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Life Story / Obituary
Charles Pence was a kind and generous man through and through. A loving husband, supportive father, and fun-loving grandfather, he earned a wealth of abundant memories and special moments with the ones he loved. Charles was known for his strong work ethic, opinionated personality, and special way with people. Everyone was made to feel comfortable in his presence. Deeply loved, there is no doubt that his wisdom and guidance will be deeply missed by his many special friends and loved ones.
With the economy still suffering as a result of the Great Depression, and the promise of a newly elected president, Lee and Vera (Burkett) Pence welcomed home their newborn son, Charles on June 28, 1934, in Winona, Michigan a one-time boomtown located in the Keweenaw’s Copper Country. Born the sixth child out of eight children, his birth brought them great joy!
Growing up in the small remote town of Winona just a few miles south of Houghton, Charles learned to tolerate the harsh winters at an early age. He and his siblings attended the one-room schoolhouse where their mother worked as the cook. Their dad worked construction on the county roads in the region. As a young adolescent, Charles found an opportunity to make a little extra spending money by peeling bark for a local lumber company. Being from such a small town, he and his siblings were especially close during their growing years. He was a typical adolescent who found great pleasure in taking risks and surviving adventures. Almost as soon as he graduated, Charles left the Copper Country for more opportunities and a little less snow in the town of Kalamazoo where his cousins were living. Within a few short months, he was already secure with a job and just like the music of the Glenn Miller band, a girl from Kalamazoo! He met his sweetheart Anna Nagle and it was love at first sight! They wasted little time and were joined in marriage on July 27, 1957, at her parent’s home. Together they raised three wonderful children; Marc, Mike, and Mary.
As a father, Charles raised each of his children with strong values and strict rules. Although he was seen as the disciplinarian of the family, he was also a good listener always offering his insightful wisdom and advice. He modeled for them a strong work ethic and a sense of pride in being self-sufficient and independent as they prepared for adulthood. Charles was a steadfast provider for his family over the years and never struggled to find work. He was talented with his hands which suited his love of woodworking. He made many beautiful pieces of furniture over the years. Charles worked several jobs including time at National Waterlift, Precision Casting and Sign Art. Wherever he landed, his charming personality was such to make him lasting relationships with clients and coworkers alike!
As a family, they traveled often back to the Upper Peninsula to visit relatives. Charles remained close with his siblings even though the miles separated them. Any time they visited they were sure to stop off for a local pastie, a favorite pastry stuffed full of meat and veggies! He enjoyed deer hunting and shared many memorable seasons in the woods over the years. Charles always loved a good steak or a homemade dish made with venison! After retirement, he and Anna purchased a beautiful piece of property in Schoolcraft where they built their home on five acres. He loved to maintain the property and spend time outdoors. Always an avid reader, he enjoyed western novels as well as watching the old-time western movies of John Wayne and war hero, Audie Murphy. He and Anna were blessed with grandchildren whom they adored. Charles loved to spend time with them and share his passion for sweets. He always had candy around and especially savored his Fannie Mae chocolate-covered caramels. He never could get enough of his grandchildren over the years. Watching them mature into adults and have children of their own was his greatest blessing.
Described as a straightforward guy, who was kind and loving, there was never any doubt of his love for his Anna. They shared a beautiful life together. After her loss in 2019, Charles felt a void. He carried on yet missed her immensely. His love for her was a beautiful example for his kids and grandkids to treasure. Sadly, he is now gone yet leaves a wealth of wonderful memories behind. May his loved ones never doubt the amazing love he held for each and every one of them and may his memories be eternal.
Charles Pence, a longtime resident of the Kalamazoo/Schoolcraft area died on Thursday, February 4, 2021, at Rose Arbor Hospice. Surviving members of his family include his children: Marc (Denise) Pence, Michael (Sherri) Pence, Mary (Kryn) Kievit; grandchildren: Kim, Rachel, Justin, Jonathon, Stephen, Austin, and KC; and great-grandchildren: Logan, Clara, Ethan, Ayden, Jackson, Bentley, Brecken, and Dax. He was preceded in death by his lovely bride of sixty-one years, Anna in 2019, a son-in-law Stephen Noles; and his brothers and sisters: Marguerite, Harold, Raymond, Laroy, LaVerne, Elvera and Norman; Cremation has taken place. A funeral service will be held at 11 AM on Friday, February 12, 2021, at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Dr., Kalamazoo, (269) 375-2900. Burial will follow at Mt. Ever Rest Memorial Park South. Visit Charles’ personal webpage at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com where you may archive a favorite photo or memory and sign his online guestbook prior to coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to Rose Arbor Hospice.