BIG RAPIDS -- On May 16, one of God's warrior's, Kermit Roy Hainley, 86, met Jesus face to face, and heard these words, "Well done, my good and faithful son."
Kermit was born to John and Catherine Hainley on Sept. 4, 1933, near Altoona, Pennsylvania. He was the third of four boys.
Kermit graduated from Altoona High School in Pennsylvania, where he was a Tri-State Champion Drummer. He attended Findlay College, where he met, "the bride of my youth," Twila Jean (Beery) Hainley. On Aug. 11, 1957, they were married and went on to share more than 62 years together. They had four children.
He also received an honorary doctorate degree from Ferris State University for his work with youth and families.
Kermit's life was filled with many accomplishments, including being part of a military family. He served in the U.S. Air Force as an air traffic controller for four years; a year of that in Korea. After his service, he worked another four years at the Greater Pittsburgh Airport.
After leaving Pennsylvania, he worked in a youth detention center, where his heart's desire was to find a way to reach youth before they were locked up. So in 1966, Kermit and Jean set out from California to Michigan to start a group home. That group home grew to be a multifaceted, God-focused treatment program known as Eagle Village, Inc. in Hersey, Michigan. Kermit served as the founder and president for 26 years. During those years he was recognized both on a state and national level for his innovative work with youth and families.
Kermit was recently awarded the Northern Lights Lifetime Achievement Award through the Mecosta County Community Foundation.
The Village continues to embrace the spiritual foundation he modeled, ministering to countless families, youth and staff. Kermit and Jean continued to meet the needs of youth and families across the nation as they developed the Family Tool Shed. He was a mentor and prayer warrior for many.
He enjoyed driving his big, orange tractor, traveling (especially to Israel and the Tetons), working with wood, being outdoors, camping and black-pot cooking. He loved his family and talking about Eagle Village.
He also enjoyed his church, family and friends nationwide. Above all this, he loved his Lord and served him faithfully.
He is survived by his wife, Twila Jean Hainley; and daughters, Cathey (Steve) Prudhomme and Marjie (James) Wirth; and daughter-in-law, Dixie Hainley. Grandchildren include: Dusti (Bren) Skeens, Lyndsie Hainley, Kendra Prudhomme-Smith, Jeremy (Megan) Prudhomme, Christopher (Lynn) Hainley, Corey (Rachel) Prudhomme and Brandon Wirth. He also had nine great-grandchildren and many more who he prayed for.
He was reunited with his parents; and sons, Michael W. Hainley and David G. Hainley; and grandson, Ryan S. Prudhomme.
A celebration of his life is tentatively planned for August.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Eagle Village, Inc. 4507 170th Ave., Hersey, MI 49639 or online at eaglevillage.org, and Resurrection Life Church, 14734 215th Ave., Big Rapids, MI 49307 or online rlcbr.org.
Arrangements and care entrusted to the Daggett-Gilbert Funeral Home in Big Rapids.
Now more than ever, it is important to take time to share a memory or leave a condolence for the family by clicking the guestbook tab on Kermit's page at daggettgilbertfuneralhome.com.