Reta Lucile Sikkenga, age 82 years of Dowagiac, Michigan died peacefully at 2:08 a.m. on Wednesday, May 9, 2018 with family present at Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo, Michigan following an extended illness. Her family is grateful for the compassionate and professional care provided by the staff of Borgess.
She was born on January 15, 1936 at the former McLauchlin Funeral Home in Dowagiac to Glenn A. and Lucile D. (Lee) McLauchlin. She was raised in the funeral home, was graduated from Dowagiac Union High School in 1954, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Education in 1958 from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. She taught in several schools, including many years at Saint Patrick Catholic School in Bryan, Ohio.
Her life as a funeral director’s child gave her an appreciation for that vocation, and so she became a licensed funeral director, holding Ohio license #6547. She had assisted her first husband at the former Watts Funeral Home in Bryan and then was employed at the Krill Funeral Service of Bryan. She returned to Dowagiac in 2010.
She was currently a member of the First United Methodist Church in Dowagiac, and had been a longtime member of the Wesley United Methodist Church in Bryan. She was formerly a member of the Business and Professional Women, the Order of the Eastern Star, and had been active in local and state education associations. She loved kids, enjoyed teaching, and even tutored students in reading and math.
Even more than teaching, Reta loved music, beginning at Dowagiac schools, playing the flute and piccolo. During high school she attended the Summer Arts Camp at the Interlochen (Michigan) Center for the Arts as a student and later returned as an instructor. While teaching general studies in local classrooms, she would volunteer to provide piano accompaniment for the school’s music programs, and she also served as a guest organist in local churches.
More than funeral service, teaching, and music, she loved her family.
She was first married to Jack F. Watts, and later married to Richard L. Snivley. On November 24, 2007 in Bryan she married Raymond R. Sikkenga who survives.
Also surviving are Reta’s children, Jon (& Dawn) Watts of Bradenton, Florida, Jacqueline (& Philip) Weaver of Whitehouse, Ohio, Patricia Watts of Belleair, Florida, and Paul (& Caroline) Watts of Angola, Indiana; grandchildren Logan Watts, Sam Watts, Wade (& Miranda) Weaver, Weston Weaver, Bailey Schreimann, Marena (& Michael) Crouch, Ian Watts, Thor Watts, and Raven Watts, and a great-grandson, Bridger Crouch; Richard’s son, James (& Roberta) Snivley and family; Ray’s children, David (& Sheri) Sikkenga, Steven (& Lisa) Sikkenga, and Paul (& Terri) Sikkenga; and grandchildren Stephanie, Danny, Matthew, and triplets, Katelynn, Ryan, and Tyler; and Reta’s sister, Glenna (& Kenneth) Webster of Tucson, Arizona and her children, Erich Avery and Krista Avery.
The funeral service for Reta Sikkenga will be at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at the First United Methodist Church, 326 North Lowe Street, Dowagiac with Pastor Jodi Cartwright of the church officiating. Committal services will follow at the Riverside Cemetery in Dowagiac.
The family will receive relatives and friends on Monday at the church from 2:00 until 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 until 8:00 p.m. Contributions in memory of Reta may be made to the music ministry of the First United Methodist Church http://www.fumcdow.com/; or the music ministry of the Wesley United Methodist Church, 903 Center Street, Bryan, Ohio 43506; http://bryanwesleyumc.org/. Arrangements were made at the Halbritter-Wickens Funeral Home in Niles, Michigan.