Recent Obituaries

Sandy Lee Schmunk

Sandy Lee Schmunk died June 16, 2021 at her home after a long journey with cancer. Born in Detroit, on November 20, 1948 to Myron and Shirley Carlson, she was nurtured by her grandmother, Dorothy Harrison, and, in turn, shepherded her younger sisters, Vicki and Dottie. Sandy graduated from Cherry Hill High School in 1966 and then attended Eastern Michigan University. She married Charles Schmunk on February 3, 1968.

Although Sandy’s life was shortened by cancer, her impact on others was lengthened by her spirit of service. Sandy was a long-time presence at Chelsea Retirement Community (CRC), serving 25 years in several roles, including Activity Director, Social Worker, and Assistant Administrator. She was instrumental in the development and administration of CRC’s Towsley Village. Later, Sandy played a key role in organizing “Joe’s Memory Arts Café” at Huron Woods. Beyond her professional life, Sandy volunteered as Girl Scout Troop Service Director for Chelsea, a troop leader for older girls, and later for residents at CRC. She was devoted to her church community at Chelsea First United Methodist and served over the years as Sunday school teacher, youth group leader, Women’s Society of Christian Service president, lay leader, and so much more. Close friends appreciated her humble leadership, calming influence, sense of humor, inclusiveness, and steadfast love. She was a visionary, patient laborer, and a companion on life’s journey; guided by love, compassion, and humility. Sandy listened openly and gently, inwardly discerning God’s mission in the world, but was not afraid to speak succinctly and boldly for justice. She was grounded in daily devotion and deep spiritual practice.

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Mary Susan Carey

age 78, passed away Monday, June 7, 2021, at Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor. She was born November 28, 1942, in Utica, New York, the daughter of Ambrose Francis and Marian Louise (Wells) Carey. She grew up in Whitesboro, NY, where she was a member of the girl scouts and worked in the summer as the local Playground Director.
Mary Susan graduated from Whitesboro Central School and the Utica College branch of Syracuse University with her bachelor’s degree in education. She was a member of ‘Upstagers’, a local theater group, and the Utica College Gaslighters theater group, where she made many lifelong friends. She taught second grade at Minisink Valley Central School in New York for over 30 years where she made and retained many dear lifelong friends. Mary Susan organized the school craft fair and was an active member and representative in the teacher’s union and a supporter of school sports. She was also a founding member and on the board of the Teacher's Credit Union. Mary Susan loved to read and always carried two to three books with her wherever she went. She moved to Michigan in 2002 to be near her family.  She was a member of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Middletown, NY and St. Mary Catholic Church in Chelsea. She was a kind and generous person who always had a smile for everyone. She will be greatly missed by her family and friends.
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Trinh Bui Pifer

of Chelsea, Michigan, age 51, died Sunday, June 6, 2021 at U of M Hospital in Ann Arbor. Born on April 17, 1970 in Saigon, Vietnam, Trinh Thi My Bui was a child born in the midst of a civil war that was confusing to those caught on both sides. After the fall of Saigon in 1975, Trinh, her parents Kha and Thai Bui, and siblings, Khanh (Khanh), Thuy, Thu (Tom), Nu (Mark) were sponsored by St. Williams Catholic Church in Walled Lake, MI. Empathy and support of this faith community was the key to the Bui family’s ability to transform from refugees who arrived with just the clothes on their backs to becoming contributing US citizens. After being in the U.S. for two years, her brother Paul (Jennifer) was born.

Trinh and her siblings started school in Walled Lake, knowing limited, if any, English. Her parents drilled the importance of education as the key to accessing the American Dream. While the children fought to assimilate and blend into the 99.9% white community of Walled Lake her parents held on to Vietnamese traditions. The main teaching instilled by her mom during this time was her love of cooking and expressing love through sharing food.

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Gerald William Smith

The world lost a truly unique soul and bright light on June 1 , 2021 when Gerald William Smith passed away suddenly in Chelsea, Michigan at age 68. Born and raised in Detroit to Shirley (Peters) Smith and Douglas Smith, Gerry there met and wed his true love and partner, Fran (Gomula) Smith. He poured his heart into raising their three girls, Theresa Clark, Rachel Smith, and Brianna Smith, and was an incredibly proud and wonderful father and later, grandfather to Quinn and Rosie. Brother to Christine Kukier, (Donald), Douglas Smith, (Priscilla), Margaret Smith, (Chuck), David Smith, (Beth), Thomas Smith, Steve Smith, (Mary), Larry Smith, (Tina), Elizabeth Smith, and Marilyn Smith. Brother-in- law to Mary, Michael, Louise, and Ed; father-in-law to Zachariah Clark, uncle and friend to many more.

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Virginia “Jerry” P. Wudyka

of Chelsea, formerly of Livonia, passed away at age 82, June 2, 2021, at her daughter’s home in Chelsea. She was born June 24, 1938, in Detroit, Michigan, the daughter of Casmier and Albina (Dudek) Owsiak.

Virginia grew up in Detroit, Michigan, and graduated from St. Hedwig High School. Virginia worked as a legal secretary for over 40 years, ending her career with Comerica Bank in their legal department. She was a long time member of the Daughters of Isabella and a volunteer at St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea. Virginia attended St. Aiden in Livonia and St. Mary Catholic Church in Chelsea.

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