Malva Jean DeForest, of Niles

Dec. 12, 1942 — Dec. 10, 2017

Malva Jean DeForest, 74, of Niles, died peacefully at 10:47 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017, with her family gathered around at Riveridge Manor in Niles, following an extended illness.

She was born on Dec. 12, 1942, in Manchester, Tennessee, to Wilder Lee and Maude (Tolliver) Hendricks, and came with her family to Niles in 1943. She graduated from Niles High School, and attended the Vouge Beauty School.

She was employed for several years by Schneider Vending of Buchanan, to serve the employees at the former Simplicity Pattern Company plant in Niles. She was also employed at the former Sheller-Globe plant in Niles, and in the Deli department of Martin’s Supermarket in Niles.

Malva Jean DeForest

Malva is remembered by her family as the ultimate homemaker, keeping her house decorated and welcoming for all, cooking wonderful meals which were served with extra-large “Malva portions,” leaving no birthday uncelebrated and always having room for unexpected guests — even for more than one meal or more than one day.

She was first married to Robert Richter, and later to Lee Wickler. She was preceded in death by a brother, Joe Hendricks; by an infant brother; and a sister-in-law, Sharon Holmes.

On March 25, 1989, in Niles, she married Richard L. DeForest I, with whom she celebrated this year the 28th anniversary of their wedding.

Surviving family includes her husband, Richard DeForest I; her children, Lori (& Brent) Wright, Trish Rayder, and Heather (John) Fairres, all of Niles and Timothy (Patty) Richter of Dowagiac, Michigan; Richard’s children, Anita (Gary) Nellans of South Bend, Indiana, Richard (& Linda) DeForest II and Leitha (Lon) Ballge, both of Niles, and Walter (Linda) DeForest of Goshen, Indiana; 16 grandchildren; and 17 great-grandchildren; and Malva’s sister-in-law, Teresa Hendricks of Goshen; Richard’s twin brother, Thomas (Donna) DeForest and sister, Jacqueline (Robert) Hess; and several nieces and nephews

The funeral service for Malva Jean DeForest will be at 2 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017 at the Halbritter-Wickens Funeral Home in Niles, with the Rev. Robert E. Jackson of the First Church of God in Niles officiating. Committal services will follow at the Silverbrook Cemetery in Niles.

The family will receive relatives and friends from 6 to 8 p.m.on Wednesday at the funeral home. Contributions in memory of Malva may be made to the American Cancer Society, 129 Jefferson Ave. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503. Online condolences may be left at: halbritterwickens.com.

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