Preserving our proud heritage

Preserving our proud heritage

Silverbrook Gate

The entrance to Silverbrook Cemetery is located at the corner of Main and Cherry Streets in the city of Niles, Michigan.

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We now have over 5,100 obituaries collected about the interred here at Silverbrook Cemetery.

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Kizer (Keyser), Lavina S.

Lavina S. Lambert Kizer/Keyser

Niles Daily Star, Monday, January 16, 1899, page 2, col. 4, reprinted in Niles Weekly Mirror, Wednesday, January 18, 1899, page 1, col. 2. microfilm Niles District Library

She Passed Away Saturday After a Lingering Illness

    After a lingering illness, covering a period of five years, Mrs. L.S. Keyser, passed away Saturday afternoon at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Kaiser on Front street.
    The deceased was born in South Bend 55 years ago and came to Niles 18 years ago.
    Her maiden name was Lavina S. Lambert and she married J.C. Keyser at South Bend 28 years ago.
    She is survived by a husband, two daughters and one son; also a mother, who is 73 years of age, one sister and six brothers as follows:  Mrs. E. Witter, of South Bend; Jno W., of Nevada; James, of Iowa; Harvard,[sic] of Elkhart; Edward, of South Bend and George of Nebraska.  Mrs. E. Witter, Howard and Ed. Keyser in the city.
    The funeral service was held this afternoon at 1 o'clock at the M.E. church, Rev. Chapman officiating, after which the remains were conveyed to Silver Brook cemetery and tenderly consigned to the inexpressible tranquility of the grave.

Swain, Susie Anslow Machin

Susie Anslow Machin Swain


    Tuesday, December 8, 1891, at her home in West Niles, after a lingering illness, Mrs. Susie Anslow Machin Swain, wife of Tyler A. Swain, aged 35 years.  She leaves a husband and three children, mother and two sisters, Mrs. Thomas A. Bunbury and Miss Sarah Machin.
    The funeral occurred from Trinity church on Thursday afternoon.  The large concourse of friends, including the Lodge of M.W.A., attesting to the great estimation in which her beautiful character was held by all who knew her.
    [Buchanan and South Bend papers please copy.]

(Source: Niles Daily Sun, Friday, December 11, 1891, page 6, col. 2, reprinted Niles Republican, Thursday, December 17, 1891, page 3, col.3 and Buchanan Record, Thursday, December 17, 1891, page 2, col. 2.  Microfilm Niles District Library.)

Nedderman, Phyllis F.

Phyllis F. Nedderman
April 1, 1921-June 10, 1990

    Funeral services for a former Niles resident, Phyllis F. Nedderman, 69, of 19658 Darden Road, South Bend, Ind., are at 11 a.m. Indiana time, Thursday at the Forest G. Hay Funeral Home, 435 S. Ironwood Road, South Bend, by the Rev. Don Francis.
    Burial will follow at Silverbrook Cemetery in Niles.
    Mrs. Nedderman died at 11: 50 pm.m Sunday at Memorial Hospital in South Bend.
    Mrs. Nedderman was born April 1, 1921 in Niles, and had lived in South Bend for 50 years, coming from Niles.  She was the retired office manager of Local 103 Hotel Workers.
    On April 7, 1971, in South Bend, as Phyllis F. Seever, she married Harold L. Nedderman, who preceded her in death Jan. 26, 1987.
    Survivors include two sons, Craig Nedderman and Jeffrey Nedderman, both of South Bend; two daughters, Pamela Reitz and Kimberly Toles, both of South Bend; and eight grandchildren.
    Friends may call from 7-9 p.m. today at the funeral home.

(Source: Niles Daily Star, Tuesday, June 12, 1990, page 2, col. 2, microfilm Niles District Library)

Godman, Wavel

Wavel A. Godman
March 14, 1906-April 12, 1984

    Wavel A. Godman, 78, 523 Grant, Niles, died at 8:40 p.m. Thursday in Pawating Hosptial after a brief illness.
    Born March 14, 1906, in Niles, she was a lifetime area resident and member of St. Mary's Catholic Church.  On Feb. 21, 1941, in Niles, she married Derbert O. Godman, . .[illegible] . . daughters, Mrs. Paul (Donna) Hilligoss of Niles and Mrs. Ronald (Phyllis) Wielgos of Wheaton, Ill.; one half-sister, Mrs. Alice Malone of Niles; and nine grandchildren.
    Services are 10 a.m. Monday at St Mary's Catholic Church, with the Rev. John M. Steffey of that church officiating.  Burial will be at Silverbrook Cemetery.
    Friends may call from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday at the Halbritter Funeral Home, Niles.  A rosary will be recited there at 8 p.m. Sunday.

(Source:  Niles Daily Star, Saturday, April 14, 1984, page 2, col. 2, microfilm Niles District Library)

French, Frank J.

Frank J. French
1862-Sept. 19, 1931

Niles Daily Star, Saturday, September 19, 1931, page 1, col. 8, continued page 2, col. 1, microfilm Niles District Library

President of Paper Company Passes Suddenly Last Night


Was Son of Pioneer Manufacturer of St. Joseph Valley

    Frank J. French, 69, president of the French Paper company, died suddenly at 11:15 o'clock last night while playing cards with members of his family in this home, 43 N. St. Joseph avenue.
    His death follows by a little more than eight months that of his brother, J. Edward French, who was the former president of the paper company, an industrial institution of Niles since early post-bellum days of the Civil war, and removes the second of the two outstanding fugures[sic] from the business and social life of this community.
    Since the death of J. Edward French last Janurary, 9, in Battle Creek sanitarium Frank J. had been shouldering the heavy duties and responsibilities as head of the French Paper company . . [illegible]
     . . Frank J. had not been in good health for many months.  About six weeks ago he became ill with a severe cold.  On advice of this physician, who feared possible development of pneumonia, Mr. French went to Pawating hospital.  Pneumonia was averted and he was discharged two weeks ago.  His death last night was attributed to a heart attack.
    Funeral services will be held Monday afternoon at 3 o'clock from the home.  The Rev. Harry L. Nicholson, rector of Trinity Episcopal church, will officiate. Burial will be in Silverbrook cemetery. The body is at the Troost and Augustine funeral home.
    Surviving is another brother, W.W. French of Los Angeles, also widely known in Niles, two daughters, Mrs. W.J. Gardner and Mrs. Edward Brecker, and three grandchildren, Frank, Jacqueline and Alene Gardner, children of Mrs. Gardner, a nephew Frank G. French of Niles, son of the late J.E. French, survives and holds the post of vice-president of the French Paper Co.  Other surviving nephews are Joseph W. French of Chicago, E.B. French of Ann Arbor and W.S. French of Detroit.
    Frank J. French was elected president of the paper company immediately following the death of Edward last January.  Frank at that time was vice president.
    Both brothers were widely known in Masonic circles, and both were members of St. Joseph Valley blue lodge, No. 4 and also the Chapter Commandery and Shrine.
    In his early life Frank J. French (continued on Page 2) married and settled down to an active business career with his father and brothers. His bride was Minnie Crawford. She preceded him in death by seven years, passing on November 21, 1924.
    The French family has been prominent in southwestern Michigan since pioneer days.  The late Joseph W. French, father of Frank J., Willard W. and Edward, came to Three Rivers from Connecticut in 1854 at the age of 21, and purchased an interest in a factory there manufacturing spokes, carriage materials and axe handles.
    Two years later young French engaged in manufacture of wagons, carriages, stage coaches or omnibusses and hearses. He was successful, and in the latter enterprise was associated with Julius D. Shaller, of Boston, Mass., under the firm name of J.W. ..[illegible] business grew rapidly.
    In 1857 French closed out his interests in the vehicle factory and turned to manufacture of paper.  In 1854 Shaller and associated had obtained a water power right on the St. Joseph river at Three Rivers and they set up a paper mill, and also acquired large real estate interests. In this year Shaller appointed French his agent with power of attorney. Previously Shaller had sold a half interest to Bradner, Smith & Co. French was in charge as manager.
    In 1865 French bought out the entire interests.  In 1872 French, in association with Bradner, Smith & Company, bought a water power right on the St. Joseph river at Niles, at the present site of the French Paper Mill, and established a wood pulp business. In 1883 French again bought out Bradley, Smith & Company and continued . [illegible]. . to manufacture paper, and it has for many years been known widely among manufacturing circles.  The founder died in 1910.

Niles Daily Star, Monday, September 21, 1931, page 4, col. 1, microfilm Niles District Library


    Funeral services for Frank J. French were held this afternoon in his home, 43 N. St. Joseph avenue. The services were conducted by the Rev. Harry L. Nicholson, rector of Trinity Episcopal church. Burial was made in Silverbrook cemetery.  The pallbearers were chosen from among the executives and employes of the French Paper company of which Mr. French was president, as follows: M.C. Parker, L.S. Kretchman, J. Carrigan, Hugh Dean, Andrew Martin, and Charles Larsen. Numerous business friends of Mr. French from Chicago and other cities were in Niles for the funeral services.  Relatives and friends here for the services include E.R. Brecker of Housten[sic], Texas, Mr. and Mrs. Willard French of Detroit, Joe French of Chicago, Mr. and Mrs. Edward French of Ann Arbor and Miss Sadie [illegible] of Purdy Station, N.Y.  Mr. French died suddenly on Friday evening of a heart attack.