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George E. "Pete" Zelmer
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Obituary for George E. "Pete" Zelmer

George “Pete” Zelmer, 65, of Dowagiac, died Saturday, May 12, 2018, at Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital in Dowagiac.

He was born August 17, 1952, in Benton Harbor, to Paul and Dorothea (Helmuth) Zelmer. Just like the cabin he built board by board, there’s a story. The foundation was him, he became a husband, then a father and uncle. As the cabin grew, his story grew. He loved his cars, anything cars--he built them, restored them, and raced them with his sons. As music filled the background, his love for the cabin grew and grandkids filled the cabin with memories. With every board there was laughter, or he could aggravate you, but if he wasn’t doing one or the other, he felt like he wasn’t doing his job. And that’s how the foundation became at peace.

Survivors include his wife, Debra (nee Akers), whom he married November 13, 1982; three sons: Joe (Kristen) Davey, George (Rachael) Zelmer, Paul (Shannon) Zelmer; three daughters: Jennifer Zech, Nicole Starkweather, Ashley (Jeff Compton) Zelmer; brother, Robert (Jane) Zelmer; sisters: Margaret Redelings, Barbara (Erich) Swoboda, Patty Margiotta, Lucinda (Vern) Evans, Pamela (Duane) Casey, Sherry (Brian) Kerutis, Linda (Bill) Frantz; and six grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Paul Edward Zelmer; and sister, Kathleen Kaphaem.

A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Friday, May 18, at Allred Funeral Home, Berrien Springs, with visitation from 10-11 a.m. Inurnment will follow at Rose Hill Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the American Diabetes Association. Online messages for the family may be left at

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Previous Events





10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Allred Funeral Home

212 South Main Street
Berrien Springs, MI 49103

Memorial Service




11:00 AM
Allred Funeral Home

212 South Main Street
Berrien Springs, MI 49103

Cemetery Details


Rose Hill Cemetery

Rose Hill Road
Berrien Springs, Michigan 49103

Memorial Contribution

American Diabetes Association

2451 Crystal Drive, Suite 900
Arlington, VA 22202

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