Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
Edward “Ned” Augustine Koonmen, Jr, 94, passed away on Monday, January 18, 2021. He was born in Highland Park, MI on Dec. 22, 1926, oldest of the 5 children of Edward A. Koonmen, Sr and Ella Fagg Koonmen.
Ned grew up in Detroit and graduated from Denby High School at age 16. He completed his first year of Mechanical Engineering at Rose Polytechnic Institute in Terre Haute, IN when he was drafted into WWII at 18. He was chosen by the Navy to be part of the Navy’s selective Radio Technician Training program, doing the first part of the program at Great Lakes Naval Station and the second part at the Naval Air Station in Corpus Christi, TX. While there, the war ended and, honorably discharged, Ned returned to Rose to complete his ME degree.
He was a proud 1948 Rose Polytechnic graduate and member of ΑΤΩ fraternity. He began his career in HVAC manufacturing with Timken Silent Automatic in Detroit. While taking the daily bus from the family home on Grosse Ile, MI to his job, he sat next to a lovely young lady also traveling from Grosse Ile to Detroit, attending Marygrove College. They hit it off; he and Joan-Marie Chevalier were married on Sept 9, 1952.
His career took them to Utica, NY, back to Detroit and then to the Trane Company in La Crosse, WI. Ned worked as a plant superintendent at Trane beginning in 1956 and leaving in 1968 to become the plant manager of the new Chrysler Airtemp HVAC plant in Bowling Green, KY. In 1973, he was hired to be the plant manager of McQuay Perfex in Faribault, MN. While in Faribault, Ned was active in Rotary International and as a board member of the District 1 hospital.
In 1994, with all 6 children out of the nest, Ned and Joan retired to Roswell, NM. In 2013, they moved to Sparta, WI.
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Ned had many interests. He began his lifetime addiction to trapshooting as a member of the La Crosse Gun Club in 1957. He was a longtime member of the Owatonna Gun Club when they lived in MN. During that time, he won several State trapshooting recognitions. In New Mexico, as a member of the Pecos Valley Trap Club, Ned won the State Sr. Veterans Championship in 1999 and 2000. He participated in the winter Trapshooting Chain through NM and AZ, winning many awards. He also loved bicycling on his Trek. The Trek went with him to Italy where he put lots of miles on it. In NM, he enjoyed daily bike rides of over 20 miles and many bike tours.
He delighted in being outdoors, whether hunting, cross country skiing, canoeing or camping. For their honeymoon, Ned and Joan designed and sewed their tent for the week long canoe trip on the Manistique River in MI. We kids have many “fond” memories of winter camping—freezing but building character.
Throughout his life, he loved hunting pheasant and grouse with family members and a series of bird dog companions—Honey, Rue, Duncan, Toby, Dan and Gus. Ned valued time with his Shopsmith, working with wood, and was proud of the many pieces of furniture he designed and crafted. Each of us has something in our homes that he built. If a project could be over-engineered, he was all in. Any venture needed a detailed, to-scale blueprint.
His invention to refill toothpaste pumps was legendary; at least to us! From an early age, Ned was an avid reader, even of owner’s manuals (all of which he kept) and corporate reports. Evenings before dinner, time was set aside for a glass of brandy and a good book. Saturday nights were designated for martini’s (shaken, not stirred) and classical music symphonies. And Sunday evenings were for Netflix, popcorn and beer.
Ned is survived by his wife of 68 years, Joan and their 6 children; Mark (Jamie) Koonmen of Fenton, MI, Erica (Jef Jerde) Koonmen of Sparta, WI, Matt (Teryl) Koonmen of Plymouth, MN, David (Jessie Altringer) Koonmen of Medina, MN, Elise Koonmen of Minneapolis, MN and Eve (Mike) Knoll of Victoria, MN. He is also survived by 8 grandchildren and 9.5 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Karl C. Koonmen; sisters, Carolyn Unger, Jaqueline Millsap and Ella Arne.
Our Dad taught us many life lessons: Mark: Dad taught me responsibility: to myself, my family and my community… One of many life affirming values he passed on to his children and which I am passing on to mine.
Erica: Dad taught me to think logically and analytically in all situations and once the path was clear, to stick with it (that last part might just be our common stubbornness). He taught me to drive a stick shift and how to do real math instead of that “lousy New Math”.
Matt: Dad passed on to me a solid work ethic and the value of a job well done. “If a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing right the first time”. He had me rework a few projects but knowing I’d done it right was worth the extra effort.
Dave: Dad was an incredible woodworker and craftsman. The skills he taught me have led to my love of creating and building things with my own hands… that something worth doing, is worth doing well. And (with sometimes a reminding nudge)…”Always be a gentleman”.
Elise: One of the most important life lessons Dad taught me was fairness and kindness to others. Life may not always be fair but how you treat others matters and being kind shows true character. And also…the importance of math, which comes in handy more than I would have thought!
Eve: Dad instilled in me a love of the outdoors; not only outdoor activities but a sense of curiosity and an appreciation for nature and all its creatures, and to make sure to always leave things in a better state than I found them. He suffered patiently with me, futilely trying to help me learn math once and for all. Sadly, that didn’t stick, but a love of salty food (and language) via his sodium gene did.
You have successfully completed your job here and God is calling you home to rest. Rest free from cares; rest free from pain. Rest in Peace. Rest in our love.
Following his wishes, Ned will be cremated and his ashes interred in Roswell, NM. No memorial services will be held at this time but the family plans a celebration of life in the spring.
The Lanham-Schanhofer Funeral Home and Cremation, Sparta, is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be offered at www.schanhoferfh.com