Thursday, February 25, 2016
11:00 AM EST
St Mary Magdalen Catholic Church
2201 South Old US 23
Brighton, MI 48114
Instate at 10:30 am
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.
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
262 Danny Thomas Place
Memphis, TN 38105
In Lieu of Flowers, please make a donation.
Life Story / Obituary
A vibrant, fun-loving, and energetic man, Kenneth Marciniak was the heartbeat of wherever he was. He worked hard, but he knew how to play hard, too, and his quiet strength was such an inspiration. Ken’s devotion to his family was easy to see, and he was so tender and loving toward his entire family. Life was not without times of trial for him, but he remained upbeat and faced whatever came his way head on. He was an active Catholic throughout his life, and prayer was so important to him. A man of faith, Ken kept his Young Man's Prayer Book by his bed, and from its condition you could tell it was well used. Life will never be the same without him here, but he leaves behind a timeless collection of memories that his loved ones will forever treasure.
In 1942 Frank and Irene (Jarzynski) Marciniak announced the birth of a baby boy they named Kenneth on November 10, 1942, in Detroit, Michigan. As the only boy in the family, he loved to torment his two sisters, Deanna and Beverly. Ken was an altar boy at St. Josaphat in Detroit, but also had a mischievous side. He and his other altar boy friends once staged a mock funeral, complete with a coffin and incense! Ken learned to play the accordion while growing up, and his family often asked him to perform at family gatherings, including his favorite song, “Little Brown Jug.”
In many ways Ken was a typical boy of his generation. His father worked with tools at a production company while his mother owned a hair salon. Ken excelled in school and even skipped a grade in elementary school. His high school years found him at St. Josaphat High School in Detroit where he ran track and played basketball, wearing #9 on his basketball jersey. Ken sold shoes at Kenny's Shoe Store in the Eastland Mall, and all through his life he kept his shoes in pristine condition. He frequently spent time with his older sister Dee and her husband Ron, and Ken even lived with them for a short while in his early twenties.
When he was 18, Ken enlisted in the United States Air Force through the "buddy program" along with a neighbor friend. His buddy was sent to California while Ken went to Greenland. He served for four years and was honorably discharged in 1964.
Throughout his life Ken worked in a few different industries. With a love for horses, he spent the first part of his career working with them as a groom in Canada, training pace horses and trotters. He and his wife Phyllis co-owned a horse ranch and riding stables with Ken's sister, Dee, and her husband, Ron. Together they owned more than 20 horses, often traveling and leading special riding camps. The bulk of Ken’s career was spent in information technology management. He loved computers and computer systems, and he was always up-to-date on the latest trends in technology, even if he didn't own the latest technology himself. After his days in IT, Ken co-owned Dynamic People, a small staffing firm in Livonia, with his sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Jan and John. He then entered the field of fire protection services, working with his brother-in-law Stan and three nieces, Kristie, Sue, and Heather. In September of 2013 Ken retired, and he always wondered how retired people could say they are bored since he had so many ongoing projects and so much to do!
Ken was a family man through and through. He met his wife, Phyllis, while working at R.L. Polk, and they dated for several years before marrying in 1974. Together they had one daughter, Lindsay, and he also had a daughter, Karen May, and a son, Rick May, from his first marriage. Ken met Kate while attending a class at Schoolcraft College and they have spent the past 18 years as a couple. He bonded quickly with Kate's family and became good friends with Kate’s niece, Mary, Mary’s husband Nate, and their kids Cameron and Kyle, as well as Kate’s nephew, Dave. Always best friends with his siblings and their spouses, he was "Uncle Kenny" to his nieces, nephews, and so many others. He loved spending time with the youngest members of the family. Oden, Soren, Kyle, Cameron, Joelle, and Morgan knew and appreciated Uncle Kenny's silly side. He loved attending the kids’ sporting and school events. Ken had many pets, including a pet monkey while living on the horse ranch, several dogs over the years, and also a cat, guinea pig, and chameleon.
A highly spirited guy, Ken was always busy. During his younger years, Ken camped every weekend at Devil's Lake, along with groups of four to 20 family members and friends. He owned a 19 foot Sea Ray and loved spending time on the water. For years, Ken, Phyllis, and Lindsay frequently vacationed with John, Jan, Kelly, and Kris, traveling to places like Williamsburg, Virginia, Seabrook Island, South Carolina, and countless weekend trips skiing, boating, and relaxing "Up North" at their cottage, the LandMarc. Together with Kate, Mary, and Nate, he enjoyed wine tasting and bottling, long weekends on Lake Huron, and vacations to Las Vegas. Outside of Michigan, Ken’s favorite place in the world was Sedona, Arizona. He was recently planning a trip to Ireland, a place he always wanted to travel. An avid reader, he always had his Kindle and books nearby, and he read the entire paper every Sunday morning. He had an eclectic taste in music and an extensive vinyl record collection, a passion he shared with Lindsay’s boyfriend Matthew. Ken was a huge sports fan, and his favorite teams were the Red Wings, Lions, Tigers, Pistons as well as the Montreal Canadiens. He collected Detroit sports memorabilia and frequently attended Red Wings games. He was musically talented like his father. He played the drums in several local bands and more recently took up the guitar. Ken also enjoyed golfing, skiing, and woodworking as he recently built a custom workbench.
With a life that spanned times of great change in the world around him, Kenneth Marciniak made a significant impact in the lives of everyone he met. Whether he was telling his daughter to “work hard, study hard, and play hard,” tenderly caring for Phyllis, Lindsay, or Kate as they each battled cancer, or surviving cancer himself, he did everything with such gusto. Ken took everything in stride and could find the positive side in anything. Deeply loved, he will be forever missed.
Kenneth Marciniak died on February 21, 2016. Ken’s family includes his significant other, Kate Kelly; children, Lindsay, Karen May, and Rick May; siblings, Dee (Ron) Bill, and Bev (Stan) Sikorski; and many loving nieces and nephews and so many others. Ken was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Phyllis. A visitation will be held on Wednesday, 3-8 p.m. at Neely-Turowski Funeral Home 30200 Five Mile (Between Middlebelt and Merriman). Instate Thursday 10:30 a.m. until time of Mass 11 a.m. at St Mary Magdalen Catholic Church, 2201 South Old US 23, Brighton, MI 48114. In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital. To share a favorite memory and/or photo of Kenneth and to sign the online guestbook, please visit www.TurowskiLifeStory.com