RALPH - John Edwin Cootware, 56, of Ralph, was pronounced dead Dec. 25, 2012 at Dickinson County Memorial Hospital in Iron Mountain.
Born Dec. 31, 1955, in Iron Mountain to John "Jack" and Donna Mae (Blomquist) Cootware, he was a lifelong resident of Ralph. John was a member of North Dickinson High School's 1974 graduating class.
He went on to attend Michigan State University. He graduated from MSU in 1978 with a bachelor of arts in agriculture. On Oct. 24, 1992, he married Cheryl Rae Hammerly in Wisconsin Dells. John worked along side his wife and parents on Cootware Family Farm, where they raised cattle and potatoes.
In addition to farming, he also worked as a Michigan Certified Seed Inspector; he served as township supervisor for West Branch Township; he was a lifelong member and leader with 4-H; he was on the Zion Lutheran Church Council where he also served on their evangelism board and taught Sunday School.
John enjoyed gardening, canning, cooking, and singing almost as much as he loved being a good neighbor and baking almond crinkle and making caramel corn for those he loved. He leaves behind a legacy of kindness.
John is survived by his wife of more than 20 years, Cheryl Cootware of Ralph; his parents, John "Jack" and Donna Mae Cootware of Ralph; his son, Michael Cootware of Ralph; his daughter, Anne Cootware of Harvey; his granddaughters Andraya Manthe and Tiana Juul; his sisters, Deanna (Richard "Smitty") Smith of Ruskin, Fla., Paulette (Michael) Holmes of Randville, Donna (Greg) Stahlmann of Ishpeming, Suzette (Neil) Stenfors of Norway, Michelle (William) Schirtzinger of Denmark, Wis.; brothers in-law, Leonard (Susan) Hammerly of Delavan, Wis., and Jay Rian (Michele) Hammerly of Wisconsin Dells; many nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins, and special friends.
Visitation will be on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Zion Lutheran Church in Metropolitan.
The funeral service will begin at 1 p.m.; Rev. Joel Smeby will officiate.
The family invites all to join them for a reception following the service at the Felch Community Center. Burial will take place in the Ralph Cemetery this Spring.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to the Furnace Fund at Zion Lutheran Church.
Condolences may be expressed to the family of John E Cootware online at ernashfuneralhomes.com.
The family has entrusted the Erickson-Rochon & Nash Funeral home of Iron Mountain with the funeral arrangements.