Mary L. Brylowski

January 8, 2017

Mary L. Brylowski

Mary Louise Brylowski, bibliophile, world-traveler, educator, and bonafide spitfire, passed away January 6, 2017 after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s.

Mary was born in 1937 to Amy and Wellington Lewis in Orchard, Iowa and grew up there along with her brothers Jim and Bob. After graduating from Osage High School in 1954, Mary left for Grinnell College. Grinnell was a transformative time for Mary, and she would often talk of her time there. Mary made it a point to attend as many class reunions as she could.

After college, Mary moved to Michigan, purchased ‘Sir Gallahad’ her Triumph TR3, and began her teaching career in Battle Creek. It was during this time that Mary met her future husband Arthur Brylowski, when they both raced cars in the local sports car circuit. Ice racing on Gun Lake was something they both enjoyed, even after Mary intentionally dumped Art’s car into a snowbank after a disagreement one afternoon. Mary and Art were married in 1961 and moved to Alamo Township.

After spending several years home with her children, Mary returned to teaching at Alamo Elementary where she taught third grade for Otsego Public Schools for over 20 years. Mary loved teaching and was always looking for new ways to bring the best from her students. She was instrumental in starting local participation in Odyssey of the Mind, and volunteered as a judge at the local and state level many times. The friends Mary made during her career remained her cohorts and companions for many years.

After retiring, Mary embarked on travels around the world as a Global Volunteer. Mary rocked babies in Romanian orphanages, painted school buildings in the Cook Islands, caught fish in South Africa, and taught English to teenagers in Italy. She saw the Northern Lights in Iceland, kangaroos in the Australian Outback, nomadic herdsmen on the Mongolian steppes, glaciers in New Zealand, walked on the Great Wall in China and saw polar bears in Greenland and more.

In-between her journeys abroad, Mary enjoyed spending time with her family, crafting with her friends, enjoying the occasional glasses of wine, shopping for interesting gifts, and volunteering in her grandkids’ elementary schools.

Mary is preceded in death by her parents; her brother, Jim and her husband, Arthur. She is survived by her daughter, Amy and her children, Abigail, William and Margaret; her son, Phillip (Sara) and their children, Catherine, Owen, Liam, Gavin and Eleanor; her son Andrew (Kim) and their children, Jacob and Natalie; her son, James (Jennifer) and their children, Cameron and Kristen; her brother, Bob (Ann); and several nieces and nephews.

According to her wishes cremation has taken place.

A private graveside service will take place at Alamo Center Cemetery at a later date.

Donations in Mary’s memory can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Messages of condolence may be left at

Frances Hiemstra

October 2, 2013

Frances Hiemstra

Hiemstra, Frances289Frances Hiemstra age 95 of Alamo Twp. passed away peacefully at home with her family in attendance, Tuesday October 1, 2013. Frances was born January 31, 1918, in Prairieville Twp. the daughter of Alfred and Bernice (Hughes) Anson. Frances was a 1936 graduate of Plainwell High School. In her early years she was a homemaker, later working 20 years for Otsego Public Schools in food service retiring in 1981. Frances enjoyed playing cards, bowling and was a wonderful seamstress. She was a member of Farm Bureau for over 50 years and for many years was a member of Cooper Congregational Church.

On December 4, 1937 in Lagrange, IN she married Claude Hiemstra. Surviving are 6 children, Roger (Janet) Hiemstra of NY, Carl Hiemstra of MS, Judy (Mike) Hiemstra-Bronson of Allegan, Carol (Juan) Paez of NJ, Dennis (Mickie) Hiemstra of Otsego, Joyce Hiemstra  Hunt of Gobles; 14 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren, 2 great-great-grandchildren; a brother, Duane (Arlene) Anson; in-laws, Jesse LaRoy, Jean (Ron) Rus, Virginia Hiemstra; many nieces, nephews, and cousins. She was preceded in death by her husband, a daughter-in-law, Bonnie Hiemstra, 5 brothers and an infant sister.

Visitation will be held on Friday from 2-4 and 6-8 P.M. at the Winkel Funeral Home, Otsego where funeral services will take place on Saturday at 11:00 A.M. with Celebrant Bill Rose officiating. Burial will follow at Alamo Center Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers those desiring may make memorial contributions to Wings of Hope Hospice .

Messages of condolence may be posted at


Debra Digby-Cornell

April 22, 2012

Debra Digby-Cornell

Debra ‘Deb’ Ann Digby-Cornell of Otsego, MI passed away Sunday, April 22, 2012 at her home. Deb was born February 9, 1957 in Plainwell, the daughter of Kenelm and Martha Digby. She was a volunteer with the Cub Scouts, Breast Cancer Reach to Recovery and Relay for Life. Deb enjoyed horses in her younger years, running and walking, gardening, collecting angel statues and traveling. Her most recent trips were to Las Vegas and Yellowstone. She was kindhearted, a wonderful wife, mother and homemaker, she was always there for anyone. Debra was married to Robert Cornell in Alamo on May 31, 1986.

Surviving are her husband, Robert; sons, Ryan and Eric Cornell of Alamo; parents, Martha Thompson and Kenelm (Dorothy) Digby; siblings, Mark Digby, Terri (Richard) Brumm and Michelle Digby all of Alamo; several nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins. She was preceded in death by her sister Penny Digby.

Friends may meet with her family from 2-4 and 6-8 pm Tuesday at the Winkel Funeral Home, Otsego where services will be held Wednesday at 3:00 P.M., with Pastor Kathy Brown officiating. Cremation will follow with a private burial of ashes at Alamao Center Cemetery at a later date.

Memorial contributions may be made to American Cancer Society Reach to Recovery.

Messages of condolence may be left for her family at

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