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Obituaries for special people we have served.

Posted on July 8, 2011 at 3:32 PM
FREE, William O. - age 88, of Holly and formerly Flint, died Saturday, May 21, 2011 in Hadley, MI at Forest Edge Family Home. Funeral arrangements by Dryer Funeral Home, Holly. Visitation Wednesday May 25, from 4 to 7 p.m. Service Thursday May 26 at 11 a.m. at Dryer Funeral Home in Holly, Rev. Larry Kluck officiating. In lieu of flowers, those wishing may contribute to a Holly High School education fund previously established by the family. Envelopes are available at the funeral home. Bill was a Scots-Irish and Cherokee Nation descendant born in (Madison County) Colbert, GA. on October 22, 1922, the third child and first son of Charlie Eldridge and Minnie Elizabeth (Lawson) Free. He graduated from Colbert HS in 1940. In December 1942 he enlisted in the United States Merchant Marines where he served his country for the remainder of WWII, until honorably discharged in 1946. He earned a Merchant Marine Combat Bar and Silver Star for facing direct enemy action and being forced to abandon a sinking ship (SS Bloody Marsh, July 2, 1943). In New York City he met Jean M. Schelp of Holly, MI and they were married in Holly on March 3, 1945. They raised their family and lived in Flint for 55 years moving to Holly in 2000. In Holly he joined the American Legion Amel Schwartz Post No.149 and the "McDonald's Gang". Bill was a salesman in the paper and shipping box business with a career spanning over 50 years. He was twice named Salesman of the Year by Georgia Pacific and officially retired from GP in the late 1980's. He then began his final career as a sales broker. Those who knew Bill know he was "calling on customers and selling boxes" to the very end. His love of history evolved into coin collecting, genealogy, and preservation of ancestral family photos. William O. Free is survived by his two daughters and son-in-law, Corajean A and Larry D Gregory of Clio and Noralee K. Free of Harrisburg, IL; 5 grandchildren, Carlyn McClelland of IN; Rachel Gillette of MN; Lena Free of IL; Analeah Stamps of VA, and D. Larry Gregory of CN; great-grandchildren, Samuel and Elijah McClelland and "Baby" Gillette who will arrive December 2011; sister, Estell Lloyd of GA; brother, CE Free Jr. (Erma) of FL; sister-in-law, Lois Caryl and special cousin, Beth Dryer, both of Holly. He was preceded in death by his wife of 61 years, Jean M. Free in 2006; father, Charlie Free, 1980; mother Minnie Free and mother-in-law Marion Schelp, 1986; sister Buell Yarbrough, February 2011. Although illness took much of the independence Bill fought so hard to retain, he was cared for lovingly and with dignity by the staff of Forest Edge. To Mary, John, Staci and Jeremy the family extends their deepest gratitude.
ALWARD, Joanne Louise, age 83, died Sunday, July 3, 2011 at the Forest Edge Family Home, Hadley, MI. Funeral Services will be 1:00 p.m. Saturday, July 9, 2011 at the Hill Funeral Home, 11723 S. Saginaw St. Grand Blanc, MI. Interment at Crestwood Cemetery. Visitation will be Thursday and Friday from Noon to 8:00 p.m. and Saturday from Noon to 1:00 p.m. Joanne was born May 15, 1928 to parents Donald and Mable (McAllister) Embury. She was a long time member of Halsey Methodist Church. Joanne loved to swim, fish and garden. She had been very active in the 4-H with her family. She was a former member of the Red Hat Society. Surviving are her children Judy (Dave) Barber of Grand Blanc, MI, Phil Alward of Fenton, MI, Dan (Debi) Alward of Grand Blanc, MI; grandchildren Matt Alward, Missy Alward, Nick Barber, Amanda Barber, Mike Alward, Adam Alward; three great-grandsons and one great-grand daughter. Preceded in death by husband Donald, Jan 1, 1980 and special friend Bernie Mineders. In leiu of flowers donations may be made to Halsey Methodist Church or Forest Edge Family Home. The family would like to extend a special thanks to John and Mary Dunn at Forest Edge Family Home. Condolences may be left on-line at

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