Chester Stefaniak, 81

Stefaniack obitChester Stefaniak, age 81, former longtime Sturgis resident, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family Sunday afternoon, March 16, 2014, at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo.

He was born July 12, 1932, in Covert, Mich., son of the late John and Rose (Posh) Stefaniak. Chet’s early life was lived in South Haven, where he was a graduate of South Haven High School with the class of 1951.

On June 28, 1952, he married Vivian Elaine Galbreath at the Congregational Church in South Haven. She died Feb. 5, 2011.

In 1956, they moved to Sturgis, where he resided until 2001, when they moved to Kline’s Resort in Three Rivers. They enjoyed wintering in Florida at Piney Point Park in Palmetto Fla., for many years and where they were involved in nearly all the park activities.

Chet was proud to have served his country in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, stationed at Fort Sill, Okla., earning the rank of sergeant.

He retired from Kirsch Company in Sturgis following 28 years of dedicated employment as a tool-and-die maker. At the time of his retirement, he held the position of supervisor of the tool room.

He was member of First Presbyterian Church in Sturgis and loved fishing and camping.

The last year of Chet’s life was spent happily with his companion and love, Anna Benson of Paw Paw.

He is survived by his companion, Anna Benson; two daughters, Cheryl (Gregg) Mounts of Ottawa, Ill., and Diane (Jaime) Mieras of Centreville; a son, John Victor Stefaniak (fiancée Terri Wright) of Kalamazoo; grandchildren Stephani Kilby, Scott Mounts and Jeffrey Mounts, Valerie Newcomb, Amanda Oliverio, Michael Stefaniak, Michelle Stefaniak, Cpl. Zachary McKerchie, Tyler McKerchie and Jesse Mieras; 14 great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife; two brothers; and a sister.

In accordance with his wishes, cremation has taken place. The family will receive friends from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, April 26, at the Hackman Chapel of Hackman Family Funeral Homes, 114 S. Nottawa St., Sturgis. A memorial service celebrating the life of Chester Stefaniak will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 26 at the funeral home. The Rev. Michael Wicks of the First Presbyterian church in Sturgis will officiate. A graveside committal will follow the service at Oak Lawn Cemetery in Sturgis. Full military honors will be conferred by Captain John J. Kelly Post #1355 VFW and the U.S. Army Honor Guard.

The family suggests those wishing to make a memorial donation in Mr. Stefaniak’s memory consider First Presbyterian Church, 1320 S. Lakeview Ave., Sturgis, MI 49091 or the Sturgis Hospital Auxiliary, 916 Myrtle Ave., Sturgis, MI 49091.

His obituary is also at, where personal messages of support may be left for the family.

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