Cover photo for Kenneth H. Mellema's Obituary
Kenneth H. Mellema Profile Photo
1933 Ken Mellema 2024

Kenneth H. Mellema

July 25, 1933 — March 22, 2024

Portage, MI

Kenneth H. Mellema, known affectionately as Ken, passed away on March 22, 2024, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He was born on July 25, 1933, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, to his loving parents Henry and Wilma (Bogert) Mellema.
Ken's life was marked by hard work and dedication. After graduating from Creston High School, he bravely served his country in the United States Navy as a Seaman Apprentice from May 18, 1953, to May 16, 1955. His commitment to his military service reflected his deep sense of duty and patriotism.
Following his time in the military, Ken embarked on a remarkable journey in the business world. Ken dived right into self-employment, after the military for about 10 years, he owned a supermarket in Standale, Michigan, called Sunshine Supermarket.  Then for close to six decades, he poured his heart and soul into entrepreneurship. He founded Ken Mellema Painting and later established K&M Distributing, a successful paint distribution company. His unwavering work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit left a lasting impact on those around him.
He found solace and joy in boating adventures on the expansive waters. With three power boats in his lifetime,  he navigated Lake Michigan with a sense of freedom and exploration. At each harbor along the West Michigan lakeshore, he created memories that will be cherished forever. You may have even shared a nice glass of scotch with him along the way.
A true sports enthusiast at heart, Ken held a special place for University of Michigan athletics and the Detroit Lions. Whether celebrating victories or enduring tough seasons, he remained a loyal fan through it all. His dedication to his teams mirrored the loyalty and commitment he showed in every aspect of his life.
Family meant everything to Ken, and he was known for his kindness and gentlemanly demeanor towards all whom he encountered. His legacy of love and respect continues to live on through those who were fortunate enough to know him.
As we come together to remember him, let us cherish the moments shared with this exceptional man who touched so many lives with his warmth and generosity.In loving memory of Kenneth H. "Ken" Mellema—may his adventurous spirit and unwavering kindness never be forgotten.

Ken is preceded in death by his spouse: Charlotte Goldstein.

He is survived by his five children: Kenneth Jr. (Debbie) Mellema, of Parchment; Debra Gomez, of Mattawan; Kim (Bill) Schouwburg, of Lawton; Pam (John) Quigley, of TN; Eric (Lisa) Mellema, of Portage; three stepchildren: Lynn (Clint) Wagner, of Kalamazoo; Jill (Leo) Torvino, of Muskegon; Wendy (Michael) Osgood, of Portage; and numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren. Ken is also survived by two sisters: Barbara Struik, of Grand Rapids; and Margie (Jerry) Bultema, of Kalamazoo; one brother: Douglas (Sue) Mellema, of Cadillac; and several nieces and nephews. 

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, April 20th, 2024 at 11am at the Spring Valley Church, 5240 Mt. Olivet Road, Kalamazoo. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service. Ken’s ashes will be entombed at Mount Ever-Rest Memorial Park. 

While at please take time to sign Ken’s guestbook and/or share your favorite memory with his family. Those who wish may make contributions to Rose Arbor. 

The Mellema family is being cared for by the Avink, McCowen & Secord Funeral Home and Cremation Society, 5975 Lovers Lane, Portage, MI 49002 (269) 344-5600. 


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Kenneth H. Mellema, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Upcoming Services


Saturday, April 20, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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Celebration of Life

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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