Obituary: Connie Newkirk, 68, Amber Township.

January 6, 2016

Constance Marie (Mates) Newkirk of Amber Township, Scottville passed away on Monday, January 4, 2016 at her home.  Connie was born November 10, 1947 in Gratiot County, Michigan, to Carl and Ruth (Richards) Mates, and attended St. Louis schools, graduating with the class of 1965.  She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Education and Master’s Degree in English from Central Michigan University, and began her teaching career at Mason County Central Middle School in 1969.  Connie taught English and History, retiring after surviving a brain aneurysm in 1998.  She was awarded the Scottville Optimist Club Teacher of the Year, Outstanding Teacher for the VFW Ladies Auxiliary, and her students admitted her to Who’s Who Among American Teachers.

Connie was a member of the United Methodist Church of Scottville, the NW Michigan Stroke Support Group, the Mason County Historical Society, Project Read Northwest, and Battery D, 1st Michigan Light Artillery.  She was also the historian for the West Shore Chapter of the American Red Cross, and volunteered for HELP Ministries.

Connie will be lovingly remembered by her husband O’Neil (Jim) Newkirk Jr., whom she married June 12, 1971 in Scottville; her son O’Neil III (Heather) Newkirk, her daughter Kerry (Chad) Krzymicki, her grandchildren Abraham and Gabriella Krzymicki, and Savannah and Cassidy Newkirk; her father Carl (Ima Jean) Mates; her sister Ruth Farrier; her brother-in-law William (Paula) Newkirk; her sisters-in-law Susan (Bruce) Kelly, and Cynthia (Mark) Yenkel, and many nieces and nephews.

According to her wishes, cremation has taken place, and a memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, January 9 at the Scottville United Methodist Church with her pastor, The Rev. Jack Conklin, and her longtime friend The Rev. Merritt Bongard officiating.   Friends may meet with her family for a time of visitation on Friday evening from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Stephens Funeral Home in Scottville, and on Saturday morning from 10 a.m. until time of services at the church.

Interment will be at Riverside Cemetery in Custer.  Those who wish to remember Connie with a donation are asked to consider the Newkirk Family Education Scholarship at Mason County Central Schools, or Hospice of Michigan.

Please visit Connie’s personal memory page at to leave a tribute of Connie for her family, or to light a candle in her memory.

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