Bina Stump, 93


Bina Stump left our world on June 20. She was 93 and leaves us with years of good memories: always loved and never really gone.
Born Bina Louise Wheeler in Grayling, Mich., on January 2, 1927, she was the daughter of Harvie and Nora. As the youngest, she was the last remaining of seven siblings, brothers Keith and Kennoff Wheeler and sisters Norma Mouser Millage, Zona Morgan, Eva Bowers and Mary Ann Chamberlain.
Her family moved to the auto town of Pontiac before her first birthday and she lived in Oakland County her entire life. She attended all her school years in Pontiac and while at Pontiac High, she met a handsome young man ready to join the Marines. After a hayride on August 19, 1942, her wartime romance with John Robert Stump (her Bob) progressed to their marriage on December 22, 1945.
The newlyweds made their home in Pontiac, where sons Jay and Jon were born in 1949 and 1951. They moved their sons and newborn daughter Jan in November 1953, to a little house on a two-acre lot on Mary Sue, in Clarkston. It was hand built by Bob with a lot of help from family and friends. The grandparents considered this to be “way out in the country.”
She always took great pride in her family and her home. She handled it all with what seemed like the greatest of ease. She was a true “working mom,” rarely idle. She juggled three kids through school, joined the PTA, served as den mother, Girl Scout leader, and day camp mom.
Swimming at the lake filled many summer days. While we splashed and played in the sand, she indulged her unfortunate habit of sunbathing. She was also known to wash the car and mow the lawn in her swimsuit. She loved the suntanned look! Still, she found time to make homemaking an art.
Fresh-made treats were often waiting when kids came in from school, popsicles ready in the summer, and always fun things to do. All the neighbor kids thought ours was the best house on the block, and cousins loved to spend the night.
She kept a cheerful home, always in order and nicely decorated, especially at holidays. She baked and cooked tirelessly as a young mom and her popcorn balls and peanut brittle became legendary, to the pleasure of many generations.
She was a skilled seamstress and her children slept many nights to the sound of a sewing machine humming. She made most of her own clothes, school dresses for Jan, and years of Halloween costumes. There were robes and pajamas for all, and matching Florida shirts for one memorable family vacation.
As time went on, she produced many housefuls of curtains and draperies. The family took 12 years to outgrow that first house, and on Easter weekend in 1966, they made their last move. Just around the corner and two blocks past the cemetery, their new home was a beautiful brick house designed by her loving husband. It was completed by Bina, with custom-made drapes and curtains in every room.
As the family grew, her sewing habit moved from wedding finery to clothes for kids and babies, and became a home alteration business during her 60s. Those skills kept her in vacation and fun money for more than 25 years, and many of her customers became lifelong friends. After many years of volunteering with the Easter Seal Society, her charity efforts focused on a flow of clothing and household donations to Purple Heart.
Friends and family were often encouraged to follow her example, her expression being to “just get rid of it.” Yet her home was still filled with sentimental favorites, stuff that made it purely “Gramma’s House,” always a safe harbor and loving home base for all the grandchildren.
All these activities did not cause her to neglect her husband. They enjoyed road trips and tropical cruises, and many trips to Oregon for extra family time. At his death in 1994, they had shared nearly 50 years of marriage.
Rather than settle too long into life as a widow, she started a new chapter with another high school sweetheart.
Ken Hamilton re-surfaced at her door on Valentine’s Day, 1995, and became the second man to share her life. Though she chose to remain “Mrs. Stump,” they were devoted to each other for the six years they had, until his passing in 2001.
In recent years, she had finally limited her sewing to keeping her own wardrobe in great style. That tiny white-haired lady was often the best dressed at any event. Many compliments were given on her favorite finds from the Salvation Army, and she was thrilled to share the bargain price tags. She also enjoyed a spree at the Dollar Tree, especially to stock up on candy and birthday cards – most were mailed with a bit of cash tucked in.
After nearly 20 years as an independent woman, she still lived alone and kept a tidy home. Her bird feeders were rarely empty and she loved watching them while cursing the squirrels. A dedicated gardener and do-it-yourselfer, she was usually in control both indoors and out. Though her collections kept growing, those bird feathers, keepsake eggs and pewter miniatures were well-tended and all are specified to be shared among her family and friends.
Her long, full life has left us all as better people, as she joins family gone before: husband Bob, second mate Ken, son-in-law Larry Hiltz, daughter-in-law Joann Stump, grandsons Scott and Kyle Lemons, granddaughter Kelli Stump, and so many others she loved and lost.
She was beyond compare as a wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, friend and neighbor. She’ll always be missed by her children Jay of Pontiac, Jon (Stephanie) of Frederic, and Jan Hiltz of Keizer, Ore., her special pride, her grandchildren and their offspring Kim Lemons, Jimm Stump, Janel Nelson, Jay Stump Jr, Justin Stump, Greg Hiltz, Chris Hiltz, Sarah Dunnigan, and Kerry Hiltz van Overeem, along with 21 great-grandchildren and nearly nine great-greats.
Also survived by many loving nieces and nephews, her bonus grandkids the Bousho family, and countless loved ones from East Coast to West Coast.
All will remember her with a smile.
Graveside service is Wednesday, August 19 at 3 p.m., Sashabaw Plains Cemetery.
A final celebration will be held this fall, an event she referred to as “The After-Party” Date and details to be announced.
Online guestbook at

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