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WILLOBELLE LOUISE VAN METER died on March 18, 2020. She was born on March 26, 1925, at Este, Michigan, to Estle and Theresa (Mesh) Lyons. She married Louis Arthur Van Meter on April 3, 1944, at St. Brigid’s rectory while he was on furlow from the Army in World War II.  While in high school, she was a drum majorette and also worked for a photographer, applying tints to photographs. She was also part of a State Champion softball team. She worked for Dow Chemical in the chemistry department before starting her family.


She was a long-time member of the neighborhood Home Economics Club, where she learned many skills, such as caning, rush work and furniture refinishing. She refurbished many beautiful antiques. She also learned cake decorating and contributed many beautifully decorated wedding cakes to family and friends. She was also a gifted seamstress, beginning in high school by making patterns and dresses from pictures in magazines to sewing many wedding dresses and bridesmaid dresses for family weddings. She became an avid doll collector and made many outfits for the dolls as well.


She enjoyed her large family and family events and loved helping with the farming and raising animals, gardening and going to auction sales. The annual Labor Day party was a highlight every year with all the family coming, beginning with racks of barbeque chicken lining the driveway, hayrides and games for the kids. She also loved traveling and had many stories of the national parks and all of the states they had traveled to, including three trips to Alaska. And she loved riding her bike, well into her 80s.


Willie and Louis lived on Gordonville Road in Midland until 1975 when they bought a farm on Grasslake Road in Clare. In 1991 they moved to Browns Road in Clare. They wintered in Florida at Naples, beginning with short camping trips in the early 70s and then becoming snowbirds. In 2017, Willie returned to Midland, residing at Washington Woods.


She is survived by: children: Karen Wonsitler, Louis (Linda) Van Meter, John (Cathy) Van Meter, Robert (Jodi) Van Meter, Marianne DeMott, Joanne (Paul) Anderson, Suzie (Dave) Sunday, Ann (Jerry) Mueller; son-in-law, Terry Baumann; grandchildren, Christina Beman, Michelle Massey, Philip and Paul Baumann, Jeff Van Meter, Jennifer DeShazer, Brad and Bryan Van Meter, Shannon Herber, Robby Van Meter, Amy Russo, Jason and Jeremy Steenhagen, Jessica Keidel, Angel Raymond, Justin Sunday, Amanda and Matthew Mueller, many great grandchildren and several great-great grandchildren.


She was predeceased by her husband Louis Arthur Van Meter on August 21, 2010, after 66 years of marriage; daughter Diane Baumann; son Ronald Van Meter; granddaughter Katherine Wonsitler; grandsons Donald Steenhagen and Dana Van Meter; son-in-laws Garth Wonsitler and Tommy DeMott; sisters Kathleen Sodeman, Maryalice Lyons, Rita Lyons, Gail Decker; brothers Denny and Joe Lyons.


Willie’s family would like to thank all the wonderful people at the Toni and Trish House in Auburn. Any contributions in Willie’s name to this caring hospice home would be appreciated.


A funeral mass has been scheduled for Thursday, July 2, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. at St. Brigid’s Catholic Church in Midland. Due to Covid 19 masks and social distancing is requested. No luncheon will follow the service. Private interment will follow.


Smith-Miner Funeral Home is honored to be serving the Van Meter family; to share a special memory please visit www.smithminer.com.


Condolence Messages

  1. Amy Sue VanMeter

    20 March 2020 2 years ago

    Incredible woman, an absolute honor to have known her in our time together. Her spirit, her wit, her kindness and her honesty, she made me feel welcomed and comfortable in our first meeting years ago and every family event until our last visit together. Im thankful to have known her and cherish great memories of her and the kind VanMeter family. Many prayers for the family and Im thankful she is now at peace. Xoxo.

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