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1918 Bernard 2016

Bernard R. Aken

January 8, 1918 — August 28, 2016

Munising

Bernard “Bernie” R. Aken, Sr., age 98, of Munising, died on Sunday afternoon, August 28, 2016 at the Jacobetti Home for Veterans in Marquette.  He was born on January 8, 1918 in Richland Center, Wisconsin to Orvie and Charlotte “Lottie” (Brewer) Aken.  Bernie was raised on the family dairy farm in Wisconsin and moved to Munising at the age of seventeen to finish high school.  He worked at the Beach Inn for room and board and graduated from Wm. G. Mather High School in 1937.   Bernie worked for Atlas Plywood and the Munising Woodenware.  On May 11, 1940, he married Ruth D. Eklund and they began raising their family.  Bernie entered into the U.S. Army on March 15, 1944.  He served in the European African Middle Eastern Theater with the 313th Infantry Battalion.  Bernie was captured in France by the Nazis on October 13, 1944 and spent six months as a Prisoner of War.  He was liberated in Prussia on April 13, 1945 and discharged from the Army on October 20, 1945.  Bernie returned to Munising and his family, and he did carpentry work for hire and worked for Kennedy Roofing.  He was hired at Kimberly Clark as a carpenter and worked in the Maintenance Department.  Bernie retired in 1981 from the mill as the Maintenance Superintendent.

Bernie was very active with baseball and softball.  He was the player/manager of the Pictured Rocks Baseball team for many years.   When his body was no longer able to play, he volunteered his time as a Little League coach.  Bernie was a longtime member of the Pictured Rocks Golf and Country Club and was instrumental in designing and building the clubhouse.  He was a member of the U.P. Bowling Hall of Fame and served as Secretary for the U.P. Bowling Association.  Bernie was a member of the American Legion and also active with the Lions Club in Munising and throughout the U.P.

He was a talented woodworker and all around handyman.  Bernie helped people with projects well into his 80s.  He enjoyed hunting and was a founding member of the “Playboy Hunting Club” on Grand Island.  Bernie built his camp on Mirror Lake and enjoyed spending time with Ruth out at camp.  He and Ruth were married over sixty-one years when she preceded him in death on October 25, 2001.

Bernie is survived by his sons – Gary Aken of Munising, David (Kathy) Aken of Fostoria, OH, Bernard (Phyllis) Aken, Jr. of Austin, TX, and Michael (Jan) Aken of Sandusky, OH; grandchildren – Annette, Nancy, Katrina, Nicole, Scott, Matthew, Jason, and Andrew; and numerous great-grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.   He was preceded in death by his parents, wife Ruth, daughter Karen (Aken) Moore, granddaughter Dr. Kimberly Gambarin, daughter-in-law Beverly Aken, and brothers Gerald, Carroll, and Robert Aken.

Visiting time with family and friends will be held at the Bowerman Funeral Home in Munising on Thursday, September 1, 2016 from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m.  Graveside services will be held at the Maple Grove Cemetery in Munising on Friday, September 2, 2016 at 12:00 noon.  The American Legion, Vietnam Veterans and National Guard will conduct military honors and Pastor Paul Kelto will conduct committal prayers.  Memorial donations may be made in Bernie's name to the American Legion.

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