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Date of Issue: January 21, 2009

Obituaries

Joseph R. Bracken

Joseph R. Bracken, 83, of Holmes Beach and formerly New York City, died Jan. 13.

Born in Chestnut Hill, Pa., Bracken worked in advertising in Detroit, New York City and Mexico. He was a graduate of the University of Michigan. He flew combat missions in the U.S. Army Air Corps, 15th Air Force, 2nd Bomb Group, in World War II. After retiring to Holmes Beach, he served on the Holmes Beach Code Enforcement Board and was president of the Anna Maria Island Community Choir and Orchestra, Friends of the Island Library, and the Holmes Beach Civic Association. He was an active member of St. Bernard Catholic Church, Holmes Beach.

A Memorial Mass was held at St. Bernard Catholic Church Jan. 16. A final memorial and inurnment will be held in Grosse Pointe, Mich. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Bernard Catholic Church General Fund, 248 S. Harbor Drive, Holmes Beach FL 34217. Griffith-Cline Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

He is survived by daughter Mary Bracken Rock of Detroit, Mich.; son Joe of Holmes Beach; brothers Richard and John; grandchildren Jeanette, Justin and Adam; and great-grandchild Mariah.

 

Helen B. Hagen

Helen B. Hagen, 79, of Anna Maria Island and Lake Wawansee, Ind., died Jan. 15.

Born in Chicago, Mrs. Hagen moved to Anna Maria Island in 1994. She was a homemaker and had also been involved with the family business, Superior Sample, since its inception in 1957. She was a member of Ligonier United Methodist Church and had also been involved in various civic organizations over the years. She loved playing tennis, golf and bridge. She and husband Rex were involved in numerous charitable efforts on the Island, including the skate park in Holmes Beach, through the Hagen Family Foundation.

“She was so instrumental in so many kids’ programs in Holmes Beach and Anna Maria Island,” recalled Manatee County Commissioner Carol Whitmore, formerly Holmes Beach city commissioner and mayor. Whitmore said Helen and Rex Hagen financed all the equipment for the Holmes Beach skate park, as well as maintaining a fund for lights for the Birdie Tebbetts field.

“She was a great contributor to Holmes Beach and will be sorely missed,” Whitmore said. “My thoughts go out to Rex and the family.”

Holmes Beach Mayor Rich Bohnenberger recognized the Hagens in April 2008 when he included the Hagen Family Foundation on a plaque displayed at city hall recognizing their contributions to the city.

Memorial services were Jan. 18 at Ligonier United Methodist Church, Ligonier, Ind. Memorial contributions may be made in her name to Yeager Funeral Home, 1589 Lincolnway S., Ligonier IN 46767.

She is survived by husband Rex; daughter Nancy Beth Stage and her husband Rich of Big Sky, Mont.; son Mark David and his wife Jeanna of Cromwell; grandchildren Cole Douglas Stage, McKenzie Grace Stage, Katie Beth, Nick, and Sam; three sisters; and one brother.

“She was so instrumental in so many kids’ programs in Holmes Beach and Anna Maria Island,” recalled Manatee County Commissioner Carol Whitmore, who also served as a Holmes Beach city commissioner and mayor. Whitmore said Helen and Rex Hagen financed all the equipment to the Holmes Beach skate park, as well as maintaining a fund for lights for the Birdie Tebbetts field.

“She was a great contributor to Holmes Beach and will be sorely missed,” Whitmore said. “My thoughts go out to Rex and the family.”

 

Carol Kerr

Carol Kerr, 59, of Holmes Beach died Jan. 18.

Born in Wichita, Kan., she moved to Manatee County in 2000 from Greenville, SC. She was manager of the White Egret gift shop in Holmes Beach, and a member of the Holmes Beach Book Club, Kansas State University Alumni and Alpha Delta Pi Alumni.

Visitation will be 2-3 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 21, with a service following at 3 p.m. at Griffith-Cline Funeral Home, 720 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Friends of the Island Library, 5701 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach FL 34217.

Survivors include her husband of 24 years, Ed Kerr; step-daughter, Pamela (James) Diwik; step-granddaughter, Alexandra Diwik; sister, Jan (Scott) Elder and six nephews and nieces.

 

Walter F. Stephens Jr.

Walter F. Stephens Jr., 80, of Springboro, Ohio, and formerly Anna Maria Island, died Jan. 9.

Mr. Stephens was born in Springboro. He owned and operated Walter F. Stephens Inc., which disturbed law enforcement and jail supplies to law enforcement agencies internationally. He was the first Springboro police chief and later joined the Vandalia police department. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He was a member of Franklin Masonic Lodge No. 55, Antioch Shrine, Scottish Rite and the Royal Order of Jesters Court 189 of Florida. He was a member of Manatee County 100 Club, Buckeye State Sheriffs’ Association, National Sheriffs’ Association, Ohio Association of Police Chiefs, Warren County Fraternal Order of Police, and VFW Post No. 3809. He was a member of the Franklin United Methodist Church.

Visitation and memorial services were held in Springboro. Anderson Funeral Home, Springboro, was in charge of arrangements. Online condolences many be made at www.anderson-fh.com.

He is survived by wife Ruth Ann; daughters Carol Ann and Diane Lynette Maloney, both of Springboro; grandson Stephen M. Maloney II; and sisters Mary Smallwood and Phyllis Zier, both of West Palm Beach, and Margaret Cox of Salt Lake City, Utah.

 

Clifton Lamar Ward

Clifton Lamar Ward, 55, of Bradenton, died Jan. 9.

Mr. Ward was a songwriter and musician. He served in the U.S. Army and Navy. He was of the Christian faith and expressed his faith through his Web sites, ridinforjesus.com, andimetjesus.com. He was an avid motorcycle rider.

Memorial services were Jan. 17 at Harvey Memorial Community Church, Bradenton Beach. Memorial contributions may be made to TideWell Hospice and Palliative Care, 5955 Rand Blvd., Sarasota FL 34238. Covell Cremation Center was in charge of arrangements.

He is survived by wife Nancy Looyengood; son Andrew; mother Perleane McCracken; father Clifton; stepmother Velma Reno; stepfather Walter McCraken III; sisters Carmelita Boudreau, Kathryn St. Louis, Alexandra Young, Vickie, Pam Mitchell, Melissa and Kimberly Jamison; brothers Walter McCracken IV, Chuck and Cliffy; and several nieces, nephews and cousins.

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