Elmer's Story

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Elmer Burton Poertner, 86, of Traverse City, passed away on March 27, 2017 at Munson Medical Center. Elmer was born on March 16, 1931 in Lake Leelanau to the late Walter and Bertha (Brow) Poertner.
He was raised on a farm and as a young man enlisted and honorably serviced his country as a member of the United States Marine Corps.
Elmer married the love of his life, Rosabelle May Popa, on Feb. 11, 1956 and raised their five children together.
He was employed as a service manager for Montgomery Wards and as a mechanic for Ken's Pickup Service.
Elmer enjoyed word searches, listening to polka and country music, going to the casino, playing on his tablet and playing card games with his granddaughter, Sofie.
Elmer was a member of the Eagles FOE 383 and American Military League.
He is survived by his wife, Rosie; and their five children, E. Suzann Coombe, Cheryl (Robert Redli) Traylor, Timothy (Susan) Poertner, Michelle (Joe Bauer) Poertner and Karrilyn "Karry" (Dale) Bigelow; and son-in-law, Douglas Coombe. He is also survived by 13 grandchildren, Tara (Daniel Thomas) Traylor, Jason Coombe, Shaun (Samantha Glazier) Traylor, Corey Coombe, Kathleen (James) Poertner-Geraghty, Ryan (Ami) Coombe, Keith Poertner, Ashley Poertner, Justin Gore, Anna Poertner, Hannah Bigelow, Wyatt Bigelow and Sofie Bigelow; and nine great-grandchildren, Alexis Golder-Traylor, Kieran Geraghty, Holden Coombe, Jaxsyn Thomas, Trenton Traylor, Griffin Coombe, Rhett Dowling, Camron Traylor and soon to arrive, Raelynn Traylor. Also surviving are his half brother, Walter (Patricia) Poertner; two stepsisters, Evelyn and Rosemary Sheets; sister-in-law, Gutren Poerter; and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers and sisters-in-law, Willard (Kay) Poertner and Earl (Alice George) Poertner; two sisters and a brother-in-law, Marilda Sheffer and Helen (Steve) Stachnik; one half brother, Gary (Gutren) Poertner; and great-grandson, Baby Austin Ryan Coombe.
A funeral service will be held on Saturday, April 1, 2017, at 11 a.m., with a visitation held one hour prior, at Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home. Services will be officiated by Fr. Kenneth Stachnik and military honors will be performed under the auspices of the Cherryland VFW Post #2780 and the American Legion Post #35.
Memorial contributions may be directed to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) at www.jdrf.org/donate/ or the Father Fred Foundation, 826 Hastings St., Traverse City, MI 49686.
Share your thoughts and memories with Elmer's family by way of his online guestbook at www.reynolds-jonkhoff.com.
The family is being cared for by the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home and Cremation Services.
Published on March 30, 2017
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