Tag Archives: obituary

Remembering Jo-Anne Wilkie

Longtime Guild member and current board member Jo-Anne Wilkie died on November 7, 2019. Jo-Anne was involved with the Guild for many years as an actor and administrator, paralleling her involvement with the arts at the St. Clair Art Association and other area organizations.

Jo-Anne was also a talented singer and vocal director, leading and participating in numerous choirs and ensembles in her long musical career. We will miss Jo-Anne’s energy and laughter and we thank her for all of the time she devoted to the Guild and to the arts in St. Clair!

Jo-Anne Frances (Krieger) Smithmeyer Wilkie, age 86, of St. Clair, passed away Thursday, November 7, 2019. She was born November 6, 1933, in Garfield, New Jersey, to the late Edward and Mary (Mae) Krieger. Jo-Anne married Ronald Jerome Smithmeyer in 1957, who preceded her in death in 1974. In 1976, she married David John Wilkie, who preceded her death in 2013. Jo-Anne began her working career as a music teacher at St. Joan of Arc, in Indianapolis, Indiana. She followed her calling in music as a choral director for many church and community choirs. Jo-Anne especially cherished her time directing in Indianapolis, where she was able to share her passion for singing and directing with her father. Their love for music and song built a strong bond, creating lasting memories that she always held dear. Jo-Anne worked for the City of Indianapolis Parks and Recreation Department, coordinating many large-scale events for the city. One of her proudest achievements was Christmas on the Circle, a combination of annual tree lighting ceremonies at the Soldiers and Sailors Monument with a month-long celebration of music. Many of these traditions continue today. Moving to Michigan in 1977, Jo-Anne served as the Founding Executive Director of the Downriver Council for the Arts. Her career as an advocate for local arts in Michigan continued when she became the Executive Director of the Arts Center in Mount Clemens, where she worked for over 20 years.

Throughout her career, Jo-Anne was always active in her church and community. Volunteering was a central part of her entire life. She held multiple leadership and contributing member positions with St. Mary’s Catholic Church, the St. Clair Art Association, the St. Clair Theater Guild and other community organizations. Jo-Anne continued directing choirs through this past spring. Beyond her personal contribution to the arts and music, Jo-Anne’s true gift to all who knew her was her beautiful voice. A magnificent soprano, she always had a song in her voice. Whether at church, local restaurants, on stage or at home, Jo-Anne simply loved, and lived, to sing. She performed in many local theater productions, including her favorite role of Mother Superior in The Sound of Music. Her rendition of “Ave Maria” is legendary among those who knew her. Jo-Anne was a lively and positive spirit, a woman in charge with the voice of an angel. Above all else, Jo-Anne loved spending time with her family and friends, and celebrated each day they had together. She will be missed greatly by all who knew and loved her.

Jo-Anne is survived by her children, Anne (Leon) LaBrecque, Kathryn (John) Klink, Mary (Chris) Poleto, Kathryn (John) Dunn, Lynda Campbell, Scott (Mary) Wilkie, David (Christine) Wilkie, Robert Wilkie; grandchildren, Arielle, Alexander, Annabel LaBrecque, Jennifer (Kyle) Chin, Michael, Matthew Klink, Ella, Jack Poleto, John (Jennifer) Dunn, Alisyn (Travis) Conway, Patrick (Brittany) Dunn, Sandy (Nick) Stankov, Jacob, Nathaniel, Lucian Wilkie, Krislyn, Kennedy Wilkie; great grandchildren, Kristyn, Madelyn, Alayna, Caleb, Andrew, Milynne, Luke, Grace, as well as many other family members and friends, especially her dear friend Brian Moss.

Jo-Anne is preceded in death by Kristyn Wilkie, Gabriel Wilkie, and Amanda LaBrecque.

A funeral mass was held on Monday, November 11, at 11:00 a.m. at Holy Cross Catholic Church, Marine City. The family received visitors on Sunday, November 10, from 2:00 to 8:00 p.m. (Rosary at 7:00 p.m.) at L.C. Friederichs and Son Funeral Home, St. Clair, Michigan. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made towards a memoriam that will be named in Jo-Anne’s honor at the Community Foundation of St. Clair County. To leave a message of comfort visit www.lcfandson.com.

Remembering Russ Braden

Long-time Guild member Russ Braden passed away on February 26. Russ was involved in many shows and was a huge supporter of live theatre and the Guild. We remember him fondly, and our thoughts and prayers go out to Cathy and his family. We dim our lights in his memory.

His obituary as printed in the Times Herald, via Legacy.com:

Col. Russ BradenColonel Russell James “Russ” Braden, USMC (Ret), 86, of Fort Gratiot, formerly of Marysville, left this earth to guard the Gates of Heaven with his fellow Marines on Monday, February 26, 2018.

He was born June 6, 1931, in Flint to the late Carl and Louise Braden. He married M. Catherine Doolan on August 22, 1953, in Flint.

Col Braden earned his undergraduate and MBA degrees from the University of Michigan. He served 31 years in the U.S. Marine Corps in active and reserve service, with the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, in Korea, and he was a longtime member of the 1st Battalion 24th Marines. He retired from Chrysler Corporation as Business Practices Executive. He was a member of St. Christopher Catholic Church and choir, the St. Clair Theatre Guild, Port Huron Civic Theater, the City of Marysville Charter Commission, and American Legion J. Edward Mallorey Post #449.

He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Cathy; four children, Col James (Patricia) Braden, USMC (Ret), Lt Col Thomas (Johanna) Braden, USMC (Ret), Brian Braden, and Catherine Braden; seven grandchildren, John Hartig, and Katherine, Samuel, Rachel, Alexander, Benjamin, and Matthew Braden; his brother, Franklin Braden; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his sister, Jean Ford.

Visitation will be 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. Friday in Pollock-Randall Funeral Home.

Colonel Braden will lie in state from 10:30 a.m. until the time of the Funeral Mass at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 3, 2018, in St. Christopher Catholic Church.

Burial will be in Great Lakes National Cemetery, Holly. His sons and grandsons will serve as pallbearers.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association or Great Lakes Caring. To send condolences, visit pollockrandall.com

Dave Wilkie, 1933-2013

Longtime Guild member Dave Wilkie passed away last Tuesday, December 10th. As we remember him fondly, please keep Jo-Anne and his entire family in your thoughts and prayers.

Dave_WilkieDavid John Wilkie, 80, of St. Clair, slipped from the physical world on Dec. 10 after a series of health problems over the last two years. He was born in Detroit and graduated from Southeastern High School. An engineer, he and his brother Bill formed Wilkie Brothers, a conveyor manufacturer for mass assembly, in Detroit before relocating the firm to Marysville in 1985. A veteran of the U.S. Army, Dave worked for Chrysler for more than a decade in Indianapolis between two stints at Wilkie Brothers. But the arts – music, the stage and the visual arts – truly animated his life. A baritone who also sang tenor, he loved singing and would break into song at work, in taverns and while mowing the lawn. He sang with the Dearborn Community Chorale, St. Clair Community Singers, the St. Mary’s Choir and the male a cappella group Susquatch, which he cofounded. He sang as Davey O’Day for 17 St. Patrick’s Days at Murphy Inn. Dave performed in numerous St. Clair Theatre Guild productions and booked music for two decades for the St. Clair Art Fair. “He was always singing and laughing and wanted people to be up,” said Jo-Anne, his wife of 37 years.

Dave was preceded in death by his wife Marcelyn and their daughter Kristyn. He is survived by daughters Kathryn Dunn (John) and Lynda Campbell (Colin Powers); sons Scott (Mary), U.S. Army Col. David (Christine) and Robert; step-daughters Anne LaBrecque (Leon), Kathryn Klink (John) and Mary Poleto (Chris); 14 grandchildren and six great grandchildren. They will forever be filled by his irrepressible spirit.

Visitation in the L.C.Friederichs & Son Funeral Home, Monday from 3-8 PM with 7 PM rosary. In state Tuesday at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, St. Clair from 10 AM till mass at 11 AM.

Contributions in memory of Dave may be made to the St. Clair Art Association and/or St. Clair Theatre Guild.