An especially deep appreciation and thanks go to Herman and Dora’s daily caregivers- Amanda, Terrie, Vanessa, Tammy, A.J., and Jennifer of Jennifer’s Loving Care. These people came to our family as strangers and took Herman and Dora into their hearts and made the last of their earthly time one of total devotion, care, love, patience, and kindness. Their dedication and kindness will always be held closely in the hearts of our family.


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RatliffJohn A. “Johnny” Ratliff, Jr.

July 17, 1985 – March 18, 2016


John A. “Johnny” Ratliff, Jr., 30, of Monroe, passed away Friday March 18, 2016. Johnny was taken all to soon but his struggles have all ended now. He will be missed greatly.


Friends may call from 1 p.m. until services at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Rupp Funeral Home.


Johnny was born July 17, 1985 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. He was the son of John A. and RoxAnn D. (Dylewski) Ratliff, Sr.


Johnny’s daughter Ava was the light of his life.


He had worked at Applebee’s in Monroe, Woodhaven and Taylor as a cook and a manager.


Johnny was a man of God attending the Oaks of Righteousness Church and also Southpoint Community Christian Church in Trenton. He believed in God and would spread the word of God to anyone who would listen going as far as giving his Bible away then getting another just to do it again. He never met a stranger, always seeing the good in others and was there for anyone in need.


He loved to cook, listening to reggae music and he enjoyed the simple beauty of nature and being outdoors.


He is survived by his daughter, Ava Marie Ratliff of Monroe; his mother, RoxAnn (Michael) Higginbotham of Monroe; two brothers, Jeffrey A. (Frankie) Reasey of Carrollton, Virginia and David M. (Tara) Reasey of Conway, South Carolina; a sister, Erica Higginbotham of Monroe; three nieces, Kensington Reasey, Emily Reasey and Sarah Reasey and several aunts, uncles and cousins.


He is preceded in death by his father.


Memorial contributions may be made to the Philadelphia House.


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OwensJoanna J. Owens

December 15, 1966 – March 18, 2016


Joanna J. Owens, 49, of Monroe passed away at 9:15 Friday at ProMedica Monroe Regional Hospital.


Joanna was born December 15, 1966 in Monroe. She was the daughter of John Loraine and Kathleen (Neikirk) Stump. She married Spike T. Owens February 25, 1989.


She was a 1986 graduate of Monroe High School.


Joanna was employed at Kmart as a manager and had also worked the previous 15 years at Meijer in management.


She enjoyed fishing, bird watching, flower gardening and bike riding. She loved animals, especially her cats. She had also been active in Monroe Relay for Life.


Joanna is survived by her husband, Spike T. Owens of Monroe; her parents John and Kathleen Stump of Monroe; a son, Daniel S. Owens of Monroe; two daughters, Jessica E. Owens and Karrie J. Owens both of Monroe; a grandmother, Jewel Stump of Tennessee and a sister, Cassandra Allison of Lima, Ohio.


The family will receive friends from 11 a.m. Thursday until a memorial service at 12 noon. Rev. Larry Detruf will officiate. In accordance with Joanna’s wishes cremation has taken place. The family would like to invite everyone to dress casually in honor of Joanna’s relaxed approach to life.


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Bernice Christine Brancheau

March 7, 1925 – March 13, 2016


Bernice Brancheau Pic

Born to Andrew and Violet Boyd in Honolulu Hawaii; her mother died at a young age leaving Bernice and her 2 sisters and brother to be raised by their stepmother moving from island to island and to various locations on Oahu. Andrew was an engineer /shipbuilder fluent in several languages including Japanese and served as an interpreter for the military during World War II. At 17 she met the love of her life “Brad” 24, (Francis Brancheau), a career navy man, they married in January 1944, after a mandatory 1 year courtship imposed by her father. A marriage lasting 56 years until Brad’s death in 2000. The next 20 years involved having and raising seven children all born in various states or U.S. territory’s until Brad’s retirement from the military after 22 years. She moved to Brad’s home state of Michigan and continued raising her 7 children there, (never much liking the cold climate), losing their oldest son Francis to the Viet Nam war in 1969. When the children were raised Bernice and Brad moved in 1980 to Roswell New Mexico for warmer, drier weather and resided there near Brads relatives for twenty years until moving to Greenville in 1999 where Brad died in 2000. Never learning to drive Bernice was a town favorite traveling on the Connection bus and meeting and enjoying people wherever she went, the supermarket, hair salon, nail salon, and Hallmark Shop were some of her favorites. Everyone loved the well groomed, well dressed, beautiful little Hawaiian lady who taught us all how to love, live, and enjoy life one day at a time.

She was preceded in death by her parents Violet and Andrew Boyd ( Honolulu Hawaii), a son F.E. Brancheau II (Michigan), her eldest daughter Janifer Cousineau (Michigan), her grandson Francis Ryan (Michigan) her husband, F.E.Brancheau (Greenville), her brother  Bobbie Boyd, and sister Cassie Chance  (California).

Surviving are her sons David Brancheau & wife, Dyann (Michigan), Gary Brancheau & wife, Kathy (Michigan) and Steven Brancheau & wife, Denise(Greenville), daughters Jeanette Ryan (Michigan), Anne Haney & husband, William (Arizona), as well as 18 grandchildren, 26 great grandchildren with 2 on the way.

A funeral mass will be Saturday, March 19, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Anne’s Catholic Church in Monroe, Michigan with Father John Chinnappa officiating. Visitation will be at 10:00 a.m. until service time at the church.  Burial will follow at St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Monroe, MI. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Rupp Funeral Home.

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Richard L. Zorn

December 29, 1960 – March 15, 2016


Zorn4 (720x1280)Richard L. Zorn, age 55 of Monroe, died unexpectedly Tuesday at home from an apparent heart related ailment.

Family and friends may visit from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at Rupp Funeral Home where services will be held at 10 a.m. Friday. Rev. James Smalarz, pastor of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church will officiate. Burial will follow at Roselawn Memorial Park, LaSalle.

Born December 29, 1960 in Monroe, he was the son of Lawrence and Jane (Stiffler) Zorn. Rich was a 1979 graduate of Monroe High School and earned an associate degree from Monroe County Community College.

Rich married Kesha L. Hopper on June 5, 1991 in Toledo. He worked for Chrysler Corporation, Mack II in Detroit for the past 21 years where he was employed as a Supervisor. He was an avid golfer and devoted father.

Rich is survived by three daughters, Kayli Zorn, Morgan Zorn, and Peyton Zorn, all of Monroe; his parents, Lawrence and Jane Zorn of LaSalle; three brothers, Larry (Rita) Zorn and Gary (Amy) Zorn, both of LaSalle, and Glenn (Janelle) Zorn of Petersburg; three sisters, Cheryl (Davis) Gulley of LaSalle, Janet Booth and Laura Zorn, both of Monroe.

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rankinsSelma Rankins, Jr.

1942 – 2016

Local Civil Rights Crusader and community leader Selma Rankins, Jr. died Thursday, March 10, 2016 in his home surrounded by his loving family; he was74 years old. He was born February 26, 1942 in Monroe, Louisiana and ironically landed in Monroe, Michigan and decided to make this his home.

Mr. Rankins retired from Monroe Public Schools in 2004 after a 30 year teaching career at Lincoln and Christiancy Elementary Schools. Retirement did not mean quitting to Mr. Rankins; it only meant more time to dedicate to his life mission of diversifying and improving education for children of color. Known for his outspoken communication style; Mr. Rankins challenged school boards members in many districts to do more to support at-risk youth and to close the achievement gap between minority and white students.

Having faced many racial obstacles and challenges himself growing up in the segregated south, Mr. Rankins never accepted failure as an option. He knew that making education a priority was the only way to succeed. He graduated from Carroll High School in1961; Grambling State University in 1968 and served in the Vietnam War in 1969. He earned his Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from Eastern Michigan University.

Mr. Rankins often volunteered in classrooms during Black History Month teaching students about positive black role models such as Charles Drew, George Washington Carver, and Brown vs. Board of Education and their contributions to America. He challenged young people to set positive goals and to use education to achieve those goals. He always encouraged them to serve in some capacity to improve their communities.

Mr. Rankins has been the recipient of numerous awards honoring his tireless commitment of service to his community. Some of the awards include The NAACP Community Award, The Trailblazer Award from the Second Missionary Baptist Church; Outstanding Community Leadership Award from the Toledo Urban Federal Credit Union, and serval others. He also received a Proclamation from Mayor John R. Iacoangeli (2004) and the Monroe City Council naming September 11, 2004 as “Selma Rankins, Jr. Day!”

One of the most memorable moments in Mr. Rankins’ life was in 2008 when now President Barack Obama was elected President of the United States “I never thought in my lifetime we would have a black president,” he quoted during an interview with Monroe Evening News; “This is a win not only for all blacks but for all people. It’s a better world!”

Mr. Rankins was a life-long member of Solomon Temple Church of Monroe, Louisiana under the Pastorship of Reverend J.B. Brown. Although he never officially joined a church locally; he would often visit local churches and support programs that invested in the community.

Mr. Rankins is proceeded in death by his parents Hattie and Selma Rankins, Sr.; and a brother, Bertram Rankins.

He is survived by 2 daughters, Laticia Rankins, of Ypsilanti, MI; Nycole King, of Toledo, Ohio; 3 grandchildren, Mystikal King-Carter, Malyiah King-Carter, and Ny’Rice Watkins; all of Toledo, Ohio; 1 sister, Evelyn Aubrey- Rankins of Monroe, Louisiana,1 brother, Roosevelt Rankins of Monroe, Louisiana; 1 niece, Tika Aubrey of Shreveport, Louisiana; 1 nephew, Jamie Aubrey, of Monroe, Louisiana; adopted daughter, Tina Campbell of Monroe, Michigan … and a host of friends and supporters in Monroe, Michigan.

Funeral Services will be hosted by Rupp Funeral Home 2345 S. Custer Road Monroe, MI 48161 with visitation on Friday, March 18, 2016 from 3:00 – 8:00pm. Funeral Service at the funeral home on Saturday, March 19, 2016; family hour at 10:00am and funeral services at 11:00am.

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations to the Selma Rankins, Jr. Memorial Scholarship Fund through the foundation of Monroe County Community College.

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