Harry J. Minnis Jr., 84, formerly of Port Huron and Yale, died May 6, 2018, in his retirement home in Lewiston surrounded by family. He battled Parkinson’s Disease to the end.
Harry was born Nov. 16, 1933 to LaVerne and Harry J. Minnis Sr. in Detroit. After graduating from Henry Ford Trade School, Harry served two years in the U.S. Air Force. Following military service, he married his childhood sweetheart, Sharon Burgunder in 1953.
Together, the couple had eight children. They moved the growing family from Detroit to a farm in Yale in 1962. When the older siblings began moving out, Harry and Sharon sold the farm and moved to Port Huron.
Harry worked in mechanical engineering for automotive original equipment manufacturers, culminating his long career as a project engineer at Lamb Technicon in Warren. He previously served in the same capacity for many years at the Cross Co. in Fraser. He spent several years in his later career at Lamb working and living in England and consulting on Rover and Jaguar projects. Those years held fond memories for him and his first wife, Sharon, now deceased.
Following Sharon’s death due to lung cancer in 2003, Harry married Kay (Ketchum) Stephenson of St. Clair. Together they updated and expanded the Ketchum family cottage in Lewiston for their year-round retirement home. They enjoyed many happy years on Tee Lake with family, friends and neighbors.
Harry enjoyed working on the farm with his sons, planting thousands of evergreen trees and raising farm animals, keeping tropical fish and collecting Bossons wall masks, which the family fondly called “heads.” Later, he took great pleasure in turning his wife Kay’s family’s longtime waterfront home and property on Tee Lake in Lewiston into a year-round showpiece and a favorite destination for family and friends. He and Kay always looked forward to the annual Fourth of July parade around Tee Lake aboard their pontoon “float” and wearing patriotic costumes sewn by Kay.
He is survived by his wife of 14 years, Kay; children John (Terry), Douglas (Mary), Steven (Gina), David (Margaret), Elissa (Kevin) Stout, Paul (Joyce) and Matthew (LaDonna); step-children Bryan (Amy Adrian) Stephenson, Lara (Steve) Bially and Tara Bark; many grand-, great- and great-great grandchildren; a brother, Gerald (Elaine); brother-in-law James (Mary Ann). Ketchum and sister-in-law Donna (Tim) Mayer. He was predeceased by his eldest son, Mark.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, May 10, at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 3790 W. Water St. Port Huron. Interment will be at Roseland Park Cemetery in Berkley, alongside his parents and grandparents.
Memorial donations may be made to Hospice Compassus online at compassuslivingfoundation.org/give.
Please share your memories and personal messages with the family at www.gaylordfuneralhome.com