Helmut Friedrich “Fred” Homann, 84, of Washington Township, formerly of Marshall, died at his home in the loving care of his family on Monday night, May 4, 2020.
Fred was born on February 25, 1936 in Nopke, Germany to Heinrich and Magdalena (Rabe) Homann. He entered trade school at 15 and trained as a pipefitter with a journeyman pipefitter with whose family he lived with until his training was finished at 18.
He came to the United States from Nopke, Germany to Detroit in 1955, sponsored by his sister Helga. He studied and became a naturalized United States Citizen.
Fred was hired into the General Motors Tech Center because of his skills working with metal. There, John Yerkey became Fred’s mentor and then best friend, which lasted a lifetime with Fred being at John’s side when John died.
While working for GM Fred would moonlight at MSI (Metal Specialists Inc.) in Warren. He left GM and became the night shift supervisor. Fred and 2 partners purchased MSI in the late 1960’s and became sole owner in the early 1980’s. When the 1981 recession hit Fred never laid off one of his 200 employees, even though the auto industry his business was dependent on suffered a severe downturn. His employees would sweep floors, paint equipment and the building to stay busy even though there was no production receiving their full pay until the recession turned.
In that same time Fred chose to expand his business and purchased the TRW building on B Drive South in Emmett Township and turned it into another MSI plant, moving his family to Marshall.
Fred built the body skins for Ford’s NASCAR racing cars and the Delorean automobile when it was in production.
Fred sold MSI in the mid 1990’s and continued to stay busy with his other businesses in real estate and gas and oil exploration in Michigan (which he still ran until his recent ill health). He enjoyed helping his daughter Nina and son Fred with the businesses they had started and ran on their own. He never retired!
The most important part of Fred’s story was his meeting a young Arlene J. White while they were with a group of young people babysitting family while the parents enjoyed a trip to BobLo Island. As Fred watched his nieces with one eye, the other eye was always on Arlene! He kept both eyes on her after that day, and they were married on September 21, 1957. That began a great partnership and love story with each supporting the other. Arlene was Fred’s true partner in everything.
They moved to Marshall from Warren in the mid 1980’s and lived here until moving to Washington Township in 2016 to be nearer to their family. Arlene preceded Fred in death on March 16 this year.
In Marshall they were members of Zion Lutheran Church. Fred and Arlene were very supportive of the Marshall community, sharing of their time and resources generously.
Fred is survived by his loving and beloved family, his daughter and son-in-law Nina and R. Stephen Clark of Bruce Township, Romeo, grandchildren Kirsten Lauren (Justin) Shattuck of Bruce Township, Kaitlin Ann Clark of Lansing, Montana Sarah Clark of Lansing, Alicia Ann Berry of Chelsea and Jacob Michael Hall of Grass Lake; and his sister Helga Juenger of Florida. He was preceded in death by his son Fred W. Homann, and brothers and sisters.
Due to the current Covid-19 concerns, a funeral will be held for the family on Friday, May 8, at Kempf Family Funeral and Cremation Services, 723 US HWY 27 N., Marshall, MI 49068. Following the funeral Fred will be laid to rest next to his beloved Arlene at Oakridge Cemetery.
A Celebration of Fred and Arlene’s life will be announced, but is tentatively being planned for their wedding anniversary in September this year. Please watch the funeral home website and Facebook page for the announcement.
The family suggests that you remember Fred with a memorial contribution to either Oaklawn Hospital (www.oaklawnhospital.org) or the Marshall Community Foundation For the Homann Family Fund. (www.marshallcf.org).
Visit https://kempffuneralhome.com to leave a message for the family to let them know you are thinking of them.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Fred Homann, please visit our floral store.