Emilie Bessie Yape was born on October 1, 1924 in Erie, Michigan. She was one of eight children from the union of Fredrick and Naomi (Beck) Yape. The day after her nineteenth birthday, on October 2, 1943, she was joined in marriage to John Bellair at Martin Luther Lutheran Church in Toledo, Ohio. The couple enjoyed seventy years of wedded bliss and were blessed with two children. As a young woman Emilie was employed at a bakery in Toledo and the Willow Run Bomber Plant during WWII.
A devout Christian throughout her life, Emilie became a member of Christ the King Lutheran Church in Southgate, Michigan shortly after its founding. As a homemaker, Emilie, made it her life’s work to take care for the needs of her family. She loved children and often babysat her nieces, nephews, and grandchildren. Emilie would get down on their level and play with whatever toy they were interested in. She loved movies and had over a thousand DVD’s and VHS tapes. Emilie looked forward to gathering the grandchildren for movie marathons which would last well into the early morning hours. She baked regularly, weekly making treats for her husband and children’s lunches. They especially enjoyed her homemade chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and Christmas cookies baked with her mother-in-law’s recipe. Christmas was Emilie’s favorite time of year as she decorated their home with an elaborate tiered Christmas village each holiday season.
Emilie enjoyed the challenge of a jigsaw puzzle and watching mystery shows on television, particularly Perry Mason. She had a lighthearted, silly personality and only grew funnier with age. Emilie had the ability to make someone smile in literally any situation. A deeply kind and caring person, she was always concerned about the wellbeing of others. A classy lady, Emilie, never left the home underdressed or attended church services without wearing a hat.
Emilie Bessie Bellair, age 97, of Monroe passed away peacefully on Thursday; November 11, 2021. Her passing was preceded by her parents; her husband: John Bellair in 2015; five sisters: Clara Haack, Francis Godlewski, Sonja McDaniel, Mary Shimel, and Blanche Austin; and one brother: Fredrick Yape.
To cherish her memory, Emilie leaves two daughters: Jane (Robert) Rogers of Muskegon, Michigan and Jill (Fredrick) Calkins of Newport, Michigan; one sister: Naomi Durbin; seven grandchildren: Kimberly (Brad) LaBreyere, Robert (Sadie) Rogers, Richard (Monique) Rogers, Jennifer (David) Ritchey, Cara (Dacon) Bischoff, Rachel (Andrew) Cook, and Andrea Gradel; fourteen great grandchildren: Emilie, Robbie, and Ethan LaBreyere, Jonathan and Ryan Rogers, Christian and Austin Rogers, Christine Rop, Olivia and Nicole Ritchey, Angyl and Brantley Bischoff, Emilie Cook, and Elizabeth Gradel; and three great-great grandsons: Carson and Graham Rop, and Jeremiah Rogers.
Friends may gather on Monday; November 15, 2021 from 3:00pm–8:00pm at Merkle Funeral Service, South Monroe; 14567 South Dixie Highway, Monroe, Michigan 48161 (734) 241-7070. A Worship Service celebrating Emilie’s life will be held at 11:00am on Tuesday; November 16, 2021 also at Merkle’s. Procession will follow to Roselawn Memorial Park.
The Bellair family extends a special thank you to the staff at Wellspring Lutheran Home, where Emilie made many friends. Online guests may leave words of inspiration and comfort or share a photo by visiting www.merklefs.com.