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Kenton Allen Graber
(June 3, 1934 - January 7, 2007)
Kenton Allen “Ken” Graber, age 72, of 220 W. Onota Street, Munising, died unexpectedly at his home on Sunday, January 7, 2007. He was born June 3, 1934 in Pretty Prairie, Kansas to Walter and Marie (nee Barton) Graber. He graduated from Pretty Prairie High School in 1951, and at the tender age of seventeen entered Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. He graduated with a Baccalaureate degree in Chemistry in 1955 and a Masters degree in Chemistry in 1957.
He served two years in the United States Army TRECOM (Transportation Research Engineering Command) unit, developing vehicles for swamp and snow transport, culminating with a stint stationed in Calumet, Michigan, where he experienced his first U.P. winter. In spite of this experience he moved to Munising following his army service in October of 1959 to accept the position of Analytical and Organic Chemist in the Technical Services Department of the Kimberly-Clark Munising Mill. He worked at the paper mill for thirty-four years, holding the additional positions of Research Analytical Chemist, Product Specialist, and Senior Research Scientist, the position he held at his retirement on December 30, 1993. When the analytical lab was moved away from the Munising Mill in the early nineteen-eighties, Ken chose to keep his family in Munising, accepting an alternative position with the company to do so. Some years later, the company moved the analytical functionality of the lab back to Munising and Ken was reinstated to his former position.
On July 8, 1960 he married Bettina Lynn Carmody, daughter of Ronald and Ingrid Carmody of Munising. Ken was a wonderful and loving husband, father, grandfather, and uncle. He took great joy and pride in his family and their accomplishments, and imparted to them the value of ethics, love, and responsibility, along with his mischievous and playful sense of humor. He coached his sons on the Legion little league team for six years, ending with a league championship in his final year. He loved playing games with, and building toys for his grandchildren. Ken and Tina’s retirement years were joyous and active, including trips to Florida and Europe, visits to ice shows, concerts, and museums, and numerous visits to their children, grandchildren, and friends.
Ken believed strongly in the value and importance of contributing to his community, and accordingly was an active member of the Munising Lions Club and the United Methodist Church. He was a long-time force behind the Lions Club’s community birthday calendar, tirelessly selling listings and calendars. He brought a similar zeal to the annual Lions carnival, and more recently, the Duck Race. He contributed in numerous manners to the Methodist Church, holding positions of trustee, treasurer, and handyman. He volunteered quietly behind the scenes in many other activities. When a volunteer project was organized, Ken and his tools were there.
Ken was a long-time supporter of Munising sports teams with a special interest in the Mustangs wrestling team, for which he created and maintained the championship plaque in the Munising High School gymnasium. He was an avid and competitive bridge player his entire adult life, playing through college and in several local groups. He enjoyed spending time at the family camp and employed his construction and handyman skills both there and at home. In his retirement, he transferred the precision of chemistry into a passion for cooking and beer making, taking special pride in his wild mushroom soup, smoked whitefish and turkey, key lime and pumpkin pies from scratch.
He is survived by Tina, his loving wife of 46 years; son Jon and daughter-in-law Teri of Eugene, Oregon; son Joel, daughter-in-law Lindsay Shopland, and granddaughter Carolyn of Bar Harbor, Maine; son Jay and grandchildren Zachary and Cathleen of Pulaski, Wisconsin. He is also survived by his brother and sister-in-law Curtis and Jean Graber of Pretty Prairie, Kansas, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law Brian and Lynn Carmody of Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, Jerry and Karen Reitz of Auburn, California, and Bill and Molly Carmody of Munising; numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews; and many special friends made throughout all phases of his life and career. He was preceded in death by his parents, Walter and Marie, his in-laws, Ronald and Ingrid Carmody, and his nephew Alan Graber.
A time for visiting with family and friends will be held on Wednesday from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at the Bowerman Funeral Home in Munising. A memorial service celebrating Ken’s life will be held on Thursday, January 11, 2007 at the United Methodist Church in Munising at 10:30 a.m. with Pastor Gary Stevens officiating. Memorials in memory of Ken may be directed to the Lions Club Scholarship Fund, the Methodist Church in Munising, the Munising Booster Club for the wrestling program, or Heifer International (www.heifer.org ).
Submitted by Char Livermore