TRAVERSE CITY — Alice L. Cleland, 80, of Traverse City, died peacefully and went to be with her Lord and Savior on Monday evening, Oct. 29, 2012, at her home surrounded by her loving husband, children and grandchildren.
Alice was born on Dec. 25, 1931, in Hannah, to proud parents, William and Nettie (Heibel) Ockert. She loved being a Christmas gift and baby, and in the years to come she always put a special effort in celebrating this faith-filled holiday.
On Sept. 27, 1952, at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Hannah, she married her best friend and love of her life, Allan L. "Al" Cleland. Family members say, "Theirs was a marriage made in heaven," filled with unconditional love.
She grew up on a farm in Hannah with her three brothers and five sisters. They had a great upbringing in rural Grand Traverse County, which is depicted in the various stories the siblings have told, along with the laughter they have shared throughout the years. The Ockert family is definitely a close-knit family, which has been passed on to the present generation.
Alice attended and graduated from Hannah St. Mary's School.
Alice was a wonderful wife and mother who was kind-hearted, generous and always possessed a wonderful sense of humor. Her home was always filled with much love and laughter. She made time for her children, helping with school work, sewing prom and wedding dresses for her daughters and cheering her sons on at sporting events. Alice also relished writing letters to her kids while they were in college and slipping in a few extra dollars. Her great joy was entertaining and preparing delicious meals for her family, always praying first. Alice was the epitome of "A mother's love".
She will be fondly remembered as a wonderful and nurturing grandma. The times she spent with her grandchildren was another extension of her love for her own children. She was always there for them and they brought her joy right to the end of her days.
She loved family camping trips near and far, fishing with Al on Silver Lake, going for rides on country roads, visiting her brothers, sisters and in-laws and celebrating birthdays and holidays. Alice was always very proud to tell her friends that the whole family came home for Christmas, one loud, joyous sleep-over.
Alice grew up in a home where the rosary was prayed often. Her Catholic faith was very important to her. She was a charter member and first historian of St. Patrick Catholic Church and also enjoyed participating with the Counsel of Catholic Women. Alice was involved in the beginning of the annual fall church bazaar as well as the Gladhander Auction.
After Allan retired from the Traverse City Fire Department, he convinced Alice to spend their winter months in Florida. Those years were precious and dear to them. Even though the family hated to see them go, they all knew Allan just wanted Alice all to himself. Together they developed many friendships. Their friends began calling them the "A" Team; what a pair.
In celebration of their 60th anniversary in October, Al and Alice traveled to the Upper Peninsula on a sightseeing trip, entertaining each other by singing Mass hymns and her favorite, "Country Roads".
Alice's family includes her husband of 60 years, Allan L. Cleland, of Traverse City; her children, Janice L. Cleland, of Traverse City, Sandy K. (James) Coil, of Traverse City, Robert A. (Penny) Cleland, of Petoskey, Bonnie J. (Art) Olsen, of Traverse City, and Patrick J. (fiancée, Kari Lopinski) Cleland, of Traverse City; and nine grandchildren, Kristin (Matt) Bauman, James (Jennifer) Coil, Jenna Coil, Maggie (Chad) Biggar, Katy and Sam Olsen, Alyssa, Matthew and Ben Cleland. Jesus also blessed her with four loving great-grandchildren, Helen, Lexi J., Mikey and Jacob; her sisters, Valita Boehnlein, of Cadillac, Rita (Ray) Sedlacek, of Kingsley, and Theresa VanPelt, of Traverse City; and sisters-in-law, Emma Ockert, Vivian Ockert and Marie Ockert.
In addition to her parents, she was also preceded in death by sisters, Rose (Elmer) Schmuckal and Veronica (Leonard) Taylor; brothers, Claude, Edward and James Ockert; along with brothers-in-law, Chester VanPelt and Albert Boehnlein.
Friends may call at the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home on Friday, Nov. 2, 2012, from 6 to 8 p.m., where the Cleland family will receive friends. A vigil service will be held at 7:30 p.m. Deacon Rene Hoenscheid will officiate. A funeral Mass will be held at St. Patrick Catholic Church on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012, at 11 a.m., with visitation one hour prior to the service. The Rev. Gregory McCallum and the Rev. William Lipscomb will con-celebrate. Burial will take place in Evergreen Cemetery in Kingsley.
In remembrance of Alice, memorials may be directed to Parent Project, c/o Muscular Dystrophy, the Father Fred Foundation or Mass Intentions. Envelopes may be obtained either at the funeral home or church.
Kindly share your memories with the family on their online guestbook at www.reynolds-jonkhoff.com.
Arrangements were made with the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home and Cremation Services.