Laura Lee Blakely

March 24, 1966 – October 13, 2021

Laura Lee Blakely, 55, of Newberry, died Wednesday morning October 13, 2021 at her residence.

Born March 24, 1966 in Pontiac, daughter of Conrad Sr. and Judith (Carroll) Blakely, Laura was a high school graduate and attended Apollo College in Phoenix, Arizona.

A resident of Newberry since 2007, Laura was employed as a sales clerk at Fosters Ace Hardware.  Laura attended St. Gregory’s Catholic Church, a huge supporter of the Gay Pride Movement and a member of the Arbor Day Foundation.  Laura enjoyed gardening, woodwork, card games, fishing, camping and casino gaming.

Laura is preceded in death by her father Conrad Sr. and sister-in-law Vanessa Blakely.

Survivors include her mother, Judith Blakely, of Newberry; siblings Richard Blakely of Newberry, Carrie Cain of Glendale, Arizona and Conrad Jr. (Shannon) Blakely of Newberry; several nieces and nephews.

A gathering of family and friends will take place Wednesday October 20, 2021 from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm at St. Gregory’s Catholic Church.  A Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 2:00 pm at the church with Fr. Jacek Wtyklo officiating.  Rite of Committal will follow at Forest Home Cemetery.

Memorials may be directed to St. Gregory’s Catholic Church in her loving memory.

Condolences may be expressed at

Beaulieu Funeral Home in Newberry is assisting the family.


Laura Sue Kabelman

April 4, 1955 – October 12, 2021

Laura Sue Kabelman, 66, of Eckerman, died Tuesday morning October 12, 2021 at U.P. Health Systems-Marquette.

Born April 4, 1955 in Newberry, daughter of the late Kenneth and Marion (Clark) Kabelman, Laura was a graduate of Brimley High School and on October 16, 1976, Laura married Ed Gorentz I in Strongs, Michigan.

Laura resided with her family in Chardon, Ohio and where she was employed as a custodian at Maple Elementary School for several years.

Laura and her family moved back to Strongs in 1994 where they owned and operated the Black Bear Motel until her retirement.

Laura was a member of the American Legion Post #393 Ladies Auxiliary in Hulbert and very involved as a volunteer in the community activities.  She enjoyed baking, the outdoors and spoiling her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

In addition to her parents, Laura is preceded in death by her brother Kenneth “Pete” and brother-in-law’s Donnie Earls, James Kyle and Steve Nichols.

Survivors include her former husband Ed of Strongs; children Betsy (William) Rennhack of Strongs and Ed Gorentz II of Strongs; grandchildren Mackenzie (Chris Lucas) Brunelle of Paradise and Nicholas Brunelle of Watford City, N. Dakota; great-grandchildren Emmersyn Lucas and Izabella Lucas both of Paradise; siblings Barbara Kabelman of Eckerman, William (Lela) Kabelman of Eckerman, Don (Terry) Kabelman of Strongs, Beth Nichols of Kinross and Carol Earls of Eckerman; several nieces and nephews.

Per request, cremation services were accorded.  A celebration of Laura’s life will be held Saturday November 6, 2021 starting at 2:00 pm at the American Legion Post #393 in Hulbert.

Condolences may be expressed at

Beaulieu Funeral Home in Newberry is assisting the family.


Rickie Ray Buskirk

December 9, 1955 – October 10, 2021

Rickie Ray “Buzzy” Buskirk, 65, of Gould City passed away October 10, 2021. He was born December 9, 1955 to John and Mavis Buskirk.

Music was his life.

Rickie was preceeded in death by his brother, Danny Buskirk, and his parents.

He is survived by his significant other, Betty Sherwood; seven children, Leslie Marie Buskirk, Raymond (Lisa) Buskirk, Douglas (Danielle) Buskirk, Michael (Meggan) Buskirk, Malinda (Joseph) Gibbons, Mirissa Buskirk, and Morgan Buskirk; 11 grandsons, seven granddaughters, two great-grandsons, two great-granddaughters, four brothers and four sisters.

Memorial services will be held Saturday, November 6, 2021 at 1 p.m. at the Germfask Christian Fellowship church in Germfask, 6878 M-77, with pastor J.D. Livermore presiding. A luncheon will follow at the Germfask Town Hall (old school building). Services and luncheon are subject to change due to COVID guidelines.

If memorials are considered, they can be sent to the family at N6421 H-33, Gould City, MI 49838.

Gerald Thackham

April 10, 1932 – September 30, 2021

Gerald M. Thackham (Buzz), 89, of Brooksville, FL, Brimley, MI, and most recently a resident of Spring Hill, FL, died peacefully on Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021.

He was born on April 10, 1932 in Newberry, MI, to the late William Ross and Dorothy Nell (Bodi) Thackham. He was their sixth child. He was the great grandson of Mike Bodi who homesteaded Bodi Lake – seated in Luce County of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula near the coast of Lake Superior.

Following Buzz’s graduation in 1950 from Newberry High School, he attended Albion College in MI before enlisting in the Navy, where he was Quartermaster (signal man) on a destroyer during the Korean War. After discharge, he briefly attended University of Michigan and then transferred to Eastern Michigan University where he earned his undergraduate degree. In the late 1950’s, he began working at Starr Commonwealth in Albion, MI and later left this non-profit residential youth rehabilitation facility to attend US Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, New York where he earned both Bachelor’s of Science and Master’s degrees in Marine Transportation. Gerald continued to work with struggling young people and later gave instrumental help to several individuals, providing means to facilitate their educations.

From 1966 to 1993 Gerald worked for the International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots Maritime Union, achieving First Officer/Chief Mate rank with a Licensed Master Mariner status. In the early 1990’s Gerald received commendation and recognition from the British Parliament for an heroic rescue at sea. His cargo ship was heading to the port of Charleston, South Carolina when he received a midnight SOS call from six British subjects aboard a small pleasure sail boat floundering in high seas about 300 miles east of Charleston. Gerald was the officer on board responsible for organizing the crew and equipment to safely rescue all six persons. However, the sail boat was lost. The “Award of Plate” was presented to Gerald by Parliament member and actress Glenda Jackson.

Gerald’s adventurous maritime career took him around the world many times and you could check here to know more about it. Always a scholar, wherever he sailed, Buzz relished learning about every culture. Never forgetting his roots, he tried to enrich people’s lives and make a difference. Quietly and humbly, he was proud to have buoyed three college graduates, Claudio, Boris and Shu Sum.

Gerald was also a fastidious, master craftsman. When ashore, he built custom, original cabinets and furniture pieces just to help people and humanitarian organizations, including all the shelves for Florida’s Howey (Brownlee) Library. He liked to figure out how to utilize unusual materials in his designs, and he applied his techniques and discoveries in all of his creations.

Gerald is survived by his loving sisters Carol Thackham of Bradenton, FL and Laura Nebel of Philadelphia, PA; seven nieces: Elaine, Lisa, Lori, Brigitte, Amy, Kathy, and Laura; three nephews: William, Kevin and Richard; eleven great nephews; five great nieces; many great-grand nieces and nephews; cousins and close friends.

Preceding him in death were his parents; his eldest niece and nephew Dorothy Lee Thackham and David Thackham; his brothers Ernest, William and Richard and his dear baby sister, Lois (Thackham) Santer.

A memorial celebration will be held by family at a later date. Memorial contributions can be sent to Hospice of the Eastern Upper Peninsula, 308 W. 12th Avenue, Sault Ste., Marie, MI 49783.

Gary Clinton Hedberg

August 5, 1952 – October 6, 2021

Gary Clinton Hedberg, 69, of Ishpeming, went home to his Creator, Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Wednesday evening, October 6, 2021 at UP Health System-Bell.

Gary was born August 5, 1952, in Newberry, Michigan, to the late Clinton and Margaret (Swanson) Hedberg. He graduated from Newberry High School in 1970 and went on to earn a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering as well as 2 Associate Degrees in Mechanical, Draft & Design Engineering from Lake Superior State University.

On June 4, 1977, he was united in marriage to Virginia Schaefer in Lakefield, MI. This union blessed the couple with three children whom they raised in Ishpeming.

Gary was employed as a Mechanical Engineer for 34 years at CCI. There he successfully designed and oversaw numerous projects benefiting the Republic, Tilden, and Empire mines. He retired as a Senior Engineer from CCI but continued to work another 5 years at U.P. Fabricating Co. where he was contracted frequently by the mines for his outstanding engineering services. Gary completely retired in 2014, but never stopped sacrificially serving his family, friends, and neighbors.

Gary firmly trusted in God’s love and the forgiveness he found through his friendship with Jesus. He faithfully attended and served his church. He was a devoted husband, wonderful father, beloved “Bumpa,” and friend to everyone he met. Gary loved the outdoors. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, camping with family, watching football games, and attending stock car races.

Known for his kindness, friendliness, excellent work, and compassion, Gary cared for people the way he knew Jesus cared for him. He will be dearly missed. The kindness he shared lives on in the hearts of all his family and friends.

Gary is survived by his wife, Virginia Hedberg; children Raymond (Rachel) Hedberg of Ishpeming; Melissa (Ben) Bursack of Ishpeming; and David (Bethany) Hedberg of Holland, MI; 9 grandchildren, Chamonix, Elias, Valdez, Meribel, Claire, Caleb, Cadie, Carolyn, and baby-on-the-way; siblings, Vickie (Mike) Gould of Anthem, AZ; Sandy (Bud) Burke of Newberry, MI; and sister-in-law Betsy Hedberg of Neenah, WI.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Clinton and Margaret Joyce Hedberg; and his brother, Steven Hedberg.

A funeral service will be held on Monday, October 25, 2021 at 3 pm at Calvary Baptist Church in Negaunee with Pastor Randy Reed officiating. Visitation will be held at the church from 1:30 pm until the time of the service. The burial will take place Tuesday, October 26, at 1 pm in the West Lakefield Township Cemetery, McMillan, MI.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to non-profit WHWL Radio at 130 Carmen Drive, Marquette, MI 49855 or; non-profit Care Clinic at 1213 N. Third Street, Marquette, MI 49855 or

Canale& Pennock Funeral Service in Ishpeming is assisting the family where memories may be shared at