Obituaries – August 6, 2009



Mr. Dale “Bruiser” E. Cutler, age 63, of Rockford found peace with God and died on Monday, July 27, 2009.

Dale was a graduate of Rockford High School. When the call of his country was heard during the Vietnam War, Dale answered. Self was forgotten and, as a brave young man, he marched away to serve his country in the U.S. Army. He had a fierce loyalty to his men and stuck up for them whenever necessary. On every Memorial Day, you would find Dale proudly marching with his flag.

Dale had a way of taking responsibility for everyone’s safety, often times endangering his life for the safety of others. He was the most decorated Native American from Michigan during Vietnam, earning two Bronze Stars, two Purple Hearts, and one Army Commendation Medal for Valor. Dale was a member of the elite Wolf Hound Unit when he was awarded his first Bronze Star in Vietnam by General Westmoreland. After the war he became a member of the Merritt Lamb Post #102 American Legion and was well-known for his loyalty. He worked in construction as a drywall installer.

Dale was one of the most kind-hearted individuals you could ever meet, always focusing on helping others who were in need. In his leisure time he loved listening to country music and following NASCAR racing.

Dale is survived by his children, Dale Cutler Jr., Kyle Cutler-Hess and her husband Tony Hess, and Kit Cutler and his fiancée Rosemary; his grandchildren, Dominic Cutler and Corrie Cutler; brothers and sisters, Clifford (Phyllis) Cutler, Robert (Judy) Cutler, Elma Jean Wakeman, Shirley (Al) Firovich, Floyd (Georgia) Cutler, John Cutler; sisters-in-law, Mrs. Arlene Cutler, Mrs. Marion Cutler; nieces and nephews; and many special friends. He was preceded in death by a son, Corey; his siblings, Monroe Cutler, Susie Miles, Donald Cutler, Patsy Lee Cutler, Angie Pyne, and an infant brother, Richard.

The service for Mr. Cutler was Saturday at 11:00 a.m. at the Pederson Funeral Home. Military honors were under the auspices of the Kent County Veterans Honor Guard. Interment is in Ft. Custer National Cemetery. Those planning an expression of sympathy are asked to consider Friends of Michigan Veterans Homes Inc., P.O. Box 150251, Grand Rapids, MI 49515-0251.

Arrangements were made by Pederson Funeral Home, Rockford.



On behalf of Sheriff Stelma, it is with great sorrow that the Kent County Sheriff’s Department informs the community of the passing of retired Kent County Sheriff Philip Heffron on Friday July 31, 2009.

Philip Heffron began his career at the Sheriff’s Department on Jan. 11, 1958, working as a boiler operator, then performing various guard duties in the jail. Eventually he was assigned to the road patrol and the Detective Bureau.

In January 1967, Phil was promoted to detective sergeant. In March 1971, he was promoted to detective lieutenant, and in July 1973, he was promoted to captain, assigned as commander of the investigative unit.

On Feb. 5, 1975, Phil was appointed as Sheriff by the County’s Sheriff Selection Committee, taking over from Sheriff Ronald Parsons, who retired prior to completion of his term in office.

On Nov. 2, 1975, Phil was elected by the citizens of Kent County to continue as Sheriff of Kent County, beginning his term in January 1976.

Phil was reelected as Kent County Sheriff in the years 1980, 1984 and 1988. His tenure as Kent County Sheriff spanned 16 years, when he retired in December 1991. Phil is Kent County’s longest-serving sheriff in history.

Phil belonged to Michigan Sheriffs’ Association, National Sheriffs’ Association, and International Association of Chiefs of Police. He was involved in the community and served on several boards and committees. Sheriff Heffron will be remembered as a civic leader, humanitarian, and a complete gentleman who gave so much to his community.

Phil is survived by his wife of 58 years, Mary Lou Heffron, and their five sons.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Department family, current and retired, asks that you please remember the Heffron family in your thoughts and prayers.

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