The Mission of the Bear Lake Area Historical Society is to inspire all people to understand and appreciate the natural history, science, traditions, and customs of the Bear Lake, Michigan, area.
2020 Board of Directors
Joyce Valentine, President and Volunteer Coordinator
Joyce received her graduate degree from Webster University in Management of Health Services and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Marquette University. She also took additional accounting, insurance, legal and management courses. Although born and raised in Chicago, her parents bought the Bear Lake farm in 1943 and almost yearly, since an infant, spent subsequently, numerous summer times on the farm in Bear Lake. Joyce moved to Bear Lake permanently following retirement in 2013. During her working career she held various management positions as Director and Administrator for healthcare organizations and facilities for over 40 years. She managed large staffs for large patient practices; developed RFP’s, corporate policies, teaching manuals, did marketing to community organizations and served as resource advisor for 2 universities for which she developed and used an orthopedic teaching manual. Currently Joyce is a trustee for the Manistee County Library; a tutor for Project Read Northwest/MI Works; Manistee Election Canvasser board member and a Director for the Bear Lake Area Historical Society. In the past, she developed and ran parenting study groups, did volunteer public health outreach in DuPage County Illinois, and also served as a suburban precinct captain and Election Judge in Chicago.
Katherine Schafer, Vice-President/Secretary and Editor
Katherine grew up in Bear Lake and graduated from Bear Lake High School in 1961. Then she went off to Northwestern Michigan College and Central Michigan University where I graduated with a BS in Business Administration degree and a major in Accounting and Management Information Systems and later earned a Masters Degree in Management Information Systems. Her interest in Bear Lake began as a young girl when she wrote a small booklet titled "History of Bear Lake" for a class during my Junior year at BLHS. Over the years Katherine has continued to collect photos and other memorabilia of the Bear Lake area. The Keddieprint and J. H. Shultz Company was where she began her working life while still in high school and continued on for many years as a bookkeeper for her mentor/boss J. Luke Keddie. Mr. Keddie was perhaps the person who was instrumental in fostering her interest in the families and businesses in and around Bear Lake. After moving to Columbus, Ohio, she was employed as a Director of Information Services at The Ohio State University (10 years) and at the Columbus Public Library (3 years) in the same capacity before moving to Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. In Mt. Pleasant Katherine was employed by Central Michigan University as the Director of Admissions for the College of Business Administration as well as an adjunct professor in the Information Systems area. She retired in 2005 as Assistant Dean for the College of Business Administration. It was always her plan to move back to Bear Lake so that she might enjoy lake living and become involved in some type of community service here. The Bear Lake Farmers Market and the Bear Lake Area Historical Society are the organizations she chose to contribute her time to and has found great enjoyment in their purposes. Genealogy research is another interest of hers which she has been involved with for over 30 years.
Thomas Mallison, Treasurer
Tom Mallison grew up at Bear Lake. He was the first to earn the Eagle Scout rank in Troop 106. He graduated from Bear Lake High School in 1959 as class president, salutatorian, and was recognized as a National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, NY with a BS in Mathematics and Science. He holds a Ph.D. in Business Administration.
He retired after twenty years in the U.S. Army as a commissioned officer and as a non-commissioned officer. Overseas tours included Germany, Korea and Vietnam. He is a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, and served as its National Commodore for two years. He sat on the Boards of Directors of three national nonprofit corporations promoting boating safety and on the National Advisory Council for a public corporation in the recreational boating sector.
He retired as Vice President and Director of Administration for a manufacturing corporation. During his business career, he sat on the Boards of Directors of three manufacturing corporations and one nonprofit corporation in the medical sector. Tom and his wife, Wanda, are residents of Bear Lake.
Gayla M. Broadworth
Gayla was born in Bear Lake Township and graduated from Bear Lake School in the Class of 1968. After graduation she attended Bronson Methodist Hospital School of Nursing where she earned a diploma in Registered Nursing. Her career as a nurse began immediately after graduation at Community Hospital and Lakeview General Osteopathic Hospital where she specialized in Geriatric patient care. She continued her association with both hospitals until 2004 during which time she took various leaves of absence to be at home with her young children. In 2008 Gayla returned to Bear Lake to live and care for her mother. She is very enthusiastic about being part of the Bear Lake Area Historical Society, Inc.! We welcome Gayla!
Although Kathryn didn't grow up in Bear Lake (not too far from here in Mesick), she has certainly come to enjoy our little village and surrounding area. Most of her career was spent in the nursing field as she is an RN. Following her marriage to Greg Mathieu, Kathryn stepped into the insurance world and has never looked back. Old books, jewelry, furniture and much more is of intense interest to her. Kathryn has been going to local auctions, yard sales and antique stores for some time and has generously purchased and donated many items from the Bear Lake area to our Museum. She is very anxious to get involved and help the Museum reach even more success!
Bill grew up in Bear Lake and graduated from Bear Lake High School in 1968. He then attended Central Michigan University and graduated with a degree in Elementary Education in 1972. During his residency at CMU, Bill became interested in the history of Bear Lake and has amassed a sizeable collection of photos and other memorabilia from the early days of Bear Lake. He regularly surfs around the internet looking for new materials about the Bear Lake area. Bill and his wife Lois enjoy life together and have two children. Bill taught at Bear Lake Consolidated School for 31 years and coached many teams, mostly in basketball and baseball/softball as well. He continues to volunteer in Elementary Basketball for BL Elementary. After his retirement in 2003, Bill has worked as a part time land care person which he enjoys. Bill enjoys serving on the Board of Trustees and being a part of the Bear Lake Area Museum.
Ronald (Red) Ronning ,
Red grew up in Onekama but became a full time resident of Bear Lake when he married Donna Richmond, a Bear Lake girl. Since his marriage Red has lived in Bear Lake continuously. He has been very active in community service serving as Chief on the Bear Lake Fire Department for over 40 years and also on the Village of Bear Lake Board where he is still a member. Red has long had an appreciation for saving the past so it is no accident he enjoys being a part of the Society and Museum.
The community of Bear Lake is very special to Carol. Her maternal ancestral ties to Bear Lake go back three generations to the 1860s when Cushings homesteaded by land grant just south of Bear Lake along what is now U.S. 31. Starting with her mother Hilda Cushing Widgren, who graduated from Bear Lake School in 1911, several members of Carol's family are Bear Lake graduates: Sister Ruth Widgren in 1934, brother Ted Widgren in 1936, Carol in 1957, her daughter Dawn Urbanus in 1982, and son Mike Urbanus in 1986. Carol taught in the school system for over 30 years. Her husband, Elroy Urbanus, was the school custodian for 30 years and a school bus driver for 45 years. Yes, indeed, Bear Lake is a BIG part of Carol's history and is very dear to her heart!
Gloria Edwards, January 2014—December 2015
Laura McBride, January 2014—December 2016
Carver Edwards, January 2014--July 2017, Emeritus
Jeff Harthun, January 2014--December 2019
Pauline Jaquish, January 2014--December 2019
Philip Jaquish, January 2014--August 2017
Vicki Mackey, January 2014--October 2017
Rita Brisbin, January 2014--January 2018