Paul A. Humiston, Jr., 85 of Battle Creek, passed away on April 17, 2022, at the Oaks of North Pointe Woods in Battle Creek, after a short illness.
Paul, affectionately known as Sonny to childhood friends and family, was born on February 19, 1937, to Paul and Trix (Groff) in Grand Rapids, MI. At age three the family moved to Marshall, Michigan. In his youth Paul, who was blessed with a beautiful tenor voice, was a frequent soloist in his father’s choir at Trinity Episcopal Church and sang at numerous weddings of family and friends. His high school years were spent at Marshall High School where he met numerous lifelong friends and began dating Gretchen Bower.
After graduating with honors from Marshall High School in 1955, Paul received an engineering scholarship from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. In fact, Paul was the inaugural recipient of the partnership with Northwestern University and the Kellogg Company, which set an excellent example for others wishing to combine college study with a Kellogg career. At Northwestern, Paul was a member of Triangle Fraternity and Alpha Phi Mu industrial engineering honorary society. During his four years at Northwestern and Gretchen’s four years at Albion College, the pair continued their courtship and upon graduation, Paul returned to Marshall to marry his longtime love Gretchen on June 20, 1959. Together they lived the American dream, quietly set an example for others to follow, supported their church and their God, volunteered in numerous community endeavors, and raised three daughters.
Paul was greatly respected in his thirty-six years with the Kellogg Company for his hands-on leadership in developing highest quality standards for the company’s global manufacturing infrastructure during his many assignments, including Omaha, Nebraska; Springs, South Africa; Maracay, Venezuela, and Battle Creek, Michigan. He was integral in the opening of Kellogg factories in Guangzhou, China and Taloja, India. Paul’s work ethic wasn’t defined by the hours on the clock, but rather the completion of the task assigned to him and his coworkers at Kellogg’s. Paul understood and valued the importance of all Kellogg’s employees and did his best to meet and become acquainted with as many of his fellow coworkers as time allowed. Paul retired from the Kellogg Company as Vice President of International Manufacturing and Technology in 1995 at the age of fifty-six and thereafter, he and Gretchen embarked on their second career together traveling the world, visiting six of the seven continents with friends and family, as well as serving on multiple boards and other community organizations. This also gave him more time to cheer for the Northwestern Wildcats, Nebraska Cornhuskers, and Detroit Tigers.
Paul and Gretchen were proud residents of Michigan, enjoying its beauty and water. Together they built and lived in three lake homes in their home state. Paul’s love of the water began in his youth with yearly summer trips to Piney Pointe, Maryland to visit his grandparents.
Paul was charitable with his time and support of wonderful organizations such as Binder Park Zoo, where he served on the board of directors (1984-1990) and was a major contributor to the “Double the Zoo” campaign. He served as 1st Vice-President of the Battle Creek Community Hospital Board of Trustees, was a long serving member of the St. Thomas Episcopal Church Vestry (Battle Creek) where he also sang in the church choir. Paul also served as co-chairman of the search committee at St. Andrews Episcopal Church (Omaha, Nebraska), and served as co-Chairman of the church’s building fund. Paul and Gretchen were also major contributors to the Battle Creek Symphony and Music Center.
Paul was a proud and active member of Battle Creek Country Club where he also served on the board of directors. He loved rounds of golf with his lifelong friends Hans Schuler and Jack Townsend. Paul’s favorite passion, however, was simply spending time with his wife, daughters, their spouses and his six grandchildren. He loved and supported each and every family member to the fullest.
At an early age Paul’s parents instilled the importance of leaving the world a better place than you found it and anyone that knew Paul would tell you that he spent his life living up to that ideal.
Twenty-three days after his passing, Paul was joined in heaven by his beloved wife, Gretchen. They were reunited for eternity on May 10, 2022.
Paul is survived by his three daughters, Kimberly (David) Berzina of Fort Worth, TX, Michelle (Duane) McPeak of Kingwood, TX, and Suzanna (Rieger) Lesiow of Battle Creek, MI, and six grandchildren Madison, Lenae, Peyton, Christopher, Haley, and Brooke.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Paul and Nettie (Trix) Humiston; his brother, Robert Humiston, and grandson Hunter Ty Lesiow.
Services have been entrusted to Kempf Family Funeral and Cremation Services, 2838 Capital Ave SW, Battle Creek, MI 49015. Per Paul’s wishes, cremation has taken place and a joint memorial service to honor his and Gretchen’s lives will be held at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 16 E Van Buren St, Battle Creek, MI 49017 on Saturday, May 21, 2022, at 11:00 am, with Rev. Brian Coleman officiating.
Memorials are suggested to St. Thomas Episcopal Church, https://onrealm.org/stthomasbc/-/form/give/now or Battle Creek Community Foundation, The Hunter Ty Lesiow Memorial Fund at https://bccfoundation.fcsuite.com/erp/donate/create?funit_id=1849 . Please visit https://www.kempffuneralhome.com to view the online obituary, to sign the online guest book, or to leave the family condolences.
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