A Fremont couple died sometime Monday night or early Tuesday morning after a tree fell into their cottage in Newaygo County.
Investigators say William and Nancy Vandekieft were asleep in their bedroom when the large tree crashed into the home, entrapping the couple. Medical personnel pronounced the couple dead at the scene.
This happened at 4239 S. Sherman Drive in Sherman Township.
The Vandekieft's were well known and well liked by several of their neighbors, including Alma Deyoung.
"Somebody came over this morning saying they had some bad news and I thought, the cottage," said Deyoung. "We thought what could happen at the cottage?... We didn't know about the storm and she says your neighbors were killed in the storm."
Deyoung says she and her husband knew the Vandekieft's for years.
"They were very nice people, like the gentlemen said, very good Christian people," said Deyoung. "He would mow our lawn and water his flowers and they would just do anything for us and we had the same relationship with them."
Ryerson Lake Association President and neighbor Ken Smalligan was home when the wind came screaming over the lake at around 1:00 a.m.
"Never heard anything like it," said Smalligan. "It was a very, very loud roar."
"We're all sad and upset, they were great people," said Smalligan.
Larry VanNuil found the couple in the early morning hours after he and another neighbor went to check on them.
"I knew he was deceased when I seen him," said VanNuil. "You couldn't see where she was, the sheriff's department said they could hardly find her in the rubble."
Ironically, neighbors say William had spoken about this very tree falling before.
"We looked at that tree many times, that dead branch and said, what would happen to that dead branch if it fell down sometime?, says Mr. Deyoung. "It fell down with the rest of the tree, just a bad deal. They were some nice people, sad sad."
William Vandekieft was 65 years old, his wife Nancy was 64 years old.
The Vandekieft's also had a home in Jackson, Michigan where Nancy's brother Doug says they were very active in the church. He says they are survived by a son, daughter and five grandchildren.
FOX 17 will have more on this story tonight at 6 and 10.
(FOX 17's Jennifer Dowling contributed to this report)
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