November 2015 Charlevoix County Veteran of the Month: Alvin Frank Kowatch

The “Veteran of the Month” for this past November is Alvin Frank Kowatch.

Born on November 29, 1923 in Dallas, Michigan to Jacob and Ida Schafer Kowatch, he was the youngest of 5 children.

 

Following his father’s passing, he dropped out of school after completing the 8th grade to work as a plasterer helper to earn money to take care of his Mother.

Kowatch enlisted into the United States Army on February 5, 1943 at Camp Grant, Illinois.

Following Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training he received his Driver and Mechanic Badges.

Promoted to Platoon Staff Sergeant, Kowatch participated in campaigns in New Guinea and the South Pacific and earned the following decorations and citations: Victory Medal; American Theater Ribbon; Asiatic-Pacific Theater Ribbon; Philippine Liberation Ribbon; 3 Overseas Service Bars; 1 Service Stripe, 1 Bronze Battle Star; Good Conduct Medal and Marksman Medal with the M-1 Rifle.

On March 31, 1946, Kowatch completed his Military obligation and returned back home and on June 1, 1946 he married Lucille Gearhart in Lansing, Michigan.

He then went to work with his father-in-law plastering and building houses.

Alvin and Lucille had 3 children and after his father-in-law suffered a debilitating stroke, he took over the family business.

In 1969 the family moved to East Jordan, Michigan and soon after he went to work in the Maintenance Department at the East Jordan Iron Works, however he continued to do plastering jobs on the side.

On January 13, 1986 he retired from the Iron Works and later that year moved with Lucille to Forsyth, Georgia to enjoy retirement.

Alvin never did truly retire, as he felt the need to keep busy.

Whether it was doing plastering jobs, home remodeling, bowling, hunting, singing in the church choir or gardening and tending to his many fruit trees and flower beds.

But his greatest joy came from building custom dollhouses for his great granddaughters, for which he was featured in the local newspaper.

He loved woodworking, which started at the age of 13 when he built an entire village out of orange crates.

On January 17, 2008 in Forsyth, Georgia, Alvin Frank Kowatch answered the final call and is being honored by his Granddaughter Karen and her family.

 

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