Allen Kemppainen

May 27, 1936 - August 29, 2016
Grand Rapids, MI



Friday, September 2, 2016
11:00 AM EDT
Grand Rapids Home for Veterans
3000 Monroe NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505

Friends may visit with his family from 10 AM until the time of the service


Tuesday, September 6, 2016
2:30 PM EDT
Fort Custer National Cemetery
15501 West Dickman Road
Augusta, MI 49012


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Alzheimer's Research (your choice)

A hospice organization of your choice

Your local Humane Society

Paralyzed Veterans of America
801 18th Street NW
Washington, DC 20006
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


Throughout his life and with his God as his guide, Al Kemppainen continually crafted each of his days to live a life of purpose and intention. In so doing, his passions were in serving others and pursuing his education. From the family entrusted to his care to his church, the communities for which he lived and his country, Allen served selflessly with honor and integrity. In all ways, he made the most out of the life with which he was blessed. A devoted husband, father, grandfather, brother, friend, and mentor, he set a fine example for others to live by. Although deeply missed, he will be lovingly and fondly remembered.

Al’s story began at a time when the nation continued to struggle through the lasting effects of the Great Depression, yet America forged on with lasting hope as they re-elected President Teddy Roosevelt to his second term. Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire danced their way into the hearts of many, and readers were fascinated with the newly published novel, Gone with the Wind. Yet just as spring was making its way towards the warm months of summer in the Upper Peninsula, Michigan community of Chassel, Uno and Elma (Paavola) Kemppainen were delighted to welcome the birth of their first child, Allen Edward on May 27, 1936.

Raised on the family dairy farm in the small community of Elo, near Chassel and Pike Bay, offering a young boy like Allen much adventure. One of eight children, Allen was later joined by his siblings, Joan, John, Donna, Betty, Sandra, Carey, and Alane. Quite a bustling household, they each had their share of household and farm chores. From an early age, Allen learned the value of hard work and to always give his best. He was active with the Boy Scouts where he learned much and which served him well throughout his life. During his youth he sold newspapers to pay his own way, and having attended the local schools, he not only excelled in his studies but in sports, too. Allen was a very athletic young man. Involved in track and field, he was also on his high school’s basketball team before graduating as an honor student and as class president from John A. Doelle High School.

Al went on to further his education, earning his BS degree in chemistry from Michigan State University. While attending MSU, he was involved in the ROTC program. It was also the place where he met the love of his life, Barbara Dawe. The two began dating, fell in love and were eventually joined in marriage.

After attaining his degree at MSU, Al proudly served in the U.S. Army for the next two years before entering the reserves. With honor, he in time retired from the service as a Colonel. During this time, Al’s beloved Barbara joined him in Alabama where he was stationed before they made their way back to Michigan.

Before long, their family came to include the love and joy of three children, Greg, Christina, and Caroline. By way of example, Al was a devoted and dedicated father. Even though he could be firm, he was loving in that firmness. He worked long hours, yet he was involved with the lives of his children at every opportunity. Al also continued to be active with the Boy Scouts, even serving as a scout master.

Al continued his education, earning his masters degree from Michigan Tech and his doctorate at Michigan State University. Al continued his highter education, ultimately earning a second and third bachelor degree and a second Masters degree. His longstanding career in law enforcement began when he landed a job working for the Baltimore, Maryland police department. He moved his family to the Baltimore area where they lived for three and a half years before returning to Michigan and their permanent home. Prior to retiring in 2001, Al served the remaining 28 years of his career working as a chemist with the Michigan State Police Crime Lab.

In retirement, Al enjoyed walking his dog, Riley. He remained quite involved with church as a longtime member of Peace Lutheran Church where he faithfully served as an usher and on the church council. Al’s integrity shone bright in all he said and did. He lived his life with honor, and a well-liked gentleman, he was greatly admired. Living in accordance with the Boy Scout law, Al believed fully and completely in a life of truth, with honor, and to do his duty to God and country. He did his very best, and at all times he served his love for God and country exceedingly well. When Al’s health began to suffer nearly five years ago, he moved to the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.

Al Kemppainen’s life was filled with his love for serving others and he did so with honor in numerous ways. He lived with purpose, with faith, and with his loving family by his side. Always to be remembered for setting the standard, Al will be deeply missed by those who came to know and love him.

Allen E. Kemppainen, aged 80, of Grand Rapids, passed away on Monday, August 29, 2016. Allen is survived by his loving wife, Barbara; children, Greg Kemppainen, Christina (Carl) Jastrzembski and Caroline (Michael) Nagy; grandchildren, Stephanie Ponstein, Calvin Darby, Morgan Jastrzembski, Ethan Nagy, and Emily Nagy; great-granddaughter, Jolene Ponstein; siblings, Joan (Fred) Thompson, John Kemppainen, Donna (Karl) Dickert, Betty Javoroski, Sandra Weins, Carey Kemppainen, and Alane (Jeff) Isaacson as well as many nieces and nephews.

The funeral service for Allen will be held Friday, September 2 at 11:00 AM in the Chapel of the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, 3000 Monroe Ave. NE in Grand Rapids where his family will receive visitors for one hour prior to the service. Interment in Ft. Custer National Cemetery on Tuesday, September 6 at 2:30 PM. Contributions Allen’s memory may be made to your local hospice, Paralyzed Veterans, Alzheimer's research or to your local humane society are appreciated. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com to share a favorite memory or photo of Allen and to sign his online guestbook.