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Erich Henkel

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Erich Henkel Obituary
Erich Peter Henkel

Battle Creek

Erich Peter Henkel, 83, of Battle Creek, Michigan, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, January 7, 2015 at The Oaks at Northpointe Woods. He was born on January 16, 1931, the son of Erich Wilhelm and Ruth Grace (Downs) Henkel.

Erich was raised in Calumet City, Illinois and attended the University of Wyoming and then served 4 years in the US Navy during the Korean Conflict. He was stationed in Sasebo, Japan and served on the USS Vesuvius AE-15, providing munitions transport and delivery. Following his tour on the USS Vesuvius, he was assigned to the USS Alstede- AF-48 cargo ship.  He married Rhea "Dee" Deanne Ingbretson on June 23, 1956.  Together they raised 5 children and spent early years in Crete, Illinois and Boulder, Colorado.  He worked as a skilled carpenter until going into the auto business in 1960 in East Chicago, IN. 

In 1966 he came to Battle Creek and resided in the Lakeview area and later in 1972 built his family home in the Pennfield area.  He opened Capital Lincoln Mercury on Capital Avenue and in 1969 he built Erich Henkel Lincoln Mercury on Dickman Road where he received the prestigious Lincoln Mercury Chairman's Award. Throughout his career he also owned International Scout, Mazda, and Henkel Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge.   

While raising his children he enjoyed gardening, fishing at the family pond, golf, bowling, fishing trips to Canada, scuba diving in Florida, and family skiing trips to Breckenridge, CO. 

Several local groups and organizations were recipient of his generous heart.  He assisted the Battle Creek Area Catholic Schools and was a major donor to the St. Joseph Elementary remodeling project.  He also provided the Tram Station at Binder Park Zoo to provide shelter for all guests visiting the Wild Africa attraction.  Always an animal lover, he took great care of his dogs, fish, birds and any of God's creatures.  He was also a loyal, patriotic veteran and supported several veteran causes as well. 

He was blessed to travel the world with his wife and especially enjoyed visiting Ireland, China, Greece, Germany and Russia to name a few.  In the later years, he enjoyed wintering in St. George, Utah.  He always took joy hosting friends and family in destinations throughout the country.  Whether it was a drive down Lombard St. in San Francisco, visiting Mexico, skiing with grandchildren or taking them to see the Grand Canyon. 

Erich is survived by his Wife of 58 years: Rhea "Dee" Deanne (Ingbretson) Henkel of Battle Creek, MI; Daughters: Linda (Daniel) Garcia of Battle Creek, MI and Susan (Charles) Kerr of Corpus Christi, TX; Sons: David Henkel of Battle Creek, MI, Daniel (Regina) Henkel of Battle Creek, MI and E. Thomas "Tom" (Laurel) Henkel of Battle Creek, MI; Grandchildren: Thomas Garcia, Dr. Christine (Dr. Scott) Glaser, Katherine (Matt) Yeske, Anna Garcia, Timothy Henkel, Michael Henkel, Erich Kerr, Corey Kerr, Logan Henkel, Grant  Henkel and Cole Henkel; Sister: Ursula Henkel of Ogden Dunes, IN; Brother: Carl Henkel of Battle Creek, MI and several nieces, nephews and extended family members. He was preceded in death by his Parents.

He was a member of the St. Philip Catholic Church, AE/AOE Sailors Assoc., Korean War Veterans Assoc. and Battle Creek Country Club.

Visitation will be held at the Baxter Funeral & Cremation Service, 375 W. Dickman Road, on Monday, January 12, 2015 from 4 PM to 8 PM.

A funeral service will be held at the Baxter Funeral & Cremation Service on, Tuesday, January 13, 2015 at 11 AM with Father John Fleckenstein officiating.

Interment will take place in the Fort Custer National Cemetery.

Memorial tributes may be made to: St. Philip Catholic Church, AE/AOE Sailors Assoc. or Korean War Veterans Assoc.

Arrangements by the Baxter Funeral & Cremation Service.   269-788-9800  www.baxterfuneral.com



Published in Battle Creek Enquirer from Jan. 8 to Jan. 11, 2015
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