More local authors join effort to support Oaklawn Hospital Auxiliary

Works by more local authors are being added to the array of books offered for sale in Oaklawn Hospital’s gift shop.

Keith Kehlbeck of Marshall, Beverly Haskins Reyner of Quincy and Linda Crawford of Union City are joining the group of local writers who’ve been making their publications available for sale at the shop.

Each has agreed to donate a portion of their proceeds to the Oaklawn Hospital Auxiliary during the sale, which will take place through May.

Their books are:

– Kehlbeck’s nonfiction historical work, “Gone to God: A Civil War Family’s Ultimate Sacrifice” (291 pages, $15). The book details the losses of the Towles family during the 19th century conflagration between the states.

– Reyner’s nonfiction work, “Memoirs of a Country Schoolteacher” (245 pages, $15). The book details the author’s experiences as an elementary teacher for two years during the early 1950s at one of Michigan’s long-vanished one-room country schoolhouses.

– Crawford’s illustrated volume for children, “Dottie – Raccoon Tales” (47 pages, $19.95). The book is an imaginative retelling of some incidents based on the author’s family encounter with a real raccoon, and is illustrated by a former Marshall resident, Dick Evans, now of Traverse City.

Kehlbeck is a former chair of the Marshall Historical Society and is executive director for Distinguished Restaurants of North America. He is a longtime marketing and communications executive.

“Oaklawn is very important for our community and anything I can do to help the auxiliary or the hospital is beneficial to the community at large,” Kehlbeck said. “Marshall has been my home for almost 20 years and there are a lot of great aspects to Marshall’s history that are important.”

Although she didn’t intend to become a teacher, Reyner studied education in Grand Rapids and in 1952 she became the only teacher at the one-room Gougeburg School in Algoma Township, between Rockford and Sparta in Kent County, supervising 25 elementary-age students.

Reyner was able to apply the lessons she learned in Kent County throughout her career, she said. She later developed curriculum and taught third-grade students in Chicago and taught for 21 years at schools throughout Michigan. Reyner, now retired, was reunited with her former students in August 2013 at a special gathering in Rockford.

“I’ve consulted with physicians associated with the Oaklawn Hospital,” Reyner said. “I also have children in the medical field – my daughter is a doctor and my son does medical research. As a result, I appreciate and support the work of Oaklawn Hospital.”

Crawford’s account of “Dottie” grew from some troubles her family encountered with a raccoon at her daughter’s home. The resulting tale, which is intended for readers age 6 to 9, has been told to groups in classrooms and nursing homes, and the book has been sold in Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Florida, North Carolina and Canada.

Crawford, who worked for State Farm for nearly 35 years, said living and working in the area has led to many relationships with local merchants and residents.

“Marshall is a community that is so fortunate to have a good local hospital,” she said.

More information about Crawford’s book is available at animalanticspublications.com.

Oaklawn’s gift shop recently has featured several books written by local authors, including “How to Get the Job: Enhance Your Career or Start Your Own Business” by Douglas C. Mead, “Oinga Boingas Oh My!” by Diana Sullivan and “Feelings from the Heart, Whispers of the Spirit” by Tom Jones.

Their books no longer are being sold at the gift shop, but may be purchased from the authors individually.

The gift shop staff also is encouraging other local authors to make their books available at the gift shop, said Kyle Ann Keller, Oaklawn’s development coordinator. She may be contacted at (269) 789-3903.