Those we've lost in 2017

Midland has lost several influential community leaders and influencers this past year, from a former Midland Symphony Orchestra conductor to a respected philanthropist.

James “Jim” Bradley, who was a commissioner of the 6th district of Midland County for 20 years, died Feb. 17 at the age of 86. His contributions to the area included serving as a special deputy for the Midland County Sheriff Department, assisting with the planning and acquisition of the Pere Marquette Rail-Trail and serving on the Midland County Board of Commissioners where he provided guidance and valuable historic information.

On Feb. 21 Carlton Woods, 75, died of congestive heart failure at his home near Cleveland, Ohio. He was the conductor of the Midland Symphony Orchestra from 1997 to 2007, the Chemical City Band and the orchestra at Central Michigan University. In addition, he initiated the tradition of a free MSO concert at Chippewassee Park on July 4. His students remember him for his patience, encouragement and sense of humor.

Francis “Fritz” Bobalek, 69, died of pancreatic cancer on March 6. After serving with the U.S. Army in Vietnam, he served for 29 years with the Midland County Sheriff’s Office and 32 years with the Larkin Township Fire Department. He mentored several young individuals, was recognized as an Officer of the Year by the Police Officers Association of Michigan and received multiple honors, including an award for bravery from the Midland County Board of Commissioners.

Joseph Lubbehusen, known by Daily News readers as “Papa Joe,” died March 8. He was 91. Although Lubbehusen was a 60-year member of the Midland Lions and Elks clubs as well as coordinated the Ernie Wallace Blood Bank program for 25 years, he was best known for the letters he faithfully wrote to the editor. His letters contained jokes, bits of wisdom and anecdotes that warmed the hearts of readers year after year. The same day his obituary appeared in the paper, Lubbehusen’s “one final letter” appeared in the editorial section, stating “It was you who were my inspiration and gave me the motivation to live with a positive attitude and a big smile on my face.”

Former Midland County commissioner, Realtor and female pioneer Rose McQuaid, 88, died Sept. 4. She retired in 2014 after working as a Realtor for 40 years with Ayre/Rhinhart and served 16 terms on the board of commissioners; between 2002 and 2012 she was the only woman to serve on the board. In addition, McQuaid was involved with several community organizations, including Midland Area Homes, Midland Volunteers for Recycling and the Bay/Midland/Saginaw Michigan Works board, to name a few.

Former Midlander and philanthropist Macauley “Mac” Whiting, 92, died Sept. 4 in Meridian, Idaho. Originally from Birmingham, he moved to Midland in the 1940s and married Helen Dow. The couple established the Macauley and Helen Dow Whiting Foundation, which continues to fund local projects and organizations under the direction of their children, Mike and Mary Whiting. Their legacy includes funds given in 1974 to develop Overlook Park on Poseyville Road and 39.5 acres that became Whiting Forest.