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Harry Kendall

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Harry Herbert Kendall

Fort Gratiot

Harry Herbert Kendall, 89, of Fort Gratiot, a greatest generation, WW2 veteran of the Pacific theater was quietly reunited with his beloved wife of nearly 65 years, Helen Kendall, on the evening of April 21.  Harry leaves his family and many friends with a legacy of love, respect and a valuable lesson on how to live a life that matters.  Harry excelled at experiencing people and places, at taking and giving great joy and at building lasting friendships with nearly everyone he met.

Harry never lost the abiding curiosity of his childhood, newly wed affection for his wife Helen or a sheer joy for parenthood in doting on each of his five children.  From mobilizing Port Huron's police department after pushing the bank alarm button as a young child while visiting his dad at work, to his inaugural stroll across the Blue Water Bridge in 1938 sans sufficient funds for the return toll, Harry had an inquiring mind.  That love of discovery and sheer joy in learning from everything around him never left this man who read and conversed with ease on subjects ranging from Great Lakes lore to Civil War tactics to WW2.   

More mentor than traditional grandpa, Harry inspired each of his children and grandchildren to experience and not just watch nature, education, great literature and Lake Huron.  He was an equal opportunity volunteer holding Boy Scout and Girl Scout leadership positions, staying active in St. John's Episcopal Church in Westland and also Grace Episcopal in Port Huron, volunteering in soup kitchens and for many years in the Rotary Club while annually hosting foreign exchange students from Europe, New Zealand, South America and Asia.

Harry was born on May 21, 1924 in Port Huron, Michigan to the late Harry and Verna Kendall.  He grew up in Port Huron and Bad Axe.  After serving in the Army during WW2 on the island of Guam, he attended Hillsdale College.  While there he met and later married his beloved Helen.  He began a career in the insurance industry, eventually becoming an Independent Insurance Agent in Wayne, Michigan.  His clients became friends and friends became clients and like many of his generation, he earned a stellar reputation through hard work and honest effort.

To fully experience Harry's gregarious personality you only needed to share his favorite meal of the day, a full lumberjack breakfast, to be regaled with stories about Port Huron during the great depression, football at Hillsdale when players still wore leather helmets, the nuances of Civil War military tactics and his signal corps life on Guam.  He was a man of many passions, the first being his wife Helen, his kids and grand kids. These were closely followed by his interest in Lionel trains, historic stamps, beer steins, and coins as well as a devotion to the Red Wings, Tigers, Wolverines, Spartans and Green Bay Packers and also his commitment to a neatly organized pile of stacked and split firewood or any one of his many pampered pets including every shape and size of mutt, goldfish or errant squirrel.

Harry is survived by his daughters Lynn (David), Judy (Bill) and Michele (Rich), Melissa (Jim) and son Duncan (Flor) along with 11 grandchildren, 2 great grand children, extended family, close friends and nearly everyone who ever enjoyed a conversation with this true gentleman. He was preceded in death by his son, Lorne Kendall. 

A Memorial service will be held at 12 p.m. on Saturday May 24 at Grace Episcopal Church.  The family will receive friends in the church parlor beginning at 11a.m.  Memorials may be made to Grace Episcopal Church or the Port Huron Rotary Charitable Foundation.     


Published in The Times Herald from May 6 to May 18, 2014
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