Herbert's Story

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July 2, 1928—Sept. 17, 2015 After a full and active life, Herbert W. Kenz went home to heaven Sept. 17, 2015. He was preceded in death by his wife, Jean, in August 2012 after 57 years of marriage. He is survived by their six children: Joe, Culver, IN; Bill (Sandy), Moorhead, MN; Kathie (Jerry Forrest), Columbia, TN; Debbie (Steve Herson), Mattawan, MI; Kevin (Lisa), Kalamazoo, MI and Kris (Dave Locke), Mattawan, MI; ten grandchildren: Aubrey (Scott Tate); Jeremy (Katie) Forrest; Amanda (Ryan Latreille); Allysa and Alyona Forrest; Zack, Sarah and Jake Kenz and Matt and Mark Kenz; and nine great-grandchildren: Aliyah, Clay, Caden, Lilly and Casyn Tate; Edie and Emma Forrest; Nora and Marci Latreille. One great-grand daughter, Rymmie Forrest Sherman, proceeded “Buppa” in death in 2014.  He is also survived by his sister, Carol (Jack) DeWeese, as well as several nieces and nephews. Herb was blessed with many friends who remained faithful and supportive. Herb was born in St. Ignace, MI, July 2, 1928, to Joseph and Delia (Latondress) Kenz. He graduated from Sault Ste. Marie High School in 1946 and attended Michigan College of Mining and Technology from 1948-1950. He transferred to the College of Education at Western Michigan University, where he earned his degree in secondary education in 1952. He completed a Master of Arts degree from the University of Michigan in 1963. Herb married Jean Gray Feb. 19, 1955. They enjoyed many years of traveling after retiring in 1988: Europe; Mexico; and throughout the United States. Of course they made many friends along the way, and had lots of adventures (Herb was an official taster at a whiskey distillery in Ireland). He continued to play golf and tennis after retiring to Fairfield Glade, TN, and was also in two bass fishing clubs. He mentored two middle-school students while living there, and volunteered at St. Francis Catholic Church and the Cumberland County Playhouse. After they moved back to Kalamazoo in 2005, he was a guest speaker for the ROTC, mentored that Christian student group and was the Distinguished Speaker at the 2014 Military Ball. Yard work was a passion at each of their homes: Jean would care for the flower gardens and Herb tended the rest. Herb was a Distinguished Military Student in the WMU Bronco Battalion and a Distinguished Military Graduate in May 1952, the second group of cadets to ever be commissioned through the WMU ROTC Program.  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 1952, Herb accepted a Regular Army Commission as a Quartermaster Officer and subsequently served 19 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 622nd 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 Herb 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 334th - 323rd General Hospital (Attached) in Grand Rapids and the 401st Clearing Company in Kalamazoo. His final five years were spend 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, Herb 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 1/2 years while working full time at WMU. A Memorial Mass for Herb will be held at 10 a.m. Oct. 19 at St. Augustine's Cathedral, 542 W. Michigan. A celebration of life luncheon will follow immediately after the Mass at the Drew Russell Drill Hall in the WMU ROTC Building on East Campus, behind the College of Health and Human Service Building. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider a donation to the WMU Foundation [for either the Herbert W. Kenz Financial Aid Conference Room (in the Faunce Student Services Building) or the Herbert W. Kenz Army ROTC Cadet Scholarship], or to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan. Arrangements were made by Langeland Family Funeral Homes, Westside Chapel, 3926 South 9th Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49009. Please visit Herb’s personalized webpage for directions, online guest book or to leave a condolence. www.langelands.com.
Published on  September 30, 2015
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