Oliver Raymond Relyea, 98, a resident of Milton Township, passed away March 31 following complications from an accidental fall while wintering in Fairhope, Alabama.
Oliver was born in Rochester Jan. 12, 1920 the beloved only child of Floyd and Martha (Krell) Relyea. An idyllic childhood was spent in this small town where his first job was helping at his dad's car dealership on Main Street. Thus began a lifelong love of cars and the car business.
In 1940 he married Mary Catherine MacLean, who predeceased him in 2015 after 75 years of marriage.
During the war, Oliver began building homes in Rochester. The subdivision they began in 1950 remains, and the homes are a testament to Oliver's craftsmanship and integrity. In 1958 the family moved to Florida and then to California as they enjoyed dabbling in entrepreneurial ventures. Returning to Michigan, Oliver joined Jerome Duncan Ford Dealership for 10 years before retiring to their cottage on Torch Lake.
Oliver and Mary enjoyed an amazing and happy 40 year retirement adventure together, building and remodeling homes on and around Torch Lake and the bay. Each winter they vacationed in Florida and Gulf Coast, visiting friends and family.
Oliver was a kind, gentle and gracious man who enjoyed his family, home, yard and minding his investments. He remained mentally vigorous and independent and loved his newly adopted winter home in Fairhope, Alabama. People who met him consistently noted the quality of his character and the gentleness of his spirit. His daughters were especially grateful for his unfailing ability to repair or remodel anything they needed.
He is survived and will be missed and lovingly remembered by daughters, Donna (Richard) Immel, of Moraga, California, Ann (William) Pier, of Loveland, Ohio, and Michelle (Berry) Zeeman, of Alden; grandchildren, Kristen, Kimberly, Kerry and Steven; seven great-grandchildren; and family friend, Jason Morrison.
A funeral Mass will be celebrated on June 22 at 11 a.m. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Elk Rapids. Oliver and Mary will be interred together at Mt. Avon Cemetery, Rochester, the following week.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Area on Aging Agency, Traverse City; www.aaanm.org.
Published on April 15, 2018