Obituaries — March 25, 2010


Mrs. Shirley Penrod, age 75, of Rockford passed away at her home. She was raised in Chicago, Ill., and was a 1952 graduate of Amundson High School.

Shirley was a bank teller for Alden State Bank, and then moved to Fairbanks, Alaska, where she worked in bank management. She especially enjoyed the holidays and having her family around. Shirley was an avid fan of the Tigers and the Cubs, enjoyed trips to the casinos, and loved to travel. For many years she was a cashier at D&W in Rockford. All her life she had a special love for animals, especially dogs.

She is survived by her children, James and Mary Penrod Jr. of Belmont, Gayle Penrod of Fla., Susan and Bobby Henry of Calif.; and grandchildren, David J. Crambell and Tyler J. Penrod.

The service for Mrs. Penrod was Saturday at 3:00 p.m. at Pederson Funeral Home with Pastor Richard Riley officiating. Interment will be at a later date. Those planning an expression of sympathy are asked to consider the Belmont Boy Scout Troop #283.

Arrangements were made by Pederson Funeral Home, Rockford.


Mrs. Vera L. Paepke, age 96, of Rockford passed away on Sunday, March 21, 2010. In 1931 she graduated from Creston High School and worked at Kresgees, Wurzburgs and Herpolsheimers in sales and payroll.

Later, Vera was a stay-at-home mom and very involved with the nursery school at First Congregational Church, where she used her ’38 Chevrolet to drive the children. She was a dedicated volunteer driver for R.S.V.P., and the Rockford Community Services, driving people for over 35 years. Many will remember her smiling face and willingness to help, along with her delightful array of chauffeur hats. She also started the “coffee klatch” for sociability and set up a babysitting service.

Vera was a Charter Member of Northland Congregation Church, a recipient of the Great Lakes Center for Sages (GLCS) Croning honor, and received many awards for her service to the community.

She was preceded in death by her husband Arnold Paepke on September 12, 2007. Vera is survived by her daughters, Gail (Paul) DesNoyers of Big Rapids, Joan Paepke of Big Rapids; grandchildren, Todd DesNoyers, Brad (Jessica) DesNoyers, Ross DesNoyers; sister, Mrs. Mildred Fetters; sister-in-law, Mrs. Jerry Klepser; nieces and nephews.

The service for Mrs. Paepke will be Thursday at 11 a.m. at Pederson Funeral Home with Pastor Jon Fleming of the United Church of Big Rapids officiating. Interment will be in Blythefield Memory Gardens. Those planning an expression of sympathy are asked to consider the North Kent Service Center, 10075 Northland Drive, Rockford, MI 49341. Relatives and friends may meet with the family at the funeral home on Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. and prior to the service on Thursday.

Arrangements were made by Pederson Funeral Home, Rockford.

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News Bits — March 25, 2010

Free smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms available

From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Wednesday March 31, the Rockford Fire Department will be teaming up with the Webelos Scouts of Cub Scout Pack 3282 to distribute free smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms.

Scouts will be going door to door on Main Street and will also be at the fire station, 7 South Monroe Street, for people that want to stop by and pick an alarm up.

In 2001, according to the National Fire Protection Association, 3,100 persons were killed by fire in the US and fire caused $5.5 billion in property damage. 85% of the deaths occurred in residences. Smoke detectors, if properly installed and maintained, can greatly reduce these risks.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless odorless gas that is poisonous. It is produced by appliances that use natural gas, and anything that burns fuel, including wood. It is responsible for 1,500 deaths in the US each year. Having a carbon monoxide detector on every floor of your house can alert you to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide from a malfunctioning appliance.

Local agent earns statewide sales honor

Jim Abplanalp, a local agent for Farm Bureau Insurance in Comstock Park, was honored for his sales and service to clients during 2009 at the recent Multi-Line Marketing Convention held in Traverse City February 25-27.

Abplanalp, who earned two awards, was recognized by Farm Bureau Insurance’s Executive Vice President Jim Robinson, CLU, FLMI, LLIF.

Robinson said, “We are very proud to have agents of Jim Abplanalp’s caliber representing us and helping their clients. Jim Abplanalp is a trusted advisor for clients, building relationships based on trust, expertise, and a caring attitude.”

Farm Bureau Insurance, one of the state’s major insurers, has a statewide field force of 450 agents, serving more than 450,000 policyholders.

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Sen. Jansen introduces retirement reforms for state employees

Legislation designed to save the state money by encouraging eligible state employees to retire was introduced in the Michigan Senate recently, said sponsor Sen. Mark C. Jansen, R-Gaines Township.

“This is a reform measure that we must consider during such challenging financial times,” said Jansen, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “The state is facing a $1.4 billion shortfall this year and we must control costs to help stretch taxpayer dollars.”

Senate Bill 1226 would reform the Michigan State Employment Retirement System (SERS) to provide incentives to retire for eligible state employees with 30 or more years of service.

To help ensure SERS remains financially sound, Jansen’s measure also would reinstate a three percent employee contribution. The Michigan Office of State Budget estimates that the three percent employee salary contribution for SERS participants would produce $23.6 million in gross savings during fiscal year 2010-2011 and a total of $289.6 million in gross savings from FY 2011 to FY 2020.

Measures to encourage state employees who are members of the defined benefit plan to retire include:

• Capping the earned service credit at 30 years. State employees continuing to serve beyond 30 years will be moved to a defined contribution plan for any additional years of service accrued after September 30 (excluding what is purchased by the employee).

• Eliminating state-subsidized retiree vision and dental coverage as part of the health plan for state employees retiring after September 30. Employees retiring after that will be able to purchase coverage for a monthly fee.

The administration has unveiled a retirement incentive plan to reduce the size of the public workforce by offering incentives to approximately 7,000 state employees and 39,000 public school employees eligible for retirement.

Jansen’s bill is modeled after of the governor’s proposed changes to the retirement system.

SB 1226 has been referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee

for consideration.

• • •

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Rockford Register — March 25, 2010

Thursday, March 25

Rockford Lions Club Meeting—6 p.m. social, 6:30 dinner and 7 p.m. meeting at the Community Cabin, 220 N. Monroe St., Rockford. Meetings held every second and fourth Thursday of each month.

Saturday, March 27

Blood Drive —9 am. to 1 p.m. at Hope Community Church, 7000 Myers Lake Avenue, Rockford.

Cannonsburg Elementary Family Fun Day —11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Kids and adult games, silent auction, lunch, free babysitting for kids from 2 to 5 p.m. Free entrance, small cost for tickets. For more information call (616) 874-1293.

Pancake Breakfast —8 to 11 a.m. at Courtland Township Fire Department, 7480 14 Mile Rd. Pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage, biscuits & gravy, coffee, orange juice or milk. $4 adults, $2 children 6 to 12, 5 and under free, $12 family special. Proceeds to benefit the Courtland Fire Department.

Monday, March 29

Grand Rapids Audubon Club Meeting—6:30 p.m. at Ladies Literary Club, 61 Sheldon SE, Grand Rapids. Dr. Douglas Tallamy, professor and chair of the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology, director or the Center for Managed Ecosystems at the University of Delaware, and author of “Bringing Nature Home; How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens,” will present “Bringing Nature Home.” For more information, including a map and details on parking, visit or call Bea at (616) 676-2446.

Tuesday, March 30

Country Music—9:30 to 11:30 a.m. every Tuesday at Rockford Ambulance Community Center, corner of 10 Mile Road and Shaner Avenue in Rockford. Music by the Rogue River Band. Enjoy free coffee, tea and snacks.

Wednesday, March 31

Blood Drive—noon to 6 p.m. at Rockford American Legion, 330 Rockford Park Drive.

Free Smoke Detectors & Carbon Monoxide Alarms—5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the fire station at 7 S. Monroe St., Rockford, handed out by the Rockford Fire Department and Webelos Scouts of Cub Scout Pack 3282.

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A Message for You — March 25, 2010

Letting God be the God He is

St. Peter’s Lutheran Church

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones,” Proverbs 3:5-8.

If my understanding is correct, of Luther’s understanding of God and man’s relationship to God, it is set down for us like this: Let God be the God that He is, and let me and all mankind be what we are, creatures and not Gods.

Sin is our attempt to be other than we are—God. We do this because we do not trust our creator and thus proceed to make decisions and take actions that are not ours, as creatures, to make or take.

In Jesus Christ we find a man without sin. Why? Because Jesus did not assume a role that was not His.

He was perfect in His manhood because He lived the life of a man, as man was to live it, and died the death of a man. Just like everyone else who was created in this flesh, Jesus lived by the rules of the flesh and lived them so closely that as all flesh must die, so Jesus also died.

In the cross of Christ we find God in man, living, suffering and dying like all men and women do, not to take it away, but to give and fill all suffering and death with purpose and blessing.

In baptism, God the Holy Spirit comes and by the grace of God, puts to death the power of our sinful nature, with all its desires to be other than what God created us to be, and created in us a new life that is pleased and rejoices to be the creature that God created in Jesus Christ. This new life rejoices to be a creature of God in Jesus Christ, but this life is lived by faith in God, faith that believes and knows not the outcome of each day, but faith that believes God is being God to the fullest in our lives. This faith assures us all of a good outcome, whether for life here or death.

The way of living this new life in Christ is found in the Word of God, the law of God. The law then becomes not rules and regulations, but they show us the way to be what God created us to be, both at the beginning of Creation, and in the new birth of faith in Jesus Christ.

The goal then for life here is not first and foremost a moral code, but it becomes for us a goal of being the creatures God originally intended us to be at the creation of the world. By the grace of God we are given new life and enabled to be the creatures of God’s creation. It is by faith in God being God, and being God in us through Jesus Christ, that we live out our new life in the day-to-day activities.

Our sins occur when we stop being creatures, created to serve God and all of creation, and start attempting to be God. This begins in the heart that is not satisfied with being a mere creature, in the heart that isn’t satisfied with others doing more, the heart that isn’t satisfied with how others do things, the heart that isn’t satisfied to let God be God and accomplish His will through other creatures. Such a heart proceeds to seek its own satisfaction. How does this work itself out in the life of a person?

Let’s take worship for example. The heart, and thus the person who isn’t satisfied with God being God, seeks things that will satisfy themselves rather than God. Summer is coming and it’s “going up north” season. Such a heart will justify their absence in worship by their desire to get away to the lake or the cabin. Going to the lake or the cabin isn’t a problem as long as, while there, the believer takes the time to worship the Lord. In letting God be God, we let ourselves be the creatures who need Him to feed and nourish us in worship. When you and I let God be God, He and His will fill everything we are and thus everything we see and do. We understand ourselves to be the instruments, the means through which He carries out His divine acts of love and mercy.

By the grace of God, a believer is brought into a faith relationship to Jesus Christ. In this relationship, our Lord Jesus brings us God as He really is and makes us as we are to really be through baptism. In this relationship, we live by letting Jesus be Jesus who daily saves and leads, and we, by faith, live by following, so that together we may follow Him who is THE Way, THE Truth, and THE Life.

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