Blissfield teen found in San Antonio, Texas

UPDATED A 16-year old Blissfield girl reported missing by her family has been found in Texas. Cassidy Mulllins was last seen at 11 p.m. Sunday. It is believed she left Blissfield sometime between then at 4 a.m. Monday. Blissfield Police Chief Dale Greenleaf said the girl had driven to San Antonio, Texas, where she was located. It appears she went there to meet up with a friend, he said. It is believed she is safe and Texas authorities are involved. San Antonio is approximately 1400 miles south of Blissfield. There is no information as to when or how she will return to Blissfield.

By Melissa Burnor

Richard Van Loocke

Richard D. “Dick” Van Loocke passed away peacefully at home on Monday, December 14, 2015. Dick was born August 30, 1944, to George and Arlene (Knapp) Van Loocke in Blissfield, Michigan. He graduated from Blissfield High School in 1963. He had one son, Richard B. “Rik” Van Loocke, and he survives. He married Patty (Knadler) Van Loocke on September 30, 2005, and she also survives. Along with Rik and Patty, Dick leaves behind a daughter-in-law, Sharon; grandsons: Richard Zakary (Emilee Knakiewicz) Van Loocke and Jarik Rigby Walls Van Loocke, all of Ottawa Lake, MI; step-daughters, Stephanie (Ken) Prill of Mt. Hope, Kansas and Krysta (Kurt Snyder) Barron of Blissfield, MI; and step-granddaughters, Jade Williams and Lilly Snyder. Preceding him in death were his parents and his older twin sisters, Susann and Luann. Dick was a lifetime Lenawee County farmer. He also spent many years working alongside his father, George, in the family business, Van Loocke Oil Burner Service. When he was not found in his shop tinkering with any number of “Ford” projects, in his younger years, Dick was playing basketball in several local recreation leagues, spending time with his good friends (most of which had their own endearing nickname), making “donut shop” visits with his grandsons when they were little, or participating in area car shows with his son and eventually his grandson, Jarik (both of whom inherited the same love for Fords). There will be a brief service held at the Ottawa Lake Sportsmen’s Club on January 9, 2016, at 1:00 p.m. with a Celebration of Life immediately after the service until 5:00 p.m. Please join the Van Loocke family in raising glass in Richard’s memory. “Richard the Hermit and his trusty dog, Two” lived his life his own way on his own terms. Those that knew him well know he was a strong-willed man who fought hard until the end. May we not stay “bitter” and remain “still buddies”. May his memory never “wear thin” as we all learn to “get along” without him. May the “Black Label” and “Bluesberry” flow freely in Heaven as Dick now joins his many close friends who left the party too soon before him. Nothing will ever be the same. We will hold you in our hearts forever and always remember that smile and that hearty laugh…til we meet again. Those who would like to make a donation in memory of Dick please consider Hospice of Lenawee. Arrangements have been entrusted to Wagley Funeral Home, Tagsold Chapel in Blissfield where online condolences and memories may be shared at

Patricia Lemley

                                                                                                                                                                                                          LAMBERTVILLE – Patricia Ann Saunders Lemley, age 85, of Lambertville, passed away Saturday, December 5, 2015 at her home. She was born May 5, 1930, in Adrian, to Howard Eugene and Ashley Ferne (Ziegler) Saunders. On May 10, 1952, she married John L. Lemley in Angola, Ind., and he preceded her in death on November 17, 1992. Patricia worked at the Blissfield Telephone Office from 1948 until 1962, as an operator and she then work for Grogan Chrysler Dealership as a telephone operator from 1985 until her retirement in 2002. Patricia is survived by two sons, Paul Lemley of Lambertville and Michael (Kathy) Spiegel of Severance, CO; two grandchildren, Michelle Groover and Matthew Spiegel; two great grandson, Logan and Jacob Groover; and several nieces and nephews. In addition to her husband, she was preceded in death by her parents; one son, John Randall Lemley; grandson, Todd Spiegel and two brothers, William “Bill” Saunders and Paul Saunders. Funeral services for Patricia will be held on Thursday, December 10, 2015, at 11 a.m. at Anderson Rudd Funeral Home, Blissfield. Burial will be in Riga Cemetery. Visitation was held on Dec. 9 from 2-4 & 6-8 p.m. at Anderson Rudd Funeral Home, Blissfield. You may send condolences to the family at Memorial contributions may be made to the family of Patricia Lemley. Envelopes are available at Anderson Rudd Funeral Home, Blissfield. 

Loretta Long

Loretta Josephine Long, age 88, of Deerfield, died on Tuesday, December 1, 2015, at her daughter’s home, surrounded by her family. She was born March 1, 1927, to Ralph Aloysius and Rhea Elizabeth (McCarty) DeShetler. She had been married to Robert Albert Long on June 7, 1947, in Deerfield. He preceded her in death on July 2, 2002. Loretta had been a lifelong member of St. Alphonsus (Light of Christ) parish in Deerfield, where she coordinated funeral dinners for several years and was an active member of the Altar Rosary Society, and a charter member of Women of Prayer. In her early years, she worked for Deerfield Telephone Company and took care of the nuns, cooking, cleaning, etc., while the St. Alphonsus School was operating. Loretta is survived by two daughters, Cindy (Steven) Burnett of Tecumseh and Debra (Michael) Dusseau of Blissfield; nine grandchildren, Rhaea (Lee) Miller, Adrea Burnett, Lisbeth Burnett, Stephanie Burnett, Emily Burnett, Grace Burnett, Josh (Jessica) Keinath, Zachary Dusseau, and Noah Dusseau; four great-grandchildren, Avery, Ruby, Rita, and Kasey; and her beloved canine companion, “Digger.” In addition to her husband, she was preceded in death by her parents; four sisters, Thelma, Mary, Janet, and Patsy; and a brother, Bernard. The Funeral Liturgy was on Monday, December 7, 2015, at 11 a.m. at Light of Christ Parish (St. Alphonsus) in Deerfield with Fr. Dan Wheeler and Fr. Jeff Poll officiating . Burial followed in St. Alphonsus Cemetery. Visitation was held on Sunday from 3-8 p.m. at the Anderson-Rudd Funeral Home, Blissfield, where a Vigil Prayer Service was at 7:30 p.m. Visitation will also was held on Monday from 10-10:45 a.m. at the Light of Christ Parish (St. Alphonsus) in Deerfield. Memorial contributions may be made to Light of Christ Parish or to Hospice of Lenawee. Envelopes are available at the Anderson-Rudd Funeral Home, Blissfield.

Blissfield hosts Hot-Cha-Cha 5K Mug Run

The start of the 2015 Hot-Cha-Cha 5K Mug Run Dec. 11 in Blissfield.
The start of the 2015 Hot-Cha-Cha 5K Mug Run Dec. 11 in Blissfield.

Blissfield High School seniors Tyler Fall and Madeline Auth were the individual winners of the Hot-Cha-Cha Mug 5K Run Friday evening.

More than 130 people from 9 to 83 ran in the fourth annual event in Blissfield held in conjunction with the Blissfield Wassail Fest.

Division Winners: Male Overall Winner Tyler Fall 20:06

6-12 1. Christian Fischer 21:05 2. William Marks 25:00

13-20 1. Eric Alexander 20:12 2. Sean Newlin 21:38

21-35 1. Scott Linden 23:00 2. Evan Bruneau 26:44

36-49 1. Brian Weidmayer 20:15 2. James Bockey 21:13

50-59 1. Edgar Rapp 21:20 2. Larry Dilabbio 22:58

60-69 1. Edward O’Reilly 25:15 2 Larry Griffith 33:39

70+ 1. Jerome Tomc 35:43 2. Harrison Hensley 39:21 who was running his 100th race of the season at age 83.

Female Overall Winner: Madeline Auth 21:04

6-12 1. Mari Cueto 26:10 2. Amelia Fowler 34:32

13-20 1. Sarah Weidmayer 22:56 2. Fiona Brown 23:45

21-35 1. Heather Wells 23:19 2. Amy Carmichael 25:17

36-49 1. Josephine Weeden 21:16 2. Jennifer Varanian 22:57

50-59 1. Deborah Schmidt 23:33 2. Melody Carmichael 23:52

60-69 1. Deborah Arnold 37:16 2. Linda Baker 37:30

70+ 1. Mary Steinhauser 39:22

Blissfield aglow in Parade of Lights

The Blissfield Township ladder truck was among emergency vehicles decked out for the Blissfield Parade of Lights. Copyright 2015, River Raisin Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Blissfield Township ladder truck was among emergency vehicles decked out for the Blissfield Parade of Lights. Copyright 2015, River Raisin Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.

Santa Claus made his entrance Saturday night to Blissfield at the end of the Parade of Lights in a new sleigh on top of a float.

Blissfield Elementary teacher Gary Koppelman served as this year’s grand marshal of the beloved light parade tradition.

Also in the parade were vehicles from firetrucks, school buses and tractors to cars and floats – all covered in Christmas lights – as people flocked to the parade route in the unseasonably mild weather.

Paws, the Detroit Tigers mascot, along with Muddy and Muddonna, the Toledo Mud Hens mascots,  were special guests and greeted parade-goers from their lighted vehicles.

For more photos from the 2015 Blissfield Parade of Lights, please see the Dec. 16, 2015, edition of The Advance. Also, watch our Galleries for even more photos!

Blissfield Twp. to reappraise properties

Beginning next year, Blissfield Township assessors Renius and Renius will reappraise each parcel in the township — that also includes those in Blissfield Village — and recording a digital file of each property. A measure approved by the Blissfield Township Board at their Dec. 8 meeting gave the green light for the project.

According to township Supervisor Al Navarro the township will spend $64,375 over the next two years to pay for the project. Navarro said the state of Michigan is requiring the township to complete the digital appraisal of each parcel.

For the complete story, please see the Dec. 16, 2015, edition of The Advance.

BD Schools accepts superintendent separation/retirement agreement

The superintendent who was at the helm of the consolidation of the Britton and Deerfield school districts and was the top administrator in the combined district for the last four years will take an early retirement. Six members of the Britton Deerfield school board deliberated in closed session during a special meeting Wednesday evening to consider accepting a separation agreement and release of Superintendent Charles Pelham and for an attorney-client privileged communication.

After the open meeting reconvened with an audience of more than two dozen people, the board voted to accept the agreement and made another motion to appoint Stacy Johnson as the temporary superintendent effective immediately. Pelham’s release effectively takes place Nov. 30. Johnson is the principal of the Deerfield building that houses the middle school and an elementary school. She will retain those duties as the district moves forward to decide how to fill the superintendent’s position.

The board also approved a two-year contract with the Britton Deerfield Education Association.

For Melissa Burnor’s complete story, please see the Dec. 2, 2015, edition of The Advance.

Arynnleigh Buehrer

Arynnleigh Taylor Buehrer went to be with the Lord on October 18, 2015 after losing her battle with cancer. Arynnleigh was born October 17, 2012, to David and Rachael (Howard) Buehrer at Ft. Polk, Louisiana. Arynnleigh loved to play with her stuffed animals, Minnie and Mickey and Elmo, and pretend to read to her little sister, Allison.
Surviving Arynnleigh are her parents and her younger sister, Allison, all of Ft. Hood, Texas. Also surviving are grandparents Keith and Debbie Fischer of Blissfield, Patrick Buehrer of Weston, David and Nancy Howard of Austin, Texas, and great grandparents Charles and Judy Fischer of Deerfield, and Suzanna Howard of Conroe, Texas; Uncle JP Tomasek and Aunt Becky Tomasek and cousins Kelsey, Dathan and Maddie of Blissfield, and Aunt Whitney Howard of Austin, Texas.
Arynnleigh was preceded in death by great grandparents Donald and Florence Buehrer, Carl and Kathryn Schwamm, great grandfather Buddy Howard, and great grandmother Marjorie Fischer.
A memorial service to celebrate the life of Arynnleigh was held on Saturday, November 21 at 11 a.m. at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Blissfield. Visitation wasfrom 10 a.m. until time of the service.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to purchase small stuffed animals. Arynn’s Animals will be given to children in the pediatric intensive care unit at McLane Children’s Hospital in Temple, Texas.

World War II refugee Whitman copes with lifetime of haunting questions

RIGA – Achtung! Achtung! These words haunt Riga Township resident Ferenz “Fritz” Whitman.
The words and images of bright lights and fences sometimes come to him in dreams. As do the faceless ideas of his parents that he has no recollection of ever knowing.
“Why did they leave me behind?” he has often asked himself over the past 70 years of his life. While many think of soldiers as casualties of war. Whitman himself was perhaps himself a casualty of war in the fact that he lost his identity as a result of the war to end all wars.
Whitman, was found 70 years ago in September of 1945 by American soldiers at a train station in Marienbad, Czechoslovakia.
For Melissa Burnor’s complete story, please see the Nov. 25, 2015, edition of The Advance

World War II orphan Ferenz "Fritz" Whitman of Riga displays the flag he received when he became a U.S. citizen.
World War II orphan Ferenz “Fritz” Whitman of Riga displays the flag he received when he became a U.S. citizen.