Honoring Tradition.
Celebrating Life.

Charles Michels

August 13, 1931 - September 4, 2020
Cedar Springs, MI


Graveside Service

Wednesday, September 9, 2020
12:00 PM EDT
Rosedale Memorial Park
50 Lake Michigan Drive
Grand Rapids, MI 49544

Life Story / Obituary


Charles Michels was a loving husband, father, and grandfather. Active throughout his life, he treasured his years serving the community he loved. Charles enjoyed the company of each and every person who came his way and accepted all people with compassion. His warm personality, genuine friendship, and loving ways will be deeply cherished by his many special friends and loved ones.

The 1930s were significantly impacted by the effects of the Great Depression. Banks were still closed but there was a promise of a new election year awaiting. During the middle of one of the toughest decades in American history, Charles LeRoy, was welcomed home in 1931 in Holt, Michigan. His birth brought them both great joy during tough economic times.

Charles lived a typical childhood of the times. His father enjoyed teaching him to hunt for antique bottles, a pastime that he enjoyed throughout his life. His mom worked at Kent Factory but was mainly a homemaker. Eventually they relocated to Scottville. Without many resources, he and his brothers enjoyed fishing during their childhood years. He remained close to his childhood friends, Verl and Norm Sewell, throughout his life. Money was tight and Charles eventually quit school after the ninth grade to help support his family. When he was fifteen years old, he hitchhiked to California and worked there a while before hitchhiking back home. He later spent eight years working as a cook on the Badger car ferry in Ludington. He met his first wife, Viola Miney, through a set of mutual friends. They hit it off and later joined in marriage in 1950 at the family farm. They took a short honeymoon to Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula before settling into an apartment in Ludington. Together they raised four wonderful children; Charley, Laura, LeAnn, and Carl.

A steadfast provider, Charles went to work as a fireman for C&O Railroad in 1958, eventually becoming an engineer. He moved his growing family to Grand Rapids in 1965. After a five year separation, he and Viola ended their marriage in 1970. Roughly two years later, he met and married his second wife, Laurine, at Faith Lutheran Church. They blended her four children with his four and made their home at 3498 Hayes Street in Marne. They treasured their large property with horses and a big garden for Charles to grow his vegetables. As a family, they also enjoyed canning after harvest season and snowmobiling in the winter. His passion for cooking from his years on the Badger paid off! He loved to fix prime rib and ham. On the holidays, he enjoyed making candy with this mother and pulling taffy with his daughters. Charles had many special pastimes in life, yet his family was always his most important.

Retirement afforded he and Laurine time to enjoy the simple pleasures in life. The two of them enjoyed traveling and spent nearly twenty winters together in Bowling Green, Florida. They lived next door to his brother, Lloyd and his wife, Laura, and the foursome loved to play horseshoes as well as spend time together. He also loved to go golfing and fishing as much as he could. Back home, he mowed the grass at the local Lincoln Country Club to pay his lot fees in Florida. He loved working at the course where he made many lasting friendships. Charles also loved to travel and made two memorable trips; one to Hawaii and one to the east coast. He enjoyed reading his daily newspaper. Charles lived his life to the fullest. There is no doubt that his dry sense of humor and his ability to call things just the way he saw them will be dearly missed by his special family and close friends. May they reflect his kindness in the years to come and may his memories live on in their hearts forevermore.

Charles L. Michels, age 89, of Cedar Springs, MI, passed away September 4, 2020 with his loving family by his side. Charles was born August 13, 1931 in Holt, MI to the late Howard and Reva (Blaker) Michels. He was also preceded in death by his first wife, Viola (Miney) Michels; second wife, Laurine Michels; granddaughter, Elaina Isenhoff; grandson, Jason Isenhoff; brothers, Earl, Joseph, Lloyd and Howard Michels. Charles was the cook on the Badger car ferry in Ludington for nine years and worked for over thirty years for C&O Railroad as an engineer. He is survived by his children; Charles V. Michels of Standale, Laura (Jerry) Jacobs of Scottville, LeAnn (Mark) Isenhoff of Gowen, Carl Michels of Standale, Kelly (Don) Teesdale of Rockford, Rebecca (Doug) Owinski of Grand Rapids, Jackie (Brian) Holton of Conklin, Karline (Maurice) Wood of Grand Rapids; grandchildren, Brenda (Sonny) Silvers, Jerry (Audra) Jacobs, Andy Jacobs, Michael (Angie) Isenhoff, Ben (Rachelle) Isenhoff, Daniel Isenhoff, Saphron Weatherly, Krista Ditmar, Kimmy Ditmar, Jason Maki, Maurice (Andrea) Wood, Amanda (Eric) Alcum bruck, Tracy (Koffi) Ananou, Jennifer (Dave) Meeuwsen, Lindsay Hankins, Karlie Hankins; many great-grandchildren; and five great-great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother, Paul Michels of Holland; sister, Donna Curan of Ludington; and many nieces and nephews. A graveside service will be held Wednesday September 9, 2020 at Noon at Rosedale Memorial Park. To leave a memory or condolence visit www.heritagelifestory.com.