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Kenneth Lee Shelby, Sr., 94, of New Buffalo, passed away peacefully, Saturday, August 19, 2023, in his home.
His life began January 28, 1929, in Moorhouse, Missouri, the youngest of three children born to Byrd and Pearl Shelby. He married Marianne Woltman May 1, 1954 in New Buffalo, Michigan.
Ken attended and graduated from Westville High School and then honorably served in the U.S. Army, as well as the U.S. Air Force. He served for a total of thirty-seven years including both World War II and the Korean War. He was also in the U.S. Army Reserves and served as an instructor. More recently, Ken was nominated as a Hometown Hero, was part of the New Buffalo Legends, and was chosen to be honored on the Honor Flight, which is a recognition where veterans are flown to Washington D.C. to visit every monument. He was ninety years old at that time and it was their ninetieth flight.
Ken met his wife Marianne one of the times he was at home on leave. They shared a two-year airmail relationship while he served in Okinawa, Japan. They were married May 1, 1954 in St. John United Church of Christ, New Buffalo. Together they had five children.
Ken worked for American Home Foods, the railroad, as an insurance investigator, and started his own business, Shelby and Associates. He served as a constable for the Village of New Buffalo, before it became a town. He also served on the township and city park boards. He was involved in the Boy Scouts for seventy-five years; having served in multiple capacities, from scoutmaster to international representative. Many young men became Eagle Scouts under his guidance. Ken was also a youth representative for both the VFW and American Legion. He was also a lifetime member of the NRA and a rifle instructor.
He was a longtime member and attended St. John United Church of Christ in New Buffalo, where he was married and served as president, trustee, and on the building/grounds committee. He taught many people about nature and living by the Scout Law. He enjoyed camping; especially at Shelby Dear Forest. He loved hiking and logged thousands of miles, including Mount Fuji in Japan. Ken hosted fifty-two annual canoe races, loved deer hunting and watching, and traveled to all of the fifty states and many countries. He enjoyed watching westerns with his best pal and son-in-law, Chris.
Ken hosted a German exchange student and the two of them formed a lifelong friendship and remained close.
Ken will be greatly missed by family and friends. He is survived by daughters, Dianne Shelby of New Buffalo, Sheri (Craig) Edwards of Union Pier, Kathy (Chris) Dohner of New Buffalo; sons, Kenneth Shelby, Jr. of Bergland, Michael (Patti) Shelby of Three Oaks; close exchange student, Tino Balle; eight grandchildren, Christy Jackson, Jerry Hoadley, Robert Hoadley, Samantha Hoadley, Scott (Stacy Julian) Shelby, Allyson (Jim) Tregillis, Dewey (Beth) Morrison, and Kristen (Kyle) Dohner; twelve great grandchildren; several great great grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews, and cousins.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his beloved wife; sister, Johnney Mae Nelson; brother, Bill Shelby, daughter-in-law, Roberta Shelby; and his companion, Ellen Spencer.
Family and friends will gather Friday, August 25, 2023 from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. in Wagner Family Funerals Pobocik Chapel, 106 Ash Street East, Three Oaks. A funeral service will be held Saturday, August 26, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. in St. John United Church of Christ, 200 West Buffalo Street, New Buffalo, Michigan, with an hour of viewing prior to the service, starting at 10:00 a.m.
Ken will be laid to rest with his beloved wife in Pine Grove Cemetery, New Buffalo, at a later date.
The family prefers contributions in memory of Ken be made to St. John United Church of Christ, 200 West Buffalo Street, New Buffalo, Michigan 49117 or to The Edward C. Sexton American Legion Post #169, 19121 US Highway 12, New Buffalo, Michigan 49117.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Wagner Family Funerals Pobocik Chapel, Three Oaks. Please share a memory or a message online: wagnercares.com.