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Obituaries

Betty Alexander
Betty Lynn (Crooks) Alexander, age 71, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, November 27, in Columbus, enveloped in the love of her children and siblings.

She was born in Trenton, Mich., raised in Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan and made her home in Maumee. Her first and last professional love was teaching, a career she returned to late in life. She had a generous spirit, gave of her time and loved to inscribe and gift books. She inherited her mother’s busy, creative hands and her creativity took many forms throughout her life. She was voted most talented by her high school classmates for her roles in school plays; she was an entrepreneur, starting an appliqué business; she was respected as the customer service manager at Omnicare for several years; she kept a beautiful home and she never encountered a house or piece of furniture that she couldn’t (or wouldn’t) refurbish. She was happiest at work. She was not immune to the hardships of life, but through it all, she persisted with quiet grit, grace, generosity and gratitude.

Beloved mother to six children, three through marriage: Pauly Ansted (deceased), Steve Ansted and Todd (Danielle) Ansted; and three by birth: Daman (Jessica) Ansted, Jonathan Ansted and Kate (Keith) Dailey, she loved them all. She was “Granby” to six and sister to five: David (Sandy) Giest, Sandy (Ron) Keith, Carol Hinde, Nancy Shovar and Debbie Pfleghaar. She was preceded in death by her parents, Wayne Crooks and Doris Walton (Miller); and brothers-in-law, Jim Shovar and Bob Hinde.

A favorite saying adorned her home and now resides in the hearts of her children: “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”   Melody Beattie

A service celebrating Betty’s life will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, December 15 at Maumee United Methodist Church at 405 Sackett St., followed by a luncheon. Those wishing to give memorials in lieu of flowers are asked to consider Capitol City Hospice of Central Ohio, which the family wishes to thank for its compassionate care and support. 

Neil Downs
Neil E. Downs II, age 61, passed away on Friday, November 30 in Maumee.

Born on December 28, 1956 to Neil and Shirley (Ferguson) Downs, he graduated in 1975 from Maumee High School, where he was a member of the basketball and baseball teams. He worked for the United States Postal Service for more than 30 years, retiring in 2015. Throughout his life, Mr. Downs was a diehard Michigan Wolverines and Oklahoma Sooners fan and an all-around sports fanatic. In addition to sports, his greatest loves were his girls – his daughters and granddaughters. He shared with them his love of sports and music, instilling in them his appreciation for both. As a season ticket holder, he would go to every Michigan game he could with his daughter and son-in-law. One of his favorite pastimes was attending various concerts with his daughters, especially Bob Seger. He also enjoyed fishing and traveling. 

His favorite thing to do was to spend time with his granddaughters – he was their “Pappy.” From calling and seeing them every day, to kissing them good night, they always brought a smile to his face. His four girls were his world, as he was theirs. He was the kindest, most generous person, filled with love and light. He would, and has, given the shirt off his back and he will sorely be missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing and loving him. 

Mr. Downs was preceded in death by his grandparents, Donald and Marian Downs and Elmer and Lillian Ferguson; and many aunts, uncles and cousins. Left to cherish his memory are his parents; his love, Jodi Pratt; daughters, Nikki (Aaron) Haines and Jessie (Dan) Moses; their mother, Katie Shannon; granddaughters, Molly (“Moe”) and Lilly (“Buggy”) Moses; sister, Kelly (Jeff) Eckel; nephew, Richard (Christine) Eckel; and numerous cousins, neighbors and friends. 

A memorial service took place on December 7 at the Maison-Dardenne-Walker Funeral Home in Maumee, followed by interment in Riverside Cemetery in Maumee. Memorial contributions may be made to the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich.  

Christine Pier
Christine Ann Pier, age 59, of Toledo, passed away on Thursday, December 6.

Born in Toledo on June 20, 1959 to James and Carol (Collins) Macdonald, she received an associate’s degree from Owens Community College. She was employed at Bob Schmidt Chevrolet and Brown Automotive as an office manager, and most recently at Taylor Cadillac. Mrs. Pier enjoyed gardening, reading and spending time at the “Hen House” at Clark Lake with the girls. She was also in a euchre club for many years. 

She is survived by her loving husband, Thomas; son, Justin Thomas; daughter, Megan Nicole; sister, Diane (Ed) Sanders; and nephew, Alex Sanders. She was preceded in death by her parents, James and Carol Macdonald; and brother, Jimmy.

Visitation and funeral services took place on December 11 and 12 at the Maison-Dardenne-Walker Funeral Home in Maumee. Interment was in Calvary Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Christine’s children in care of Maison-Dardenne-Walker Funeral Home. 

Wanda McEwen
Longtime Maumee resident Wanda Mae (Norris) McEwen, 98, went to live with God on Monday, December 10. She left this world from the Browning Masonic Community in Waterville.

She is survived by her loving sons Barry McEwen (Cathy), and Russ McEwen (Sue); grandchildren Duncan McEwen (Debbe), Amanda McEwen Gannon (Robert), Matthew McEwen (Rachael), and Cameron McEwen; great-grandchildren Derek McEwen, Bennett Gannon and Baker Gannon; and nephew Darryl D. McEwen.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Waldo D. Norris and Olive Hune Norris, and husband William A. (Al) McEwen.

Wanda was born in Toledo on May 29, 1920. She graduated from Libby High School in 1938. Wanda met Al, the love of her life in 1941. After war was declared in December 1941, Al was on one of the first ships to leave the country. He was sent to Panama to help guard the Panama Canal from invasion. Wanda worked at Doehler Die Casting Co. and received a certificate from the War Production Program. Wanda and Al married April 22, 1943. Later, military service took them to Baltimore, Md., where Wanda served the war effort by working for the U.S. Depart-ment of Agriculture, and then to Medford, Ore. They returned to Toledo for the birth of their first son, Barry. 

With her husband, one young son, and expecting another (Russ), Wanda moved to Maumee in 1950 where they immersed themselves in the community. Wanda was mostly a stay-at-home mother and wife. She also worked at JC Penny Southland and Toledo Die and Manufacturing Co., Maumee. She and Al were always willing volunteers and seemed to think of all the little details to make an event or project a success. They were great organizers. Wanda and Al were active in the community and service activities, such as Harbor Light Masonic Lodge and Eastern Stars, Sun Employees Recreating Association (and Sera Ranch) including hosting New Year’s Eve Parties for several years, Maumee’s Troop 92, Boy Scouts of America, Fort Miami School PTA, active members of Maumee’s St. Paul’s Lutheran Church since 1950, Sun Federal Credit Union, Maumee Lions Club for 40 years, screened hundreds of children’s eyes with the Lions Club and the Toledo Society for the Blind (The Sight Center), Michigan Lions Eye Bank volunteer, cornea tissue drivers for 20 years, members of the American Legion and the American Legion Auxiliary, Sun Oil Retirees’ Association, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Auxiliary, Point Place Heritage Society, and after joining in 1946, Mr. and Mrs. McEwen were the longest continuous members of the Toledo Zoo.

A special thank-you to Wanda’s friend and caregiver Juanita Scott; also Candy Moore, LPN, and the caring and helpful staff of Browning Masonic Community.

Visitation will be from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Friday, December 14 at Maison-Dardenne-Walker Funeral Home, 501 Conant St., Maumee. Funeral services will be held at noon on Saturday, December 15 at the funeral home followed by interment at Toledo Memorial Park. Memorial gifts in Wanda’s memory may be made to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 112 E. Wayne St., Maumee, OH 43537; Cherry Street Mission Ministries, 1501 Monroe St., Toledo, OH 43604; or Browning Masonic Community, P.O. Box 10, Waterville, OH 43566. 

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