PETOSKEY, Mich. - Kenneth Ardell Waisanen, 82, passed away February 7, 2014, at McLaren Health Care facility in Petoskey, Mich.
He was born July 9, 1931/ in Atlantic Mine, to the late Reino and Mae (Nelson) Waisanen.
Ken graduated from Jeffers Painesdale High School prior to Serving in the Army during the Korean War. He was awarded the Korean service ribbon with one bronze service star, United Nations service Medal and the National defense service medal.
After completing his service years, Ken attended Michigan Tech University obtaining a Mechanical engineering degree in 1958. Ken became a civilian engineer for the US Air Force working at Kincheloe AFB until it closed and finished his career at K.I. Sawyer retiring In 1988.
Ken volunteered his time in the Sault as a rocket football coach, little league coach and coached the South Side squirts hockey team for numerous years along with being a Boy Scout Scoutmaster. Ken was president of the Soo Pee Wee Hockey association for several years and was a founding member of the U.P hockey association that was formed to help U.P. hockey players and associations. Ken's other activities included serving on the Elks Youth Committee and as an original volunteer member for the I-500 parking committee. He belonged to the Elks 552, Brimley VFW and the American Legion.
Preceding Ken Waisanen in death are his parents; infant sister, Corrine; wife, Maxine; and son, Bill.
Ken is survived by his sons, Ken (Debra) of Tucson, Ariz., John (Diane) of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., Bob (Debbie) of Manton, Mich., and Jim of Iron Mountain; sister, Linda (Jim) Strolberg of Racine, Wis.; along with grandchildren, Kyle, Kara, Kelsey, Chantel, Sierra, Jennifer and Tyler.
Ken's family was the existence of his life. He lived for his family and cherished the time spent with his wife, sons and grandchildren. He loved the sport of hockey and would watch games for hours on end. He was also a devoted Green Bay packer fan.
Most importantly Ken was proud of his Finnish heritage and culture and spoke fluently in the Finnish language. Ken walked tall carrying His Finnish heritage with him. His license plate was "SISU" and he lived his life the SISU way.
As the years passed and his family went in many directions he always knew they would return to the family cottage in Brimley. Ken and Maxine turned the Brimley Cottage into the family center where everyone and anyone was welcome. Many of the most important family functions occurred at the Brimley cottage and those memories will live on forever.
Visitation will be held at Hovie Funeral Home on Wednesday, February 12, 2014, from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m.
Funeral services will begin at 7 p.m. in the funeral home. Burial will be in Oaklawn Chapel Gardens at a later date.
In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to Brimley VFW, Elks Youth committee or I 500 parking committee.