Faces In the Crowd: Faces of 2018

December 27, 2018

By Aaron Michell

As we wrap up our first full year of Faces in the Crowd, we want to thank all of our readers – and all of our friendly faces who helped make 2018 such a great year. It was the late Marion Press contributor Randy Rassoul Johnston who made a habit of writing “good things about good things,” – a tradition we hope to continue. The conversations we’ve had with the following people throughout the year have been our absolute pleasure. May 2019 bless us with more of the same.
Marion Press: How did you two meet?
Marlene and Marv Puska (January 5): “Well we met in a bar – the Mt. Chalet Lounge in Detroit. Marv’s mother always said we met at a ski resort!”

MP: What do you enjoy most about working at the Shell?
Andrew Reid (January 12): “I love my people; I love my community. I’m a people-person.”

MP: Any good advice that’s stood out over the years?
Tammi Birtles (January 19): “The Golden Rule. And the one thing that the Bible has taught me is to just love. If you love, you’re going to work through everything. It’s all about love. Faith, hope, and love.”

MP: I’d say you’re doing a pretty good job (coaching basketball at Ferris).:
Andy Bronkema (January 26): “Balance is the key word. You gotta keep everything in perspective and keep everything in balance. I’m happy for the opportunity that I have here. I’m lucky to be the coach and I’m doing better than I deserve. That’s the way I see it.”

MP: When you’ve got money, you’ll have a lot of friends as a kid.
Bob Friend (February 2): “Yeah. In fact, I’ll tell ya how popular I was. Never been to school there, never even seen the place until I went there. Got in school and freshman year they had to elect officers – and they elected me president of the class.”

Marv and Marlene Puska.

Marv and Marlene Puska.

MP: Just because you were the guy to go to at the amusement park?
Bob: “I have no idea why. A lot of girls in the class, maybe that was why.”

MP: What is it about the health care industry that you enjoy?
Jeremy Teare (February 9): “I always say that life is a journey. And I’m willing to take that journey. This is the best job I’ve ever had. The staff is great here. We have a lot of fun. I really like it here.”

MP: So Bob’s a fast driver?
LeeAnne and Bob Williams (February 16): “He doesn’t waste any time, shall we say.”

MP: Home Economics and Life Lessons.
Pam Pluger (February 23): “If I could stress anything, it’s that we should make sure that there’s more vocational education for kids and for those who need that kind of diploma. It’s just not happening. I wish that, if anything, every school in the country would put Home Ec education back into being a required class for graduation. You would not believe some of the girls who I’ve hired who don’t even know how to scrub a potato. They look at you like, ‘Peel this.’”

MP: What was Marion like then (in the 1930s)?
Ruby (and Jack) Keehn (March 2): “It was busier than it is now. Buggies would be parked on the street. That was between the opening of the cars and the closing of the buggies, so there were still people who drove buggies or carts. What I remember is that people always went – or you always went – to somebody’s house on Sunday. Card games were all over the country. Well, there wasn’t no television. You had to find something to keep entertained. We danced a lot. There were a lot of people who would dance in their houses.”

MP: Mindset and Work Ethic.
Brad Morgan (March 9): “Whether you’re working, or whether you’re contributing to something, you’ve gotta put something in the cookie jar every single day.”

MP: What was that like, growing up with 12 siblings?
(The Holmes Family, March 16) Dean: “We were – well we were pretty poor, so we made our own entertainment, just because there was a lot of us, and every Sunday we were either playing softball, or volleyball, baseball, football; I mean, on Sunday afternoon we would pretty much all end up here and have a cookout and some sort of sporting event. Badminton, ping pong – everything was competitive. Didn’t matter; girls, boys – I had sisters who were just as good at ping pong.”

MP: It sounds like you’re a professional relationship builder. A community builder.
Deb Booher (March 23): “Well you know, I guess that’s become my profession. And partly because I can’t do anything else. I always have to build relationships. Some people are so good at everything that it’s faster for them to just do it themselves. I am not. I lack those skills. I must always be aware of the people around me and building a team.”

MP: And you live right here, right (above the bike shop)?
Steve Petoskey and Doris Ehrler-Petoskey (March 30): “Usually we have people who walk up and down the street, and they’ll need to stop in here for a little bit. We’re kind of the hub here for the exchange of information. People will come in and ask us, ‘What’s going on out there?’”

MP: Of all the sports you’ve played and coached, which is your favorite and why?
Joel Felsk (April 6): “Baseball. I just feel like, for me, growing up with the experiences that I had with my teammates, and the teams that I played on during those years, those times were just the best times that I ever had.”

MP: And that’s a big part of the (hair stylist’s) job, right? The conversation?
Linda Baughan (April 13): “We laugh a lot. There’s always something to talk about and to laugh about. And you’re always meeting somebody new. There’s always someone new who happens to come. I like it.”

MP: What have you learned about farming over the last nine years?
David and Linda Wing (April 20): “The hours don’t matter; weekends don’t matter. But I do enjoy the flexibility a lot more – if we need to, most of the time we can sneak away here or there. But I’ve learned that weekends don’t matter. There’s always work to do.”

MP: Did you always want to be a teacher?
Lars Fredin (April 27): “For some reason, I did. Even in middle school. I couldn’t see myself doing anything else. I always wanted to coach; I always wanted to be involved with the school, sports. I don’t remember when I wanted to teach, but it was always on my mind. My senior year I was voted most likely to come back to McBain and teach, and look there, it happened!”

Heather Root

Heather Root

MP: So pool and fishing keeps you busy these days?
Joardan Bowman (May 4): [Speaking on behalf of her mom] “Just about every night of the week.”
Tammy Hamilton (May 4): “We have a pool table in our garage. If we don’t have our granddaughters, that’s what we’re doing: Pool or fishing.”

MP: What were things like in the ‘60s and ‘70s around here?
Greg and Sandy Merrifield (May 11): “Weekend entertainment: you’d wear out a car cruising Main Street. Where the Post Office is now, that was the turning point on the east; where the Whippy Dip is now was the turning point on the west. And the cars would just go back and forth, all night long…”

MP: How else did you spend your time growing up in Marion?
Dale Orvis (May 18): “Skateboarding. We were the only skateboarders in Marion. Glen Dillon – him and I got into skateboarding with Justin Nelson. We started to skateboard; ordered some skateboards. The next thing you know, the whole town was skateboarding!”

MP: Skiing and meeting Janet.
Jim Mort (May 25): “So she said, well why don’t you come up one Saturday and I’ll give you a lesson. So we drove up and she watched me fall down that hill so many different ways that it wasn’t funny.”

MP: Retirement is right around the corner. What are your plans?
Joel Bronkema (June 1): “My initial thing is nothing. When I say nothing, I’m gonna take some time to maybe figure out what I want the 4th quarter to look like. Part of it will be actively involved in what the boys are doing. I can take a lot more active role in what they’re doing; I love that arena.”

MP: What’s the best advice that you’ve ever been given?
Ashlee Flachs (June 8): “Always follow your dreams – never get discouraged. And always make time for your family.”

MP: How many births have you been a part of, over the years?
Laurie Zoyiopoulos (June 15): “My first birth was in 1988 – I was just going to do post-partum care for the woman, but they let me attend the birth, and that was really nice of them. And I just counted it up, and it’s been 1129 since then. Waiting on the 1130th one right now.”

MP: What was your childhood like, growing up in East Lansing?
Ed Kirkby (June 22): “World War II started when I was in kindergarten, and that was real exciting. I just hated school at the time, and when I’d heard that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor, I’d hoped that they’d continue east! But we had air-raid drills weekly, where we’d know how to act in case we were bombed.”

Ed Kirkby volunteers at  the Marion High School wood shop.

Ed Kirkby volunteers at
the Marion High School wood shop.

MP: What were the keys to success (for Marion Softball) this year?
Ryan Pace (June 29): “I think it was just the hard work that the girls put in during the offseason, buying in and believing in each other.”

MP: Just pretend like the (TV 9 and 10) cameras aren’t there.
Mat Patterson and Ashley Buckey (July 6): “Right. Except for the second time, up at the studio [during an appearance on The Four on 9&10] they were like: ‘It’s live. NO pressure.’”

MP: A career in journalism.
Mark Johnson (July 13): “The Marion Press got me started and I’m pretty happy with where I’m at. I’ll always remember working for the paper and talking with the people in town. It’s always nice to stop back in town and read the paper and see what’s going on.”

MP: What are some of your favorite TV shows or movies?
Drew Vandervest (July 20): Why’d they have to cancel Burn Notice!? I loved that show. I was absolutely addicted to it. It was very good – one of the better TV series. James Cameron’s Avatar.”

MP: Outside of the council, what else keeps you busy?
Don Gilmore (July 27): “My main hobby now is photography. I’ve always done it, through different times in my life, and when I come back to Michigan I got my first digital camera. Of course, [digital cameras] have changed photography.”

MP: How long have you been writing?
Julie Berry Traynor (August 3): “Off and on for a long time. And since I could hold a pencil, I guess. I have a [paper] that come from school with several lines saying: ‘I love to write.’ My mother kept everything!”

MP: What year did you get married?
Nora Ashby (August 10): “In ’51. As soon as I turned 18. I would not get married until I was 18 because I wasn’t going to get my parents’ permission, because they weren’t going to give it to me anyways!”
Abe Ashby (August 10): “Me neither; they didn’t like me.”

MP: Best Advice.
Ted and Linda Parkhurst (August 17): “What I think of the most frequently is my father telling me: ‘There are two types of people: those who do just enough to get by, and those who always do a little bit extra.”

Ted and Linda Parkhurst

Ted and Linda Parkhurst

MP: What are your first impressions (of Marion)?
Fred Randall (August 24): “So far I’m very impressed with Marion. I love the community. I haven’t talked to anybody that’s been contrary – everyone’s been very friendly. They’re very good impressions…”

MP: What were things like at Marion High School in the ‘80s?
Denise Miller (August 31): “We were both very active in sports; every sport. [Kevin] was in every sport. I didn’t play softball.”
Kevin Miller (August 31): “They didn’t have cross country, thank God…”

MP: And [Keith] studied mortuary science?
Norma Burkholder (September 7): “I was along for the ride – I worked for different places while he was in school to help get him through school.”
Keith Burkholder (September 7): “She was the driving force behind it. Oh heavens, behind every good man is a woman, they say. Look at your politicians!”

MP: What are some of the big differences moving from Knoxville to McBain?
Joey Roberts (September 14): “…Traffic! Traffic’s a huge thing. I was used to driving on 10 lane interstates, so two-lane highways are a lot different.”

MP: So just because you can talk fast, doesn’t mean you’re good (at auctioneering)?
Jimmy Lambert (Jim Lambert and Sons, September 21): “Right. An auctioneer entails the whole thing: running the company, treating people the way they need to be treated, and being a good bid-caller – that’s being a good auctioneer. Being a good bid-caller doesn’t mean you run a good auction business.”

MP: What made you want to buy and run the (Dighton) store?
Jean Stokes (September 28): “Well, we were kind of young and…”
Ken Stokes (September 28): “Naïve!”

MP: What kind of advice would you give to a kid, or someone who wants to be a vet?
Alpha “Doc” Clark (October 5): “I’d tell them that they better buckle down and get ready to work. You better learn to work, and you better be honest. You don’t fool people; sooner or later, you don’t fool people.”

MP: What was it that got you started lifting weights?
Dan Schwab (October 12): “Football. Playing at Marion was a lot of fun. Football’s a lot of fun.”

MP: Any other hobbies or interests that locals might not know about?
Lori Mitchell (October 19): “Yeah, (riding motorcycles) that one always shocks them. Every once in a while, I’m in town, in spring or fall I usually have my full leather gear on and I’ll pull my helmet off; a lot of people get shocked!”

MP: Any particular hangouts when you were a kid?
Heather Root (October 26): “We’d cruise. We’d just cruise.”

MP: What keeps you busy as a family?
Jim and Rachel Gulish (November 9): “I’m a mom stuck with three…well, four boys. And so now that my daughter’s gone at Indiana Wesleyan, all they like to do is hunt, fish, eat deer.”

MP: What is the best advice that you’ve been given, as an artist?
Sandy Wiltzer (November 16): “Being flexible. Just realizing this isn’t life or death. It’s just paint.”

The McCrimmon family -  Nicole, Chris, Collin, Macy and Brady.

The McCrimmon family –
Nicole, Chris, Collin, Macy and Brady.

MP: How’d you two meet?
Chris McCrimmon (November 23): “She’s a stalker!”
Nicole McCrimmon (November 23): “Yeah, kind of. Obviously, he was a good athlete; me, not so much – I was on the basketball team, and I was a cheerleader.”

MP: Are a lot of deer hunters using traditional bows?
Jim Belcher (November 30): “There’s a trend for younger people trying it. Not to bow hunt; not even thinking about bow hunting, but simpler times shooting a bow. It’s just real basic, simple fun in your backyard.”

MP: And you probably get excited to see growth within your companies as well?
Shannon Schmidt (December 7): Yes, every day. Every day is different. And I like to problem solve – I think I’ve figured that out about me. It’s funny because the older you get, the less you know. It’s so true! When you were 20 you probably knew everything!

MP: What is the best advice you’ve been given? Or advice that you’d give to others?
Josh Alberts (December 14): “Hunt where the deer are! If you want to shoot a big buck, hunt where the big buck is! No, I would say to not be afraid of change.”

MP: Who would’ve thought? The librarian and her woodworking, and her tools… just going to work in the basement.
Shelley Scott (December 21): “I did learn that you never, ever mess with your husband’s tools out in the garage – that’s not good.”

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