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Archived Flag Flying Tributes are organized alphabetically by recipient's last name. Month and year of the tribute can be found at the bottom of each page. Information was current at the time of the tribute.

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Chief Warrant Officer 4 (CW4)

Herb Kenz

Chief Warrant Officer 4 (CW4) Herbert Kenz was born in St Ignace, Michigan on 2 July 1928. He graduated from Sault Ste. Marie High School in 1946 and attended Michigan College of Mining and Technology from 1948-1950. He transferred to Western Michigan University, College of Education where he earned his degree in Secondary Education in 1952. Mr. Kenz was a Distinguished Military Student in the Bronco Battalion and a Distinguished Military Graduate in May 1952, the second group of cadets to ever be commissioned through the WMU ROTC Program. He completed a Master of Arts Degree from the University of Michigan in 1963.

His military career spanned five decades from 1946 until 1988 and covered World War II and the Korean War. He served as an enlisted soldier in the occupation forces in Japan from 1946-1948 and then the U.S. Army Reserve from 1948-1950 in the Infantry Branch. In June of 1952, Mr. Kenz accepted a Regular Army Commission as a Quartermaster Officer and subsequently served nineteen months in Korea with the 8th Army Artillery as a Gun and Range Platoon Leader, Battery Executive Officer, and Battalion Maintenance Officer. He also served with the 622ned Military Police Company, 8th Army, in Kobe and Nagoya Harbor, Honshu, Japan investigating black market activities.

Upon his return to the United States, he completed the Army Procurement Course, the Quartermaster Company Grade Course and served as the Executive Officer for the ROTC Training Company at Fort Lee, Virginia. In 1956 Mr. Kenz resigned his RA commission and reentered the Active Reserve. In 1965 he applied for and received his Warrant. From 1965 to 1983 he was a member of the Army Reserve, 317th Medical Convalescent Center in Kalamazoo, the 334h - 323rd General Hospital (Attached) in Grand Rapids and the 401st Clearing Company in Kalamazoo. His final five years were spent as an Individual Mobilization Augmentee with Headquarters Command, 1st Army Headquarters, Fort Meade, Maryland. He retired in July 1988 with a full ceremony from the Army Reserves after a combined total service of 42 years.

His awards include two Meritorious Service Medals, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the Army of Occupation (Japan) Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Service Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the United Nations Medal and the Korean Defense Service Medal.

On the civilian side of his career, Mr. Kenz spent thirty years in education as a high school teacher and counselor, and as Associate Director of Student Financial Aid at WMU. He began his teaching career as a high school Social Studies Teacher and counselor at Harper Woods High School in 1958. In 1965 he was offered a job at WMU as the Director of Student Loans. In 1968 he became the Assistant Director of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships. In 1978 he was promoted to Associate Director and in 1984 he was assigned as Acting Director. In 1985 he resumed the Associate Director title until he retired from Western Michigan University after 23 years of service in 1988. He taught Government and Economics in the adult education program for the Kalamazoo Public School System for 11 and a half years while working full time at WMU.

Herb was married to the former Jean Gray of Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan. They had six children; Joe, Bill, Kathie, Debbie, Kevin and Kris. They have ten grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren at the time of this bio.         

                          Mr. Kenz was honored the months of May and June of 2017

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Robert “Bob” Klimp

Bob was born on November 25, 1929 in Kalamazoo, MI a son of John and Madeline (Kloosterman). Klimp and was a lifelong area resident. Bob graduated from Calvin College and moved to California where he served 2 years in the United States Army. He returned to Michigan and began a career in accounting, retiring from The Kellogg Company after 29 years of service. Bob was a faithful lifelong member of Grace Christian Reformed Church where he served on the council. He also served on boards at Park Village Pines and the Kalamazoo Christian Schools. Bob enjoyed music and shared his baritone voice as a 25-year member of the Singing Crusaders Choir. As a lifetime avid golfer, Bob enthusiastically shared his skills and knowledge with all his children and grandchildren, and did so with a passion. More than anything, Bob was a family man who loved watching his grandchildren in sports, theater, and musical programs. He enjoyed family vacations and maintained a tradition of annual weeks at South Haven with his children and grandchildren. Bob's many friends meant the world to him. He and his loving wife, Rita, enjoyed spending time with their friends playing golf, meeting frequently for dinner, and traveling often throughout the years.

Bob was preceded in death by his parents, a brother, Thomas Klimp and a sister, Lorraine Matteson. Soon after his passing, his sister in law, Marge Plough, deceased. On October 10, 1959 Bob married the former Rita Plough, who survives. Also surviving are two daughters, Terri (Tom) Scheffers of Kalamazoo and Carla (Jim) VanDokkumburg of Grand Rapids; five grandchildren, Bryan (Michelle), Kristin (Carlos), Corey (Alyssa), Jameson and Elena; four great-grandchildren, Elliot, Bennett, Emi Kate, and Emery, and two nephews.

Mr. Klimp was buried with full military honors in Genesee Prairie Cemetery, Oshtemo Township, Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Mr. Klimp was honored the month of October 2019.

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Seaman First Class

Edward Leensvaart

Mr. Leensvaart was born in Denver, CO on January 21, 1926, the son of the late Willem and Lyntje (Lodder) Leensvaart. Mr. Leensvaart was seventeen when he joined the US Navy, serving his country during WWII aboard the USS Jason (ARH-1) in the Asiatic-Pacific Area. He was active in the liberation of the Philippines and received a World War II Victory Medal. After the war, he met and married his loving wife of 70 years, Roberta (Rosendale). They were blessed with the birth of their daughter, Jan, and she and husband, Roger, added to the family with three grandchildren, Timothy (Jamie) Klok, Kristin (Donn) Carlisle and Kimberly (Chris) Kakabeeke; the family grew with the addition of six great-grandchildren, Nathan & Brandon, Matthew & Ginny and Jack & Natalie; and many nieces and nephews. Mr. Leensvaart was a member of New Life Christian Reformed Church in Grand Junction, CO. He was preceded in death by three sisters and two brothers.

Mr. Leensvaart was laid to rest at Fort Custer National Cemetery with full military honors.

Mr. Leensvaart was honored the month of July 2018.

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Private Second Class 

 Grant A. Luther

Grant was born May 4, 1942 in Pontiac, Michigan the son of Arnold and Ethelyn (Smith) Luther. Grant was a high school graduate of Holly High and PROUDLY attended and graduated in 1971 from Michigan State University with a B.A. in Criminal Justice. Go Green! During the Vietnam War, Mr. Luther served as a medical lab specialist in Germany and France with the U.S. Air Force. He had been a Kalamazoo area resident since 1974 and was employed with Western Michigan University as a police officer before leaving in 1978 to be a stay at home dad. On May 8, 1976, he was united in marriage to Marilyn K. (Emery) Luther who survives. Also surviving, 2 daughters, Stephanie and Stacey both of Kalamazoo; 3 grandchildren, Tanner, Annika and Gabriel; 2 sisters, Diana and Patricia; an uncle; and several nieces, nephews, and cousins. While being a stay at home dad, he was hardly home. Grant spent six months as the night manager at the Grand Hotel on Mackinaw Island, worked with a local builder on construction sights and along with Marilyn spent many hours volunteering in the girls' schools. Grant worked many summers at the softball fields running and umpiring games and weekend tournaments. He was chosen to be an umpire for the 1987 Men's Modified National Tournament in Decatur, Alabama, where he turned it into a magical trip surprising his girls with a vacation to Disney World. Grant shared his love of traveling and volunteering with his grandkids, and was often found in one of their classrooms or at the school helping in some way. All 3 grandkids kept him busy running Grandpa's taxi and Grandma's daycare. Recently Grant could be located at a baseball diamond watching Gabe play travel ball or in the gym watching Annika play volleyball or calling Tanner to update him (or receive the update) on the latest Spartan team, as they shared their love for MSU.

Mr. Luther was laid to rest with full military honors at Fort Custer National Cemetery, Augusta, Michigan.

Mr. Luther was honored the month of May 2019.

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Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) U.S. Army

Roger D. Manning

Roger Dean Manning was born on January 21, 1939 in Jackson, MI a son of Walter and Cleola (Burger) Manning. Roger graduated from Garden City High School in 1957. He was class valedictorian, class president, president of the school’s chapter of the National Honor Society. He entered Albion College as an Alfred P. Sloan scholar in the fall of 1957. After two years at Albion as a pre-law student, he received a Congressional appointment to the United States Military Academy. Roger graduated from West Point in June of 1963 with a Bachelor of Science degree in general engineering. He remained in the US Army until his retirement as lieutenant colonel in August of 1985. During his more than 22 years in the military, Roger served at many duty stations across the U.S., Korea and Germany. He also served two separate one-year tours in Vietnam during the war – one as an advisor to Republic of South Vietnam military forces and one as commander of a U.S. 175mm gun battery. The major battles he participated in include: Junction City, Attleboro, and Hamburger Hill. Roger also earned a Master of Arts degree in history, a Master of Business Administration degree in finance and attended the Armed Forces Staff College. He served two separate three-year tours as an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at West Point and a tour as the Professor and Department Head of Military Science at Western Michigan University. After retiring from the Army, Roger became a professor at Western Michigan University Hayworth College of Business teaching finance, commercial law and business finance.

On July 20, 1968 Roger married the former Judith Joeline Johnson, and together they have three sons, Christopher P. (Rebecca) Manning of Elkton, MD, Kevin S. (Heather) Manning of Clarendon Hills, IL and Timothy J. (Jolene) Manning of Crystal Lake, IL; and eight grandchildren, Ryan, Collin, Liam, Teagan, Zoe, Logan, Charlotte and Luke.

Mr. Manning was honored the months of September 2017 - January 2018

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Lowell “Jerry” Mason, Jr.

Engineer, veteran, sailor, musician, cyclist, community volunteer, husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, Lowell Blake “Jerry” Mason, Jr. was born in Oak Park, Illinois on October 31, 1925. Jerry was the fourth child of Grace Fletcher Mason (Gilbert) and Lowell Blake Mason, Sr.

Growing up in Oak Park, Jerry was very close to his beloved mother. The family particularly loved to spend time at their cottage at the Indiana Dunes. During high school Jerry, a talented musician, led his own 15-piece dance orchestra, leading from the bass. He also played a mean ukulele.

After one year of college at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, Jerry volunteered to serve his country in World War II, spending 6 months in Army Ordnance in the ETO. After an injury in Germany brought an honorable discharge, Jerry matriculated at Purdue University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 1948.

A fortunate blind date led to Jerry’s marriage to Joan “Jo” Armour in June of 1949. After living in South Bend, Indiana for 6 years, Jo and Jerry moved to Kalamazoo to raise their 3 children Ann (1951), John Gilbert (1953) and Joan (1958).

Jerry was president and owner of Air Engineering & Conditioning Company. He was a proud Rotarian and received an Honorary Membership in 2017 marking his 60 years in Rotary and he served as president of Rotary in 1965.

Jo’s 1992 death in a car accident was a terrible blow to Jerry and their family. Turning for solace to a long-time friend who had also lost a beloved spouse, Jerry found joy again with Elizabeth “Betty” Upjohn. They were married in the First Congregational Church in 1993, surrounded and supported by their two families.

 A cardiac arrest in 2010 slowed Jerry down and kept him closer to home but he remained gregarious and upbeat. Jerry died peacefully at Wyndham West on the sixth of May with his family by his side. He was preceded in death by his parents, siblings Barbara, William and Nancy, first wife Joan Armour Mason, daughters Ann Mason and Joan Mason-Grant and grandson Blake Linell.

Jerry is survived by his wife Elizabeth Upjohn Mason, son John Mason, son-in-law Martin Mason-Grant (Linda Lucas), stepson Henry Upjohn (Martha Upjohn), and stepdaughters Florence Upjohn Orosz (Joel Orosz) and Amy Upjohn (Brad VandenBerg). His surviving grandchildren are Greg, Vivian, Jay (Leanne), Corey, Whitney (Richard), Margaret, Caroline (Steve), Anita (Charles), Marianna (Nate), Andrew, Bradley, Elyse and Charlie (Lisa).

Jerry was also blessed with great-grandchildren, Wallace, Matilda, Eloise, Jo, Ryan, Rylee and Jonah. Also surviving are many nieces and nephews.

Mr. Mason was honored the month of November 2018.

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 Kay Bruce Maxson

Kay Bruce Maxson of Galesburg, Michigan was born in Lowell, Michigan to Russell J. and Rosalie F. (Foster) Maxson.  Kay moved around a lot in his youth, but graduated from Lowell High School in 1951 and entered the United States Navy in February of 1952. Kay was assigned to the USS Oriskany beginning his military adventure. He proudly served his country during the Korean War but was particularly proud of the fact that he was aboard the Oriskany when she became the first aircraft carrier in United States history to navigate around Cape Horn (the southern tip of South America) on June 29, 1952. 

Kay and Marylin Hoag were wed on March 31, 1956. They immediately moved to Detroit so Kay could attend Wayne State University’s Mortuary Science School. Upon graduation in 1957, Kay and Marylin returned to Galesburg and remained there for the rest of their lives together.

Kay became a Boy Scout leader in Galesburg in 1958 and was still involved in Scouting until his last day with us. It is impossible to imagine how many young men’s lives he influenced since 1958. He was very proud that his son Jeff and grandson Jacob would follow his legacy in Scouting. In his words, “three generations in Scouting all at the same time.”

Kay continued his patriotism by starting to retire American flags that were unfit to fly about thirty years ago. That soon would evolve into flag history presentations as well. His family now has a collection of original and replica flags dating back to the Revolutionary War. His son Jeff, daughter-in-law Donna, granddaughter Kaylee and grandson Jacob have vowed to him that the tradition will continue, “always done with dignity and honor”.

Kay is preceded in death by his parents, his father-in-law Wendell, the love of his life his wife Marylin, three brothers Jack, Harold, Morris, one half-brother Dan, and one half-sister Bobbi. He is survived by daughter Lisa, son Jeffery (Donna), grandchildren Kyle (Gabe Rettaliata), Kaylin (Andrew), Jacob (Danielle Klaver), Kaylee (Charles), one brother David (Julie), one half-brother Tom (Paulette), and two half-sisters Darlene (Al) and Betsy (Bob).

Mr. Maxson was given full military honors at his memorial service, he chose to donate his body to the WMU School of Medicine to further the education of future healers.

Mr. Maxson was honored the month of November 2019.

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Airman First Class

Raymond Mitscher

Raymond was born December 28, 1930 in Kalamazoo, MI the son of Raymond and Ruby (Hill) Mitscher. He was a veteran and served in the U.S Air Force during the Korean War, where his most significant duty assignment was with the 434th Fighter Day Squadron, out of George AFB, California. His service decorations include the Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal and Good Conduct Medal. Ray earned an Associate's Degree from Western Michigan University and was employed for 47 years with James River until his retirement from there in the late 1990's. He enjoyed building dune buggies, fishing trips to Canada, and traveling across the country with his family. In 1952, Ray was united in marriage to his loving wife of nearly 68 years, Betty (Walling), who survives, also surviving are his children, Davina (Mark) Sheilds, David Mitscher; 4 grandchildren; 5 great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews. Ray was preceded in death by a daughter, Wendy Eldridge; and his sister, Ann DePew.  

A private graveside service with full military honors will be held at a later date at Ft. Custer National Cemetery, Augusta, Michigan. 

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Robert J. McConachie

Pvt. Robert James McConachie, of Detroit, MI, age 18, was killed in action on, or about, June 15, 1945, on Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands, Japan. McConachie was a member of G Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Division taking part in the assault of Japanese defensive lines on Kunishi Ridge. His body could not be recovered at the time of his death but his family was notified of his loss and received a letter signed by President Harry S. Truman. Records indicate that there were two U.S. Marines unaccounted-for from that battle. In 1987 skeletal remains were discovered on Kunishi Ridge and sent to the Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii. Since there were no name associations or detailed information about where the comingled remains were recovered, no identification was possible in 1987. Over the years the case went cold; however, with the advent of mitochondrial DNA testing and active procurement of family reference samples, the case was reopened in 2012. Over the next two years CIL specialists were able to identify some of the remains received as those of Pvt. McConachie. His family was notified of the CIL findings in July of 2014.  

Robert J. McConachie was awarded the Purple Heart Medal for wounds received in action against the enemy on June 15, 1945 on Okinawa resulting in his death; Combat Action Ribbon for service during WWII; Presidential Unit Citation awarded to 1st Marine Division for service on Okinawa during the period April 1 to June 21, 1945; Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal for service during the period November 12, 1944 to June 15, 1945; Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal with one bronze campaign star; WWII Victory Medal; Rifle Marksman Badge.

Mr. McConachie was laid to rest with full military honors on November 3, 2014 in Fort Custer National Cemetery, Augusta, MI. 

Mr. McConachie was honored the months of July and August, 2017.

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Lieutenant Colonel

Marjorie E. Meyer

Marjorie was born on September 3, 1930 in Detroit, MI, the daughter of the late Edwin and Marjorie (Beer) Keilholz. In 1952, Marjorie received her bachelor’s degree from Wayne State University before earning an M.A. in Library Science from the University of Michigan in 1954. She served as a librarian at the Peoria Public Library, as a medical librarian at the University of Michigan, a science librarian at Michigan State University, an Army librarian in Germany, a librarian at the Detroit Public Library, a law librarian at Howard and Howard in Kalamazoo, MI and a volunteer librarian at the Kalamazoo Public Library. During the Korean War, Marjorie entered the Women’s Army Corps and attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Marjorie worked to promote education for children, supported the use of Bookmobiles and was a firm advocate of women’s rights. She was a Member of Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Western Michigan University Dames, Bradley University Women’s Group, Peoria Art Guild, German Club and served on various committees at Bronson Place over the years. Marjorie had varied interests and passions, including genealogical research, a love for reading, knitting, travel, the arts, the beach and quality time spent with friends and family. Family members especially remember her enthusiasm for Scrabble and chocolate, the former, a game she won against anyone who dared play her, the latter she maintained was the fifth food group. On June 14, 1952 Marjorie married Charles E. Meyer who preceded her in death on December 18, 1992. She is survived by three children, Heidi A. Heiman of Farmington Hills, MI, Katrina E. (Chris) Vanas of Grand Rapids, MI and Karl V. Meyer of Plainfield, IL; and six grandchildren, Charles Meyer, Kurtis Meyer, William Meyer, Hannah Heiman, Zachary Vanas and Victoria Vanas.

Mrs. Meyer was honored the month of February 2018.

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