Apr 8th 1928 - Jul 8th 2011
With a deep love for those around him, Daniel Kendziorski was a true blessing in the lives of so many. He was a man filled with unconditional love and acceptance for others as he was always able to see the best in people. With the love of his life by his side for more than 60 years, Dan created a timeless legacy of integrity, humility, and kindness that the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren who were the light of his life will proudly carry on. The fingerprint Dan leaves behind will surely withstand the ebb and flow of the tide.
If one could turn back the hands of time to the decade that we remember as the Roaring Twenties, they would reveal a prosperous America that was moving forward at an unprecedented rate. Charles Lindberg and Amelia Earhart took to the skies while Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb commanded the baseball field and the lights of Broadway never shined brighter. Nestled within this unforgettable time was the year 1928 that brought immeasurable joy to one bustling family from Alpena, Michigan, since they were proud to announce the birth of their son on April 8th. Daniel Leo was welcomed into the arms of his parents, Leo and Mary (Martin) Kendziorski, on Easter Sunday, which also happened to be his mother’s birthday that year. Although a joyous day, Dan’s birth was also met with a great deal of concern as he was born weighing just three pounds. He was the youngest of the Kendziorski family joining his older siblings, Richard, Warren, Sybil, Miles, Dale, and Lance. With resources far from what we have available today, the hopeful family kept baby Daniel in a shoebox next to the stove to keep him warm. His father owned a local neighborhood market while his mother had more than enough to keep her busy at home. Everything that came out of her kitchen was fantastic, and she was also was gifted playing the piano.
Raised in the small town of Alpena located in the northeastern region of the state, Dan experienced a childhood that was rather typical for the youth of his generation. His parents’ commitment to and unending love for their family provided Dan with firsthand experience in seeing the incredible value in a nurturing and supportive family environment that he would in turn pass on to the generations who follow him as well. He enjoyed fishing, swimming, playing cards and had ping pong tournaments as a young boy and was also involved in sports such as basketball, and church activities. He had a very special relationship with his Grandma Martin, helping her with chores at Norway Pines Dairy Farm and delivering milk by horse & buggy. Dan attended local schools but as was commonplace during his generation, he left Alpena High School after finishing the tenth grade as his father told him he was needed in the workforce when he was just 16.
Life was forever changed for Dan when he met the young woman with whom he would write an eloquent love story. Her name was Helen Thibault and they met at the North Side Diner where she caught his eye in the kitchen. As they got to know one another over the months that followed they discovered they had similar interests and found themselves deeply in love. With a desire to build a life and a family together, the couple became husband and wife on April 21, 1951, at St. Bernard Catholic Church. Throughout their lives they enjoyed a mutually fulfilling marriage and enjoyed spending time with one another doing things like yard work, gardening, tending to their orchard, playing cards, going for poontoon rides and watching sports.
Together Dan and Helen were blessed with one son, Daniel, and three daughters, Sandy, Karen, and Lynn. They both made their family their main focus and as a father Dan was second to none. He was a great role model for his children in every way and instilled within them invaluable lessons in character such as the incredible worth of a strong work ethic and the importance of always following their dreams. These were lessons that Dan didn’t really “teach,” however, as these were things that he simply modeled by the way he lived his life each day. He always treated his children with gentleness and unending amounts of patience, too.
In order to support his family Dan worked as a broker and owner of Northeastern Real Estate in Rogers City and Alpena. Although he lived in Flint and Rogers City for a short time, he spent the majority of his life including the last 30 years in Alpena.
An important part of Dan’s life beginning from the time he was a young boy was his pets. His Boston terrier, Buster, was his boyhood companion and for a time he bred dogs. His most recent dog, his Shih Tzu, Buddy, was not only his dear companion but also his faithful friend.
Although his family always came first in Dan’s life, he was a man of many interests. He was a member of St. John the Baptist Church and also of the Lions Club, the Michigan Association of Realtors, and the Rogers City Chamber of Commerce for a time. Those who knew Dan were well aware of his love for food and that he never met a piece of peanut butter pie that he didn’t love. He enjoyed spending time in the woods, fishing, and keeping busy with carpentry work. When grandchildren arrived spending time with them quickly became a favorite activity, and he was a regular at any event or activity they were a part of. Once he retired Dan had more time for woodworking and tending to his yard including his fruit trees and flowers. He and Helen also spent time with friends in card club, attending the movie theatre and traveling. During his most recent years he spent many an hour with his best friend, Bob, “hanging out at the donut shop.”
In everything he did Daniel Kendziorski thought of others ahead of himself. He had an uncanny way of making others feel special and as though they were the most important person in his world. Dan loved being a father but just may have argued that becoming a grandfather and great-grandfather was life’s greatest reward. The memories he leaves behind will remain forever near and dear to the hearts of many.
Daniel Leo Kendziorski of Alpena died on Friday, July 8, 2011. Dan’s family includes his wife, Helen; son, Daniel L. of Traverse City; three daughters, Sandy M. Buza of Bay City, Karen A. (Wayne) McWilliams of Alpena, Lynn A. Kendziorski of Ossineke; ten grandchildren, Aaron (Kari), Mary, Jennifer, Matt (Jennifer), Stacy (Bryan), Amy (Jeff), Ken, Chelsea, Chad, Jessica; 11 great-grandchildren, Brett, Kylie, Court, Chloe, Kayla, Grace, Nettie, Madison, Zach, Regan, Haley; two brothers, Dale and Lance(Enida) both of Alpena; and his faithful companion and friend, Buddy. Dan was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Sybil Mischley; and three brothers, Richard, Warren and Miles. Visit Dan’s family and friends at McWilliams Funeral Home – Alpena on Monday from 2:00-8:00 p.m. and on Tuesday, July 12, 2011 at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church from 10:00 a.m. until the time of the funeral mass at 11:00 a.m. with Fr. Pete Gaspeny officiating. There will be a vigil service Monday evening at 7:00 p.m. at the funeral home. Interment will be at Holy Cross Cemetery. Please visit Dan’s personal web page at www.lifestorynet.com where you may share a memory with the family or sign the on-line guest book.