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Funeral in the Orchard


John Goodfellow was a wanderer and a loner.  He died unknown in the Ann Arbor area.  Because of a lack of identification, his remains were taken to Ann Arbor and put in salt brine to be used for experimental purposes at the University Medical School.  Justus Spencer of Oscoda, a brother-in-law, somehow heard of John’s death and claimed the body.  The body was shipped by train to South Branch where it was met by James Heilig and Mort Wilkenson.  He recalled that it was a scary trip for a couple of young fellows as they had to set on the pine coffin during the trip home.  Eva Goodfellow Heilig identified John’s remains by a three-corner scar on the forehead that John received in a childhood swining accident.  Because the body was not embalmed and the weather warm, the funeral was speedily held in the Heilig orchard.  A piano weighing 840 lbs, was carried to the orchard for the funeral music.  During the service, a sudden thunder storm came up and the piano was hurriedly carried inside by the brawn strength of Charles Curtis and John and James Heilig.

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Last updated on:  Friday, June 17, 2011