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Beryl Virginia Gavitt, age 89, of Marshall, formerly of Greenville, Ionia, and Grand Rapids, passed away Thursday, June 19, 2014 at Oaklawn Hospital in Marshall. The daughter of George H. & Elizabeth Marion (Chandler) Brazee, she was born on October 24, 1924 in Greenville.

A proud member of the Greenville Alumni Association, she was a 1941 graduate of Greenville High School. She attended Business College at Montcalm Community College in Sidney. From 1941 to 1945 she worked as a legal stenographer, a clerk in the Rationing Office, and as a lathe operator in a small factory. In 1946, she went to work as a stenographer for the Department of Social Services. From 1949 to 1963 while raising a family of four children, she worked various part-time jobs for the County Register of Deeds, the County Surveyor, Insurance office, thesis typing (at home – before erasable bond) and stenographical work for a former State Senator and State Treasurer. She also worked part-time as Secretary-Receptionist for the Montcalm County Nurses Office. In 1963 she worked full-time as the Office Manager of the Mid-Michigan District Health Department of Montcalm Gratiot and Clinton Counties. From 1969 to 1971 she worked as a Sales Manager for Faber’s Jewelry Store in Greenville. In 1971 she took the final job of her working career, Administrative Assistant of the Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association. She retired from her beloved principals’ association in 1989.

In Greenville she was a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. In Grand Rapids she was a member of St. Andrews Episcopal Church where she became an avid competitor of cribbage with Pastor Michael Fedewa, and in Marshall attended Trinity Episcopal Church where she made many dear friends and felt at home. She was also served on the Central Montcalm Board of Education, and several local organizations as secretary and filing clerk. She was a proud member of the Democratic Party and one of her favorite items of clothing was her Obama sweatshirt. In her retirement she volunteered wherever she lived at voting polls, libraries, health clinics, delivering meals for Oaklawn Hospital, and at various positions in the church.

Beryl’s greatest love was her family. She took a special interest in each child, grandchild, and great child. She amazed her family with her memory of facts, dates, and historical events. She inspired her loved ones with her ability to make fun out of any situation and to always look at the positive side of life. She laughed and cried with each family triumph and setback. She loved her friends, many of whom preceded her in death.

She was preceded in death by her parents; the father of her four amazing children ,Leo C. “Red” Gavitt; a brother, George H. “Uncle Herb” Brazee; and a great grandchild, Jonah Kelm.

Surviving are her children, Sharon & Robert Olsen of Burton, Rebecca Murphy of Marshall, Deborah & Frank Hicks of Middleville, and Stephen & Mary Kay Gavitt of Olivet; six grandchildren, Shannon Olsen, Gretchen & Reese Porter, Sarah & Mark Kelm, Elizabeth Breitkreutz, Tracey & Jamie Kring, and Katherine & Brent Erickson; great grandchildren, Jordan Kring, Logan Kring, Quinlin Olsen, Julia Kelm, Mia Kelm, Vaughn Porter, and Owen Erickson; step-grandchildren, Frank Hicks, Blaine Hicks, Lauren Burtts, Kevin Hendrix, Justin Hicks, and Bethany Hicks, step-great grandchildren, Mariah Abson, Bekah, Hannah and Samuel Burtts, Michael Hicks, and Daniel Johnson.

Memorial services for Beryl will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 24, 2014 at Trinity Episcopal Church, 101 E. Mansion Street, Marshall. Mother Anne Schnaar will preside and a luncheon will follow the ceremony. Honoring her wishes cremation has taken place and she will be laid to rest in the Chandler family plot at Forest Home Cemetery in Greenville at a private family gathering. Instead of flowers, Beryl would have appreciated contributions in her memory to Trinity Episcopal Church of Marshall. To send a message of sympathy to the family, sign Beryl’s online guest book, or to share a favorite memory, please visit: Cremation arrangements were entrusted to Christiansen Cremation & Funeral Care, Greenville.


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1 Condolence

  1. Anonymous on June 19, 2014 at 12:00 am


    07/26/2014 –

    Brenda Wilson Brazee

    Hi Sherry, Becky, Debby, and Steve. I just tried to find your Mom on Facebook and found out that she was gone. I am so sorry! I knew I hadn’t heard from her in awhile and wondered if she was okay. I have been in California taking care of Cindi and her 2 children after she had major surgery.
    Beryl was so special to me. She was always my link to the Brazee family, keeping me informed on happenings, etc. I last saw her at Aunt Bethel’s just before she died and she looked great. What a sense of humor she had! I have always been most grateful for her moving in with Mom and Dad after Mom’s accident and taking such good care of her. We could never have repaid her for that act of loving kindness. You all have our sympathy, but know that she was one special woman and greatly loved and admired.
    With our love, Jack & Brenda

    06/30/2014 –

    Diane (Holmes) Hunt

    Precious memories of a dear friend…just heard about her passing. She was very special to my late husband, Len and me.
    She impacted my life in many ways.

    06/27/2014 –

    Dave and Cindy Smallidge

    We are sad to hear of the passing of your Mother, but we can rejoice that she knew the LORD and is now dancing with Him on “Streets of Gold”
    Keep all the great memories close to your heart. Blessings -Dave and Cindy

    06/25/2014 –

    Annette Erickson (MEMSPA)

    I just want to express how much I appreciate Beryl’s guidance through my early years in the MEMSPA office. I’m sure that much of my success (and longevity) here as the current executive assistant stems from working alongside Beryl. My prayers are with you in your loss. God Bless!

    06/24/2014 –

    Virginia Rinkel

    Sharon and Bob,
    Berny called the other day to say your Mom, Sharon, had passed away. She looks like a wonderful lady, and full of life. She passed that on to you with all the things you’ve been involved in. Celebrate the good memories always. Ginger & Bob

    06/24/2014 –

    Carl & Barb Woodard

    Our prayers go out to you and your family.

    06/23/2014 –

    Jim and Violet Anderson

    Sorry to hear of your mother’s passing. Welcome to stop by for coffee anytime.

    06/23/2014 –

    Barbara S Millard

    Steve and Mary Kay- thinking of you and your families during this time and the loss of your mother.
    Barb and Greg

    06/22/2014 –

    Tim and Mary(Brazee) Cagney

    May the Angels Welcome Beryl to Paradise!

    06/22/2014 –


    Little prayor from FRANCE. You are going to miss me grand¦ma.! Loye you

    06/21/2014 –

    Nancy newton weaver

    Thinking of you and your family.

    06/21/2014 –

    Cheryl and Rich Hansen

    To Sherry, Becky, Steve and Debbie. Since the first msg. was messed up. !@#$$$@#$ I will attempt to correct!
    To Sherry, Becky, Steve, and Debbie
    Our thought are with you on the lose of your mom. What a wonderful woman. We always think of all of you when you were little and lived a Dickerson Lake. Your mom had a very rich and full life. Sorry we can’t attend the memorial service. Rich got a knee replacement almost 3 weeks ago and I’m attempting to be his nurse.

    06/21/2014 –

    To Sherry, Becky, Steve and Debbiie

    Our thought are with you on the lose of your mom. What a wonderful woman. We always think of all of you when you were little and lived a Dickerson Lake. Your mom had a very rich and full life. Sorry we can’t attend the memorial service. Rich got a knee replacement almost 3 weeks ago and I’m attempting to be his nurse.

    06/21/2014 –

    Mike and Johanna Tooze

    What a lady! We love her.

    06/21/2014 –

    Duane and Debra Robinson

    You are a beautiful person Beryl.

    06/21/2014 –

    Tom & Cherie Hagen

    We know there are many who were so happy to see Beryl’s smiling face arrive in Heaven.
    We will miss your beautiful spirit Beryl. Such a great lady that meant so much to us.

    06/21/2014 –

    Pat Miller

    The first part of my message disappeared. She was my secretary when Mary Jane Lilly and I worked as county nurses. She always had coffee waiting when I got back to the office. That’s how I learned to drink strong coffee. She lived at Dickerson Lake across from my friends. Pat Miller

    06/21/2014 –

    Pat Miller

    My friends across the road were Seymour & Lida Stebbins, Julia Mazola (who I worked with in the health dept.) and her family. I remember her long braid. Her picture with short gray hair looks so diffrent. Very nice written obituary. I’m happy to have known her. Pat Mller

    06/21/2014 –

    Veronika McTaggart

    Beryl and I have spent many wonderful hours together, either chatting at home or taking mini trips through the countryside, asparagus farm, having our nails done, going to lunch, garage sale-ing, and so many more. She always had an open ear to all my insignificant worries. She was a very dear friend from the very first day she moved here. She was instrumental in helping me with my wedding plans and so much more. I will miss her tremendously but she will forever be in my heart.

    06/21/2014 –

    Patti Cockrum

    I remember when she lived in Ionia she helped at SS Peter and Paul School with the hot dog lunches. She was lovingly given the nickname Grandma Hotdog. She will be missed, but not forgotten.

    06/21/2014 –

    Red & Esther Petersen

    Our sympathy at the loss of your Mother. I always thought she was a beautiful lady and her life reflected that in all that she accomplished.

    06/20/2014 –

    Bekah Frailey

    She was so amazing. She took me as a stray on Thanksgiving and the whole family opened their hearts. She was always smiling.

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