Cover photo for Malva Deforest's Obituary
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1942 Malva 2017

Malva Deforest

December 12, 1942 — December 10, 2017

Malva Jean DeForest, age 74 years of Niles, Michigan died peacefully at 10:47 a.m. on Sunday, December 10, 2017 with her family gathered around at Riveridge Manor in Niles following an extended illness.

She was born on December 12, 1942 in Manchester, Tennessee to Wilder Lee and Maude (Tolliver) Hendricks and came with her family to Niles in 1943.  She was graduated from Niles High School, and attended the Vouge Beauty School.  She was employed for several years by Schneider Vending of Buchanan, Michigan to serve the employees at the former Simplicity Pattern Company plant in Niles.  She was also employed at the former Sheller-Globe plant in Niles, and in the Deli department of Martin’s Supermarket in Niles.

Malva is remembered by her family as the ultimate homemaker, keeping her house decorated and welcoming for all, cooking wonderful meals which were served with extra-large “Malva portions”, leaving no birthday uncelebrated, and always having room for unexpected guests – even for more than one meal or more than one day.

She was first married to Robert Richter, and later to Lee Wickler.  She was preceded in death by a brother, Joe Hendricks, by an infant brother, and a sister-in-law, Sharon Holmes.

On March 25, 1989 in Niles she married Richard L. DeForest I with whom she celebrated this year the twenty-eighth anniversary of their wedding.

Surviving family includes her husband, Richard DeForest I; her children, Lori (& Brent) Wright, Trish Rayder, and Heather (& John) Fairres, all of Niles and Timothy (& Patty) Richter of Dowagiac, Michigan; Richard’s children, Anita (& Gary) Nellans of South Bend, Indiana, Richard (& Linda) DeForest II and Leitha (& Lon) Ballge, both of Niles, and Walter (& Linda) DeForest of Goshen, Indiana; sixteen grandchildren and seventeen great-grandchildren; and Malva’s sister-in-law, Teresa Hendricks of Goshen; Richard’s twin brother, Thomas (& Donna) DeForest and sister, Jacqueline (& Robert) Hess; and several nieces and nephews

The funeral service for Malva Jean DeForest will be at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 14, 2017 at the Halbritter-Wickens Funeral Home in Niles with the Rev. Robert E. Jackson of the First Church of God in Niles officiating.  Committal services will follow at the Silverbrook Cemetery in Niles.

The family will receive relatives and friends from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday at the funeral home.  Contributions in memory of Malva may be made to the American Cancer Society, 129 Jefferson Avenue SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503.   Online condolences may be left at:

Charitable donations may be made to:

American Cancer Society - Michigan
Post Office Box 10069, Detroit MI 48201
Tel: 1-616-364-6121

Northwest Michigan Office

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Malva Deforest, please visit our flower store.


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