Alan Eugene Bitely
April 24, 1947 – March 21, 2024

Alan Eugene Bitely, beloved husband, father, grandfather, educator, and pillar of the Curtis, MI community, passed away peacefully on the morning of March 21, 2024 in Germfask, MI. Born to Gerald and Alta Bitely in Vicksburg, MI on April 24, 1947, Alan was 76 years old at the time of his passing.

In 1956, Alan’s family relocated to Curtis to help his grandparents run Birch Shores Resort. This laid the foundation for his deep connection to the area.

Alan’s journey was one of service and dedication. After graduating from Newberry High School in 1965, he served his country during the Vietnam War as an Army typist in Germany. Upon his return, he pursued his passion for education, earning a bachelor’s degree in education in 1974 following his studies at both Lake Superior State University and Northern Michigan University.

In the meantime, Alan had also spotted a beautiful young lady named Ann Jo Leiphart during a night out with friends. The story goes that after dancing together he followed her home that night on his motorcycle, with the headlights off to avoid detection, to discover where she lived. Six months later in 1973, Alan and Ann Jo tied the knot and never looked back.

Alan was a dedicated teacher and later principal, well-known for his fun classroom, jokes, and legendary paper races. He spent his career at Curtis Elementary School (now Three Lakes Academy) until he retired in 1998. After retiring from his career in education, he and AnnJo loved spending their winters with their friends at Sandpiper Resort on Anna Maria Island, Florida. During the summers he also worked at, and later ran, the family’s Birch Shores Resort from 1956 until 2014. There he developed deep lifelong friendships as he hosted generations of guests during their yearly family vacations.

Alan was an avid hunter and fisherman. He was most at home on the trout stream with his fishing hat, catching brookies for pan frying. He also spent many an hour basking in the company of his beloved wife, AnnJo, sitting on their porch overlooking the lake and doing crossword puzzles. His life was enriched by his students, the many lifelong friends of his Birch Shores Resort family, and his buddies at Sandpiper.

Beyond his professional accomplishments, Alan was known for his boundless generosity and zeal for life. Whether he was tirelessly pulling water skiers for hours on end, engaging in spirited games of pinochle, orchestrating nightly campfires complete with scooter rides for resort kids, or belting out off-key renditions at karaoke, Alan’s passion for bringing joy to others was evident in everything he did.

Alan’s most rewarding role in life was that of being a grandfather. Nothing brought him greater happiness than spending time with his grandchildren, Addison, Birch, and Ripple. Alan showered them with love and took pride in creating cherished memories that will last a lifetime.

More than 50 years after he followed her home that dark night, Alan’s wife AnnJo succeeds him, as do their children Jay Bitely (Mithril) and Brook Bitely, and two brothers, Gary (Noemy) and Dale (Maxine). He will also be warmly remembered by his sisters-in-law Donelle Mattson and Rita Knierim. He also leaves behind a deeply cherished extended family too numerous to list at Birch Shores and Sandpiper Resorts.

While no funeral service is forthcoming, immediate family plan to hold a small gathering in his memory this summer. If you would like to honor Alan’s memory, the family would love to collect stories of his shenanigans, which can be submitted to Jay Bitely at Alternatively, in a fitting tribute to his joking nature, you could donate to the Birch Shores Septic Fund.


James G. Sevarns
April 19, 1943 – March 17, 2024

Longtime area resident, James George Sevarns, 80, of McMillan, died Sunday afternoon March 17, 2024 at McLaren Hospital in Flint, Michigan.

Born April 19, 1943 in Newberry, son of the late Arthur and Hazel (Maule) Sevarns, Jim attended Tahquamenon Area Schools.

During his lifetime, Jim held various employments including working in the woods, Oscar Price Construction, Ypsilanti State Hospital and finally as an inspector for the gas and oil pipeline until his retirement in 2019.  Jim was a former member of the F.O.E. Aerie #3701 and enjoyed hunting, fishing, helping people and spending time with his family.

In addition to his parents, Jim is preceded in death by his siblings Dorine Kabell, Arthur Sevarns Jr., Viola Troop, Cora Mae Manning, Charles Sevarns, Robert Sevarns and Roger Sevarns.

Survivors include his loving wife, the former Polly Burke, of McMillan; children Lori (Jeff) Puckett and Jimmy Sevarns all of Newberry; grandchildren Lettie Puckett, Emily Puckett, Katie Hummelgard and Thomas Loya; great granddaughter Iris Ann Puckett Holbrook; siblings Luke Sevarns and Allen Sevarns both of Manistique and Ella Sevarns of Kentucky; in laws Bud (Sandy) Burke, Dave (Ethel) Burke and Kev Burke all of Newberry; several nieces and nephews.

Friends may call at the Beaulieu Funeral Home in Newberry on Friday March 22, 2024 from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.  Funeral services celebrating the life of Jim will follow at 1:00 pm at the funeral home with Pastor Wanda Ruby officiating.  Interment will take place at Forest Home Cemetery.

Memorials may be directed to the family in his loving memory.

Condolences may be expressed at  Beaulieu Funeral Home in Newberry is assisting the family.