Obituary: Edward ‘Duke’ Stakenas, 93, Free Soil

November 15, 2019

Ed Stakenas

Obituary: Edward ‘Duke’ Stakenas, 93, Free Soil

Edward William “Duke” Stakenas, 93, of Free Soil passed away on Wednesday, November 13, 2019 at his home.  Ed was born on February 24, 1926 at home on the family farm in Sherman Township, the son of William R. and Anna Marie (Merkis) Stakenas, and graduated from Scottville High School with the class of 1945.  On September 2, 1950 he married Clara Rose Froncek at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Manistee and they celebrated 63 years together before Clara preceded him in death in 2014.

Ed had a passion for music and was an original member of the Scottville Clown Band “Class of 47.”   He thoroughly enjoyed his many years spent with the band playing saxophone, marching in countless parades, developing long-lasting friendships, and wore the title of “Transportation Czar” with great pride.  Ed was also able to show his love of music by playing at the Rendezvous in Walhalla every Saturday night, rarely missing except for special family events.

Ed was the founding President of Stakenas Farms in Free Soil, now operated by his sons William and Carl and their children.  In his retirement, he continued to live on the farm where he could still oversee the operation and give his two cents from time to time.  Ed has served the farming community as a long time member of the ASCS Board, the Dairy Council and the Michigan Milk Producers Association board, as well as serving on the Sherman Township Board of Review.  He and Clara were former members of Sacred Heart and St. Jerome Catholic Church, and attended St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Custer.

Following Clara’s death, Ed reconnected with high school sweetheart Evelyn Daniels of Manistee and they have enjoyed each other’s companionship the past four years.  The Stakenas family would like to especially thank Evelyn for sharing her time and family with us.

Along with his beloved Clara, Ed was preceded in death by his parents, and his brothers Raymond and Robert.

Ed will be greatly missed by his children, Raymond and wife Deborah of Grand Rapids, James and wife Paula Cardinal of Clarksburg, Mass., Carl and wife Kay, and William and wife Terri all of Free Soil, Patrick and his partner Amalia Rosen of Newport Beach, Cali., and Victoria Selinger and husband David of Hockessin, Del.  He will also be missed by his grandchildren, Raymond Stakenas and wife Melissa Okey, Kathleen Stakenas, Kellianne Stakenas, Adam Cardinal-Stakenas and wife Elizabeth Beer, Thomas Stakenas and wife Stephanie, Martin Stakenas and wife Kala, Jennifer Whalls and husband Adam, Loryn Schlinker and husband John, Hailee Larson and husband Kyle, Lyndsay Earl and husband Seth, Kyle Stakenas, Alec Stakenas and fiancée  Amanda Cooper, Grant Stakenas, Nicole Stakenas and fiancé John Roberts, Jordan Stakenas, Ian Selinger, Erin Selinger, and Anna Selinger; his 13 great-grandchildren, Adrian and Jamie Cardinal-Stakenas, Greyson and Isabella Stakenas, Haidyn and Reese Larson, McKenzie and Madisyn Earl, Hudson Stakenas, Leah Whalls, Kyngstin and Maddix Stakenas, and Luna Okey; his special friend and companion Evelyn Daniels and her family; along with several nieces, nephews, cousins, and many great friends.

The Celebration of Mass will take place for Ed at 11 a.m. on Saturday, November 23 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Custer with Rev. Daniel DePew as celebrant.  Friends may meet with his family on Friday evening from 6 to 9 p.m. at Wyman Funeral & Cremation Services in Scottville, and on Saturday morning from 10 to 11 a.m. at St. Mary’s Church.  Those who wish to remember Ed with a memorial donation are asked to consider The Raymond J. Schulte Music Education Scholarship Fund of the Scottville Clown Band, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454.

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

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