Wednesday, February 10, 2021
5:00 PM to 8:00 PM EST
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Food and refreshments will be served during the visitation.
Life Story / Obituary
Of all the amazing experiences in his life, there were none that Ken McNally cherished more than becoming a husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He was a man of high moral convictions and values with a strong work ethic, which made him such an inspiration to all who were near. Ken didn’t talk much, but when he did people knew to listen as he was full of practical wisdom gained from a life well lived. Deeply loved, he will never be forgotten.
The 1920s were an exciting time in America. Ballroom dancing and jazz music colored our cultural fabric, and with cars that were mass produced on assembly lines Americans were exploring new places like never before. It was in the midst of this exciting time that Robert and Verda (Keller) McNally were blessed with the birth of the baby boy they named Ken on September 29, 1925, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The oldest of three, he was raised in the family home at 1411 Washington Avenue alongside his younger siblings, Duane and Wanda. Ken’s father worked in the paper mill while his mother had more than enough to keep her busy at home.
A lifelong resident of the area, Ken was a typical young boy of his generation. He enjoyed riding his bike to go swimming in the Kalamazoo River near Comstock even though his mother told not to go in the water. In addition to holding down his studies at local schools, Ken delivered the Kalamazoo Gazette to earn a little money. His high school years found him at Kalamazoo Central High School, but he left early to join the Navy. He served in the Navy for over two years aboard the USS Reagle, a repair ship, in the Philippines.
New and exciting changes were in store for Ken when he met the young woman of his dreams. Her name was Geraldine Buell, and they met when he was home on leave. As he was leaving a local restaurant, he and Gerry ended up standing next to one another as they also noticed the clouds looming overhead that were about to let go. Always the gentleman, Ken asked if he could give her a ride home, and the rest is history as they say. They began dating, and it didn’t take them long to fall in love. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together Ken and Gerry were married on November 18, 1949.
After a quick honeymoon to Tennessee, the newlyweds returned home. Together they welcomed three children: Arlene, Glenn, and Paul into their hearts and home. To support his family, Ken worked as a machinist at Hammonds Machinery, where worked until retiring in 1985. His hard work allowed Gerry to stay home to care for their home and family. At first their family lived in the house that Ken had grown up in on Washington Avenue, but in 1960 they moved to their house on Millwood. This would be the place Ken and Gerry called home for the majority of their married life.
Over the years Ken was deeply involved with his family. He was there to teach them practical things like how to check the oil in the car. Although he didn’t talk a lot, his words were always so wise. Ken was good at reminding his kids about real life such as the fact that there are no snow days in the work force like there are when kids are in school. When he talked, his kids always knew it was best to listen. Christmas always brought some of the family’s favorite moments, and getting a fresh cut Christmas tree topped the list. There was one unforgettable year when they cut down a tree that was way too big for the house so Ken had to take it outside to cut it down to size several times. He particularly liked to decorate the outside of the house for the season. When grandchildren came along later, Ken was overjoyed. As his family grew over the years, Ken was close to grandchildren and family.
There were many things that kept Ken busy. An avid outdoorsman, he enjoyed fishing and hunting of all kinds including the time he went out West for elk hunting. Family vacations were often up North to Pretty Lake in Mecosta County. They also took a memorable trip to Pittsburgh to see relatives as well as day trips to Sherburn Farms located in Decatur during the harvest season. Ken enjoyed westerns and was a big John Wayne fan, and he really loved the show, Gunsmoke as well as comedies like Carol Burnett and Dean Martin. He liked reading the same newspaper he delivered as a boy, the Kalamazoo Gazette, as well as magazines like Popular Science and National Geographic. He enjoyed bowling and was bowling until the age of 93. Ken liked lots of foods and ate anything that Gerry fixed, although he really liked her fried chicken and mashed potatoes. He was also known to have a sweet tooth.
At times, Ken faced trials throughout his life, but even in those his strength and resilience remained. Sadly, he was devastated with the loss of his beloved wife in 2010, and he was never really able to move forward. Ken suffered a stroke in 2018, so Ken spent the past couple of years at Bronson Commons. Though it was hard for him to communicate, he would smile when family would come into the room.
With a life that spanned nearly a century, Ken McNally was a hardworking man who was deeply devoted to his loved ones. He could be strict at times, but he was also easy going and loving. Ken was quiet, but he was also filled with great wisdom that he passed on to those who follow in his footsteps. He will be deeply missed and forever remembered.
Ken McNally, a life long resident of Kalamazoo passed away on Thursday, February 4, 2021. Ken was preceded in death by his wife, Gerry, and his brother, Duane. Surviving members of his family include his 3 children: Arlene (Mike) Hale, Glenn (Susan) McNally, and Paul McNally; 2 grandchildren: Kim (David) Ignash and Matt Hale; 2 great grandchildren: Spencer and Alaina; a sister: Wanda Overloop. Visit with family and friends while sharing refreshments on Wednesday (Feb 10) from 5-8 p.m. at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. Funeral Services will be held at 1 pm on Thursday (Feb 11) at the same location. Please visit Ken’s personal web page at www.BetzlerLifestory.com where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign his guestbook online before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may to a charity to a choice.