Dorothy Stears, 98

Dorothy  L. Stears, age 98, Sturgis, formerly of Constantine died Sunday, August 29, 2010 at Thurston Woods Village in Sturgis. She was born October l5, 1911, in the same house where her grandmother and mother were born on Lutz Road in Florence Township, Constantine, the daughter of the late Charles and Bertha (Haas) Caseman. The family moved to Constantine in l9l6 when Dorothy was 4 l/2 years old. On June 11, l938, she was married to Edward Stears at the Constantine Methodist Church. Her husband passed away Feb. 26, 1987.
 Dorothy graduated from the Constantine High School in 1930, Battle Creek College in 1934 with a B. S. degree in Food and Nutrition, and from a Dietetic Internship at Cook County Hospital, Chicago, in 1935. She was employed by Borgess Hospital, Kalamazoo, and St. Joseph Hospital, South Bend, as a Dietitian before her marriage. They lived a short time in South Bend, IN, Kalamazoo, MI. and Chicago, IL, where Edward had employment with Armour and Co. In July, 1939, after his father’s death, they came to White Pigeon to take over the Stears Family Farm, owned by his family since 1830. It was designated a Centennial Farm February 23, 1953, and the oldest Centennial Farm in St. Joseph County at the St Joseph Fair in 1993,  It was designated a Sesquicentennial Farm in 1993. Edward and Dorothy lived there until 1965 when their son Thomas married and took over the farming, and they moved to Constantine.
   In her earlier years, she was a Girl Scout, played on the High School basketball team, won First place in running broad jump at a County Meet, a 4 H Leader, and belonged to an extension Club, Florence Country Club, Florence Triangle Farm Bureau Discussion Group, was President of the White Pigeon PTA, White Pigeon Area A. A. R. P. #2169, taking an active part in all these organizations.
   Dorothy holds the longest membership in the Constantine Methodist Church having joined along with her mother and two older sisters on March 7, 1920. She was Financial Chairman for 7 years, Chairman of Social Activities including the annual Harvest Supper for 30 years, the Membership chairman for 35 years, and the Memorial chairman for over 40 years.  She made monetary gifts to the church for the Restoration Funds, the steeple, the elevator lift, the Roland Ateliere organ, the air conditioner, and the sound system, along with many other generous donations to local organizations.
 Her hobbies were her flowers, working on genealogies, and compiling histories, the latest, “Constantine, In Retrospect”, the history of Constantine Businesses, visiting shut-ins and traveling. She has been to Hawaii, Alaska, Europe, Nova Scotia, and many places in Canada, including James Bay, and all the States in the United States. She had spent twenty winters in Gulf Shores, AL.
 Survivors include a daughter, Judy Burnham, White Pigeon, four grandchildren:  Michael, (Susan) Stears, White Pigeon; Deborah Stears and her husband William Macauley, Wooster, OH; Michelle, (Jim) Kauffman, Burr Oak; and Todd, (Melissa) Burnham, Parker, CO. Eleven great-grand children: Thomas  Stears and Trevor and Brandon Butchart, White Pigeon; Zoe, Phoebe, and Liam Stears-Macauley, Wooster, OH; Lori and Jacob Kauffman, Burr Oak; and Tucker, Roarke, and Hutton Burnham, Parker, CO, along with many nieces, nephews, and cousins. She was preceded in death by  her  parents, her husband, son Thomas  in l974, son-in-law Roger Burnham in 2009 and three sisters, Genevieve Brown in l994, Winifred Gross in l998, and Geraldine Caseman in 2001.
 In fulfillment of her wishes. Dorothy’s body has been donated to the University of Michigan Medical School.  Friends and relatives will be received at the Constantine United Methodist Church on Sat., Sept. 18, 2010 from 10-11 am, followed by a Memorial Service at 11:00 a.m. Pastor Scott Manning, Reverend James Barney, and Thurston Woods Chaplain Glen Russell will officiate.
 In lieu of flowers, and as an expression of sympathy, memorials are suggested to Sturgis Hospice. Condolences messages may be left for the family at www.eleyfuneralhomes.com.

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