C.W. “Mike” Mestelle, age 84, of Sturgis, Michigan passed away Monday afternoon Nov. 30, 2009, at his home, following a short illness.
He was born Clarence Woodruff Mestelle the youngest child of seven on July 22, 1925, in Ladysmith, Wis. to the late Paul and Ella (Lohrey) Mestelle. However, he was known to most as “Mike” from a very early age.
Mike attended grade school and high school in Ladysmith, where he graduated at the age of 16 in 1942. When he was old enough he enlisted in the military and became a navigator on a B29 bomber in the Army Air Corp during World War II.
Mike married his wife, Betty Simon, on Feb. 18, 1953, in LaGrange, Ind. (the same day on which Betty’s parents had been married in 1930). Mike had one child, Michael A. Mestelle. Both survive him.
When Mike was discharged from the military he returned to Sturgis where his oldest sister, Clarice had relocated with her employer. He became a carpenter in Sturgis and shortly afterward became co-owner of two different lumber companies in the Sturgis area together with his two brothers, Vincent and Joseph Mestelle. He then worked as a carpenter for the Citizens Lumber Company in Sturgis. Eventually, he worked with his brother, Joseph, in the restaurant business. During that time, Mike and Betty lived for a few years in Grand Ledge. In 1977 Mike and Betty returned to the Sturgis area. Mike then worked in kitchen design and sales for a couple of different companies, spending the last 20 years with Michigan Kitchen Distributors (MKD) of Marshall, from which he retired in December 2001 at the age of 76.
Mike’s mother and father were both from German Lutheran families. Mike was active in the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church and was a member of the Trinity Lutheran Church in Sturgis for much of his life. He was a member of the Lutheran Layman’s League and served that organization as its president in the early 1970s. That membership and presidency required Mike to travel to different churches throughout Michigan and that together with his travels for his employer caused him to know, and count among his friends, many people.
Mike was the family historian for the Mestelle family and he kept complete records of all the births, deaths and other family functions within the family until recently. He was known to have a prodigious memory of past events. He was an avid reader and had a personal library of nearly 2,000 books.
He was preceded in death by his parents and all his brothers and sisters, Paul, Clarice Turner, Bart, Eleanor Alexander, Vincent and Joseph and a niece, Jean.
In addition to his wife and son, he is survived by 16 nieces and nephews and many more relatives of his wife’s family with whom he was very close.
The family will receive friends from 10-10:45 a.m. Saturday at Trinity Lutheran Church, where funeral services celebrating the life of C.W. “Mike” Mestelle will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday. The Rev Michael Klefahn and the Rev. Calvin Kolzow will officiate. Private burial will take place at Fort Custer National Cemetery in Augusta.
The Hackman Family Funeral Homes Hackman Chapel, 114 S. Nottawa St., Sturgis is handling the arrangements.
The family suggests those wishing to make a memorial donation in Mr. Mestelle’s memory consider Trinity Lutheran Church, 406 S. Lakeview Ave., Sturgis, MI 49091 or Hospice of Sturgis, P.O. Box 126, Sturgis, MI 49091.