PALO ALTO: (Bessie) Irene Raymond, age 98, of Seneca died Monday, September 7, at her daughter’s home in Palo Alto, California. She was born February 22, 1922 in Ogden Center to Jobe and Bessie (Wotring) Fike. On June 14, 1940 she married John Stutzman. They initially resided in Toledo, later purchasing a farm in Seneca. They had four children, Linda, Judy, David, and Janet. Following her husband’s death on March 13, 1953, Irene continued to operate the farm, overseeing the harvest and delivery of tomatoes to Campbell Soups. On February 22, 1955, Irene married Jack Raymond, joining the Raymond and Stutzman farms. They had two children, Jacquie, and Kathy. She supported Jack on the Raymond-Stutzman farm that specialized in beef cattle, corn, and soybeans, in partnership with her son David Stutzman, and grandson, Tim Stutzman. She was a devoted wife and mother to a beautiful blended family.
Irene was a member of the First Congregational Church in Morenci. She also served as president of the Michigan Cowbelles, and as a secretary for the Morenci Area Hospital Board and the Lenawee Historic Society. She enjoyed her flower gardens, hosting exchange students, antique doll restoration, and travel with Jack. Between 1974 and 1977, Jack and Irene hosted three high school exchange students from Brazil, Argentina, and the Philippines. They kept in touch with these students and visited their countries several times. They also traveled to Belize, Hawaii, Australia, Europe, New Zealand, and Galapagos. In recent years they traveled by motor home to Alaska, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and throughout the continental United States. Irene was the valedictorian of her graduating class in Metamora and continued to enjoy reading, writing poetry, and crossword puzzles all of her life.
Irene is survived by one son, John David (Nancy) Stutzman of Seneca; daughters, Linda (Bill) Baker of Greenville, SC, Judy (Leonard) Mitchell of Brookline, MO, Jacqueline Prielipp of Jennings, LA, and Kathy Merkle-Raymond (Lee) of Palo Alto, CA; son-in-law Douglas Keller of Douglasville, GA; 17 grandchildren; 36 great-grandchildren; 1 great-great grandchild; and a brother, Marvin Fike of Adrian. She was preceded in death by her two husbands, John Stutzman and Jack Raymond; a daughter, Janet Keller; a step-grandson, Brandon Gleason; her parents; three sisters, Clara, Ethel, and Olah; and three brothers, Floyd, Ray, and Kenneth.
A service to celebrate Irene’s life will be held at the Morenci First Congregational Church at a future date. You may send condolences to the family at www.andersonfuneralservices.com. Memorial contributions may be given to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where one of Irene’s great grandsons was successfully treated for Leukemia. Envelopes are available at Anderson-Marry Funeral Home, Adrian.
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