Angele Merlon Vorce, 95, passed away peacefully on February 10, 2021 at Highland Assisted Living in Jackson, MI.
She was born on December 5, 1925 to William “Gene” and Nina Belle Erb in her maternal grandfather’s farm house in Larslan, MT, where the family was homesteading. When Angele was six months old, her parents moved back east to southern Michigan and made the drive with baby Angele riding in a wicker basket in the back seat of their Model T Ford.
The Erb family, joined by younger siblings Alice and Bill, lived in several places in Lenawee County before settling in Brooklyn in time for Angele to begin high school. She graduated as valedictorian of the Brooklyn High School class of 1943.
After graduation, Angele worked as a stenographer and secretary for companies in Jackson and Brooklyn. On June 27, 1954, she married Robert Vorce, who had proposed 17 times before Angele said “yes,” at the Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn. The couple went on to have three daughters, Martha, Roseann and Christine. Angele became a full-time homemaker, with a focus on sewing, vegetable gardening, canning and berry picking.
Throughout her adult life, Angele was an active member of Unity Church of Jackson, where she developed many close and enduring friendships. She served many terms on the board of directors, including the role of treasurer, and handled the church bookkeeping over the years. She helped manage the church’s bookstore well into her 80s, quietly helping each person find just the right book and keeping the bookstore records up to date.
Angele was a deeply inquisitive person and had a lifelong love of learning, especially geography and genealogy. She loved maps, and kept an atlas nearby to eagerly look up any location she saw on the news or heard a friend or family member mention. She had the opportunity to travel to states including Wisconsin, Florida, Arizona, Nebraska, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. She and Bob, a World War II Navy veteran, took part in crew member reunions of the USS Mary Lyon, traveling to Virginia, Missouri, Ohio and other locations.
Angele enjoyed corresponding with relatives about family history so she could add new information to her records. When taking a DNA test in her 80s, Angele was fascinated to learn her genealogy traced not only to Ireland and Germany as she had thought, but also to Scandinavia and southern France.
She enjoyed almost anything on PBS — travel shows, nature documentaries and concert broadcasts. She often watched while petting a cat on her lap, and had many beloved dogs and cats over the years.
Most importantly, Angele treasured visits with family, talking with her grandchildren, looking at family photo albums, and going out to eat, especially for very berry pancakes at Big Boy restaurant in Brooklyn.
Angele was preceded in death by her husband, Bob, and daughter, Martha Vorce Chandler, and her parents. She is survived by two daughters, Roseann L. Vorce (Paul Stemmer) of Ann Arbor, MI, and Christine Vorce Zapinski (Ken) of Pittsburgh, PA; five grandchildren, Evan Stemmer of Ypsilanti, MI, and Carl Stemmer of Ann Arbor, MI; and Jill Olivia Stemmer; Emily Zapinski and Alexander Zapinski, both of Pittsburgh, PA; one great-granddaughter, Evelyn Hoang of Holland, MI; and son-in-law Don Chandler (Teri) of Grand Rapids, MI. Angele is also survived by her brother, William “Bill” Erb of Brooklyn, MI; sister Alice L. Erb of Lake Havasu City, AZ; nieces Peg Williford of Brighton, MI, and Darcy Campbell (Jack) of Dexter; and nephew Scott Erb of San Ramon, CA. She also leaves several grand dogs and cats.
Due to current COVID-19 considerations, the family will hold a spring gathering to celebrate Angele’s life. Burial will be at Highland Cemetery, Columbia Township. The family extends deep gratitude to Angele’s loving and long-time caregivers at Highland Assisted Living & Memory Care in Jackson and to SouthernCare Hospice for their care, support and guidance these last several months.
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