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Richard Dean Ely

February 23rd, 1940 - February 17th, 2024

Richard's Obituary

Richard Dean Ely (Dick) 83, of Sister Lakes, Michigan passed away in the early hours of February 17, 2024. Richard was born to Richard and Clara (Bakeman) Ely on February 23, 1940 in Dowagiac, Michigan. Richard lived most of his 83 years in the Cass/Van Buren Counties area. He often shared memories of running around Sister Lake as a teenager, hanging out by the water on a warm summer’s eve with his friends.

In 1958 he accepted Christ and began a whole new chapter in his life. Within a year he met the love of his life, Anna Sue DeMay, while she was working at a restaurant. He had been to a basketball game with his friends and they had stopped in for a bite to eat before going home. The couple soon began dating and were married March 4, 1961. During the early years of their marriage Dick worked as assistant store manager for Harding’s Supermarket in Hartford, MI and later Schneck’s Supermarket in St. Joe. It was during this time their three sons were born and the family was involved in Sister Lakes Community Church. When he was 33 he felt a call to the ministry. The family sold their home in Sister Lakes and moved to Beckley, WV where Richard worked and studied; eventually earning a Bible degree. Upon graduation the family moved back to Sister Lakes. Life was busy with three sons, working as Dean of students and teaching at Grace Christian school while filling the pulpit at various churches as needed. In 1985 he took his first full time church in Laingsburg, MI. Richard continued serving in ministry for a total of 50 years in various congregations in southwestern Michigan and a brief time in Wisconsin.

Richard loved life and loved his family. As each of the grandkids got old enough, he took them on a day trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes and a canoe trip down the Platt River. They all have fond memories of their special day with Grandpa. Everyone who knew Dick appreciated his zest for life, his sense of humor and the practical way he walked out his faith.

Richard (Dick) was preceded in death by his parents, his sisters- Kay Kraklau, Debbie Ely and Beth Ely as well as his son Keith (Ruth) Ely. His surviving family includes wife, Sue Ely; sons- Phil (Martha) Ely of Sister Lakes, MI and Erik (Renee’) Ely of Irmo, SC; sister- Tami Cozzolino; grandchildren-Amber (Jimmy) Gonze, Leyna Ely, Joshua (Julie) Ely, Karianne (Hank) Reger, Seth (Sybil) Ely, Luke (Hannah) Ely, Daniel Canovas, Micah (Lauren) Ely and Alissa (Michael) Sheck; and 13 great grandchildren plus nieces and nephews.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held, Friday, February 23, 2024, at 2:00 PM at Hartford Bible Church in Hartford, MI. In lieu of flowers please make a donation to either Caring Circle Niles/St Joe, or American Cancer Society.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Heritage Chapel & Cremation Services, 8747 US 31, Berrien Springs, MI. 269-471-2700.

Service Details

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