4 women who recently passed have left legacies around the county.

September 5, 2018

4 women who recently passed have left legacies around the county.

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief

Within the last week, Mason County has lost four influential women, Helen Gancarz, Patsy Hagerman, Beatrice McCormick, and Doris Lundberg. The legacies these women have left behind have impacted business, farming, logging, sports, health care and the faith community of rural Mason County.

Helen Gancarz, 80, passed away on Thursday, Aug. 30. Helen was the daughter of Walter and Kathryn (Savich) Gancarz. She was raised on the family farm in Free Soil until her family moved to Muskegon so her father could work in a defense factory during World War II. The family eventually made its to Free Soil where Helen graduated with the Free Soil High School class of 1956. She broke many traditional gender barriers, excelling at baseball, softball, basketball, and deer hunting. She spent many years playing amateur fast-pitch softball and is inducted in the Mason County Sports Hall of Fame. She was also a pilot who received training in search and rescue missions, military drill, navigation, and radio-telephone operation. Helen received a master’s degree in education from Western Michigan University and another one in school social work from Michigan State University. She spent her career working in education, health, and welfare fields. She was also a devout Catholic and a historian who researched Free Soil history.

Patsy Hagerman, 69, also passed away on Thursday, Aug. 30. Like Helen, she grew up in Free Soil on the family farm. She was the daughter of Robert and Aldonna Kran. Patsy graduated from Free Soil High School in 1967 and attended Central Michigan University. Patsy married Chuck Hagerman shortly after Chuck joined the Navy. They spent 13 years in the Navy and eventually returned to Mason County, settling in Ludington.  While raising her three daughters, she attended West Shore Community College and earned her degree as a registered nurse, and worked in the local health care field since.

Beatrice McCormick, 96, passed away on Saturday, Sept. 1. She was born in Fountain, the daughter of Lee and Selma (Blohm) Klopfenstein and attended Fountain School. In 1939, she and Gerald McCormick were married in Scottville, and together they built the logging legacy known now as McCormick Sawmills. She and Gerald raised two sons and the sawmill continues in its third generation. They were both big supporters of the Fountain community.

Doris Lundberg, 93, passed away on Sept. 3. She was the matriarch of Lundberg Brothers’ New Horizon Farm in Riverton Township, located near the Mason-Oceana counties line. Doris was born in Derby, England, the daughter of Samuel and Edith (Bennett) Poole. During World War II she worked as a typist for the British government, and then met an American GI, Lawrence Lundberg. Lawrence brought Doris back to the U.S. and they raised four sons and a daughter on the family farm. She was the director of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church choir for 40 years. She also shared her joy of knitting and baking with the patients and personnel of the Ludington hospital, contributing over 15,800 volunteer hours. She knitted hundreds of mittens every year for the hospital and hundreds of hats for newborn babies.


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