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Posts Tagged ‘Kalamazoo State Hospital water tower’

Philip DeKorn’s niece–his brother Richard’s daughter–didn’t want the family documents Phil left behind. She has enough papers, and she is not particularly interested in genealogy. Phil’s niece through his wife Marianne, Sue Haadsma-Svensson, is a genealogist who has worked extensively on her branches and compiled several books, as well. She understands the value of these papers. My mother told her about my interest in family history and about this blog, and she very kindly mailed me the documents that were discovered.

Opening the package was quite exciting as I didn’t know what I would find.

There are original death certificates for both Uncle Joe and Aunt Tena, Phil’s parents. There are also newspaper articles, photographs, and letters. Once I have a chance to scan (and digitize) everything and to put each document and photograph into an archival sleeve, I will post my discoveries!

Sue gave me this photo of sailor Phil home on temporary leave on 4 July 1944 sitting with his parents, Uncle Joe and Aunt Tena.

 

 

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The last living DeKorn (carrying the name) from the Boudewijn (1816-1873) and Johanna (Remijnse) (1817-1864) family has passed away at age 97.

Philip Eugene DeKorn was one of two children of Joseph DeKorn. Philip’s brother Richard died in 2004. Joseph, my grandfather’s uncle, took many of the photos I shared on this blog. Phil is the last of Kalamazoo contractor and brick mason Richard DeKorn’s grandchildren to pass.

I would like to share Phil’s obituary today because it shows he was one of the “Greatest Generation,” serving in WWII in the U.S. Navy. The obituary is available at this link.

DeKorn, Philip 8/4/1922 – 9/6/2019 Grand Rapids Philip Eugene DeKorn was born in the community of Fairview in Grand Rapids, Michigan on August 4, 1922, the son of Joseph Peter and Christina (Blandford) DeKorn. He passed away September 6, 2019 at the age of 97. Philip attended and graduated from Fairview School, Union High School and Grand Rapids Junior College. On August 28, 1942, he enlisted in the US Navy during World War II. He took naval training at the US Naval Center, Great Lakes, IL and US Radar School at Virginia Beach, VA. He was then assigned to the USS Uhlmann (DD607) and served as a radar operator in CIC (Combat Information Center) until the end of World War II. CIC had direct radio and radar communication with other US Third Fleet ships. After World War II, he completed his college education and graduated from the University of Michigan School of Business Administration in 1950. He then worked as a sales representative for the Mennen Company and Revere Copper and Brass Inc. On January 5, 1968, Phil married Marianne Haadsma and they were together for almost 50 years. Marianne passed away October 2, 2017. Phil was also predeceased by his older brother, Richard B. DeKorn, who passed away on June 20, 2004. Phil is survived by his brother-in-law Roger Haadsma, his nieces and nephews and their families: Gayle (Jay) Polverelli, Jim (Luanne) Haadsma, Luanne (Larry) Dewey, Mari Dawley, Gail Sherry, Sue (Kjell) Haadsma-Svensson, Bob (Jen) Haadsma, Ken (Judy) Glupker, and Kathy (Ken) Basoff. The family would like to thank Theresa Johnson for all the special care she gave Phil throughout his final years. The family would also like to thank Gloria from Kindred Hospice for her caring work. The family will greet relatives and friends Monday, September 9, 2019 at the Stegenga Funeral Chapel, 1601 Post Dr. NE from 11:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon. Funeral services will follow at 12:00. Inurnment will be at Rosedale Memorial Park. Memorials can be made to the General Fund at First Reformed Church, Holland Michigan or Kindred Hospice, Grand Rapids. To share a photo, memory and sign the online guestbook please visit www.stegengafuneralchapel.com

Published in Grand Rapids Press on Sept. 8, 2019

Like his father before him, Phil graduated from the University of Michigan. Although he never had children, Phil still had a close family through the members of his wife Marianne’s family and through his brother Richard’s family.

Rest in peace, Philip Eugene DeKorn. Thank you for your service, sir.

Phil DeKorn at the plaque for the Kalamazoo State Hospital water tower built by his grandfather Richard DeKorn

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As a side note, you can see that two of Phil’s nieces are named Luanne, spelling it correctly as I do . . . .

In case you wonder how I go about deciding when to post a recent passing on my blog, all I can tell you is I decide on a case by case basis. When my father died, I posted because so many knew he had been sick for months and it seemed strange not to say anything. But during the past few years I have also lost two dear aunts and a cousin, and I did not post about these because their deaths were more sudden and shocking. Our grief, individually and as a family, felt too raw to write about them so soon.

Here are a few more photos of a day Phil spent with his wife Marianne and his cousin’s children, my mom Janet, my father Rudy, Uncle Don, and Aunt Jean at the water tower.

Don, Jean, Phil, Marianne, Rudy, Janet

 


 

The following (sorry it’s angled) shows a layout of the hospital with the water tower in the center. I will have to ask Uncle Don or Mom to chime in here. Is that how the layout really was at one time? It looks like the classic “Panopticon” that Michel Foucault wrote about–a tall tower to watch the prisoners, er, patients. But as we know this is a water tower, not meant to be a guard tower.

 

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