fredith somerville, fredith violet easton, walter johnson, mary johnson, jane louise boursaw, old mission gazette, old mission peninsula, old mission, old mission michigan, kroupa road, frank hawkins, violet hawkins
Fredith Somerville Easton, with Jane's nephew, Shawn Johnson on Walter and Mary Johnson's porch in Old Mission, Circa 1980s | Mary Johnson Photo
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Lifelong friend and former Old Mission Peninsula resident Fredith Violet Easton passed away on Monday, Feb. 19, 2018 at French Manor Senior Living in Traverse City. She was 96. If you’ve lived on the OMP for a while, you might remember her as Fredith Somerville. Her daughter Terilee married my brother Dean, and their daughter is my niece Heatherlyn Johnson Reamer.

Fredith was the daughter of Frank and Violet Hawkins, and she and her first husband Clifford Somerville lived across the driveway from her parents on Kroupa Road. She knew grief, having lost her son Gary early on and later, her daughter Debra. But her faith in God never waivered. She taught me that with deep faith, you can get through the tough times in life and find happiness again. It’s a lesson that has helped me many times, especially during my husband’s health struggles through the years.

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Like so many of the people when you’ve grown up and lived in the same place your whole life, I remember Fredith as someone who was just always there. Bustling around the kitchen at church, teaching Sunday School, working on quilts with my mom, gathering for family get-togethers. She was an ever-present soul in my life who was fiesty and strong, with a wicked sense of humor, and always a big hug and a smile whenever I saw her.

When Tim and I had our son Will baptised on the beach at my parents’ house in Old Mission, we scheduled it for after church, so that everyone could come to the house following the service and gather on the beach for the baptism. Will was born in September of 1994, and we had the baptism the following summer in 1995.

As I recall, Heather was baptised at the same time, and afterwards, we sang old hymns on the shores of East Bay – a crowd of church family that included Fredith, accompanying us on her accordian. It’s one of those beautiful old-timey memories that will always stick with me.

Fredith also taught me how to make brown bread in a can – as in, one of those big cans that originally held tomato juice or some such. I rifled around in my recipes and found it in the “Ogdensburg Community Cookbook” (the red paperback cookbook, for anyone who was around back then). See below for the recipe.

Clifford passed away in 1979, but Fredith later found love again with Rev. Walter Easton, moving to Reed City to be with him. I didn’t see her much after that, but it was comforting to know she was there. And even though she’s not on this earth anymore, it’s comforting to know she’s finally “home.”

A funeral service for Fredith will be held on Saturday, March 3, 2018 at 11 a.m. at the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home in Traverse City. Visitation will begin at 10 a.m.

Those wishing an expression of sympathy are encouraged to direct contributions to the Peninsula Community Library Building Fund, 2699 Island View Road, Traverse City, MI 49686. Read Fredith’s full obituary here.


  • 1 1/2 c. graham flour
  • 1 1/2 c. white flour
  • 1 1/2 c. buttermilk or plain sour milk
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 scant tsp. baking soda

Stir well and bake for one hour in moderate oven, 350 degrees. Makes one loaf.

A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers like the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, and magazines like Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So of course, I started my own newspaper. Because the Gazette is mainly reader-supported, I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks my way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the Old Mission Peninsula. Check out the donation page here. Thank you so much for your support. -jb

Bay View Insurance of Traverse City Michigan


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