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7 p.m., June 20

Farmer. Grocer. Landscaper. Mark Dussel of Cassopolis wears all three hats and he will speak at the museum on general gardening and floral landscaping practices on June 20.

Most of what he knows stems from hands-on experiences contact and with the grower network he has developed over the years.

Dussel grew up in Penn Township on the 250-acre family hog farm on Quaker Street, which he still farms along with his own 140 acres on Dutch Settlement Street and additional leased crop land.

A 1985 graduate of Ross Beatty High School, Cassopolis, he started farming as a young boy. After graduation, he worked in a van conversion factory until he was 21, then married and began farming full-time. In 1997, he purchased the market and greenhouses in Cassopolis that today bear his name and in which he sells his own beef and several produce items he grows. He employs five farm and greenhouse workers, although the number can swell to 20 during the summer months.  His landscaper, Gloria Chavez of Decatur, has been with him for 30 years and oversees the greenhouse operations.

Dussel is a supporter of the museum’s perennial plant sale. His wife, Kristy, the company bookkeeper, is a teacher at Horizon Elementary School in Granger. The couple has three sons and two young granddaughters.


7 p.m., Aug. 22

She has been an adventurer in search of experiences for many years.

And Starla DeMoss, a recent transplant to Edwardsburg, will talk about the many aspects of Dutch oven cooking and its place in American history-particularly pioneers–when she speaks on Aug. 22

A native of Casper, Wyoming, DeMoss grew up in Cheyenne, and initially left there after high school in 1973. She met her first husband in high school and they had four children. He was in the United States Air Force and they lived in Arizona. After the marriage ended, she returned to Cheyenne where she married Ed DeMoss, who also was in the U.S. Air Force. After he left the military, they moved to Pender, Nebraska, where Ed was a refrigeration supervisor for Tyson Foods. They remodeled a house and Starla became a seasoned gardener and mastered food preservation practices. She later returned to school to become a licensed practical nurse (LPN), and worked in the medical field for several years. After her husband died in 2017, she traveled extensively to visit her children.  She moved to Edwardsburg in 2022 to continue to be near her daughter and family, who relocated from San Diego, California, to Elkhart.

But in the 1990s, DeMoss attended Being an Outdoors Woman (BOW) camps, where she studied a variety of subjects, including canoeing, archery, native plants, and Dutch oven cooking. She cooks with several stackable cast iron pots over fires of hot coals, and has several recipes that she will share during her presentation. (but no, she will not cook over hot coals in the museum).


7 p.m., Sept. 19

World travelers Nancy Clase and her husband, Joe Piane, will share their adventures during a presentation on Sept. 19.

Clase, a 2021-2022 inductee into the Edwardsburg Public Schools Hall of Fame, taught French at the high school for 46. She was hired in 1972 after graduating from the University of Evansville (IN), studying abroad, and having been an Au Pair with a French family.

Over the years, Clase led 22 groups of Edwardsburg students, parents and community members on trips to France and other European countries. In 2005, she was named Michigan World Language Teacher of the Year. Her husband, Bob, also an Edwardsburg teacher and coach, whom she married in 1975, died in 2008.

Joe Piane is retired from the University of Notre Dame, where he was the cross-country and track and field coach. A four-year letter winner in sports at Loras College, Dubuque, Iowa, he was inducted into that school’s Hall of Fame in 2003.

Piane went to Notre Dame in 1975 as an assistant track coast and instructor in 1975, and became head coach in 1976. His teams won 26 conference championships and he was the recipient of numerous Coach of the Year awards, including at least six Midwestern Collegiate Conference Coach of the Year honors. After retirement, he volunteered his coaching expertise with the Edwardsburg High School track and cross-country teams. Through the years, he traveled extensively with his wife, Mimi, who tragically died in an accident in 2016. Piane met Clase in 2017 and they married in 2020. As transcontinental travelers, the two have many stories to tell.

Gary Sanders

7 p.m., Oct. 17

Edwardsburg Native Gary Sanders will speak about his life in Edwardsburg at his Oct. 17 presentation. Born on Leet Road, Sanders graduated from Edwardsburg High School in 1959. He worked in the tool and die trade until his mid-30s, then started and operated the Trading Post with Scott Quimby of Edwardsburg for 10 years. He was a dealer’s representative for several years, then became a licensed real estate agent. He has been with Cressy and Everett Real Estate for 23 years.

Sanders and Carla Jones of Edwardsburg were married in 1963, and have a son, Tim, who is a retired carpenter and lives in Lansing. The couple has two grandchildren who live in Lexington, KY, and Edinburgh, IN, respectively.