Recent Obituaries

Catherine Marie Payne

Ann Arbor, MI, formerly of Chelsea, MI and Green Valley, AZ, age 95, died Tuesday, June 22, 2021 at Brookdale Senior Living in Ann Arbor MI. She was born December 18, 1925 in Detroit, MI, the daughter of Stephen Edward James & Ethel Sarah (Shaw) Rondon.  She worked for Leo Burnett Advertising Company from March 1, 1954 to December 30, 1988 in the accounting (Petty Cash) department. Catherine was a member of the Kiwanis club in Chelsea, where she was a George F. Hixson Fellow. Two of her favorite things to do were to golf and travel with her friends. You may even have seen our Aunt Catherine on the back of a Harley Motorcycle driven by her nephew along with her niece right behind them on her Harley. She would be picked up at her home in Chelsea for a fun filled day of site seeing and traveling the open roads. To end their day they would stop for a relaxing meal. Catherine enjoyed needlepoint and gardening. She was a member of St. Mary Church, Chelsea.

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Dr. John L. Zettelmaier

of Chelsea, MI, age 83, died Tuesday, May 4, 2021 at home and in the company of his family. He was born December 17, 1937 in Chicago, the first son of John C. and Eleanor (Stech) Zettelmaier. He moved with his family to southwestern Michigan in 1953. Upon completion of high school he attended Western Michigan University, earning a degree in biology in 1960. He then completed a master’s degree in limnology/fresh water biology from Michigan State University in 1961. His research was part of a pioneering study of the impact of pollutants on the ecosystem. He then attended the University of Michigan Medical School, graduating in 1965. He practiced family medicine for 35 years, first in the Kalamazoo area, then in Chesterton, Indiana, and finally in Chelsea. During the Viet Nam era, he served in a U.S. Army Reserve Convalescent Unit, achieving the rank of Captain.

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Sandy Lee Schmunk

Sandy Lee Schmunk died June 16, 2021 at her home after a long journey with cancer. Born in Detroit, on November 20, 1948 to Myron and Shirley Carlson, she was nurtured by her grandmother, Dorothy Harrison, and, in turn, shepherded her younger sisters, Vicki and Dottie. Sandy graduated from Cherry Hill High School in 1966 and then attended Eastern Michigan University. She married Charles Schmunk on February 3, 1968.

Although Sandy’s life was shortened by cancer, her impact on others was lengthened by her spirit of service. Sandy was a long-time presence at Chelsea Retirement Community (CRC), serving 25 years in several roles, including Activity Director, Social Worker, and Assistant Administrator. She was instrumental in the development and administration of CRC’s Towsley Village. Later, Sandy played a key role in organizing “Joe’s Memory Arts Café” at Huron Woods. Beyond her professional life, Sandy volunteered as Girl Scout Troop Service Director for Chelsea, a troop leader for older girls, and later for residents at CRC. She was devoted to her church community at Chelsea First United Methodist and served over the years as Sunday school teacher, youth group leader, Women’s Society of Christian Service president, lay leader, and so much more. Close friends appreciated her humble leadership, calming influence, sense of humor, inclusiveness, and steadfast love. She was a visionary, patient laborer, and a companion on life’s journey; guided by love, compassion, and humility. Sandy listened openly and gently, inwardly discerning God’s mission in the world, but was not afraid to speak succinctly and boldly for justice. She was grounded in daily devotion and deep spiritual practice.

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Mary Susan Carey

age 78, passed away Monday, June 7, 2021, at Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor. She was born November 28, 1942, in Utica, New York, the daughter of Ambrose Francis and Marian Louise (Wells) Carey. She grew up in Whitesboro, NY, where she was a member of the girl scouts and worked in the summer as the local Playground Director.
Mary Susan graduated from Whitesboro Central School and the Utica College branch of Syracuse University with her bachelor’s degree in education. She was a member of ‘Upstagers’, a local theater group, and the Utica College Gaslighters theater group, where she made many lifelong friends. She taught second grade at Minisink Valley Central School in New York for over 30 years where she made and retained many dear lifelong friends. Mary Susan organized the school craft fair and was an active member and representative in the teacher’s union and a supporter of school sports. She was also a founding member and on the board of the Teacher's Credit Union. Mary Susan loved to read and always carried two to three books with her wherever she went. She moved to Michigan in 2002 to be near her family.  She was a member of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Middletown, NY and St. Mary Catholic Church in Chelsea. She was a kind and generous person who always had a smile for everyone. She will be greatly missed by her family and friends.
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Trinh Bui Pifer

of Chelsea, Michigan, age 51, died Sunday, June 6, 2021 at U of M Hospital in Ann Arbor. Born on April 17, 1970 in Saigon, Vietnam, Trinh Thi My Bui was a child born in the midst of a civil war that was confusing to those caught on both sides. After the fall of Saigon in 1975, Trinh, her parents Kha and Thai Bui, and siblings, Khanh (Khanh), Thuy, Thu (Tom), Nu (Mark) were sponsored by St. Williams Catholic Church in Walled Lake, MI. Empathy and support of this faith community was the key to the Bui family’s ability to transform from refugees who arrived with just the clothes on their backs to becoming contributing US citizens. After being in the U.S. for two years, her brother Paul (Jennifer) was born.

Trinh and her siblings started school in Walled Lake, knowing limited, if any, English. Her parents drilled the importance of education as the key to accessing the American Dream. While the children fought to assimilate and blend into the 99.9% white community of Walled Lake her parents held on to Vietnamese traditions. The main teaching instilled by her mom during this time was her love of cooking and expressing love through sharing food.

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