Tammy Jo Vankirk, age 58 years of Niles, Michigan, mother, grandmother, sister, companion, camper, and tax specialist died peacefully at 1:35 p.m. on Friday, October 8, 2021 with her family gathered around her bed at Spectrum Health Lakeland Hospital – Niles following an extended illness.
She was born on June 12, 1963 in Niles to John W. and Mary K. (Juhasz) Heath, Sr., and attended Brandywine Community Schools. She has been employed for many years as a tax specialist at the Niles office of H&R Block, and has lived in Niles all of her life.
Tammy was a member of the Loyal Order of the Moose Lodge #978 in Niles. She enjoyed family activities at home with their backyard swimming pool, camping at Bair Lake in Jones, Michigan, and their cabin near Baldwin, Michigan. She also enjoyed spending time at the Four Winds Casino in Dowagiac, which always involved a carload of family, as another family activity.
She was sadly preceded in death by a daughter, Arrikka Bowling on December 7, 2006; by her parents, John and Kitty Heath; and by Tammy’s brother, James Heath.
Surviving family includes her long-time companion, Bob Bowling and her children, Alishia (& Rodney Hessey) Vankirk, BillieJo Vankirk, Michael (& Krystal Lary) Vankirk, Wilma (& Mike Vankirk) Bowling, Chassidy (& Anthony) Brown, and Carl (& Cami) Bowling, all of Niles, and Rob Bowling of Metropolis, Illinois; twenty-one grandchildren and two great-grandchildren; and Tammy’s sister, Kathy Lynne (& Bob Quick) Heath and brother John W. Heath, Jr., both of Niles; and many nieces and nephews.
The funeral service for Tammy Vankirk will be at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 12, 2021 at the Halbritter-Wickens Funeral Home, 615 East Main Street in Niles with the Rev. Jon Bendewald of Saint Joseph, Michigan officiating. Committal services will follow at the Bertrand Cemetery in Niles. The services will be available livestreamed on the Halbritter-Wickens Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/halbritterwickensfuneralservices/.
The family will receive relatives and friends on Tuesday at the funeral home beginning at 1:00 p.m. Online condolences may be left at:
Tammy loved life – swimming, camping, and the thrill of gambling, but all of these activities needed family and friends to make them special.
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