Delbert Franklin “Bear” Linebaugh, age 80, of Belding, entered the presence of his Lord & Savior on June 7, 2021. He passed from this life at Mercy Health, St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, following a long, courageous battle with cancer. He came into this world on October 9, 1940, in Onondaga, Michigan one of ten children born to George Franklin and Cecelia Irene (McLean) Linebaugh, both of whom preceded him in death. He graduated from Greenville High School with the Class of 1959, and completed additional college course work. Delbert exchanged vows with Karen Brownell at Smyrna Bible Church on March 18, 1961, and has shared 60 years of marriage with her. No stranger to hard work and adversity during his youth, Delbert embarked on a more that 40 year-long career in heavy equipment operating with Operating Engineers Local 324. His work took him all over North America including work on the notable Alaskan Pipeline project and the cooling reservoir south of Ludington, which up to that time, was the largest construction project in the world. He later owned and operated Bear’s excavating working on smaller projects closer to home. Not wanting to sit idle, Delbert kept himself and others moving through the winter by pushing snow. Never one to slow down, he had recently been assisting with the establishment of a trucking company to haul blacktop for road construction. While usually busy with work, Delbert also found time for his antique tractors and had traveled north, with one of his tractors, over Labor Day weekend, for at least ten years, to take part in the crossing of the Mackinaw Bridge. He was a long time member of the Smyrna Bible Church and belonged for many years to the Smyrna Social Club, and the Flat River Antique Tractor Club. Among all that he will be remembered for, perhaps most of all, will be his helpful nature, non-stop wit and pension for story telling and good conversation.
Memories of Delbert will be cherished by his dear wife, Karen; his children, Peter (Leah) Linebaugh, Marc (Mikayla) Linebaugh, Margo Reeves all of Belding and special family member, Donna Oetman of Grand Rapids; a son in law, Dewey Francisco of Lowell; grandchildren, Matthew (Rachel), Kyleigh, Hannah, Brooke, Levi, Rollin, Brock, CoraJo, Isaac and Brooklyn; siblings, Bill Linebaugh of Greenville, Wanda Paulsen of Greenville, Shirley Downer of Gowen, and Leo (Deb) Linebaugh of Greenville; sisters-in-law, Opal Linebaugh, Anna Linebaugh and Karine Linebaugh; special friends Harold Rydahl and Von Crocker; and many nieces, nephews, cousins and great friends. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a daughter, Michelle Francisco; a sister Celia Aldrich and brothers Dick, Don, Chuck and Dwain.
Visitation will take place on Thursday, June 10, 2021, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Verdun Family Funeral Home, 303 S. Bridge Street, Belding, Michigan 48809. Funeral Services will take place on Friday, June 11, at 11:00 a.m. at Smyrna Bible Church, 4864 Whites Bridge Road, Belding, Michigan 48809, with Pastors Roger Tahtinen and Darwin Hassert Officiating. Private Interment will take place at Bostwick Cemetery, Cannon Township. Those wishing to express their sympathy are welcomed to consider a donation in Delbert’s memory to Smyrna Bible Church or the B Foundation. Envelopes will be available at the services or by contacting Verdun Family Funeral Home in Belding, who is caring for the arrangements at (616) 794-1300 or at www.verdunfh.com.