Thelma Mae French, age 90, passed away March 9, 2019 at Rose Arbor with her family by her side.
She was born September 13, 1928 in Kalamazoo, the daughter of the late O.C. and Theo Effie (Diamond) Hunkins.
In 1947 she met Junior French who had just gotten home from the Navy. They were married May 17, 1947 and Junior joined the Air Force. Following with Junior, they settled in South Carolina where they started their family.
After Junior was out of the service they retuned and settled in Portage for a short time. In the early 1950's they moved to their farm in Mattawan, where they still reside. Working outside the home, raising four sons and helping on the farm, she was never without something to do. She loved fishing, especially with her friend Jessie Rapacz.
She was game for anything her family came up with, which was proof in the story of Scott and Sandy taking her frogging, or her daughters in law taking her to see the Chippendale Dancers.
Her pride in watching her sons grow and settle down was the greatest accomplishment to her. she was a military wife and a military mother in the late 60's and early 70's, having three of her sons all serving their country. She loved when they gave Danne and then Gary property to build their homes on the family farm. She was so excited to take each of their boys and their wives for a trip to Las Vegas.
After retiring from KRPH they bought a place in Okeechobee, Florida, but after a few years decided there was no place like their home in Mattawan. She took painting classes with her friend Mary Walker, and all of her family has at least one of their pieces of art. She enjoyed the casino, she loved a good poker game, but most of all she loved her family. Very few weekends went by that she didn't pile all 6 or 7 of her grandkids in the car and they'd head out for some sort of adventure. The kids called it "Jukeing"
Thelma is survived by her husband of 72 years, Junior "JB"
She is also survived by her four sons, Michael French of Kalamazoo, Danne (Theresa) French of Mattawan, Gary (Barbara) French of Sebring, FL and Scott (Sandy) French of Mattawan along with seven grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
Thelma was preceded in death by her granddaughter, Sarah and her great-grandson, Alexander.
Services for Thelma will be private. She will be laid to rest at Oak Grove Cemetery in Lawton. Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan .
Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan
222 N. Kalamazoo Mall, Suite 100, Kalamazoo MI 49007-3882