Reflections of Neil Foster by John Sherwood

Reflections of Neil Foster

From The “TOPS” Magazine, May 1988. By John Sherwood: “The year before I entered my teens I coerced my mother to drive me the 35 miles that separated me from a fabulous place – a place a friend had described in terms usually reserved for heaven or hell.

The place was Abbott’s and, as the car pulled up to the skeleton-adorned black blockhouse, I could only imagine what might lie within: Strange initiation rites? Ethereal hiding places? Fog shrouded and shadowy sorcerers?

Instead, I was both disappointed and consoled by the fact that inside it looked like a hardware store. Still, the friendly man behind the counter had an unmistakable demeanor; a movie-star face, the un-stooped bearing of an actor, the easy familiarity with strange and wonderful things that lay on the shelves. He sold me a few gimmicks and a catalog, which I took home and memorized from one cover to the other.

On one of the first pages was a picture of the salesman. I read that the was a professional magician – a star. His name was Neil Foster.

That August I pleaded with my family to attend one of the Get-together shows. We missed Blackstone Sr. (to my eternal regret), but I did get to see Neil Foster perform the Zombie. It was the first time I had seen that little miracle performed, but still I had no idea that he was doing the same trick that sold for a few dollars in the magic catalog. The gasps of the audience were electrifying. It was magic, pure and simple.

I got to see my own dad once a month and my grandfather was at home in Marshall, Mich., but I still went shopping for father-figures where I might. Tom “Silky” Sullivan had been my first mentor in magic, and Neil was to tel me (eventually) that any extra attentions I received in the magic showroom were the result of a little sympathetic conspiracy between them. Thus, I grew up, in part, with the occasional advice of Neil shepherding me, in magic and in life.

By the age of 16, I had published some of my scribbling, most prominently for “Top Hat,” the magazine of the old International Club of Magic. Neil took me the next step by offering me the “Just for Us Young Guys” column in The New TOPS magazine. I was floored and flattered by the challenge, which, he assured me he expected I would meet.

I continue to meet his expectations for 14 years with that column and for more than seven with the current one. Occasionally I overstepped myself and Neil firmly pushed me along proper lines. I realized now that even though he was the gentlest editor I’ve ever worked for, I may have learned the best lessons from his quiet diplomacy.

Now and then I wanted to quit writing the column. “I’m not a professional magician,” I would argue. “You know more about magic than a lot of pros,” he would counter, “besides, I need someone I can rely on. And you’re one of the best writers I’ve got.” You see he could work wonders with words, too.

I kept writing. My odd prolixity on the subject of magic oozed into other fields and it is because of Neil that I’ve never suffered from writer’s block.

Neil’s interests were wide-ranging. He read novels, which we discussed. He enjoyed gardening, painting and theatre. He always had an open ear for my current fascination. I often suspect that enjoyed a getaway from magic. But magic entered into it, too. He urged me to take the mail order Chavez course. I’d studied the fist lesson and couldn’t fathom it. My hands were too small, I thought. Neil insisted that, someday, I had better complete the course.

College came and went. I itched to travel and I asked his views. It was one of his favorite subjects. He loved England, especially, and I enjoyed hearing his reminiscences. In 1974, when I visited the Magic Circle, I was asked frequently about Neil. His name opened doors in London, where he was well remembered. When I told him about this afterwards, only a small smile revealed that I had repaid his flattery.

I married Marti, moved to a larger town, and went into journalism full-time, had a son named Nathan. In 1981, while enmeshed in a series of events which a Tarot reader would call reverses, Neil finally convinced me to take the Chavez course, which he was teaching in the basement of his home on Goodell Avenue in Colon.

It was like a life preserver in the middle of an ocean, and I clung to it. After just a week of practice, I marveled at how much magic I’d learned and how much time I’ve wasted. I’d known Neil Foster for 19 years and had never bothered to learn his kind of magic. I tried to make up for lost time. I learned to do the Zombie, studying it at his elbow, I felt like Plat o and the feet of Socrates.

That was a wonderful year. Marti and I, occasionally with Nathan in tow, went to Colon practically every chance we got, learning routines that would suit a couple, watching his videos and slides, gabbing about his days on the school assembly circuit. I’d drive Neil up to Battle Creek for dinner parties, discussing our travels, and chitchat.

It was on one of these occasions in the Colon basement when Neil gestured at the equipment lining the room.

“If there’s anything you’d like to learn here, just ask,” He told Marti and me, “Is there anything you’d like to see?”

It was a profoundly selfish thing to ask, but I asked it anyway, “Would you do the Zombie? Just for us? That’s all.”

That little smile again. He rose, set up the equipment, put on the familiar music. For the next few minutes, Marti and I were the only people in the world watching Neil Foster perform his most magical illusion.

That is how I remember him now, and I shake my head in disbelief at my own incredible good fortune.’

Neil Foster Press Release, 1981

Press release for Neil Foster, distributed April 24, 1981

 

 

“Neil Foster is an internationally known lecturer, teacher, inventor and performer of magic. He began his career when a senior in high school in his hometown of Autora, Illinois. In 1947 he attended the Chavez College of Manual Dexterity and Prestidigitation in Los Angeles, where he remained as an instructor for three years. He then toured the United States and 14 European countries. In 1953 he performed at the Gals Coronation Convivialitys for Queen Elizabeth II and was made a member of England’s Inner Magic Circle. In Paris, he became a member of the Association Francaise des Artistes Prestidigitateures. He is also a lifetime member of the All India Magic Circle.

Neil Foster and his wife Jeanne, toured for many years under the sponsorship of the Lecture Bureaus of the University of Wisconsin, Minnesota and North and South Dakota.

In 1959 the Fosters joined the staff of the Abbott Magic Company of Colon, Michigan, the world’s largest manufacturers of professional magical equipment. Neil is vice-president of the company and editor of  “TOPS Magazine,” a monthly trade journal published by Abbotts, which has readers all over the world. (The following added in handwriting). In 1979 he retired and became Editor Emeritus. Presently he teaches privately in his home studio. (End of handwritten segment.) In 1974 Neil was invited to represent the United States in a ten day FESTIMAGIA in Argentina, a fund-raising event for charitable works of Semana Don Orione Cottolengos. In Buenos Aires he was made an honorary member of the Society of Argentine Magicians and the Argentine Magic Circle. On March 12, 1977, he attended the ninth annual Academy of magical Acts Banquet at the Beverly Wiltshire Hotel in Beverly Hills and was presented the Performing Fellowship Award. Mark Wilson read the plaque” “In recognition of his many years of performing and bringing dignity and stature to the are of magic. We also recognize his ability as a creator of new effects, as a teacher, and as an editor, he has proven himself to be, in addition to all these things, a wonderful human being.” Sleight of hand artistry, expressing skill and mystery in pantomime with a musical background, is Neil’s forte. His manipulation of playing cards and golf balls is sheer poetry in motion, and his presentation of the “Floating Silver Sphere” is the acme of the magician’s art. Goodlifee, leading magical authority of England, recently name Neil Folster as one of the leading magicians in the world today.

 

Foster’s Final Get-Together

Ovation Given to Foster

HODGE PODGE

Joe Ganger

Published in the Battle Creek (MI) Enquirer, August 11, 1977: “One of the most emotional moments ever seen at the Abbott Magic Get-Together in Colon during the past 40 years occurred Wednesday when an audience of more than 2,000 stood to applaud magician Neil Foster – even before his act was over.

Foster, who said he was giving the final performance of his “Concert of Magic,” had just finished 50 minutes of his routine when he approached the microphone to introduce his final effect.

Suddenly, the applause turned into a spontaneous, two-minute standing ovation.

When it was over, Foster thanked the audience and then performed his most famous magic feat, the “Zombie,” a floating silver sphere. And, as he completed it, the audience gave him a second standing ovation.

Foster, of Colon, is known as one of the most polished, skilled and personable magicians in the business.

His act was made even more memorable Wednesday by the appearance of his wife, Jeanne, in one short routine. She has not appeared in Foster’s act for many years, and her appearance Wednesday earned lengthy applause.”

 

Jeanne Foster died in1979 at the age of 64. Neil Foster died in 1988 at the age of 67. While this was his final performance of “The Concert of Magic” he appeared at The-Get-Together again. He, appeared in 1952, 1953, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, and 1986.

Jeanne Foster’s Obituary

Jeanne Foster’s Obituary

 

 

Published March 7, 1979, in the Battle Creek (MI) Enquirer: “COLON – Mrs. Jeanne E. (Hammond) Foster, 64, of 201 Goodell Ave., wife of noted magician E. Neil Foster, died Tuesday at her residence. She had been in failing health several years.

She was born in Ashtabula, Ohio, and was a graduate of Ashtabula Business College. She was married in 1955 to E. Neil Foster in Delray Beach, Fla., and for several years worked with him on stage in shows throughout the United States. He is semi-retired from show business and is conducting private classes in magic at his home. He is vice president of the Abbott Magic Co. and editor of its publication, “Tops.”

Mrs. Foster formerly was employed by the Chevrolet Dealers Association of Ohio and Florida, and later was employed by the Lauderdale Yacht Club in Florida as an accountant, but the School Assembly Bureau of the universities of Wisconsin and Minnesota, and then the Abbott Magic Co., as an accountant.

She was a member of the Ashtabula Episcopal Church, and was a life member of Lake Erie Chapter 10 OES (Order of the Eastern Star) of Ashtabula.

Surviving are her husband, E. Neil Foster, and sisters, Mrs. Robert (Grace) Fickenscher of Jefferson, Ohio, and Mrs. Winifred Beardsley of Chardon, Ohio.

Memorial services will be held at 9 a.m. Friday at the Schipper Funeral Home. Memorial donations may be made to the Michigan Kidney Foundation.

Monk Watson Remembers Childhood

Monk Watson remembers his childhood in Colon

 

Monk Watson had a very long and illustrious career as a bandleader, magician, and all around entertainer. As a matter of fact, he once worked vaudeville as a partner with a man by the name of Benjamin Kubelsky.  Benjamin changed his name later on and became famous as the stingy, violin playing,  perennial 39-year-old comedian. His new name was Jack Benny. Monk was born in 1894 and retired back in Colon. He died in 1981 and is buried in the cemetery west of town. Monk wrote this memory in about 1978. “Early on Sunday morning little Donald (me) was busy hauling wood for the wood upright boiler of the Lioness. This was the big boat that was to carry 50 people at a time for the trips across Palmer Lake. The ride started at the boat dock on Swan Street, which is now the public access. The boiler was fired up early and I think the first trip started around 10:00 in the morning. Mel Lyons had built the big boat in back of what is now Fisher Automotive at the corner of East State Street and Michigan Avenue. It took such a long time to build such a boat, and as it took shape people would yell, “How’s the Ark coming, Mel?”

He’d just laugh and think, “I’ll show them one of these days.”

That is just what he did, because I really don’t remember such a large boat on any lake around Colon. As I look back, I believe it must have been 50 or 60 feet long, and 10 or 12 feet wide. I do know it carried a lot of people. It would follow the channel along the shoreline to a hog pen, and then make a sharp turn east to about Ken Matt’s home, then another sharp turn across the lake to a clearing just east of Bill Tompkins’ home. There were tables and benches where the church people held their summer picnics, and where the Lamb Knit Goods band would hold it concerts. About 20 stumps were marked with boards, and at night a lantern was hung on the board. Then on the last trip home, I would lean out and bring in the lantern, and that ended another beautiful day on Palmer Lake. I believe the cost of the trip was a dime. I went free for working on the boat. I was about 15 at the time (that would have been in 1909). Great days to remember, and I love them to this day.”

The picnic area would have been just east of 58588 Palmer Point Road. Can someone out there tell the Colon Community Historical Society what happened to Mel Lyons’ boat?

 

 

 

 

Jerry Conklin Obituary

Jerry M. Conklin

HODGE PODGE

Joe Ganger

 

Jerry M. Conklin, age 82, of Colon, took his final bow after a courageous battle with cancer and went to be with the Lord on March 29, 2010, while residing at his Colon home, with his family by his side.

Jerry was born February 18, 1928, in Battle Creek, a son to the late Gaylord and Lois (Horton Conklin. Jerry’s early life was spent in Battle Creek, where he graduated from Battle Creek Central High School in 1945. Following graduation, Jerry served in the U.S. Army with the Special Services Entertainment Division.

On June 24, 1951, he married Shirley A. Robertson in Battle Creek. She preceded him in death on March 31, 1987.

While living in Battle Creek, Jerry worked as a milkman for Ashely Dairy. In 1961 Jerry moved his family to Colon and began working at Abbott’s Magic Company. Soon afterwards, he became a professional magician, and the “family of magic” know as The Amazing Conklins traveled throughout the United States, Nova Scotia, New Foundland, Quebec and New Brunswick. In the 1960s they performed at the Boy Scouts National Jamboree in Colorado Springs, Colo. They also performed on Chicago’s Bozo Circus Show and were also invited to perform on “The Ed Sullivan Show”. Jerry and Shirley also traveled together with the Hetzer Brothers Circus. After Shirley’s passing in 1987, Jerry slowed down a little, but he said the show must go on, so he downsized his act and continued on with his love of magic and performed at school assemblies all across the United States. For something a bit different, he traveled one summer with a fair circuit, announcing pig races, which he enjoyed, too. The Amazing Conklins performed at the Abbott’s Magic Get-together  in Colon 12 times and in 1999 they received the Jack Gwynne Award for Excellence in Magic.

Jerry had a love of working and he never slowed down. When he made the decision to stop traveling with his magic, he purchased two concession trailers and operated those at many events throughout the state of Michigan. Jerry was also employed as stage manager for the Sturges-Young Auditorium for 19 years and he was also the lighting/sound technician for the Abbott’s Magic Get Togethers. His most recent employer was Colon Public Schools, where his title included lunch and playground supervisor and an aide on the bus for special needs children.

He liked to be involved in the many community events that took place in Colon, such as the annual Fourth of July and Halloween festivities.

Jerry was a member of the Colon New Life Assembly of God Church.

He is survived by one daughter, Cindy Conklin, of Colon; one son, Mike (Penny) Conklin of Constantine; four grandchildren, Shawnee (Tanya) Big Mountain of West Richmond, Wash., Stacy (Mark) Kittle of Colon, Kylie (Adam) Bowen of Centreville and Christina Conklin of Constantine; five great-grandchildren; one brother, Jarney (Yvonne) Conklin of British Columbia, one sister, Gayla (Jim) Nelson of Battle Creek and several nieces and nephews. He is also survived by his longtime companion, Lady, his faithful Saint Bernard.”

 

On The Road With The Conklins

On the Road with the Amazing Conklins

From The NEW TOPS magazine, by Jerry Conklin, date unknown: “During the last part of July and the first part of August, we will be touring with our magical illusions show thru Ontario, Canada. It will be billed as “The Wonderful World of fantasy.” We will be looking forward to seeing our many Canadian friends. As yet, we do not have a rout but will be playing some of the same towns played last year with the “OZ Show.”

If we were to tell you that all of our shows were booked into auditoriums with all the necessary lights, curtains, stage area, etc., we would be kidding you. If our over two hundred shows a year, we play over two hundred different auditoriums or stages. We have played small stages and have had to put equipment in halls and other rooms. We have played stages so large we could park our truck back stage. We have played gym auditoriums, gym floors, all-purpose rooms and even out-door show on two flat-bed trucks.

One auditorium in Virginia had a front curtain that worked from one side only, the other side was off the track. We asked the custodian if it could be repaired before show time. He stared at the curtain for several minutes and then answered, “I’ve been here for twenty-seven years and that curtain hasn’t worked for twenty-seven years and it ain’t going to work tonight either.” That was the end of the discussion. When building a show of this type you must take this into consideration. You must be able to play on or in anything. Scenery must be designed to be very adaptable. You may need to leave a section or two out to fit the stage area. You will need curtains to block off views on gym floors. A good P.A. system is a necessary item – most schools have had their P.A.’s mis-used by the students and their sound is bad. Some lighting should be included in your equipment. A spotlight is very useful but needs an experienced man to operate it. Some fresnels or a few ellipsoidal or even some PAR lights at front of stage area will help. And of course, you will need several hundred feet of heavy-duty electric cords. Along with this you will need a good knowledge of electricity. You will also need to learn the various light boards used in auditoriums. Some are very complicated with sophisticated patch systems and others are just simple switches. There is nothing worse than a show that you can’t hear or see and just because the show did not take the time, money or energy to do it right.”

 

Conklin; a Magical Life

Reflecting on a magical life

From the Kalamazoo Gazette Newspaper, July 25, 1998, by Lynette Kalsnes: “ Mystery has been a part of Jerry Conklin’s life since he was 14.

COLON – If someone didn’t know what Jerry Conklin did for a living, his living room would be a dead giveaway.

Two giant black dice serve as end tables, holding up lamps with red and black shades that match the shag carpeting. Old posters featuring magicians under words like “thrill after thrill,” “all the sparkle and dazzle of Arabian Nights” and “company of 30 mostly gorgeous girls!” color his walls. Magic kits cover a table.

And above his fireplace, a wall is plastered with the black-and-white photographs of his magician friends, many of whom has stayed with him.

The 70-year-old magician has turned hi living room into a museum – only with comfortable easy chairs and a couch – filled with the remnants of a life dedicated to magic.

Conklin started performing 56 years ago and toured the United States and Canada with his wife, children and grandchildren as “The Amazing Conklins.”

Although semi-retired now, he still performs three to four times a month and hosts several magicians in his Colon home during the annual Abbott Magic Get-Together. The convention and nightly magic shows will draw about 1,00 magicians here August 6 – 8.

“He’s had Doug Henning sleep on his couch,” said Abbott’s Magic Co. owner Greg Bordner.

“That’s kind of cool.”

Quite simply, magic has been Conklin’s career and his life since he got hooked at a backyard circus at 14.

Conklin hosted the circus with his friends, using a show curtain made of old bedspreads. Conklin supplied marionettes, one of his friends in magic – he revealed the secret as he did each trick.

Young Conklin told his friend that was no way to do magic. The mystery, he still says today, is the point.

“When you take the mystery away, the fascination for magic goes away, too. If all the tricks were exposed to the public, magic would be dead. Why go to a magic show when you’re not going to be fooled?”

Conklin went out and bought a magic kit of his own, and he was hooked. He performed all through high school, earning 50 cents for his first official show.

Although he loved magic, he planned on following in his mother’s footsteps in the more practical career choice of teaching.

The U.S. Army got in the way of those plans. Conklin enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1946 and was assigned to Special Services because of his unique gift. His job? To travel all over Europe with Army Special Services entertaining the troops as a magician.

When he returned home, he did a show at his old Battle Creek High School. A teen girl in the high school decided he was the man she would marry.

He avoided the teen he still saw as a kid, but she persisted long enough to grow into a young woman and they married in 1952.

“She chased me until I caught her,” he said. “Most wonderful thing that ever happened to me.”

Each time Conklin got discouraged and was ready to quit magic, his wife, Shirley, was the one who kept him going.

“She was my biggest supporter all the way through life.” He said. She died of cancer in 1967.

Conklin’s son, Mike, and daughter Cindy, joined the family act at the tender age of 7 and 5. Like Conklin’s wife, they served as his assistants.

He still remembers the day he performed a new illusion, unsure of why the audience was giggling. He finally looked up and saw two small faces peeking out through holes in the curtain, watching the show.

At its peak, the show had 18 illusions and required five trucks to carry all the lights, scenery and sound gear. The Amazing Conklins traveled up to 40 weeks a year with a cast and crew of 11 people, plus six doves, four rabbits, three ducks, a goose and a St. Bernard.

When his wife died, Conklin scaled back the show, then cut it back again when he had a heart attack a few years later.

Conklin usually does a one-man show now, but his granddaughter Stacy occasionally performs with him.

Having people like Conklin and fellow longtime magicians Dick Oslund settle here adds to the self proclaimed “Magic Capitol of the World’s” rich history, Bordner said.

Conklin moved to Colon in 1961 when he got a job as an Abbott’s sales clerk and magic demonstrator after opening a show here for Blackstone and vaudeville illusionist Jack Gwynne, who would become his mentor.

Conklin steeped himself in magic history and patterned himself after Gwynne, who was known for his flourish and style, Bordner said.

Although Conklin has scaled back his performances, he doubts he’ll ever fully retire.

“I think if I do, it will kill me.” he said.

Magic keeps his mind alive and keeps him young.

“I like to see the reactions,” he said. “For a short period of time I take their minds off of their problems they have. You can’t think about your problems and enjoy magic at the same time. It’s the same with performing … It’s good therapy.”

Percy Abbott Obituary

     Percy Abbot, Dean of Magicians Passed Away Suddenly Last Friday

 

 

From the files of The Colon Community Historical Society, newspaper clipping, August 31, 1960, unknown source: “Percy Abbott, 74, the dean of Magicians, and the world’s greatest producer and manufacturer of illusions and magic tricks, died unexpectedly at his home, 326 S. Main St., Colon, last
Friday evening.

He lived “magic” all his life and was internationally known, having toured the world twice as a magician, then manufacturing magic products that became world famous to build Colon as the magic capitol of the world. He started many novices off in the magic profession and he was referred to as “the professor”, Mr. Abbott was born in Sydney, Australia on May 3, 1886. Following the footsteps of his father he started performing magic at an early age. While on a world tour in 1925 he first came to the United States and while attending a meeting of the International Brotherhood of Magicians he accompanied Blackstone, the famous magician, to his summer home in Colon. While here he met Gladys Goodrich, whom he married on August 10, 1929, in LaGrange, Ind. The couple made a world tour performing magic before they settled in Colon in 1934 and founded the Abbott Magic Company with Recil Bordner as his partner, which grew to be the world’s largest company producing apparatus and equipment for magic.

Percy Abbott retired from active work last fall after his last Magic Get-Together show held in Coldwater. These shows, which have been held down through the years, attracted nearly all the magicians in the country and many from abroad. Each year there were from four to five hundred magicians and from a thousand to two thousand spectators at each show. These Get-Togethers was the magician’s show of shows as the best talent of the world was obtained by Abbott, who was satisfied only with the best.

Abbott was a genius in the magic business. Few will ever attain the prestige and respect that he held throughout the world of magic.

He was a member of the Society of American Magicians, the International Brotherhood of Magicians and many other magician societies.

Survivors

Besides his wife he leaves two daughters, Mrs. John (Marilyn) Boyd of Kalamazoo and Mrs. Larry (Linda) Bonnell of Colon; two sons, Jules of Kalamazoo and Sydney, serving with the U. S. Army in Germany; and three grandsons.

Jerry Conklin Obituary

     Obituary for Jerry Conklin

 

 

From The Sturgis Journal, Sturgis, Michigan:

” Jerry M. Conklin, a regular at Abbott’s Get Togethers and lead of the long-touring Amazing Conklins lost his battle with cancer on Monday, March 29, 2010.   He was 82.Mr. Conklin was born in Battle Creek and served in the U.S. Army’s Special Services Entertainment Division after high school.  He married his partner in life and magic, Shirley Robertson on June 24, 1951.  Shirley passed away in 1987.

“In 1961, Jerry moved his family to Colon and began working at Abbott’s Magic Company.  Soon afterwards, he became a professional magician, and the ”family of magic” known as The Amazing Conklins traveled throughout the United States, Nova Scotia, New Foundland, Quebec and New Brunswick.  In the 1960s they performed at the Boy Scouts National Jamboree in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Jerry Conklin
“They also performed on Chicago’s Bozo Circus Show and were also invited to perform on” The Ed Sullivan Show.” Jerry and Shirley also traveled together with the Hetzer Brothers Circus.  After Shirley’s passing in 1987, Jerry slowed down a little, but he said the show must go on, so he downsized his act and continued on with his love of magic and performed at school assemblies all across the United States.  For something a bit different, he traveled one summer with a fair circuit, announcing pig races, which he enjoyed, too.

“The Amazing Conklins performed at the Abbott’s Magic Get Together in Colon 12 times and in 1999 they received the Jack Gwynne Award for Excellence In Magic.

“Jerry had a love of working and he never slowed down.  When he made the decision to stop traveling with his magic, he purchased two concession trailers and operated those at many events throughout the state of Michigan. Jerry was also employed as stage manager for the Sturges-Young Auditorium for 19 years and he was also the lighting/sound technician for the Abbott’s Magic Get Togethers.  His most recent employer was Colon Public Schools, where his title included lunch and playground supervisor and an aide on the bus for special needs children.

“He liked to be involved in the many community events that took place in Colon, such as the annual Fourth of July and Halloween festivities.

“Jerry was a member of the Colon New Life Assembly of God Church.”

Visitation with the family is scheduled for tomorrow, April 2, 2010 from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. at the Schipper Funeral Home  in Colon, Michigan.  Funeral services celebrating the life of Jerry M. Conklin will be at 11.m. Saturday at the New Life Assembly of God Church, with the Rev. Daniel Prus officiating.

The family asks that any memorials be given to the New Life Assembly of God Church in Colon or the American Cancer Society.”