Obit: Clara Stakenas, 85, Free Soil

April 1, 2014
Clara Rose (Froncek) Stakenas, 85, of Free Soil, Michigan, died Sunday, March 30, 2014, at Blodgett Hospital in Grand Rapids, surrounded by loving family.
Born in Stronach, Michigan, on November 25, 1928, daughter of John and Lila (Kowalski) Froncek, she attended local schools.  On September 2, 1950, she married Edward Stakenas at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Manistee and moved to the Stakenas family farm in Free Soil where she milked cows beside her husband and family for forty years.  She became secretary of Stakenas Farms, and she raised calves, cooked meals for farm staff, and helped grow the family business.  She was a loving, supportive, and proud mother to her six children and perhaps her greatest sense of accomplishment was in having made sure all of her children had access to higher education at the college of their choice.
Clara was an accomplished craftswoman, adept at crochet, embroidery, appliqué, and quilting, often making quilts as gifts for family and friends, including providing a quilt for each of her 18 grandchildren. Clara was a member of the St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Custer, the Child Study Club, and the Ladies’ Aid Society.  She was a 4-H Leader, a long-time sponsor of the Farmview Resort (Stakenas Farms) bowling team, and a devoted fan of the Detroit Tigers.  In retirement Clara and her husband enjoyed traveling to Davenport, Florida, in the winter months to spend time with friends.
Clara will be lovingly remembered by her husband of 63 years, Edward, son Raymond and his wife Deborah of Grand Rapids, son James and his wife Paula Cardinal of Clarksburg, MA, son Carl and his wife Kay and son William and his wife Terri of Free Soil, son Patrick and his partner Dawn Dilullo of Libertyville, IL, and daughter Victoria Selinger and her husband David of Johnston, IA, along with her grandchildren Raymond Stakenas and his wife Melissa Okey, Kathleen Stakenas, Kellianne Stakenas, Adam Cardinal-Stakenas and his wife Elizabeth Beer, Thomas Stakenas and his wife Stephani, Martin Stakenas and his wife Kala, Jennifer Whall and her husband Adam, Loryn Blink and her husband Jake, Hailee Larson and her husband Kyle, Lyndsay Earl and her husband Seth, Kyle Stakenas, Alec Stakenas, Grant Stakenas, Nicole Stakenas, Jordan Stakenas, Ian Selinger, Erin Selinger, and Anna Selinger, her five great-grandchildren Adrian Cardinal-Stakenas, Greyson Stakenas, Haidyn and Reese Larson, and McKenzie Earl.  Others fondly remembering Clara include her brother Anthony Froncek of California, sister Estelle Radliff of Milwaukee, WI, sister Alice Bottrell and her husband Robert of Manistee, and sister Virginia Gustafson and her husband Joseph of Ludington, along with many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
The funeral mass will be celebrated for Clara at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 5, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Custer with Rev. Thomas Hack presiding.  Friends may meet with her family for a time of visitation on Friday evening from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. at the Stephens Funeral Home in Scottville.  Flowers may be sent to the funeral home, and those who wish to make a memorial contribution in lieu of flowers are asked to consider St. Mary’s Catholic Church.  Please visit Clara’s personal memory page at to leave a memory of Clara for her family or to sign the guestbook.AD_100_wyman

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