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Cornell "Corky" BeukemaMay 5, 1920 ~ December 11, 2016 (age 96)
Cornell Dean “Corky” Beukema age 96 of Grand Haven died Sunday, December 11, 2016. Corky was born May 5, 1920 to Fred and Cora (Van Koevering) Beukema in Grand Haven. He was married March 29, 1945 in Lansing to Phyllis Irene Boss. Other than two winters at an early age living in Florida, college years in East Lansing, military service years in some ten stateside military installations plus five overseas, and the years working in Lansing after said service, he lived most of his life in Grand Haven, graduating from its high school with honors in 1938 and retiring to the city in 1980. A college education was monetarily attained via employment at Grand Haven Brass Foundry, three college jobs and vacation jobs at Story and Clark Piano Factory and Ottawa County Road Commission. While attending Michigan State College, his senior class was inducted into Army service in March 1943, and while quartered in one of the fraternity houses taken over by the army, was allowed to finish college, graduating in June with a major in Civil Engineering and a minor in Military Science. Army active duty continued with Coast Artillery’s Anti-Aircraft Artillery Officer Candidate School with a first assignment as an Officer on Eastern Seaboard defense with a Searchlight Unit. A Branch of Service transfer to the Army’s Corps of Engineers introduced Corky to a service more attune with what he had learned in college. Thanks to influence of the Dean of Engineering MSC, employment at Michigan State Highway Department awaited Corky following his discharge from the Army. In September of 1946 he began a 34+ years employ with the Department, first in its Bridge Design office designing and preparing plans for construction of bridges leading to supervision of others engaged in such work, before being transferred to Road Design where, as a design supervisor, he became involved in road design and plan preparation, along with Roadside Park layout and Weigh Station Study. During Corky’s career with the Department, he had a hand in project design or supervision thereof in almost every county of the state. Two assignments stood out in his memory: his involvement in the design of dockage at Mackinaw City for the Vacationland Ferry, and in Department’s review and acceptance of Consultant’s design and plans for the proposed Houghton-Hancock lift bridge in the state’s UP. On retiring, April 1, 1980, Michigan’s Department of Transportation honored Corky with a re-naming of a US-31 Roadside Park south of Grand Haven. Work site being Lansing, Corky and Phyl settled down in the city. Four daughters were born and raised there, all attending Lansing Public Schools. An active PTA parent, Corky at one time served as president. They both joined a near neighborhood Methodist Church where Corky, active with Methodist Men, served a year as its president. On obtaining a Registered Engineer license, he became active in Michigan Society of Professional Engineers. He also joined the Lansing Engineer Club. Interest in social dancing initiated at college led to numerous enjoyable dance outings for Corky and Phyl, both in Lansing and during their travels. In Lansing, he and Phyl took lessons, leading to his writing two dance books and following retirement of one of the instructors, to taking his place. As the other instructor’s new partner, Corky helped teaching over 16 years in Lansing’s Adult Education program. In 1980 Corky and Phyl moved to their retirement home in Grand Haven. An interest in lake shipping led to serving two years on the city’s Harbor Board. At the request of various friends, aware of his dancing experience, Corky started teaching classes in the area. Over 17 years 484 couples enrolled in their Grand Haven classes, many repeated enrollees. Benefit dances at the Grand Haven Community Center sponsored by Corky allowed him to donate profits to many local worthy causes. Other interests and hobbies of Corky’s were reading, photography, sailing, wood working and carpentry, travel, genealogy pursuit, Michigan history research and writing. On return to Grand Haven, Corky joined Ferrysburg Christian Reformed Church where he served several years as a laity delegate with Tri-Cities Ministries. At the time of his demise, Corky was a member of Second Christian Reformed Church, having rejoined the church of his baptism, and where in 1938 he made a profession of faith. Corky is survived by his loving wife of 71 years Phyllis; daughters, Marsha Rosenberg of Calumet, MI, Kristi Beukema (Ken Widing) of Spring Lake, Jan Beukema (Ron Norton) of Grand Haven, Leslie (Dennis) Sotola of Calumet, several step-grandchildren and step-great-grandchildren; sister, Jean (Tom) Wagner and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his brother Christian Beukema. The funeral service for Corky will be 12:00 Noon Friday, December 16, 2016 at Second Christian Reformed Church with Rev. Duane Kelderman officiating. Visitation will be 5:00-7:00 Thursday, December 15, 2016 at Klaassen Family Funeral Home and one hour prior to the service at the church. Full military rites will be performed by the American Legion Charles A. Conklin Post #28. Interment will be in Lake Forest Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Second Christian Reformed Church or Kitchel-Lindquist-Hartger Dunes Preserve Fund c/o Grand Haven Area Community Foundation.
Second Christian Reformed Memorial Fund
2021 Sheldon Road, Grand Haven MI 49417
Kitchel-Lindquist-Hartger Dunes Preserve Fund
C/O GHACF 1 South Harbor, Grand Haven MI 49417