Baumunk celebrates 95th birthday

Submitted to the Pioneer

BIG RAPIDS — Elaine Baumunk turned 95 years old on April 5, 2018.

Elaine Baumunk’s family treated her to a surprise party for her 95th birthday. (Courtesy photo)

Baumunk was born on April 5, 1923, the daughter of Joseph Colley and Anna (Zimmerman-Colley), on a farm five miles east of Big Rapids. The story goes the doctor had to walk from Big Rapids with snow shoes to deliver her because the snow was so deep due to a snow storm.

Baumunk attended a country school through eighth grade and graduated from Big Rapids High School in 1941. She worked during the war years at Hanchetts. Baumunk baked and decorated wedding cakes and did catering for more than 30 years, serving several local generations.

In 1946, she married Joseph Bechaz and they lived on a farm near Woodville. In 1952, he lost his life to a farm accident. In 1954, she married Lawrence “Red” Baumunk and the couple were farmers. Red Baumunk passed away in 2015.

After raising their eight children, the Baumunks decided it was time to travel and did so extensively.

In their later years, Elaine and Red loved to dance and went to dances two or three times a week. They had danced together when they were teenagers. They often laughed about how many miles they had danced together throughout the years.

Elaine is the mother of eight children, two of whom are deceased: Harry Baumunk and Rodney Baumunk. She also is the grandmother to 14 grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren.

Elaine and Red loved watching sports while their eight children, 14 grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren played. If there was a game, Elaine would be there.

To celebrate her 95th birthday, the family gave her a surprise party. She celebrated with her children, Karyl (Bechaz) Cahill, Butch Bechaz, Joe Bechaz, Bonnie (Bechaz) Doorenbos, Randy Baumunk and Jeff Baumunk; grandchildren, Ricky Cahill, Christy (Cahill) Corsi, Brenda (Bechaz) Sack, Stacey (Bechaz) Bush, Jamie (Bechaz) Robertson, Carrie Bechaz, Joseph Bechaz III, Matt Bechaz, Brad Bechaz, Jason Doorenbos, Brandy (Doorenbos) Guevara, Alyssa Baumunk, Spencer Baumunk, Cameron Baumunk; and 28 great-grandchildren.

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