MANTON — Jeffrey W. Overla, 71, passed away on Thursday, Oct. 25, at his home near Manton, following a courageous battle with emphysema and lung cancer. He was born on July 23, 1941, son of the late Dale and Artiss (Foster) Overla.
Jeff graduated from Mesick High School in 1959, then served in the U.S. Navy as an air traffic controller at Whiting Field in Milton, Fla.
Following his discharge from the service he worked as a group leader for Kysor Co., in Cadillac. He was self employed as a contract builder from 1966 to 1973, when he and his wife, Sandy, moved to San Manuel, Ariz. Jeff was employed by Magma Copper Co., for 20 years, working his way up to plant warehouse foreman before retiring in 1993.
Jeff and Sandy spent the first eight years of retirement in the White Mountains in Pinedale, Ariz., then returned to Michigan in 2001.
Jeff had a deep love for his family and a wide variety of interests, especially outdoor activities. He was an avid hunter as a young man but equally devoted later in life to protecting, nourishing and simply enjoying all of the wildlife on his wooded land near the Manistee River. He loved tending his property and was particularly proud of his garden. His active lifestyle undoubtedly prolonged his life by several years.
He was a collector and a saver, reluctant to discard anything that might have some redeeming value. His positive attitude and great sense of humor impacted everyone around him.
Jeff is survived by his wife of 40 years, the former Sandra Karsten Blystra; his children, Tina (Bruce) Krafve, of Cadillac, Jeffrey Curtiss Overla, of Mesick, Richard Blystra, of Tucson, Ariz., Cherie (David) Peters, of Tucson, Barry (Jane) Blystra, of Fresno, Calif., Martin (Sandy) Overla, of Mesick, Carmen Scheiber, of Tucson, Mindy Overla, of Mesick, and Wendy Cooper, of Manistee; sisters, Jill (Richard) Abel, of Traverse City, and Shelly (Joe) Dey, of Semmes, Ala.; brother, Derek Overla, of Magnolia Springs, Ala.; 21 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
He was predeceased by his parents and granddaughter, Nina Howes.
Consistent with Jeff's wishes, cremation has taken place. A memorial service will take place at 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2, at the Sherman Gospel Church, Sherman, with the Rev. Stuart Thompson and the Rev. Chan Spencer officiating.
Those planning an expression of sympathy may wish to consider the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association or Mercy Hospice.