LAKE LINDEN - Edward Joseph Cloutier, much loved husband, father, and grandfather, passed away at Portage Hospital on April 25, 2014, of natural causes.
Born on March 27, 1919, in Lake Linden, to Eugenia (Baril) Cloutier and Charles Cloutier. Ed graduated from Lake Linden High School in 1936. While working as a funeral home manager's apprentice Ed enlisted in the National Guard in 1938 as a member of the 107th Engineers. He served with the National Guard for four years and volunteered for the US Army Air Corps in early 1942 and qualified as a pilot. As a pilot in the Air Corps, he ferried B-24 bombers throughout the United States before going overseas to pilot supply missions. He flew out of India into China or over the Himalayas and into Burma to deliver supplies and evacuate wounded soldiers. He was honorably discharged after having attained the rank of Captain.
In 1945, Edward married Barbara Howe, a young teacher and artist whom he met while he was training in Alpena, Mich. After their marriage Ed and Barbara were blessed with nine children.
A true child of the Great Depression, he was a very hard worker, dependable, saved everything in case it could be used to fix something else. After WWII, he began working for the Calumet & Hecla Mining Company at the Lake Linden power plant. When out on strike, as often happened in those days, he made ends meet for his growing family by farming, logging and hunting. He found more stable work at the Houghton County Memorial Airport as a flight service manager for the Federal Aviation Administration. In his more than 25 years of work at the airport he never once missed coming in for any of his varying day, night or afternoon shifts, despite any illness or inclement weather the Keweenaw winters could throw at him. His wife Barbara often said of him, "He is a good man." Indeed he was!
Ed was a past Chief of the Bootjack Fire Department where he had been a long time volunteer. He loved the Catholic Church and participated in it in many ways. He also loved fishing on the Gratiot River, Lake Superior and Portage Canal along with hunting in the Kenton area with family and old friends.
Ed was preceded in death by his mother Eugenia in 1922 when he was three years old and his father Charles in 1964. He lost his dear wife Barbara in 2006 shortly after celebrating their 61st anniversary. He was the last living member of his group of siblings as he was preceded in death by his brother, Charles; sisters, Marie (Charles Lewis) and Margaret (Clint Townsend); half-sister, Patricia; and his half-brother, James.
He is survived by sister-in-law, Mary Jane Cloutier; and brother-in-law, Vern (Sherry) Metzger; four daughters, Mary (Mike) Luce, Beth (Rich) Michel, Jeanne (John) Diebel, and Sarah (David DePaul); and five sons, Stephen (Connie), James (Jane), Mark (Andrea), Edward (Renee), and Charles (Sandy); 21 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Friday, May 2 in the St. Joseph Catholic Church in Lake Linden.
Burial will be in the Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Lake Linden in late June.
The Pearce Funeral Home in Lake Linden is in charge of arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made in Ed's name to St. Joseph Catholic Church, 701 Calumet St. Lake Linden, MI 49945-1004.
Online condolences may be left at pearcefuneralhome.com.