Traverse City Record-Eagle

December 6, 2013

Lonna Israel

Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Lonna Lou Israel, 63, of Traverse City, went home to be with her Lord and Savior, whom she loved with all of her heart, on Monday, Dec. 2, 2013, at her home in Traverse City. Lonna was born on Monday, Aug. 21, 1950, to the late Jack and Ethel (Leo) Benzenberg in Saginaw and moved to Traverse City with her family when she was 9.

She attended Traverse City schools and following graduation attended Patricia Stevens Career College.

She married Robert L. Israel on May 1, 1971, at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Traverse City.

Prior to her marriage she had been an assistant buyer at Milliken’s department store but then committed to being a supportive wife and stay-at-home mom.

Lonna was an active member of the Stephen Ministry while she was a member at Bethlehem Lutheran. She had a spirit of helping others and did so by working with adolescents with chemical dependencies as well as speaking to groups around the area on the subject. She was drawn to young people with her wit, humor, charm and her concern for them, as well as mentoring many. Lonna was funny and caring and had the gift of kindness. She would find some way to compliment each person she came in contact with, and she was so giving. If you complimented her on something she had, she would immediately give it to you.

For many years Lonna and Bob were members of Bethlehem Lutheran Church, where Lonna served as a kindergarten and senior high Sunday school teacher. In 2004 she and Bob became charter members of Redeemer Presbyterian Church.

She was a super mom to her daughter, Nikki, and was very supportive of her endeavors. She loved helping with her grandsons, Noah and Isaiah. Lonna was so supportive of Bob, and was his rock, standing by him in all situations life took them through.

Together they enjoyed traveling in their motor home, as well as riding with Bob on his motorcycle as they traveled with friends.

Always classy and dressing with bling, Lonna loved going to the beauty shop each week, loved family gatherings and enjoyed hosting the family for the holidays. Through all the difficult times Lonna never lost her faith, loving Jesus through it all.

Lonna is survived by her husband, Bob; daughter, Nikki (Chris) Millward, of Traverse City; her grandsons, Noah and Isaiah; sisters, Sandy (Dennie) Merrifield and Jackie (Art) Cole, all of Traverse City; uncle, George (Karen) Leo, of Traverse City; and her nieces and nephews, Adam (Inger) Cole, Ashly (Jared) Howton, Derek (Jana) Morton and Natalee (Knute) Zehner.

She was preceded in death by her parents.

Visitation will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at Redeemer Presbyterian Church, 402 West Ninth St., Traverse City, with a celebration of life service at noon. Pastors Scott Korljan and Dan Millward will officiate. Burial will take place at Oakwood Cemetery.

For a more lasting memorial, please consider a memorial gift in Lonna’s name to the Traverse Health Clinic, 3147 Logan Valley Road, Traverse City, MI 49684;

You may share your memories and thoughts of Lonna with her family by way of her online guestbook at

The family is being served by Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home and Cremation Services.